Thursday, 21 December 2017

A YEAR IN REVIEW: Charlie Butler's Top 25 Albums of 2017

25. Kenoma – “The Tides Will Prevail”

Kenoma are firmly focused on the metal side of the post-metal equation for the most part of “The Tides Will Prevail” and manage to create huge, enveloping sound constructions reliant on intricate interlocking guitar parts rather than a phalanx of effects pedals.  The albums extended gestation period has produced an absorbing set of finely honed post-metal behemoths.

24. No Funeral / Livid – “Split” 

The combination of these two bands on one mammoth slab of wax is a marriage made in hell. No Funeral and Livid are definitely acts to check out now if you like it slow, heavy and desolate.

23. Aseethe – “Hopes of Failure”

“Hopes of Failure” is sparse and minimal yet packed with detail and intricacies, like Yob and Unearthly Trance stripped of their psychedelic tendencies to let the raw oppressive riffs do the talking.  Aseethe have crafted a slow-burning masterpiece that reveals more with each listen. Every spin increases the pull of its hypnotic spell and leaves you with no option but to submit to its crushing power.

22. War Brides – “Regrets”

Chicago bruisers War Brides raid the vaults of the noise rock greats to create a compellingly ugly debut LP in the shape of “Regrets”. It is a quick and dirty shot of addictive mayhem, channelling the nastiness of its influences to fine effect and offers hints of evolution into a stranger beast over the course of future releases.

21. Space Witch – “Arcanum”

The band still sound like a collaboration between Bongripper, Hawkwind and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to create the ultimate sci-fi B-movie soundtrack, but  this latest release sees them develop their cosmic barrage further out into the void., they showcase a leaner, meaner Space Witch that still push the boundaries of heaviness but with a more streamlined attack.

20. Norska – “Too Many Winters”

“Too Many Winters” is a captivating collection of powerful doom steeped in Norska’s unorthodox and compelling personality.

19. Stinking Lizaveta – “Journey to the Underworld” 

Stinking Lizaveta’s new album “Journey to the Underworld” finds the band in deadly form, crafting music that is seriously weird and complex yet still delivers an addictive riff high.

18. Divide and Dissolve – “Basic”

Divide and Dissolve in full flow is like a huge slab of noise reminiscent of UK low-end warriors Bismuth and the sadly departed Palehorse.  The band’s distinct racket is simultaneously skeletal and super dense, with most of the tracks consisting of slow-motion pounding drums and an oppressive wall of discordant distortion.  “Basic” is a powerful record in every sense.

17. The Oxford Coma – “Everything Out Of Tune” 

 “Everything Out Of Tune” is a breath of fresh air at a time when heavy music is becoming ever more reliant on recreation of past glories. The Oxford Coma delivers a welcome blast of vital strangeness while still riffing harder than most of their peers.

16. Wren – “Auburn Rule”

15. Helpless – “Debt” 

Every track on “Debt” is imbued with a captivating air of spontaneity and weirdness, delivered with a terrifying level of intensity.

14. Cranial – “Dark Towers Bright Lights”

Cranial have honed their Earth-shattering attack to razor-sharp perfection and expand the scope of their music to galactic levels of grandeur.  The band are a relentless riff engine, churning out a constant flow of thick sludge, like Neurosis channelling the almighty crunch of early Mastodon. “Dark Towers / Bright Lights” does not break down any musical barriers but it is poised to blow your mind with its dark intensity.

13. Grizzlor – “Destructoid”

“Destructoid” is a record that fully lives up to its title. Grizzlor have served up a sumptuous platter of riffs that effortlessly lays waste to the opposition.

12. Coltsblood – “Ascending into Shimmering Darkness” 

Coltsblood refine their unique brand of bleak, bludgeoning doom to punishing effect on “Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness”. This is a mighty collection that marks out the band as one of the most underrated heavy acts in the world.

11. Cloud Rat / Disrotted – “Split” 

This is an awe-inspiring release from two incredible bands who can seemingly do no wrong at the moment and continue to deliver an embarrassment of heavy riches in 2017.

10. Hark – “Machinations”

9. Friendship – “Hatred”

8. Drunk In Hell – “s/t”

Drunk In Hell have delivered what is easily the most horrible release of 2017. Seven years of accrued filth and sludge has never sounded so good.

7. Unsane – “Sterilize”

 This is a flawless collection of bile-soaked missives that set the standard for riff-heavy, ugly noise rock in 2017

6. The Ditch and The Delta – “Hives In Decline”

The Ditch and The Delta’s sound is a killer blend of fret-mangling math rock and stoner doom aggression. They strike a perfect balance between complexity, melody and no-nonsense gnarly heaviness.

5. Cloud Rat / Moloch  - “Split” 

4. In The Company Of Serpents – “Ain Soph Aur”

 “Ain-Soph Aur” is a heavy experience on all levels. The band have dialled back the volume and slowed the tempo from previous releases which has unexpectedly resulted in increased impact. This album is  towering achievement from In The Company Of Serpents. It is a fine addition to an already distinguished discography and an inspiring work that sets the standard for heavy music in 2017.

3. Pallbearer – “Heartless”

“Heartless” is an incredible achievement from Pallbearer, a set of huge songs that consolidate the best elements of their previous releases while moving into fresh sonic territory. This is the album that should see the band make the transition into stadium-bothering all-time greats, and deservedly so.

2. Boris – “Dear” 

From the opening track, “D.O.W.N. –Domination of Waiting Noise–“, Boris conveys punishing volume so effectively that your ears will ache at practically any level.  Every note and every layered vocal has been obsessed over, placed perfectly in the mix, and acts as a distillation of twenty-five years of intense collaborative synthesis.

1. Converge“The Dusk In Us”

Today, with random acts of violence, anger and pessimism dotting our timelines, maybe Converge just now seems like a soundtrack to our contemporary apocalypse