For every Black Parade and From Under the Cork Tree, the scene birthed numerous albums that, despite their many merits, didn't get the recognition they deserved. Here, we've pulled together 12 of the best examples of albums from the world of pop-punk, post-hardcore and emo that ought to have been massive, with entries present from both scene stalwarts and bands that were relatively unknown even within the confines of our world. Read on for some under-appreciated musical goodness...
The Blackout - The Best in Town
Welsh post-hardcore six-piece the Blackout caused a splash in the U.K. when they dropped second album The Best in Town. Packed with hard-hitting anthems such as “Save Ourselves (The Warning” and “Children of the Night,” the Epitaph-signed band, led by the dual vocal assault of screamer Sean Smith and clean singer Gavin Butler, scored rave reviews and a spot on the Kerrang! Tour 2010 supporting All Time Low. Sadly, the Blackout never built significant momentum outside of the U.K., and the band eventually split in 2015. Smith and guitarist James Davies have since gone on to form a new outfit, Raiders.
Kids in Glass Houses - In Gold Blood
In 2010, My Chemical Romance set the blueprint for post-apocalyptic-themed emo-rock with Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. In Gold Blood, the third album from Kids in Glass Houses, told a similar, Mad Max-esque story to My Chem’s fourth LP, but this wasn’t a mere copy of what the New Jersey legends had already produced. With In Gold Blood, Kids in Glass Houses considerably expanded their pop-rock formula, something evidenced by the horns that characterize the rousing “Only the Brave Die Free,” and the soulful, saxophone-driven epic that is “Fire.” It deserved a massive response, but despite a positive critical reaction, In Gold Blood failed to chart higher than its predecessor, Dirt, with Kids in Glass Houses eventually disbanding three years on from its release.
Fireworks were always an underrated band. Possessing all the best elements of the pop-punk wave that gave rise to the Wonder Years, Knuckle Puck and Real Friends, the band’s Gospel LP is the finest pop-punk record you’ve probably not heard. Following a four-year hiatus, the band announced their return in 2019, with a new album, Higher Lonely Power, set to drop in the coming months.
Four Year Strong - In Some Way, Shape, or Form.
Four Year Strong have been consistently, er, strong when it comes to their creative output. 2010’s breakthrough LP Enemy Of the World was an easycore classic, after which the band swiftly returned with In Some Way, Shape, or Form., but in spite of Four Year Strong again delivering a bunch feel-good songs, their third album didn’t have anything like the expected impact, registering a measly 6,500 first-week sales. It’s a shame, because “Stuck In the Middle,” beats anything the band had recorded up to that point.
Me Vs Hero - Days That Shape Our Lives
These boys deserved more. Me Vs Hero nailed the easycore formula with debut LP Days That Shape Our Lives, the title-track and lead-single “Can You Count Suckers?” being two especially strong examples of the genre in all its party-starting, mosh-ready glory. The U.K. quartet played the British incarnation of the Warped Tour off the back of Days That Shape Our Lives, and supported the likes of Polar Bear Club and Skindred, but they’re another band on this list who couldn’t quite break-out of their home territory. Me Vs Hero released their final album, I’m Completely Fine, in 2014 before splitting a year later. Guitarist Bobby Pook is now playing in the excellent post-rock outfit blanket.
Every Avenue - Picture Perfect
Every Avenue seemingly had all the tools required to follow All Time Low to the summit of the scene’s neon-pop-punk wave. A clean-cut image and catchy, radio-friendly songs were what the band dealt in rather well, particularly on Picture Perfect, but aside from single “Tell Me I’m a Wreck,” which has over 21,000,000 streams on Spotify, the band’s second LP failed to make a considerable impact outside of the scene. Despite playing a few reunion shows in 2018 and 2019, Every Avenue appear to be pretty inactive in 2020.
Casey - Love is Not Enough
Another departed act from the U.K. who warranted greater love from the scene, Casey’s melodic hardcore was a joy to behold. The band’s incredible 2016 debut Love is Not Enough contained highly emotive tracks such as “Darling,” which showcased the Welsh quintet’s excellent songwriting capabilities, as well as the captivating lyricism of frontman Tom Weaver. It didn’t have the most commercial sound, sure, but Love is Not Enough and its follow-up, 2018’s Where I Go When I Am Sleeping, warranted a greater response from the scene. Casey disbanded in 2019.
Chiodos will always be remembered best for their time with Craig Owens as frontman, but their stint with Brandon Bolmer on vocals is criminally underrated. Illuminaudio didn’t sell anywhere near as well as Chiodos’ previous LP with Owens, the album racking up lifetime sales of 49,000, compared to Bone Palace Ballet’s 200,000. Despite the muted reception, though, Illuminaudio contains some brilliant songs, including the soaring “Notes in Constellations” and the seriously catchy “Caves.”
Enter Shikari - Common Dreads
As we said in our recent podcast on the band, Enter Shikari have always deserved greater appreciation from the scene. Common Dreads, released in 2009, was a truly innovative album, as the U.K. quartet demonstrated their trailblazing blend of electronica and punk. Highlights include the titanic “Juggernauts” and the singalong-ready “No Sleep Tonight,” while if you’re after a killer Shikari deep cut, look no further than “Hectic,” which is batshit crazy in the best possible way.
Foxy Shazam - Foxy Shazam
Fuck knows why Queen got Adam Lambert to front them when Eric Nally was around. The Foxy Shazam frontman is the second coming of Freddie Mercury, a ludicrously gifted vocalist and showman who oozes star quality and raw talent in equal measure. Foxy Shazam’s brand of glam rock might not seem the most natural fit in the scene, but around the time they dropped their superb, self-titled LP in 2010, they were gaining significant coverage from scene publications and playing the Warped Tour. Foxy Shazam is a riot from start to finish, but the best example of its magic is “Oh Lord” – just try not to grin as the euphoric horns and Nally’s jaw-dropping wails carry you through four minutes of rock 'n' roll excellence.
From First to Last - From First to Last
Their first album with guitarist and driving force Matt Good on lead-vocal duties, From First to Last’s self-titled LP from 2008 is seriously overlooked. The opening three-track run of “Two As One,” “The Other Side” and “Worlds Away” is undeniably strong, and across From First to Last, Good proves himself an able deputy to Sonny Moore. There was, however, a considerable fall in commercial success for this album compared to previous effort Heroine, with From First to Last recording first-week sales of less than 10,000 (Heroine did 33,000), while a chart peak of 81 was way down on Heroine’s 25.
Underoath - Lost In the Sound of Separation
They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line are rightly scene classics, but Underoath’s 2008 LP Lost In the Sound of Separation deserves to be up there with the band’s most lauded records. A Top 10 debut on the Billboard charts and 56,000 sales is nothing to be sniffed at, but the figures for Lost In the Sound of Separation represent a near-50 percent drop-off from Define the Great Line, and it’s hardly like Underoath’s sixth album is only half as good as its predecessor. Songs such as “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures” are capable of competing with Underoath’s finest from their mid-noughties peak.