Like every one before it, 2017 marked the busiest year of my life with many radical times. Here's a list of the albums that got me through it. Thanks to all the bands on here for making it a pleasant journey around the sun once again.
Winner: The Bat Shit Crazy Album Of The Year Award
Igorrr: Savage Sinusoid
I’ve been a huge fan of Gautier Serre’s work for the past decade, and Savage Sinusoid is his magnum opus that revels in the oddity that sets Igorrr apart from all the rest. With an avant garde mix of black metal, dubstep, opera, baroque and the kitchen sink, there is no end to how wildly entertaining this is. While many artists create new music to keep themselves relevant, Igorrr is the product of a man that invigorates new ideas to keep music itself relevant.
Winner: The Best Music To Burn Incense To Award
Cloak – To Venomous Depths
The last few years have been kind to Black N Roll, and I'm loving where bands like Tribulation, Cloak and Satyricon are taking it next. Lathed in blackened 90's euro riffs that give off a creepy vibe, a hard hitting drummer who knows the essence of a song, and that perfect Moonspell-esque rasp to pull it all together, To Venomous Depths is an album you'll kick yourself later for sleeping on. They absolutely crush live too, so don't be a tool and check them out already!
Winner: Feel Good Music For A Night On The Town Award
The Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic
Combining members of Soilwork and Arch Enemy in a 1980’s disco rock twist should be all the description one needs to dive into this thing! This flawless record was easily one of my top listens this year, and it’s entirely because every song on the collection is pure quality. Kenny Loggins couldn’t do it better himself if he used a Delorean to go back on time and team up with Phil Collins. Do yourself a favor and get over the fact that it’s not very metal, but just incredible music made by incredible metal musicians and you’ll have the time of your life.
Winner: Music To Sit In The Dark With An Evil Grimace Award
Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Finisterre
While I’ve been a fan of every DWEF album, the new album is without a doubt their craft fully realized. Not only an incredible album for them, Finisterre is a monster album for black metal as a whole. With enough melody and dynamics to keep you captivated, with the ferocity and grit of old school face painters, DWEF has an amazing career ahead of them, and I can’t be more proud to watch these guys fly!
Winner: Music To Copulate On A Grave To Award
Grave Pleasures – Motherblood
The off kilter feeling between depressing vocals and upbeat music is the space in which Grave Pleasures soars and captivates. I was already a fan of the band back in the Beastmilk days, but their latest effort is truly what makes the band a gold status release this year. Its a beautiful album filled with songs about death, life and love wrapped in some of the catchiest riffs you can imagine.
Winner: The Bell Bottom Achievement Award
Horisont – About Time
If you don’t already know, the 70’s era rock scene is more than alive and well in Sweden, it’s out right slaying. Horisont is a prime example of the scene, with an incredible record that throws you back into a simpler time when fringe jacketed, tight blue jeans walked on stage to melt your face with the power of song! One listen to tracks like "Electrical" and you’re hooked! I dare you not to be.
Winner: The Awkward Rivethead Dance Award
3TEETH – Shutdown.exe
People like to tell me that "industrial is making a come back" but I argue that it never actually went away, it merely shaped into different things as music generally does, you're just not paying attention. 3 Teeth is a prime example of a band communicating that evolution, by incorporating elements of old school industrial mixed with rock, metal, and even pop elements to create a refreshingly easy listen called Shutdown.exe. Whether you're a seasoned rivethead or mostly just a NIN fan, the album is worth some spinning.
Winner: The Paradise Lost Achievement Award
Paradise Lost – Medusa
Paradise Lost’s discography can be a turbulent adventure, but when they release albums like Medusa, they’re unstoppable! Filled to the brim with their classic signature slow stampede of beautiful riffs and guttural vocals, Medusa sees the band only getting heavier and more defined with age. It’s extremely rare for any band to shape a completely unique sound in music, it’s even more rare that they can keep up a legacy that continues to go unmatched for decades, proving they really are the godfather’s Of European doom!
Winner: Music To Pillage Your Neighborhood To Award
King of Asgard – Taudr
If you dig black metal and find folk metal even the least bit catchy, you owe it to yourself to check out King Of Asgard's amazing efforts on Taudr. Truth be told, I've become weary of any band donning the "viking" metal trend over the years, but simply put, this aint that shit! The album is a great mix up some old school black metal styles, with punchy tribal drums and some of the folk sing along vibes in a unique package that has some balls.
Winner: The Best Old School KMFDM Sounding Album Award
KMFDM – Hell Yeah
I grew up listening to KMFDM, so I naturally have a soft spot for the German/American leaders of funky industrial and electro punk. However, while many of their later efforts personally fell short on more attention grabbing tracks, Hell Yeah is the band's first in a long time I'd call a favorite. It's got that classic KMFDM pissed off vibe, mixed with their signature melodic dance grooves, to create some of their best work since the 90's!
Winner: The Exemplary Sizzle Chest Award
Black Anvil – As Was
Although Black Anvil have always been a staple of the NYC black metal community, As Was is clearly a tremendous step forward in the world for these old school, no bullshit, slayers of instruments. It's fierce as much as it is melodic, and filled with a massive layer of ambience, making it a prime example of where black metal should be in 2017.
Winner: Music To Battle An Ancient Sea Demon To Award
Orm – Orm
What can I say about Orm that I can't say about a 10 ton Mastodon battling an ancient creature on Mt Fuji? It's fucking majestic, incredibly heavy even during the times it's trying to be mellow, and has the strength and stamina to reach incredible heights. Seriously, give this thing a try if you haven't, you won't be sorry!
Winner: The EZ-Dentist Tooth Breaker Award
Implore – Subjugate
Implore might be a relatively unknown in the world, but their latest efforts on Subjugate rises them to the metallic hardcore table with the likes of Converge, Trap Them, Baptists, and Enabler. If you like D-beats, blast beats, punishing guitars and vocals wrapped in a swift punch to the face, then get in here! What the hell you waiting for?
Winner: I Have No Idea What The Hell They're Speaking But I Like It Award
Foscor – Les Irreals Visions
Foscor may speak a language most people have never even heard of, but it only ads to the ethereal vibe you can find on each and every beautiful song off Les Irreals Visions. It's like a lighter version of some early Amorphis, mixed with some later Opeth, and lots of unique features that really make this style their own. I was surprised to fall in love with such a relaxing album, but it's been my go-to veg album of the year.
Winner: Winner: The Best At Being German Award
Stahlmann – Bastard
This year we saw the return of the mighty Rammstein to the United States, and a big take away for me was how painfully unaware my peers are of the NDH sub-genre and the many other German bands in it. One such act is Stahlmann, a band I actually believe are making better songs than their counterparts over the last few years. Every damn track on Bastard is a quality festival pleaser, made to be blasted in front of thousands. It may not be reinventing the wheel at this point, but they are doing it better. Now if we could only get them to tour the states!
Also be sure to check out Zeal And Ardor – Devil Is Fine. Technically one of my favorite albums from last year, that was re-released for 2017.