Without a question, 2017 was the year of Planning for Burial. I've been a big fan of his music for a while now, and this year just further cemented Thom Wasluck's musical genius for me.  I can't say how many times I've listened to Below the House, but it's an absurd amount. Like, a ridiculously absurd amount. From the pounding and guttural bombardment of Whiskey and Wine to the droning and ambient anguish of Dull Knife pt. 2, that album is utterly enthralling, and encapsulates the mood and emotions of sadness and melancholy so perfectly. It's an album that I connected to upon first listen, and haven't stopped jamming since its release back in March.

If one fantastic release wasn't enough, Planning for Burial also released Matawan-Collected Works 2010-2014, which boasts some of my favorite songs from him to date, including I Hope You’ll Pick Me Out and I Put Red House Painters on a Mixtape for You. A collection of rarities and unreleased tracks that were recorded between his first and second albums comprises this release, and god damn does it not disappoint.

I was also fortunate enough to see Planning for Burial twice this year-once with the mighty and amazing Have a Nice Life and then this weekend here in Rochester, NY. The Boston show will forever be one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed, and seeing Planning for Burial and then Have a Nice Life was almost like an out of body experience. Both times I saw Planning for Burial, I was floored and amazed by what I was hearing and seeing, and by the fact that what I was hearing was just one dude, a guitar, an insane pedal board, and some amps. Like, what?!

Conversely, Funeral Advantage's Please Help Me delves into the sadness of breaking up in a much more upbeat dream-pop manner. Please Help Me and CEOT7K are two of my favorite songs of the year, and I absolutely danced like a maniac to CEOT7K at my wedding back in August. This EP is incredible, and my only knock against it is that it's not an LP. I want more from Funeral Advantage, and hope we get some more music in the near future.

From there, Blueprints for an Empty Vessel by Pallow continued to traverse the waters of  gloomy and melancholic music so thoughtful, creatively, and magnificently . Blueprints for an Empty Vessel's melodic gloomgaze immediately hooked me in with Holding and then punched me in the gut by the end of the album with Dreaming for Letters. I feel that this album will wind up being one of the most underrated releases of 2017, but it shouldn't be. It's a phenomenal album with incredible lyrics. Between this LP and their two EPs, there’s not a single song of theirs that I don’t think is awesome as hell. Do not sleep on this band.

Next up is Long Island's amazing Iron Chic. I'm not sure there is any other band that fully encapsulates the doldrums of your late 20's/early 30's as perfectly as Iron Chic does, and Can't Stay Here is a prime example of that. I found myself relating to so many of the lyrics throughout this album, and totally sang them as loud as possible more than a few times. Iron Chic is hands down my favorite punk band, and Can't Stay Here is yet another slam dunk from a band that has released some of my favorite albums over the last decade or so. I can't wait to stage dive and sing along when I see them at the Bug Jar next month.

Then there's Sannhet's So Numb. Good god does this band and album rip. Do yourself a favor, put on Sleep Well, turn the volume up as loud as possible, sit back, and prepare to headbang until your neck is about to break. Holy shit is this album incredible. I've yet to see them play live, and I've heard their live show is unbelievably awesome, so that's on the list of things I have to do. This album is amazing from start to finish, and these dudes reign as the kings of post-metal, as far as I'm concerned.

Between Chelsea Wolfe's Hiss Spun, Death Bell's Standing at the Edge of the World, All Out War's Give Us Extinction, and All Pigs Must Die's Hostage Animal, my ears and brain were in heaven all throughout the year, and the amazingness didn’t stop there, as there would even be more amazing releases from some of my favorite bands as the year progressed. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, King Woman, my long anticipated wait for a Death of Lovers LP, Full of Hell, Big Brave, Incendiary setting the world ablaze, and Jacob Bannon's incredible debut of Wear Your Wounds all assaulted me, made me want to sing, dance, sit in a corner and be miserable, scream at the top of my lungs, headbang into oblivion, and pick up a guitar and write music. 2017 was a fantastic year for music, with some of my favorite music to date being released. If you’ve yet to check any of these bands or releases out, do it to it, Lars, because you won’t be disappointed.  

Here’s my top 25 releases of 2017:

25.   Damn.-Kendrick Lamar

24.   Auras-Deafcult

23.   Music for Chilling Out-The American Dollar

22.   Covert Cult of Death-Low Estate

21.   Every Country’s Sun-Mogwai

20.   Thousand Mile Stare-Incendiary

19.   After the Party-The Menzingers

18.   Voids-Minus the Bear

17.   The Dusk In Us-Converge

16.   Ardor-Big Brave

15.   WYW-Wear Your Wounds

14.   Trumpeting Ecstasy-Full of Hell

13.   The Acrobat-Death of Lovers

12.   Created in the Image of Suffering-King Woman

11.   Luciferian Towers-Godspeed You! Black Emperor

10.   Hostage Animal-All Pigs Must Die

9.  Give Us Extinction-All Out War

8.  Matawan-Collected Works 2010-2014-Planning for Burial

7.   Standing at the Edge of the World-Death Bells

6.   Hiss Spun-Chelsea Wolfe

5.   So Numb-Sannhet

4.   Can’t Stay Here-Iron Chic

3.   Blueprints for an Empty Vessel-Pallow

2.   Please Help Me-Funeral Advantage

1.   Below the House-Planning for Burial