Social perspective, political stance, the continued loss of our musical heroes were key as musical influence ran wild with so much to explore in 2017. Living in LA, and experiencing the live musical tapestry and to try and “nail down” my favorite top 10 Rock/Metal albums for 2017 wasn’t as easy as one might think. Incredible music flew in all different sub genders backed at all different levels and messages… My picks reflect influence in the place and time in which I live, what has hit my ears through distribution in everyday life and how they have empowered me emotionally, visually, or lyrically. Like others in the LA music scene, I wanted to be “WOW’ed”, we wanted a voice with a hard hitting message of meaningful content, most importantly we needed love to be the answer in the end.
10. Arch Enemy – Will To Power (Century Media)
Arch Enemy serve up Melodic Death Metal at its FINEST! Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz levitates demons with her monstrous calling, and the percussion is incredible. The most unfeminine tone paired with such a beautiful body leaves me in awe and curious every time. Chord progression driven by stand out percussion and chunky riffs performed and mastered by fellow band mates guitarists Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis, along with drummer Daniel Erlandson and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, create “the perfect storm” in which fantastic climatic fantasy and melodic solos collide resulting in this favorite listened to forceful fuel-driven track.
The Eagle Flies Alone – https://youtu.be/mjF1rmSV1dM
9. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (Reprise)
Released on March 31st on Reprise, produced by Brendan O’Brien (Rage Against The Machine/Stone Temple Pilots/Incubus) Emperor of Sand is the eighth studio album for Atlanta’s Mastodon. Perhaps the best moment is “Show Yourself,” a virtual “ying to the yang” of their first single “Sultan’s Curse”. This second thunderous and surprising simplistic single featured Brann Dailor‘s clean vocals and represents a puzzle piece in this concept album. This song shocked fans and was deemed by some as “Hipster-Metal”, this offering’s “pop-ie-ness” made some followers worry that they were letting go of the reason they loved them in the first place…(freaked them the hell out). Good news! It’s just one song and they still KILLED it and added new fans from all over the world in the process. Risky/however genius = WIN!
Show Yourself – https://youtu.be/gUGda7GdZPQ
8. Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down (Loma Vista)
Released October 6th and produced by Tyler Bates, Heaven Upside Down depicts aggression, distorted guitars, and menacing screams that ignite the sky, comforting us like a warm sweater on the Fourth of July. I can feel Manson’s vocal chords urgently bleed of alarming lyrical content depicting drone surveillance, global warfare, and political corruption accompanied by mesmerizing industrial drum beats. Co-collaborator and Hollywood horror film composer Bates, loads up the punk machine with Paul Wiley, Daniel Fox, Juan Alderete and shines through shadows in his polarized glam-goth nu-metal prison. Manson has become a staple musical entity of his own, mastering his unique and distinct brand. Unsettling images, messages and effects slash a bleak canvas charged with this brutal and musical mechanical riffs. His familiar voice of fury in suburbia changes little as most parents of teenage kids are delightfully annoyed by him as usual, which is why Manson will always have a an angular edge as an influencer.
We Know Where You Fucking Live – https://youtu.be/2KWpuVrRek4
7. Fozzy – Judas (Century Media)
Judas is Fozzy‘s seventh album, released on October 13th and produced by Johnny Andrews (Three Days Grace/Halestorm/All That Remains). Rich Ward’s stellar guitar wails are the foundation of Frank Fontsere‘s incredible percussion work glides Billy Grey‘s rhythm guitar while Paul Di Leo nails it all together on bass. When Canadian-born Chris Jericho started this ride his band was once named “Fozzy Osborne“. It’s true, tracking some of the heaviest hitters in rock and metal under his belt through the years, he ultimately gave up his former WWE professional wrestling status and started a whole new recording career as a “cover band.” Through the evolution of seven albums what shines through are the roots of Jericho’s metal education. Judas is a true rock/metal grind, an anthem that proves rock is not dead, in fact it is alive and beaming loud and clear, from all places.. Atlanta.
Judas – https://youtu.be/lqURPBtGJzg
6. Body Count – Bloodlust (Century Media)
Body Count‘s highly anticipated sixth studio album was released on March 31st and produced by Will Pitney. Hardcore musical and social innovators Ice T and Ernie C came back ferociously this year citing problematic desperate issues that drive dangerous behavior in the African-American community. Incredible guest performances by Dave Mustaine (“Civil War”), Max Cavalera (“All Love Is Lost”), and Randy Blythe (“Walk With Me”), highlight this unexpected thrash, metal, punk infusion. Ice T is a vocal terminator, demanding politicians, police, and the overall community to take note and to step up, to break the chain causing avoidable, endless circles of poverty and malcontent.
No Lives Matter…