2017 has come to a close, which means every blog and music publication gets to bombard you with their shitty opinions on what they thought the best music of the year was. Svbterranean is no different, I am sorry to say. Starting today, a bulk of our writers will begin posting their favorite releases of 2017. Feel to comment and tell us your favorites and what we might have missed. You can also troll us, we don’t mind.
Without further adieu, here is my top 30 releases of the year. There was a multitude of good releases this year and it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to JUST 30. These are the releases that made an impression on me and stuck with me the most year. Just like last year, my favorite records listed span across genres and are not limited to just the extreme music we typically cover on the site. I hope you find something you like. Get into it.
Anthesis – The Age of Self
Bereft – Lands
Coma Cluster Void – Thoughts From a Stone
Comity – A Long, Eternal Fall
Denzel Curry – 13
Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions
Ehnahre – The Marrow
Gnaw – Cutting Pieces
Hive – Parasitic Twin
Kenoma – The Tides Will Prevail
Plaque Marks – Anxiety Driven Nervous Worship
Set and Setting – Reflectionless
30. Lingua Ignota – All Bitches Die
Confrontational, unique and disturbing – a harrowing mix of Jarboe, Diamanda Galás and Merzbow
29. Ex Eye – Ex Eye
Saxophonist Colin Stetson’s metal band proves to be as weird and polarizing as one would think, in the best ways possible of course.
28. Spotlights – Seismic
Shoegaze and post-metal collide in this 70-minute, gorgeously heavy opus.
27. Boris – Dear
The prolific Japanese act celebrate 25 years of riffs with…more riffs. Really heavy riffs to be exact.
26. Sannhet – So Numb
Sannhet fully absorb the shoegaze elements they have always flirted with to create an album that is beautiful, melancholic and throttling.
25. Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy
Fast, fierce, noisy and weird in all the right places. This is Full of Hell’s ugliest and most solid effort to date.
24. NY in 64 – The Gentle Indifference of the Night
Heavy, dynamic, angular and full of progressive flair; The Gentle Indifference of the Night will pummel you.
23. Converge – The Dusk in Us
Converge return with their first full-length album in five years and, to no one’s surprise, it rips.
22. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
Dallas’ Power Trip make thrash metal great again on their sophomore full-length.
21. Nesseria – Cette érosion de nous-mêmes
Post-hardcore, screamo, shoegaze, black metal. You name it, Nesseria’s got it.
20. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
Mogwai continue to prove to be one of post-rock’s greatest innovators on their ninth studio album.
19. Cloakroom – Time Well
This is the shoegaze/slowcore hybrid I didn’t know I needed.
18. Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
17. Cranial – Dark Towers/Bright Lights
A dark and crushing sludge/post-metal record that echoes the best moments of Neurosis and Isis, but proves to be its own animal as well.
16. Sloth Herder – No Pity, No Sunrise
Grimy, grinding mathcore with a death metal twist that will rip the skin from your not-so pretty face.
15. God Mother – Vilseledd
Ripping Dillinger Escape Plan-approved chaotic hardcore that hurts oh so good.
14. Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Sprawling, apocalyptic pop songs that will instill you with a sense of doom, but you just can’t help singing along.
13. Zao – Pyrrhic Victory
The living metalcore legends smoke the new breed with five songs of frenetic, punishing heaviness.
12. Helpless – Debt
Dissonant and antisocial hardcore/mathcore for people who don’t like anybody.
11. Grails – Chalice Hymnal
Groovy, psychedelic post-rock jams that just feels good, man.
10. Primitive Man – Caustic
Primitive Man have always been dark, misanthropic, unforgiving and cold. But on their long-awaited sophomore full-length album, that darkness increases tenfold. Caustic is an 80-minute, unyielding barrage of suffocating misanthropy presented in the form of dissonant, cacophonous doom that drains the light out of any room. I urge you to find a doom metal record as menacing as this. I’ll wait.
9. Glassjaw – Material Control
Glassjaw‘s first full-length album in 15 years delivers on multiple levels and satisfies the appetites of long-time fans, as well as post-hardcore aficionados in general. The record’s noisy, visceral and overall confrontational nature rivals that of the band’s earliest, angst-ridden material, but also paints with the vibrant shades of their later, more eclectic work. With Material Control, Glassjaw continue to be the best at what they do.
8. Cleric – Retrocausal
For nearly 80 minutes, Philadelphia’s Cleric drag listeners further and further down the extreme metal rabbit hole on their long-awaited second LP, Retrocausal. Being a huge fan of their first record, Regressions, I went into this record with high expectations. Cleric exceeded my expectations with this thing and satisfied my need for the most insane heavy music imaginable.
7. Less Art – Strangled Light
Kowloon Walled City, Thrice and Curl Up and Die are all bands I am fond of. So, naturally, if there is a new project that contains members of said acts, I am going to pay attention. The result of this union is a unique, angular and powerful post-hardcore record that hits you in the feels, as well as the gut. Instead of simply paying homage to bands of old, Less Art carve out their own niche and create a phenomenal record in the process.
6. Unsane – Sterilize
The noise rock pioneers Unsane return with one of the heaviest albums they have ever recorded with Sterilize. That may be a bold statement about a band whose middle name is “heavy”, but one listen to this beast of a record will show my statement to be factual. From the metallic bombardment of “Factory”, to the sprawling grit of “Avail”, Sterilize is an insurmountably heavy record that shows that after nearly 30 years, Unsane have no equals.
5. Pyrrhon – What Passes for Survival
Just like the aforementioned Cleric record, Pyrrhon’s What Passes for Survival satisfies my need for the most insane heavy music imaginable. Since 2014’s The Mother of Virtues, Pyrrhon have been on a steady evolution toward something that truly defies all categorization and is completely frightening. What Passes for Survival is a twisted, mangled, dense and highly complex piece of death metal that will fuck with your mind.
4. Heaven in Her Arms – White Halo
Japan’s Heaven in Her Arms combine post-hardcore, screamo, post-rock and black metal into a emotionally-potent, sonically devastating opus on White Halo. Just like their contemporaries Envy, Heaven in Her Arms know how to write expansive songs that are equally heavy and gorgeous. There are plenty of bands trying to pull of his amalgam of styles, but Heaven in Her Arms do it properly. White Halo is a stellar record and its closing track, “Turbid Fog”, is probably my favorite song of the year.
3. Oxbow – Thin Black Duke
Oxbow’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 2007’s The Narcotic Story is a tremendous tour de force. The experimental rock titans return as idiosyncratic as ever on Thin Black Duke, crafting bright and melodic rock record that retains the band’s signature eccentricity and deceptive discordance. It’s record that can be beautiful, strange, wild and sad all at once, as is the Oxbow way. This amazing recording was worth the 10-year wait.
2. Big|Brave – Ardor
Big|Brave‘s Ardor is a towering, monolithic record that hit almost all of my sweet spots this year. It’s sprawling, textural, emotionally raw and heavy in very non-metal way, but heavier than most of the metal records I had heard this year. Utilizing hypnotic repetition, layers of instrumentation and harrowing vocals, Ardor delivers three behemoth songs that are engaging to the very last minute. Big|Brave definitely get more with less.
1. Amenra– Mass VI
Amenra‘s sixth full-length album happens to be their crowning achievement to date and the record I am most fond of this year. Their brooding brand of post-metal is absolutely crushing, but always carries a sense of melody and beautiful melancholia with it. I am continually enthralled by the sprawling, expansive nature of the music and the very personal lyrics from frontman Colin H. van Eeckhout. I loved everything about Mass VI and I urge those who haven’t listened to it to do so. This is my album of the year.