We’ll get straight to the point – 2017 has been another great year for music, across almost every spectrum. From rock to rap, metalcore to nu-metal revival, and some massive comebacks and reinventions – almost anyone should be able to find a few dozen albums that really pique their interest.
This also makes even choosing 100 albums that much harder. Some notable solid efforts we had to leave out included Miss May I, We Came As Romans, Creeper, and even Florida post-metal band Set and Setting, who are phenomenally talented. But I digress. Without further ado, here’s our list of the top 100 albums of 2017.
#100: Ashland (Wildfire)
Ashland’s full-length indie/electropop debut Wildfire burns just like you’d imagine from said album title. This is high-energy, exciting electronic pop with lots of flair.
#99: My Enemies and I (The Beast Inside)
The nu/alt-metal revolution is back for a second go-round. My Enemies & I are a key cog in that train – while they still are developing their overall songwriting, there are plenty of hooks and aggression in tracks like “Funeral Party” to sink your teeth into.
#98: Adventurer (Sacred Grove)
Basically Swancore. This isn’t a bad thing, though, considering how catchy and talented the bands on Blue Swan Records usually are. Sacred Grove is certainly a solid effort in the post-hardcore genre.
#97: Thousand Below (The Love You Let Too Close)
Exciting atmospheric post-hardcore band Thousand Below come out blazing with an emotional wallop of a debut album. Color this listener impressed. The Underoath influences are very real and highly obvious, but that is certainly a good quality.
#96: Palisades (Palisades)
Palisades deliver on the potential they’ve shown since their debut EP, releasing far and away their best work to date. (Mostly) abandoning their electronic post-hardcore sound in favor of a slick, R&B influenced pop-rock sound has done wonders for Palisades.
#95: No Omega (Culture)
Dark, bleak atmospheric screamo/post-hardcore/black metal from Sweden.
#94: Code Orange (Forever)
You can now add “Grammy-Nominated” to the list of accolades that Code Orange has racked up in the last year. If you’re not moshing to “Kill The Creator”, you’re doing it wrong.
#93: Black Map (In Droves)
Modern hard rock/alt-metal with lots of riffs and hooks. Recommended.
#92: I The Mighty (Where The Mind Wants To Go…)
“Silver Tongues” is one of the best I The Mighty songs written to date. Period. Also, Tilian Pearson.
#91: Entheos (Dark Future)
Progressive tech-metal featuring the incredible talents of Navene K and Evan Brewer, along with a strong vocal performance from vocalist Chaney Crabb.
#90: Volumes (Different Animals)
On their most diverse album to date, it’s shocking that Volumes can write songs as catchy as “Pullin’ Shades”. This song could be a massive crossover hit.
#89: Wage War (Deadweight)
No real sophomore slump with Wage War’s second slab of nu-metal influenced metalcore. Deadweight’s lyrics may be lacking in spots, but the incendiary (hah!) music more than makes up for it, with breakdowns that never feel out of place.
#88: Incendiary (Thousand Mile Stare)
New York. Hardcore. Lots of breakdowns.
#87: Novelists (Noir)
French progressive metalcore newcomers refine and streamline their sound on album #2. Slightly less technical, but the songcraft has improved very much.
#86: Rosetta (Utopioid)
The post-metal veterans are back with some of their best material since Wake/Lift.
#85: nothing,nowhere (Reaper)
Confessional emo/hip-hop that both tells stories and has some real heart. You’re looking at a massive breakout act right here.
#84: Halflives (Empty Rooms)
Italian pop-rock group Halflives are probably the next breakout act from said country. While their debut album Empty Rooms only has 8 tracks, there is precious little wasted space here, only sugary sweet hooks.
#83: Movements (Feel Something)
With just one EP and now a debut full-length under their belts, Movements blur the line between rock, emo, and pop-punk almost effortlessly.
#82: Alazka (Phoenix)
Another Sharptone Records newcomer to add to the list, Alazka are a pretty solid melodic hardcore band that are doing big things.
#81: Arteries (This Will Destroy Us)
Australia has always done metalcore pretty well. Even though the genre can be fairly stagnant, Arteries are off to a great start with their tech-heavy take on the style.
#80: Left Behind (Blessed By The Burn)
Riff-heavy hardcore/metal that is a stark improvement on 2016’s Seeing Hell. The rare album in the genre to contain some honest-to-God emotional depth, vocalist Zachary Hatfield simply roars.
#79: Dangerkids (Blacklist)
Riff-heavy modern nu-metal meets post-hardcore, with a massive Innerpartysystem influence. Dangerkids are made for rock radio.
#78: Thy Art Is Murder (Dear Desolation)
Thy Art Is Murder refine their patented sound to something more akin to a classic death metal record.
#77: Crash The Calm (How’ve You Been?)
One of the best new bands and albums of 2017, Crash The Calm are not dissimilar to Balance and Composure or Citizen, but arguably write better songs. Listen to this band before they open for your favorite alt-rock band.
#76: Loathe (The Cold Sun)
The future is extremely bright for UK metal (a very loose definition) band Loathe. You could probably peg them as being highly-influenced by bands like Architects and Code Orange, but there’s a little Deftones influence in their atmospheric metalcore sound, too.
#75: The Menzingers (After The Party)
This party’s over.
#74: Uneven Structure (La Partition)
The long wait for a new Uneven Structure record was pretty much worth it. Atmospheric metal that really draws you in with ebb and flow.
#73: Power Trip (Nightmare Logic)
Who likes crossover thrash?
#72: Fit For An Autopsy (The Great Collapse)
Chaotic metal that truly trancends the more limited “deathcore” tag.
#71: Manchester Orchestra (A Black Mile To The Surface)
This might be the best Manchester Orchestra record to date.
#70: Myrkur (Mareridt)
Darkness never sounded so beautiful, at least not while filtered through a lens of experimental black metal.
#69: Brutality Will Prevail (In Dark Places)
Doom-laden, sludgy hardcore tunes from a band that seems revitalized after a brief misstep. You’re moshing.
#68: Eidola (To Speak, To Listen)
How is this band so musically gifted? Eidola continues to run circles around their peers.
#67: Artificial Brain – (Infrared Horizon)
Sci-fi tech-death of the future.
#66: Starset (Vessels)
Modern electronic rock that never forgets how to be honestly anthemic. You’ll probably be hearing “Monster” and the the riotous “Ricochet” on rock radio for a long, long time. All hail Starset.
#65: Tricot (3)
Japanese math-rock that uplifts the soul. Also a band that’s impossible to dislike for some reason.
#64: Silverstein (Dead Reflection)
Dead Reflection certainly doesn’t sound like Silverstein are going away anytime soon. The post-hardcore veterans still write great songs that also manage to be heavy and experimental at the write times, staying within their niche but also toying with genre conventions.
#63: Quicksand (Interiors)
Quicksand has influenced most of modern post-hardcore, especially if you listen to bands like Thrice and Thursday. So it’s with that in mind that the band’s first new album in 22 (!!!) years, Interiors, is a true triumph.
#62: Paradise Lost (Medusa)
Like clockwork, pioneers of death-doom Paradise Lost are back with the logical follow-up to 2015’s The Plague Within. It’s a testament to the band’s discography that Medusa is both one of the heaviest and one of the best albums of their career, standing alongside classics like Icon and Draconian Times.
#61: Junius (Eternal Rituals…)
Junius refine and nearly perfect their take on shoegaze-influenced post-metal. Plenty of standout tracks here, but “Clean The Beast” is a particularly great highlight.
#60: Soen (Lykaia)
Eradicate all life.
#59: Lorde (Melodrama)
Indie pop with great songwriting. Also, better than Pure Heroine for the most part. Scathing lyrics abound.
#58: Nothing More (The Stories We Tell Ourselves)
Nothing More continues to innovate their modern rock sound, as well as experiment outside the confines of it. Their willingness to do so is likely why they were nominated for multiple Grammy awards.
#57: To Speak Of Wolves (Dead In The Shadow)
Welcome back to the metalcore fold, TSOW.
#56: Artificial Language (The Observer)
Remember Art By Numbers? They’re back with a new name, but the same great classically-influenced progressive metal you know and love.
#55: Can’t Swim (Fail You Again)
Snarling. emo-tinged pop-punk that sounds incredibly tight.
#54: Currents (The Place I Feel Safest)
The future of progressive metalcore is in adept hands with Currents.
#53: Get The Shot (Infinite Punishment)
SICK mosh, bro.
#52: August Burns Red (Phantom Anthem)
August Burns Red continue to prove that their songwriting and composition skills are second to none in the metalcore genre. Just listen to “The Frost” for proof.
#51: Pvris (All We Know Of Heaven…)
Superstardom awaits. Zero sophomore slump for PVRIS.
#50A: Enslaved (E)
How does this band keep making excellent records?
#50B: Vince Staples (Big Fish Theory)
One of the best hip-hop albums of 2017.
#49: Icarus The Owl (Rearm Circuits)
Technical math-rock/post-hardcore filtered through a lens of pop-punk song structure. Icarus The Owl makes this seemingly strange pairing work – again.
#48: Ulver (The Assassination Of Julius Caesar)
The best Depeche Mode album released in 2017. A massive compliment considering where Ulver have come from – and where they’re going.
#47: Anathema (The Optimist)
#46: The Contortionist (Clairvoyant)
Compare Clairvoyant to even 2012’s sophomore effort Intrinsic, and you’ll notice just how far The Contortionist have grown up. Modern progressive rock never sounded so bold.
#45: Slowdive (Slowdive)
A new Slowdive album exists in 2017. Let that sink in for a minute.
#44: Blood Youth (Beyond Repair)
One of post-hardcore’s most exciting new acts, Blood Youth deliver on the promise of a pair of well-received EPs with an album that knows how to rock. Calling Blood Youth a more-refined Beartooth would not be a disservice, considering how catchy some of these bands can be.
#43: Citizen (As You Please)
Citizen’s most consistent record to date.
#42: Story Of The Year (Wolves)
#41: Mastodon (Emperor Of Sand)
Mastodon are back with arguably their best album since Leviathan. So. Many. Riffs.
#40 Godflesh (Post Self)
Almost 30 years after their groundbreaking debut album Streetcleaner was released, Godflesh continue to dabble in the industrial post-metal sound that they essentially created, with incredible results.
#39: Fen (Winter)
The sound of winter, in all of its post-black metal glory.
#38: Julien Baker (Turn Out the Lights)
Confessional storytelling. Vulnerability. This is Julien Baker.
#37: Planning for Burial (Below The House)
Below The House is basically what the genre “post-everything” sounds like. Shoegaze, doom, and ambient influences come together to create something that, with more listens, you might consider a masterpiece.
#36: Hundred Suns (The Prestaliis)
Hundred Suns’ debut album is basically Cory Brandan of Norma Jean fronting Deftones, or insert other alt-metal band here. What’s really interesting on The Prestaliis are all the exciting vocal melodies and hooks here, not often found in heavier music of this ilk.
#35: Sampha (Process)
Sampha is far more than just the person who guested on a Drake track, or helped write huge hits for other stars. One listen to Process reveals a depth beyond his years, and a voice that is bound to shake the earth.
#34: Amenra (Mass VI)
On Mass VI, Belgian post-metal veterans have cemented themselves as legends of the genre. Also contains the most singing in any Amenra album to date.
#33: Deaf Havana (All These Countless Nights)
“And I, I can’t fight the feeling, I can’t fight the feeling inside
It’s the little things, oh it’s the little things that you hide
Even you can see, I got the fever in me”
#32: Steven Wilson (To The Bone)
#31: Heretoir (The Circle)
How to successfully shift gears musically: a guide written by post black-metal band Heretoir. What a massive improvement over an already solid sound.
#30: The Maine (Lovely, Little, Lonely)
God-tier pop-rock led by a charmismatic vocalist in John O’Callaghan. Most of all, Lovely, Little, Lonely is fun.
#29: Converge (The Dusk In Us)
I can tell you about pain.
#28: 3teeth (shutdown.exe)
Modern industrial metal that, while indebted to the genre’s forebearers like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, stands on its own as a genuinely foreboding experience.
#27: Trivium (The Sin and the Sentence)
Trivium’s most complete record since Shogun. Heavy, yet accessible.
#26: Hundredth (Rare)
While many fans were thrown off and even disappointed by the major genre shift on Hundredth’s new album, a shoegaze-influenced alt-rock sound actually suits them very well. Who knew vocalist Chadwick Johnson could sing this well? The Ride and Silversun Pickups influences are everywhere.
#25: Leprous (Malina)
(Not a) mirage.
#24: Circa Survive (The Amulet)
Circa Survive’s evolution is complete.
#23: Our Hollow, Our Home (Hartsick)
A base description of Hartsick might lead one to believe that Our Hollow, Our Home are peddling the kind of post-hardcore/metalcore that bands like I Prevail dabble in. Given that band’s overnight success and subsequent popularity, this isn’t a bad thing. This is radio-ready, arena-level metalcore with a great balance between heavy and poppy hooks. Also, those RIFFS.
#22: Polaris (The Mortal Coil)
One of Australia’s best kept metalcore secrets won’t be off your radar for long.
#21: Outlier (Through A Set Of Rose Shaded Eyes)
Blackened hardcore never sounded so good. Seriously, what Outlier are doing is nothing short of exhilarating.
#20: Counterparts (You’re Not You Anymore)
You haunt me like an empty home.
#19: Sleepmakeswaves (Made Of Breath Only)
Sleepmakeswaves refine and add unexpected electronic flourishes to their trademark progressive/post-rock sound. Truly the work of very gifted musicians.
#18: Bad Sign (Live & Learn)
What a debut. Bad Sign know how to riff, and how to construct powerful post-hardcore songs that border on alt-metal at times. Kind of like Therapy’s landmark album, Troublegum. No gimmicks, no BS.
#17: Employed To Serve (The Warmth Of A Dying Sun)
One of the UK’s most ferocious live metalcore acts delivers the goods on album #2. Any band that can suitably pull off a Norma Jean cover that’s just as good as the original is certainly worth your time. A real statement.
#16: Northlane (Mesmer)
It’s time to take back our home.
#15: Dayseeker (Dreaming Is Sinking /// Waking Is Rising)
Rory FUCKING Rodriguez is one hell of a vocalist, to be certain – but on DIS /// WIR, Dayseeker prove that their instrumental chops are on the same level – and on tracks like “Vultures”, Dayseeker really is starting to forge their own identity.
#14: Ocean Grove (The Rhapsody Tapes)
Ocean Grove’s alt-metal sound also dabbles in modern hardcore, metalcore, and a hodgepodge of other genres. Their try-everything approach works incredibly well – there’s choruses culled from Spineshank and Deftones here – but the best tracks on the album are the ones where Ocean Grove embraces that aforementioned try-everything mentality. Listen to “The Wrong Way” just once and tell me that song isn’t an anthem.
#13: Glassjaw (Material Control)
Was that 14 year wait between full-lengths worth it? One listen to the noisy, shrapnel-laced dissonance in “Shira” says a resounding “yes”.
#12: Young Lions (Mr. Spaceman)
If the slickly-produced concept album Mr. Spaceman doesn’t vault Australian rock group Young Lions into the stratosphere (of love), I’ll eat my shoe. Good luck finding an alt-rock band that sounds bigger than Young Lions do right now.
#11: Nothing But Thieves (Broken Machine)
Ambition is critical.
#10: My Ticket Home (UnReal)
I didn’t know TrustCompany dropped a new record. Wait, it’s the new My Ticket Home record? Still awesome.
#9: Zeta (Zeta)
Tesseract’s Daniel Tompkins, Katie Jackson, and Paul Ortiz of Chimp Spanner collaborate on an 80’s-influenced synthwave project. Retro, yet futuristic. It’s the up-tempo tracks like “The Distance” that are the most exciting, though the entire album has a real sense of ebb and flow. Also, that album art is postively fantastic.
#8: Ghost Key (If I Don’t Make It)
Modern melodic hardcore that wears its obvious influences on its sleeve, but with captivating, weighty subject matter that never feels fake. That’s because it isn’t. Ghost Key.
#7: While She Sleeps (You Are We)
While She Sleeps continue on their path to superstardom on album #3, continuing to refine their core sound, while providing some genuinely jaw-dropping highlights like album closer “In Another Now”. Metalcore does not get much better than this.
#6: The Drowned God (Moonbearer)
Atmospheric post-hardcore band The Drowned God are one of the most dizzying interesting new acts of 2017. Combining an aesthetic that is clearly influenced by A Hope For Home and Gospel with atmospheric touches that are both subtle and obvious, you are listening to one of the most striking debut albums of the year.
#5: 18 Visions (XVII)
The band that just about every modern metalcore act is indebted to in some form or another is back with their first album in 11 years. Somewhere between Until The Ink Runs Out and Vanity lies XVIII. It’s a hard hitting metalcore album that is just snarlingly melodic enough to not be over the top. Welcome back, Eighteen Visions.
#4: Pallbearer (Heartless)
Pallbearer’s 3rd full-length is, by all accounts, a resounding success that makes modern doom accessible, without sacrificing songcraft or heaviness.
#3: Kendrick Lamar (Damn.)
DAMN. Greatness is in Kendrick’s DNA.
#2: Ghost Atlas (all is in sync…)
This side project of Erra’s Jesse Cash really shouldn’t be relegated to such a tag. Ghost Atlas’s debut full-length is full of exciting melodic post-hardcore moments that pay tribute to obvious influences like Saosin and Deftones (there’s even an explicit reference to the latter on album standout, “Legs”), but the real jaw-dropping moments are the more textural ones, like on “Little Shell”, or even the title track. All Is In Sync… is truly auditorily arresting melodic rock that stirs the soul. And holy hell, those choruses will chill you to the bone.
#1: Arcane Roots (Melancholia Hymns)
Absolutely jaw-dropping British alt-rock with a progressive metal bent.