2017 was an excellent year for metal as far as I’m concerned. We had so many great albums drop that making this list was a pain in the ass. I am sure there are some great albums I totally forgot to think about and even more great albums I never heard to begin with. We had legendary bands coming out with new stuff to rival the current crop of must hear bands, and solid debut albums from bands whose status has yet to be seen. From black metal to death metal to post metal and every other branch of the metal family tree, we saw great albums that will stand the test of time. So here is a list of my favorite albums of 2017!
#20 Dyscarnate – With All Their Might Unique Leader Records
Death metal done right! The production on this album is what really caught my ear, but I stayed for the the riffs. The vocals are harsh and brutal but still bounce along with the melody.
#19 Lóstregos –Lendas Baixo o Luar Fólkvangr Records | Darkwoods | Damnatio Ad Bestias
If you could somehow get the guys from Maiden to join a second wave black metal band you get Lóstregos. I said it in my interview with the band and I’ll say it again, “It’s not very often that a black metal album has me throwing a foot up on my table for the best possible air guitar stance, but this album had me doing it unconsciously and constantly.” This album bring the fun to metal that is so often missing in today world.
#18 Heretoir – The Circle Northern Silence | Yehonal Tapes
Just go by the fucking album and listen to it. I have been trying to think of something to say about this album for a while now and that is about the most praise I can give it. You will like it, so just go buy it and spin it over and over again.
#17 Violet Cold – Anomie Fólkvangr Records | Tridroid Records
I feel like this one is going to be on A LOT of year end lists. It seems like regardless of what metal you are usually into, everyone likes Anomie. Emin, the main man behind Violet Cold, is on another level artisitcally. In my personal view, he is right up with with the great composers of all time. He goes for the emotion that fits rather than try to fit what he does into a genre box.
#16 Artificial Brain – Infared Horizon Profound Lore
This is some next next millennium tech death right here. When humans have long since evolved into machines, Artificial Brain will still sound the same. The cover art by Adam Burke is absolutely beautiful and shows that these machines do have some of the human left in them.
#15 Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed II - Consouling Sounds
Some albums slip through the cracks, and I feel like this is one of them. My buddy Chase has recently taken the plunge into the rabbit hole that is extreme metal and is a big fan of this album. He thought it would be a good idea to look into the name and album title… Well it can’t get darker than “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - The Dead Have it Good II.” Welcome to black metal, buddy!
#14 Postcards From Arkham – Manta Independent
So you won’t find Postcards From Arkham on the Metallum, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a spin. Manta was the surprise of the year for me. I haven’t been following Postcards, so the album came out of the blue for me. And I can’t stop listening. The post-rock and electronic elements set it apart from everything else on this list. It’s an album that gets better with each listen and deserves a vinyl release.
#13 Analepsy – Atrocities From Beyond Rising Nemesis Records | Vomit Your Shirt | Rastilho Records
Who doesn’t love a band whose name alone will make the normies squirm a bit? Analepsy is a no bullshit kinda band. They are certainly technically proficient and not a cookie cutter brutal death band. There are some great slam moments in the music that make you wanna smash your fist into the nearest face. And that artwork? I’m a firm believer that artwork is a huge part of metal, and Analepsy has killed it with Atrocities From Beyond.
#12 Suicidal Causticity – The Human Touch Amputated Vein Records
What’s this? Another Italian death metal band? You bet your ass it is! Sticking more to brutal death, Suicidal Causticity rarely let up the sure punishment on this album. The vocals are filthy, but catchy enough to keep me coming back again and again.
#11 Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone Prosthetic Records
Italy is constantly putting out quality death metal. For my money no one does it better than H.O.P. There is no shortage of technicality and brutality on this one, but there is enough melody that you can follow along with the punishment. Hour of Penance constantly kill it in the art work department. This is a battle soundtrack and the art agrees!
#10 The Drip – The Haunting Fear of Inevitablity Relapse Records
This is modern grindcore at its most savage and competent. There are plenty of elements from all your favorite extreme metal genres with a touch of punk sprinkled in that make for an engaging listen for any metalhead. On top of all that, I would buy this album at the record store on artwork alone. When you see it you know its metal.
#9 Pillorian – Obsidian Arc Eisenwald Records
What do you do when you lay to rest one of the best bands of all time? If you John Haughm you grab some young dudes with some serious fucking skills and get back to making music. This is the debut and I can only see even better things to come from them. Do yourself a favor and go see them live if you get a chance.
#8 Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid Metal Blade Records
I don’t even know where to start with these folks. They do something entirely all their own. The types of music and instruments that intermingle on Savage Sinusoid shouldn’t work together but it just fucking does. Drummer Sylvain Bouvier is the real stand out on this album in my mind.
#7 Darkest Hour –Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora Southern Lord
The boys are back in town! I was fourteen years old when the first full length, The Mark of the Judas, came out and have been a diehard fan ever since. Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora has managed to capture that old Darkest Hour vibe better than the last couple albums. It’s become my favorite from John Henry and the boys.
#6 Gaerea – Gaerea Everlasting Spew Records
You know when you hear an album and you feel it’s your duty to force everyone you know to love it? Gaerea was that album for me this year. Punishing and hateful Portugees black metal that gets better with every listen. If you need something to hold you over until the next Behemoth album, this should fill your void nicely!
#5 Der Weg Einer Frehiet – Finisterre Season of Mist Records
If we are talking “modern” black metal bands, Der Weg einer Freiheit has been at the top of my list since I first heard 2011’s Agonie. A few albums later the band released Stellar which was my pick for 2015 album of the year. Finisterre had very big shoes to fill, and by most accounts it hit the mark. The emotion they have become known for is ever present, be it happy, sad, angry or hopeful.
#4 The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers Metal Blade Records
This was the most anticipated album of the 2017 for me. Each and every time Trevor and Brian get the crew together in Michigan, riffs of death and poems of horror abound. I can’t tell you how many times I have spun this one. Too many to keep track of. But that is what I have come to expect from BDM. For the first time they used a repeat artist for the album cover. Some guy name Kristian Wallen, or Necrobutcher to most of you. Check out my interview with front-man Trevor Strnad!
#3 Archivist – Construct Alerta Antifascista Records | Halo of Flies Records
It’s not everyday you get a black metal album that has a story leading into the album. Not an intro song, not an instrumental piece, but a story of words you have to read before hand. One of the most beautiful piece of art I own is this LP jacket. Very fitting art by Alex CF topped off with a sci-fi story that’ll makes this a full-on event to follow along with.
#2 Highland –Loyal to the Nightsky Independent
These dudes certainly listened to A LOT of Emperor growing up. But don’t mistake this for a band that is stuck in the past trying to copy that raw second wave sound. The similarities are built into the intention of the music, the intensity, and willingness to be different. I can’t recommend grabbing a vinyl copy of this record enough. On top of the the amazing cover art, you get a booklet that has a piece of art for each song along with the lyrics. All done by the amazing Luciana Nedelea.
#1 ORM – Orm Indisciplinarian
From the first riff to the last, the self-titled debut from this quartet out of Copenhagen rips! There is a sense of urgency that can’t be stopped. Even as the music slows it’s forward momentum is like Mikey Myers stalking down a victim. The artwork by Paolo Girardi is something to sit down with and really appreciate. You add in some mythology, a bit of mystery and what you have is a modern black metal masterpiece.