1. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (Reprise)
It has been incredible to watch the rise of Mastodon over the last decade. I was fortunate enough to see them in a tiny dive bar in Colorado Springs, CO shortly after the release of Blood Mountain. Trying to pick my jaw up off the floor and un-melt my face, I actually got to meet Troy Sanders that night. I have been a massive fan since, seeing them on a nearly yearly basis. The sound they had back then, coupling with “Leviathan”, had been somewhat present in their next few albums, all of them good, but none of them to the level set by the two previously mentioned records. Emperor of Sand and all of the buzz around it kept revolving around a darker, heavier sound, which was exactly what I was hoping for. I’m not naive enough to think or even hope for the second coming of Leviathan, but it was great to hear some pounding riffs from Bill and Brent while Brann did his thing on the skins. Emperor of Sand was an achievement that celebrates their career and their musicianship. It has already appeared as the Album of the Year on many lists. I cannot disagree with their statements. Mastodon has clearly pushed themselves into the upper echelon of the metal world, and Emperor of Sand only served as notice that they will remain there for quite some time. — BJ
Emperor of Sand is not my favorite Mastodon record (that would probably be Leviathan or Blood Mountain, depending on the day), nor would I consider it the pinnacle of their creative potential (Crack the Skye), but what I will say about Emperor of Sand is that it represents their most cohesive effort as a band. All 4 members deliver absolutely brilliant performances across the album’s 11 tracks, solidifying Mastodon as one of the most talented and unique bands of their generation. — CC Full Review
With their 7th studio album, American metal band Mastodon has dropped this amazing piece of art on us back in March. I picked this up as soon as I possibly could and haven’t yet put it down. The versatility between band members alone playing different parts on separate parts of the album, crisp tones, intricate melodies, heavy riffs, not too mention ties to other bands including members of Mastodon almost make this album a flagship piece connected to many side stories. I haven’t enjoyed a Mastodon album like this since Crack the Skye. “Show Yourself,” the first single on the album, got a lot of attention but there are so many other gems on this piece like “Steambreather” and “Andromeda” that pump hard enough to choke a camel. The fact that these songs aren’t getting old for me is the main reason it has made the top of my list. — RD
So there is our Top 50 list for 2017. There were many more albums we felt could easily have been on this list, but to cover a years worth of metal in all its various forms is no easy task. If we missed one of your favorites for the year, please sound off in the comments below. Let others know which records hit home for you. We might all discover something new.