Next up in the Rock Sins End Of Year Awards for 2017 is Philip Whitehead. Following on from the two Sam’s (Sam Savigny and Sam Dignon), it’s now Philip’s turn to pick out his moments from the last twelve months.
Album Of The Year: Body Count – Bloodlust
This was a close call to make, with some spectacular efforts coming out this year, leaving for a very difficult decision when writing this list. However, Body Count take the prize this year, with an album full of urgency and rage that we sorely need after a trying 2017. Choice cuts including “Black Hoodie” and “No Lives Matter” combine Ice T’s socially conscious lyrics with the trademark Body Count riffage that has earned them a Grammy nomination.
Gary Numan – Savage (Songs from a Broken World)
Band-Maid – Just Bring It
Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora
Once Human – Evolution
Song Of The Year: Bridear – Ignite
This year, one particular scene that has really caught my attention is the so-called “Girls Metal Band Boom” in Japan. Coming from their EP Rise, one group from this scene, Bridear, has continued to evolve their sound and create something with all the heaviness of their previous efforts, with the hooks and accessibility to take them to the next level. Lead single “Ignite” is the culmination of all this, becoming an earworm that won’t leave your head for days.
Body Count – Black Hoodie
While She Sleeps – Silence Speaks
My Ticket Home – Hyperreal
BRATS – Nounai Shoukyo Game
Gig Of The Year: Linkin Park and Friends – Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington
On a personal level, I’ve had a very busy year so haven’t been able to attend many concerts. However, I made sure to watch Linkin Park’s livestreamed concert on 27 October in memory of their fallen frontman, Chester Bennington, who tragically took his own life on 20 July this year. Bringing out a stellar cast of guests including Oli Sykes, Daron Malakian, Alanis Morissette, Deryck Whibley, blink-182 and even a minor SexArt reunion with Ryan Shuck and Jonathan Davis, the surviving members of Linkin Park couldn’t have done any more to commemorate the life of one of the most recognisable voices in 21st century rock. What the future holds remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain – this is not the last we’ve heard from Linkin Park.
Music Video Of The Year: Phantom Excaliver – Maboroshi no seiken
If there’s one thing that can be said for Japanese metal, it’s that they know how to make a music video. Even on a shoestring budget, they can make something that’ll leave you in awe of what you just watched. Enter Phantom Excaliver, whose music video for their new album’s title track (which roughly translates as “The Phantom Sword”) is so self aware with its low budget nature that it’s almost like a work of art. It helps that the music itself is more than worthy of a listen.
Body Count – No Lives Matter
Stray From the Path – Good Night Alt-Right
Most Disappointing Album Of The Year: Suicide Silence – Suicide Silence
It’s hard to really find an album that properly disappointed me this year. Gorillaz’ comeback Humanz wasn’t quite to the standard I was hoping for, but when it worked, it really worked. Therefore the biggest let down probably has to be Suicide Silence’s much maligned self-titled effort. The band seem to be at odds with where they want to take their sound going into the future, and Eddie Hermida’s clean vocals leave much to desired, and many a meme to be created. Things went from bad to worse with Hermida being faced with accusations of inappropriate behaviour towards a minor, but if the band comes out the other side, they have a lot of work to do to win over the doubters now.
Gorillaz – Humanz
Eminem – Revival
Favourite New Band Of 2017: Digital Nova
One of the benefits of travelling abroad this year meant that I was able to look deeper into the underground of a country I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to explore. And this is how Digital Nova emerged on my radar. Their sophomore album and record label debut, Orphelins, came out in October last year and showed a level of songwriting that is sure to propel them to further heights as they continue to build their reputation at home.
Band Of The Year: Architects
It takes a lot to cope with the death of a bandmate, not least one that you’re related to. Architects had to deal with that in August 2016 when Tom Searle, guitarist and principle songwriter in the band, passed away after a long battle with melanoma. It would have been perfectly understandable if the surviving members chose to call time on the band after that. However, spurred on by the desire to honour his memory, the band have persevered. The surprise release of new song “Doomsday” in September, partially written by Tom before he died, proved that there is still a future for Architects, and that future is bright. Bringing in Sylolsis’ Josh Middleton as their new guitarist, Architects are currently working on a new album. We all eagerly anticipate what will come of it.
While She Sleeps
“Bubbling Under” Band of the Year: Witchour
As part of my own personal commitment to underground music, I decided to create this award for bands that have yet to break out of the underground (or even their local scene), but are destined to do so in the near future. Argentina’s Witchour have been making steady progress since their debut EP in 2015, and the double A-side Night Hag & El Pacto, released this summer, has all the hallmarks of a modern melodeath ready to take their music to the next stage. Killer riffs, big choruses and top notch production are already in abundance, all they need to do now is get people to take notice.
Stay tuned for more contributions from the team as Rock Sins continues to look back at 2017!