2017 is nearly over and it’s about that time to dive into the best music of the year – including Body Count, Macklemore, Dropkick Murphys, Dirty Heads, Trivium and more! Check out my top 10 albums of the year right here:
#10. Gorilla Voltage – APE-X
If you took hardcore metal band Biohazard and mashed those oldschool headbanging beasts with The Beastie Boys then you wind up with something along the lines of GORILLA VOLTAGE. Otherwise known as Mr. Grey and ClockworC, and previously called Damn Dirty Apes, these two MC’s are ferocious. I’d like to think that they actually wrecked microphones in the studio while recording APE-X, because not only are the lyrics heavy as hell, but they belt them out just as hard. (Full review HERE)
#9. Imagine Dragons – Evolve
I was checking out my “most played” songs of 2017 on Spotify the other day and ‘Thunder’ was right at the top of the list. Which means I’ve listened to ‘Thunder’ a staggering amount of times and I’m OK with that. I know it’s easy to hate on Imagine Dragons, but I think they’re one of the best mainstream rock acts around. It helps too that I can listen to them with my kids and not worry about them learning some F-bombs in the process. ‘Evolve’ is a stellar effort and easily the band’s most progressive and refined album yet.
#8. Tech N9ne – Dominion
The best rap talent on earth is back with ‘Dominion’ – his 18th studio album! This one is special though because it features the entire roster of Strange Music, meaning you’ll get even more than regular collaborator Krizz Kaliko on the 20-plus tracks featured here. Rittz, Prozak, Stevie Stone and more memorable cameos make this family affair one of the best and diverse records of 2017.
#7. Trivium – The Sin & The Sentence
After Matt Heafy opted to drop the screams on Trivium’s previous effort, I have to admit — I was a little sad. As great as the music was and continues to be, I’m a sucker for Heafy’s growls. ‘The Sin & The Sentence’ features the glorious return of Heafy’s vocal anger and I’m ecstatic. This record is one of the band’s best – maybe my favourite since ‘Shogun’. Sweeping song structures, insane solos – Trivium just dropped one of 2017’s best metal albums and have shown that they are here to stay when so many other metalcore bands have dropped off the heavy music radar.
#6. Hollywood Undead – Five
Rap metal maniacs Hollywood Undead’s fifth studio album “Five” fully embraces the party aspect of the band’s catalog and the results are extremely satisfying. I’ve always loved it when Hollywood Undead opts to make music about chicks, drinking and drugs — there’s just something genuine about hearing them have a good time instead of trying to be dark and moody. Songs like ‘Riot’, ‘Whatever it Takes’ and ‘Bad Moon’ wound up on my most played songs of 2017 and the album came out just before Halloween.
#5. Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage
Rage Against The Machine — but with B-Real (Cypress Hill) and Chuck D (Public Enemy) on vocals. The supergroup’s first full length album is a ferocious, politically driven effort that definitely draws from all aspects of the band’s varying fanbases. B-Real and Chuck D trade verses flawlessly while Tom Morello’s signature guitar brings it altogether in one of the year’s most memorable records. ‘Living on The 110’, ‘Strength in Numbers’ and ‘Unfuck The World’ are all heavy as shit and proof that rap and rock were made to be mashed up.
#4. Dirty Heads – Swim Team
Reggae isn’t dead – it is alive and well on ‘Swim Team’, the sixth studio album from Dirty Heads. I grew up listening to a lot of Sublime. A LOT. And I dare proclaim Dirty Heads as the best band in that stoner genre since Sublime’s third and final self-titled record (1996). ‘Mad at it’ is catchy as hell and ‘So Glad You Made it’ is one of the feel-good hits of 2017. There’s just something so refreshing and cool listening to Dirty J and Duddy B trade those laidback hip hop verses before dropping a memorable chorus that separates them from the rest of the rap/reggae bands out there right now.
#3. Dropkick Murphys – 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
My favourite Boston band – The Dropkick Murphys are back and better than ever with a memorable album loaded with beautiful sing-a-long hits like ‘Paying My Way’ and ‘4-15-13’. The latter of which is one of the best songs of 2017 and a masterful performance about a city coming together in the wake of tragedy. 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory is the band’s best effort since 2005’s ‘The Warrior’s Code and the best rock record of the year by a mile.
#2. Body Count – Bloodlust
Ice-T and company are back and more vicious than ever on ‘Bloodlust’ — Body Count’s most ferocious album to date. In a world filled with so much chaos and hate, this is a record that spits in the face of authority and encourages people to stand up for themselves. I’m not saying go out and kill the police who are murdering people in the streets — but the revenge fantasy and visceral lyrics from Ice-T are some of the most heated, inspired and visceral of the rap legend’s career. “All these people out here tripping off police brutality like this shit is something new. Give me a fucking break. I’ve been talking about this shit for over 20 years.” – Black Hoodie intro.
#1. Macklemore – Gemini
Where’s Ryan Lewis? Doesn’t matter. Macklemore is back and at his best with his latest solo offering ‘Gemini’. Hands down the most memorable album of 2017, Macklemore has delivered hit after hit in what is not only my favourite album of the year, but the most feel-good record as well. I legit become happier after listening to ‘Gemini’ – whatever foul mood I’m in, this music will actually improve my mood. ‘Good Old Days’, ‘Glorious’ and ‘Willy Wonka’ are my top three right now, but the record is front to back flawless. Like him or not, Macklemore is making music that you can dance to, sing to, blow your car speakers out to and enhance any shit day you may be having. In a world filled with so much hate, it’s nice to have a positive record to throw on and instantly change the mood. We need more music like this in our lives.