Let’s be honest, 2017 was a bit kack. From Brexit to the rise of radical extremist views, the year has been a clusterfuck of massive proportions. Thankfully though, music has provided a much-needed solace from the ever unravelling of the world. And what a year it’s been for new releases. Whilst there’s no way I could list all the albums, EPs and demos that have made the extended music scene so great, here’s my top ten picks from the year. Before we dive in, I would like to make special honourable mentions to Elbow, Enter Shikari, The Black Dahlia Murder, Chon, Helpless, Comeback Kid, Fangclub, Can’t Swim and Martyr Defiled for releasing some of the best music to be found.
10: Los Campesinos! – Sick Scenes
One of the best elements of this band is the fact they completely reinvent themselves with each record whilst maintaining a distinguishable atmosphere. Easily one the best records they’ve ever put out, Sick Scenes is a perfect example of catchy, quirky noise-pop laced indie rock done right. A more mature album their previous recordings, this release manages a zen like balance between wild adolescent personas and expertly crafted material.
9: And So I Watch You From Afar – The Endless Shimmering
One of the influential post rock bands currently on the scene, ASIWYFA have released an absolute blinder with this record. A master class of post-rock blended with math-rock, The Endless Shimmering is a flawlessly produced record that offers to be welcoming without carrying any of the pretentious tags associated with the post-rock scene. If you’re still yet to explore such a genre, this would be the perfect modern starting point.
8: Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
When this record was first officially announced way back in October 2016, many of the fanbase were worried that the album wouldn’t live up the ridiculous hype surrounding it. But lo and behold, this debut full length didn’t just live up to the hype, it proved to surpass all expectations. A flawless example of modern horror punk that’s set to shoot this band into the big leagues in the coming year. Honestly, I don’t know of any other acts that’s more deserving for great success than this band.
7: Arcane Roots – Melancholia Hymns
Though Arcane Roots have filtered with a range of genres during their career, Melancholia Hymns sees the group settle on a tight and focused sound that fully emphasises what they are. A wonderful blend of alt rock, mathcore and slight electronica, this record is an expansive journey that takes you through the hivemind of one of the most innovative bands on the planet.
6: Converge – The Dusk In Us
Of course, it would be a cardinal sin not to include a Converge release on such a list. The Dusk In Us presents the pure aggression, emotion, punch and technical prowess that the band are revered for. Even after 27 years of activity, this album is a hurricane of extreme music and an incredible testament to the sheer longevity of the act.
5: The Menzingers – After The Party
There’s no doubt that this album is going to appear on everyone’s top ten lists. Whilst After The Party may be the fifth full release by the group, this album see’s the band at their strongest. This is an obscenely punchy and catchy album that explores the notions of retrospective on youth whilst presenting the wild tones and auroras of such an awkward adolescence.
4: Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
Whilst a lot of extreme metal acts don’t manage to carry a sense of seething aggression, The Warmth Of A Dying Sun is one of the most impactful, powerful and authentic records released this year. This record is 40 minutes of pure sonic assault and probably the closet you can get to being bludgeoned to death in audio form. A flawless release by one of the best female fronted extreme metal bands on the planet.
3: The Front Bottoms – Going Grey
The majority of previous Front Bottoms releases are renowned for being quirkier stripped down affairs, Going Grey is a release that see’s the group travel down a more conventional but experimental sounding route. Yet, they’ve managed this transition without losing their sense of musical integrity. Whilst it may be a harder listen for more experienced fans of this band, great spoils await for those who persist.
2: Cassels – Epithet
Cassels may be relatively new to the game but in my opinion Epithet is one of the most exciting, innovative and original debuts released this year. An incarnate and youthful record that details what it’s like to be young among these uncertain social-economic times, this is an animated and fresh listen that fully resonates the inventive DIY scene.
1: The Smith Street Band – More Scared Of You Than You Than You Are Of Me
Both outspoken and reserved, both withdrawn and wildly chaotic, More Scared Of You is an album that can be enjoyed regardless of your state of mind. Thrilling, authentic, charming and emotional, there’s seriously not enough praise I can give this record. If you’ve yet to listen to this record give it a spin before the year is up; you just may end up with a new album of the year.