Editor’s note: Yes, it’s that time of the year again! While our own Album of the Year list is already published by the time you read this, we still have a ton of end of year content for you. Over the coming week, we’ll be exploring 2017 in various of ways: through curated summaries for specific genres, editorials on specific phenomena we found interesting and, of course, guest lists! This time around, we have a band who's name should by synonymous with metal's success in 2017: Artificial Brain. Infrared Horizon, their album from this year, is top of the crop in the extremely busy and prolific technical death metal field. With all the releases coming from the sub-genre this year, Artificial Brain still managed to prove they're a cut above the rest, providing an aggressive, abrasive and yet strangely captivating science fiction masterpiece. Their list makes a lot of sense, in that regard. It's chock full of overwhelming and abrasive metal from bands like Aosoth, Thantifaxath and Dying Fetus. But it also includes more beguiling and subtle choices, like Circle or the avant-garde trappings of Fleurety. Thus, you'll just have to check it out for yourself and see what's what for Arti-B in 2017!
Ecstatic Vision’s Raw Rock Fury is a good-natured record that most people are gonna want to like. It’s hard not to smile when the first track, which is all of 17 seconds long, is called “Intro” and is pretty much a swooshing noise. A cursory listen reveals these guys know their Nuggets and have been in several garages, surely. The band has made a fun enough record, at least while it’s being played. In a way it may even be the perfect record for the U.S in 2017—all flash and no substance. Whether this was intentional… well, that’s highly doubtful, though some listeners may feel otherwise. If you’re wondering whether you will enjoy this record, look at the cover and you will know. Raw Rock Fury can be judged by its cover, presumably something the band is intrinsically aware of.
There are some punk bands that still manage to subvert the grand cliches, both musical and stylistic, that overtook punk. One of those bands is Canadian hardcore/punk/experimental heroes Fucked Up, a band who has never shied away from pushing punk to its very furthest limits, effectively achieving the goals punk initially set out to accomplish. Recently I was lucky enough to talk to their drummer Jonah Falco about exactly what inspires Fucked Up to constantly push the boundaries of punk music, as well as their most recent release, Year of the Snake.