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Top 10 2017 by Yannick

Another year comes to an end and while it has, arguably, had the lowest of lows in the history of mankind in some areas, it has also stood for acceptance and social evolution in many other areas. However, what is truly relevant at least on this platform is the music…and it has definitely been another strong year with many brilliant releases. I’m here to give you my personal top 10, which will, again, include a majority of records that I didn’t get to review.

#10 While She Sleeps – You Are We

I’ve seen WSS live twice over the past few years and while I was always impressed by their energetic and spot-on performance, their albums never really convinced me. However, with You Are We the quintet have definitely hit a new level and managed to put themselves not only on my radar but gained my deep appreciation.

#9 Paramore – After Laughter

What started out as a crush on the lead singer all those years ago when Misery Business was released, developed into a real fascination with their music by the time they released their self-titled record five years ago. Naturally when they announced a new record, I was fairly excited and looking forward to their evolution; and After Laughter did not disappoint: not only was the music fresh, but the songs were also lyrically very honest, at times even too much.

#8 Taylor Swift – Reputation

Well. How do I put this? After buying the previous record when Shake It Off was released, I realized that it’s actually great pop! When the first single off the new one was released I felt a bit disappointed but I decided to give the record a chance anyways…and I was rewarded. It’s debatable, but I would say that this is her best record to that. Give it a shot, seriously!

#7 Adventurer – Sacred Grove (review)

When I first discovered Adventurer, around three years ago, I was immediately enamored with their chaotic yet highly melodic sound, reminiscent of The Fall Of Troy. Naturally, I was super hyped for their, at the time already announced, full-length album…but it took until fairly recently to be released. And the wait was definitely worth the while! You can read more thoughts on it in my review.

#6 Andrés – Strange Memories On This Nervous Night

By far my biggest surprise-discovery this year was Andrés! His tongue-in-cheek lyrics, his charismatic performances and his pure talent simply shine in every corner of his debut solo album! I had the chance to meet him earlier this year in London and I’m confident in saying that the future will hold some big things for this dude. Get on the hype train before it’s too late!

#5 Wolf & Bear – Everything Is Going Grey

Let’s not kid ourselves…pretty much every Blue Swan release will usually make it on my top 10. The second one on the list, so far, is the debut album of Wolf & Bear, a band that is fairly similar to Dance Gavin Dance in terms of their setup (they even share the same bassist), but are different altogether in their song structures and sound. This one has been on heavy rotation for quite a while on my playlist.

#4 Asking Alexandria – Asking Alexandria

Another, so to speak, surprise entry: the fifth full-length by Asking Alexandria was just released five days ago, but I can safely say that the return of their original singer was the best thing that could happen to the band. A re-vitalized sound, a very open-minded songwriting and a lot of weird, but good, stylistic choices make the self-titled album a force to be reckoned with and put the quintet back on the map.

#3 Trivium – The Sin And The Sentence

When Trivium released their screamless Silence In The Snow, I accepted their change of direction and was ready to follow them down that path. But when the first teaser for their eighth studio album was released, I knew that I might have lied to myself at the time. Because THIS is what I first loved about the band: a perfect blend of heavy and melodic with loads and loads of details to be discovered with every subsequent listen. TSATS is the epitome of what this band is about and I can only recommend it to everyone!

#2 Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

This one is a bit weird for me…since I haven’t even listened to it more than ten times. But I feel like it deserves a spot this far up simply for what it did to me on every single listen. Julien Baker‘s debut album already affected me deeply, but Turn Out The Lights is one a whole new level. It is not for everyone, but for me it was a very cathartic experience that I believe should be had by everyone.

EP-Special
Eternity Forever – Fantasy
Hail The Sun – Secret Wars
Happy Hour – What’s Your Poison
Push Over – Demo

I know, I know, I’m kind of bending my own fictitious rules here…but this year saw the release of quite a few really solid EPs, that I think deserve a quick shout-out! Two of those feature one of my favorite vocalists, Kurt Travis, and they are both very different. The, sadly, already defunct Eternity Forever is one of the dreamiest things I’ve gotten to hear all year and Push Over is a fun project with Thomas Erak, of TFOT. Happy Hour is another very DGD-y band, but they managed to stand out to me because of some very unusual elements like a reggae part in one song. Another band that I have fairly high hopes for. And last, but certainly not least, is Hail The Sun‘s new release Secret Wars, which has them going back to their roots, so to speak and just delivers on every single level. What a treat!

#1 A Lot Like Birds – Divisi (review)
Sufferer – Sufferer
Eidola – To Speak, To Listen (review)

While last year had a clear winner, this year I will have to settle for a three-way tie. I’ve written reviews about two of these, so I will just say a few words about the one that eluded me. In the past I’ve dealt with anxiety quite a bit and, while I never dove into real depression, it has definitely made many aspects of my life fairly difficult and it was a real struggle to overcome the hard times. While I have managed to rid myself of the majority of those things on my own, Sufferer is a record that, I feel, can serve as a form of self-therapy to some people out there. (note: of course it does not replace actual therapy) It certainly put a lot of things into perspective for me and, besides, it is just a phenomenal work of musical art.

All in all, I really enjoyed the dynamic this year. I was a bit more active, writing fifteen reviews, and I managed to cover all the local releases that were relevant, to me. However, looking into the future at the moment is a bit weird since, aside from a new Dance Gavin Dance record, I have very few albums I’m actively looking forward to…maybe 2018 will be the year of surprises!

Adventurer – Sacred Grove

Adventurer - Sacred Grove
Every now and then, an album comes along that fans are anticipating and hyping up for so long that it’s almost impossible that the final product will live up to the expectations. A bit more than three years have elapsed since Adventurer released their self-titled EP, subsequently signed to Blue Swan Records and talks of a full-length began circulating. Other than a small taste of the good stuff on a split EP in May 2016, the fans were sitting on blue balls, until the band finally dropped a new single in late August 2017…and the internet pretty much exploded. Therefore it is now time to find out whether Sacred Grove satisfies the adventurous craving, or not!

For those that are unfamiliar with the trio, I think the best way to explain their sound would be to say that they take the best elements of The Fall Of Troy, add in a few sprinkles of pop punk and fuse them together into a perfect concoction: a riff-fest from start to finish with frequent tempo changes, intricate drum patterns and a bass that actually adds depth to the songs, as well as super melodic vocals that are ideal sing-along material and, of course, fierce screams.

I, like so many other post-hardcore aficionados, was completely enamored with the Michiganders’ debut and their overall sound, since it was so matured already, that I kept asking myself how they wanted to change or improve on subsequent releases and I must say that I don’t notice a vast change on these ten songs when compared to the previous ones. But, it’s fairly simple: why change a winning team? Everything that returning listeners liked before is still here, and new listeners will have a slightly more polished first experience. Win-win, in my book.

Perhaps this is just the case for me, but I found that the EP works best when enjoyed in its entirety, and such is the case with Sacred Grove as well: some of the songs don’t do anything for me if I don’t listen to the surrounding ones. Now, unless I am completely mistaken, this isn’t a concept album per se, but the band’s lyrical focus has always, and hopefully will always be, heartache and mostly failed relationships, so I would recommend adopting a similar approach and looking at these thirty-seven minutes as one complete, pardon the pun, adventure.

All in all, I think that Sacred Grove doesn’t have to hide behind its predecessor and even outshines it in moments. While I wish there had been one or two more songs, I’ll definitely take short and sweet over long and boring! Make sure to check out the album when it drops on Friday, September 8th, and in the meantime go listen to the song below or head over Adventurer‘s Facebook page to keep up with the news!

Adventurer – Adventurer


Today’s post isn’t really an in-depth review, but more like a brief introduction to a band that I only discovered very recently since they signed to Blue Swan Records, a label that has released three albums that were part of my top ten, last year. Let’s get down to business then: Adventurer‘s self-titled debut EP is the subject of the following couple of paragraphs!

If you are familiar with the label, it will come as no surprise that the Michiganders play post-hardcore, since every artist on the roster is part of the same genre. A fact that might seem boring to the ignorant, but the variety that can be found between all the bands is phenomenal! Personally, I’d rather have a label focus on a single genre and hand-pick every single group of musicians, thus ensuring a very high quality standard…a fact that is confirmed by today’s trio!

What equals complex guitar melodies, intricately rhythmic drumming and interesting songwriting? Correct! A seven track strong EP that is a blast from start to finish! If one considers that this is the first year that the band has been truly active, including touring and gaining inspiration, I can only imagine what the guys are going to come up with for their debut full-length!

Despite them being a three piece band, Adventurer employs dual vocals, with one covering the clean vocals, and the other one the screams and occasional growls. Throughout the twenty-nine minutes, the dynamic between both styles is always spot-on and guarantees a diverse ride! On a speculative side note: the cleans have a timbre that no other band on the label has, so a third superband in the near future could be a possibility…just saying.

This about does it for today. I’m aware that it reads more like a Wiki entry than a proper review, but I just felt like I had to spread the word and, hopefully, introduce some of you to them! You can listen to their entire EP below, and visit their Facebook page for more info on the progress of the recordings of their debut album, which will hopefully see the light of day this year!