Marko Syrjala – Best of 2017

MARKO SYRJALA

The year 2017 was another good year for metal. We received a lot of great releases and we saw terrific shows by various bands and artists. There was a lot of positive things in the air but also some negative ones, like unnecessary suicides and a natural passing of some legends. But overall, the year 2017 was very positive on most levels.

THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2017

1.ARCH ENEMY: Will To Power

Arch Enemy shocked the metal community when the band announced the change of lead vocalist in 2014. Longtime frontwoman Angela Gossow stepped away she was replaced by Alissa White-Gluz. Fortunately, all the fears were proven wrong, and the band became stronger than ever. With their new vocalist, the group has risen entirely to the level, and WILL TO POWER continues where the previous WAR ETERNAL left off. The album is full of excellent melodic death metal tracks with no weak links. Personally, I think that as a whole, they’re one of the best band in the whole scene at the moment.

2.KREATOR: Gods of Violence

Kreator has successfully updated its sound towards the modern metal without losing any of its raw intensity or aggressive attitude. GODS OF VIOLENCE continues successfully the solid series of albums released after the addition of guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö, and it’s definitely one of their best albums to date. “Fallen Brother,” “Satan Is Real,” and the title track is already Kreator classics. It’s going to be hard to beat this one but maybe Mille and the guys are just warming up, and there will be more Kreator masterpieces like this in the future.

3.DEEP PURPLE: InFinite

Deep Purple has officially said that INFINITY will probably be their last studio album and the band will retire after the current tour is someday over. If that’s what it’s going to be, then its easy to say that the group leaves the game with boots on. INFINITY is full of great songs; there are indeed many excellent (not so usual) arrangements and the production by veteran producer Bob Ezrin is close to perfect. Thank you Deep Purple!

 

4.ALICE COOPER: Paranormal

The veteran shock rocker Alice Cooper returns in the fold with PARANOIAC PERSONALITY. After two somewhat disappointing releases, the new album brings Cooper back on the map. It’s not as good as his 70’s stuff, or his late 80’s hard rock releases like TRASH, but it’s a solid rock album with decent production and some exciting songs.

5.ACCEPT: The Rise of Chaos

The German legend released its fourth album with the vocalist Mark Tornillo. The quality of the songs is still good, but maybe the band has now started to repeat itself too much? Maybe its time for a change, if nothing else but on producer side?

6.ICED EARTH: Incorruptible

Iced Earth has released a bunch of albums with vocalist Stu Block, and it seems that the band is getting better with each release. INCORRUPTIBLE is easily one the bands best albums to date.

7.BLACK STAR RIDERS: Heavy Fire

It can be said that now Black Star Riders have finally get rid of the ghost of Thin Lizzy. And as a result, HEAVY FIRE is their strongest album to date. If you’re a fan of excellent, melodic 70’s rock with excellent sound, then you can’t miss this great album.

8.VENOM INC.: Ave’

Venom Inc. album was a pleasant surprise. After several somewhat mediocre M-Pire of Evil releases by Mantas and Tony Dolan, it seems that the addition of another former Venom member, drummer Abaddon, has risen the band’s music quality back to the higher level.

9.OVERKILL: The Grinding Wheel

If we forget a few albums in the 90’s, Overkill has never released any weak material. THE GRINDING WHEEL is not an exception. The album is full of good or excellent thrash metal anthems with no breaks.

10. L.A GUNS: The Missing Peace

It’s genuinely great to have one “hair metal” band on my personal TOP 10 in 2017. The reunion album of Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis is a traditional hard rock at its best, and the record continues where WAKING THE DEAD album left off in 2002.

 

11.Sepultura: Machine Messiah

12. Jorn: Life on Death Road

13. Rage: Seasons of the Black

14. Annihilator: For The Demented

15. Black Country Communion: BCCIV

16. Blaze Bayley: Endure & Survive

17. Tokyo Motor Fist: s/t

18. Stephen Pearcy: Smash

19. Europe: Walk The Earth

20 Lionheart: Second Nature

 

 

Best DVD/Blu-Ray:  BLACK SABBATH: The End

Maybe the setlist is a bit boring but otherwise, this DVD is a great live footage from the heavy metal grandfather’s last show ever.

 

Best EP: VENOM: 100 Miles to Hell

Well, I don’t usually buy singles or EP’s but this was one I just had to buy. Although the lineup has gone through major changes, the band still sounds Venom. This EP is definitely worth to check out.

 

Best Live Album: IRON MAIDEN: Book of Souls – Live chapter

Another great live album by the British legends. I might not be the biggest fan of BOOK OF SOULS album but the songs sound much better on a live situation.

 

Best Covers Album: MASTERPLAN: PumpKings

Well… it was hard to think if this was more a remake or a cover album but I decided to put it here. Great songs are great songs and although Rick Altzi is not Michael Kiske, or Andi Deris, he still delivers a decent performance and like said, the songs are great.

 

Best Metal Book: BRUCE DICKINSON: What Does that Button Do?

Bruce Dickinson’s book is full of great, insight stories about his personal life and happenings. There is not too much talk about Maiden but that’s understandable because this book is about his life, not about the band he’s best known from.

Best Concert: BRUCE AND BOB KULICK: Live at KISS Kruise VII

This show was simply fantastic and something that I had been waiting to happen for a long time. Bruce Kulick and his brother performed first time together on stage since 1979, when they both played on Meat Loaf’s band. The setlist was a pure fantasy to come true for any REAL Kiss fan like me. It was mind-blowing to hear all the Kiss’s 80’s classics, many songs which had never played live before, spiced with Bob Kulick’s originally recorded Kiss songs from ALIVE II, KILLERS and Paul Stanley 1978 solo album. Hopefully, there will be more shows and new music from the brothers in the future!

Best Comeback of 2017: ALICE COOPER GROUP – UK tour 

It was only a handful of shows, and only a couple of songs, what the original Alice Cooper Group did together in the U.K in November but was something special and those were nights to remember for sure. Hopefully, there will be more shows this lineup.

Disappointments of 2017: There are a couple:

  • Unnecessary suicides by rock stars
  • The death of Malcolm Young
  • The farewell announcement of Manowar, Deep Purple, and few others.
  • Still ongoing trend of low record sales…

 

Best Album Cover Art: DEEP PURPLE: InFinity

This is hard but… maybe it goes to Deep Purple. There’s something totally different and unique on this cover and overall the designs on the booklet are looking great.

Best Hope for the Year 2018:

In brief, I think that 2018 will be a great year for metal and rock fans!

There will be a plenty of great albums going to be released in 2018. Judas Priest is definitely one of them but there will be plenty of more. It seems that we will also hear some new music from King Diamond, Ratt, Saxon, Hollywood Vampires, Carcass and much more. Hopefully, Helloween will also do some more new music with the current lineup.

There will be tons of amazing festivals with lots of great names headlining. Swedenrock, Wacken, Hellfest with bands like Ozzy, KISS, Guns’n Roses, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Also, a lot of interesting smaller names will be around. And it’s not only about the festivals. There are already several great tours announced. In Europe, we will have the tours of Testament/Annihilator, Rainbow, Accept, KISS, Iron Maiden, Metallica and there’s still much more to come.

And personally, I’m thinking that 2018 is going to be extremely interesting years for KISS fans. The “comeback” of Vinnie Vincent will go in January. How it will go and it’s going to be interesting if there’s going to be more from him in the future. Also, the release of Gene Simmon’s VAULT and possible announcement of KISS’s “Farewell -tour” is something to wait for with big interested. Who will be involved, who will be in the line-up etc?

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