Metal Nation’s Top 50 Hard Rock and Metal Albums of 2017


30. Septicflesh – Codex Omega (Prosthetic)

From the artwork to the excellent craftsmanship, Septicflesh‘s Codex Omega is not only one of 2017’s best, it is also a very high point in the Greek band’s career. You don’t believe me? Just listen to “Enemy of Truth” or “Faceless Queen”. Technical, symphonic, fusion, death metal. What else you are looking for, sweet rolls? — OC

Premium Septicflesh once again. Codex Omega is a reminder of how powerful these guys truly are. Excellent production, fantastic song diversity., with a darkly grandiose and atmospheric feel to the album. — RR

29. Ded – Mis•an•thrope (Suretone)

While I have never been a big fan of nu-metal as a genre, there is something special about Arizona upstarts, Ded. The quartet is firmly at the forefront of the nu-metal resurgence and recall the heady glory days of Korn, System of a Down and even Slipknot. More significantly, Ded improves upon its heroic predecessors by adding in a little Pantera attitude and swagger with an undiluted sense of fun. The group’s debut album, Misanthrope, is equally fresh yet comfortably retro, and packed with powerful and edgy anthems delivered with ample aggression. — RR Ded Interview

28. Iced Earth – Incorruptible (Century Media)

I’ve loved Iced Earth for as long as I can remember. But in 2011, when Stu Block joined the band, I fell even harder in love. I’ve always been blown away by his vocal performances, and their albums kick serious ass. With the addition of Jake Dreyer on lead guitar, not a lot has changed, but the the riffage on this piece is masterful and leaves you wanting more. — RD

With IncorruptibleIced Earth are not branching out to new lands of creativity, but instead stand victorious in delivering an album that honors what they do best. The new record is rich with Jon Schaffer’s classic influences, and celebrates everything we love about heavy metal; headbangingly familiar and without straying too far off the beaten path. Schaffer has written another album of memorable riffs, and his metal brethren have helped him bring his vision to life. Incorruptible is a classic Iced Earth album for the modern era of American Power Metal. Fight, stand tall, prevail! — RR Full Review

27. Bask – Ramble Beyond (This Charming Man)

While every band on this list is worthy of your ear and maybe a few bucks for the download, Bask is the one band I would say you must hear. Hailing from North Carolina, Bask’s second full-length album is astounding. The sound quality is top notch and the music is incredible. Combining the best aspects of heavy metal/hard rock with the soul of southern rock, Bask delivers a record that is as diverse and intricate of a record out today. From front to back, Ramble Beyond impresses and mesmerizes. Fantastic effort from a young band. Looking forward to more from them in the near future. — Brent Jacobsen (BJ)

I could shuffle the majority of this list any number of ways but Ramble Beyond is—without a doubt—my favorite release of 2017.  Like a lot of bands these days, Bask’s sound reveals a wide range of influences—everything from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s southern rock dalliances to the punctuated simplicity of the deadliest Gojira riffs gets a nod here—and their sound is wildly unique while being somewhat obvious in influence, but it is the band’s uncanny ability to imbue their songs with a true sense of place that set them apart from their contemporaries.  Hailing from Ashville, NC, which is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the heart of Appalachia, Bask prove themselves to be true masters of the art of conveyance from the first gaze of the album’s gorgeous artwork to the closing moments of the final track.  I had the good fortune of seeing them open a show for Pallbearer earlier in the year, and I can vouch for both how well their sound translates to a live setting and how genuinely down to earth these guys are.  Over and over again, Ramble Beyond was my escape from all the shit that 2017 brought upon us.  It was THE one album that I kept coming back to when I wanted an hour to myself.  It took me places.  And it’s the best thing I heard this year. — Chris Cox (CC)

26. Converge – The Dusk in Us (Epitaph)

Frenetic and urgent are the first two words that come to mind when diving headlong into Converge‘s ninth studio album, The Dusk in Us. Founders Jacob Bannon (vocals) and Kurt Ballou (guitars, producer) have completed another (oddly controlled) chaotic masterpiece. Lyrically, Bannon is a raw nerve on this record speaking to an emotive narrative in the frenzied maelstrom of frantic rhythms laid down by drummer Ben Koller and bassist Nate Newton. Ballou’s production is stellar, and his fretwork is at its non-traditional best. — RR

25. Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black (Metal Blade)

A barrage of blast beats, a variety of songs (de)composed of lyrical images depicting gangrene, macabre, gore-infested content. Cannibal Corpse‘s Red Before Black will leave adrenaline stinging in your veins. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher howling tunes from their newest effort live was a transcending experience. — AS

The old school death metal genre progenitors are back with exactly what one has come to expect from Cannibal Corpse; nothing more and nothing less. This is to say, that Alex Webster and company have deftly crafted another morrow-triturating slab of brutality. If you can’t handle the pain, don’t drop the needle on Red Before Black. — RR

24. Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail I (Napalm)

To paraphrase from one of Prevail I’s 10 songs, Kobra and the Lotus are truly manifesting their own destiny. After listening to Prevail I repeatedly all year, I have yet to grow tired of a single track. Kobra and the Lotus have taken their craft and their sound to the next level. Vocalist Kobra Paige has opened the floodgates on her own vocal abilities to give the band a much broader palette to work with creatively. The band’s decision to challenge themselves artistically has paid massive dividends here, and producer Jacob Hansen has done a masterful job in guiding the ship. Prevail finds Kobra and the Lotus tapping into so many elements of the heavy rock genre that they defy sub-genre labels. These Canadians have long deserved more recognition and Prevail is going to demand that attention be paid. — RR Full Review  Kobra Interview

23. Immolation – Atonement (Nuclear Blast)

Even as Immolation enters its fourth decade, the NYC death squad still knows how to crush it. Atonement is one of those albums that will sneak up on you. There’s a lot of dissonances created by the band’s use of intros. “The Distorting Light” is a perfect example of this. Make no mistake, this album is heavy to the core and tracks like “Destructive Current”  bring the groove. The album has excellent composition and structure overall. Fans of extreme metal who haven’t heard of the force that is Immolation will be pleasantly brutalized from the head down, and those who have will be pleased with the band’s progression over their 30-year reign. — AS

22. Obituary – Obituary (Relapse)

Again, another classic band and their iteration of death metal. No surprises, no bad tastes. It is not another Cause of Death, but it has enough Obituary in it to stand on its own. Strong, bone-crushing riffs accompanied by one of metal’s most recognizable voices. Obituary really meant it when they said “Kneel Before Me” on this one. — OC

At it again, these Florida guys provide a very solid album. Classic beefy tones with underlying deadly melodies, and John Tardy‘s vocals that cut through just right to give you a little shot of adrenaline. Nothing new, Obituary are not re-inventing the wheel but still a killer album. 30 years late for a self-titled though. — RD

21. 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 Michael AmottDaniel Erlandson, Sharlee D’Angelo, and Jeff Loomis create “the perfect storm” in which fantastic climatic fantasy and melodic solos collide resulting in this favorite listened to forceful fuel-driven track. — Lisa Svelnys (LS)

Arch Enemy‘s tenth full-length more than ably adds to the canon of the band’s discography building on the sonic palette presented on War Eternal with the addition of Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis. His work melds beautifully with Michael Amott’s to create memorable melodic passages throughout the album’s thirteen tracks. Highlight is the riff-tastic “The World is Yours,” a galloping affair destined to become another fist-pumping, horns-throwing anthem live. — The Rev

  1. Adam McAuley says

    The Ex Deo album deserves it’s place on the list. I also like that you put Ne Obliviscaris so high.

    1. Rustyn Rose says

      Glad you enjoyed the list! Who was your top pick in 2017?

      1. Adam McAuley says

        Ne Obliviscaris

  2. Maven Rena says

    Hello Metal Nation and here is my (Maven Renā) added 411 …

    I believe Motionless In White should have been higher up on this list, well in my opinion anyway.
    Other additions (as I had previously relayed to RR) are:

    While She Sleeps ~ You Are We – The band left their record label and decided to self-release You Are We themselves. They did eventually sign to a couple of independent labels, I’d imagine if for no other reason than to help with distribution and marketing. Under these circumstances you really have to believe in your band and your music and this album is pure melodic metalcore awesomeness. With the strength of songs like the title track, “Hurricane” and “Silence Speaks” (which features Oli Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon) this album is solid start to finish.

    Counterparts ~ You’re Not You Anymore – I had never even heard of Counterparts before seeing them live on the 2017 Warped Tour and I was seriously impressed by their live show. The band has gone through a ton of lineup changes but it is still obviously going strong. You’re Not You Anymore is not a long album, but it is focused, emotionally concentrated and dare I say it even has melodies and a catchy chorus or two (while never losing their hardcore edge of course) with songs like “Haunt Me,” “A Memory Misread” and “Fragile Limbs.”

    A couple of more that land more on the Hard Rock side are:

    Falling In Reverse ~ Coming Home – I firmly believe that FIR can no longer be called solely a metalcore band by any means and undoubtedly this is Ronnie Radke’s band since he is the only remaining original member. Coming Home is musically brilliant and beautiful lyrically. Radke has always been honest in his songs but this album seems even more raw; he puts his fears, his flaws and his talent out there with songs like “Loser,” “Broken,” and the emotional “I Don’t Mind.” I know Radke had a reason for the order in which the tracks are listed but I would have liked a couple of shall we say song line-up changes for listening pleasure but overall Falling In Reverse has grown exponentially musically since its inception.

    Asking Alexandria ~ Asking Alexandria (self-titled) – This is another band that can no longer be put in the metalcore genre anymore; however, a few tracks like “Into The Fire,” “Rise Up” and “Room 138” are very “Asking Alexandria” sounding and still hold metalcore elements. I’ll just say there are some seriously epic songs on the album. I’ll admit that the flow could use some tweaks and it could use some, shall we say, objective edits but overall this is a pretty great album. It is melodic, the hooks are on point and it is an easy listen. I mean the first time I heard “Under Denver” it gave me chills and “Alone in a Room” can I just say I love it. In my opinion this album is a thousand times better than The Black, their last offering without Danny Worsnop. I am glad that the band and Worsnop buried the hatchet and now that The Snop is back that something special has returned.

    And there you have it…

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