Album of the Year 2017 – Number 20

Welcome to day 11 of my ‘Album of the Year 2017 top 30 countdown’.

Today is the day when the seriousness of this series gets cranked up a notch because I am entering the top 20. What follows are the very best 20 records that have been released in 2017 in my humble opinion.

In a year that could quite easily have seen me extend my end-of-year list to 40 or 50, picking a top 30 was tough. Once it got down to the top 20, my job got even more difficult. But I’m content with the choices and the order…for now. I may still do a bit of shuffling between now and the end of this series.

No arguments about today’s choice though, which is very worthy of its place in my final 20.

If you’re late to the party and have missed any of the previous posts in this series, links can be found at the bottom of this post along with links to the entire countdowns from previous years.

But with that all said, let’s get on with things and reveal the next choice of 2017…

Number 20

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My Soliloquy
Engines of Gravity
Rare Artist Records

“‘Engines Of Gravity’ is, if anything, a step up for Pete both in terms of song writing and his performances. The melodic, atmospheric and rather epic-sounding brand of progressive metal with a gritty, almost sci-fi edge on offer here demonstrates an increasing maturity and underlines what a talented chap Pete is, not to mention that he is a safe pair of hands. Don’t you just hate people like this?

This is a multi-layered and multi-faceted album that explores many different tones and textures throughout its length. The nine compositions each have their own identity but cleverly, fit into the overall aural tapestry, one that is filled with richness and not a little amount of thought-provoking material both musically and lyrically.

I wasn’t blown away on a first listen; more accurately, my love of this album has grown gently over time. As a result, I feel that it has made more of a lasting impression on me and I find myself humming certain melodies or phrases when I least expect it. Cutting to the chase, I heartily recommend My Soliloquy and ‘Engines of Gravity’ to anyone who appreciates well-crafted and intelligent progressive metal. It’s that simple.”

Read the full review here.

pete-morten

I am blessed to be able to call several musicians within the heavy metal world friends. When I set out to write about music over a decade ago, my aim was to give back something to the genres of music that had given me so much over the years. To do this and make some friends along the way has been a privilege. It is also a double-edged sword because I have to guard against bias or nepotism. As such, whenever an artist I know personally releases new material, I find myself praying that the output is genuinely good.

In the case of Pete Morten, the situation is even more difficult because the guy also happens to be one of the most supportive, friendliest and humble people I know. It is with immense relief then that I am able to say that his new album, the second under his My Soliloquy moniker, is an absolute monster. Genuinely.

Musically and compositionally, Pete has played a blinder. Handling everything except the drums himself, this is no mean feat. Practically on his own, aside from drummer Damon Roots, Pete has put together nine songs of engaging, thought-provoking and memorable progressive metal that blends heavy passages with much more delicate and fragile material.

I’m not normally one to get enthused about political statements in music but here I seem to have made an exception. Mind you, is it any wonder that the content of songs like ‘In Bed With The Enemy’ have such an impact in today’s world for those of us who do our best but only just get by?

The very best thing about the material on ‘Engines of Gravity’ however, is just how memorable it becomes. It’s not an instant hit of hook after hook but I’m firmly of the opinion that the melodies that weave in and out of each song are stronger than those seen on the debut, ‘The Interpreter’. Whether it is at the hands of Pete’s unique voice, his expressive lead guitar work or more subtly through the atmospheric keyboards, there are plenty of gorgeously melodic moments to enjoy. And, as with most slow-burners, they get stronger and more compelling with every play.

The only element of this record that stops it going even higher on my list is the production which I still wish was a little fuller and more powerful. However, as I clearly state in my review, this is a minor detail, one that only comes into play when trying to assess which albums are the best-of-the-best at the end of the year.

The bottom line is that My Soliloquy and ‘Engines of Gravity’ thoroughly deserves its spot in this list. Trust me, have a listen to the track below and then add yourself to the My Soliloquy fan base. It’s inevitable, so why fight it?

If you missed either of my 2017 ‘honourable mentions’ posts, here they are should you be interested:

Album of the Year 2017 – honourable mentions Part 1
Album of the Year 2017 – honourable mentions Part 2

Previous posts in my 2017 Top 30 countdown:

Album of the Year 2017 – Number 21
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 22
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 23
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 24
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 25
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 26
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 27
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 28
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2016
Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

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