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.
Derek Orthner – Begrime Exemious/Falsehood
Honourable mentions: Ascended Dead, Contaminated, Extremity, Impalers, Incantation, Languid, Napalm Raid, Phylactery, Pig’s Blood, Regress, Tomb Mold, Undergang, Weregoat
10. Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Although they started as a black metal band, Ulver has been playing electronic and sometimes avant-garde music for the last 20 years. 2000’s Perdition City was the first electronic album I ever heard, and I’ve been enamored with what this band’s capable of doing ever since. The Assassination of Julius Caesar may be their best effort since, fully embracing synthpop and electronica that is sure to please the ears of anyone who likes classics like Depeche Mode.
9. Haggatha – V
British Columbia has been home to a lot of monolithic doom metal bands in recent years, and Haggatha have been at the forefront of this movement for over a decade. Their third full length continues their signature sound of massive riffs at crawling tempos, much like sludge godfathers Grief. Unlike many of their sludge influences, Haggatha never really kicks into a punk gear, so they never go beyond a mid-paced groove. But that’s what makes Haggatha so great; they manage to build memorable songs without cranking the tempo, creating some of the most ominous sludge in Canada.
8. Trenchgrinder – Peace is Forfeit
There’s something about Bolt Thrower that brings together death metallers and crust punks, and Trenchgrinder is sure to appeal to both crowds with their debut full length. Most of the songs here are rerecordings that originally appeared on previous demos/splits, which may be disappointing for some who’ve been following the band from the beginning, but that doesn’t take away from how absolutely crushing this full length is. This record is a lot meaner than most Bolt Thrower material, and doesn’t have a ton of punk influence, but anyone who’s a fiend for bands like Sanctum, War Master, Limb From Limb, etc. need to get into this immediately.
7. Acephalix – Decreation
More Bay Area death metal, this time from the recently reactivated Acephalix. After breaking up before the release of 2012’s Deathless Master, the band is finally able to properly support the fruits of their labour with Decreation. Their riffs have certainly evolved in comparison to that last album, going beyond the Entombed/d-beat realm and encompassing more death metal influence than ever. It still sounds like Acephalix, but with more mature songwriting. There’s even a total downtuned Cro-Mags riff that pops up, which is sure to excite eardrums. Luca of Necrot also plays bass on this record, managing to get himself two entries on this list.
6. Godflesh – Post-Self
Industrial metal pioneers Godflesh reformed a few years ago and dropped a crushing EP and LP in 2014. Three years later, they’ve hit back with another full length that manages to stand out in their already large and diverse discography. The first few tracks on Post-Self sound like classic Godflesh, with monolithic riffs and groovy drum machine beats. Following these tracks, the album starts to incorporate more electronic influences, which isn’t a surprise, but it’s done in a way that’s fresh for Godflesh. These tracks get downright weird, creating relaxed yet suffocating soundscapes. I was expecting something among the lines of Us & Them, but this is quite a different beast, and it’s a real grower.
5. Foreseen – Grave Danger
Finland’s Foreseen has returned with their sophomore full length. A lot of people mention Foreseen in discussions about Power Trip’s latest release, and with good reason – it’s like a rawer, more in your face version. Indeed, Foreseen channels plenty of old school thrash and punk into Grave Danger, complete with some fantastic lead guitar work. If Power Trip was a little too polished for your liking, Foreseen will fill that void. Either way, old school thrash fans better get on this one.
4. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
Most modern thrash metal is plagued by goofy lyrics and cartoonish imagery, but thankfully, Texas’ Power Trip has no time to play games. Their sophomore release is just as strong as 2013’s Manifest Decimation, full of hooks and contagious energy that’s a rarity to see for a new thrash band. It’s not often that I hear a record that makes me feel like I did when I first heard 80’s Metallica, but that’s exactly what Nightmare Logic achieves, but with a much punkier edge.
3. Necrot – Blood Offerings
California’s Bay Area may best be known for thrash in terms of what it’s produced for metal, but if the last handful of years have shown anything, it’s that death metal has been reigning supreme in the Bay. On the strength of three demos (released last year on a compilation LP/CD), Necrot’s full length pushes them into the forefront of Oakland’s rich death metal scene, and they do so with no frills. This power trio knocks out riff after riff of meat-and-potatoes death metal that’s given a little extra spice with some real tasty guitar solos.
2. Mass Grave – Our Due Descent
An institution of Canadian punk, Mass Grave have followed up last year’s The Absurdity of Humanity rather quickly with their fourth full length. Taking the grinding d-beat approach of Disrupt and riffs from kängpunk bands like Totalitar, Massgrave continues to prove they are on top of their game not only in Canada, but across the globe as well.
1. Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
Denver’s Spectral Voice have making some headway over the last few years on the strength of some demos/splits and relentless touring. With their sibling band Blood Incantation releasing one of last year’s strongest death metal releases, Spectral Voice have been put into perfect position to strike with their debut, and indeed it has taken the top spot for my album of the year. Combining influences of Finnish death metal with the gloom of death/doom gods diSEMBOWELMENT, this album is a trip through the abyss that just has to be heard. Eerie clean guitars and haunting baritone vocals are scattered throughout much like their Australian influence. Indeed, Spectral Voice’s first full length lives up to the hype it has garnered.
Justin “Juice” Wallace – Handsome Prick
2017 saw a plethora of great/legendary/upcoming bands unleash their loads to the masses! I partook in some of their offerings and after much deliberation here’s my politically incorrect list for ”Top 10 albums of 2017” in no particular odor!!
Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black
I don’t think Corpse could put out a shit album if they tried. You know what you’re getting w/Cannibal.That being said Juice digs the thrash n gash approach with this record. Sounds a little fresher and fleshier to the ear. Still brutal AF after all these years! Crank this mutha loud and pound some brews!! Shit’s gonna get messy! Check out ”Heads Shoveled Off,” ”Scavenger Consuming Death,” &”Only One Will Die.”
Broken Hope – Mutilated and Assimilated
I’ve been a fan of B.H. for many years. This is their second LP with the modern lineup and it f’n delivers like it should! I’ve worn this album out since it’s release and I’m still waiting for the Prick and B.H. to cross paths one of these days! Nonetheless, one of my favs of 2017 – great job, boys. Great production, not too slick. Check out ”Swamped-In Gorehog,” ”Malicious Meatholes’,’ & ”The Necropants.”
The Darkness- Pinewood Smile
The Darkness destroy everything! Believe the hype! This record is easily one of, if not their best. Harmonies and riffs forever! A real treat for dem ears, if you will. Front to back playback attack! The b-sides from the deluxe version add more weight to an already powerful and almighty performance! Check out ”Japanese Prisoner of Love,” ”Buccaneers of Hispaniola,” & ”Rock In Space.”
Danzig- Black Laden Crown
Well, we waited seven years and this is what we got. Honestly though, Juice rocked the HELL outta this record and loved the doom vibe going on with the songs, not to mention Glenn still has the howl of the wolf a few years into his 60s. But like most I must admit the production could of been so much more, and that’s an understatement. Great songs, bad production, but still worth a listen.
P.S. Thanks Glenn for flagging The Juice on YouTube. I still love you, G! Check out ”But A Nightmare,” ”Skulls and Daisies,” ”Last Ride,” & ”Blackness Falls”
Troubled Horse- Revolution On Repeat
One of Sweden’s many kinda throwback/stonerish/Sabbathy/bluesy bands put out their second album this year, and it was a great damn step up from the first! Solid album front to back, and I really dig the Warren Zevon cover ”My Shit’s Fucked Up.” Featuring ex-original members of Witchcraft, and after Witchcraft’s last release I suspect they’ve surpassed their more famous counterparts. A must own! Check out ”Track 7,” ”The Haunted,” and ”Let Bastards Know.”
Midnight- Sweet Death and Ecstasy
I just came across these guys from Brad (Handsome Prick) recently and I checked this album out and now I’m hooked. A late treat for the Juice’s pleasure! Heavy, punky, sleazy, Satanic, thrashy!! It’s the third full length w/ a stellar cover. One-man band in the studio type shit. Check ’em out if you’re looking for a good time. Midnight delivers! Check out ”Crushed By Demons,” ”Before My Time In Hell,” &”Here Comes Sweet Death.”
Exhumed- Death Revenge
Matt Harvey and co. are back for more! More brutality, more gore, more death! This record felt like a horror movie with the overtures and such & Juice is down with that! Great concept! Really loved the album cover and how each song had its own art. Exhumed have always laid it down and probably always will!! Check out ”The Harrowing,” ”Defenders of the Grave,” ”A Funeral Party,” and ”Lifeless.”
Suffocation- …Of The Dark Light
First album with a new lineup! The Prick played w/ Suffo last year before this dropped and I really dug the lineup, which at the time had Kevin Talley on the skins. Here we are now on the new album and the new drummer (Eric Morotti) slays, as well as the addition of new vocalist Kevin Muller. There’s some wicked shit as to be expected from these guys, and it’s another solid album that seems a tad faster than normal, which is delicious! Loved it! Check out ”Return To The Abyss,” ”Caught Between Two Worlds,” & ”Some Things Should Be Left Alone.”
Some of the best deathgrind you’ll get from the well-seasoned and tasty French quartet! Includes a Sepultura and Marduk cover to go along with twelve other soul incinerating tracks of devastation. Stick it in and push play. Just let it happen. You’ll like it, I swear! Check out ”Leatherface,” ”Reptilian,” ”Reeks of Darkened Zoopsia,” & ”Forgive Me Father.”
Bloodclot- Up In Arms
Members of Cro-Mags, Danzig, and Queens of the Stone Age, (John Joseph, Todd Youth, Joey Castillo, and Nick Oliveri) whip up some good ol’ punk/thrash/hardcore/metal mayhem with this one. A sonic assault of fury and power that makes me want to throw lots of household objects around in the heat of glory! Just give it a try won’t ya!? Check out ”Life As One,” ”You’ll Be The Death Of Me,” & ”Kill The Beast.”
That’s All Folks!!!! Enough of my opinions! Cheers to Indy Metal Vault and look out for HANDSOME PRICK’s new album Anonymityville, available December 22 via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.