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My Top 9* Albums of 2017

*2017 wasn’t that epic musically for me, so I only was able to bring 9 albums to the table instead of the traditional 10.

By A.R. MarquezPublished 6 years ago 4 min read
Actually...not "(so far)". This is all I got kids!

Here is my annual list for the best albums of 2017!


My most listened-to album of 2017.

Epic flows and earth shattering beats; melodic rhymes with meaningful social commentary-laced lyricism. From beginning to end, each song follows one another in a carefully crafted, embryonic-in-nature promenade and peers deep into the eyes of the unjust and the afflicted.

It was hard to put this one down. Each new listen not only hooked me deeper into the urban decaying beats but also progressed my train-of-thought to a higher learning. It motivated me to want to help make a change in this world of bitter racism and move towards a place of balance that so many pine for.

Kendrick Lamar is the King of Hip-Hop and a refreshing, leading voice in the new civil rights movement of the Trump Regime.

STANDOUT TRACK: "Strange Hours"

I can’t lie, it took me a few listens to warm up to this album (its been 15 years since 2002's Worship & Tributerelease) but once I immersed myself in the rebirthed dealings of Palumbo/Beck and reacquainted myself, I was suddenly 17 again!

Justin Beck's guitar goes more in-depth than the past two efforts. It harkens back to the more abrasive in tone/nature tracks from Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence (2000) and eschews the poppy melodic guitar efforts of 2002's Worship And Tribute.

Daryl Palumbo is back with more angst but also some noteworthy tinges of melodic crooning. Painful at times but with small "everything is right in the world again" exhalations.

Easily my most cherished album of 2017, the world is a better place now that Glassjaw is back!

STANDOUT TRACK: "A Plea For Understanding"

Probably my second most listened-to album of 2017. Powerful ballads with sludgy doom mixed in—coupled with Gilmour-inspired Floydian guitar and (at times) Ozzie O. vox.

The album is easily one of the more enjoyable listening journeys from 2017. Each track sets the tone for what follows and even as the album slows down, the transitions from melodic doom to ethereal post-rock are beautifully timed and orchestrated.

With each new album, Pallbearer continues to defy a setting mold and traverses efforts both individually and as a band.

STANDOUT TRACK: "Under Duress"

Crisp and heavy, a rollercoaster of emotion and depth. It’s only been 5 years (their longest adjournment between albums by far) since Converge released 2012's All We Love We Leave Behind but we needed this one!

Every time I listen to this album, I can't help but picture many of the songs as a backdrop for armageddon and the oblivion setting that follows.

Each track portrays haunting visuals and a winding road of genre clashes. They've touched on everything here! From the neo noise of post-hardcore, heavy ambience of black metal, to the straight-up attitude of punk.

The album is beautifully produced and crisp with a heavy ambiguity of "what's next?" with each track's finale.

STANDOUT TRACK: "Keeps Me Alive feat. Wynonna Judd"

Long-awaited release from Yelawolf.

Despite the trials and tribulations 'wolf faced throughout 2016 and into 2017, he vowed to finish and release Trial By Fire. Back is the painful lyrics portraying a fatherless childhood coupled with his struggles of being on the road without his children. Gone are the epithets of an alcoholic out of control and a closure of that woeful chapter in his life.

The album is concept-in-nature but still carries the southern growl/rap attitude with a lot more renegade country blended in; a great follow-up to 2015's Love Story!

STANDOUT TRACK: The Whole Album!

Acting as a requiem for deceased former drummer Adrian Guerra, this album ascends into an instant doom classic with 1 hour long deep, morose, catatonic track. Transitions are beautiful and the atmosphere is viscous!

Bellwitch has created a debut album that will be extremely hard to beat while subsequently catapulting themselves into the pantheon of Doom Metal royalty. This album isn't for everyone and some may find it hard to listen to given the lack of a track listing. But I implore you to stick with it for the subversive journey into doom and decay!

STANDOUT TRACK: "Small Town Saturday Night"

Wheeler Walker Jr. has taken the Weird Al Yankovic formula and created a XXX country version of the enamoured comic singer/songwriter. Ol' Wheeler is a fantastic, humourous follow up to his 2015 debut album Redneck Shit.

Perverse with an old-timey country bumpkin sound, this is REAL country! Hard to NOT sing along to, and when you do so in public... you will be arrested.

STANDOUT TRACK: "Enter Oblivion"

Darkest Hour goes back to their DC hardcore/thrash roots and never takes their foot off the pedal.

Shades of The Eternal Return (2009) are present in this album along with some new offerings straight from the bowels of the Cocytus. Despite the heavier, more grindcore inspired ambience of this effort, they still manage to inject their favored melodic undertones from their early metalcore days.

I'm still waiting for them to top their 2011 release The Human Romance, which I consider their best album, but this is an epic indie release nonetheless.

STANDOUT TRACK: "Natural Blue"

Julie Byrnes is one helluva guitarist. One can imagine her left hand creating a roadwork of indentations on the fretboard with a gentle dance of her fingers.

Despite the hippiesque nature of the sound, what Julie has constructed with this album is everything but a throwaway cliche reminiscent of San Francisco's Haight + Ashbury District. Her songs are beautifully crafted with her verse/chorus/verse transitions so seamless and inconstant.

The album is layered extremely well with Julie's soothing, deprecating voice to keep you immersed in her stories. Not much of a fan of adult contemporary/singer-songwriter indies but this one caught me off-guard.


About the Creator

A.R. Marquez

A.R. (Adam Ray) Marquez was born and raised in California.

He writes and publishes poetry, true crime, fiction, and genre film reviews.

PERSONAL IG = @BlackDeathPublisher

PUBLISHER IG = @AtraMorsPublishing

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