Welcome to the fifth and final episode of Grim and/or Frostbitten! I can’t believe 2017 is almost over already: it flew by so fast, it still feels like yesterday when we waved that goddamn shitstain 2016 goodbye! Oh well. For the conclusion of this feature’s second run, I have (how unpredictable, I know) compiled the 13 (how KVLT, I know) records from this year that I thought fit the cold season best. I also chose to forego my rule of not including stuff I reviewed for It Djents this year; there were two records I simply couldn’t bear to leave off the list.
Maybe you’ll agree with me on some of my picks, maybe not, but without further ado, please enjoy my 13 winter records of 2017!
Vintersorg – Till Fjälls Del II
Nothing screams winter quite like epic, folky black metal, am I right? Vintersorg have always been a band that excels at this specific musical style, and Til Fjälls Del II boasts the catchiest metal chorus of 2017™ with “Jökelväktaren”, taking over that title from 2016’s winner, Revocation’s “Cleaving Giants of Ice”.
Persefone – Aathma
It might be because I listened to this album for review purposes in winter, or maybe because of the Buddhist principles connected to Aathma that I can identify with, but for some reason, this is definitely a winter record for me, and another masterpiece by Persefone.
Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar
This is, despite falling squarely into the synth-pop genre, not a record to dance the summer night away to. Instead, it’s a cold, synthetic slab of electronic music tailor-made for winter. Ulver simply can’t do wrong.
Priest – New Flesh
A relatively late addition to my current listening habits. Priest take everything great about gloomy, cheesy 80s goth-synth pop and give it a thoroughly modern spin that’s as subversive as it is magnificently catchy and danceable.
Peter Broderick – All Together Again
Beautiful doesn’t even begin to cut it here. I’ve rekindled my love for modern classical music this year, and All Together Again is one of the best records to come out of that genre in 2017.
Helge Lien Trio – Guzuguzu
Grab a cup of tea, your favorite blanket and put this on. A perfect jazz record for a melancholic evening of watching the rain (or snow) fall.
Mree – Silver and Gold (EP)
A four-song Christmas EP by Mree? Why would I waste words on it here when I could just as well go listen to it again instead? What a gorgeous release.
Novo Amor & Ed Tullett – Heiress
Read my review. There’s nothing more I could say about it.
Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Revival
Ambient pop as a genre has seen some unbelievably great records come out this year, and Revival is one of the best of them. With influences from folk, r’n’b and indietronica, and a singer whose voice sounds like that of Justin Vernon on multiple occasions, Vancouver Sleep Clinic ably captured the intimate coziness of a winter evening.
Hammock – Mysterium
Adding a few more modern classical touches to their ambient post-rock has served Hammock exceedingly well on this album. It’s stunning in scope, atmosphere and execution.
Bolt Gun – Man Is Wolf To Man
Definitely the outlier of the bunch, but the synth-heavy doom metal epics Bolt Gun have woven for this album are perfect for ruminating the essence of life while everything around you comes to a beautifully freezing halt.
Sound of Ceres – The Twin
For me, dream pop is a genre that has to be done just right to realize its full potential. Sound of Ceres are living proof that it is possible to make predominately artificial instrumentation sound warm, inviting and human. Add one of the best female vocalists in the game right now to the mix, and you’ve got yourselves one of the most hypnotic, relaxing experiences of 2017.
Real Estate – In Mind
Sometimes all you need to shake off a big ol’ case of the winter blues is the soft, comforting hug of a beloved familiar sound. Few bands in the indie rock circuit have delivered dreamy, inviting music quite as successfully and consistently as Real Estate. Plus, the song “Stained Glass” is one of the best singles of 2017. I encourage you to try out the interactive version of its music video (find it here); I’ve spent way too much time with it over the months, it’s so enjoyable and immersive.
And that’s it! Let me reiterate my thanks for the participating bands/musicians here, and to all those who helped organize this feature in any way, shape or form. You people are the real MVP’s! As for you, dear readers, I hope that Grim and/or Frostbitten brought you at least some enjoyment, and that you discovered a few records you didn’t know before. See you all around next year for more diverse content on It Djents! We appreciate our readership greatly, so stay safe out there, and go gently into the new year. Who knows what it might bring?
Now all that remains to be said is, as always…
…thanks for reading!