We’ve only made it halfway through 2017, but it’s already been an insane year for music with albums that are so good you’ll quite possibly question that they actually exist. In particular, it has been, much to our excitement, a particularly strong outing for metal. To recap on the incredible releases that have released thus far, we’ve compiled a list of the albums we just can’t get enough of this year. As the year develops, we’re sure things will change, but for now here’s our top 10 albums of 2017!
Top 10 Albums of 2017 So Far
Mutoid Man – War Moans
2017 was bound to be deemed as the year of the mutant with Mutoid Man‘s hellishly good new record, War Moans, melting our minds. This wild n’ out, insanely talented three-piece are no stranger to the peculiar, especially with albums like Bleeder and Helium Head under their belt. This time around they stick to their true-yet-twisted form in War Moans, but it is important to note that this is not more of the same. Rather, it is a whole new raging experience that will melt your mind just as much as it will save it from the typical, cookie cutter tendencies of today’s music. It’s easy go mad in this world, but Nick Cageao, Ben Koller, and Steve Brodsky are proving yet again with War Moans that if you’re going to cut loose it might as well be to some mind-boggling, balls to the wall metal. All in all, Mutoid Man are a freak of nature, a mutant pieced together that just so happened to become one of the greatest bands of our time with records like War Moans that continue to blow our minds.
Read the full review of Mutoid Man’s War Moans here.
Havok – Conformicide
Havok–along with many in the United States and around the world–are coming to realize the stark reality that is George Orwell’s 1984. We now live in a world where critical thought, though not yet condemned, is being questioned, a scary fact that suddenly makes 1984 seem less fiction and more reality. Havok’s upcoming release, Conformicide, in turn, is questioning the current state of things itself, making it one of the most profound records thus far in 2017. It is is an absolute thrasher of a record that hits the nail on the head about the very scary reality of the system’s threat to society. In short, it’s a hard-hitting, musically-advanced, eye-opening, and brutal album that will prepare you for war, providing anthems for a generation that is angry, confused, and fearful; A sobering yet forward reminder to wake up in this claiming certainty.
He Is Legend – few
Full of longing and darkness, few will make you feel like you are alone in a cabin in the woods with nothing but the creeks of the timber and the howl of the wolf to keep you company. Lonely and afraid, you search for a source of light deep in the murky, winter forest. Though alone, you sense a presence amongst you; That presence being the ever-looming, hard-hitting, monstrous He Is Legend, who guide you throughout their storyline and around their every twist and turn. Their discography has been one of melancholy, lore, and tension, but none are quite as inclusive as few, which binds 13 years of He Is Legend into one suspenseful, thrilling record. Like the best of horror movies, their upcoming release will haunt you long after its end. They said this was an album for their fans, and they were right. It celebrates everything that rocks about He Is Legend by weaving together elements from every single chapter of their career, spinning one giant, elaborate web that is sure to capture anyone who listens to it.
’68 – Two Parts Viper
The dynamic duo of Josh Scogin and Michael McClellan are back in a big way with their sophomore release, Two Parts Viper. After attaining legendary status in the “core” community with bands like Norma Jean and The Chariot, Scogin has returned with his most eclectic and ingenious musical creation to date. I realize that statement carries a lot of weight, especially when put toe-to-toe with albums like The Chariot’s One Wing, but before you go all two parts viper on me, hear me out. While One Wing is admittedly one of my favorite albums of all time, Two Parts Viper is a whole new breed of auditory predator. As it snaps into your existence with true ’68 fashion, Two Parts Viper will sink its teeth into your soul and rip apart your mind, making its poison just as potent as One Wing, but its bite that much sharper. As aforementioned, it is whole new breed of auditory predator, making it one cold-blooded, efficient killer. After all, it is survival of the fittest, and right now as it stands, ’68 are one of the fittest of them all.
Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
Before the conception of Mastodon, it seemed that music of this kind was a dying breed. As other bands took a more commercial route, Mastodon took the high road to become the musical rarity that the world was so desperately in need of. On record, they are always unbelievable, but there’s something uniquely catching about their 2017 release, Emperor of Sand. In their standout track, “Sultan’s Curse,” Troy Sanders roars out, “Tired and lost, No one to trust, Who is there to give the push,” amongst rolling dunes of music. Suddenly, you find yourself trudging hopelessly through the desert with the hot heat of the scorching sun radiating down brutally upon you as you are taken through the lyrical brain of Mastodon. From the very beginning, their technical prowess and never-ending ability to impress provided an oasis in this seemingly vast and substanceless desert, refreshing us all with their undying passion and eclectic appeal. They clearly get lost in the music, especially with songs like “Roots Remain,” (my personal favorite on the record) shining bright on Emperor of Sand. In turn, you can’t help but get lost in the music too.
Code Orange – Forever
Code Orange‘s latest album release, Forever, is just as heavy as it is visceral. It not only can be felt reverberating through your body, but it also pierces through your mind. It’s a record that absolutely roars with its earth-shattering intensity. With a crazy energy and relentless presence, Forever creates a feeding frenzy within you, causing all who listen to react like sharks smelling blood in the water. Absolute carnage ensues throughout the entire record, but there are also more subtle moments that showcase a further dimension to Code Orange with songs like “Bleeding In The Blur,” which cut through you with its raw emotion and gritty feel. Reba’s vocals are on point in this track; Each note dripping in grungy, pure emotion. Hardcore and metal bands sometimes get caught up in being so heavy that they lose the emotion and feeling altogether in a record, but Code Orange aren’t one of those heavy for the sake of being heavy bands. That sense of purpose gives them a serious edge over others. They absolutely do the heavy stuff well with riffs that are just as catchy as they are plunderous, and that’s a huge part of their charm, but they are also spearheading something with Forever that is completely their own as well as something that garners immense respect and recognition.
Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
Creeper are one of those bands that will creep into your ears and delve into your heart. With their latest album release, Eternity, in Your Arms, it’s clear that they are planning on haunting us for years to come. And you’ll gladly let them do so… As each song punches out, you’ll find yourself further and further possessed by their sinfully indulgent sound until you eventually fall madly, hopelessly in love. Creeper are carrying on to become the next evolution of an era that once seemed to be a thing of the past with Eternity, in Your Arms. This may be a darkly emotional album, but it’s full of color. It may be driven by grief and heartbreak, but it is bursting full of life. But the most exciting thing of all is its individuality and ability to express emotion. All of those radio bands may never make you feel, but Creeper’s Eternity, in Your Arms will. It’s an album that will be ringing for eternity, in your ears.
While She Sleeps – You Are We
While many bands are out there sleeping, While She Sleeps are wide awake, hell bent on making themselves and their messages known. Built by a community that refuses to give in, You Are We is an album that works to rebuild hope within a world that is so determined to destroy it. Its anger not only inspiring change, but also fueling a revolution within the hearts of all who listen. In an empire of silence, You Are We roars out from the rooftops as one of 2017’s most important releases. Though “In Another Now” signalizes the end of You Are We, this clearly won’t be the last you hear of the Sleeps Brothers, who are forging their own path to the top with an album that is sure to tear down borders and break walls.
Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora
Bring on the metal elitists, because I’m about to make some pretty bold claims. Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora has managed to climb over the mountain of Darkest Hour’s solid releases, and has staked its flag at the top. Yes, I’m saying that it’s the best Darkest Hour album ever released. Before you jump down my throat, hear me out… Darkest Hour have always been, in my mind, extremely underrated, especially given their track record and talent. Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora is yet another powerful assertion as to why they are one of the best in the game. And it’s a god damn celebration of all that rocks about Darkest Hour, bringing you to to this place where the past and present collide. It’s a sonically-impressive and mind-blowing release that has something that fans–both old and new–can raise their hands up to. After listening to this maniacally brilliant masterpiece, I’m trying my best to not be at a loss for words. All I can think to do is pull an Alice Cooper Wayne’s World moment, bow down, and holler, “I’m not worthy.”
Northlane – Mesmer
When Northlane released their album Mesmer out of the blue, it felt like Christmas morning. All starry-eyed and full of promise, I took to Spotify to stream their latest creation and found myself mesmerized. Calculated and cool, Mesmer is a work of art that celebrates the symmetry of intuition and innovation all the while showcasing the beautiful harmony that can exist between brutality and fragility. Bursting at the seams with ingenuity, Mesmer is set to take Northlane to skyscraper heights with its dynamic and progressive tonality. The one thing I’ve always loved about Northlane is the fact that they don’t just create an album, they create an atmosphere. And that’s no exception this go around with Mesmer as you find yourself caught in the undertow with its opener, “Citizen.” From the get go, you realize that this isn’t like any other Northlane album you’ve ever heard before, and it also ends flawlessly with “Paragon,” a track dedicated to Tom Searle of Architects. It comes in pulsing like a heartbeat, softly swaying, suddenly to break down into those assailing Architects-like riffs we’ve all come to love. Lyrically, “Paragon” shines in the presence of so many profound records by featuring not only some of the best of Northlane, but also the best of Architects.
Which records have made your top of 2017 so far? Share your list with us in the comments.
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