The year comes to an end, we pick our top five albums.
5. Exhumed – Death Revenge
I couldn’t have put my list together without mentioning one of the most exciting and crucial Death Metal releases of the year. ‘Death Revenge’ is a grim and grotesque concept album that throws back to the good old days of Death Metal.
4. Code Orange – Forever
What a year for this young band. Taking a brutal slab of Metallic Hardcore music and throwing in a series of different ingredients to make an album that is as crushingly heavy as it is inventive and unique.
3. Helpless – Debt
If you are looking for unbridled heaviness with the kind of scathing delivery that could lift the flesh from your bones you will find it within the ten tracks that make up ‘Debt’. This album is a short, calculated strike that is truly devastating.
2. Converge – The Dusk In Us
‘The Dusk In Us’ is another flawless body of work that further proves that Converge are a truly dominant and legendary band that are virtually untouchable in their field. Aggression, anguish and poetic lyricism come together to create something truly inspirational.
1. Bungler – The Nature Of Being New
This album has been played to death throughout the nine months following its release. ‘The Nature Of Being New’ is fun, frantic, extremely innovative and brutally heavy all at the same time. These boys deserve all the plaudits they receive.
5. Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs
I have missed out on those years not knowing about this group. I found it as one of my guilty pleasures at first, away from my usual comfort zone but Pacifisticuffs made realize how much I wanted to wreck music in a bar with how they do it. I personally haven’t found anyone displeased with this.
4. Concerto Moon – Tears of Messiah
With all the great guitar releases from this year, it’s easy to love some classic hard-rock shredding sounds and stay swimming in a pool of it. Tears of Messiah is a modern, old-skul approach in a world we thought has already disappeared.
3. Scardust – Sands of Time
This 2017 Prog release, while still suffering from a few cliches, has everything that most other bands in the same field lack and it’s called balance. That same element makes this album more long-term worthy. Love the use of different colors.
2. Galneryus – Ultimate Sacrifice
Awesome sequel to Under The Force of Courage, the new drummer did not disappoint and instead made the band more solid. If this music is why Yama-B left in the first place then I don’t know man, this is what he would’ve wanted.
1. Ne Obliviscaris – Urn
First impressions last, and that’s what they did for me. For me, it’s like coming out of a typical Opeth room and seeing how vast the whole brutal world can be. It’s both easy and difficult to find something like them. What a fine way to rage smoothly.
5. Cryonic Temple – Into the Glorious Battle
It’s been a long time since a release from Cryonic Temple, but the band returns with a vengeance on Into the Glorious Battle. It has everything that a power metal fan could desire — infectious choruses, wailing guitar solos, and heart-wrenching ballads. While not as heavy as some previous albums, it definitely is a strong point in the band’s discography.
4. Fleshkiller – Awaken
Formed with members of Norwegian metal band Extol, Fleshkiller’s debut album Awaken hits fast on all cylinders. The album includes elements of prog, death, and thrash infused with melodic choruses. It’s refreshing to see a talented new band release such an intricate and memorable masterpiece.
3. Paradise Lost – Medusa
Sometimes it’s hard for older bands to keep up, but not so with Paradise Lost. Medusa is a many-headed monster that thrusts the band to the forefront of the doom movement once again. If you like your metal slow, dark, and infused with bone-jarring riffs, then Medusa is for you.
2. Ne Oblivscaris – Urn
One of the most anticipated metal albums of the year, Urn proves that Ne Obliviscaris is still at the top of their game. No one else knows quite how to mix violin, acoustic, and crushing guitar riffs like these Aussie musicians. Urn is a tour de force of blistering black metal tinged with a lining of progressive brilliance.
1. Cormorant – Diaspora
Diaspora is Cormorant’s fourth album and continues in the black metal vein that the band shifted to on Earth Diver. It’s a four-track album, with long songs and even longer songs, including a progressive black metal opus clocking in at over 26 minutes. Diaspora is Cormorant’s most mature release to date and includes haunting melodies and a grim atmosphere that beautifully accentuates the album’s heavier, black metal sections.
5. Electric Wizard – Wizard, Bloody Wizard
A return to roots, riff-fest, losing a lot of the sludge and embracing the Doom. It’s a grower, and man, it’s grown on me.
4. Skyclad – Forward into the Past
Another band returning to bring the goods. A fantastic record by the Godfathers of Folk Metal. Catchy, heavy, brilliant.
3. Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep
I just love this record. I don’t care how divisive they might be, to me, they return to the roots of Black Metal via Celtic Frost. This is heavy and soulful.
2. Kreator – Gods of Violence
Those riffs! That voice! Pure thrash metal greatness. I couldn’t get enough of it.
1. Horisont – About Time
One of the best records of the last ten years, not just this one. Full of riffs, rock, heavy psych, scorching vocals, love of Thin Lizzy, Rush, and a host of other classic bands. Horisont take all their influences and make them their own.
5. Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained
Morbid Angel makes their triumphant return to their old form after the horrific “Ilud Divinum Insanus” album. There’s no experimentation here, just pure Death Metal.
4. Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
This album may be only one 84 minute song, but it’s an incredible one. It has several parts and sets an entire mood that will make those who aren’t fans of Funeral Doom love it.
3. Enslaved – E
Enslaved can do no wrong. Over they years they have strayed from their Black Metal roots to more Progressive territory and they still out out incredible albums.
2. Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With
The album title says it all. It’s an incredibly technical and brutal album that is the Dying Fetus we’ve all come to know and love.
1. Cannibal Corpse – Red and Black
The undisputed Kings of Death Metal reclaim their throne once again with another album that’s brutal from beginning to end.
5. Stallion – From the Dead
2nd full-length by the Heavy Metal formation from Germany. If you like Traditional Heavy Metal, you’ll love Stallion. Seriously, listen to this.
4. Pallbearer – Heartless
Beautiful, soothing Doom Metal with unequivocal Progressive Rock influences. Not as monolithic as their previous albums, but still their best album to date.
3. Warbringer – Woe to the Vanquished
Thrash Metal how it’s supposed to be. High energy, fast riffs accompanied by tight drumming and screams and shouts you can actually understand.
2. Paradise Lost – Medusa
Really thick, slow and dragging riffs paired with both clean and growling vocals tell stories about grief, nihilism and death. A proper Doom Metal album with great sense of timing and variation.
1. Kreator – Gods of Violence
Driving Thrash riffs, fast drumwork and Mille’s bark form a solid base. Put outstanding, melodic dual lead guitars and anthemic choruses on top of that and you get a modern metal masterpiece.