2017 was a hell of a ride. There was a ton going on in the world with some trying times, but in the realm of music, things couldn’t be any better. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I had such a perfect year for releases. Every month had something awesome to offer across all genres of music. Each one of these records has made a great impression on me; whether it was through their personal/political messages, or for the sheer sake of entertainment, I've come to adore each one of these releases.
But before we dive into the official list, I want to shout out all the other records I really loved from this year:
- Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
- The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers
- Zeal & Ardor – Devil Is Fine
- Ten Ton Slug – Blood And Slime
- Faces Of The Bog – Ego Death
- Kesha – Rainbow
- Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
- Kendrick Lamar – Damn
- SHIDI MIDI – Twins
- Tyler, The Creator – Flowerboy
- Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
- Hideous Divinity – Adveniens
- Auðn – Farvegir Fyrndar
So without further ado, here are my top 10 records of 2017!
10. All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal
This record packs a terrific mix of grind and hardcore, exploding with nihilistic and savage tones. I mean these tracks friggin’ rip! The utter chaos of bombastic instrumentation and screams makes for a balls to the wall frenzy of insanity and heaviness. Anyone who is in need of music that is all about driving forward in unrelenting instrumentation, all while providing an overall sinister aura to their work, APMD is the ideal band. (Here's Chris' review).
9. WVRM – Can You Hear The Wind Howl
Can You Hear The Wind Howl is the latest EP from WVRM. This is sincerely some of the most vicious, savage grindcore I’ve heard in some time. The band packs such a violent tone into their work, that each song comes through with a pure sharp and abrasive assault. Against numerous full-length records this year, Can You Hear The Wind Howl is one of the heaviest releases of 2017. (My full album review).
8. Converge – The Dusk In Us
It has been so long since we’ve had a Converge record, and in the back of my mind I’ve held onto all the emotion and intensity that’s both Jane Doe and Axe To Fall. The Dusk In Us is its own beast, and one that exudes a fresh sound for the band. Jacob Bannon's voice and lyricism come through profoundly, with the instrumentation either playing along to a spastic rhythm , or taking things with ease and focusing on atmosphere. (Here's Kevin's review).
7. Lich King –The Omniclasm
Out of every release that came out this year, Lich King's The Omniclasm was the most fun I had. The riffs in this record are an absolute blast, full of pure adrenaline and thrills. It's a terrific record that promises a great time in letting loose. What I love about Lich King is how they remind me of old school thrash metal, while still sounding incredibly fresh. Rather than try and jam a ton of technicality into their music, the band always deliver on top-notch musicianship. This is the ideal record for parties, playing video games, moshing, and straight up awesomeness. (My full album review).
6. Sharptooth – Clever Girl
Clever Girl is a true feminist work of art (while also displaying proficient technicality through their various uses of hardcore). Each song clashes and whips away with fury and adrenaline, while the vocals burst with anger, shouting cries for justice and calling out hatred. Given everything going on, Clever Girl has a great power to inspire positivity. Every one of the tracks on this album has the potential to connect people, whether they are struggling, or looking for someone to bond with. (My full album review).
5. Leviathan – The First Sublevel Of Suicide
So this is technically a collection of demos from Leviathan's debut LP, The Tenth Sub Level Of Suicide. That being said, the five songs one will find in this collection are truly sinister, full of elegant nihilistic magic. These demos capture the early beginnings for one of black metal's most unique acts today, displaying the early talents of Leviathan mastermind Wrest. From beginning to end the collection lures the listener into this somber and heartbreaking world of wailing guitars, shrieking vocals, and ominous air. These five songs only fuel my excitement for the next full-length Leviathan LP to come. (My full album review).
4. King Woman – Created In The Image Of Suffering
This record drones in a dark ethereal tone, slowly riding on waves of great sorrow and emotion. The vocals are truly haunting, and blend with the instrumentation in the most magnificent ways. Created In The Image Of Suffering carries the listener on a path of inward and outward emotion; the ability to connect with the lyrics and find one’s own discovery within them is outstanding. This album is a work of art that breathes with life, the music and emotion entwining together to present a majestic atmosphere. Easily one of the most emotionally powerful records I’ve heard in years. (My full album review).
3. Code Orange – Forever
It’s insane how much I’ve had this album on repeat since it released. In Forever, Code Orange take their hardcore formula to let loose some crazy brutal instrumentation, while also blending in various ambient electronic elements. The ending result is some of the most unique heavy music I’ve heard in some time. The combination makes for work that crushes the listener under each blistering song progression. The song structure beats with a racing adrenaline, pummeling away with rage and passion. Code Orange have found great success throughout 2017, and it's easy to see how this band will only continue to climb the ladder even higher. (My full album review).
2. The Faceless – In Becoming A Ghost
After waiting five years, The Faceless released an incredible record. In Becoming A Ghost shows off the band’s best musicianship, with each song displaying a dynamic range of technicality. It takes the best parts of past records, and meshes them all together to present a mystical blend of dark energy. In Becoming A Ghost is an immense work of mystery, emotion, and musical proficiency. In Becoming A Ghost unleashes a blend of progressive death metal that lures listeners into its dark depths. The album provides a rich emotion that is both terrifying and somber. While it's an album that allows you to sit back and enjoy the music, it's this emotional component that really sells the record as a truly excellent work of magic and art. (My full album review here).
1. Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid
While I’ve raved about and praised every other record on this list, I will never ever get over the utter brilliance that is Igorrr’s Savage Sinusoid. My journey with Igorrr began three years ago, when a friend called me into his room and said, “I have some really weird stuff to play you.” Since then I’ve been following Igorrr, and when I heard the group was signing to Metal Blade Records and putting out an album, I knew it was going to be special. Putting Savage Sinusoid into words is almost impossible (somehow I did it in my review back in June). The album is that of rage while also serenity, it’s chaos while also being delicately put together, and it’s worth studying as much as it’s worth just hanging back and simply enjoying. The mastermind of Igorrr, Gautier Serre, has crafted a genuine work of art. An additional shout out to the vocal talents of Laure Le Prunenec and Laurent Lunoir for their incredible contributions to the album. When people ask what the next step in music's evolution is…. They can look to Igorrr. (My full album review).
Thanks for taking the time to read what records I loved this year! Thank you to everyone who ever shared one of my articles, and thank you to those who continue to enjoy The Core Breakdown posts. Look forward to more writing in 2018, and if you are interested in more of my thoughts, you can follow me on Twitter at @pementelm. You can also see more of my writing via New Noise Magazine and FilmDaddy.