Considering the strength of the albums that didn’t make this Top 10 – click here for numbers 20 to 11 and for Chris Nee’s picks – it goes without saying that I hold the following ten records in very high esteem.
Without further ado, my ten favourite albums of 2017.
10. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun (Holy Roar Records)
Having been excited by their debut a couple of years ago, to see this band step it up a number of notches and deliver one of the very best records of the year simply warms my heart. They’ve upped everything here – it’s heavier, it’s more complex and it’s catchier. What an exciting band! [Spotify]
9. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin (International Death Cult)
Want to hear the sound of a one-time punk oik maturing into one of Britain’s finest artists? This album is exactly that. Frank Carter can do the lot and this record should open a load of doors for him. Cracking songs, cracking energy and a cracking record. [Spotify]
8. While She Sleeps – You Are We (While She Sleeps)
As if the crowd-funded back story to this wasn’t enough, it’s a fantastic record, one that sees this band move up a league in terms of wider appeal while not straying from their roots or dialling anything down. I loved getting immersed in this album and if doesn’t set this band up for something special, then we should just give up and go home. [Spotify]
7. Less Art – Stranged Light (Less Art)
I can’t quite place what it is exactly that I like about this album, and the music this band makes…but I really, really like it. The delicious guitar tone helps, while the way the vocals tug at the heart strings the same way Touche Amore did twelve months ago also add plenty. Lovely stuff. [Spotify]
6. Converge – The Dusk In Us (Epitaph)
Few albums this year can claim to have as much aggression, complexity and intensity as this one. For something to be released so late in the year and still push strongly for a top five place just underlines how good it is. A fine album from one of the very best to ever do it. [Spotify]
5. Looming – Seed (No Sleep Records)
Their debut album was my album of 2015. That the follow-up comes in four places lower is more to do with what a ridiculously good year 2017 has been, rather than Looming suffering a dip. If anything, this one is better – more focused songs, better arrangements and quite possibly the vocal performance of the year. This band deserves to be huge – if you’ve not gone in on them yet, change that now. [Spotify]
4. ’68 – Two Parts Viper (Chariot Music)
Their first release was the sound of two guys getting to know each other, while this is the result of more than two years on the road. Two Parts Viper is a true representation of Josh Scogin’s latest project and it is wonderful. There is so much creativity and artistry here and it shows that duos don’t have to be boring. [Spotify]
3. Jamie Lenman – Devolver (Big Scary Monsters)
My other joy in 2017 has been finally discovering the music and brilliance of Jamie Lenman, and instantly regretting that it’s taken me this long. This album shows so much dexterity and flair, while also delivering cutting, tongue-in-cheek observations on the world and, in particular, the music scene. Devolver has some quite brilliant songs on it and, had it been released earlier in the year, could quite easily have ended up even higher in my list. [Spotify]
2. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms (Roadrunner Records)
Even knowing just how brilliant Creeper are and having every confidence that their debut full-length album would deliver on all fronts, hearing this one when it landed was still an absolute joy. I’ve been singing these choruses all year and the songs here show just how much stupendous potential this band has. They’re going to be huge and this is just the beginning. [Spotify]
And my Album of the Year for 2017 is…
1. Code Orange – Forever (Roadrunner Records)
For an album to be released in January, go straight to the top of my list on first listen and never look like being moved is quite something. Forever is quite something. One of the finest heavy records I can remember hearing in the last 15 years, this loses none of its punch on repeat listens.
But it’s the maturity Code Orange show on this that really smacks you in the face – to go from a song like ‘Real’ to something with genuine radio potential like ‘Bleeding In The Blur’ is mind-blowing. They’re going to take over the world. [Spotify]