By Joel Richardson
With the amount of high quality music released last year, it’d have been pretty damn difficult to check out everything, leaving some albums and EP’s to fly under the radar for the most of us. That being said here are five records/EP’s from 2017 that I feel you may have missed and should 100% check out.
Milk Teeth ‘Be Nice’ & ‘Go Away’ EP’s
Having released an outstanding debut in the form of 2016’s Vile Child, the Stroud-based punk band followed that up with two EP’s in 2017. Each EP consists of four songs and features the band’s signature blend of 90’s grunge, indie and good ol’ punk rock.
Be Nice was the first EP to be released and opens up with the anthem that is Owning Your Okayness, which sees the band compile easily the most catchy song of the year with groove-laden guitar lines and undeniable vocal melodies in abundance. Owning Your Okayness easily rivals any song in the band’s back catalogue.
The rest of the EP sees Milk Teeth experiment with some of the key sonic concepts that make up their sound: Prism sees the grungier side of the bands sound combine into a tune that would fit seamlessly on to any radio station in the nineties, Fight Skirt is a punk rock sonic outburst that is guaranteed to go off at any live show the band play and the EP comes to a close with the amazing Hibernate that starts from a mellow plucked guitar line and mellowed vocals and grows into a full band crescendo.
The second EP Go Away doesn’t see the band play on as many diverse concepts as its predecessor, but instead they come flying out the traps with three top-tier punk rock ragers in the form of I Stabbed You First, Lillian and Nearby Catfight. The band close out the EP with Big Sky which takes the punk and grunge elements present in the first three tracks and adds spacey and ethereal guitar lines to make a moody, emotive piece of the highest quality. Overall the band have released 8 songs that, had they been a full-length album instead, would’ve easily been right up there for Record of the Year. Milk Teeth are an exceptional band that are without question the future of rock music in this country and for that reason alone you need to check them out.
Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
No beating around the bush with this one, you may not have heard of it because Employed to Serve don’t have the most accessible of sounds, but hear me out… The Woking-based metal/hardcore outfit take all the nasty and ferocious elements of both those genres and chuck them through a filter of more nastiness and ferocity to make some of the finest heavy music this country has ever produced. Despite having been voted Kerrang Album of the Year amongst many other accolades, the band’s second album still seems to be talked about less than some of the other releases to come out in 2017 and that needs to change ASAP.
Obviously nasty and ferocious metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the band excel at so much within the genre that anybody with even the slightest of interest in metal or rock music will find something in here that they’ll fall in love with.
Whether it’s the two-step riffs of Void Ambition, the shoegaze whirlwind of Lethargy or the detuned chuggy groove of I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away) this album, from start to finish is outrageously good and is absolutely worth your time. Just like Milk Teeth, Employed To Serve are a band with their eyes set on being a leading name in their genre in the coming years and this album further proves that point.
Puppy – Vol.II EP
Another EP, this time from London alt-metallers Puppy. Alt-metal isn’t really the best way to describe Puppy as they’re so varied and unique, but in short, they combine 90’s alt rock, old school heavy metal and elements of indie into an extremely eclectic sound.
‘Vol. II’ is the band’s second EP after their self-titled release in 2015 and consists of six songs. The band kick things off with Entombed which features a riff straight out Nu-Metal territory; that down-tuned groove takes us through the first half of the song until the band break things down in the middle, build things up again to release one of the finest solos on any track from 2017 without a doubt. Other standout moments on this EP are the laidback Warm (which again features another build into an all mighty crescendo), the superb Arabella that’s full of Iron Maiden-esque riffing but played through a 90’s grunge filter and Here at Home which serves up a melancholy vibe to lead us out of the EP.
If you’re looking for something refreshing, super unique that takes outside-of-the-box ideas and executes them to the highest quality then this EP is definitely for you. I cannot wait to get more Puppy material in my ears.
Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
If white hot thrash metal and razor-sharp hardcore is your thing, then you’re a complete fool if you’ve not given this album a listen.
The five-piece group hailing from Dallas released their second album in 2017 and much in the same vein as the Employed To Serve record, this album brought the band a new level of success but I’ve not seen enough people raving about it, so here it is and you should bloody listen to it!
Coupling the sounds of Bay Area thrash metal and New York style hardcore (Cro-Mags meets Exodus basically) Power Trip breathe new life into aging genres on this album. There are countless brilliant moments on here ranging from the two step grooves of Soul Sacrifice and the lightning fast riffing on Firing Squad but the standout track is without a doubt Executioners Tax, a real metal anthem.
Power Trip gave us the album metal needed in 2017 and proved that the genre is far from going stale, you absolutely need to hear this!
Glassjaw – Material Control
Capping off my list is the first album in fifteen years from post-hardcore veterans Glassjaw.
The four-piece rockers from Long Island have been well known for being very experimental with their sound and that doesn’t change on this release; throwing together spacey guitar lines, off-kilter vocal melodies and even tribal drum patterns, it’s safe to say Glassjaw aren’t scared of throwing the rule book out the window.
Standout moments on this album are in abundance and range from the energetic opener that is New White Extremity (that features some of the best bass playing I’ve heard in a while), the ethereal, spaced out and melancholy vibes of Strange Hours and the old school hardcore riffing that pops up on My Conscience Weighs a Ton. Much like the Puppy EP, this is full of eclectic idea after eclectic idea making it one of the most interesting listens of 2017. A rhythm section that’s killing it left, right and centre on here alongside one of the best vocal performances of 2017 are even more reasons to check this album out.