Top 20 Albums of 2017
- Immolation – Atonement
2017 was undoubtedly THE year of OG death metal, and Immolation took the lead early and earnestly with ATONEMENT. A patient and calculating release from one of the old guard’s most revered names, ATONEMENT is a slow burn that gets under your skin and burrows deep into your brain well before you’ve realized its impact. 30 years in the game and Immolation are just hitting their stride.
- Suffocation – …Of the Dark Light
Speaking of OG death metal…It took a long time for me to warm up to this album, but the perseverance was worth it. …OF THE DARK LIGHT bridges the youthful ferocity of Suffocation’s earliest material with the mature technical complexity of their more recent fare. If this is indeed Frank Mullen’s swan song with the band, it’s a high note to exit on.
- The Obsessed – Sacred
The Obsessed has existed in various incarnations since the early 80’s, but the music has bridged generations. You’d be hard pressed to tell that songs like “Sodden Jackal” and “Stranger Things” were written three and a half decades apart from each other, but it’s that kind of Motorhead like timelessness that makes SACRED such a powerful release.
- Obituary – Obituary
- Paradise Lost – Medusa
- Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black
- Memoriam – For the Fallen
- Body Count – Bloodlust
- Exhumed – Death Revenge
- Zeal & Ardor – Devil is Fine
- Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained
- Incantation – Profane Nexus
- The Lurking Fear – Out of the Voiceless Grave
- Ether – There is Nothing Left for Me Here
- Shroud Eater – Strike the Sun
- Low Flying Hawks – Genkaku
- Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With
- Black Anvil – As Was
- Wounded Giant – Vae Victis
- Striker – Striker
Best DVD/Blu-Ray – Black Sabbath, The End
Saying goodbye to Sabbath this year was like losing a best friend, but getting to share the band’s final moments in glorious Hi-Def (with a slew of extra goodies) helps to numb the pain.
Best EP – Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2
An independently released EP that bridges Pink Floyd, the Beatles and hazy doom? Sign me up.
Best Metal Book – Bruce Dickinson, What Does This Button Do?
Any surprise that metal’s most articulate vocalist wrote one of the year’s most articulate and engaging autobiographies?
Best Concert – Psycho Las Vegas
Where else but Sin City can you find bands like King Diamond, Sleep, Swans, C.O.C. and dozens of equally diverse artists (and fans) all co-habitating peacefully under the same roof? Easily the most organized and satisfying festival I attended in 2017, I’m looking forward to returning in August.
Best Comeback – Morbid Angel
If anybody deserved a win this year, it was Morbid Angel. Their summer tour was one of the surprise highlights of the year and the new album kicks ass. Hopefully Trey, Tucker and crew go into full PR mode in 2018 to fully capitalize on this renewed goodwill.
Best Local Band – Ether (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
I can’t say enough good things about Ether. One of South Florida’s hardest working metal bands, these guys are absolutely devastating live. With a pair of self-released albums already under their belt and a new EP on the way, fingers crossed that the broader doom community takes notice in 2018.
Disappointments of 2017
-Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard – Seriously Justin, what’s the point here?
-King Diamond is still thinking about ideas for a new record. I’m done getting my hopes up.
-Seeing the lineup for MDF XVI. First time in years I won’t have a compelling reason to spend Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore.
Hopes for 2017
-Tour promoters will remember that Southeast US doesn’t stop at Atlanta
-Benediction make good on a recent story that they’re writing new music and will have something to show for it in 2018.
-That King Diamond live DVD that I’ve been putting in my ‘Hopes’ list for the last several years finally hits shelves.
-Tony Iommi finds Tony Martin’s phone number in an old jacket pocket and lay down some new tunes, and/or, he gets around to giving the I.R.S. catalog a proper reissue treatment.
-That the world in general just stops all the nonsense and chills out for a few minutes.