2017 has been a year of transition and challenge for many, and so too with It Djents; As can be further read about here. Our coverage of music has grown increasingly broad. We’ve genuinely appreciated all of your support in this endeavor, and we hope the innovative artists we’ve showcased this year have brought some satisfying additions to your playlists and palette. Unsurprisingly, the broadness of coverage has generated a similarly eclectic Album of the Year list. Without further ado, please find the 33 albums that inspired and captivated us this year as a writing team:
33 // Endon – Through The Mirror
A gritty, grindy, noisy, and filthy piece of dirt, so relentless you have to love it. Endon‘s follow up to their debut Mama is one of the heaviest records of the year, and you definitely need to hear it. Through The Mirror will scare you and let you fall in love with it at the same time.
32 // Dreadnought – A Wake In Sacred Waves
Dreadnought demonstrate their ability to build a diverse and emotive sonic landscape in four tracks that other acts may not create in an entire career. This record is hulking and raw, yet subtle and reflective.
31 // Fit For An Autopsy – The Great Collapse
Deathcore doesn’t need to be about overproduced flashiness, it can also be about good lyrics, earthy, organic production, cool riffs, and good songwriting. In a genre which is all about the repetition of the same old patterns, Fit For An Autopsy showcase a down-to-earth and very authentic approach and thus gave life to a genre for people who think they are over deathcore. One of the best-produced metal records of 2017, and one of the best deathcore records ever made.
30 // Dvne – Asheran
Though metal and sci-fi are no strangers, Dvne’s Asheran bring a gritty sludge to the final frontier with what is a hooky, riff-heavy voyage through sonic space.
29 // Aiming For Enrike – Las Napalmas
Only two guys created this fuzzy and groovy loop-heaven, opening up incredible soundscapes and getting your feet moving with their irresistible grooves. Overlooked by many, Aiming For Enrike‘s Las Napalmas is the math rock record for people who don’t like math rock, and packed to the top with energy and creativity.
28 // Ne Obliviscaris – Urn
Ne Obliviscaris have consistently crafted impressive releases throughout their career, and their third offering is no exception. Urn uses narrative musical compositions to great effect on the album’s six tracks, crafting a gripping drama as the album unfolds.
27 // Pallbearer – Heartless
A record which popped up on many non-metal webzines’ AOTY lists, and for a damn good reason. In a year packed with amazing doom records, Pallbearer manage to channel their inner Black Sabbath while incorporating amazing prog rock vibes. Fascinating from start to finish.
26 // Zeitgeber – Heteronomy
One of those special records that came out of absolute nowhere, Zeitgeber‘s Heteronomy delivered lush soundscapes made of mellow psychedelic rock, modern jazz and world music in spades, and became one of our fondest surprises of 2017.
25 // White Moth Black Butterfly – Atone
Atone is a lush and expansive yet simultaneously accessible art pop record. Dual vocal performances, compelling strings, and dynamic developments make for individually strong songs and a satisfying sonic journey.
24 // Balmorhea – Clear Language
Balmorhea‘s Clear Language is between post rock and ambient, and you won’t be able to get enough of their amazing soundscapes, wonderful tones, and overall intriguing songwriting. A band with an already impressive catalogue released their best album to date, and everyone who is slightly interested in post rock or ambient music must listen to this beautiful masterpiece.
23 // Justin Walter – Unseen Forces
Created on the obscure EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument), a wind-powered analogue synthesizer, Unseen Forces can be regarded as a masterclass on how to string together an ambient record that’s unique, thoroughly intimate, and engaging without going completely over the listener’s head.
22 // Cornelius – Mellow Waves
If you want to get amazed by a wide variety of sounds, experience the impressive pallet of sonic elements brought together and being vitalized by the magic which lives within the ingenious mind of Cornelius aka Keigo Oyamada. 11 years after his masterpiece Sensuous, Cornelius proves again he is a household name in modern, experimental art pop/rock.
21 // Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
Funeral doom in perfection. From one of the most beautiful artworks of year to the intriguing and stirring backstory, Mirror Reaper is a record you have to check in 2017, even if you don’t have any affection for doom. Simply breathtaking!
20 // Cryptodira – The Devil’s Despair
Progressive death metal meets melodic hardcore in a raw, charmingly unconventional release from Cryptodira.Though elements like these often overlap, they do so here with an innovative effectiveness that should certainly not go unnoticed.
19 // Bolt Gun – Man Is Wolf To Man
A reverie of endless horizons and expansive landscapes set to music. Bolt Gun crafted a synth-driven doom/post-metal enigma that’s sure to get your mind wandering places of innermost peace and turmoil.
18 // Heretoir – The Cirlce
The Circle is a warm, cozy blanket of an album, covering you in magnificent Alcest/Lantlôs-esque harmonies, while still providing enough punchy moments of heaviness to keep your inner riff-addict satisfied. Even the few breakdowns on this thing are amazing! Hut ab, Heretoir!
17 // Moses Sumney – Acromanticism
What a voice, ladies and gentlemen, and what a daring approach to songwriting and genre-blending! Moses Sumney is a name you should pay close attention to in the future, and Aromanticism his bold opening statement.
16 // The Physics House Band – Mercury Fountain
Battles-esque math rock madness meets King Crimson-esque prog extravaganza? The Physics House Band meld both world effortlessly, creating an eccentric, powerful and incredibly original bouillabaisse of prog, jazz, math rock and experimental music. Even after many rotations, this record will blow you away more and more; it’s jaw-droppingly impressive in every possible way.
15 // The Hirsch Effekt – Eskapist
Eskapist shows The Hirsch Effekt mastering contemporary technical/progressive metal tropes yet never sounds tired, incorporating a variety of subtle sound pallets into their frenetic identity.
14 // Amenra – Mass VI
Amenra’s sludge riffs and relentless rage are brought to new levels of human vulnerability and hulking vitriol on Mass VI.
13 // Caligula’s Horse – In Contact
In Contact manages to be a technically impressive, pristine, and emotionally diverse album in a genre that can sometimes seem limited in scope. There is light and shadow, and furiosity and fragility all contained within the most recent Caligula’s Horse record.
12 // Milo – who told you to think??!!?!?!?!
Lo-fi bedroom-esque production meets glitch hop and jazz-inspired instrumentals and clever, conscious lyricism on Milo’s third full-length album. In a year full of hip hop highlights, Who Told You To Think?!?!?!?!? was one of the standout releases.
11 // Vulfpeck – Mr Finish Line
A record which is all about smoothness, good vibes, and making you smile. Super warm and comforting, but full of ingenuity and excitement. “Birds Of A Feather, We Rock Together” is one of the most beautiful songs of 2017.
10 // Oddisee – The Iceberg
‘Nah, like really.’ That one song is exemplary of the whole of The Iceberg: Oddisee flows impeccably and intelligently over lush beats that don’t feel like they’re only the pedestal for the East Coast MC to spit his raps on. This is the real deal, musically and lyrically, a hip hop record to set a new bar for the underground.
9 // The Swan Thief – II
When you put this album on and the vocals come in after the first seconds of “Aureate”, you know you are about to experience beauty in its sonic form. There is a roughness about The Swan Thief’s II, an intangible and overwhelming pulchritude, a raw energy which extols your consciousness. This album is a musical epiphany from start to finish.
8 // Jordan Rakei – Wallflower
Wrap your head around the beautiful compositions, the balance between compelling grooves and soaring harmonies, the intimate lyrical themes, and the overall vibe which seeds hope for mankind, since we are able to achieve something that beautiful. Everyone needs to find a sorceress.
7 // Ulsect – Ulsect
For such a dissonant, experimental death metal record, Ulsect use effective songwriting, dynamic shifts and an appreciation for groove to create an impressive and distinct debut.
6 // Arve Henriksen – Towards Language
There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to properly assess how majestic and beautiful this album really is. The Norwegian jazz scene has seen many stellar musicians emerge over the past decades, and Arve Henriksen definitely deserves a spot among the finest of them.
5 // Novo Amor & Ed Tullett – Heiress
As far as vulnerability, fragility and sincerity in music go, Heiress is the gold standard amongst this year’s musical output, not only in the folk genre, but overall. It’s an unrelentingly gripping and touching journey through the ups and downs of love and life in general alike.
4 // Persefone – Aathma
Persefone offers a wonderfully eclectic yet extremely cohesive progressive death metal record. Despite their overuse, the adjectives ‘epic’ and ‘otherwordly’ could hardly be more accurate than when describing Aathma.
3 // Thundercat – Drunk
Drunk is about little sketches, ideas, the volatility of the moment and joy. It’s Thundercat’s canvas, and there are no chains or restrictions, it is freedom and creativity in its purest form. A record full of life.
2 // Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
Just a handful of elements are necessary to create magic, and when the bass kicks in on “K”, there is this feeling that this music really reached you, authentic and pure, straight to your heart. You just know you are about to experience something bigger than a simple record. It’s a narration about love, a confluence of noir and romance set to music. We are all just waiting for love to come right back.
1 // Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid
Savage Sinusoid is a record that’s hard to put into words, and that’s exactly why it deserves the top spot on our list. Full of surprises, contradictions and beautifully orchestrated ‘What the fuck’-moments, it is not only Igorrr‘s, but also this year’s crowning musical achievement.
Thank you all for reading this list. We’re sure that everyone has a really interesting and unique Album of the Year list, as is to be expected for a topic as subjective and personal as music. Please feel free to share yours in the comments. We encourage you all to experience the music of others in a way that encourages respect, dialogue and sharing.