On My Playlist: My top 5 albums of 2017

Best of the year lists are mostly subjective especially in the music industry as a lot of factors can influence what critics regard as their best. To me this top 5 list presents bands that either came back with a bang or topped their previous effort in terms of artistic and creative direction. I decided to include a variety of rock and metal related genres that I listened to during 2017 and narrowing it down to just five was no easy task.
Honourable mentions: Stick To Your Guns – True View, New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick, Made For Broadway – New Heights, Same Lows, We Came as Romans – Cold War, Knuckle Puck – Shapeshifter, Truth And It’s Burden – I Labour
5. Seaway – Vacation
We begin our count down with the best pop-punk album to come out of 2017, and that is saying something with the likes of New Found Glory, Neck Deep and Knuckle Puck also putting out some solid releases. What makes Seaway’s Vacation stand out is their ability to create catchy melodies and rhythms with some great lyrical storytelling in their songs. Love, romance, friendship, goodbyes and countless other vacation-themed experiences are all bottled up into this one killer pop punk album. It’s catchy, quirky and most importantly of all, gets stuck in your head.

4. Rise Against – Wolves
Rise Against came back with a bang this year with the release of Wolves. The timing of this album is absolutely perfect as true to the nature of Rise Against they bring up a number of issues in society, looking at politics, society, ecology and the economy in a punk rock tirade of epic proportions. This album once again solidifies Rise Against as one of the best in the business with its aggressive nature and melodic excellence all combined into one tight package.

3. Our Last Night – Selective Hearing
Technically Our Last Night’s Selective Hearing is an EP of 7 tracks and not a full length album, but it’s a 7-track masterpiece with absolutely no filler. Each track stands out on its own with melodic vocals from the Wentworth brothers, Matt and Trevor, transforming each song into something special. The bass guitar work from Woody Woodrow and drumming from Tim Malloy is also naturally on point throughout the record. Our Last Night also went on a more darker and aggressive route this time around and to me this produces the best in them.

2. Wage War – Deadweight
The boys from Ocala, Florida made a statement of intent with the release of their sophomore album Deadweight in August. Harder, darker, aggressive, bone chilling and melodic would be some ways to describe this banger of a record. The band gets deep and personal on this album as you can truly sense the emotion on each song.

1.August Burns Red – Phantom Anthem
It is no wonder that August Burns Red has been nominated for “Best metal performance” at next year’s Grammy Award for their song “Invisible Enemy” off the stellar 2017 album Phantom Anthem. This album is without a doubt my favourite release in 2017, as its variety of songs, incredible instrumentation and aggressive delivery showcases every element of the band to its fullest. You can truly sense that August Burns Red put everything into this record and it shows from the first minute to the last. If you want to know what metal in 2017 should sound like then take a listen to Phantom Anthem.

Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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