Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Top 10 Punk & Hardcore Albums of 2017

When Donald Trump the consolation that rained over social media feeds was "At least this will bring a flood of good punk" I am not sure that happened. It was not a flood. In fact most of this trickled over from the metal scene or at least in the murky waste land created by bands like Nails where it is hard to tell where metal is ending and hard core is beginning. I am not saying there are not some really underground 7"s that might not be killer, but what this list is ranking is the top punk and hard-core album's in accordance to what I actually listened to. I figured this out by just referring to my LastFm page rather than scouring for hours to see what I scored albums when I reviewed them and how I feel about them now. To help you understand this I am including a reason why one album might have beat another out to claim their position.

10-Low Estate- "Covert Cult of Death"

 I originally checked these guys out because the drummer from Sannhet is in this band, but they do have a powerfully heavy sound. The fact they deliver this pounding with more smarts than the average hard-core or metal band. While death metal is at times one of the main ingredients in certain sections, There is too much noise rock and post-hardcore influence in this simply try to write this off as a death metal band.


9-Warbrides- "Regrets"

 My first impression hearing these guys from Chicago was "This sounds like the Rollins Bands spazzing out". I do like the angular nature to what they do and the punk thing staying in the forefront from them just trying to be another Amp Rep rip off.A solid album, I think the reason they beat out Low Estate is because this album came out in May, though Low Estate is closer to metal where these guys are more like post-hardcore from the 90s.


8-Puritan - "Autonomy"

 This punkish indie rock band is moody enough to fall into post-punk on their new album.The vocals are introspective, but too detached to be "goth", though there is a gray sheen over their music that would appeal to fans of Joy Division or the Cure. The vocals take on a throaty aggression midway into the first song. "Nausea" finds the bass line picking the darker elements in play. They are in the same corner of the darkside as bands like Iceage or Lower. The songs are very well written, though lean more toward the punk side of post-punk.Beat out Warbrides by being darker and more tense.


8-Anti-Sect- "the Rising of the Lights"

 This band has been around since 1983. Over the years they have matured into a very Motorhead like punk with the emphasis on rock. They have a killer bass tone. The vocals are very gruff, thus the Motorhead comparison. They are all over the place and even thrown in some metallic half time breakdowns . They have big rock chords going into the chorus and a more upbeat ascending chord pattern for the refrain so they guys know how to write a fucking song. This beat out Puritan, as they are more experienced and have a more powerfully dialed in sound.


7-No Omega- "Culture"

 This hard-core band is no stranger to this blog as we love them here because just like any other form of music I want my hard core dark and tortured. This is the Swedish band's third full length and even in the opener they drop down into the shadows to let things breathe with some atmosphere as the chords rings out midway into things. There is also a more metallic power, that is sonically similar to black metal in some ways. Despite some of the more heady guitar tones "Phobia" embraces the more punk tendencies.Pretty much too close to call between this and Anti-sect, so I am just trusting Last Fm's word on this one.


5-Code Orange- "Forever"

Welcome to 2017's equivalent of "You Will Never Be one of Us". Tough and tight, the guitar on this album is mean as fuck, but has an incredible tone.There is a machine like precision to the execution and the syncopation is ridiculous more often than not. After the opener you are ready for the heft that the second songs has but never comes across as jarring. The songs all clock in close to the three minute mark and very well written.  While No Omega was heavy these guys are just crushing.


4-Grave Pleasures-"Motherblood"

hat once was Beastmilk carries on as Grave Pleasures , this is their sophomore album under this banner. It is more aggressive the sense of melody held in the first returns for "Doomsday Rainbows". Though it still holds onto a tense core. The first song throws it self at you with a much more reckless abandon, so we are hearing more sides from this band. Another one I am just trusting Last Fm on, as it was too close to call between this and Code Orange.


3-Hexis-"Tando Ashanti"

 If asked who is the heaviest band out today I might point you in the direction of this band from Denmark. Heavy is more than low tuning, thick gain and how fast you strike the strings. It' is about the sonic tensity stirred and the feelings driving how you attack your instrument. Once again genres collides. Hard-core pounding is smashed against blackened death metal. With raw curdled vocals that are more grind-core. It slows into more of a sludge like dirge, showing these guys can pretty effectively handle both ends of the heavy spectrum. Production the album doesn't sound as dense as the one before it. There is more of  experimental wildness to what they do on this one. Meaner than Grave Pleasures for sure.


2- GBH- "Momentum"

 What's impressive is aside from drummer Scott Preece this is the same line-up from 1978.  The album opens in similar vein of metal as Motorhead. Too aggressive to just be rock n roll, but closer to metal than punk despite the gang vocals that chime in. It does sound good. The production is more organic and rock in roll. Punk used to be rock n roll so they are coming full circle. More fun than Hexis.


1- Converge- "The Dusk In Us"

 20 years ago I got into this band called Converge. Someone told me they were like Sunny Day Real estate if they were a hard core band. In the 20 years that passed they haven't let me down, though things have changed. Guitarist Kurt Ballou is now an experienced producer. With the guitarist behind the mixing board , the guitars are warm and organic sitting in the mix with every thing else. The band's punk side is more invigorated here, yet this album does have a great deal of experimentation and sonic diversity.  No band came close to touching them. 


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