1) WITHIN THE RUINS – Halfway Human
Within the Ruins are back it with Halfway Human, and it shouldn’t be overlooked as it can contend for one of the best releases in 2017.
Why I’m listening: Within the Ruins is back at with arguably their most progressive effort to date. Halfway Human tugs on the nostalgic heartstrings of long-time fans, however, with the melodic track “Objective Reality”, which could easily fit between Empires (EP) and Creature.
The band’s fifth studio album has plenty new to offer — bassist Paulo Galang lends his clean vocals — whilst it mixes with successful elements seen on Phenomena.
2) AVERSIONS CROWN – Xenocide
Xenocide is the first full length from Aversions Crown to feature new vocalist Mark Poida.
Why I’m listening: Aversions Crown struck gold with the addition of Poida following the departure of Colin Jeffs. The versatile Poida lent his voice to two singles released in 2016, which were included in the final track listing for Xenocide, and he has been destroying out on tour since his appointment.
The follow-up to Tyrant, Aversions Crown’s latest release is no exception to the carnage the Australian outfit leaves behind with anything it touches. From the opening and erie riff of “Prismatic Abyss”, the listener begins another unworldly adventure of chaos consisting of thumping drums and defiant breakdowns.
Highlights include “The Oracles of Existence”, “Cycles of Haruspex” and the closing track “Odium”.
3) WHILE SHE SLEEPS – You Are We
You Are We is the third studio album to be released by While She Sleeps where it reached No. 1 on the UK Rock & Metal Albums, as well as peaked at No. 3 on the UK Independent Albums.
Why I’m listening: 2017 is off to a flyer in the metal and hardcore department with the likes of Within the Ruins, Aversions Crown and All That Remains all dropping bangers. “Hurricane”, the album’s lead single, is a song that encompasses the journey the band went on to release You Are We void of a label.
The entirety of the album has some of the sexiest overdubs that cut through While She Sleep’s signature sound whilst Lawrence Taylor continues to have one of the most unique ranges in metal today.
4) LORNA SHORE – Flesh Coffin
Lorna Shore returns with Flesh Coffin and it is just as aggressive as their first full-length released back in 2015.
Why I’m listening: The sophomore effort is quick out of the blocks. “Offering of Fire” sets the tone with its chaotic drums and trilled guitars separated by the band’s signature airy breakdowns. Whilst, admittedly, Lorna Shore does not reach for ‘new’, the disc has strong songs across the board, including “FVNERAL MOON” and “The//Watcher”.
5) STARSET – Vessels
The January 2017 release of Vessels is Starset’s second full length and the follow up to the debut album Transmissions.
Why I’m listening: Honestly, the scariest thing read after researching the band, which hails from Columbus, Ohio, was that their influences included proverbial music punching bag Nine Inch Nails and Skillet. But further recognition to Hans Zimmer, Deftones and Angels and Airwaves was enough to commit to Vessels — an album that has garnered acclaim and reached No. 2 and No. 11 on the US Alternative Albums and US Billboard 200, respectively.
The song “Monster” is masterful in the way it combines bounding guitars and electronic overlays. The album’s single has a memorable chorus fronted by the line, “You’re the pulse in my veins / You’re the way I wage / Can you change me?”.
Vocalist Dustin Bates has a full voice that pierces across the top of highlight songs such as “Into the Unknown” and “Back to the Earth”.
1) AVERSIONS CROWN – “Erebus” [Single]
2) KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – Incarnate
3) THE WORD ALIVE – Dark Matter
4) RAE SREMMURD – SremmLife 2
5) YOUNG JEEZY – Trap or Die 3
Honourable memtion: Avenged Sevenfold (The Stage); Sabrina Carpenter (EVOLution); Metallica (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct); Young Guns (Echoes); The Dillinger Escape Plan (Dissociation); Kevin Gates (Islah); 6LACK (Free 6LACK); The Devil Wears Prada (Transit Blues); Bastille (Wild World).
1. RAE SREMMURD – SremmLife
2. OUR LAST NIGHT – Younger Dreams
3. ZAC BROWN BAND – Homegrown [Single]
4. KID INK – Full Speed
5. THY ART IS MURDER – Holy War
Honourable mention: Papa Roach (F.E.A.R.); Haste the Day (Coward); Young Guns (Ones and Zeros); Silverstein (I Am Alive in Everything I Touch); Children of Bodom (I Worship Chaos); Don Broco (Automatic).
1. AVERSIONS CROWN – Tyrant
2. WE ARE THE IN CROWD – Weird Kids
3. THE WORD ALIVE – Real.
4. MARMOZETS – The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets
5. LEXII ALIJAI – feel-less (mixtape)
Honourable mention: Within the Ruins (Phenomena); Young Jeezy (Seen It All); I Killed the Prom Queen (Beloved); The Ghost Inside (Get What You Give).