As part of out 2017 Year-End Extravaganza, we’ve reached out to some of our favorite people in the metal world and asked them if they’d be interested in contributing lists of their own – 10 records, ranked (or not), metal (or not), with a sentence or two (or more, if they felt like it) about each. Much to our surprise, several actually said yes.
We’re joined this time by Forrest, Isaac, Jessica, Kelly, and Tom of Daxma.
DAXMA’s (Unranked) Top 10 of 2017
Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
– I’ve been loudly proclaiming that Bell Witch is making the most interesting music ever since I first heard Four Phantoms, and I feel particularly vindicated with the release of this album. I’ve always been fascinated and inspired with the way Bell Witch is able to incorporate negative space. While this is present in “Four Phantoms”, their ability to use this as a compositional tool on Mirror Reaper is masterful, and doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion.
From a personal perspective, I think that this album captures the philosophical and emotional themes of loss better than anything I’ve ever heard. I also believe this album encapsulates what it means to exist between the twilight of life and death and whenever I listen, I have found myself absolutely devastated by the reflections of what I’ve found there. I feel that this album is not only the album of the year, but the best album in any genre in at least ten years for me. -Tom
– Before this came out, Tom told me of their previous album- he felt it could be objectively argued Bell Witch was the best current music. On the day this came out, I listened to it in its entirety in a single sitting and wondered to myself if he was right.
To me this album reminds me of Picasso’s Guernica, particularly because of the story where a Nazi officer asked Picasso if he had painted it, to which he famously replied back to the Nazi officer, “no, you did.” Like Guernica, Bell Witch’s album is a piece of historical art that in my opinion captures the essence of the times in which we live more precisely than anything else I’ve encountered. – Isaac
– I know that I’ve read a great book, watched a great movie, listened to a great piece of music, etc. if it pulls a lot of emotion out of me. This album completely ruins me (in a good way) every time I listen to it. The weight of what went into the creation of this song is tangible, and the end result is something so heartbreaking and beautiful that I haven’t been able to stop playing it since it was released. -Kelly
Loss – Horizonless
– This is my personal pick for album of the year. I am so in love with this album. There have been many mornings where melodies or certain riffs from this album are playing in my head, a remnant of the soundtrack of dreams I had the night before. I am obsessed with the way the repeating guitar riff and the lead guitar line work together at the ending of “When Death is All.” – Jessica
Pallbearer – Heartless
– “Lie of Survival” is my top played track of 2017, according to my Spotify data. The solo guitar outro floors me every time. It’s so amazingly beautiful to me. The increased vocal harmonies in this album are a very welcome evolution. Their melodies are so damn masterful. – Jessica
Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
– Elder just always kills it. Every. Single. Time. I went to see them play at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn when I was out in NY on vacation this fall, and it was one of the highlights of my year. I really wish they’d tour the west coast more. My favorite track is “Blind” but the entire album is incredible. This album has been on constant rotation for me since it was released. –Jessica
After hearing Lore in 2015, I knew Elder had something special. Their music is a careful waltz of heavy sound with subtle sweeping melodies. This album brought completely new aspects to an already diverse sub-genre. A good melody is not just catchy, it’s impactful. – Forrest
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers
– Since first hearing “Storm” when I was in my early teens, there have been very few other bands that have had as much lasting impact and influence on me as Godspeed. Since their “reunion” several years ago, each album continues to show both musical growth and clarity of vision. “Anthem for No State” in particular is remarkably beautiful. – Isaac
– If I ever need to explain layering to someone, Godspeed is my go to. The melodies are carefully crafted like a well-shot movie. When a song can make you feel a certain emotion repeatedly, that is something great. When a song can make you feel different emotions each time, that is something amazing. – Forrest
– Just to add on to this, “Anthem For No State” is phenomenal, and this album is yet another wonderful release from one of my favorite bands. Similar to Isaac, GY!BE has been one of my favorite bands for over half my life and this has been heavily played in my house this year. — Tom
Osi and the Jupiter – Uthuling Hyl
– This album is hypnotic and spellbinding. I love how primal sounding the percussion is. The cello work by Kakophonix is otherworldly, and I get intense chills every time I listen to this album. The creativity displayed on this album, and the atmosphere the music evokes so effectively is inspiring. As an aside, I am so charmed that he named this project after his two doggos. – Jessica
CHRCH/Fister – Split
– I’d been greatly anticipating new songs by CHRCH, and “Temples” did not disappoint. I am happy to add another track of theirs alongside “Stargazer” (my personal favorite CHRCH song) to my regular rotation playlist. I can’t wait for their second full-length! They have shown so much growth, and it’s so rad to hear their evolution as a band. –Jessica
Dvne – Asheran
– This album is as if Mastodon and Isis had a baby that was a rock opera of Dune. Everything about this is good. –Isaac
Isenordal – Shores of Mourning
– We were fortunate enough to get to play a show with Isenordal earlier this year, and I’ve been absolutely floored by how phenomenal their debut album is. It is full of staggeringly beautiful melodic arrangements, engaging and highly musical drumming, and wonderful vocal interplay between the various singers. I’ve probably taken the time to sit and actively listen to this album a couple dozen times this year, and have walked away from it with a new appreciation for their artistry every time. These guys are phenomenal, and I can’t wait to hear what they do in the future. I hope they get the recognition they deserve! –Tom
– If Isenordal isn’t on your radar yet, you need to get your shit together. Awesome humans playing awesome music. Pro tip: Goes well with frosty morning mountain drives. -Kelly
Converge – The Dusk in Us
– Converge has been one of my favorite bands since the release of Jane Doe, and Ben Koller is (more often than not) my favorite drummer, but until I heard this album I was actually not all that excited for its release. I have to be honest in that I was really disappointed in their previous album All We Love We Leave Behind. For whatever reason I found myself unengaged and bored by that release.
This album grabbed me almost immediately. I feel like they’ve expanded stylistically, (especially “Trigger” which feels like it takes heavy influence from The Jesus Lizard), and delivered on every front that I’ve come to expect from them: creative, technical, and musical drumming, thoughtful lyrics, exemplary riffs and melodic arrangements, and an abrasive aural onslaught. Taken as an album, I think this is their best work since Jane Doe. -Tom