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2017 Music

I missed writing about music. Clicking on the album covers should take you somewhere to find out more about the album. I've compiled this list into a quick Spotify playlist.

New Albums

This is the first year I haven't had slam in my top five since probably 2012. feelsweirdman.meme

Converge - The Dusk In Us

converge-the_dusk_in_us

Mathcore pioneers Converge returned after a five year (new) hiatus with what is unsurprisingly my favorite album of the year. The last time I saw these guys I almost broke my thumb in the pit and had a really hard time pulling an all-nighter with peers in Algebraic Combinatorics because of the painkillers. That's relevant, five years later, because I don't do much math anymore but Converge is still killing it. I always hate admitting I like anything Jake Bannon, but, wow, I'm beginning to like his weird not-quite-clean-but-not-dirty-either crooning woven in with tight riffs, mad distortion, and impeccable beats.

The Dusk In Us came out November 3rd on Deathwish.

Zao - Pyrrhic Victory

zao-pyrrhic_victory

Zao dropped off the map after 2008's Awake. The past few years have seen a flurry of activity from some of metalcore's elder statesmen. Pyrrhic Victory, a neat companion EP to 2016's The Well-Intentioned virus, is short and sweet. Zao's sound mellowed out in the seven or so years they disappeared, deepening the ambient feel and maturing the tone they experimented with on Fear and Awake. Like everyone else that, for some inexplicable reason, aged over the last decade, Zao's showing a bit more clean vocals. I can't listen to the EP for more than a few hours because my tastes have done a few barrel rolls since the days my dad drove me three hours north to a real city to see them play, but they'll always have a special place in my heart.

Pyrrhic Victory came out independently November 3rd.

Comeback Kid - Outsider

comeback_kid-outsider

I was listening to this for about a month at the gym before I realized it was new material that had come out this year. Full of great pile-ons and two-step choruses, it's possibly the highest energy album on this list. Hardcore like this is a reminder that the aughties actually gave us a ton of great stuff, like xexedxoutxnamesx and raccoon hair. Outsider's songs are a blend of heavier material and OG melodic that Comeback Kid popularized. It's a frenetic review of what makes hardcore such a great genre.

Outsider came out September 8th on New Damage and Nuclear Blast (seriously).

Perturbator - New Model

perturbator-new_model

2017 was the first year since early undergrad that electronic music saw heavy play from me. Coming from Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim plus a nice mix of Dieselboy, synthwave was a fascinating new discovery. Like anything, there are several major camps. Perturbator and his label, Blood Music, brings an interesting metal background to the table. Unfortunately, most of the darkwave dudes I really enjoy come from black metal (groce) but they make great EDM. New Model is a darker Perturbator album, going further down a road he's been playing with for a couple of years. I've listened to the one vocal track, "Vantablack," maybe twice; you can mask disgusting lyrics with unclean vocals but I can't stand them clean. Aside from that disturbing track, it's a great album.

New Model came out early September 5th on Blood Music.

Insane Power - Silent

insane_power-silent

I preordered this and totally forgot about until I started putting together this list. Insane Power is a tidy little power violence outfit from Maryland. I've been in touch with one of their members off and on since my actual music days. I don't have much of a reference point for power violence (I can name Nails and that's about it) but I really dig Silent.

Silent came out independently November 28th.

Old Albums

2017 was the first year since maybe 2010 that I made a playlist for someone. And then I made three more in quick succession. I don't know what came over me. 2017 was also the year I broke down and started using Spotify. I felt dirty using it after its US debut because I learned about it through Metal Sucks (it was a darker time but I'm better now).

Run the Jewels - RTJ 3

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The only reason this isn't in the new list is because they released it early, right around Christmas last year. I'm rocking an RTJ 3 hat as I write this. Hip hop has always been somewhat unapproachable for me, but this group snagged me hook, line, and sinker. Their amazing mix of political, sexual, and nonsensical content on top of strong beats and catchy taglines consumed the first quarter of my 2017. Moreso than anyone else, RTJ got me thinking about music again.

XavlegbmaofffassssitimiwoamndutroabcwapwaeiippohfffX - Gore

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Gore is a short little slam package with great riffs, amazing callouts, and some almost-jazzy parts thrown in for good measure. It's got a nice mix of high and low growls, which I've been in low with since hearing Knights of the Abyss way back before I knew the preferred way to differentiate vocal styles. Don't let my slam label put you off this EP; it's got pleasant djent undertones and way more clean vocals per track than you usually get per slam career. Also "Dicks out for Harambe" is internet gold/10.

Evergreen Terrace - Dead Horses

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Stoplight solos? Yes. Code singalongs? You know it. Desk mosh? Always.

Desolated - The End

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I'm not sure I listened to as much Desolated as I did, say, Wolfpack, this year, but they called it quits this year. The End is a powerful album. It's also a fitting rerelease, a great name for a final tour, and a fantastic mathcore band from the aughties. Desolated's ultimate album is full of sucker-punch breakdowns and an overarching chug that moves seamlessly from track to track.

GosT - Behemoth

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The only EDM to make the old list, Behemoth is an amazing example of what synth-/dark-/creep-/whatever-tag-reddit-finally-settled-on-wave is capable of. Its simple construction belies the underlying complexity. I enjoy how GosT begins with a couple of small things, like a snare hit and a synth note, builds a dense rhythm, and slowly takes it apart again. Behemoth is also a bit more energetic than some of its peers, making for a great dance album.

CJ Harries

I did a thing once. Change "blog." to "cj@" and you've got my email. All these opinions are mine and might not be shared by clients or employers.

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