We asked our staff to give us their five favorite releases of 2017, even if they are not a journalist.  2017 was a kickass year for music releases and we wanted the opporunity to share our favorites (even if we didn’t review them) with you all and here they are.

Journalist Ken Kaizer’s picks of 2017 are about as diverse as it comes and that is why we love him so much, he likes a little bit of everything.  His favorite releases of 2017 are:

1. GlassjawMaterial Control
Label: Century Media
Release Date: 12/1/2017

Rarely does one have the same favorite band from their early teens til well into adulthood and even more rare that said band keeps making new shit that raises the bar every record. Glassjaw though is on some next level shit with their latest Material Control. A fusion of smooth jazz infused post hardcore and just straight up mosh worthy madness, track after track on this bad boy amps up the game til you’re ready to tapout by the album’s end but ya hit repeat instead again and again.

2. GOD II  Jesus Christ – The Origin, The Life, Death & Resurrection Of Jesus Christ
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 10/9/2017

I can name on one hand how many band’s I’ve given perfect reviews, GOD has more than earned that TWICE now. Quite possibly the best instrumental solo project to ever hit the metal scene whether you are a Christian or not you’d have to a blatant hater or absolutely deaf to not appreciate the level of melodic mastery and djent throwdowns blended together in this masterpiece. Check out our review here

3. AyreonThe Source
Label: Mascot Label Group
Release Date: 4/28/2017

If one of your homies rolled up on you like “Yo I’m gonna write this intricate end of the Earth scifi space rock opera album and put the whole squad on it, especially on vocals”. You’d probably assume they were either way too high or just self destructive in their spare time. However one insane album with 11 guest vocalists and a dozen more guest musicians lending licks and legend Arjen Anthony Lucassen has dropped the single hottest collaboration in 2017 and easily one of the most impressive in metal like ever. Check out our review here

4. Fontaine – Volume One
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 7/25/2017

Because no list is complete without an underground shout out you know cats are sleep on, FONTAINE! A noize rock, ambient rock meets grim groove and creepy funk rock blender explosion, Fontaine is one of the few bands that can so effortlessly blend genres while maintaining an absolutely unique and charismatic sound. When I came across these guys on Discord of all places (really cool duo of humble yet highly creative young cats btw) I scoffed at it cuz let’s be real the odds this album would be lit from start to finish was highly unlike but Sweet Christmas did they ever do it.  Check out our review here

5. Fire From The Gods – Narrative Retold
Label: Rise Records
Release Date: 5/19/2017

Described as bridging the gap between heavy metal and hip hop consciousness, Fire From the Gods dispels the stigma that “rap rock” isn’t viable and despite Limp Bizkit’s best efforts to ruin any such style blending, FFTG proves it can be hella infectious as well. The swift but slick transitions between spitting scorching bars to unleashing roars that would humble a lion while having something to legitimately say instead of just being pissed to be pissed is why FFTG rounds out this list, last but definitely not least!  Check out our review here

Photojournalist Jay McCleskey is a fan of heavy as balls death metal, hardcore, and deathcore, so his favorite releases of the year are no surprise.  Drum roll please….

1. AbimaelRotting (single)
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 2/9/2017

The boys over at Abimael forge the most brutal, universal tunes you’ll ever hear. Rocky’s harsh vocal tone is guaranteed to induce a seizure by its sheer brutality. Jam this spicy single here.  Peep our review here

2. Loyal Until Death – Remain Defiant
Label: 1732 Records
Release Date: 7/7/2017

One of the best hardcore albums to be released this year for sure. Underrated and powerful, Loyal Until Death is sure to release music just as hard-hitting, if not better in the future. This is one hardcore band that is sure to make you crowdkill your grandma, please do not listen to them while visiting her this year. Listen to it here. (Make sure Granny isn’t nearby).  Peep our review here

3. The Acacia StrainGravebloom
Label: Rise Records
Release Date: 6/30/2017

Everyone knows the oldschool deathcore sound of TAS, and 2017 was the evolution of said sound. I’m sure we can all safely assume that TAS will continue the evolution of their unholy tone. Boof Gravebloom here. Peep our review here

4. Dethrone the Sovereign – Harbringers of Pestilence
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 7/27/2017

You like progressive metal, kid? Hmm? Well, Dethrone the Sovereign put out some of the grooviest and techiest riffs imaginable this year. If you haven’t heard it, peep ’em here. Peep our review here

5. Dawn of AshesDaemonolatry Gnosis
Label: Metropolis Records
Release Date: 6/9/2017

Blackened death metal can be kind of iffy (oh no, an opinion on metal?) but Dawn of Ashes found their niche and perfected their creation. Symphonic melodies and crushing riffs will shatter your ribcage. It hurts, but it’s definitely worth it. Listen to their single “Guardians” from Daemonolatry Gnosis here. Peep our review here

He’s always sad and is extremely picky about his music, a metal snob even (when in doubt, pinky out).  Journalist Ethan Grason isn’t easy to please but these releases turned his ever present frown upside down this year:

1. MovementsFeel Something
Label:  Fearless Records
Release Date: 10/20/2017

Best emo album of the year, hands down. If you like being sad, this is it. And i’m always sad.

2. SpiteNothing is Beautiful
Label: Stay Sick Records
Release Date: 7/28/2017

This band redefines deathcore as a genre, as well as the fact that Darius is the best vocalist in deathcore currently

3. PVRISAll We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell
Label: Rise Records
Release Date: 8/25/2017

Apart from being my is my favorite band of all time, this album is also a masterpiece of atmospheric Indie pop

4. ProtosequenceBiophagous
Label:  Odessa Music Management
Release Date: 8/18/2017

These guys perfectly blend prog and metalcore, and bring in heavy elements that just all work perfectly.  Make sure to check out our review here

5. Dark Waters EndSubmersion
Label:  unsigned
Release Date: 10/7/2017

This album made me like tech death, and is just impressive from beginning to end.  Make sure to check out our review here

Photographer Jennifer Pinckney chose some of the bands she covered this year for her top five releases of 2017:

1. DedMisanthrope
Label: Suretone Records
Release Date: 7/21/2017

I love this album and this band because it’s a little different than our usual rock. It has an extra heaviness and honesty about it that just helps it really stand out and speak to you.

2. DangerkidsBlacklist
Label: Paid Vacation Records
Release Date: 1/27/2017

I recently discovered these guys and they remind me of Linkin Park, but a more punk sound to them and with a bad ass chick drummer. I just can’t stop listening to their album, it rocks.

3. Conquer the Distance Feathers and Wax
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 10/28/2017

This band has a great heaviness with just the perfect amount of screaming added in to make the perfect mix of heavy rock. Plus these guys kick ass during their live set!

4. Linkin Park One More Light
Label: Warner Bros Records
Release Date: 5/19/2017

Because, we lost the iconic lead singer of this band and this record definitely has more than a couple catchy and memorable songs that fit the band perfectly.

5. Otherwise Sleeping Lions
Label: Century Media
Release Date: 9/22/2017

This band keeps surprising me with each album being better than the last. Their passion, words and rhythms are the reason why so many people fall in love with them.

Social Media Manager Jamie Pettus his guy who knows exactly what he likes in music and that shines through in his picks for 2017:

1. Kreator Gods of Violence
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 1/27/2017

To be this far into an illustrious career and hit your stride has to be liberating.

2. Iced Earth Incorruptible
Label: Century Media
Release Date: 6/16/2017

Every album they put out no matter who’s in the lineup is stellar.

3. Vuur In This Moment We Are Free – Cities
Label: Insideout Music
Release Date: 10/10/2017

This is Anneke’s return to form, on her terms.

4. The Dark Element The Dark Element
Label: Frontiers Records
Release Date: 11/10/2017

They did everything that works best for Anette.

5. Sons of Apollo Psychotic Symphony
Label: Insideout Music
Release Date: 10/20/2017

This group is just beyond super.

Editor and journalist extraordinaire Har-Lena Quinn likes the lighter side of music, which we all need in our lives.  These are her picks of the year:

1. Ghost Atlas All is in Sync and There’s Nothing Left to Sing About
Label:  unsigned
Release: 11/17/2017

Nostalgia. This album brought me back to my musical tastes that started in the past in the best possible ways.  Our review of this album can be found here

2. Incubus 8
Label: Island Records
Release Date: 4/21/2017

I’ve loved Incubus for as long as I can remember, and they never disappoint me. Also still waiting for my call from Brandon Boyd.  Our review of this album can be found here

3. IIVIIInvasion
Label: Consouling Sounds
Release Date: 6/23/2017

An album that takes you on a journey through sound alone. I still feel like this album could be listened to time and time again, and you’ll hear something you missed the last time around. Our review of this album can be found here

4. Kyle Morrison – Pianometal
Label:  unsigned
Release Date: 5/26/2017

Pianometal describes exactly what it promises in the name, piano in metal. the two intertwine to create beauty, and it should be heard and enjoyed by you as much as I enjoyed it. Not to mention Kyle Morrison is Bloodrock’s Jordan Catalano, you have to say his first and last name or we don’t know who you are talking about (Kyle? Who the f@&* is Kyle? Kyle Morrison, that guy’s music kicks ass!).  Our review of his album can be found here

5. New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick
Label:  Hopeless Records
Release Date:  4/28/2017

After recently seeing New Found Glory live, I couldn’t leave this one off my list of top 5. I still love them as much as when I first heard them, and appreciate the fact that they’ve been busting musical ass for 20 years. Our review of this album can be found here

Journalist Mitch Ellerbrock has extremely diverse taste in music.  We can give him just about any genre and he can (and will) review it, he is an extremely talented writer and we are extremely grateful to have snagged him (you should be jealous other publications).  You will see how diverse his tastes are with his picks of the year:

1. Dead Horse TraumaLIFE
Label:  Sony/The Orchard
Release Date: 2/7/2017

This one gets my Album of the Year award. It’s perfect from start to finish. These guys know when to be heavy, when to be melodic, and when to be somewhere in between. Every track is meaningful, and the members of the band are each some of my favorite people.

2. GWAR The Blood of Gods
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 10/20/2017

This album really surprised me. I’ve never bothered to listen to GWAR before, but I thoroughly enjoyed its heavy hitting nature that perfectly showcases the talent of every member of the band.  Check out our review here

3. Hyperion Dangerous Days
Label: Fighter Records
Release Date: 11/22/2017

It was released in 2017 but sounds like it came straight out of the 80’s. No two tracks sound the same and it’s an excellent album for any fan of 80’s metal. Check out our review here

4. FM2000 Hubba Bubba Rehab
Label:  Inverse Records
Release Date: 10/13/2017

This one is Finnish punk rock in its finest. It isn’t in English, but it just sounds so damn good that you don’t care. It’s a solid album from the first track to the last. Check out our review here

5. As Paradise Falls Digital Ritual
Label:  Eclipse Records
Release Date:  7/21/2017

An important album for the digital age, not a track goes by that doesn’t have an important message attached to it. Get it, listen to it, learn from it. Check out our review here

Journalist Jacek Leja also has eclectic taste in music, he ranges from viking metal to rap metal (he reviewed Ice T’s project Body Count earlier this year for us).  His picks for the year are (and his are in order):

1. Without WavesLunar
Label: Prosthetic Records
Release Date: 3/17/2017

Chicago’s own Without Waves’ Lunar is the most amazing ride through so many different emotions, feelings, and musical genres from any release I have heard in years. Not only is the album tight, but their live performance is just as tight as their recording. Check out our review here

2. LeprousMalina
Label:  Inside Out Music
Release Date: 8/25/2017

Einar Solberg will become one of your favorite vocalists of all time, once you hear this progtasticilally insane album. Malina is their most wonderful work to date, the future of this band is bright.

3. ElderReflections of a Floating World
Label: Armageddon Record Shop
Release Date: 6/2/2017

One listen to this album will make you understand what “progressive stoner doom” really means, and why you need it in your life. Check out our review here

4. MastodonEmperor of Sand
Label: Reprise
Release Date: 3/31/2017

Mastodon’s style has progressed beautifully over the years as their seventh studio album is their most powerful to date. Check out our review here

5. ImmolationAtonement
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date:  2/24/2017

Brutal, no bullshit death metal from New York that has been punishing ears for almost 30 years.

2017 was a big year for photojournalist Hobbes Caltous, having joined Bloodrock and kicking off his new weekly segment, The Underground Bunker, he had quite the difficult task in front of him to choose his favorite albums from 2017.  Here is what he had to say about it, “Upon joining Bloodrock, I was immediately greeted to this huge treasure trove of music. Even music I was personally listening to (not just for reviews) was on the table for me to choose from, so I really had to dig deep in order to find my top five, which was INCREDIBLY difficult! There’s so much I’ve heard this year that I fell in love with, not only with The Underground Bunker, but with my reviews!” Here are his five (and they are in order):

1. DragonforceReaching Into Infinity
Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: 3/19/2017

Hands down, best album I heard all year. The album renews what I love about this band, and brings in some different, heavier metal styling with Marc’s vocals. As it turns out, he guy can SCREAM, and that adds a whole new level to the band.

2. Asylum 8Repressed
Label: Inverse Records
Release Date: 11/10/2017

This band’s strong point is their finesse; I’ve only heard a band that utilizes so many different styles like this a couple times before, and they stick with me to this day. If Asylum 8 plays their cards right, they could be a heavy hitter in the industry. Check out our review here

3. Infected Rain86
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 4/11/2017

This band knows their stuff; they make balls out music, and then they have Lena move in for the kill. She’s takes aim with her tattooed goddess looks, and hits you square in the brain with her amazing vocals. I really hope they can make it big because In This Moment needs a solid successor. Check out our review here

4. NemecicDeathcantation
Label: Inverse Records
Release Date: 9/1/2017

My love of this band stems from their ability to harness Henri’s vocals, and have them seamlessly mesh with the band. This guy can do anything, and with this band, it’s ripping it up Lamb of God style. Check out our review here

5. Poison PillPoison Pill
Label: Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 11/7/ 2017

I really dug this album because of it’s method; the band honors metal legends of the past by renewing its sound. It’s a constant barrage of new school metal with old school tactics, and I love that! Check out our review here

Photographer Jay Matson gets a different perspective of the bands we cover, behind the lens.  He captures the intensity and passion of artists while they are doing their thing live on the stage for their fans.  His picks based on bands he has photographed that released albums this year (in reverse order) are:

5. Papa RoachCrooked Teeth
Label: Eleven Seven Music
Release Date: 5/19/2017

What can I say other than high intensity fast spitting rap/metal mashup than can only be Papa Roach, showing the world that they truly were “Born for Greatness”. Check out our review here

4. SeetherPoison the Parish
Label: Canine Riot Records
Release Date: 5/12/2017

Having been a long time Seether fan, it was great to finally hear an album with such a high amount of energy where every song doesn’t sound the same. Check out our review here

3. TriviumThe Sin and the Sentence
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 10/20/2017

I didn’t think that just two years after Trivium released an album that contained their first ever top 10 hit, that they would release another great album. With four singles released already, I expect this record to take these guys to the next level, they deserve it after all of these years.  And might I add “The Heart from Your Hate” is one hell of an amazing track. Check out our review here

2. Rise AgainstWolves
Label: Virgin Records
Release Date: 6/9/2017

Because its Fucking Rise Against!!! Do I need to say more?

1. Dead Horse TraumaLIFE
Label: Sony/The Orchard
Release Date: 2/7/2017

I could quite literally write a book about why I love this album, however I’m gonna give you the highlights. Never have I heard an album that makes you just feel a wide range of emotions, and no song sounds the same. “The Massacre” with its “fight to the death” attitude or no truer words spoken than “In Viscera’s” “only some truly live, every mother fucker dies” mantra. This is by far my favorite album of 2017 and probably one of the best albums I’ve heard in a really long time. What? You don’t believe me? Listen for yourself.

Journalist Chris Elio had a lot to say about 2017 and his picks for his top 5, I’m going to summarize his picks and post the rest of his write-up separately because it is very heartfelt and deserves to be read outside of this article, you can find it here.  His picks (in reverse order):

5. StyxThe Mission
Label: Alpha Dot 2T/Ume
Release Date: 6/16/2017

This album was a triumphant return to form from a legendary band. How Styx is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ranks right up there with Bigfoot and the Lochness monsters when it comes to great mysteries of the world. Years of relentless touring and 13 years out of the studio produced their best piece of work since the 70’s. This album is wonderfully Styx.

4. Foo FightersConcrete and Gold
Label: RCA Records Label
Release Date: 9/15/2017

Dave Grohl can do no wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s the guy we’ll all talk about for decades to come as THE guy in music from this generation. From the very first growl of the first single “Run” I knew this album was going to be one of the best of the year.

3. Nothing MoreThe Stories We Tell Ourselves
Label: Better Noise Records
Release Date:  9/15/2017

9/15 was the best day of the year when it came to music. This album surprised me when it shouldn’t have (see apology here), but then even after I’ve accepted it as a great album…it still surprises me. The depth of this album lyrically and musically is truly understated while it remains accessible to the commercial listener. Three Grammy nominations can’t be wrong.

2. Steven WilsonTo the Bone
Label: Caroline
Release Date: 8/18/2017

Steven Wilson continues to be the torch bearer of prog rock and album oriented music and yet he produced a piece of work that allows you to listen to individual tunes in one sitting. This is SW’s attempt at a “radio friendly” record without compromising his preferences, and his style. At times I hear influences from Peter Gabriel and Prince. It is truly a wonderfully constructed release.

1. Pain of SalvationPassing Light of Day
Label: Insideoutmusic
Release Date: 1/13/2017

It’s shocking to me that with all of the amazing releases that came out this year, it was the first one on my radar in 2017 that left the longest lasting impact. This album has everything, heaviness (both lyrically and musically), the technicality you’d expect from a prog metal act and emotion, which may seem like an odd positive from a metal release, but it proves to be the strongest part of this album. Daniel Gildenlow, the vocalist and main song writer and guitarist, nearly died of a bacterial infection a few years back that took him out of the music making game for a bit. I hate to say this, but I’m thankful for that illness, because his writing and performance on this album is nothing short of amazing. Heart wringing emotion, to the type of anger you’d see from someone throwing their hands up and exclaiming “WHY!” This release not only stood the test of time when it came to 2017, but it is on my list at the end of the decade, and may even crack my all time list when it’s all said and done.

Bloodrock Media co-founder, Vice President, and photographer Mark Bilek put these three releases at the top of his list:
1. TriviumThe Sin and the Sentence
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 10/20/2017

Trivium is Trivium, they are glorious and everything they do is amazing.  The Sin and the Sentence is different, it sounds a bit more experimental than their previous releases but still sounds like Trivium (which obviously is a good thing).  They are show their ability to grow as artists and just how talented they are to release such impressive material time and time again.  Check out our review here

2. Within the Ruins Halfway Human
Label: E1 Music
Release Date: 3/3/2017

Within the Ruins is extremely creative, they are djenty without being overly so.  Their melodic vocals mix with the dirty ever so well.  Not to mention their clever use of 8-bit effects is always super cool to listen to. It is brutal in a beautiful way! Check out our review here

3. GOD II  Jesus Christ – The Origin, The Life, Death & Resurrection Of Jesus Christ
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 10/9/2017

Yes, this album is our list twice so far and we aren’t even finished!  Ken Kaizer summed it up best above, this album, like the last, is superb regardless of your faith (or lack thereof).  It is an amazing display of talent by a solo artist and it awakens your soul without the use of words.  Check out our review here

My (April Baggins) list shouldn’t surprise anyone, I’m pretty vocal about the albums I love and if you are a member of any groups with me, you will see me link the albums (and bands) there at least once a week.  As the co-founder and President (and lover of the music) of Bloodrock Media, I am always promoting the artists that blow me away (especially the unsigned bands) with their talent and dedication to their craft.  I am going to choose 7 to make up for Mark’s submission of only 3 (slacker :p).  My top picks of the year (in no particular order):

1. Forest KingLore Born
Label:  unsigned
Release Date:  6/20/2017

Lore Born is flawless; from the moment the ship sets sail it is absolute musical perfection. The production quality of this album is extraordinary and the mixing and mastering spectacular. The speed, ferocity, and technical guitar prowess exhibited throughout Lore Born by Tyler Haagenson will leave listeners breathless and in awe of his skill (and wondering how the hell his fingers are still intact). Check out our review here

2. American  Standard – Anti-Melody
Label:  unsigned
Release Date:  4/15/2017

Anti-Melody is an example of everything post-hardcore…fuck it….music should be and more; it is unexpected, angry, honest, and fast. The time signature of every track is dumbfounding and genius. American Standard’s Anti-Melody doesn’t really have a genre, it isn’t post-hardcore, metalcore, or even punk…..what it is, is engaging, emotional, chaotic, aggressive, and fan-fucking-tastic. It is its own thing, its own genre.  Not many album reviews can boast a quote of “I nearly shit myself” when referring to the artist’s work, this one does. Check out our review here

3. Grief &  Bliss – Endeavor
Label:  Transcending Records
Release Date:  9/15/2017

Endeavor is beautiful, emotional, and as comforting as a hot cup of cocoa on a winter day, with just the right amount of depression mixed in to remind us that we are alive. This is an amazing release, LIKE AMAZING.  It is like Deftones meets Deafheaven meets Dashboard Confessional.  Check out our review here

4. Kyle Morrison – Pianometal
Label:  unsigned
Release Date: 5/26/2017

This is Pianometal’s 2nd mention on this list, Har-Lena Quinn gave Kyle Morrison’s project a shout out earlier in this post. Jordan Catalano, I mean Kyle Morrison, created something magical with Pianometal, it is heavy but beautiful.  Who knew keys would work so well with metal, Jor….Kyle Morrison, that is who!  We definitely appreciate his creativity and vision, thank goodness for artists that strive for uniqueness! Our review of his album can be found here

5. Demise of the EnthronedAngelicide
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 4/8/2017

Demise of the Enthroned is a local favorite in these parts (Michigan) and of course we’ve seen them live a bunch of times so we already knew that they will melt your f-ing face off with their sheer brutality but Angelicide is even MORE brutal than their live performance, if that is possible, the three track release is glorious, intense, and vicious….OH AND HEAVY AS FUCK.  Check out our review here

6. Hate UnboundPlague
Label – Inverse Records
Release Date:  2/17/2017

Another band from Michigan, Hate Unbound, released their debut album Plague early in 2017 and it hit like a sonic sledgehammer.  It will make your inner-sadist thank it for the pleasure.  It is thrash, death metal deliciousness that will most certainly have your headbanging.  Check out our review here

Last but not least (as I mentioned, these are in no particular order…)

7. GOD II  Jesus Christ – The Origin, The Life, Death & Resurrection Of Jesus Christ
Label: unsigned
Release Date: 10/9/2017

This is the third mention for this release on our list, that is just how good it is.   Djent is one of my favorite sub-genres, I love the heavy breakdowns, when shit slows down and I can’t help but move my body…..it gets me every single time.  This album is progressive and djenty-y enough to not only open up a pit but keep those on the sidelines grooving.  It is entirely instrumental, so you get that Meshuggah type heaviness but without the vocals, but then when you mix in a bit of divine inspiration from the artist’s relationship with God, the outcome is something so amazing that even non-believers will become fans of his art.  It is his personal relationship with God that drives his work, but he doesn’t try to force it down people’s throats….well, you really can’t with an instrumental, but regardless that isn’t his style.  Jesus would totally buy this album, although I assume that if given the chance GOD would give it to him for free but you should check it out.  Check out our review here