Welcome to day 21 of my ‘Album of the Year 2017 top 30 countdown’.
I feel that some kind of fanfare is required as I have finally made it to my top 10, the ten albums that have made the biggest impression on me throughout 2017.
I could indulge myself in a long waffle-filled intro but instead, I will just mention that, as always, links can be found below for all of my previous posts in this year’s series, along with a couple of ‘honourable mentions’ posts and the entire series from 2012-2016. I’m nothing if not generous.
And with that, here’s the first pick of this year’s top 10:
White Moth Black Butterfly
“Never before have I reviewed an album that explores such experimental realms, encompassing ambient sounds, classical music, cinematic soundscapes and even…breathe…pop.
…had the name Daniel Tompkins not featured, I probably wouldn’t have given this a second thought. For a fan of progressive music, the TesseracT vocalist is too much of a draw to ignore; if he’s involved, I have to check it out.
The simple truth though, is that a cursory late night listen to this gorgeously-presented album hit me right in the feels like I was never expecting. I was exhausted and about to call it a night but something made me keep the headphones on a little longer and give this a quick go. Forty minutes later, I picked my jaw up off the floor, waited for the goosebumps to subside and very nearly pressed play again despite the late hour. The only adjective I could think off as I drifted off to sleep that night was ‘exquisite’.
White Moth Black Butterfly consists of Tompkins alongside his Skyharbor colleagues Jordan Turner (vocals) and guitarist/programmer Keshav Dhar as well as keyboardist/programmer Randy Slaugh and drummer Mac Christensen. Together, they have managed to move me, open my mind a little further and essentially stolen my heart.
in spite of the variation and contrasts at work within ‘Atone’, this record feels remarkably fluent and cohesive. It is the hallmark of great musicians if something like this can be achieved. It is the hallmark of near-genius when such experimentation sounds so utterly beautiful and soul-enriching as is the case here. Take a bow White Moth Black Butterfly because genres be damned, you have unquestionably delivered one of the very best albums of the year.
Read the full review here.
If you’d have told me at the beginning of the year that the Man of Much Metal would include a non-metal album in his end-of-year top 10, the chances are I would have smiled wryly. After all, I do like plenty of music that’s more in a rock vein than metal. However, if you’d told me that I would include an album that’s not even rock in the traditional sense of the term, the wry smile would have turned into a full-blown laugh. It might even have sounded a bit hysterical in tone, especially when you factor into the mix that the artist in question is a previously unknown entity.
However, here I am, doing just that. The band in question is White Moth Black Butterfly and it has provided me with arguably my biggest shock of 2017.
I was aware of the talents of TesseracT’s Dan Tompkins of course and it was his involvement that provided the incentive to check out White Moth Black Butterfly in the first place. Coming in to this record with no knowledge and no expectations, I have had my socks knocked off in some style.
The best kind of music is the sort that connects with me on an emotional level and that has the ability to move me. And that is exactly what ‘Atone’ does. The music isn’t heavy, it isn’t even rock. But it is immensely powerful and achingly beautiful at the same time. In fact, it is the beauty and the apparent simplicity of the music that provides it with much of its power.
The mellifluous and pure voices of both Tompkins and his vocal sidekick Jordan Turner are enough to break hearts at twenty paces, fitting the deeply gorgeous and atmospheric compositions like a pair of silk gloves.
There is not a weak track anywhere to be heard and whilst ‘Atone’ is a short record, the honed and focused song writing means that there is an awful lot to enjoy before it draws to an all-too-sudden close. From bold cinematic soundscapes, to vibrant pop-heavy workouts via plenty of soul-enriching and introspective ambience, White Moth Black Butterfly really have created something incredibly special with ‘Atone’.
Depending on my mood, the music has the effortless ability to reduce a grown man to tears or lift me up to a point where I feel indescribably positive. And for someone who suffers on a daily basis with depression and anxiety, this should speak volumes about just how magical this album is. The fact that it only gets better with time, is another reason why ‘Atone’ fully deserves its lofty place in my end-of-year list. Hell, I am listening to ‘Atone’ for the hundredth time as I write this article and my arms, neck and spine are alive with goose bumps and chills.
If you missed either of my 2017 ‘honourable mentions’ posts, here they are should you be interested:
Previous posts in my 2017 Top 30 countdown:
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 12
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 13
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 14
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 15
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 17
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 18
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 20
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: