Arctic Drones’ 50 Favourite Albums of 2017

KENDRICK LAMAR – DAMN.

The duality that DAMN. presents is yet another poetic example of Lamar’s talent in both lyrical
content and song structure. This album is rewarding with multiple listens, and maybe then you can figure out the themes Lamar brings to the table this time around. Choosing a favourite song from this record is hard as hell, because each song seamlessly flows into and reinforces the next, resulting in songs that have qualities that they wouldn’t have if they were standing on their own. By Evan Lurie and Robert Westerveld

RELEASE INFO: 14 April 2017, Top Dawg Entertainment
TAGS: Hip hop, Rap, United States
MORE INFO: Website || Spotify || Facebook

LES DISCRETS – PRÉDATEURS

Product of a visual artist and illustrator, Les Discrets’ influences goes way beyond music. Their latest album Prédateurs combines post-rock, shoegaze, doom, electronic, trip-hop, and soundtrack elements, all wrapped together in a magnificent piece of art. Release side by side with a book, Prédateurs is nothing less than a door to a new universe, guided by Fursy Teyssier’s unique way of singing. By Eloi Mayano-Vinet

RELEASE INFO: 21 April 2017, Prophecy
TAGS: Shoegaze, Alternative, Post-rock, Doomgaze, Trip hop, France
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

LIGHTS & MOTION – DEAR AVALANCHE

Lights & Motion might be the definition of cinematic post-rock and Dear Avalanche surely is his best work to date. Christoffer Franzen released a work of amazing beauty that doesn’t need any words to tell his stories. Exploding climaxes and ambient piano melodies blend together, providing strong contrasts and facilitating introspection for the listener.  By Eloi Mayano-Vinet

RELEASE INFO: 20 January 2017, Deep Elm Records
TAGS: Indie, Ambient, Cinematic, Post-rock, Sweden
MORE INFO: Website || Spotify || Facebook

MASTER BOOT RECORD – INTERRUPT REQUEST

Aggressive, intricate and relentless, the new MASTER BOOT RECORD album is the pinnacle achievement of this Italian virtuoso, who combines chiptunes with black metal. While it may have more initial appeal to hackers and such, this music is composed with painstaking attention to detail and a solid knowledge of classical musical theory. Some say that Mozart was the rock star of his age. This is what his music would’ve probably sounded like, if the 18th Century had 486DX-33MHz-64MB computers. By Mircea Laslo

RELEASE INFO: 20 September 2017, Self-released
TAGS: Chiptune, Symphonic metal, Experimental, Italy
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

MILO – WHO TOLD YOU TO THINK ??!!?!?!?!

The way milo manages his wordplay on Who Told You To Think is, quite frankly, mesmerizing. Surely one of hip-hop’s most-underrated talents, Who Told You To Think sees Rory Ferreira weave incredible poetry over 15 tracks, bringing together chilled lo-fi beats and intelligent lyrical content. Deciphering his lyrics is one of life’s little pleasures. By Roberto Pereira

RELEASE INFO: 11 August 2017, Fat Beats Distribution, Inc
TAGS: Hip hop, Experimental, Underground, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

MOSES SUMNEY – AROMANTICISM

Masterful blend of genres and influences, excellent production and instrumentation, a soaring, electrifying voice, and a level of honesty that cuts to the bone. Aromanticism is an astute meditation on what is arguably the defining malady of the 21st Century so far – alienation. It is so relatable, it’s shocking. It is so smart, I’m willing to bet it’ll be quoted as a watershed moment for years to come. Probably the most ballsy and serious pop record I’ve heard all decade. By Mircea Laslo

RELEASE INFO: 22 September 2017, Jagjaguwar
TAGS: Experimental, Soul, Indie, Los Angeles
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

MOUNT EERIE – A CROW LOOKED AT ME

This album has already become legendary in its own right, not because it is pleasurable to listen to but rather as a testament to the power of music, and to the integral role art plays for the artist. A Crow Looked At Me is not for us, but here it is regardless, and it demands to be witnessed. It’s uncomfortable listening to Phil Elverum’s stark, unpoetic ruminations on the death of his wife, but that discomfort is part of what makes this work so important. Stories of entire audiences weeping in unison have built over the past several months, as this album has taken on a crucial life beyond music. By David Zeidler

RELEASE INFO: 24 March 2017, Self-released
TAGS: Folk, Singer-songwriter, Indie, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify

NE OBLIVISCARIS – URN

The eagerly anticipated third studio album from Ne Obliviscaris sees the band return to the dynamics of their first record, while also showing a continued upward progression from the sounds of Citadel. “Eyrie” is as close as any death metal band can come to a ballad and the subdued group shouts in “Libera” sees the band take a shot at the anthemic. Portraying depth in both complexity and melody, Urn is a true heir to this band’s impressive legacy. By Robert Westerveld

RELEASE INFO: 27 October 2017, Season of Mist
TAGS: Death metal, Progressive metal, Metal, Australia
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

OXBOW – THIN BLACK DUKE

As divisive and unpredictable as they’ve been in their decades-long career, I probably should’ve expected Oxbow’s Thin Black Duke to blow me away, after a five-year gestation period. But I really didn’t. Which makes its terrific density and disjointed, odd sensuality all the more memorable and refreshing, in a year which felt overall like an exercise in rehashing well-established formulas. Not Oxbow, though. Never Oxbow. By Mircea Laslo

RELEASE INFO: 19 May 2017, Hydra Head Records
TAGS: Experimental, Noise rock, Art punk, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

PAIN OF SALVATION – IN THE PASSING LIGHT OF DAY

2 weeks into 2017 and we’d already put the most memorable records in the book. It was both sad and satisfying, but Daniel Gildenlöw and his crew made their grand return to the sound that made them famous on memorable records such as The Perfect Element or even Entropia. Melting beautiful guitar works and vocal melodies with syncopated rhythms, they give progressive metal its credentials back at a time where its credibility sometimes fades away. By Eloi Mayano-Vinet

RELEASE INFO: 13 January 2017, InsideOut Music
TAGS: Progressive metal, Progressive rock, Experimental, Sweden
MORE INFO: Website || Spotify || Facebook

PALEHORSE/PALERIDER – BURIAL SONGS

This is, to me, the quintessential doomgaze sound. Bruising low-end accompanied by swirling guitar melodies and hazy, dreamy vocals combine to create a debut release that should firmly place this Denver, CO trio on everyone’s radar. This record takes every bit of time it needs, and the results are near-perfect. By David Zeidler

RELEASE INFO: 03 February 2017, Self-released
TAGS: Doomgaze, Post-metal, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

PERSEFONE – AATHMA

Aathma sees Persefone bringing their brand of progressive death metal with greater conciseness while still retaining maximum skill. In just over an hour the band takes the listener on a breathtaking journey that is as much filled with emotion as it is with baffling technical prowess. By Robert Westerweld

RELEASE INFO: 24 February 2017, ViciSolum Productions
TAGS: Metal, Progressive metal, Death metal, Andorra
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

PILLARS – OF SALT AND SEA

The moment I heard this album I knew it was going to end up on my list somewhere – it is the best post-rock I heard all year. From explosive crescendos, cathartic build-ups and bombastic climaxes this album has it all; it’s a true gem. By Federico Bernardinelli

RELEASE INFO: 15 December 2017, In Store Recordings
TAGS: Post-rock, Ambient rock, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

RANGES – THE ASCENSIONIST

I knew this album was going to be killer, and I was still surprised. Even after changing their inner machinations and releasing  And the People Cried Out For A King I could not predict anything like this. It’s so much better than anything they’ve ever done, and I am beyond excited to see where they go from here. By Aaron Edwards

RELEASE INFO: 22 September 2017, Self-released
TAGS: Post-rock, Ambient rock, Cinematic, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

SLOWDIVE – SLOWDIVE

Slowdive’s triumphant return marks one of the most notable comebacks for shoegaze. Their self-titled release is a perfect bridge for new fans, showcasing their trademark sound with modern aesthetics. By Evan Lurie

RELEASE INFO: 05 May 2017, Dead Oceans
TAGS: Shoegaze, Dream pop, England
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

SOUP – REMEDIES

Within seconds of hearing Remedies, you are aware you’ll be experiencing one of the strongest front-to-back records 2017 had to offer. A crafty combination of King Crimson-esque progressive rock and post-rock climaxes, this album is a journey every rock fan should embark on. By Evan Lurie

RELEASE INFO: 07 April 2017, Crispin Glover Records, Stickman Records
TAGS: Progressive rock, Alternative rock, Post-rock, Norway
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

TERA MELOS – TRASH GENERATOR

Trash Generator sees Tera Melos expand its explorations of new territories that started on X’ed Out back in 2013. The result is a work of art, though it’s still more accessible than Patagonian Rats, and clearly much more coherent. Led by the continuously renewed guitar technique of Nick Reinhart, this is nothing short of one of 2017’s best. By Eloi Mayano-Vinet

RELEASE INFO: 25 August 2017, Sargent House
TAGS: Math rock, Progressive rock, Experimental, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

THIS PATCH OF SKY – THESE SMALL SPACES

If this album were any more polished, I would be able to see my own face. They take everything about themselves that’s archetypical post-rock and embrace it fully, running with it to places unknown. It’s transcendent yet accessible, and I just can’t get enough of it. By Aaron Edwards

RELEASE INFO: 22 September 2017, Equal Vision Records
TAGS: Ambient, Post-rock, Cinematic, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

THUNDERCAT – DRUNK

A triple marriage of jazz fusion with R&B, hack and slash with sex, and anime with American racial issues. Drunk is 2017’s little emerald gem which stretches itself out from the utmost pop sensitivity to being a pleasantly mindless progressive nuisance. This is music for people who don’t belong in any sort of category, who confuse the nerdy with the cool and who play To Pimp a Butterfly to their hip hop-minded friends, thinking they will like it.  By Robert Westerveld

RELEASE INFO: 24 February 2017, Brainfeeder
TAGS: Jazz fusion, Electronic, R&B, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

TOBY DRIVER – MADONNAWHORE

Toby Driver issued a serious album, wreathed in a dreamlike atmosphere, that sounds as though it’s paced by the human heartbeat throughout. It’s fascinating how patient, how controlled, and how earnest this meditative masterpiece turned out to be. Even after months of listening, there are still hooks and layers to discover in its cold and gentle stylings. By Mircea Laslo

RELEASE INFO: 21 April 2017, The Flenser
TAGS: Art rock, Indie rock, Ambient rock, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

ULVER – THE ASSASSINATION OF JULIUS CAESAR

Ulver’s 13th studio album is the epitome of consistency—a continuous flat line set at sheer brilliancy. The combination of synthpop’s knack for melody and black metal’s sense of atmosphere make for a haunting opus. Add another touch of gothic dramatics and elements of noise and electronic music, and we find that Ulver have found yet another effective way of overwhelming their fans. By Robert Westerveld

RELEASE INFO: 07 April 2017, House of Mythology
TAGS: Pop, Electronic, Experimental, Norway
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

UNEVEN STRUCTURE – LA PARTITION

The pressure was certainly on for Uneven Structure in 2017. How would they follow up their 2011 release Februus, one of the great progressive metal records of the 2010s, and seminal release for the djent-movement that was gaining momentum at the time.  It took nearly six years, but the band gave us the bone-crushing album La Partition this year. Uneven Structure never forgets their progressive sensibilities, giving us an incredibly dense and cerebral three-act journey on La Partition.  By Roberto Pereira

RELEASE INFO: 21 April 2017, Long Branch Records
TAGS: Progressive metal, Djent, Post-metal, France
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

V/A – IMPERFECT (SPLIT)

It may not be playing by the letter of the law to include a split here, but the fact remains that Imperfect is one of the best collections of songs to be released in 2017. Featuring 5 blackgaze/post-black metal bands at the height of their powers, this album is an absolute tour de force. It also expertly blends a group of artists that bring a unique sense of uplift to their take on the genre. Collectively, the bands on display provide a startlingly cohesive, utterly moving listening experience. By David Zeidler

RELEASE INFO: 20 May 2017, Self-released
TAGS: Post-black metal, Blackgaze, Metal

WANDER – GLASS

Probably one of the most accessible post-rock albums since Explosions In The Sky’s The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, the sheer amount of energy encourages dancing while still maintaining its core. Undoubtedly the most honest post-rock album of this year, giving cares to the wind in favor of making something truly meaningful to themselves. By Aaron Edwards

RELEASE INFO: 22 September 2017, Self-released
TAGS: Post-rock, Math rock, Progressive rock, United States
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

WHILE SHE SLEEPS – YOU ARE WE

“Metalcore is dead”. The genre that blew up in the mid-2000s and turned bands like Killswitch Engage into household names, whilst birthing a thousand pretenders, no longer holds appeal like it used to. A few bands are still burning the flame brightly and proudly though. You Are We from While She Sleeps is one of those fires that can’t be contained. This is one of the most infectious records of the year that will have you headbanging and singing loudly for many years to come.  By Roberto Pereira

RELEASE INFO: 21 April 2017, Self-released
TAGS: Metalcore, Hardcore, Alternative, England
MORE INFO: Bandcamp || Spotify || Facebook

See the first part on the previous page: 1 – 25 (In alphabetical order)

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1 Comment

  • Many great albums here! Hubris among the best. I miss The Last Sigh Of The Wind on list, as I hold their latest album it to be the best instrumental post-rock albums of the year.

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