Best Albums of April 2017

Rounding up April 2017's best and most interesting releases.

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Ultimate Guitar
Best Albums of April 2017
6

Welcome, UGers, to another new feature, where we round up five of the best and most interesting releases of the past month, as reviewed by our UG review team!

Firstly, let's start off with some honorable mentions, in no particular order:

Procol Harum - Novum

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: Apr 21, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 8
  • UG score: 8.2

Brad Paisley - Love and War

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released: Apr 21, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 6
  • UG score: 6.5

Deep Purple - Infinite

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released Apr 7, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3
  • UG score: 7.9

Falling in Reverse - Coming Home

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released Apr 6, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 6
  • UG score: 5.5

And now, the five most interesting or best records of April 2017!

5. Ayreon - The Source

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released Apr 28, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3
  • UG score: 9.5

We're starting off this list with the album that received the highest score from both the reviewer and UG's user base, Ayreon's sprawling rock opera "The Source." A prequel to Arjen Lucassen's "Planet Y" saga that spans many of his Ayreon albums, the album features no fewer than ten vocalists from all over the metal scene, such as James LaBrie of Dream Theater, Floor Jansen of Nightwish, Tommy Rogers of Between the Buried and Me, Russel Allen of Symphony X, and more. Featuring Arjen's eclectic mix of prog-rock, power metal, and classical and folk influences, as well as a renewed emphasis on guitar in the songs, users such as ensifer1 and RDSElite have agreed that, while the album sticks close to Arjen's formula, it works very well, and it's a fun listen.

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4. All That Remains - Madness

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released Apr 28, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 6
  • UG score: 4.8

On the complete flip side of the coin, we have All That Remains' latest effort, "Madness," which is this month's lowest-rated album, with UG users rating it a rather unimpressive 3.4/10. While the band claims to be growing and experimenting with their sound, both the reviewer and the fans found the album to be rather generic, marking a shift from the classic metalcore of "The Fall of Ideals" to a sound much more along the lines of Five Finger Death Punch and Nickelback. Many agreed about the production, with BwareDWare94 asking if the album was "recorded in a pole barn", and kmath2220 stating that "the master Oli [Herbert - lead guitar] sound[s] junky with the weird tones used."

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3. Incubus - 8

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released Apr 21, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 6
  • UG score: 6.3

Only faring slightly better in this lineup is Incubus' eighth studio album, aptly titled "8." While the album does see the band returning somewhat to their guitar-heavy alt-rock roots, fears over Skrillex's involvement in the production as well as the band just overall missing the mark on what made their past works special have given this album a fairly uniform rating of 6 by both reviewer and users, with the users only bringing up the score slightly to 6.5/10. Reaction in the comments was fairly mixed, with some, such as shwilly expressing that the album really grew on them, both xeper9 and Salvo416 stating that "this is their best work since morning view," but BentheScrivener believing that "this is Incubus' worst album," and many others stating their dissatisfaction with it. The fairly mixed reaction to "8" has made it one of the most interesting releases of the month.

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2. John Mayer - The Search for Everything

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released Apr 14, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 6
  • UG score: 7.7

Oddly enough, this is one of the rare cases where UG's user base and the reviewer disagree on the rating of an album, with the reviewer giving it a 6/10, but the user base giving it a tremendous 8.7/10. John Mayer's guitar playing is something that pretty much all of us can agree on as being top-notch, but while the reviewer found the album a bit too "mellow" and "cliche," the user base seems to have come out in full support of the album, with danye42 remarking about the album's "funky and light, real feel good vibe," and GR84 "actually enjoy[ing] the mellow aspect of this record" and stating of Mayer that "he sounds at ease and the songs are well crafted." Personally, as the reviewer, I find that the album has actually grown on me a little since I finished the review, and if I had to revise my rating, I'd definitely give it a 7 now.

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1. Gorillaz - Humanz

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released Apr 28, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 7
  • UG score: 7

Animated pop/hip-hop/rock/whatever-you-want-to-call-it outfit Gorillaz, the pet project of Blur's Damon Albarn and illustrator/animator Jamie Hewlett, have returned with a very ambitious plan for 2017 that includes a TV show, a music festival, and their fifth album, "Humanz," a concept album "imagining a near future affected by an unexpected world-changing event." Musically, the album is a bit of a mixed bag, with some really good cuts and some not-so-good ones, but overall, still considered a return to form compared to "The Fall" by the reviewer, and as well by a few of our users, such as tomwebbsayshi, who said of the record "Certainly not Gorillaz' best work, but still a brilliant album", and BassFishin stating "The overall flow of the album is wonderful. Very fluid, and the interludes sort of keep everything stapled together." However, opinion of the album was not universally positive, with Jimjambanx stating that the album had "some stand out tracks like the brilliant Charger and the bizarre Momentz, but overall it's a very bloated album, lots of tracks that either seems half baked or just really not up to par with the rest of the album," and GrungeBloke making a fair point that much of the album "seems targeted at this youth (not us from around the 2000s) but instead the new kids that don't value music for its meaning and atmosphere, instead to its popularity."

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Anyway, that wraps up the five best and most interesting albums of April 2017, as reviewed by the UG reviews team! Thanks for reading, and see you next month!

59 comments sorted by best / new / date

    RDSElite
    "Best albums of april 2017" Where the album with the highest review is placed 5th.
    Iceman10129
    And #1 goes to the worst rated Gorillaz album to date.
    SandKatChappy58
    I've always liked Gorillaz, but I was kind of disappointed in this effort.  The animation is good, but the music is lacking something.
    mineheadx1
    yes...It's so derivative...I hear old music that could be done better. I won't be giving it a second listen.
    GR84
    Another band for me that, outside of maybe 2 singles, i just don't get the hype. If there weren't cartoon characters and cool art, would i have the same impact? I don't like the choice of guests on the albums, i don't like the rap style on the albums, and there usually appears to be some kind of message that feels way to forced on these things. Seems the band is supposed to be fun, but when i listen i get no pleasure, Clint Eastwood, and Feel Good Inc. are fantastic songs from a few years back, but everything else i've tried feel short.
    travislausch
    Nah, they're not in any particular sequence. When is a list just a list?
    Iceman10129
    When they aren't numbered.  If you don't want them in any particular order, bullets are what you are looking for.
    travislausch
    Blame the editors, then. I didn't number them in my original list. But I will keep this in mind for next month.
    Sandman4991
    And half of the "honorable mentions" have higher scores than anything on actual list.
    milesak
    Because we should absolutely always listen to reviewers and not form our own opinions on stuff.
    travislausch
    I didn't put them in order because I feel it's a bit of a fruitless effort when we're basing the list on the albums being interesting rather than just a rating. Sadly, there were not a lot of records this past month with a score greater than 6 or 7...
    travislausch
    And the numbering of the list was added by the editors and was not present in the file I submitted. This is really just a first time for me writing this type of article, so I will be keeping all of this in mind for next month.
    DeaThrash
    So, in conclusion - April 2017 mostly sucked as far as album releases go.
    BassFishin
    big Gorillaz fan here, like the album quite a bit.  The rest of this list - yea, have to agree.
    MrJunkie
    Kendrick Lamar - DAMN on top for sure
    Jmoarguitar
    Definitely not my favourite Kendrick album but still deserved a spot on this list. That siren infused beat on XXX fires me up
    GR84
    I continue to ask, what is the deal with everyone liking, and over thinking this guy?
    MrJunkie
    Whole album is like a movie, when album dropped i was just like woah i can't get back to my old music after that) But that's just me, give it a try, its worth your time.
    pressureproject
    Skrillex adds absolutely nothing to Incubus.  Is there a force that's paying off bands to have him play with them?  I don't get it.
    N7Crazy
    Would've liked to see Slowdive's new self-titled album in there - It's been 3 years since they reunited after 20 years, and their popularity and cricital acclaim have skyrocketed in the time following their disbandment, so there's been high expectations (and fears) regarding the new album. Personally, I find it brilliant - Sure, it's not perfect, a bit wonky and odd on a few select moments, but there's nothing that really pulls it down, and more importantly it feels like a classic Slowdive album simultaneously with it feeling like something completely new and different from them. In a sense, it combines the best of those two elements, with the classic Slowdive-vibe being there, but at the same time it feels like a much more mature record from them (after all, they're not in their twenties anymore), yet also feels like a completely fresh take on their own sound. Part of me really wanted a Souvlaki pt. 2, but to be honest it'd seem like an unnessecary revist to a place in their history they already perfected, so I'm really happy with what they've done to their sound and where they're going. 8/10, damn good album, and a solid return to form
    blackone666
    Don't worry, May will be easy for you.  Nokturnal Mortum - Verity.  Edit.  Where the fuck is Ulver's The Assassination of Julius Caesar? Not fair.  
    travislausch
    A couple of things: This list is about albums that have reviews on UG. While I would have loved to include many other albums that came out this past month, they were not reviewed here, and thus were not eligible to be included. Secondly, I did make sure to specify "best AND most interesting". Interesting does not always mean good, and good does not always mean interesting. I do admit to having a hard time choosing which albums belonged in which category, but I stand by my choices. A lot of how this article was written depended on both ratings and how you guys reacted in the comments sections. I hope that clears things up a bit. Thanks for reading
    travislausch
    Also, the list is not in any particular order. I tried putting them in the order of release, but it just didn't work for me. I tried doing them by rating, but much of the middle of the list was kind of boring and I didn't have a lot to go on for comments. This is a first time for me writing a review "round up" like this, so I'm aware it's not going to be perfect. But I will take the comments here to heart for the next article
    travislausch
    I'm also hoping for a bit more freedom to include more releases next month, maybe even including ones that do not have a review here. But I can't listen to everything that comes out in a month, so I may miss a few here and there. I think the selections for next month's article are already a cut above
    h8full
    I just Discovered ayreon last month and checked this article just to see if they were on it....good job!
    damillion
    None of my favourites of April have been reviewed yet, actually. If you want a kick in the face, try: Novembers Doom - Hamartia If you want something mellow, check out: Les Discrets - Prédateurs You're welcome.
    1mmoralthang
    The best tracks on Humanz besides Saturnz Barz and Andromeda are bonus tracks. Why Albarn cut them out from the main release is beyond me.  Hallelujah Money is the worst song they have ever made and it was the first single!
    jimmy-moto
    I like the monthly feature idea, but how the hell did you choose the ranking of these???
    travislausch
    I didn't. It wasn't meant to be ranked, and it was a bit of a hiccup between the editors and I. It's something we're definitely going to keep in mind for next time  
    rodrigo.mij1990
    The general score of the gorillaz album: LOOOOOL. That's what you deserve for putting plastic beach on a fucking pedestal.