After a solid 2015 and a fantastic 2016, 2017 was slightly more tepid in the number of standout rock albums I found during the course of the year. However, that is far from suggesting it was a weak year for the genre. In fact, I spent a ton of time listening to new releases from favorite artists both old and new. Despite this, I chose to revert back to a top five list instead of the top 10 that last year necessitated.

This year saw great releases from artists like Queens of the Stone Age, Greta Van Fleet, Nothing But Thieves, Death from Above 1979, Liam Gallagher, Danko Jones, Dan Auerbach, Incubus, and Mastodon. Marilyn Manson put out his follow-up to the phenomenal The Pale Emperor, and while it would probably be the next album on my list, it doesn't quite reach the heights of the stellar LP that preceded it. This year also brought some of my favorite video game soundtracks of all time, led by Atlus' Persona 5, which is one of the rare soundtracks I listen to on a regular basis. I also thoroughly enjoyed the music from Super Mario Odyssey and Sonic Mania, but in order to keep this focused on rock music, I left those albums off the list.

I typically keep my lists restricted to LPs, instead giving small shout outs to my favorite EPs in the intro of the piece. This year, I noticed a trend of artists relying more on releasing EPs and singles rather than full albums. My favorite EP of 2017 was Stone Horses' eponymous EP, which featured some strong music from some of the members of Charm City Devils. I also really enjoyed the Cruel Knives' Side One EP, which was formed from the ashes of Heaven's Basement, one of my favorite hard rock groups. Halestorm didn't release new music this past year, but the group did continue its tradition of releasing awesome covers following the release of an original LP. I also enjoyed The Struts' acoustic EP celebrating the success of their debut album in 2016.

Check out my five favorite rock albums of the year. If you have any you think I should give a listen to, leave those in the comments. I’m always looking for new artists to listen to!

5. Goodbye June – Magic Valley

I first became aware of Goodbye June through the Madden NFL 17 soundtrack, where their single "Oh No" appeared. I immediately dug their brand of hard rock and snatched their EP, which released is 2016. This year, the band put out its debut album, Magic Valley. The name and colorful album art may give you the sense that this LP features some element of psychedelia, but more times than not, you get straightforward rock with powerful, unique vocals from frontman Landon Milbourn. Some of the tracks blend together when I think back to my favorite songs, but whether I was working out or driving around, Magic Valley provided the soundtrack for a significant part of my year.

Highlights: "Charge Up the Power," "Oh No," "Bamboozler"

4. Foo Fighters Concrete and Gold

The Foo Fighters are among my favorite artists, so you would think I'd be predisposed to like what they put out, right? Well, I didn't love Concrete and Gold the first several times I listened to it. The band that became so well known for its enormous stadium rock choruses put out an album much less reliant on that convention. Instead, the Dave Grohl-led group relied heavily on the sounds that influenced them. Throughout the LP, you find fewer booming choruses and more nods to bands like The Beatles while still retaining the signature Foos sound. The result was an evolution that I wasn't on board with right away, but after a few plays, I came around to it. I love that the group is forging new paths, but I still prefer the sound on albums like Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace and Wasting Light.

Hightlights: "Run," "The Line," "Make It Right"

3. Biters The Future Ain't What It Used to Be

In 2016, my favorite album was the superb glam rock album Everybody Wants from The Struts, so it would only make sense that another glamtastic album from 2017 make my list this year. If The Struts modernize pages out of The Sweet's playbook, Atlanta's Biters feels like a 21st century revival of T. Rex and New York Dolls, with a hint of Cheap Trick to round out the formula. The album is lavishly painted with fuzzy guitar sounds, earworm hooks, and Bolan-esque vocals from frontman Tuk Smith. While it's only number 3 on my list, it very well may have been the album I listened to most throughout the year.

Highlights: "Stone Cold Love," "Gypsy Rose," "Vulture City"

2. Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

Royal Blood's debut album absolutely blew me away the first time I heard it, so going into 2017, How Did We Get So Dark? was easily my most anticipated of the year. Thankfully, it delivered. In this sophomore LP, the duo of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher bring the enormous noise you would never expect to come from just a bass guitar and a drumkit, Rather than the relentless explosive hooks found on their debut, this album draws inspiration from bands like Queens of the Stone Age in balancing out their sound with a groovier pace to many of the tracks. That said, my favorite tunes on the new album are songs that would feel at home on their debut, as the harmonies and soaring vocals over frantic guitar riffs and furious drum beats play right into what I want from the English duo.

Highlights: "Lights Out," "How Did We Get So Dark?," "I Only Lie When I Love You"

1. Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics - The Man With Stars On His Knees

I mentioned Heaven's Basement earlier when discussing my favorite EPs of 2017, and my love for that band shines through in my pick for my favorite LP of the year. Aaron Buchanan is an incredibly talented vocalist who spent a few years fronting Heaven's Basement. During his time with the band, the group put out Filthy Empire, which remains one of my favorite hard rock albums of the last decade. After going through a few different vocalists with varying degrees of success, Heaven's Basement had finally found its perfect fit with the versatile Buchanan. Unfortunately, Buchanan left the band in late 2015. However, his new band, The Cult Classics, put out a terrific album that showcases his abilities as both a songwriter and a frontman.

The Man with Stars on his Knees doesn't feature the ferocity that made Filthy Empire such a terrific album, and because of that, I didn't love it right away. However, over the course of multiple listens, I came to appreciate the nuance this album brings with it. Rather than the relentless assault on your eardrums that Heaven's Basement typically brought, Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics' debut brings a more diverse approach that lets the singer show off his full range in ways that he couldn't in his previous project. From track to track, you can hear Buchanan's vocal style effortlessly transition from Freddie Mercury to Scott Weiland in impressive fashion. Meanwhile, The Cult Classics are hardly slouches either, with Aaron's sister Laurie turning in an outstanding performance on guitar throughout the LP. The Man with Stars on his Knees is a phenomenal debut that has me excited to see what this group can do with their second album as they further coalesce as a rock outfit.

Highlights: "Dancin' Down Below," "Left Me for Dead," "Journey Out of Here"