Best Albums of June 2017

Rounding up the best releases of June 2017.

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Best Albums of June 2017
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Hello, UGers! June of 2017 has been a pretty huge month for album releases, and we had a veritable bumper crop of album reviews to choose from to compile a list of the best albums of June from! So many great bands have released good albums this past month that it's hard to simply choose ten albums from it all, and so many of those albums have been well-received and heavily discussed. However, there can only be five albums to take the top 5 spots, so let's start by rounding up five honorable mentions, as judged by their UG score:

10. CKY - The Phoenix

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: Jun 16, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 7
  • Users' score: 7.8
  • UG score: 7.4

9. Roger Waters - Is This the Life We Really Want?

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: June 2, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3
  • Users' score: 7.6
  • UG score: 7.5

8. Chuck Berry - Chuck

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: June 9, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 8
  • Users' score: 7.1
  • UG score: 7.6

7. Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: June 16, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 8
  • Users' score: 7.1
  • UG score: 7.6

6. Municipal Waste - Slime and Punishment

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released: June 23, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3
  • Users' score: 8
  • UG score: 7.7

And now, the five best releases of June 2017!

5. Origin - Unparalleled Universe

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released: June 30, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 8
  • Users' score: 7.5
  • UG score: 7.8

American technical death metallers Origin come in at #5 on our list, bringing some extreme and chaotic music to our "best-of" list. On "Unparalleled Universe", the band largely sticks to their formula, a point mentioned in the comments section by alisunshin691: "it seems like if a band is tech death on this site they instantly get 8s and 9s despite not really bringing anything new to the genre or setting themselves apart". Regardless of whether Origin pushes the boundaries of their genre or not, their musical chops and sheer extremity are undeniable, and it seems that most of Origin's fanbase are not particularly looking for anything groundbreaking, giving it the fifth-highest UG score of any review of June, and putting it in our top five!

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4. Styx - The Mission

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: June 16, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7
  • Users' score: 7.5
  • UG score: 8.1

On the complete flip-side of the coin, the #4 spot is taken by classic rockers Styx, coming back with a surprisingly impressive concept album about a mission to Mars, their first studio album of all-new material since 2003, and in many's eyes, their first "good" album since before most of us reading this article were born. Musically, this record harks back to the grandiose '70s heyday of the band's prog era, on records such as "The Grand Illusion", "Pieces of Eight" and "Paradise Theater", and features some of the band's proggiest material to date, including the adeptly-played "Red Storm", and as pointed out by GN'R Dude in the comments, features a brave return of Styx's trademark vocal harmonies. Perhaps this will bring the band back to some form of legitimacy after spending decades running the nostalgia act festival circuit? Only time will tell, but for now, this is a great new record from a band many may have written off.

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3. Cheap Trick - We're All Alright!

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Parker Abt
  • Released: June 16, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3
  • Users' score: 8.3
  • UG score: 8.3

June 2017 seems to be a good month for classic 70s rock returns, with Cheap Trick adding to the mix with their new album, "We're All Alright!". Their second album not to feature drummer Bun E. Carlos, replaced by guitarist Rick Nielsen's son Daxx, the album features tight songwriting, meaty Les-Paul-through-a-Marshall riffage and solos, and all of the various things one would still expect from Cheap Trick, and perhaps most surprisingly, shows a band that, despite their age, in the words of commenter willis5000, "can still put out a nice little rocker". Described in our review as "a perfect summer album", one listen to the lead single "Long Time Coming" will likely have most of you agreeing.

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2. Anathema - The Optimist

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: June 9, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 9
  • Users' score: 8.7
  • UG score: 8.9

A complete counterpoint to the high-energy sunshine and happiness of our #3 entry, Anathema's "The Optimist" revels in melodrama, and overall has a much sadder tone, but the lushness and warmth of Anathema's sound is one of those things that ensures that every subsequent release by the band will receive massive accolades from the press. "The Optimist" serves as something of a sequel to 2001's "A Fine Day to Exit", and continues the style the band firmly established on the critically-acclaimed "We're Here Because We're Here". A slightly more post-rock-influenced writing style and use of electronic elements gives this album even more ambiance, though some fans, including commenters DeadEndKing and FallenAsh, are not as fond of the increased electronic elements and female vocals from Lee Douglas, preferring to hear more of the Cavanagh brothers' performances. Nonetheless, this album was very highly ranked for this month, and even when there are minor gripes about Anathema's music, they still put on one of the most excellent performances in the ambient/prog domain.

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1. SikTh - The Future in Whose Eyes?

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: Jun 2, 2017
  • Reviewer's score: 9
  • Users' score: 8.8
  • UG score: 8.9

Taking the top spot this month is djent/mathcore pioneers SikTh, who broke their nearly decade-long radio silence with the 2015 comeback EP "Opacities" to great fanfare, and finally committed to entering the studio for their first full-length since 2006's "Death of a Dead Day". Despite losing vocalist Justin Hill along the way, his replacement, Joe Rosser of Aliases, tag-teams with original vocalist Mikee Goodman for one of the most unique dual vocal performances in metal this side of System of a Down, without losing any of the characteristics of the band's older vocal style. Musically, the album is a little less frenetic than past releases, not featuring as many high-energy tunes as past albums, but there are still metric tons worth of excellent performances throughout the record. While commenter and UG writer EpiExplorer shares some of our qualms about the lack of high-energy performances, he does point out that in terms of production and composition, this is SikTh's best so far, and we're inclined to agree. Comparisons to Periphery, for better or worse, abounded in the comments section. All things considered, though, by the absolute slimmest of margins, this album is our top pick of June 2017, and a well-deserved full-length comeback for one of the most highly revered bands in modern metal!

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And that ends our top five for June. There were so many great albums in June that it was really hard to have to pick out just the five top-ranked, so please feel free to discuss which June albums you liked in the comments below!

32 comments sorted by best / new / date

    mjurcog
    Cellar Darling - This Is the Sound (June 30), Awesome folk metal by ex-Eluveitie singer, guitarist and drummer
    Agar4life
    Best albums of June, according to reviews by Travis Lausch, apparently.
    travislausch
    Sam Mendez did do a lot of reviews too, unfortunately, the albums he reviewed were not as well-received by the community.
    travislausch
    And also, one of Parker Abt's reviews is in here. Honestly, it may be a little skewed toward my reviews this month, but I really don't want to take away from the work of the rest of our review team. They do an outstanding job, and I honestly think their reviews are often better than mine.
    sumanod
    Typo
    JustStayDown90
    Psycho
    PhilipK06
    Amplifier's new album "Trippin' with Dr. Faustus" (June 30) is worth listening to!
    SgtPegleg
    Flogging Molly - "Life is Good" came out on 2 June.  Possibly one of their best, overall.
    travislausch
    And if anyone has any suggestions for upcoming albums they'd like to see me or the rest of the UG team review, this is a pretty good opportunity to let us know!  We have lots of resources for seeing what albums are coming out, but sometimes you guys all throw us curveballs in the comments for these lists that make me go "why didn't *I* think of that!?".  
    311ZOSOVHJH
    311 - Mosaic
    travislausch
    I'm pretty sure if I go back to my parents' house, I've got an old cassette of "Transistor" somewhere around!  Always surprised when people mention that band because they always kind of seemed off-the-radar, y'know?
    311ZOSOVHJH
    They def have a niche group of fans.  They tap into a lot of genres.  New album is really good.  Check it.   I saw them live 3 weeks ago.  Always good live.   I wish they got more press and recognition but they seem fine to be below the radar.
    TheMysticalBard
    Damn, that new STYX track is pretty good. They still got it.
    travislausch
    Seriously, their new album is pretty set to make my own personal yearly top-10 list! Didn't expect that from a band I wrote off as a nostalgia act years ago!
    R1SE_AGA1NST
    Not having the new jason isbel's new album on here is a mistake. There isn't a person alive whose written better songs that him in the last few years
    GR84
    Great artist, and great guitar player, he never gets mentioned on this site, kudos!
    godhelpus
    The Pheonix by CKY? Are you fucking serious? One of the worst albums of the last decade.
    travislausch
    As I stated in my review, I didn't find it all that terrible, but it was incredibly average. I can tell the band has a lot of talent, but they just seem content to kind of waste it on plodding, average tunes. But UG users seemed to think it was better, and rated it almost a whole point higher than I did, hence it being on the list. I don't necessarily choose what's going to be on these lists, it goes by the average of the reviewer's score and the user's score. There were some albums that got reviewed much higher (like CHON's "Homey", which I scored an 8) but got a lower score from the user base and, hence, aren't on this list.
    Kornholic
    One of the worst albums of the last decade? Are YOU fucking serious?
    godhelpus
    100% The vocalist sounds like he's had too much to drink. It's unfair to single the vocals out for criticism though, because the rest of the album is really shit as well. In 30 minutes, The Pheonix manages to say absolutely nothing worthwhile. Generic riffs, awful vocals, and some of the worst guitar solos of all time. No strong dynamics, no good hooks, terrible mixing. Even the names of the songs on the album tell the same story; 'Replaceable', 'Days of Self Destruction', 'Head for a Breakdown', 'Wiping Off the Dead'. It's fucking terrible. Edit: Of course you like it, your name is Kornholic. Jesus Christ.
    Kornholic
    No, I just find your hyperbole ridiculous.
    godhelpus
    I'm not being hyperbolic, The Pheonix raped my ears. It is genuinely one of the worst rock albums I've heard in years.
    Kornholic
    I believe you, but that just means you haven't listened to a lot of different albums then.