Best Releases of 2017 So Far

Best Releases of 2017 So Far

Four months in 2017 and we’ve had quite a good amount of great records out there. In this post, I will give a shootout to some of the releases that were put out so far. This is not a top list, and shouldn’t be considered as that, the releases given below are in no particular order.

Nova Collective – The Further Side

I’m sure that die-hard prog fans already know about Nova Collective, a Jazz Fusion / Prog Rock quartet which includes Between The Buried And Me bassist Dan Briggs and Haken guitarist Richard Henshall, along with ex-Haken keyboardist Pete Jones and Trioscapes drummer Matt Lynch. On The Further Side, available now via Metal Blade Records, Nova Collective deliver such a fruitful combination of Jazz Fusion and Progressive Rock resulting in six tracks of absolute greatness.

Grails – Chalice Hymnal

Grails‘ new masterpiece is a very welcome release. Their 2011 album Deep Politics was a crown of everything the band achieved up until then, but with a bit different approach to the creative process, Chalice Hymnal is a magnum opus per se. It flirts with avant-garde, Psychedelia, Post-Rock, Progressive Rock, Ambient, and is absolutely worth attention.

Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

The Atlanta based metallers have faced some very difficult moments during the creative process of Emperor of Sand, and it could be said that it feels in the overall atmosphere of the album. The quartet created a concept album, and returned to producer Brendan O’Brien, who worked with the band on their 2009 influential Crack the Skye. The album itself feels as a sort of a sequel to Crack The Skye, and comparing with previous two records, with Emperor of Sand Mastodon went for more psych/desert rock oriented sound.

Killer Cortez – Maquiladora

Boston-based Progressive/Psych Rock duo Killer Cortez‘s debut album Maquiladora is definitely one of the best debuts of the year so far, and I’m quite sure that it will prove this statement of mine at the end of the year as well. On Maquiladora, Killer Cortez don’t put accent on lengthy improvisations and show-offs, their take on Progressive Rock is subtle and very song-oriented. The overall vibe this record exudes will definitely astonish you. It’s both cold and warm, and to quote the band: “at the heart of each song is the reminder that because history is written by the winners we must remember not to overlook the stories of the oppressed.

David Maxim Micic – Who Bit the Moon

Guitarist and composer from Belgrade returned this year with his new album Who Bit the Moon, a release which showcase that the creative palette of this young musician never gets dry. Being one of the representatives of the generation of bedroom musicians, Micic‘s work on this album definitely doesn’t feel as a “bedroom production.” Who Bit the Moon shows a musician who is skilled both at creating and delivering.

Sleeping In Traffic – Feminism

Feminism possesses great balance between the up-beat rock tunes polished with rock’s progressive and alternative subgenres, but what this album shows is talent of the band which certainly can bring something epic. Until then, let Feminism shows itself in its full brilliance.

Art Against Agony – The Forgotten Story

The Forgotten Story summons too many comparisons to comfortably squeeze into a review. In no particular order: Between The Buried And MeuneXpectKayo DotVoivodWeather ReportGentle GiantSleepOpeth, and Ennio Morricone are all but a few of the artists that came to mind listening to this EP. While the list may not give too specific a description of what Art Against Agony are really like musically, it should at least give an indicator how damned varied the EP can be as a whole. Within the span of a single track, AAA can shift from folk to thrash and power metal, carnival music, and dissonant fusion.

Psychic Equalizer – The Lonely Traveller

Musically I wouldn’t call this pure jazz, but spiritually and aesthetically it couldn’t be jazzier. It has jazz’s unpretentious “coolness” seeping throughout, just welcoming you in. It’s very spacy in a way though, somewhat like the various forms of progressive rock.

Gone Is Gone - Echolocation

This was already expected to be good, but bearing in mind that many super-groups today are hit and miss I was a bit skeptical about how would this collaborative effort between Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age), Tony Hajjar (At the Drive-In), and Mike Zarin turn out. As it happens it turned out to be one of the best releases of the year so far. The music has the point, it’s lyrical and very expressive mix of different styles.

Soen – Lykaia

Lykaia surprised me in the way its predecessor, Tellurian, did back in 2014. The band answered the challenge called Tellurian with a release that both keeps and strays off the already paved path. Soen‘s focus on melody is even more expressed on Lykaia; starting from the opening “Sectarian” over the haunting delivery of “Lucidity,” down to the closing “Vitriol,” Soen offer quite a convincing effort with their third album.

What are your favorite releases of the year? Share them with us in the comments below. Download our Android app from Google Play Store, there are many cool features in there.

1 Comment

  1. R. Phillip Rahr

    April 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Two I would suggest are Cast – Power and Outcome and the Colin Tench Project- Hair on a G String. Both are excellent.

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