Music Liberation's Top 10 Albums of 2011

1. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints // Reviewed 4th July by Moker
"Past Life Martyed Saints is an organic beast, seemingly fluid, changing with each listen. Anderson has gone headfirst into these songs and the results are so honest, so desperate, so vulnerable that by the time the superbly somber and well placed 'Red Star' unfolds as the closing track, you’ll feel dazed; plunged into Anderson’s crazy world and gently escorted out the other side once the storm is over, wondering what the hell just happened. And you know what’s weirdest of all? It feels brilliant." || EMA

2. Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm // Reviewed 13th July by Sarah Rayner
"Remnants of the night before still in your blood stream? No fear, Benjamin Francis Leftwich will soothe your throbbing head. A sound for every aching bone, melodies to flutter across voids and ease each injury inside and out. Here we have bare-bones acoustic, stripped back to the roots to pierce the silence in a set of heart-grabbing compositions." || Benjamin Francis Leftwich

3. Mazes - A Thousand Heys // Reviewed 18th April by Jon Sidwell
"Album opener 'Go Betweens' sets the tone of the record, with simple, pacey drums interspersed with scuzzy energetic guitars and playful yet punchy vocals from frontman Jack Cooper. 'Surf & Turf / Maths Tag' demonstrates the bands ear for tempo changes, where as 'Most Days' is them at their most ferocious. A Thousand Heys is a fun, chaotic, frenzied, emotional roller coaster of a debut record that will have you hitting the repeat button throughout the forthcoming Summer." || Mazes

4. Shapes - Monotony Chic // Reviewed 27th July by Clive Rozario
"This is an urgent and intense collection of songs worthy of your time. And time is something it may need, as ‘Monotony Chic’ does take a couple listens for the tunes to sink in. It may sound a little erratic and messy at first, but there is real precision here, and it may only be on the third listen that you begin to distinguish between riffs (and man are some of the riffs nice!), screams, and time signatures." || Shapes

5. Evidence - Cats and Dogs // Reviewed 21st November by Tom Nash
"With no trace of a radio-friendly single or a floor-filling club banger, Cats & Dogs may not win Evidence new fans, but after two decades in the business, it is clear that isn’t important to him. He knows his strengths and he plays to them. If you like whiplash-inducing beats and solid rhymes, you won’t go wrong with this LP." || Evidence

6. Hectic Zeniths - Hectic Zeniths // Reviewed 29th November by Tom Nash
"While never reaching their cinematic heights, Hectic Zeniths draws comparisons with Blue Sky Black Death or Emancipator, each known for creating rich and densely layered music. At eleven tracks long and clocking in at half an hour from beginning to end, some may feel it may be on the short side, but with each song containing so many elements, replay value will undoubtedly be high." || Hectic Zeniths

"Delivering a much needed and long overdue shot in the arm of a stagnant post-hardcore scene, Portsmouth’s Munroe Effect this week finally unveil their debut album ‘Ultraviolenceland’. Released through Dead Plant Records, and mastered by Alan Douche (Dillinger Escape Plan, Brand New) this record reveals a band who sound equally at home flailing chaotic guitars around, as they are laying down soaring melodies." || Munroe Effect

"Clocking in at a mere 27 minutes there no hanging around with this record, but then there’s enough diversity on offer to make it somehow seem longer than that. Having been recorded predominantly live in a converted stable there is a tendency for some sounds to get drowned out by others, however I feel this adds great texture and a sense of urgency. This debut record is raw and totally uncompromising, certainly not for the faint of heart, but well worth checking out." || Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea

"Kicking off with 'High Brow, Low Brow, No Eye Brow' (possible reference to 'High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive' by Pulled Apart By Horses? meh...) the band launch into their mathy guitar driven noise, with yelpy stop start vocals from Ben Gregory, supported by driven yet understated drums. Instant comparisons can be drawn with Foals ('Antidotes' era), and contemporaries such as Future Of The Left and Les Savy Fav." || Everyone To The Anderson

10. We'll Go Machete - Strong Drunk Hands // Reviewed 30th September by Clive Rozario
"‘Strong Drunk Hands’ is the debut album from the Texan quartet, and it consists of 10 tracks of the aforementioned kind of post-hardcore. To clarify, this is punk-infused post-rock – aggressive enough to be punk rock, but too melodic to be considered straight hardcore. The guitars wrap layers of experimental spiking and noodling around raw and erratic punk riffs. The drums are solidly mid-paced. The bass is heavy and fuzzy." || We'll Go Machete