The Kerrang! Staff’s Top 10 Albums Of 2017

Find out the records that soundtracked the Kerrang! team’s year…

To celebrate our Review Of The Year issue – which includes Kerrang!’s Top 50 Albums Of 2017 – the K! staff have picked their personal Top 10 releases from the year. Without further ado…

Sam Coare – Editor

10. OHHMS – The Fool
9. Blood Youth – Beyond Repair
8. The Menzingers – After The Party
7. AFIAFI (The Blood Album)
6. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
5. Code Orange – Forever
4. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
3. Converge – The Dusk In Us
2. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun

1. Can’t Swim – Fail You Again

Steve Beech – Art Editor

10. Can’t Swim – Fail You Again
9. Pallbearer – Heartless
8. Glassjaw – Material Control
7. OHHMS – The Fool
6. Mark Lanegan Band - Gargoyle
5. Lower Than Atlantis – Safe In Sound
4. AFIAFI (The Blood Album)
3. Higher Power – Soul Structure
2. The Menzingers – After The Party

1. Code Orange – Forever

Angry and exciting – just what music should be. Hold my pint… I’m going in! Nope, I’m out, this is too violent for me.”

Nick Ruskell – Associate Editor (Reviews)

10. Possession - Exorkizein
9. Royal Thunder – Wick
8. Marilyn Manson - Heaven Upside Down
7. AFIAFI (The Blood Album)
6. OHHMS – The Fool
5. Myrkur – Mareridt
4. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
3. Paradise Lost – Medusa
2. Grave Pleasures – Motherblood

1. Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

In a way it’s strange that Electric Wizard’s ninth album was written and recorded in the band’s own Satyr IX studios in a remote Devonshire farmhouse, literally miles away from anyone. It’s a very Electric Wizard set-up, you understand, but the garage-y riffs and sleazy vibes that make up Wizard Bloody Wizard breathe in the grimy air of Travis Bickle’s New York as much as they inhale bong smoke on the side of a moor. The oppressive heaviness and misanthropic violence of 2014’s Time To Die gave way to something more immediate, but the nasty, doomed, drugged-out spirit of the Wizard spews from every pore here.”

Matt Dykzeul – Deputy Art Editor

10. Glassjaw – Material Control
9. Can’t Swim – Fail You Again
8. Incendiary – Thousand Mile Stare
7. Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
6. Higher Power – Soul Structure
5. No Warning – Torture Culture
4. Pallbearer – Heartless
3. Propagandhi – Victory Lap
2. AFIAFI (The Blood Album)

1. Code Orange – Forever

It’s so sick seeing a band with such a fierce vision and sound doing so well. Forever is one of those hardcore records that transcends its genre without sacrificing its sound. An absolute monster.”

Emily Carter – Production Editor

10. The Bronx – V
9. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
8. Neck Deep – The Peace And The Panic
7. Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold
6. Blood Youth – Beyond Repair
5. Can’t Swim – Fail You Again
4. Rise Against – Wolves
3. Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
2. Enter Shikari – The Spark

1. The Menzingers – After The Party

“‘Oh yeah, oh yeah, everything is terrible,’ complains frontman Greg Barnett in the first line of the record, summing up exactly how I felt at the time After The Party was released in early February. While I’m thankfully more optimistic about life going into 2018, the stunning storytelling in the likes of Charlie’s Army and Midwestern States, along with The Official Greatest Song Of All Time, Lookers, will surely soundtrack the highs and lows of many years to come.”

James Hingle – Listings Editor

10. Bad Sign – Live & Learn
9. Trivium – The Sin And The Sentence
8. Blood Youth – Beyond Repair
7. Code Orange – Forever
6. Enter Shikari – The Sights
5. Can’t Swim – Fail You Again
4. Paramore – After Laughter
3. Converge – The Dusk In Us
2. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun

1. Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold

Bigger, bolder and more brash than ever before. Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl set his heart on getting Greg Kurstin – the man who has worked with the likes of Adele, Kelly Clarkson and Pink – to produce this, and his wish was granted. The pop sensibilities in some of these tracks have given it a sound that smashes through the stratosphere and into the outer-reaches of space. Despite being nine albums in, Foos are still finding ways of reinventing themselves and trying new ways to create their music. This was a true return to form for the mighty Foos, and I can’t wait to go wild at their London Stadium shows in 2018!”

Jennyfer J. Walker – Contributing Editor

10. Linkin Park – One More Light
9. Counterfeit – Together We Are Stronger
8. Blood Youth – Beyond Repair
7. PVRIS – All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell
6. Glassjaw – Material Control
5. While She Sleeps – You Are We
4. Enter Shikari – The Spark
3. Lower Than Atlantis – Safe In Sound
2. Neck Deep – The Peace And The Panic

1. ROAM – Great Heights & Nosedives

“‘Hey it’s us. We don’t suck anymore,’ tweeted ROAM a month before the release of Great Heights & Nosedives, which did in fact prove the Eastbourne pop-punks had gotten really fucking good. It was lead single Playing Fiction that piqued my interest, and the other 10 songs that got me hooked, each one as well-crafted and instantly-loveable as the next.

‘Short but sweet’ was ROAM’s modus operandi here, with the record running at just 33 minutes, but within that half an hour, they’ve crammed plenty of huge melodies, making it so much fun to sing along to. Especially my personal favourites The Rich Life Of A Poor Man and Flatline; that last ‘I don’t wanna feel my heart stop beating’ line on the latter… ugh! So good. Great Heights & Nosedives is a step-up of gargantuan proportions for ROAM, and absolutely the soundtrack to the second half of my 2017.”

Robert Foster – Digital Editor

10. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
9. Cursed Earth – Cycles Of Grief
8. Glassjaw – Material Control
7. Code Orange – Forever
6. Prowler – The Curse
5. NineBar – We Won’t Change
4. High-Vis – I
3. Hot Leather – Do You Remember Your Friends
2. Higher Power – Soul Structure

1. Trapped Under Ice – Heatwave

Trapped Under Ice have made a hardcore record you could dance to at a party without bumming everyone out: check out those grooves! Also, after I saw them at the Underworld I got obsessed with getting gold fronts for my teeth. Make of that what you will, I guess.”

Simon Young – Writer

10. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin
9. Converge – The Dusk In Us
8. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
7. Mutation – Dark Black
6. Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now
5. ’68 – Two Parts Viper
4. Living Colour – Shade
3. The Bronx – V
2. Quicksand – Interiors

1. Brutus – Burst

Back in March, I ended my review of Burst saying that Brutus’ debut was one of the albums of the year. Eight or so months later, that opinion still holds true. I still can’t get my head around how drummer Stefanie Mannaerts plays and sings like that. You want post-hardcore, punk, black metal, shoegaze and post-rock all wrapped up in one explosive album? Make Burst the top of your Christmas wishlist.”

James Hickie – Writer

10. Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
9. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin
8. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
7. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
6. Vukovi – Vukovi
5. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
4. Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold
3. AFIAFI (The Blood Album)
2. Arcane Roots – Melancholia Hymns

1. Jamie Lenman – Devolver

“The climactic title-track of Jamie’s second solo album is by far my favourite song of the year. In just over six minutes, the ex-Reuben man conveys the sense of calm perspective that comes with realising that for all our fretting, within the context of the universe none of us are that important. Conversely, the song, and the 10 equally brilliant ones preceding it, make a strong case for their author being one of the UK’s most talented rock writers, and worthy of greater recognition.”

Hannah Ewens – Writer

10. Glassjaw – Material Control
9. The Flatliners – Inviting Light
8. Slowdive – Slowdive
7. Charly Bliss – Guppy
6. Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound
5. Code Orange – Forever
4. PVRIS – All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell
3. Paramore – After Laughter
2. The Menzingers – After The Party

1. Lil Peep – Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1

“‘Sometimes life gets fucked up / That’s why we get fucked up.’ These are the lyrics from the emo rapper’s debut album that’ll burn into your memory, a succinct statement of intent for the brief 24 minutes. Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1 is a bleak narrative starring benzos, a lack of purpose and failure to connect. There’s nowhere to find solace in Lil Peep’s world, so the only option is to escape into drug-fuelled oblivion with the solitary hope for fleeting moments of fun along the way. Here he captured a specific type of post-emo despair unique to a group of teens who, like him, document every detail of their depression, partying and numbing with substances. The majority of adults and the music industry didn’t understand this or him while under their noses he had tapped into the zeitgeist – bucket hats, Snapchat, anxiety, mallcore – they were oblivious to.

Come Over left behind the mid-’00s emo samples of the early tracks that attracted his cult fanbase and saw Lil Peep becoming the artist he would have been, were it not for his heartbreaking death of a suspected drug overdose at only 21. Undoubtedly this was the most unique and surprising emo album in years, one that, like all his music, was autobiographical. It feels lacking and almost trite to say that Peep was a special artist, but it’ll forever be devastating for fans that something entitled ‘Pt. 1’ is the last we’ll have of him.”

Steve Beebee – Writer

10. Grave Pleasures – Motherblood
9. Warrior Soul – Back On The Lash
8. Rancid – Trouble Maker
7. In This Moment – Ritual
6. Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
5. Black Star Riders – Heavy Fire
4. Asking Alexandria – Asking Alexandria
3. Counterfeit – Together We Are Stronger
2. The Haxans – Party Monsters

1. Starset – Vessels

Built on galactic synths and glacial guitars, this head-trip was multi-layered but easy to listen to. Accompanied by astonishing videos that mirror its central theme of struggling to make human connections in a complex world, it’s amazing to think that Vessels is essentially the work of one man. Step forward Dustin Bates, the world’s next Trent Reznor.”

Olly Thomas – Writer

10. The Obsessed – Sacred
9. At The Drive In – in•ter a•li•a
8. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
7. Boris – Dear
6. Beachheads – Beachheads
5. Code Orange – Forever
4. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
3. Barrabus – Barrabus
2. Pallbearer – Heartless

1. Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now

“The feverish, sardonic sludgepunk of Pissed Jeans remains one of the greatest gifts the U.S. has provided to the world this century. On album number five, their sound has established a degree of refinement – well, as much as is possible when your sound exists in the same continuum as degenerate legends like Mudhoney, The Jesus Lizard and Flipper. Masculinity in crisis, weaponised sarcasm and an 87-second song called Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst; it’s absolutely baffling why this lot aren’t huge, right?”

David McLaughlin – Writer

10. Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights
9. Blood Youth – Beyond Repair
8. Power Trip – Nightmate Logic
7. Sleep On It – Overexposed
6. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
5. Stray From The Path – Only Death Is Real
4. Glassjaw – Material Control
3. Converge – The Dusk In Us
2. The Menzingers – After The Party

1. Deaf Havana – All These Countless Nights

Quietly, James Veck-Gilodi has become Britain’s best young songwriter and yet he remains criminally underrated by most. There are heavier albums, ‘cooler’ bands, and far more punk points to be gained from picking something everyone else loves, but in a year where it’s felt like the walls of the world were crumbling down, few records offered a haven like this one did.”

Alistair Lawrence – Writer

10. Paradise Lost – Medusa
9. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
8. Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven
7. Integrity – Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume
6. Quicksand – Interiors
5. Anti-Flag – American Fall
4. The Menzingers – After The Party
3. Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains
2. Single Mothers – Our Pleasure

1. Can’t Swim – Fail You Again

In a year of fallen idols, Can’t Swim emerged as a best-kept secret who just might be the next big thing. Chris LoPorto is the most intriguing drummer-turned-frontman since Chino Moreno, in possession of one of those voices that seems to find extra syllables in the words that matter most. Fail You Again barrels along the border between pop-punk and post-hardcore, spinning lightless past regrets into iridescent anthems. It’s the pick-me-up us and him needed, brilliantly setting the stage for a happier 2018.”

Ryan De Freitas – Writer

10. Strange Ranger – Daymoon
9. Cayetana – New Kind Of Normal
8. Caracara – Summer Megalith
7. Elder – Reflections Of A Floating World
6. The Menzingers – After The Party
5. Great Grandpa – Plastic Cough
4. Converge – The Dusk In Us
3. Citizen – As You Please
2. Code Orange – Forever

1. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface

Combining Andy Hull’s trademark lyrical vulnerability with immersive, cinematic instrumentation and a phenomenal production job, Black Mile is Manchester Orchestra’s masterpiece. In a year of ridiculously great records, none have managed to draw me in every single time the way this does.”

Paul Brannigan – Writer

10. Living Colour – Shade
9. The Bronx – V
8. Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains
7. Quicksand – Interiors
6. The Menzingers – After The Party
5. Dead Cross – Dead Cross
4. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
3. Idles – Brutalism
2. Converge – The Dusk In Us

1. Gold Key – Hello, Phantom

“The names of the musicians on the album credits may have been familiar, thanks to CVs which include stints in Gallows, SikTh, Spycatcher and Nervus, but Watford quartet Gold Key delivered a left-of-the-dial, queasy-listening, cult classic debut, at once sinister and seductive. Punk Floyd for our new dark ages.”

George Garner – Writer

10. Paramore – After Laughter
9. William Patrick Corgan – Ogilala
8. AFIAFI (The Blood Album)
7. PVRIS – All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell
6. Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold
5. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Vietnam War (Original Score)
4. 36 Crazyfists – Lanterns
3. Jamie Lenman – Devolver
2. Life Of Agony – A Place Where There’s No More Pain

1. Rise Against – Wolves

“Rise Against’s last album, The Black Market, was a bruised and bruising affair – the sound of a band succumbing to the inherent darkness of their topics, including the trauma of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Very much its flipside, Wolves is akin to the sun rising in the land of the Chicago punks. Yes, the world is still every bit as fucked, but this time there is a pervasive optimism supercharging the music and melodies as they grasp at the problems that precipitated Trump’s America. Here Rise Against delivered an album that was much needed in 2017.”

Jake Richardson – Writer

10. Juiceboxxx – Freaked Out American Loser
9. All Time Low – Last Young Renegade
8. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
7. Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights
6. The Menzingers – After The Party
5. Paramore – After Laughter
4. Grayscale – Adornment
3. The Used – The Canyon
2. The Homeless Gospel Choir – Presents: Normal

1. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms

Rock hasn’t had a band as vital as Creeper in a long time. Eternity, In Your Arms is an incredible statement to make with a debut album: crossing a multitude of genres, moods and themes, it’s the kind of smart and stylish record that only the very best of bands can execute convincingly. Highlights include storming opener Black Rain, sing-along anthem Hiding With Boys, the emotional balladry of Misery and Crickets, and life-affirming closer I Choose To Live.”

Sam Law – Writer

10. Prophets Of Rage – Prophets Of Rage
9. Trivium – The Sin And The Sentence
8. Sløtface – Try Not To Freak Out
7. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
6. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
5. Body Count – Bloodlust
4. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
3. Code Orange – Forever
2. The Menzingers – After The Party

1. Zeal & Ardour – Devil Is Fine

“The devil, they say, has all the best tunes. In Zeal & Ardour, he’s got a new favourite band. Originally surfacing in 2016 – but only reaching these shores early this year – the debut LP from Swiss-American experimentalist Manuel Gagneux was billed as ultra-high-concept oddity. Over time, however, it ingrained itself onto the consciousness as a glorious nightmare: truly unlike anything you’ve heard before. Inspired by the racist ramblings of trolls inhabiting online under-the-bridge hideout 4Chan calling for a combination of ‘black metal’ and ‘n*gger music’, tracks like In Ashes, Come On Down and the incredible Blood In The River flesh out that concept with defiant virtuosity. Scourging blastbeats. Flesh-ripping six strings. Mesmeric vocals loaded with lyrical evil. They’re all dissolved into a warm, soulful brew of ritualistic gospel, buzzing delta-blues and midnight jazz. Creative flourishes – hip-hop beats, rippling synths, neoclassical crescendos – work as decoration on a towering cathedral of pain. Strip back the avant-garde showmanship and pantomime iniquity, though, and this record is a painfully timely reminder of the real-world malevolence from which many of these sounds sprung. It’s an act of artistic rebellion, the creative fuck-you so much of 2017 sorely deserved.”

James Mackinnon – Writer

10. Mark Lanegan Band – Gargoyle
9. Grave Pleasures – Motherblood
8. Pallbearer – Heartless
7. Me And That Man – Songs Of Love And Death
6. Converge – The Dusk In Us
5. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin
4. Can’t Swim – Fail You Again
3. Code Orange – Forever
2. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms

1. The Menzingers – After The Party

“People talk about an album soundtracking their lives, but After The Party makes your life sound like one big crazy road trip. Places and faces pass you by, soon to be another memory in the rearview mirror. There’s a few unexpected turns, maybe you’ll get lost down a side road. But there are moments that will take your breath away and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a few good companions to share them with. So take the ride, because this punk rock love letter may just soundtrack your life.”

Paul Travers – Writer

10. Cavalera Conspiracy – Psychosis
9. Alestorm – No Grave But The Sea
8. Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay
7. Myrkur – Mareridt
6. Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard
5. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
4. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
3. Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
2. Arch Enemy – Will To Power

1. Wintersun – The Forest Seasons

Finnish folk-metal maestros Wintersun are hardly prolific – this is their third album in 13 years – but when they do emerge it’s always a memorable experience. This is essentially an extreme metal version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It’s music that paints vivid mental pictures, via icy blasts of black metal aggression to gloomy atmospherics and green acoustic chutes. It’s sprawling, complex and jaw-droppingly good.”

John Longbottom – Writer

10. The Bronx – V
9. Beatsteaks – Yours
8. Lil Peep – Come On Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1
7. Converge – The Dusk In Us
6. Arcane Roots – Melancholia Hymns
5. Enter Shikari – The Spark
4. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin
3. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
2. Hot Water Music – Light It Up

1. The Menzingers – After The Party

What is it about The Menzingers that speaks loudly and clearly to my tired soul? Maybe it’s ‘cause they sing from the heart. Maybe it’s ‘cause they’re a throwback to a punk rock era gone by. Maybe it’s ‘cause I’m a plaid-clad, bearded cliche. Maybe they’re born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Whatever it is, After The Party is timeless, wholesome and honest. God bless The Menzingers and all who sail in her.”

Amit Sharma – Writer

10. Grave Pleasures – Motherblood
9. Sólstafir – Berdreyminn
8. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
7. The Darkness – Pinewood Smile
6. Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains
5. Code Orange – Forever
4. Myrkur – Mareridt
3. Steven Wilson – To The Bone
2. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand

1. Anathema – The Optimist

“From the guitar-driven post-rock of Springfield to the jazz noir brilliance of Close Your Eyes to the cerebral electronica of San Francisco, The Optimist is a journey full of wonder – each track carrying an ethereal spell of its own. The Liverpool progressive/alternative rockers may have originated from pastures more extreme, but this is quite frankly some of the darkest and most challenging music they’ve put their name to – and the record of 2017 by quite some distance.”

Dan Slessor – Writer

10. All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal
9. Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained
8. Déléterè – Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam
7. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
6. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand
5. Weregoat – Pestilential Rites Of Infernal Fornication
4. The Afghan Whigs – In Spades
3. Woe –Hope Attrition
2. Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black

1. Body Count – Bloodlust

“Those of us lucky enough to hear Bloodlust all the way back in January were immediately aware that Body Count had ruined the chances of every band hoping to release the best record of 2017 before the year had barely started. Armour-plated, viciously catchy and somehow more pissed-off than the records Ice-T and guitarist Ernie C were putting out two decades ago, this really is a beast not about to be beaten by anyone.”

Tom Shepherd – Writer

10. Knuckle Puck – Shapeshifter
9. Citizen – As You Please
8. Turnover – Good Nature
7. PVRIS – All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell
6. Caracara – Summer Megalith
5. Paramore – After Laughter
4. Slaughter Beach, Dog – Birdie
3. Glassjaw – Material Control
2. Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

1. The Menzingers – After The Party

It may be a lament to their 20s, but through the bar-stool storytelling and heaps of charm present on their fifth record, the Pennsylvania punk-rockers manage to reminisce about youth in a way that makes growing up feel worth it. It’s a warm, vital listen.”

Posted on December 13th 2017, 5:24pm
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