Last couple of months have been definitely positive for the music world and there are indeed some very good albums that emerged from the mass and which are going to get important positions in the music charts for their respective genres. Let’s review the best albums that were released in the last couple of months. These LPs belong to the must have category and this means that you have to find your way to listen and get them!
A Black Mile To The Surface by Manchester Orchestra
The award of the best album of the summer goes without any doubt to Manchester Orchestra, the American indie rock band from Georgia which released on late July their 5th full-length album, A Black Mile to the Surface. The LP is a fantastic collection of art rock songs and this is actually one of those albums that will stay among the masterpieces of the band’s career.
From a musical point of view, the album meshes togheter the disparate stylistical elements that the guys from Atlanta manifested in their last few productions: gorgeous rock melodies, ambitious and elegant arrangements, layered harmonies and evocative lyrics. And whether you pick up single songs or you deal with the entire album, this work does not disappoint. Definitely.
The Knife by Goldfinger
What can one expect from a rock group which spent the last nine years without any new music and in the meantime 3 of the original 4 members were kicked out from the band?
These were the premises for The Knife, the new and long-awaited studio album by Goldfinger, the punk band from Los Angeles which gained quite a good reputation across the two centuries for their relevant contribution to the ska-punk sub-genre. But once I started listening to the disc, I found myself literally embarrassed for how good this album was and I ended-up literally seduced by the energy and the freshness emanating from the album. The Knife, released on last July, is the seventh LP from Goldfinger and it managed to cancel in a matter of seconds all the skeptikism one could have on the album.
After the last internal revolution, Goldfinger is today a sort of “supergroup” with a new line-up consisting of band leader John Feldman, who’s the only remaining member of the original group, supported by Blink-182’s Travis Barker (who’s maybe the best punk drummer of the current days), talented bassist Mike Herrera and Story of the Year’s rhythm guitarist Philip Sneed.
The songs in The Knife offer the listener a wonderful mix of melodic punk, alternative rock and ska. The music crafted by Feldman and his new bandmates manages to combine funny and catchy choruses with interesting musical structures. The ska elements are very well balanced and as a matter of fact you can listen the album over and over again without too much saturation. This is an instant classic, one of the best rock albums of the year.
Wolves by Rise Against
Another very good surprise of this summer came from Rise Against, the American melodic hardcore band which published on last June their eighteth studio album, named Wolves.
The record is full to the brink of the band’s signature and explosive formula where aggressive punk rock and hardcore are combined with fiery vocals and furious choruses. However, with the exception of a couple of catchy songs (including the beautiful single Violence, which is proposed below) the album needs some repeated listening to be appreciated in its entirety. Or at least this was my personal experience…. I had to go through the album a few times before getting involved at the right level by the record’s eleven tracks. Today the album is effectively one of the most appreciated companions for my running workouts.
I inlcude this LP among the best records of the summer because – apart from the absolute beauty of its best tracks – the album in its entirety is characterized by a very high quality of music and lyrics. Rise Against is truly a very good band and the value of their production goes well beyond the politic message they convey with the single songs.
Dead Cross (S/T)
Formed on late 2015 by three Retox and ex-Retox members and legendary drummer Dave Lombardo, and with subsequent addition of Mike Patton at the vocals, Dead Cross are a new supergroup that in a relatively short time has been able to impress a deep mark in the metal music scene. Their homonym debut album was dropped on early August and in just a few weeks it soon became one of the most shocking and interesting albums of the year, not only for the evident excellence of the musicians involved in the project, but also for the incredible and noteworthy style which characterizes the music composed by the group. This record seems really to presents that level of innovation that was missing for some time in metal music but it’s at the same time a damn pleasant disk to listen to.
Musically speaking, Dead Cross combines elements of hardcore and thrash metal. The 10 songs of the album are all short and intese pieces of extreme metal and the musical tension remains high along the whole disc, without any indecision and also without any gap-filling piece placed there just to complete the work.
A special note is necessary for Mike Patton, the eclectic and ingenious metal vocalist that has been part of a number of infuential and innovative bands of the last decades such as Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, and many others. This album demostrates that he remains one of the most brilliant metal artists we have and that his vocal ability and range is basicly limitless.
My hope at this point is that Dead Cross is not just a successful supergroup experiment but it can turn into something stable and prolific, a new reality in today metal scene.
To The Bone by Steven Wilson
We anticipated it, and then it delivered. Legendary prog rocker Steven Wilson had already left his mark among the most appreciated musical releases of 2017 with his side-project Blackfield, where he plays togeterh with Israeli songwriter and musician Aviv Geffen. The last work from the duo, Blackfield V, it’s stably at the top positions of most of the charts published on this blog and it’s definitely among the most beautiful progressive rock albums of the last few years.
On August 2017 Steven Wilson released the new album of his solo-career, named To The Bone, which is the fifth released after the brilliance experience as leader of the Porcupine Tree. As we highlighted in the early tracks we were listening before the full releases, the album confirms that Wilson is a modern artist who keeps pushing further the boundaries of his personal musical exploration, this time showing a remarkable pop sensibility together with the curiosity of manipualting the typical elements of electronics music.
The judgment that emerges from listening to the entire album substantially confirms all the positive impressions I had before the release, and I also feel that the LP has still a lot to give in the future listening. As a matter of fact, it’s not just a collection of simple musical pieces but an articulated collection of brilliant compositions where the elegance of the arrangement is matched with a new musical concept that needs to be carefully explored.