Distorted Sound‘s recap of the year continues! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Top 10 Albums of 2017 from several of our editors and bands in our scene. Now though, it is the turn of our Album Review Editor, Eddie Sims. Eddie‘s role here at Distorted Sound is absolutely crucial as he is in charge of editing all of our album reviews! So, over to you Eddie!
10. Imprisoned Eternal – NIHILITY
If you’re a fan of VENOM PRISON, then it’s almost assured you’re going to love NIHILITY. With a truly bludgeoning sound that fuses rumbling and thunderous death metal with brutal, unforgiving hardcore. Imprisoned Eternal is paced excellently and is made all the better by it as it progresses through it’s diverse track list with an intimidating consistency. Crushing the listener with pit inciting breakdowns that break up the abusive riffs, NIHILITY make a firm statement of intent with Imprisoned Eternal, and whilst less in your face than their competitors, NIHILITY already have a penchant for harnessing aggression and releasing it in violent bursts. All of this in combination makes their debut record an unforgettably brutal experience.
9. Going Grey – THE FRONT BOTTOMS
The acoustic pop-punk troupe THE FRONT BOTTOMS have a solid back catalogue of awkwardly adorable tunes. Their song writing is often deceptively simple and on Going Grey they prove that they are indeed truly talented musicians. Embracing a more pop than punk approach, Going Grey twangs at the heart strings with a more optimistic approach, counter acting the innocence lost of their previous works. Synths float throughout the album, adding another element to the already established sound, and tracks like Vacation Town are undeniably catchy and uplifting. The sense of development and growth envelopes the album and the stand out and catchy tunes makes Going Grey an oddball yet touchingly honest listen.
8. The Warmth of a Dying Sun – EMPLOYED TO SERVE
Representing the booming British underground with absolute gusto, the third record from hardcore mob EMPLOYED TO SERVE is a combination of their previous works with a firm desire to grow into the band they always could be. Remaining as aggressive as ever, the band are able to add deeper crevices into their music than before, with Half Life and Apple Tree showing the band to be more than capable of producing epic and diverse music all the while Void Ambition demolishes the listener from the get go. The Warmth Of A Dying Sun is a shining gem not only in the British hardcore scene, but the British music scene in general, as it confidently displays a band already established in their unique sound but remaining vigilant in their quest for progression.
7. The Dusk In Us – CONVERGE
It’s pretty rare for a band renown for being chaotic and uncontrollable to go in the direction of accessibility and come out better for it. Accessibility is hardly the word for The Dusk In Us, but when compared to previous CONVERGE work, it’s the easiest gateway into the bands iconic back catalogue. Sounding incredibly and boasting some of the bands strongest work to date, The Dusk In Us is an excellent edition to the storied career of the hardcore pioneers. Under Duress boasts a groove that lurges with spite and I Can Tell You About Pain is a venomous two minutes, but it’s when the band slow things down on the title track and Reptilian that CONVERGE really show how deep their sound goes. The Dusk In Us sounds incredible and is stacked with some choice cuts from one of the best bands ever, what more do you need?
6. Dear Desolation – THY ART IS MURDER
After much controversy surrounding vocalist CJ McMahon leaving the band, his return the subsequent heralding of Dear Desolation was the best thing for THY ART IS MURDER. Dear Desolation is by far the most confident and impressive record to date from the Australian death metal mob, and the darkness they spit forth from the depths is frightful at times. The ominous bell strikes in Skin Of The Serpent add an anxiety inducing edge to the already violent song where as Puppet Master and Man Is The Enemy show THY ART IS MURDER at their brutal best.
5. You Are We – WHILE SHE SLEEPS
WHILE SHE SLEEPS were the last band you’d think of when it comes to proving themselves. Two mega albums before this one already cemented that status, and yet when the Sheffield group announced their independence and crowd funded future, it certainly seemed strange. Fast forward to now, and You Are We is the creation of both fans and the band, and it shows a more melodic side to the hard hitters. The melodic elements make You Are We separate from its predecessors, but in retaining the signature punk energy and groovy riffing, WHILE SHE SLEEPS also consolidated their incredible relationship with their fans. You Are We isn’t just a sensational album, it’s a statement that when have a devoted fanbase, you can conquer the world.
4. The Spark – ENTER SHIKARI
Always ones to step out of their own frankly ridiculous comfort zone on each album, this time round ENTER SHIKARI look inward and explore human emotion rather than human nature. Airfields Is a beautiful ballad that showcases vocalist and mastermind Rou Reynold’s underrated abilities on the microphone, whilst Undercover Agents and The Sights are massive pop anthems that will allow ENTER SHIKARI to comfortably springboard into the arenas. The analogy of ascension and travel to new places is apt, The Spark will undoubtedly take the band to new and far bigger stages, and yet the sombre, reflective lyrics make this ENTER SHIKARI’s most honest and soul-baring album to date. This is particularly impactful for long-time fans of the band, and newcomers will easily find relating lines in Rou’s poetic prose.
3. Self Supremacy – MALEVOLENCE
When Reign of Suffering dropped towards the tail end of 2013, it’s fair to say everyone lost their creative shit when it came to MALEVOLENCE. The band mercilessly fused hard, riff led heavy metal with sudden and violent breakdowns and did it with such precision and confidence that it was difficult to ignore. Now, MALEVOLENCE return with another slab of the most rambunctiously heavy music with Self Supremacy and it’s better than we anticipated. Opening with a title track that tries it’s hardest to literally rip the skin form your face, what follows is just the most abusively brilliant 40 minutes of music released this year. MALEVOLENCE walk the line between ‘core and metal so brilliantly that their aural assault is relentless, jerking between blast beats, grooving riffs, crushing beatdowns and even a little bit of CROWBAR worship.
2. Forever – CODE ORANGE
The killer year that CODE ORANGE have had over 2017 is solely down to their stellar release back at the start of the year. What the group displayed on I Am King is amplified and altered for maximum impact, and the twisted, haunting electronic drones that break up the action are anxiety inducing. The primal aggression conjured up by tunes like Real, No One Is Untouchable and The New Reality is second to none, but then the band also refuse to stagnate with the addition of catchy choruses through Bleeding In The Blur. CODE ORANGE breed a complex mixture of abusive music, schizophrenic electronics and anxiety inducing ambience on Forever, and due to it, they’ve cemented their unique sound as something that can dominate on and off stage, and has primed the band for a colossal eruption in the coming years.
1. True View – STICK TO YOUR GUNS
When Diamond dropped and orange county group STICK TO YOUR GUNS affirmed their status as top boys of the melodic hardcore scene. Following onto Disobedient, the band took their ire more towards the establishments and subsequently missed the mark when they were so on point the album previously. Following a rollercoaster year, vocalist and chief lyricist Jesse Barnett explains that True View was birthed through many phone calls with his mother regarding his confusion about life and its tribulations. True View looks towards understanding of self, and the lyrical content is some of the best in the band’s career. Coupled with staggeringly strong songs that showcases STICK TO YOUR GUNS ability to not only pen raging riffs but also standout songs that offer memorable choruses to take away. The message embedded with True View is one of self-development and self-reflection combined with some of the finest music the band have written in their incredibly consistent career. As a long time fan there is nothing not to like here, and as a new comer True View offers up the best melodic hardcore on the planet lined with thoughtful words and encouraging energy.
And there we have it! What did you think of Eddie’s choices? Keep posted to Distorted Sound as we continue to bring you more lists of the best albums of the year from now until December 31st!