Now that a new year is here, it’s the perfect time to look back at all the great albums turning a decade old in 2017 and wonder where the time went. Several obvious ones stand out: Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Anberlin’s Cities, and Between the Buried and Me’s Colors, among others. But while we await the anniversary tours to be announced with the notable albums of 2007 blasting from our speakers, I’d like to point out some of that year’s more overlooked releases.
Here’s a list of 10 albums that are turning a decade old this year that often sit on the back burner (but deserve recognition nonetheless):
The Almost – Southern Weather
Just as Underoath was becoming the metalcore equivalent of Nirvana in terms of success, drummer Aaron Gillespie was blazing his own trail with side project The Almost. The year after Define the Great Line changed the metal scene for the better, Gillespie’s new group made an excellent record of their own. A mix of alternative rock and pop-punk that maintained much of the energy and aggression as his other band, Southern Weather was quite the jam. While “Say This Sooner” and “Southern Weather” stick out most for their big choruses and Gillespie’s vocal grit, the 11-track effort as a whole is solid as a rock. Comparing The Almost to Underoath is like comparing apples to oranges, but the band’s debut deserves some recognition as more than just a side project effort.
As Cities Burn – Come Now Sleep
Following As Cities Burn’s fantastic rookie release, Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest, screamer T.J. Bonnette left the band, and we expected a full demise thereafter. But even after announcing their end, the group decided to continue — and it required a much different sound with T.J.’s brother — and singer — Cody taking over full vocal duties. Come Now Sleep was then born, and its 2007 release made an impact for its emotional weight just as much as its predecessor. With a sound more rooted in post-hardcore than hardcore, the atmosphere was toned down and dragged out for stronger impact. Every track has a powerful message, but it’s closer, “Timothy” that hits hardest as Cody comes to terms with the suicide of one of the band’s close friends.
Becoming the Archetype – The Physics of Fire
In the 10 years since its release, I haven’t heard another technical metal album as memorable as Becoming the Archetype’s sophomore disc. Perhaps the reason The Physics of Fire is so overlooked is because the group went through so many member changes it’s hard to sort out who played on this record. But it’s the combination of screamer Jason Wisdom and three instrumentalists — minus a bassist — that crafted a progressive metal masterpiece in 2007. From the soloing on “Immolation” to the face-melting riffs of “The Great Fall”, the record wasn’t short on tenacity. Its mix of classical elements, from piano to strings, was the cherry on top, as this record’s stunning metal compositions were some of the best to come out of that year.
Chasing Victory – Fiends
Staying on the theme of heavy music in the Christian realm, Chasing Victory’s sophomore release remains one of the most underrated albums of 2007. The band’s ever-changing sound, which originated in hardcore but eventually moved more toward hard rock, and their breakup just months after the release of Fiends makes their final collection of songs an easily forgotten one. With one-word song titles and a striking cover image of a man in a mask, you’d expect some flair from the Georgia quintet — and they deliver. Toying around with Southern rock and other rock subgenres, the band assured with this record that people would no longer compare them to Glassjaw or Thursday. They’re back and planning a new album, too, and I can only wonder where they’re taking their sound next…
Fair to Midland – Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True
Fair to Midland’s third record is a perplexing one, and that may be why it never ended up standing out among the great rock releases of 2007. Fables from a Mayfly incorporates a vast array of genres, including but not limited to alternative rock, hard rock, post-hardcore, and progressive metal, and it does so with careful expertise and a bigger budget than the outfit’s past records. Even when ignoring the diversity of its instrumental direction, Fables makes one heck of an impression from a vocal standpoint, as Darroh Sudderth often goes as high as Anthony Green and as low as Brent Hinds. Trust me, you probably haven’t heard another record with as original — or enticing — a dynamic Fair to Midland concocts on this record.
The Graduate – Anhedonia
Adding to the legacy of Midwest emo with a heartfelt rock album, Illinois’ The Graduate put out a tender debut in Anhedonia in 2007. The record — titled after the condition of not being able to feel joy from normally pleasurable acts — examines themes from loneliness and discomfort to regret and moving on with immense buoyancy. The quintet matches the intense emotions of the lyrics with rises and crashes of instrumental fury. Their sound here, perfected by longtime punk producer Brian McTernan, crunches like pop-punk but maintains a thickness similar to Jimmy Eat World. The Graduate calmed down to atmospheric indie rock on their second record before breaking up, but the best gift they left us with was a tour de force of an emo/rock album in Anhedonia.
Moving Mountains – Pneuma
New York’s Moving Mountains created arguably the best self-released album of 2007 with Pneuma, and it wasn’t long before indie labels picked up on the powerful art they had created. The record was originally intended to be the product of a studio duo with no further career intentions, but its high acclaim and spread online led to a Deep Elm Records reissue and the band’s transition to a full-time fourpiece. Musical mastermind Gregory Dunn played most of the instruments on the album, as well as producing, mixing, and mastering it. This helped the record — which combines elements of post-rock, emo, and post-hardcore — become a beautiful and calculated mass on all fronts. Seven-minute closer “Ode We Will Bury Ourselves” caps off an ambitious group of songs with ever-rising poignancy, and it’s one of the year’s best cuts.
Streetlight Manifesto – Somewhere in the Between
Streetlight Manifesto’s second record is probably the least overlooked on this list, even if the popularity of ska-punk had dwindled since its late ‘90s boom. The seven members’ contributions to one of the most technically and artistically savvy bands of the decade made sure they wouldn’t be forgotten. The highly acclaimed Somewhere in the Between added to the group’s mystique, with frontman Tomas Kalnoky rarely doing interviews and the full outfit slowing down over time in terms of touring and releases (the record would be just the second of their three since 2003). But the craftiness of their sophomore disc proves Streetlight Manifesto has never squandered any of their potential — or the abilities — of its reasonably large staff of musicians. Their lawsuit with Victory Records aside, the group will be best remembered for their sophisticated hornline, energetic punk sections, and Kalnoky’s gruffy voice — all at their best on Somewhere.
Wavorly – Conquering the Fear of Flight
One of the lesser-known rock acts of the 2000s, Wavorly could’ve been the next big thing in the genre if they hadn’t stalled after the release of their stellar debut. Conquering the Fear of Flight took 2007 by storm, specifically “Part One”, which performed well on Christian charts and had its video consistently played on the Gospel Music Channel. Like many other artists over the past few decades, the band drew heavily from the writings of C.S. Lewis in the formation of the album. Playing alternative rock in the vein of contemporaries and labelmates Ivoryline and Kids in the Way, Wavorly combined their stylistics into a tightly knit package. A guitar-heavy record most of the time with slower offerings like “Praise and Adore (Some Live Without It)” diversifying the mix, the record helped the band make a mark in Christian rock during their short tenure.
A Wilhelm Scream – Career Suicide
A list of underrated albums wouldn’t be complete without a little hardcore punk, especially if the hardcore punk we’re talking about comes from A Wilhelm Scream. The Massachusetts band has sat under the radar for most of their existence, which is unfortunate since they’ve put out some of the best albums of the genre over the last two decades. 2007’s Career Suicide stands above all the others, as it boasts the strongest critical success and production value of the group’s career. Recorded at the same place as The Gaslight Anthem and Comeback Kid’s albums from the same year, the outfit’s fifth release meshes a newfound maturity and firmness with their typical in-your-face personality. Career Suicide holds nothing back, leading it to become 2007’s finest punk album and a high point in the catalogue of an act that’s outstanding for more reasons than one.