I haven’t done much here in a long time. Changed jobs this year and haven’t been too interested in metal for most of the year, so I haven’t felt like writing about it. But I felt like writing a bit about some of my favorite albums of 2017, metal or not (and too be fair, almost none of this list are metal albums). Anyway, let’s get to it.
First off, some honorable mentions.
Nazi Punch, Fuck Yes by Bleach Everything
The Deep by Clipping
Created In The Image Of Suffering by King Woman
You Will Be Hated by Old Thunder
False Flag EP by False Flag
Funeral Designs by Crowning
We Sing The Blues… by YÖU
Demos by Garden Of The Ark
ひとでなしつき by 四つ墓
Litterfall by Green Elder
25. Until The Darkness Takes Us by Nathan Gray Collective
Nathan Gray (of Boysetsfire) and Daniel E. Smith create lush, glommy, and sometimes heavy goth jam. This is the album I was listening to while everyone else was propping up the Ulver abum earlier in the year (which is also incredible and just missed this list by a hair). As someone that has been listening to Nathan Gray since 7th grade when I randomly bought The Day The Sun Went Out on a whim, I’m stoked to see him still expanding himself throughout his musical expressions.
24. S/T by Portrayal Of Guilt
Portrayal Of Guilt play a rad mix of screamo and black metal that has completely rocked my world this year. There is a lot of emotion crammed into this 3 song 7″, which I’ve listened to at least once everyday since I discovered it in June and will continue to do so for a very long time. I can’t wait to hear what Portrayal Of Guilt does with a full length, which will hopefully show up this year.
23. \ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm\ by mothmother
This EP is one of the most brutally emotional releases I heard all year. Dealing with sexual assault and it’s lifetime of mental and physical aftermath, this album is difficult and heartbreaking to take in. But mothmothers grindy hardcore make it worthwhile.
22. Season One: The Gang Gets Over It by Newman
Sweden’s Newman may look like a goofy, fun band on the outside, with the Seinfeld references and all, but when you dig into their songs, it’s some of the best skramz I’ve heard. This EP is only 4 songs in less than 3 minutes and it rules so much. The vocals and drums are a huge highlight here, and the sample of Creed Braton talking to Michael Scott about bankruptcy absolutely makes the song ‘I’m Splitting’ a must hear.
21: Dadhelo- A Tale Of Wildfire by Chepang
I don’t care what anyone says, Chepang are the best grind band on the planet. Dadhelo is unique, interesting, and fun. The drums are absolutely insane, with two drummers playing at once, and often feel like they are just on the verge of falling apart but never do. The slow parts breaking up the grinding madness help keep things from getting stale and are some of the best moments on the album, especially on ‘Falame Fokso’.
20. Contempt by Couch Slut
Look, If you’re not listening to Couch Slut at this point, what the fuck are you even doing with your life? Listen to ‘Won’t Come.’ It is the best song you will hear all year. This shit is the epitome of brutal and puts every single metal band on the planet to shame.
19. Fallow by Morrow
It’s a shame that Fallow came out 6 days before the end of the year. It should have been on every end of year list that deals with heavy music. It’s complete passion filtered into some of the best crust ever made. And the simple fact that they were able to top Covenant Of Teeth is a true triumph, because that album is one of the best albums of the last decade. The violin and cello compliment the sheer heaviness in Morrow’s music and are my favorite aspect of the band. Also, more bands should have Natalie from Wildspeaker guest on their albums.
18. Interiors by Jayson Green
These two songs (four if you count the instrumental versions) were a wonderful surprise for me this year. I’ve been listening to Jayson (Orchid, Panthers, Violent Bullshit) since the final Orchid album came out and he has been a huge influence in my life. The two songs here nothing like his previous bands and it is so rad to see hear him outside of hardcore. The title track might actually be my favorite thing he has ever done. I’m really hoping he releases a full length like this.
17. Sorrows by Love/Lust
“Reality keeps me from dreaming/Will I ever be able to feel again?” is one of the realiest lyrics I’ve ever heard, and a pretty good summation of 2017 as a whole. Love/Lust play emotional hardcore driven black metal that is often morose and beautiful. The closing track, ‘and drift away’, is a tour de force of black metal and the aural manifestation of longing. This album is a must hear.
16. S/T by Pure Hiss
“Walking home, you think you’re safe now, but you’re not alone. Footsteps creeping nearer, walking home, you can’t hear him. Peace of mind now a thing of the past. Walking home, you think you’re safe now, but you never were. Your little black dress is a target now.” Enough said.
15. Prima Che Tutto Bruci by Øjne
This album is just….fuck, I don’t even know what to say. This is just skramz at the top of it’s game. Øjne have created an absolute masterpiece here and would have probably been in my top 5 if I had more time to spend with it. Italy just fucking owns the skramz/screamo genre at this point. ‘Dall’Altra Parte Del Mare’ ending this album is one of the best feelings I’ve had listening to anything. It is so, so good.
14. EP2 by Black Canary
This is the second EP of music created for the DC Comics character, Black Canary, and they fucking rule. It’s mid-80’s era, synth heavy goth dance songs reminiscent of Japanese Whispers by The Cure. As goofy as this whole thing should be, these songs are great and super catchy. ‘Last Days’ should be on every goth playlist for eternity.
13. A Shadow Circuit by Terrible As The Dawn
Terrible As The Dawn are one of my favorite bands. They are wonderful people and their music is exceptional. A Shadow Circuit, their second EP, expands and perfects what was so great about their debut. There are elements of grind, early pre-cello era Cursive, and Circle Takes The Square screamo weirdness. I love Caroline’s vocals so much and they are in top form here, especially on closing track ‘Lie Down’. A Shadow Circuit is an intense, emotional ride that I can’t recommend enough.
12. Chill, Dummy by P.O.S.
Chill, Dummy is P.O.S.’s masterpiece. After taking time off after a kidney transfer, Chill, Dummy contains some of P.O.S.’s best work of his career. ‘I’m a huge fan of his use of the Gayngs song, ‘Faded High’, in the song ‘Faded’. And his rhymes in ‘sleepdrone/superposition’ are some of the most personal and wonderful he has ever done. If you are into hip hop, listen to this album. It’s is brilliant.
11. Empty Rooms, Full Bodies by Boneflower
Boneflower is a recent discovery for me. This album came out in November and ever since, I’ve been slightly obsessed with it and their first album. The clean, sing-talking vocals are a weird, interesting touch when mixed with the screaming and works perfectly with the bands screamo/post hardcore music. Parts of this album remind me of Orchid’s Gatefold LP, and that is about the highest compliment I can give.
10. Spreading Adder by Wildspeaker
I love Wildspeaker. Spreading Adder builds on everything good about Survey The Wreckage. The recording (done by Garry Brents of Cara Neir) is raw, almost live sounding, and works so well for Wildspeaker’s blackened crust. The drums here are intense and one of my favorite things this year. And as always, Natalie’s vocals are harsh as fuck and put almost everyone else holding a microphone to shame.
9. Strangled Light by Less Art
Less Art’s debut is such a brilliant album. I love Ian Miller’s bass playing so much and hearing him always makes me happy. But the highlight here (and possibly one of my favorite parts of 2017) is Mike Minnick’s vocals/lyrics. Curlupanddie has been one of my all time favorite bands for so long, and I am so glad he is still around. The lyrics to Optimism As Survival (“I’m too curious to kill myself/Everything passes, even doubt/What I can’t control won’t keep me down/I use optimism as survival”) are some of my favorite words he has ever written and I’ve gone back to them numerous times throughout the year during bad mental times.
8. Cheat Death, Live Dead! by Shizune
Italian skramz strikes again! Shizune are one of the best bands in the skramz/screamo scene that absolutely kill it with every album, and Cheat Death, Live Dead! is no exception. The songs are fast, melodic, and emotional and are topped with brilliant lyrics reminiscent of Orchid (“Take me to dance/and let’s make out/on the floor/there is no music nowadays/sweeter than our bodies”). They also use a mix of Italian, Japanese, French, and English, which adds a nice bit of eccentricity to their sound.
7. The Dank by Dr. Colossus
The Dank is a bittersweet album for me. It is such a fun album and is a perfect apex for the bands Simpsons themed doom. Unfortunately, a couple months after the release, drummer Nate Johnston passed away. He was a super nice guy and is a big loss. All of that aside, The Dank is fun, catchy, heavy, and filled with great Simpsons references that should delight any Simpsons fan.
6. III by Foxtails
Foxtails were such a great discovery for me. Their mix of skramz and Midwestern emo works so well and is absolutely up my alley. Megan Cadena-Fernandez’s alternate between saccharine emo and some of the most throat destroying screeches I’ve ever heard. And on a non-music related note, they have a song called ‘Princess Caroline’ and the quote, “when you look at someone through rose colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags” on their Bandcamp page. More bands into Bojack Horseman in 2018, please.
5. Mourning Cloak by Underdark
Underdark’s first EP is a brilliant screamo inspired black metal album and easily the best of the crop of bands in this very niche genre. It’s got all the bleak coldness of black metal with the grove and emotional aspect of screamo. I’d love to hear these guys do a split with Heaven In Her Arms because they would compliment each others sounds well. I believe they are in very early stages of working on a full length for 2018 and I can’t wait to hear it.
4. The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life by Great Wight
Great Wight is a New York emo/punk band that has completely entranced me throughout the second half of the year. This album is an absolutely brilliant album with a much needed and vital viewpoint. Erik Garlington’s lyrics are poignant, clever, and are the perfect fit for their Desaparecidos-esque punk jams. Dealing with everything from stage fright to the experience of being black in the south and racism in general, The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life is an album that every emo fan should hear.
3. World Of Grief by I Hate Sex
This is another album that is hard for me to describe. I very quickly became emotionally attached to World Of Grief and I Hate Sex’s take on skramz. Their music is beautiful, engaging, and intense. Nicole’s vocals are emotionally harsh and compliment her lyrics so well. “Today I wish you saw me/I just wish you fucking saw me” is one of my favorite single lines of the year. I’ve spent so much time just listening to World Of Grief and being completely in awe at how brilliant it is.
2. Vattnet by Vattnet
Most people that know me are probably surprised that this isn’t my favorite album of the year. It missed the top spot by an unbelievably slight margin. Vattnet is a dazzling album from a band with nothing to lose and the will to do whatever the fuck they wanted. After Vattnet Viskar’s vocalist quit, they dropped the Viskar from their moniker and most of the metal from their sound and they have never been better. Playing like if Circa Survive started as a black metal band, their blackened emo (blemo?) sound is refreshing and impressive. Chris Alfieri’s riffs are immediately catchy and memorable and underlie Casey Aylward’s marvelous vocals. Casey’s lyrics are reflective and deep and personal and fit with bands new sound perfectly.
and 1. Victory Lap by Propagandhi
I’ve been listening to Propagandhi since 1997 when I bought a Fat Wreck Chords compilation from a Hot Topic. I was 15 and a pivotal moment for me. Discovering Propagandhi set me on a course of caring about political issues. I genuinely believe that Propagandhi set me on the path to being a better person. They expanded my world view through punk. I’ve absolutely loved their progression into a metal infused punk band. Everything from Todays Empires, Tomorrows Ashes forward is essential and genuinely better than the last, leading to Victory Lap, which is Propagandhi at their absolute best. The album is heavy and deep. It features the best songs of their career, especially Failed Imagineer and Lower Order (A Good Laugh). The latter is the best song they have ever written. It made me cry the first time I listened to it and made me extremely glad to be vegan. Just listen to this album. It is highly vital work of art from a band that has been releasing stunning works of art for 20+ years and still topping everything they have done before.