Best Albums of May 2017

Rounding up May 2017's best releases.

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Ultimate Guitar
Best Albums of May 2017
6

All right, UGers, it's time to go through our May reviews and select the five best records from last month, as voted by the UG community on reviews written by our very own review team members! We had quite a few good records from the past month to choose from, so we won't be able to cover everything that came out, and we'll be selecting these albums based on their UG score, which is based on user votes and reviewer's score (sorry, Linkin Park!).

So without further ado, here are some honourable mentions:

Kasabian - For Crying Out Loud

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released: May 5
  • Reviewer's score: 6
  • UG score: 6.7

Papa Roach - Crooked Teeth

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released: May 19
  • Reviewer's score: 6
  • UG score: 6.7

Wavves - You're Welcome

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released: May 19
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3
  • UG score: 7

At the Drive-In - in•ter a•li•a

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: May 5
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7
  • UG score 7.6

DragonForce - Reaching Into Infinity

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: May 19
  • Reviewer's score: 9
  • UG score: 8.1

And now, the main event. Your top five albums of May 2017:

5. Zac Brown Band - Welcome Home

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Sam Mendez
  • Released: May 12
  • Reviewer's score: 7
  • UG score: 7.3

Following a rather divided response from fans on 2015's "Jekyll + Hyde", Zac Brown and his band backpedal from the electronic pop and grunge-rock influences of that album in favour of the band's more traditional country/southern rock style. While the album may not have been up to the standards of their early work, team reviewer Sam Mendez calls it a "[job well done] of being a country music palate cleanser for those who were disenchanted with the sugar sweet pop sound of Zac Brown Band's previous album". UGer comments seem to be a bit more divided, with user konfusius merely stating: "cringe". But anguyen92 seemed to be more on board with Mendez's review, saying "I like the idea that Welcome Home had and bring good-hearted country music without that overproduced nonsense that most pop country bands seems to bring nowadays."

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4. Magna Carta Cartel - The Demon King [EP]

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Parker Abt
  • Released: May 5
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7
  • UG score: 7.9

With its kind of muddy backstory of being a pre-Ghost band that eventually formed part of the Swedish Grammy-winning heavy metal band's lineup, and their subsequent disbanding and identity revelations, the band has found it appropriate to reconvene in the wake of all the controversy surrounding their former boss. However, this is most certainly not a "Ghost redux" album, with soundscapes recalling Pink Floyd rather than Black Sabbath. While UG reviewer Parker Abt was not fond of guitarist/vocalist Martin Persner's vocals, user angolodivergil believes that Persner's voice "fits beautifully with the songs, even if the lyrics aren't that great", while r0ckmaker compares his vocals favourably to those of the band Blue Öyster Cult.

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3. Seether - Poison the Parish

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: May 12
  • Reviewer's score: 7.9
  • UG score: 8

Bucking the recent trend of mainstream rockers to utilize more and more electronic sounds, American-based South African band Seether put out a rawer, more visceral record that what many of their contemporaries are putting out these days. But the album still has loads of catchy melodies, and a huge amount of Nirvana influence throughout. It's not the most inventive record out there, but an incredibly solid hard rock album. And it seems many in the UG community agree, leading one d.sharpe1095 to proclaim "I love this album almost as much as I love burly gay men. 9/10!". We think this comment speaks for itself. Opinion was not universal, however, as a few of you found the album a bit disappointing, including self-confessed "die-hard Seether fan" SurferDude12498, who says "Seether has become something I feel like I can't listen to in the same way. It feels watered down. Where did their fire go?". Guess you can't please everybody.

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2. Paramore - After Laughter

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Parker Abt
  • Released: May 12
  • Reviewer's score: 8
  • UG score: 8.1

After the departure of the Farro brothers (drummer Zak and guitarist Josh), and bassist Jeremy Davis, Paramore was left in something of a quagmire, having recorded the band's 2013 self-titled record as a trio. Drummer Zak Farro returned to the fold, however, just in the nick of time for "After Laughter", which sees the band collaborating with producer (and bassist) Justin Meldal-Johnsen, for a ridiculously simple, fun pop-rock record with no frills, and not a lot in the way of filler. And surprisingly for a pop-rock record, a good number of UG users agreed with Parker Abt's assessment, with anthsband comparing the album's style to '80s new wave, and vIsIbleNoIsE saying it was "surprisingly good" after painting them as "run-of-the-mill pop rock".

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1. Alestorm - No Grave But the Sea

  • Link to review
  • Reviewed by Travis Lausch
  • Released: May 27
  • Reviewer's score: 8
  • UG score: 8.1

Yo-ho-ho, mateys! Set sail for the #1 album of May 2017! Pirate metallers Alestorm take the top spot in this month's list by a single fraction of a point, but it's hard not to love such a fun band whose entire world revolves around "rum, beer, quests and mead". Buoyed by some excellent musicianship and anchored with some incredibly fun, catchy, and downright riotous hooks (check out the one in "Fucked With an Anchor"!), "No Grave But the Sea" is a veritable treasure chest of rum-soaked adventures and killer guitar riffs. For this reviewer's money, this album may actually be staying on my iPod for a good long while, and it's an absolutely perfect soundtrack for road trips and all of your adventures. ensifer1 puts it succinctly by saying "If it's Alestorm, you know it's going to be fun." A perfect motto for this band if I've ever heard one.

And be sure to follow slapsymcdougal's suggestion and check out the version for dogs!

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And that concludes our top five albums of May 2017, as voted on by the UG community. If you felt there were any albums worth mentioning (sadly, if they weren't reviewed on Ultimate Guitar, they won't appear in these lists), please feel free to mention them in the comments below! Until next month, se ya UG!

42 comments sorted by best / new / date

    schecterhellraz
    What constitutes the these being the best albums? Because the DF album had the best score in both categories but it is just an honorable mention? Is it the amount of votes cast that plays a role?
    N-D
    Actually the UG score is the arithmetic mean between reviwer's score and users' score (it's based on all user votes). But in the case of DragonForce the difference between the score was very significant (9 vs. 7.2). But next month the whole list will be based only on UG scores.
    schecterhellraz
    Good to know, forgot that the UG score was average between the reviewers score (which isn't listen here) and the User score.
    pressureproject
    Paramore?  Oh noes.
    koalabacon
    Not a Paramore fan, but this album was objectively good. It surprised a lot of non-fans. It's not a typical mid-2000s pop-punk Hot Topic Warped  skinny jeans revival album. They went a different way musically, and they did a good job. People gave it good reviews because they took a creative leap and, objectively, did a somewhat good job
    TMoreau15
    I miss punkier Paramore. Personally if I'm going to listen to the kind of pop music they're trying to make now, I'll just listen to Metric... they do it better.
    Iceman10129
    I was not expecting the UK Indie sound.  I even thought they had a new singer when I saw her get out of the car at the beginning of the video.
    cowens_
    " Not a Paramore fan, but this album was objectively good. " woah ok, slow down, professor: I really don't think you know what the term "objectively" means. You might want to stop taking liberties with other's critique of the album away from them -- which is precisely what you're doing when you say this.
    koalabacon
    The critique he made was "Paramore? Oh noes". Which really isn't a critique, it's soft pass at this album being good because it's an album by Paramore, which is not a fair evaluation. I'm not stealing away peoples liberties to critique this album. I'm basing this based off the general consensus. This isn't just my opinion that this album was good. Rating albums to begin with - as reviewers do - is an attempt to make an objective opinion about a piece of art. Nothing will ever be perfectly objective, but these reviews are a cumulative of individuals opinions about this album. As i have stated that the general consensus is that this album is a *good* piece of art. It surprised non-fans and fans alike.  And as someone who didn't like anything previously that Paramore has produced, I come from the position that you should give this album a chance before passing it off as "Paramore? Oh noes".
    Iceman10129
    I do agree with most of this, but also with the "objectively" being the wrong word usage.  Should be "despite previous bias in regards to Paramore, this album was good"
    4tytude42
    Linkin Pop has a song called heavy, it's pop Popmore has a song called hard times, it's pop What in the...?
    xarandomninjax
    I don't see how being called hard times would pigeonhole it into any specific genre in the first place.
    rufizonfire
    If Stinkfist and Face To The Floor had a child it would be Seether's song Let You down.
    GR84
    I just don't understand the appeal of Zach Brown, nothing against him but it always just sounds so clean, some music is meant to be polished and clean, but i have a sense that if it was less polished it might work better and have a more lasting and timely impact
    ensifer1
    [deleted]
    ensifer1 · Jun 08, 2017 01:16 PM
    AC0RN
    Poison the Parish is fucking awesome! The album artwork, title, lyrics are all pretty great especially from a 10+ yr old post-grunge act 👍🏻
    CorrosionMedia
    I'd honestly add Blink's California Deluxe to my personal list. Seriously 28 songs and even if you only like 8-12 of them, it's totally worth it considering it's the same price as usual. Combined, it's definitely in my top 10 of 2016/17.
    GR84
    Right on, it turned into a awesome double album! I like Pt. 2 even better! It's much more of a Alkaline Trio/Blink 182 mashup 
    CorrosionMedia
    I think because they had more time to get it written and arranged, pt2 sounds far more together. There's some serious +44 vibes too, which I love! They probably should've gone with a different name just to not upset the Tom purists, but either way it's a fantastic album!
    GR84
    I completely agree, its a great new band with more Mark vibes, with Matt. Tom had a unique quality with Blink, so this should have been called something different, however i believe the reason they did that was so they could tour blink material (which is a stadium pull)
    davidtomas.lope
    ex Heaven's Basement frontman's new solo album is fuckin' great
    check the man with stars on his knees