Following on from Sam Savigny kicking off the 2017 Rock Sins End Of Year Awards, it’s the turn of one of our senior writers Sam Dignon to pick his highlights and lowlights. Over to you Sam!
Album of the year: The Menzingers – After The Party
2017 was packed with several amazing albums but their were two that just stood out from the rest. Code Orange – Forever and The Menzingers – After The Party are not only the two best albums of this year but are two albums that have easily found their way into my top 10 albums of all time. Picking between the two was like choosing between my head and my heart, I knew that in a lot of ways Forever was technically the better album and is a game changer for heavy music. But if there was one album that I just kept going back to more than any other it would easily be After The Party.
Not a week has gone by since I first heard it where I haven’t at least listened to a handful of songs off it. And what incredible songs they are, it’s an album where there’s no clear highlight in terms of songs because they are all just so brilliant. Some of the most honest and heartfelt rock songs ever written. I know for sure that I’ll still be listening to the likes of Lookers and Tellin’ Lies for years to come.
Code Orange – Forever
Converge – The Dusk In Us
Counterparts – You’re Not You Anymore
Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
Song Of The Year: Code Orange – Bleeding In The Blur
The standout track on one of this years very best albums, this song was very much the one that showed Code Orange weren’t messing around on their third album. And dark and moody grunge song with a huge chorus proving that Code Orange are much more than just a hardcore band. Reba Meyers delivers her strongest vocal performance yet on this track and despite being their most melodic song, the band lose none of their bite. The song even ended up being performed live as the theme song for a WWE NXT event.
The Menzingers – After The Party
Stray From The Path – Goodnight Alt-Right
Employed To Serve – I Spend My Days – Wishing Them Away
While She Sleeps – Wide Awake
Gig Of The Year: Every Time I Die @ Koko, London
Every Time I Die have always been one of my favourite live band and seeing them not only play their biggest headline show ever, but sell it out was an absolute treat. Even in a venue the size of the Koko none of their ferocity was lost. They packed as many songs as they could into just over an hour delivering hit after hit. The fact they brought one such a strong supporting line up was the icing on the cake as Comeback Kid, Knocked Loose and Higher Power all delivered great sets. It was just so exciting to see a band like Every Time I Die step up to larger venues and smash it out the park.
Rise Against @ The Garage, London
Parkway Drive @ Brixton Academy
The Menzingers @ Koko, London
Gojira @ The Forum, London
Festival set of the year: Parkway Drive @ Groezrock Festival
Parkway Drive’s current live show is one of the best I have ever seen. Bringing an insane amount of pyro Rammstein might even be impressed with, Parkway Drive’s live performance is the definition of explosive. And with the back catalog they now have you’ve got one of the best metal shows around. It might of just missed out on my gig of the year but when they closed out Groezrock festival they really did blow away every other band I saw at a festival this year. It wasn’t just a load of pyro though as the rotating drumkit proved Parkway Drive are looking to deliver the most spectacular live show in Metalcore.
Against Me @ Slam Dunk Festival
The Menzingers @ Groezrock
Bossk @ Bloodstock Festival
Music video of the year: Pup – Old Wounds
Pup’s video for Old Wounds is one of the most unique videos ever. The band decided instead of doing a regular video they’d create an interactive video that is a throwback to the FMV games of the 90’s. As their tour manager you start by selecting a member of the band each with their own unique story and difficulty level. From there you have to make decisions at key moments of the video to try and keep your band member alive. With so many different outcomes it’s a video with legitimate replay value and there was just nothing else quite like it this year.
Code Orange – Bleeding In The Blur
Puppy – Demons
Most disappointing album of the year: Brand New – Science Fiction
There were a couple of albums I found disappointing this year. You Me At Six, All Time Low and Motionless In White all spring to mind as bands I like who released bad albums this year. But after so much of what has gone on in the last few months there was one band that ended up disappointing me more than any other. As Brand New’s final album the expectations for Science Fiction were sky high and initially the album didn’t disappoint. But then news broke of frontman Jesse Lacey’s sexual misconduct, followed by his incredibly weak statement and complete lack of any real apology.
Now obviously me no longer being able to enjoy Brand New’s music is the least important part of all this. So I just wanted to use this as an opportunity to say that any band who uses their position to abuse their fans can get in the bin. The feelings of their victims are far more important than any bands art. Jesse Lacey isn’t the only musician from our scene to be called out on this stuff now and this applies to every band member who abuses their fans, especially those unwilling to take responsibility and apologise for their actions.
Favourite new band: END
For my favourite band of 2017 I decided to go for a band who were genuinely new this year rather than someone who had been kicking about for a while and really broke through this year. END features members of Counterparts and Fit For An Autopsy among other bands and as a huge fan of Counterparts I was very excited to hear what Brendan Murphey (vocals) would be doing with END. From The Unforgiving Arms Of God was a crushingly heavy debut EP that would certainly appeal to fans of 90’s metalcore. Hopefully the members of END find time to release more music next year if they aren’t too busy with their day jobs.
Band Of The Year: Code Orange
While they might have just missed out on my album of the year, there is no denying that 2017 has been all about Code Orange. From January through to now their hasn’t been a single month where people haven’t been shouting about this band. Forever was a game changing album, they supported some of the best bands in metal and even stood toe to toe with Gojira in London. At Download Festival their set seemed to be all some people could talk about. As previously mentioned they performed live on a WWE NXT Takeover event doing both Bleeding In The Blur as the theme song as well as a live performance of Aleister Blacks entrance music with Incendiary vocalist Brendan Garrone.
The list of highlights goes on but is undoubtedly capped off by the band receiving a grammy nomination. As someone who has been a fan of Code Orange for years it has been amazing to see the band just take over the world this year. Near enough every other heavy band has suffered as a result of just how brilliant Code Orange have been. And this still only feels like the beginning for the band. Their ambition stretches far beyond any hardcore band before them. What Code Orange have done this year has really been the shot in the arm heavy music has needed. Code Orange is forever.
Stay tuned for lots more end of year awards from the rest of the team over the holiday period!