|Uni's 2017 in albums|
YEAR END LIST 14/14. The very end, mates. And this is a big one.
Antarktis - Illdaante
Royal Thunder - WICK
L'Effondras - Les Flavescences (thank you Ulshad)
Incendiary - Thousand Mile Stare
Diagrams - Dorothy
Gold - Optimist (thank you hansoloshotfirst)
Ensnared - Dysangelium (thank you bgillesp)
DJ Okawari - Compass
Ingurgitating Oblivion - Vision Wallows in Symphonies of Light
The Temple of I & I
(thank you bgillesp)
This spot is dedicated to the best album in my 'Genre on the Grid' binge. For the unaware, 'Genre on the Grid' is a thingie I do annually, where I listen to as many albums released that year in a particular genre I dislike. Last year it was Progressive Metal, this year it was Downtempo. However, it turns out that 2017 was a weak as fuck Downtempo year and there was a minimal amount of these albums released. So I only managed to go through about a dozen. Poor result, but I found one that I actually enjoyed, so mission accomplished anyway. Nevermind that this album is about the least Downtempo release of all of them, I liked it anyway.
Utro's first album was a nice surprise to me, because it presented the old sound of Goth. I am a little disappointed that they decided to clean up their sound by their thrid record. At least the music itself is still decent.
|98||Guided by Voices|
How Do You Spell Heaven
I do admit, I am not particularly a fan of pretty much entire Guided by Voices discography post-90s. And this album is not a redeemer for the multitudes of mediocrity the band spawned, but it is a step in the right direction. The album doesn't feel like it's scraping the barrel with ideas and is much more consistent and cohesive than most of its predecessors. Hopefully, Guided by Voices will get back on track... is that too naive to hope for?
Faces Turn Away
This could have been higher, because the instrumentation is really good and the dystopian atmosphere does get to me, but the production on here is just a tad too compressed and static. Still a damn good Black Metal record.
America, Location 12
|95||Gang of Youths|
Go Farther in Lightness
You know, I just really wish the frontman could sing better. For as overwhelming as the music is, the vocals are so mediocre that they almost ruin it all for me. I'm sorry. I love the melody work on here and I really like the grandiose instrumentation, but the vocals are the prime reason it is so low.
A Black Mile to the Surface
I was never all that head over heels for this band and I wasn't head over heels for this album. But I do admit that it has its undeniably striking moments that just sat well with me. It might be a little bit of a drag overall, but it is a pleasant one at least.
(thank you teamster)
Dark Towers, Bright Lights
(thank you Ulshad)
|90||King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard|
Flying Microtonal Banana
Loyle has a lot to learn still. But Loyle also has a lot to teach. This album is a great display of potential that is not wasted in any way. I just think he needs guts and ambition to really strike gold next time. Great start to what I belive will be a fruitful artist.
(thank you nocuffin)
I said this on multiple occasions: this album makes me feel like I am walking through an abandoned town by the seaside. This album is not explosive, nor does literally anything happen there at all. It is just absolute relaxation and calm.
Emperor of Sand
Hate me all you want for putting this too low or putting it here at all, but I enjoyed it. It's easy-going, it has decent memorable tunes and instrumentation and I overall cannot complain about much of anything. I can't say that I am astonished by this album or anything, but it is a fun ride.
Reflections of a Floating World
Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?!
(thank you Ulshad)
I can't believe that this made it onto my year end list, because it encapsulates everything I hate about modern Progressive Metal. It is an over-the-top, bloeated, obnoxiously sung, formless musical wankery. BUT it is ridiculously fun. Like, infectiously so. Go take your 70th spot you demon and leave my head already.
|78||The Burning Hell|
Man, we need more lyricists like Mathias Kom. His wit and sense of rhyme is astonishing. Sure, the music might be a little too simple and childishly playful, but those ridiculously good lyrics make up for all of it.
(thank you Risodo)
Let's not kid ourselves, Kendrick with this album established himself as an absolute master of the genre. It might not be his best, but just the sheer fact that he managed to release such a solid, consistent record this quick is an accomplishment.
For Crying Out Loud
Pop-Rock (at this point it is)
Don't laugh at me. I know I am the only one who could ever possibly enjoy Kasabian this much at this point, but this album to me was like The Last Jedi. I cannot deny the obvious flaws, but I also cannot say that I care about them, when overall it is a great and enjoyable product. I have no complaints.
(thank you bgillesp)
(thank you ZombieToyDuck)
What a sudden surprise. Porter Ray hasn't quite found his own path, but he is definitely getting there. It'll be some time, but I believe that in the end this smooth talking guy with echoic, wavy music will find his place and juice it as much as he can. This is the first step to that. Let's hope he expands upon that.
LUV IN THE RUINS
(thank you Dewinged)
The Sea I'm Diving In
(thank you Frivolous)
Being You Is Great...
Tech Death Metal
(thank you kingdedethefifth)
This was a year of revelations to me. It was for the first time this year that I realised just how much I enjoy Technical Death Metal. And no album released this year got to me quite like Archspire's powerhouse Relentless Mutation. On the outside a completely unremarkable samey record, but upon deeper revision an impressive display of power and methodical harshness.
Servants of the Salem Girl
(thank you bgillesp)
|58||King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard|
57 and 58 are pretty much on the same spot, so...
|57||King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard|
...I'll talk about them in one spot. King Gizzard didn't amaze me with their 5 records this year. But they did entertain me with most of them. These two are probably my favourite, but they still don't reach that height the band's other material does.
Elegance Never Dies
|55||Flotation Toy Warning|
The Machine That Made Us
|54||Cold War Kids|
Oh, would you look at that. Yeah, fuck off, I liked it.
|51||Falls of Rauros|
(thank you BlackwaterPork)
Trance of Death
(thank you bgillesp)
|48||Hanni El Khatib|
Savage Times: The Complete Collection
I feel like this is cheating, since 85% of this album came out in 2016, but its full version and a few tracks more were released only at the beginning of 2017. So it's elligible for this list. Just listen to it, lads. Just do.
The Moral Crossing
The World's Best American Band
White Reaper go full stadium with their latest record and somehow this newly developed accessibility served them well. It is actually their most adventurous and fun album to date.
Metal music in general requires a particular level of instrumental finesse, so imagine just how skillful one needs to be to create a Black Metal album of all genres all alone and in such a high quality. Yeah, this thing is quite massive and leaves an immediate mark.
This record is beyond ugly. Its production is to thank for that (or to blame, depending on who you ask). Selbst manage not to fall into the pit of utter dissonance and stay relatively intelligible, in spite of the graininess of their instrumentation and production.
Xiu Xiu has always had that obscure appeal that I just just couldn't get into fully and always hoped that with their next record it'll do the magic. With Forget I believe it finally did.
The Underside of Power
The grooviest and most fun radically politically charged protest album there is. Algiers have stepped up their range of influences to include Funk, Blues and all sorts of catchy, but also dissonant genres, styles and production methods. It's a strange blend of harsh and tuneful, but it works like magic.
Fred Thomas still needs to learn how to make his albums flow better, because this is a mess. However, for every confusing, off-beat decision made on this album, there is one redeeming. And above all, those lyrics are pinnacle of wordy wit and rhyme.
(thank you wtferrothorn)
So apparently this is a musical project of a Youtube gaming channel...? Yeah. And these guys made one of the year's best Psychedelic albums. Sure, this might not be exactly all that typical Psychedelic music, because it more often than not turns into more of a Pop-Rock with heavy Psychedelic influences, but still.
This is the most typical Pop album on this list. It's an electronics-packed, catchy chorus-driven, not-deep-at-all-lyrically kind of album. There have been more memorable and abrasive releases this year, sure. But it is nice to turn your head off every once in a while, lay back and just enjoy the sexy grooves of the careful Pop of the world.
|35||Blaze of Perdition|
Blackened Death Metal (or Deadly Black Metal, I really can't tell) is one particular beast that fascinated me for a long time now. It doesn't have the cheesiness of regular Atmospheric Black Metal and doesn't have the disjointed sameyness of Death Metal. It is that perfect middle that is both hellish and epic. And no album this year was quite as dismal and hellish as Conscious Darkness.
|34||The Great Old Ones|
EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy
It's actually really hard to come up with different ways of explaining why each and every Black Metal on this list deserves to be on this list. They just do. They are epic and magnificent. But I would lie to myself if I didn't admit that when it comes to sheer scale, EOD is by far the most massive and monstrous of them all. It's like a fucking celestial beast coming down to annihilate us.
|33||The New Pornographers|
I honestly cannot figure out all the negativity that fell on this record. To me it seemed like one of the most entertaining and catchiest albums of the year. A.C.Newman's surprisingly smart lyrics and sense of wonderous songwriting made this album a beauty to behold. Each song a hit, each tune instantly memorable and each line poetry.
Temple of the Adversarial Fire
I can't tell if this is the most dismal Black Metal record this year for its intentionally rusty production, or if it's actually awfully ugly for its cheap production. It is a dissonant release, nevertheless.
There Will Be No Peace
I know I might be the only one in the world willing to listen to this, but just hear me out. This album has a heart. It requires patience from you and it requires openness to unconventional approaches to music. This is not your typical Doom Metal album, because it is not heavy (well, it is, but rarely), and it also is not your typical Folk-Rock album, because of how long-winded and Doom brutish it gets. It is a strange, but functioning symbiosis of heavy and soft and it is absolutely engulfing.
|30||Public Service Broadcasting|
So apparently you can make an album with barely any lyrics and still have it be about something. But strangely enough, even though it is barely apparent from the album itself, it does actually feel like I am in a slowly deteriorating commune. Sure, the setting of coal mining and its surroudnings might not be the first thing that comes to mind after that, but it makes sense that a deteriorating commune would be in that state exactly because of coal mining and its slow descent into needlessness.
(thank you nocuffin)
This might be the most surprising release of this year to me. In all honesty, nocuffin's taste for non-music electro-vomit usually goes over my head (as it has been proven in my 2017 Tourney), but this album's balance amidst chaos captivated me and engulfed me with just how thoughtfully it was developed.
Man, I missed this old school Black Metal production so much. Unfortunately, most recently released albums of the genre just become unintelligible noise. This, on the other hand, is so delicately crafted that even with its crumbling sound it is still massive and epic.
The Dusk in Us
They've done it again. How does a band that operates in absolute dysrhythmia and is overall instrumentally psychotic, give records so goddamn great one after another? This is ridiculous. Sure, we might not get as many longer, more epic cuts on here that were a cherry on top of everything else in their previous records, but their rapidfire delivery and monstrous musicianship in smaller dosages on here is just as violent and overwhelming.
Our Season Draws Near
(thank you Ulshad)
This is the coldest record this year. Easily. There's just that freezing wintery energy flowing through it. I feel like I'm exploding into a mess of gore... by a calm seaside. Yeah, conflicting, but sorrowfully enchanting.
Speaking of charming little Pop albums… Alex Cameron surprised me, honestly. This record is packed back to back with catchy, tuneful, playful little relaxers that just bring a smile to my wretched old mug. It's a blissfully naive, yet lavishly self-mocking effort that is a sin to miss.
On numbers 24 and 23 we have two completely different albums from one genre. First, a playful, childish and sunny bright Psych Pop...
|23||The Black Angels|
...and a hard-hitting, maniacal Heavy-Psych.
This album rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and I fail to understand why. This is as heavenly as a Black Metal record can get. I was blown away by it at first and I was stunned on further revisions. It's a magnetic product of grit and beauty. Open your eyes, people.
|21||Der Weg Einer Freiheit|
Finisterre might be only better than its Black Metal contemporaries because its production is clearer, heavier and more epic. Either way, it won over my heart and engulfed me in such a way no other album could.
Maybe the most thought provoking album on this entire list, The Iceberg is the pinnacle of Oddisee's work. The guy has been a prominent producer for a long time now, but his credibility as an all out rapper was up until this point more or less arguable. On here he excells both as a producer, a rapper and a lyricist.
Technically speaking, Blood Command and Brutus are at the same spot, but Sputnik lists don't have that feature, so I'll just put them apart and continue speaking about both in singular and in one spot:
(thank you BlazinBlitzer)
I never knew just how much I want more crushing Metallic Punk music with female vocals in my life. And recently there has been a bunch of them coming up, with two of the best landing right here right now.
With a stellar production from Big Black and Shellac's own Steve Albini on production and recorded live in one sitting, this is easily Metz's most ambitious, explosive and crushing album. Its sonic sound and shrilling instrumentation just pump you with adrenaline and don't let go.
Neo Wax Bloom
Playful, glitchy, whimsical and absolutely engulfing. After a horde of short EPs and never any album, it seemed to me that Iglooghost was building up for a disaster, but his full length album was anything but. It is just as tuneful and whacky as a proper Iglooghost album ever could have been. It's a doozie all throughout.
Dark Days + Canapés
Experimental Hip-Hop/Spoken Word
Ghostpoet's mononous delivery and slightly industrial production might be somewhat off-putting to some, but I found it deeply satisfying. It's a next level os sophistication. Absolute calm and quiet in the face of peril, but rays of emotion still do slip through and when they do, it is all the more powerful.
|14||J. Roddy Walston and The Business|
Destroyers of the Soft Life
(thank you bgillesp)
The lighthearted cocky album of the year. It is strange to me just how simple this is. It's almost primitive. Nothing above simple melodies, silly lyrics and some dad-blues-rock inspired instrumentation. But good goddamn, it works, man, it works! From front to back, this is a nonstop fun adventure full of colour and radness that just doesn't give in.
(thank you bgillesp)
You should notice by now that there is a gutload of albums with the mark of "Thank you bgillesp" to them. From now on, bgillesp is in the echelons of my most trusted rec'cers. It is odd just how goddamn invigorating and impressive this record is, considering pretty much anything else in this genre with this length has a tendency to become tiring and boring, just because the artists cannot keep the energy in constant flow and just become exhausting. Well, Dvne is not like them and they have a neck for really striking songwriting and versatile instrumentation. This is a doozie.
Bet this really messed up some of the folks that thought Post-Punk is only about moody, low-voiced, echoic suicidal mumbling. Well, guess again. Idles are here to bring back the good old harshness into the genre long sterilised.
(thank you bgillesp)
So apparently these guys forgot to have a film for this music to be an accompaniment to, because it is an astonishingly beautiful instrumental delight. I have not heard this great a string section on anything this year, as I have on this.
|10||The Magnetic Fields|
50 Song Memoir
Indie Pop/Folk/softness galore
This entry goes out to everyone who gives numerical ratings any value. This is one of the few albums I've rated 9/10 this year (5/5 that is) and I still stand by my rating. But a rating is relative. While I do believe that this album deserves its 5/5, thanks to the ambition, execution, concept, lyrics, craft and composition it contains, I gave it a 5/5 for what it was. It was a 50 song experience of one's life. I sincerely believe that it is as good as that concept could have been interpreted. However, I have played even most of the lower ranked albums more often than this. I still thoroughly enjoy it, but it is a 5/5 in theory. So 10th spot, deservedly.
(thank you Ulshad)
This has definitely been a year of surprises. Among them, I had no expectations of a Post-Rock album to wow me as much as Severance did. But something beyond magical has happened on here. The blend of brass and string instruments, or the production that made it seems as though the arrangement was full of brass and string, created an atmosphere captivating at the very dismal least, and absolutely staggering at the best. Never have I ever come across something as engulfing in an utterly bizarre and skinpiercing way as this. Good lord, this is a hell of a ride.
(thank you Frippertronics)
It's a little strange putting this album amidst the albums it is actually surrounded by, considering they are all aggressive, shredding obscurities, and this is easily the most relaxing, calming and peaceful album of the year. The sheer atmosphere of this can get you out of the deepest sorrow you can ever experience, and instead pour that chilling sense of life and purpose all over you. It's absolutely staggering and needless to say that my faith in Ambient music is restored.
Who would have guessed that blending together a classic atmospheric Black Metal with Jazzy saxophone would come together to such a masterfully crafted, beautiful and instantly memorable beast of an album. And it's crazy considering this is just a debut. I now have a sharpened eye out for these guys and cannot wait what other crazy ideas they give us in the future.
The World Is A Loud Place
(thank you Frivolous)
Make no mistake of it, this is one of the most fun, but simultaneously off-kilter melodic plays this year. It's such a gleeful joy-ride. It's like listening to the most lively, tender, but snappy celebration. It is the most charming little Pop album this year.
(thank you AsleepInTheBack)
This was unexpected. This was bold. This was experimental. And this was weird. It weirded me out like nothing else this year. Igorrr's newest release is as confusing a record as it gets. I like being confused. I like being unable to make heads or tails of something. I like being unable to fully understand a musician's intentions or direction. And I utterly adore the sheer array of instrumental and influential pallette displayed on this oddity of a record.
|4||The Afghan Whigs|
(thank you butcherboy)
I admit with great shame that I had no previous knowledge of The Afghan Whigs and had it not been for butcherboy's enthusiastic list dedicated to this band's greatness, I'd most likely go about my life without albums like Black Love, Gentlemen and this one. And how could I possibly? In Spades is a beyond intricate release. Calling it what its tags suggest, that being Alt Rock or Grunge, is quite inaccurate. In spite of having a strong Alt Rock influence and the band openly practicing the genre earlier in their career, at this point we are talking about something completely different, something novelty and exciting.
After the Party
Emo as a genre mostly missed my ears when it was prominent. I only started to explore it when it already had been a relic of the past for the most part. But its naturally downer themes resonated with me every now and then more than anything else. So take a wild guess, where are those kids that used to make and listen to the genre back in the day? They are just like us (well, us), all grown up and miserable. But they still sing on topics close to their heart. Becoming an adult and ruminating about life is part of that.
I Tell A Fly
Benjamin Clementine has been in my curiosity-eyeview for quite a while now. His debut album was at the very least intriguing, albeit somewhat dragging. Now he is back in style and with easily the most eccentric, theatrical and surprisingly pleasing album in a long time. His masterful command of anti-melody and anti-structure is near-miraculous. His vocal frailty and coarseness is quite remarkable. And his odyssean writing and flow is impeccable. It is one of the most beautiful and off-kilter albums not just this year, but this decade, easily.
Relatives In Descent
This should really come as no surprise. I wrote a review on it, I dedicated the longest entry on my monthly roundups to it, I analysed to the tit the first single "A Private Understanding" and I pissed boiling water on everyone about it for months before its actual release, only to then be overwhelmed even more by just how ridiculously good it is. But I still blame Dewinged for spilling the beans about its placement on my list. Still, I cannot praise it enough. Such a freely flowing, masterfully constructed and brilliantly written Post-Punk record doesn't come around that often. It's the most apathetic beauty one can ever endure and it is most definitely my favourite album of the year.