Why do I get to choose twenty albums when I only do ten films? I have no idea; it’s just the way I do it. I’m not planning on over thinking it because I listened to a lot of new music this year, and most of it was good. Much like my film list, this had to be cut down from around fifty choices, and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve got it right. It’s what I’m going with, though, so let’s get on with it.
As usual, this is all my opinion so don’t bother telling me I’m wrong. I’m also not going to go into great detail because there are twenty of the buggers. I will give you a song to listen to, though. Ain’t that nice?
It’s safe to say that AFI’s relevance has diminished in recent years. However, with The Blood Album, they are back with a host of songs that deserve to be selling out arenas. Huge choruses all delivered by Davey Havok’s velvet voice, who can say no to that?
I hadn’t even heard of ’68 a month ago. Since diving into Two Parts Viper, I can’t get enough of their angular punk rock. Go on, click play and discover it for yourself.
Growled punk with a grunge and sludge flavouring released on Sub-Pop. That description sounds like someone crafted my perfect band. I’m sure there’s at least one or two of you who will agree.
Extreme metal is not my area of expertise. I know what I like, though, and I love Carach Angren. Their theatrical death metal is so over the top it is coming down the other side, but it still sounds evil as hell.
Chain gang music combined with black metal? It shouldn’t work, and yet everything about it does. Nothing else sounds like this album, and I’m not sure anything ever will.
Bands that can make you feel something should be grabbed and held onto tight. So let’s all make sure and never let Can’t Swim go.
I turned this album on thinking that it was something else. It, therefore, goes down as my favourite surprise of the year. There’s too much going on here to sum it up in a handful of words, Brutus might say hardcore on the label, but they are much more.
Sorority Noise have the power to break you. Their emotional alternative rock feels real, almost too real at times. This is a wonderful album, just be careful when listening to it in public.
Chelsea Wolfe’s music is dark, cold and yet so incredibly beautiful. Hiss Spun might be more restrained than what has come before, but it doesn’t change the fact that this music has the power to take you to a different place.
One of the UK’s best bands got even better this year. Employed To Serve are untouchable, and if they keep releasing music this good, they will be dominating the underground for years to come.
If Employed to Serve are our best underground band then While She Sleeps should be our emissaries into the mainstream. Every album sees WSS hone their sound that little bit more and get a step closer to being the band they want to be. Let’s hope they never stop.
Jacob Bannon is a genius, so it’s no surprise that his side-project would be this damn good. Wear Your Wounds may not have the aggression we associate with his day job, but the darkness at its heart is every bit as heavy.
Rowdy Aussie punk rock balanced out with a lot of heart. There are parts of this album which make you want to grab a beer and dance around; then there are the parts that make you feel stuff. Both are great.
Mastodon are a band that you can rely on. You might not love everything they do, but there will always be value to it. Emperor Of Sand sees them continue to evolve and is perhaps their most emotionally resonant album yet.
Gothic rock bangers for days. I mean seriously, do I need to say more? Why aren’t you listening to this already?
The Bronx are getting older and introducing a bit more maturity to their sound. That doesn’t mean they still can’t range, though. Five albums in and they are still one of punk rock’s very best.
Brash, angry and experimental. 2017 was the year that Code Orange went from a good band to an essential one. Forever is the turning point in a career that should go on to be extraordinary.
There appears to be no-stopping Creeper. Everything they do serves to make them that little bit bigger. However, that wasn’t necessarily a given, and it all would have ground to a halt if that first album hadn’t been good. Thankfully, it was. From hardcore tinged ragers to alternative country heartbreakers. Creeper are the real deal.
After The Party is the soundtrack to every road trip you will ever take. It’s the sound of growing up and moving out of your hometown. It’s a melancholic look at the fact you’re getting old. None of these are new avenues for music to explore. Most other bands just haven’t done it this well.
I told you Jacob Bannon was a genius. For the second time he appears on this list, and this time it’s back to the day job. Converge never fail to astonish. Their music genuinely renders me speechless with its complexity. Where do you start to describe an album with this depth of musical ambition? Let’s go with saying it’s the best thing released this year and it would take that honour in a lot of other years too.