Where has the time gone? I feel like I just finished doing my top ten albums of 2016 list and now I am starting on my top ten albums of 2017 list. Once again, it has been an extremely busy year for rock and metal music with numerous releases coming out this year. 2017 was also a year full of major stories with some positive and some negative, but no matter what happened the new albums that were released this year provided a great chance to escape the bullshit. Whether it was ANTIFA shutting down a black metal show with false claims, or Gene Simmons of Kiss opening up his big mouth and offering an ignorant comment, 2017's hard rock and metal music did not disappoint. So enough babbling, here it is people, my top ten albums of 2017...
10. Domgård “Ödelagt”
Swedish black metal act Domgård is well regarded in the black metal community and their sound stays very true to the traditional black metal style. After some years of not releasing new material it was great to see a new album from them. Their sound conveys a raw aggressive black metal attitude, but contains some bone chilling melodic black metal moments. The album also contains these dynamic arrangements with really unique tempo changes and massive atmospheric sounding touches. Overall, the album is a strong and engaging release that should definitely be added to ones collection.
9. Eldamar “A Dark Forgotten Past”
Eldamar is a one-man atmospheric black metal act that captured my attention when I first heard their debut album, “Force of the Ancient Land.” I am glad to hear Eldamar continue all the elements and epic song structures from the first album on this new release. The music picks up where the last album left off and establishes itself as a unique journey through captivating atmospheric landscapes and heavenly choir like vocal sections. If you enjoy long epic pieces of atmospheric black metal you need to check out Eldamar. They also released an awesome split with Dreams of Nature this year, so Eldamar is extremely active when it comes to writing new material.
8. Game Over “Claiming Supremacy”
I have reviewed quite a few releases from these Italian thrash metal maniacs over the years. Their new album once again demonstrates a group of enthusiastic thrash fans who seem to keep pushing themselves as musicians and songwriters. The choruses are catchy along with the solid arsenal of mosh forming riffs. Where their earlier albums felt more straightforward at times, the new album pushes into more progressive thrash boundaries. Game Over is definitely a thrash band to be reckoned with and one that I look forward to seeing grow even more with future releases.
7. Necrot “Blood Offerings”
This Bay Area death metal trio did a tremendous job with the release of their debut full-length album. I reviewed a compilation album they released last year called, “Labyrinth,” and I was highly anticipating new music from them. The band has become a force to be reckoned with amongst the underground community by relentlessly touring their brand of gruesome old school death metal. Brutal cuts of bone sawing riffs and crushing drumming conjure up some killer headbanging opportunities throughout this release.
6. Rude “Remnants…”
Rude has established themselves as a solid old school death metal worship outfit and the release of their sophomore album, “Remnants…” only verified what I already knew about these guys. There are some death metal bands who throw songs together claiming to sound old school, but Rude’s music actually sounds like something released from the late eighties/early nineties. The riffs grind away at your ears with an unholy terrorizing sound of old school death metal while being accompanied by monumental drumming to create vicious cuts of extreme music. I don’t think you can ask for anything more when it comes to good quality death metal.
5. Death of Kings “Kneel Before None”
Death of Kings is a fierce and awesome bunch of metal musicians from Atlanta, GA. Their hard work paid off with the release of, “Kneel Before None.” The quality of wicked sounding riffs and head crushing pieces of brutal sounding thrash is definitely welcomed in a day when most bands sound like watered down versions of Slayer. Death of Kings did a great job injecting energy into the music and the album itself is well produced and well recorded. I hope to hear them continue to build off the success of how this album sounded on their future releases, because their talent is truly amazing.
4. Lustre “Still Innocence”
Compared to previous Lustre recordings the new album, “Still Innocence,” is not as grandiose and has received criticism for not being as ambitious. I honestly felt the album offered a relaxing and very therapeutic sound that flowed with amazing synergy. The recordings capture your imagination, yet do not overwhelm you with too many unnecessary sounds. The album is one of those releases that I turn to when I want to escape and relax my mind. Lustre is one of those artists you can always rely on for solid release, so to those people bitching about the album…go chill out and maybe give it another listen.
3. Demonsmoke “Morphine Moonshine”
I saw these doom metal musicians from Antioch, CA a couple years back play at a bar in Petaluma and literally destroy by laying down some unbelievably heavy sludge/doom riffs. When they released their debut album, “Morphine Moonshine,” I was blown away at how they were able to capture that raw destructive doom sound which I was fortunate to have witnessed live. These guys offer a strong selection of swampy distorted sounding tracks of pure doom with this album. There is not one weak song on the album and the overall production is quite amazing when comparing it to a lot of modern day metal releases. I really hope to catch them live again, because they put on one hell of a show.
2. Morbid Angel “Kingdoms Disdained”
Released December 1 of this year, I honestly did not know if this album would even make the list. After the bands last release, “Illud Divinum Insanus,” was in my opinion a major disappoint, the band had a something to prove with the new album. Not only did the new album exceed expectations, but I think it is one of the heaviest and most unforgiving sounding releases to come out this year. Steve Tucker’s return was something I really looked forward to and Trey is back to being the death metal guitar master that we all know and appreciate. It is great to hear the band throwing down some pulverizing death metal which signals a new dawn of brutality. Just like when Tucker came in after “Domination” back in 1995, the band has the opportunity to unleash some more malicious sounding tunes moving forward. This new album is an extremely good starting point and was very close to being in my number one slot.
1. Night Demon “Darkness Remains” :
When Night Demon released their debut album, “Curse of the Damned,” back in 2015, I had it as the number one album or my 2015 list. Two years later after relentless touring across the world and showing true dedication for the music that they enjoy playing, the band has returned to the number one spot for 2017. Their sophomore album, “Darkness Remains,” continues the exciting and solid NWOBHM style you heard on “Curse of the Damned,” with more epic sounding riffs and catchy lyrical content. You cannot find a dual moment on the album, which I contribute to the band’s strong songwriting skills. Songs like “On Your Own” and “Dawn Rider” completely tear through your speakers with a heavy metal fury of blistering guitar work and thunderous old school metal rhythms. All hail the Night Demon!
Petrification “Summon Horrendous Destruction”
Iron Griffin "Self-Titled EP”
Mournful Cries “Three Song Demo”
2017 Rob “the metal guy” Awards
Up and Coming Artist of the Year: Mournful Cries
Metal Label of the Year: A tie between “Sentient Ruin” and “Nordvis”
Come Back Artist of the Year: Morbid Angel
Best Live Act/Performance of the Year: Barren Altar
Best Split album of the Year: Eldamar / Dreams of Nature
Biggest Douche of the Year: tie between “Gene Simmons” and “Otep”
Most Pathetic Group of People in the World: ANTIFA