Editors' Pick : 2017 Best Releases & Music Videos

Welcome to our annual Editors' Pick: Best Releases & Music Videos. Per our tradition, the editors will gather round and decide on outstanding releases and music videos. Our picks are based on personal favourite. Hopefully you find the list useful and enjoyable!


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Sejujurnya 2017 start out agak slow bagi aku untuk discover album album yang melekat di gegendang telinga. Tapi bila da masuk suku ke-2 dan ke-3 dah nampak lagu lagu yang memenuhkan playlist music aku. Baik buruk list ini bergantung pada taste pendengar. Secara ikhlas dan telus, berikut adalah rilisan yang tak lekang dari telinga aku sehingga ke penghujung tahun.


He Is Legend - Few
Heavy and groovy. Band ni memang band idola aku."Few" shows much more fierce sound from the previous album. Riffing yang berlemak in between guitar works yang berat dan melodic membuatkan lagu dipersembahkan dengan secukup rasa.

Fav track: Air Raid,  Alley Cat, Call Ins, Fritz the Dog, The Garden


Speak the Truth - Everyone You Love Will Slip Away From You
Probably the most anticipated release i've ever felt this year. Buddy Nielson of Senses Fail team up with dudes from Finch. What more can you wish for? 2 of the biggest emo-punk-post-hc group from the '00s give birth to this nostalgic anthem!

Fav track: The Upside Down, Crash My Car, Carpenter in Prison, Drowning on the Sidewalk or Dying Inside


END - From the Unforgiving Arms of God (EP)
Aku rasa ni consider as a Super-Group right? Line up from Counterparts, Fit For an Autopsy and Misery fucking Signals put out some extremely brutal metalcore pieces in this record. Aku rasa probably akan ada local band yang inspired by them nanti. This is some mosh-galore punya tune.

Fav track: Just go listen to the whole playlist. All 6 track easily my favorite.


Saviour - Let Me Leave
Band yang kembali dari long hiatus. So glad that finally Shontay Snow become their permanent line up. Hailing from Australia, one of the earliest band yang di label "feelscore", gabungan metal hardcore dengan lyric yang sedddeeyy. Album ke-3 mereka ni penuh lagu lagu yg ada "hook" dengan suara Shontay yang agak dominant berbanding album album terdahulu.

Fav track: The Quiet Calm, Pressure & Composure, Forget Me, Wildfire


Brand New - Science Fiction
One of the longest album on my playlist. Now, aside from the sexual misconduct allegation on their vocalist, Science Fiction is a masterpiece from Brand New. This is supposed to be their last album before calling in quits in 2018 tak silap. Tapi kesilapan lampau Jesse Lacey finally catching up and the band end up closing their book with a shit stain. But as a band, i appreciate the good music even i didnt felt the same listening to it after the news.

Fav track: Waste, Same/Logic, Desert, No Control


Poppy - Poppy.Computer
I cant believe i truly enjoyed this. Haha. Poppy start as a weird series of Youtube videos where she did some weird skit yang membuatkan kau macam "what the actual fuck". But Poppy sebenarnya one of the music project conduct by Titanic Sinclair. Poppy is created as a parody of Pop music/culture. Catchy tunes and ironic as fuck.

Fav Track: Moshi Moshi, Fuzzy, Pop Music


Transitions - Apathy
Tak sah kalau tak mention album ni kalau petik pasal local scene. Sesuatu yang fresh dan jarang (mungkin takde) di ketengahkan dalam local scene Malaysia ni.
Sedih, kecamuk, menusuk kalbu; Apathy ialah album yang sesuai mengiringi hati yang pilu. Full review di sini.


Alotliketurd - Self-Titled
You guys need to pay attention more to our local chaos scene. Generasi baru yang mengamuk dengan track track pendek dan padu. Album mereka sudah pun masuk 2nd press. Ikuti full review di sini dan dapatkan sebelum terlambat!







Honorable Mention!



Sithu Aye - Senpai EP II: The Noticing (EP)
Anime goes progressive! Yang minat ChonPolyphia etc boleh try.

Half Gramme of Soma - Groove is Black
Psychedelic Stoner Rockheads from Greece!

Converge - The Dusk In Us
This is a well-known math-metalcore giant that everyone loves. Come on, its fuckin' Converge.

Crack Guilty - Headfirst (EP)
Line up yang terdiri dari orang orang lama yang memang aku admire hasil seni mereka. Dengan 4 track EP, memuatkan riffing riffing alternative rock melodic yang heavy dan energetic. Looking forward for the full lenght release from this band!

Pastel Lite - Balada
2 pieces experimental electro-pop ni memang tengah top sekarang. Daripada zaman zaman aku dengar track "Hot Drum" dan "Have Me" (2012 kot?) They've grown so much through out the years!

Music Video

So aku jarang meneliti or mengagumi music video umumnya. Tapi music video paling aku layan tahun ini ialah dari Every Time I Die - I Didn't Want To Join Your Stupid Cult. Memang gangster!






'Stay Metal' used to be Hanif's daily mantra. Now with 2 kids on tow, it seems 'Stay Metal' have to go and adopt 'Keep Being Parental' instead.











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2017 kalau ikutkan macam ada sedikit ketinggalan dan tidak berkesempatan untuk tangkap beberapa release. So mungkin ada yang tertinggal dari pilihan gua. Minta maaf pada band yang hasilkan material power dan gua terlepas pandang.. So di bawah ni, gua sertakan beberapa pilihan terbaek dari gua sepanjang 2017.


Kreator - Gods of Violence


Bersesuaian ianya released pada January agak tepat rasanya jika gua katakan Gods of Violence merupakan pilihan utama gua sepanjang 2017. ni sebuah album yang padu dari segi penulisan serta beberapa lagu yang agak "killer' dan hasil akhir sound produksi yang meletup di tahap maksima. Mungkin peminat Kreator era lama inginkan sound2 seperti era kegemilangan awal Kreator, namun Kreator bergerak sealiran arus dengan sound yang mantap dan masih didalam trademark Thrash Metal itu sendiri. Satan Is Real mungkin boleh jadi sebuah lagu klasik 10-15 tahun lagi jika hayat Kreator panjang.

Ulterior Decimation - Maelstrom of Debauchery


Ada sedikit persoalan sebelum gua tulis ni sebab ini adalah rakaman lama tapi release 2017. Gua ada review pasal MCD ni dan Death Metal tegar dan pentaksub Death Metal penuh kelajuan, mencabar mesin dan transformasi dari organik manusia kepada digital akan memahami apa yang gua bebelkan ini. Satu produk yang patut menjadi kebanggaan walaupon tunjang atau pengetuk drum nya berasal dari Singapore. Walau ada yang cuba membandingkan apa yang dimainkan oleh Ulterior Demination dengan band2 local lain yang turut cuba menjadi mesin, pada gua sepanjang gua dengar Metal sejak berubah dari dunia Rock dulu2 ni, Maelstorm of Debauchery adalah yang pertama tahap kegilaannya untuk genre ini. Penggemar Nile rasanya perlu dapatkan CD ini.

Prime Domestic - Prime Domestika


2017 melahirkan 3 supergroup yang membariskan line up-line up power dalam scene Rock tempatan. Search, Rampage dan Prime Domestic. Jangan bandingkan antara ketiga2 band ini kerana masing2 ada kelainan pada trademark muzik masing2. Untuk genre ini gua memilih Prime Domestic. Joe (ex-Wings) dan Hilary Ang (ex-Search & Cromok) adalah 2 gitarist tanahair yang semua mat rock akan tau. Produksi yang memakan masa selama 5 tahun dan perubahan line up yang kerap dan berakhir dengan release album bertajuk Prime Domestika. Ainol (Deja Voodoo Spell), Gee dan Aweera menjadi pelengkap terakhir kepada band ini. Review pendek ini cuma gua nak selit ini album yang kelasnya mungkin untuk pembelajaran kepada pendengar khususnya pengkaji muzik, sesuatu yang ikhlas dari Joe dan  Hilary dan juga tidak terlalu mengharapkan nama2 gah diarena mainstream untuk membikin nama Prime Domestic meletup. Ini juga album yang berada dalam Rock, Progressive dan sedikit Metal. Ballad yang tidak keterlaluan, Iron Maiden (sipi2 In Flames), Dream Theater, Rock & Rock yang rancak dan kombinasi old skool dan modern. Dapatkan debut album ini, nanti anda akan faham.

CyHra - Letters To Myself


Juga sebuah supergroup tapi international. Nama line up paling top dalam band ni ialah Jesper Strömblad. Beliau adalah bekas gitarist In Flames. Antara penyumbang utama dalam lagu2 band terdahulu. Ada juga yang menggelar beliau "riff master". Lebih mengghairahkan line up band ini turut terdiri dari band besar seperti Annihilator, Kamelot, Shining, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody dan banyak lagi band yang disertai mereka. Juga perlu gua selit Peter Iwers yang keluar dari In Flames turut menyertai CyHra untuk posisi sama iaitu bassist. Bercakap mengenai album sulung ini, ia nya mungkin juga sebagai "melepas kerinduan" kepada riffing2 dari Jesper Strömblad. Lama x dengar idea2 beliau.. Ya beliau adalah antara penyumbang utama material2 untuk album sulung ini. namun perlu juga gua mention kat sini 95% solo gitar tidak dimainkan beliau dan tugas itu digalas oleh Euge Valovirta yang gua rasa adalah line up bongsu CyHra. Ok, pemain2 gitar yang hardcore riffing dari Jesper masih boleh tersenyum kerana rindukan In Flames lama tapi CyHra untuk sisi vocal nya lebih kepada kemampuan vocalist untuk menyanyi dan bukan jeritan seperti dilakuakn Anders Fridén bersama In Flames. Masih dengan kekuatan Melodic Metal namun ada jugak selit Groove Metal sikit2. hahaha.. Pengikut Jesper, sila order album ini.

Scour - Red


EP kedua dan gua pun x perasan mereka ada lahir first EP pada 2015. Individu yang jadi highlight adalah Phil Anselmo (vocalist Pantera). Bersama line up berpengalaman dari band2 seperti Pig Destroyer, Animosity, Cattle Decapitation dan Misery Index. Cukup gua sebut nama2 band tersebut. Dan paling menarik mereka membawa genre Black Metal. Scour memainkan music Black metal yang kejam, pantas dan beremosi. 6 buah track berdurasi 2 minit lebih untuk setiap track benar-benar dimampatkan setiap isi nya menjadikan kesemua lagu didalam EP ini kental dan padat. Cuba dengar dan pasti anda akan faham istilah Black Metal era baru yang kejam!

Dragonforce - Reaching Into Infinity


Album ke 7 dan merupakan album ke 3 bersama penyanyi baru Marc Hudson. gua tak tau pasal apa album ni gua dah dengar banyak kali dan tak bosan. hahaha.. Selalu nya untuk genre mengejar kelajuan dan nyanyian high pitch sebegini, gua tak pernah kerap layan sepanjang tahun. Pada gua (pendapat dan feel peribadi), album ni ada sikit rasa "fresh" yang sukar nak explain. Agak subjektif dan kalau misi utama Dragonforce untuk membuatkan satu rasa seperti gua cakap tu, maknanya mereka dah berjaya. hahaha ntah berapa ramai lagi yang bersependapat dengan gua entah lah. pada gua album ni ada kekuatan tersendiri. Tipikal speeding guitar dan drumming yang kalau paksa confirm bleh selaju grind namun ianya agak segar dari sudut melodi. Itu kekuatan Dragonforce dan sekali lagi diulangi album ini agak "segar" untuk dilayan walaupun ianya tak jadi buah mulut seperti Valley of the Damned dan Inhuman Rampage.


Kreator - Satan Is Real

Gua agak memilih berkenaan video music dan rasanya untuk 2017, music video Kreator - Satan Is Real berjaya menambat hati gua setelah xde video gila dari Behemoth.. hahahaha mungkin juga gua terlepas music video lain.. dan dalam hati tak sabar menanti hasil visual tahun depan dari TOOL! 

Honorable mentioned!

Cavalera Conspiracy - Psychosis
Pada gua ini album yang paling kahat dari Cavalera bersaudara. Mereka mungkin cuba kembali ke era mereka masih kurus dahulu hahaha.. Ya, album ini kedengaran agak muda walaupon ianya adalah perahan idea dari 2 ikon metalhead yang sedang meningkat usia.

Search - Katharsis
Tak sah rasanya jika gua tak selit album terbaru lagenda Rock tanahairiaitu Search bersama Katharsis nya. Ini sebuah album yang solid dari segi produksi. Punya cerita tersendiri sepanjang 700 jam rakaman dan sentuhan M.Nasir masih lagi releven dan menjadi bersama Search. Bebas Liar benar2 Rock N Roll!

Memoriam - For The Fallen
Ini antara album lepas rindu yang gua putarkan dalam kadar agak kerap untuk beberapa bulan. Walaupun ini seakan kesinambungan Bolt Thrower, namun memoriam adalah entiti yang berlainan. masih didalam konsep yang sama dan gua masih berharap album selepas ini (dalam proses rakaman album kedua ketika ini) akan lebih kick dan ada sesuatu yang baru dalam penulisan music Memoriam.

Sons Of Apollo - Psychotic Symphony
Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian, Jeff Scott Soto, Bumblefoot. Ini line up band yang cukup berpengalaman, berpengaruh dan menjadi rujukan. Memilih Progressive Metal sebagai konsep, Sons Of Apollo yang ditubuhkan pada 2017 ini adalah antara band yang perlu diberi perhatian. jika album pertama sudah boleh dikira hebat dengan idea setiap line up nya, apa lagi nak tunggu untuk material mereka selepas ini. kepada kaki2 teknikal dan prog boleh cuba dahulu band ini.

Gua cuma berhenti dengar muzik kalau telinga gua pekak! Itu saja kot... have a nice day!




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Time surely moved really fast in 2017. I'm pretty sure I missed out a lot of great albums but in my defense, 2017 has been a pretty good year with bands releasing worthy materials. For instance, Morbid Angel returned with real Death Metal album, Ex Deo reunited and released a new album and many more. Overall, I can't complaint much. 2017 had a good run for music.


Mechina - As Embers Turn to Dust



"Mechina have found a perfect formula to write a soundtrack for space opera."

As Embers... has pretty much fixed whatever weaknesses in Progenitor and upped the epic factor a notch. Writing a concept album is hard. Writing a concept album that keeps you interested throughout is even harder. Mechina's latest offering proved that they get better as they age. Rather than plod through as normal Metal album, Joe Tiberi and co laid down a foundation and concept that clicked through with other previous releases, making it a huge saga (imagine Star Wars but in music format) that is interesting to follow but also satisfy your Metal fix. Almost every track in the album is my personal favourite. I'm pretty excited to see what's in store from them in 2018.

9/10


Demon Head - Thunder in the Field



"Was this recorded 45 years ago?"

Occasionally, you'll come across bands that published such a brilliant release that wasn't mean for the current time and could have been a major game changer back in the days. Demon Head is one of the rare occurances. Thunder in the Fields has Proto-Doom Metal and Hard Rock written all over it as if it were recorded many decades ago. And trust me, they're really good. It didn't offer a fresh approach, but good enough to break the monotony of heavy as fuck music promos we got throughout the year. Good stuff.

8/10


Wolves in the Throne Room - Thrice Woven




"A beautifully crafted Scandinavian inspired release with American origin."

Judging from Thrice Woven, one could easily mistaken Wolves in the Throne Room as Scandinavian band. After a dark ambient full length reminiscent of Burzum post-Dunkelheit era was released in 2014, Thrice Woven saw a return to form which leaning towards Scandinavian Black Metal. Which is not bad, to be honest. A beautiful blend of Ambient and Black Metal, I however think they're playing safe and rather not expand to new territories at least for now. A pretty good release from a USBM band.

8/10


We Came From Wolves - Haunt Me



"A catchy emotional release with hint of Post-Hardcore foundation"

This is a release you want to spin on rainy day, reflecting your mistakes over a hot cup of coffee and get super emotional afterwards. This is the soundtrack to accompany you on those days. It's like can I get super emotional but at the same time feel empowered? Yeap. But seriously, We Came From Wolves' brand of catchy yet aggressive Alternative Rock will easily become your anthem on the day you feel shitty and hopefully get it through feeling better.

8/10


Greytomb - Monumental Microcosm


"Unsettling and bleak."

Usually whenever'Atmospheric Black Metal' term is mentioned, in most cases we are expecting a melancholy with hints of depressive tone existing within Black Metal qualities. To say Greytomb belong to this category is probably out of context. The terrifying and bleak atmosphere projected throughout this EP is unsettling. I don't know what to expect, it's just downright scary, but kept me going on. Keep this in your playlist if you want to get fucked up.


Honorable Mentions:


Myrkur - Mareridt

A sophomore release from Amalie Bruun's Black Metal project and increasingly leaning towards Scandinavian Folk music touches. With Mareridt, I feel Bruun is closing in towards her identity as Myrkur as her approach towards Folk music seems to work naturally rather than a one dimensional attempt on Black Metal. Myrkur's brand of Black Metal is in fact a very paper thin, pale version of what most of us familiar with. Not to bad mouth, but I always fond of her attempt playing folk inspired songs. The kvlt necro songs? Not so much.


Cranely Garden - House of Decay


House of Decay is a Metalcore release that I can tolerate. At least there's no abuse of breakdown, whiny clean vocals, electronic interludes... you know what, I'm probably have the wrong idea of today's Metalcore. But if this release represents the state of current Metalcore genre, fuck yes please. In fact they're actually leaning towards Melodic Death Metal with Metalcore vocals delivery. They got my attention... at least to anticipate their next release. 

Eluveitie - Evocation II: Pantheon

After plagued with line-up instability, Folk Metal kings Eluveitie returned with the second Evocation series. While the album is actually pretty enjoyable, I think Evocation II is just a demonstration by Chrigel and co to tell followers that they could still pull a decent release despite the changes in band membership. It's an okay release, but pretty sure it felt like been heard before.


Transitions - Apathy

The only local release that got me excited this year. Emotionally charged Hardcore with Post-Rock thrown together in one release, peppered with melancholy/depressive leanings. It's been a while a local release made me so worked up and go out to purchase... COD style. Love the harsh screamings with clean vocals in between and thumbs up to the ambient pieces popping up here and there. It's painful... and beautiful at the same time. Here's my message to Transitions: Are you guys okay? Y'all need a hug?


Best MV:




Wolves in the Throne Room - Born from the Serpent's Eye

Thrice Woven is an excellent album, so does the MV. I mean, it's pretty Metal, band playing in some dark woods, lit only by flames and some close shots that I cannot made of... Too bad, they omitted the ambient part with female vocals.





Myrkur - Ulvinde

Love the treatment, love the cinematography and definitely love the concept. With footages of rivers, highlands, plains and woods, it feels like watching a National Geographic documentary. Add in females in awkward, creepy poses, it's like watching a fashion line televison commercial launch. Given that Amalie's experience in acting, I can't shake the feeling that she might have played the role on the MV ideation. 



A, is for Anomaly once went through a K-Pop phase and haven't looked back since. These days he prefers to secretly indulge Easycore.












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