At the end of each year, one of the things I look forward to here at 420Radio/Urb Thrasher Flower Hour is compiling all of the amazing efforts we’ve been sent over the last 12 months from so many hard working bands, supportive record labels and PR Firms, and then packing the best of the best into one joint. While we support many forms of music here, including Bluegrass, Rock, Stoner Rock, Metal and other genres that reach us in the form of Rock, it’s always tough sifting through it all. Having such a diverse array to choose from, it becomes easier to deem them ”yearly favorites” than to create actual numbered “Top 10” list. We look at many aspects, including flavor, complexity, does it burn good all the way through, and the all around high of the album. Hopefully we heard some albums that you didn’t, so dont be afraid to try new music. So in no specific order (other than all these efforts are amazing,) here are our favorite albums of 2017!
Byzantine – The Cicada Tree
One of the more transforming albums for this year came from West Virginia’s, Byzantine. Their latest album, ”The Cicada Tree,” (released July 28th, 2017 via Metal Blade Records) has due-fully enabled the band to infiltrate many unsuspecting Rock channels throughout the music world with their harmonious blends of contrasting agitation and placid balance. Cast of 11 tunes that bridge a solid decade-plus of Heavy Metal stewardship, “The Cicada Tree” feels of a metallic journey through what was while embracing a new, potentially sensitive directional force of being.
Byzantine – New Ways To Bear Witness
GWAR – The Blood of Gods
GWAR has been travelin’ the inner realms of the universe, spreading cheerful filth and distorted Rock since the beginning of time. As you might expect, GWAR is still at it with their brand new, thrashing release, “Blood of the Gods,” released October 20th via Metal Blade Records. Faced with unexpected adversity, the band has prevailed with honor touring the world with continued stories to share. Clearly dialing in on a new found kindred spirit creating new music, touring the world, and taking names for the future, “The Blood of Gods” is a easy 2017 favorite.
GWAR – I’ll Be Your Monster
HE IS LEGEND – Few
Creating their original blend of Rock from North Carolina, HE IS LEGEND has been on many Rock music fans radar for nearly a decade now. Riding high in 2017 following the release of their fifth full-length album, “Few” which was released just after the 420 holiday on April 28th, via Spinefarm Records, the band continues to create a musical buzz, whether home or abroad. After spinning “Few” many times throughout the year, one word comes to mind, growth. HE IS LEGEND doesn’t seem to settle, therefore growth and creating new chapters is essential to the bands longevity and success.
HE IS LEGEND – Sand
MAMMOTH MAMMOTH – Mount The Mountain
Grooving Rock-N-Roll with a dose of dirt is at a premium these days. Thanks to MAMMOTH MAMMOTH, the goods are back on the shelf in the form of “Mount The Mountain,” released April 28th, 2017 via Napalm Records! Hailing from Australia and recently welcoming brand new singer, Mickey Tucker, the band might just have found the pot of gold to carry the band to the next level. Channeling your inner Lemmy, and blending the finer points of Sleaze Rock, Stoner Rock, and Punk Rock, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH is right on time for a favorite release of 2017!
MAMMOTH MAMMOTH – Sleepwalker
The Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic
I’ve never been to a Rock show wearing a suit with polished dance shoes, ready to imbibe an unshaken martini. But if I did, I’d probably be on my way to see Sweden’s The Night Flight Orchestra. Lead by Soilwork front man Bjorn Strid along with other established musicians, “Amber Galactic” (released May 19th, 2017 via Nuclear Blast Records) blends yesterday’s classic rock sounds with a glimpse of what it would have sounded like had Studio 54 also included rockers in stylish suits. Melodic in full, progressive, snazzy, rich, and downright fun, The Night Flight Orchestra is an excellent favorite choice for 2017.
The Night Flight Orchestra – Gemini
Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
Swing for the fence! That’s exactly what Power Trip has done while dealing out this year’s brand new album, “Nightmare Logic,” released February 24th, 2017 through Southern Lord Records. Except Power Trip swings with a metallic ax! Thrashing Texas style, the dudes have taken the metal thrash world by storm with confidence, raw talent, that axemanship, and heavy cut riffs. Gaining steam with each stop while touring the world with many amazing bands, Power Trip makes our favorites list for 2017.
Power Trip – Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)
Split Lip Rayfield – On My Way
Travelin’ the country spreading the finest shades of grass continues to be a way of life for Kansas natives, Split Lip Rayfield. Bridging rock fundamentals with traditional bluegrass signatures has helped define the band’s music throughout the years as, “Thrash-grass!” Releasing “On My Way” on January 7th, 2017, it’s easy to see how the trio continues to build upon and help lead the bluegrass world in their own chosen direction. Also known for bassist Jeff Eaton’s center stage, one-string “stitchgiver” and high-energy, live performances, “On My Way” is a high picking time and joins our 2017 favorite’s list.
Split Lip Rayfield – All Fucked Up
PIPE – Down In The Smoke
When you think of weed, one place that always comes to mind is: Chicago! OK maybe not, but once you get a hold of some PIPE, the essence of a Chicago high is definitely there. Pressing hard this year with “Down In the Smoke,” (released on May 15th, 2017 via the DIY tag) PIPE has set themselves on par with some of the most hard rocking bands out there, signed or not. Great sounding production over well-crafted hard rock puts PIPE right in line for a 2017 favorite for the year.
PIPE – Down In The Smoke
Galactic Cowboys – Long Way Back To The Moon
Can a band go on hiatus for 17 years and still come back solid? It appears so, especially when you’re the Galactic Cowboys! Hailing from Houston, Texas, the guys have recently summoned the original band back together, releasing “Long Way Back To The Moon” (Mascot Label Group) on November 17th, 2017. The Galactic Cowboys are back in the saddle with their signature flavors that combine various amounts of Rock, Metal, Thrash and Progressive tendencies. Also known for their grunge-alternative sound and sense of humor, The Galactic Cowboys have managed to revive a scent from the 90’s and twist themselves current, landing a solid position on our list of 2017 favorites.
Galactic Cowboys – Zombies
Living Colour – Shade
30 years ago Living Colour entered the music industry on their own accord, and have been riding decades of distorted waves ever since, now owning a portion of the ever-changing Rock world through their years of creativity. After listening to their 6th studio album “Shade,” released on September 8th 2017 via Megaforce Records, it’s obvious their splendid ride and positive vibes continues. Naturally deemed blues-heavy, glazed with soul and high levels of Funk’n Rock, “Shade” is another desirable effort demonstrating the band’s sonic prowess, making Living Colour a favorable pick on our 2017 favorite releases.
Living Colour – Program
10 more Rip-Worthy mentions:
Thanks for supporting the Urb Thrasher Flower Hour and all the bands we support here on the 420Radio.org network! We’ll be back in 2018 spinning the best in Bluegrass, Rock, Stoner Rock, and Heavy Metal! Don’t forget we have bands like Clutch, Fu Manchu, Judas Priest, King Chiefs and many others releasing new albums in 2018!