My TOP 50 Metal Albums for 2017

OK, lists are absolute worship and great compass for everybody to summarise what has happened throughout the year. My personal list was originally compiled and published on 1st of December 2017, and it includes the most enjoyed and played albums in 2017 by that date. In a separate post I'm going to write about my missed outs and listened-too-late already in December albums, and the reasons for that. Originally my top 50 has two bonus albums - by Stalker and Origin. I'm also going to include them in the above mentioned separate post.
In general 2017 was fantastic year for the scene. For me personally it was full of various styles. I entered in some unexplored territories, found many new bands, added new favourites to my all-time favourite bands list. That's why my top 50 is so diverse, covering many styles. However this is the only way anyone can say something is good or bad - to try it and experience it. I look at many of the albums as a whole, creating unique atmosphere and mood. Others are more distinctive, with memorable tracks. Let's start.

50. Code Orange - Forever

New, original, fresh and aggressive, Code Orange received mass recognition in 2017. For me it was one of the albums that made me explore new territories.

49. Sunken - Departure 

Black metal as I like it. Period. It has this 90s BM spirit of some of my favourite bands. 

48. Bell Witch - Mirror reaper
Slow, dark, sad, looooooooooooooooooong. Enough time to fall deep and decide how to end your life.

47.  Dopelord - Children of the haze

Doom, riffs and haze. Too bad that I don't smoke.

46. Monolord - Rust
There is something special in this record, a hidden sadness and melancholy for me. It's not only riffs and doom. There's something more than meets the eye.
Honestly, I wasn't ready to hit me right away.

45. White Ward - Futility report
Black metal, with experiments with sax. New combination delivered, what a new feeling!

44. Savage Messiah - Hands of fate 
Musically this album reminds me a lot to something 25-30 years ago made. It's very easy-listening and easy to remember. However this an issue and I get fed up too fast. Additionally I feel it is "artificially" pumped up with these melodies in order to be liked, which makes it not much fair and true to me.

43. Bear - ///
I read about this record that this is how would sound the illegal offspring of Mastodon and Meshuggah. True statement...I miss more feeling here though.  At certain point the album is a bit similar and flat.

42. Sons of Apollo - Psychotic symphony
I'm not much into this particular proggy style. However the musicianship and craftsmanship of this album is so high, that it stands like a lesson in music for everybody, yet keeping the metal spirit. 

41. Arcadea - Arcadea
"Otherworldly psyche-electric, synth-driven, metallic madness".  Led by Brann Dailor.
This is a strange experience, not for everybody. But when the border is crossed, it gets very deep under the skin.

40. Thy Art Is Murder - Dear desolation

It's a heavy record, no doubt. It was one of the territories I went deeper in 2017. There has been time when I listened it a lot, and times when I was fed up. Still I have a problem with the pentagram in the band's logo vs. their musical style and even dressing image. Musically this record is close to Decapitated's Anticult, which is performed much better and the songs are more acceptable.

39.  Vulture - The Guilotine

So 80s. From the bands fighting for revival the heavy/speed wave and the genuine 80s metal spirit. These guys opened for Evil Invaders in the autumn. 
Riffs, guitar solos, speed - a true metal guillotine for the unbelievers.

38. Kadavar - Rough times
OK, and this is so 70s. It gets under the skin fast. I played it on repeat for a weekend when I got it. With some very dark moments. Riffy psychic rock at its finest.

37. Paganizer - Land of weeping souls
Strong, brutal, chopping, Swedish death metal with old school flavour. Listening to the album "your suffering will be legendary."

36. Postcards From Arkham - Manta
Progressive black metal or black metal with proggy elements and jazzy parts and harmonies. Very interesting to listen. And the more I listened, the more I discovered.

35. Grave Pleasures - Motherblood
Dark, gothic, punk, full of energy and easy to sing and dance along. I liked the album immediately.

34. Portrait - Burn the world
This album really may burn the world. The band delivers excellent heavy heavy metal in King Diamond's style. The only disadvantage for me are the vocals from time to time - too high and trying to copy King Diamonds falsetto without success.  

33. Desultory - Through aching aeons
Album of Swedish death metal, reminding me for the good old times in the beginning of the 90s - sound, music, vocals. Nothing bad to hear something in the well-known territory and yet on its own. 

32. Temple of Void - Lords of death
I'm going to use the popular description - British doom meets American death. Heavy atmospheric stuff, chopping riffs and guttural vocals. Like a big heavy slow machine, crushing everything on its way.

31. Decrepit Birth - Axis mundi
Technically this is great album. Brutally too. However I listen it as one piece, as a whole. It is hard to stand out a track. 

30. Clouds - Destin
Melancholy takes over. Perfect for a rainy day. 

29. Hands That Lift The Oceans
This post-black metal album with ambient elements took me over in the late summer. Definitely it requires some listening. It brings special feeling to me - some sadness, some sorrow, bitterness, a doom for no exit.

28. The Great Old Ones - EOD: A tale of dark legacy
This concept album also requires listening. It is very dark, bringing special atmosphere in which I can feel the ghosts dancing in the music. Very good post-black. I listen it as a one piece.

27. Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice Woven
Quality black metal, memorable tracks, returning to the good old form. Very strong album. WITTR's album is definitely among the black metal releases of the year. 

26. Kreator - Gods of violence
Musically and technically this album is a high standard. What's wrong then? For a band which I've grown up with, I know what I like. I have a problem with the vocals here, as well as with the too many power metal motifs in the songs. 

25. Wolfbrigade - Run with the hunted
So energising D-beats album! "Warsaw speedwolf" was among the most played song in 2017 for me. When I'm mad or need to release the pressure, I play this album.

24. RIFT - Super killer fragile
The fact that this album got me over by the time Mastodon's Emperor of sand was on constant repeat, means a lot. I really like Super killer fragile, because it is not pretentious, it is still in the underground, and yet it delivers nice British thrash rhythms and melodies. 

23. Destruction - Thrash anthems II
This album represents the old classics played by the band now. I began listening Thrash anthems in the most thrashy period for me in the year. That's why I loved it so much from first "sight". It only reminds me how good this band is and what a thrash hymns they wrote 30 years ago. On top of that, I revisited the whole discography many times this year thanks to Anthems II.

22. Havok - Conformicide
Very good album by Havok. Songs are memorable, rhythmic. Still it it is a strange decision by the producer and the band how the bass sounds through the entire album. What I lack here is powerful, solid, aggressive sound which blows your speakers. Now it's a bit "weak".

21. The Acacia Strain - Gravebloom
Heavy, heavier, doomy. And no matter how Vincent Bennett hates it - deathcore-ish. Yes, it might sound like previous albums. Some might say it is way below them and here's nothing new...However I do like it, and that's the most important.

20. The Low Flying Hawks - Genkaku
This album came in a perfect timing for me. After lots of spins of teh new albums by Pallbearer, Unearthly Trance and Neurosis' Fires within fires album, I found this gem. Muddy, dirty, doomy, so sad. Drowns me deep into hopelessness. Excellent.
"Don't let me hurt you again, 'cause I'm only hurting myself"...

19. Bermuda - Nepenthe
It's not just deathcore. No. It's darker, deeper, with very unique atmosphere and sounding. Very heavy in some parts. Songs are distinctive (on contrary to many deathcore bands imo) with its own feeling and life. No screams, thanks God, just heavier vocals. The more I listened to this album, the more i fell in to it.  It can be played again and again. "Adversary" is my favourite track.

18. Myrkur - Mereridt
Ghosts, nightmares and Northern lights. You can drown deep, especially when you listen to the album in a dark snowy day. Vocals are from BM to heavenly angelic, music interchanges black metal blasts with visions form the darkest dreams you dread.

17. Cannibal Corpse - Red before black
For me this is the best Cannibal Corpse album with Corpsegrinder, and their best after 1994. As I am big fan of the first four albums of the band, which are essential for me, now Cannibal really show their best. More death than grind, chopping ferocious riffs and aggressive energy. Some songs easily become anthems. Brutal!

16. Enslaved - E
Well, Enslaved will never be Enslaved from 93-94, when I began to listen to this band. E is very unique album, because of the combination of BM, viking madness and so many progressive elements. Again, I'm not a big progressive fan, but E has it's own spirit and I can feel that. The longitude of the songs is enough to catch this. Sometimes I wish to be a little less progressive...
I'm going to catch the band live in April 2018 and will check how everything sounds live.

15. Unearthly Trance - Stalking the ghost
This album is very important. It led me to many unexplored territories after that. Dirty, sludgy and doomy album. Actually I accept this album as a trip into the dark side, with black magic to meet the devil. There is something delusional, nightmarish. Excellent chant for the dark ghosts.

14. Anathema - The Optimist
Is this the album which the band had to deliver? Good to the extend of being sterile? OK, it is completely clear that the band will not deliver something like Serenade, Silent Enigma, Alternative 4 or Judgement anymore. However after We're here and Weather systems, this album is more like living the status quo instead of development.
I must admit that the songs sound phenomenally live. Anathema blew me at their live performance. I had a hand-shake with Vincent. I have been through a lot with Anathema since '93 and the band is constant companion. 

13. Arch Enemy - Will to power
I can't believe how much I fell for AE in 2017. With simple listen of live performance of War eternal. Then Will to power came and I had the chance to see the band live. Every one of them is fantastic musician which makes the line up so strong. And Jeff Fuckin' Loomis...
Then I went back to all the old stuff and it rolled.
Will to power is very good album, accessible and memorable. 

12. My Useless Life - My Useless Life
Black metal so desperate that it really makes your life useless. Pain and despair in every song so deep...Great stuff that impacts me hugely! I only regret that the album is only 6 tracks and 34 min. 

11. Satyricon - Deep calleth upon deep
One of my all-time favourite (BM) bands. Fantastic album, which encompasses the progressive dark vision of Satyr and Frost.  Compositions are deep, distinctive, carrying the north spirit and yet very accessible. 

10. Warbringer - Woe to the vanquished
I was hesitating a lot in the middle of the year which might be The Thrash album of the year. Well Warbringer did a great job delivering this album. Every song is aggressive call to arms and a headbanger's heaven. 
Very good live performance here, some merch and a picture with John Kevill to complete the memory of Woe. 

9. Immolation - Atonement
A masterpiece. A lesson in death metal. 

8. Ghost Iris - Blind World
This album has big importance, as it pushed me into styles which previously hadn't been of interest for me. Insane guitar work and vocals. Compositions are very unique and memorable. Excellent metalcore.

7. The Obsessed - Sacred
Classic band returns. Doom, punk and riffs by Wano and team at their finest. Stranger things is an anthem. A must-listen.

6. Pallbearer - Heartless
Very sensual. Heartless deliver great doomy melodies of melancholy with clear vocals. Catchy at first listen. "Heartless" has a heart and it's bleeding. 
This album played huge role for me this year. 

5. Paradise Lost - Medusa
As a huge fan of the band since 1991 (one of my most beloved bands ever), I expected this album easily to become my AOTY. And it is really a very good album. Great heavy tracks and melodies, guttural and clean vocals. However it is too dirty and muddy for me. The swamp sludgy sound approach which PL took for this album simply doesn't fit for the always-there feeling-and-bleeding in their compositions. That said, the spins I gave to the album were significantly less in comparison to the older stuff. 

4. Evil Invaders - Feed me violence
Yes, yes, FK yes! Speeeeed! This album gives me energy to go out and run the whole world. Firepower. Fantastic riffs, speed and guitar solos. So 80's nostalgic and so modern at the same time. This is how I feel. I can listen on repeat on every song and it won't be enough!  
Fav tracks - Broken dreams in isolation and Feed me violence
Note: I understood about the band couple years ago when the supported Skull Fist during their European tour. (And Skull Fist, oh boy!...)

3. The Night Flight Orchestra - Amber Galactic
My guilty pleasure. It's not because members are from other great bands, but because it is so 70's and 80's. So great tunes. I played it everywhere on heavy rotation. It brought me back to my childhood and the nostalgia of the past times and longest summers which will never to return.
Midnight flyer, Gemini Something mysterious and Domino are forever.

 2. Sólstafir - Berdreyminn
Absolutely amazing record, drawing pictures and visions of Islandic landscapes, bleeding lost souls and the pieces of eternity which we are. The band is top-notch, one of its own, providing experiences of another space.

1. Mastodon - Emperor's sand + Cold dark place
Obviously it is the year of Mastodon for me. Emperor of Sand is so multilayered album that every time I play it, I discover something new. Each and every song is played with excellence. Lovely riffs and melodies, catchy choruses, and deep feelings about death and life. The album is still on heavy rotation and every track matters. My favourite? - Precious stones.

When Cold dark place was out, I was surprised to find even more fantastic tunes. Yes, it contains some old and new material. Only 4 songs but enough for a whole life. Blue Walsh is unbelievable song!


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