The year, 2017 was another great one for metal with tons of stellar new releases from bands both legendary and new to the scene. To be fair, it’s true that any top 10 list is a purely subjective affair and there will be lots of disagreement given the large number of very good releases from throughout the year. That being said, it may be helpful for you to understand my ‘filter’, the thing that is formed by my personal biases and sub-genre preferences and through which all else flows. Being an older metalhead I tend to favour the thrash and melodic subs and have a limited knowledge of the more extreme ones. That being said 2017 was a year where I focused on expanding my extreme library for the show and this is reflected in many of the choices below. Let’s get started then with…
10. Annihilator – For the Demented (UDR/Neverland)
The Canadian thrash legends, led by Jeff Waters released their best work in a long while and it is an admittedly sick and demented affair that is a delight from start to finish. The release’s highlight is the decidedly twisted tale spun in ballad “Pieces of You,” a mournfully melodic testimony to murder and the subsequent meal composed of the victim’s remains. Waters leaves it to your imagination who exactly that victim is be in what may be the year’s creepiest and most sinister lyric. Is it tongue in cheek? You decide. Whatever the case it’s metal as hell. Check out our Annihilator interview with Waters: Interview
9. Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay (Nuclear Blast)
The twelfth studio album by Cradle of Filth weaves the familiar gothic horror vibe with intelligent, engaging tales. The album creates an epic soundscape against which the stories of Cryptoriana come to life. It is wondrously melodic in its guitar work and keys that starkly contrast with Dani Filth‘s dark howlings and ravings as well as drive the darker movements. Perhaps best enjoyed alone on a dark, moonless night while sipping cool libations. Highlight is the album’s single, “Heartbreak and Seance.” Full Review
8. Body Count – Bloodlust (Century Media)
I could not have predicted Body Count releasing one of the best albums of the year having perceived it to be the metal plaything of American cultural icon Ice-T and not much else. Instead the band let loose with a politically aware, socially conscious, thrash-tastic collection of tracks that are relevant to our times. Insightful and incite-ful, Ice-T‘s angry words describe our world with perfect aggression and appropriate angst. Highlight is the title track “Bloodlust,” an accounting of the darker side of human nature.
7. Cannabis Corpse – Left Hand Pass (Season of Mist)
Are you a Cannabis enthusiast, perhaps even a Cannabis Corpse enthusiast? If so this fourth full-length from the “marijuana themed death metal band” (thanks Wikipedia!) delivers a massive bong-hit of crushing death metal that transcends the potential to be a mere novelty act with a cool name. Using the classic Cannibal Corpse formula to its best advantage the band spins up ten awesome tracks, some hilariously titled like “The Fiends That Come to Steal the Weed of the Deceased” or “In Battle There Is No Pot”. Highlight is the groovy, infections neck breaker, “In Dank Purity.”
6. Sorcerer – The Crowning of the Fire King (Metal Blade)
Breaking through back to the melodic side of things is Sweden’s Sorcerer, a combination doom-traditional-power metal outfit with one of the year’s most melodically compelling and beautiful works. With several tracks around the nine-minute mark, each song is a tapestry of melodic texture woven with tasteful and memorable leads and the marvelous vocals of Anders Engberg. Highlight of the pristinely presented collection is “Abandoned By the Gods” which adds a middle eastern ascent to the proceedings.