2017 has been an incredible year both for us in Noizze and for music in general. This has made the task of whittling down 10 musical highlights of the year incredibly difficult but here they are. To begin, here are 10 honourable mentions (Yes it was THAT difficult):
A Thousand Horses - Bridges
Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?
As It Is - okay.
The Cadillac Three - Legacy
Lower Than Atlantis - Safe In Sound
Paramore - After Laughter
Stray From The Path - Only Death Is Real
Seaway - Vacation
Thy Art is Murder - Dear Desolation
Jamie Lawson - Happy Accidents
So without further ado here is the top 10:
10. Papa Roach - Crooked Teeth
For Papa Roach fans Crooked Teeth will have been a huge surprise in the best way, a genuine return to form. Often bands claim to make a return to their roots and it is never quite so but Papa Roach really did go back to basics on Crooked Teeth and produced an album that packs in the various elements that makes up their incredibly diverse sound and they have pinned it all down here.
9. Astroid Boys - Broke
Now it has taken some time and fans of the underground wonders have been very patient. There may have been some doubts along the way that a debut from Astroid Boys will ever happen but after signing with Music For Nations (Sony) those doubts were quashed. The album did not disappoint either combining the perfect fuse of rock and grime on the tracks whilst providing a tonne of diversity, angst and passion.
8. Ocean Grove - The Rhapsody Tapes
Whilst modern music is constantly adapting and at an increasingly rapid rate it is always nice to see a band that is ready to push boundaries but also to revisit genres of past generations. Ocean Grove claim that their music is "Odd World Music" (What in gods name is that?). Well it is difficult to really pin down a specific genre and after slamming this album for most of 2017 odd world definitely fits. This raw, energy fuelled album is nu-metal on steroids with a bit of mad max type weirdness thrown in to style it out. A truly amazing album.
7. Colter Wall - S/T
An album like this would have been relevant 20 years ago but that makes it no less relevant now. As with the genre of country music there are a huge amount of possibilities for singer/songwriters to tell incredibly in-depth stories and that is exactly what Wall managed with this self-titled release. Full of character and emotion, each song takes you on a journey whilst the album has an old-worldly feel.
6. Neck Deep - The Peace and the Panic
The pop-punk titans of our generation solidified their current reign over the genre with this years album The Peace and the Panic. With their staple sound featuring on the album in tracks like "Motion Sickness" and "Where Do We Go When We Go" the band also delved into darker more personal themes whilst also showcasing their finesse and ability to diversify with songs like "Don't Wait" and "In Bloom".
5. Ed Sheeran - Divide
Probably the majority of the UK, and even the world, would put this album in their top spot if not their top 10 albums of the year. The figures speak volumes with his entire album making it into the charts two weeks after its release occupying the top 20 no less! Since then Sheeran has released various versions of the song "Perfect" with icons such as Beyonce and Andrea Bocelli, played arenas all over the world and eye on conquered it in it's entirety. The musical world is in the palm of his hand and for all the right reasons.
4. Northlane - Mesmer
One album not expected on this list was the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year. Northlane have always been dishing out good music but here they have released an album that is as cosmic as it is grounded, rife with riffs and breakdowns galore. Mesmer as a whole listen is an absolute masterpiece and Northlane's finest work to date combining their technical prowess with their futuristic sounding synths. A truly incredible listen.
3. While She Sleeps - You Are We
While She Sleeps continue to push boundaries and challenge the music scene as we know it. You Are We was an independent release that gained so much traction that it has skyrocketed the band. Their DIY attitude and incredible musicianship is to be marveled at and on this release they have combined heavy riffs and melody in a way that hasn't been done before. While She Sleeps have defined themselves as musical pioneers. On a personal level this may have not struck the same cord as Brainwashed did when it was released but good god was this an album that has and will stand as one of modern metals albums of the decade.
2. Deaf Havana - All These Countless Nights
Another band that have defied expectations and ascended to a new level is Deaf Havana. All These Countless Nights managed to wow fans of old and new with the band successfully striking a balance in their music that allowed them to produce their finest album to date. The songwriting is what sets this album apart, that isn't to say that the band are strangers to releasing a banger (they aren't) but James Veck-Gilodi and co kicked it up to 11 with ATCN and managed to release an album that was their most successful to date. This was by far one of this years biggest highlights.
1. Linkin Park - One More Light
Now this album was making the list no matter what but One More Light now stands for so much more than it was originally intended. With the tragic death of Chester Bennington weighing heavily on so many individuals this album has become a bit of a symbol for mental health awareness. As ever Linkin Park take any opportunity they can to help others and have set up the One More Light Fund in honor of Chester. The album itself was potentially one of Linkin Park's biggest shifts in a new direction to date taking their incredible ability to produce pop songs and applying that to the record. With features from the likes of Stormzy and Kiiara this was never going to be old school fans cup of tea yet it was just another addition to the bands impressive repertoire of music. For those that were more than content with Linkin Park's ever-changing sound there was a huge amount on offer here from the indie-acoustic style of "Sharp Edges" to the upsetting yet poignant title track. This will be remembered as the last album Linkin Park as we knew it ever produced and it rounds off one of the most successful runs a rock and has ever had. Yes it is in the top spot on this list from a hugely biased fan of the band but it deserves every bit of that top spot.