Staff Picks Part 2: Top Album Releases Of 2017 (Smaller Bands)

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This is part 2 of our staff picks regarding the top releases of 2017, which we cannot believe is over. Part 1 we listed our top EP picks of the year, so click HERE if you missed that. This list consists of our top album picks from bands who are newly signed bands releasing their debuts, bands who haven’t reached mainline status yet, or unsigned bands on the come up.

Top 13 Smaller Band Albums Of 2017

1. Thousand Below- ‘The Love You Let Too Close’ (Rise Records)

FFO: Underoath/Too Close To Touch/Our Last Night

Why It Matters: Such a refreshing sound in a time when the music scene has more bands than ever and the sound is over saturated. They bring a much-needed balance in the spectrum of heavy and soft. It hits when it needs to, makes you cry when it needs to, and always leaves a desire for more at the end.

2. Northern Ghost- ‘Happy. Sad. Depressed. Suicidal’ (Tragic Hero Records)

FFO: Underoath/Bring Me The Horizon/Architects

Why It Matters: Much like Thousand Below, they are helping usher in a sound that influenced the very genre they and many other bands grew up listening to. Elements of Underoath and Bring Me The Horizon are all over this album and has been spun multiple times by our staff. Not only a small band charter, but this may well be an overall favorite of the year also.

3. Awaken I Am- ‘Blind Love’ (Victory Records)

FFO: The Weeknd/Issues/Too Close To Touch

Why It Matters: If the previous two are bringing in the old school with a twist, Awaken I Am is bringing in the new school. Elements of top 40 pop and RnB are blended with the post-hardcore style ever so seamlessly. If The Weeknd sang in a band, this would be it.

4. Chase Atlantic- ‘Chase Atlantic’ (Warner Bros. Records)

FFO: The Weeknd/The Neighborhood/Blackbear

Why It Matters: This record not only will bring them scene stardom, much like PVRIS, but rather mainstream as well. This will be 2019’s Blackbear, where we all knew this band before everyone else did. This record is so good, that that time could be much sooner than that. If you love chilled pop music with a nice flow, then get on it!

5. Ghost Atlas- ‘All Is In Sync And There’s Nothing Left To Sing About’

FFO: Saosin/Secret & Whisper/I The Mighty
Why It Matters: Another one of those refreshing sounds out there in the midst of bland and same. Jesse Cash unleashes his voice to new heights which is a top-tier performance for anyone on a record this year. Just wish this wasn’t a side gig to ERRA so we could see Cash play these masterpieces live.

6. Nothing, Nowhere.- ‘Reaper’ (Equal Vision Records)

FFO: No one honestly. Though elements of the emo genre are there musically, no set artist compares.

Why It Matters: Gives a new meaning to the 2017 term ’emo rap’. He does nothing but tug at your emotions with painful relatable lyrics with the chilled acoustic guitars playing and simple yet intricate beats over on top. His vocal delivery is spot on and even includes cameos from Chris Carrabba of the famed Dashboard Confessional. Emo seal of approval!

7. Stasis- ‘No Hope For Now’

FFO: Misery Signals/Heart In Hand/Capsize
Why It Matters: It screams nothing but 2009 melodic hardcore. The pre-talking before breakdowns, the chaotic riffs that have panic chords tossed in on top, and emotional vulnerability of the vocals bring the lyrics to life. If you want a throwback album that is current, this one will do it for you.

8. For All Eternity- ‘The Will To Rebuild’ (Facedown Records)

FFO: Fit For A King/Betraying The Martyrs/ In Hearts Wake
Why It Matters: Building on their powerful sound, this record isn’t just next level for them, but metalcore as a whole. It is one of the heaviest and emotional albums to come out for the genre this year. You can’t come away from it without feeling SOMETHING.

9. Deathbreaker- ‘Disconnect’ (Facedown Records)

FFO: Being As An Ocean/Norma Jean/Underoath
Why It Matters: Beauty in the chaos. Amongst the Norma Jean and Underoath heavy aspect comes the emotional side Being As An Ocean projects. Blending that dichotomy together allows each to coexist and work well on this album.

10. Hundred Suns- ‘The Prestaliis’ (Die Alone/New Damage)

FFO: Norma Jean/Deftones/Chevelle
Why It Matters: Norma Jean frontman Cory Brandan delivers a rare vocal performance we can’t get elsewhere in Norma Jean. Focusing on melody and singing vs screaming and chaos, we get a different side of Brandan on this powerful debut. That doesn’t go without mentioning some heavier aspects are in this too, mainly the heavier parts you hear in softer Norma Jean songs. Hundred Suns is a side project, but that doesn’t mean this couldn’t take off.

11. House vs Hurricane- ‘Filth’ (UNFD)

FFO: Every Time I Die/Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster
Why It Matters: This band did a complete turn around in terms of style after being away for a bit. They traded in their synthcore style from the late 00s and morphed into a southern metalcore style. It’s dirty, gritty, and groovy as hell. Don’t sleep.

12. My Ticket Home- ‘unReal’ (Spinefarm Records)

FFO: 90s jams
Why It Matters: My Ticket Home brings back a flavor of old school on their return to the scene. This record delivers a classic style from the 90s and early 00s which gave us all instant nostalgia for that time era. This record is also well written and the hooks in the choruses deliver and hit the mark.

13. Currents- ‘The Place I Feel Safest’ (Sharptone Records)

FFO: Invent Animate/ERRA/Northlane
Why It Matters: A blistering record that takes the listener on a roller coaster of styles and sounds. The record kicks off pretty hard and heavy while slows down a bit midway to convey some emotional moments. The record then ends as it started, on a high, powerful note closing out hard and heavy.

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About Author

Since 2014, Trenton has been a journalist for Soundlink Magazine. He specializes in interviewing bands for both video and podcasting formats while writing various pieces.

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