Erich: Best of 2017

Erich’s Top 20 Metal Albums 2017

Erich’s Top 20 Metal Albums 2017

Kreator - Gods of Violence1. Kreator – Gods Of Violence

I recently mentioned to some fellow metal friends that Kreator, in my opinion, has been the most consistent metal band of the last five years.  GODS OF VIOLENCE is proof that Kreator does not intend to slow down anytime soon.  Sami Yli-Sirniö has been the band’s secret weapon for a while now, an underrated guitarist that has helped Mille Petrozza solidify the sound he had been looking for since the band’s inception.  A brutal, heavy and melodic album that was my favorite of 2017.

2. Iced Earth – Incorruptible

Much like Kreator, Stu Block has become the weapon Jon Schaffer has wielded to propel Iced Earth to a trio of nearly flawless albums. INCORRUPTIBLE marks Block’s third, the man doubtless renewing and inspiring Schaffer by bringing his considerable skills to the new albums while easily delivering the old material in a way that is faithful to Barlow and Owens. Iced Earth has been nearly as consistent as Kreator, and on any given day this could be swapped with GODS OF VIOLENCE as my favorite album of the year.

3. Gwar – The Blood Of Gods

I grew up in Virginia, the home state of GWAR, so I suspect this partially explains my soft-spot for the band.  After Dave Brockie passed away, GWAR’s epitaph was basically written by most fans and critics.  THE BLOOD OF GODS should dispel all notions of GWAR folding.  It is easily one of their best albums and it does Brockie proud.  Much like Slayer with REPENTLESS,  THE BLOOD OF GODS signals that GWAR is still a force, even with the loss of the heart and soul of the band.

4. Harem Scarem– United

5. Communic – Where Echoes Gather

6. Prong – Zero Days

7. Labyrinth – Architecture Of A God

8. Striker – Striker

9. The Obsessed- Sacred

10. Steel Panther– Lower The Bar

11. Crazy Lixx- Ruff Justice

12. Stephen Pearcy – Smash

13. Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

14. Pyramaze – Contingent

15. Vuur– In This Moment We Are Free – Cities

16. House Of Lords – Saint Of The Lost Souls

17. Air Raid – Across The Line

18. L.A. Guns – The Missing Piece

19. Samael – Hegemony

20. Orden Ogan– Gunmen

Honorable Mention:

The above list includes my top 20 albums, but the albums below would easily make my top thirty of the year.

  1. Blayze Bayley – Endure And Survive
  2. Mystic Prophecy – Never Ending
  3. Accept – The Rise Of Chaos
  4. Babylon A.D. – Revelation Highway
  5. Edenbridge – The Great Momentum
  6. Alice Cooper – Paranormal
  7. Obituary – Obituary
  8. Avatarium – Hurricanes And Halos

Best Debut Album

  1. Evenmore– Last Ride
  2. Vuur – In This Moment We Are Free – Cities

Symphonic female-fronted metal is one of the most popular and saturated subgenres in metal right now.  Switzerland’s Evenmore wade right into the crowded pool and elbow their way towards being noticed. A debut worthy of the insane levels of competition, where only the best foot forward will suffice.  Vuur’s debut made my top 20 list and even though the band is composed of veterans, it is still great to have Anneke van Giersbergen singing metal again.

Best Live/DVD Releases

  1. Black Sabbath– The End
  2. Ghost – Ceremony And Devotion

Best EPs   

  1. Bloody Hammers – The Horrific Case Of Bloody Hammers
  2. Venom – 100 Miles To Hell
  3. Toxik – Breaking Class
  4. Epica – The Solace System

Best Concert

Iron Maiden & Ghost, Amalie Arena Tampa Florida, June 11, 2017

Best New Discovery

Avatarium

Formed by Candlemass bassist Leif Edling, Avatarium is not a new band for most folks, but somehow, they slipped under my radar. “Boneflower” is an amazing song but the retro-doom style of the band is welcome as Edling sneaks in riffs here and there that recall the mighty Candlemass.

 

Biggest Disappointments

Death of Warrel Dane of Sanctuary–  Warrel Dane was unquestionably one of the most original vocalists of metal.  The reformation of Sanctuary promised great albums to come and now it is over.  RIP.

Machine Head’s Catharsis Album – Obviously, one cannot live in the past but BURN MY EYES seems so far away.  There are some good moments here, but it is largely unfocused and a retread of many of their worst experiments through the years.

Operation: Mindcrime’s A New Reality Album –  Each new Operation: Mindcrime album fails to live up to the hype and if Geoff Tate had not been one of my favorite vocalists through the years, I would probably have stopped caring.  Actually, this album is not terrible but it betrays the talent Tate possesses by delivering mediocre music. Thankfully, he has announced this will be the band’s last album.

Paradise Lost’s Medusa Album –  Medusa confirmed for me what I had been unwilling to admit for the past couple of years:  I do not like Nick Holmes death vocals, or frankly the direction of the band currently.  MEDUSA is no different than THE PLAGUE WITHIN or TRAGIC IDOL. Some will say they have come full-circle and welcome this direction, but when ICON and DRACONIAN TIMES were your best albums, why would you go back to the style before that had led to abject poverty?  I still like much of the album, but it could be better.

Metal Triumphs/Comebacks

GWAR Carries On –  Diehards cannot get past not having Oderus at the helm, but a close listen while tuning out confirmation bias shows a strong album.

Carnivore Reforms – Hard to imagine without Peter Steele, but the band is doing it to honor Pete. Hopefully the new material will deliver, but the fact they reformed is a triumph.

Hopes For 2018

Savatage Reunion – Rumors continue to swirl of a Savatage reunion in 2018.  With Paul O’Neill’s death, maybe the guys realize it’s time to make it happen.

No More Core! – Obviously not realistic, but it’s 2018 and “core” metal is the drunken idiot that stays at the party long past his welcome.  I generally do not denigrate music styles, but all the varieties of “core” are the joke where the punchline wore out long ago. It goes like this: screamed vocals for the verse, cliched clean vocals for the chorus, breakdowns for the bridge, scene kids giving the metal sign in droves without knowing what it means or where it originated.

No New Music From Phil Anselmo – I loved Pantera but I am over Phil.  His racist, white supremacist crap ended it for me.  Plus, his non-Pantera stuff (other than Down), is forgettable.  Others might still revere him, but the industry should step up and cut him off from distribution.

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