In 2017 I found myself listening to more Black Metal. I can safely thank both Borknagar and Vintersorg whose albums I have been playing in heavy rotation all throughout 2017. Bands like Enslaved, Fen, Satyricon, and Taake grabbed my ear this year as I continue to develop a greater appreciation for black metal. Never fear though, classic heavy metal (Accept, Jag Panzer, Iced Earth) and power metal (Orden Ogan, Bloudbound, and the folky power metal of Elevenking) is still able to keep me interested. All in all, it was an excellent year for metal as it always is for people who look beyond the top 5 selling metal bands in the world. These releases and a ton of bands remain as exciting to me as ever. Metal never dies!
Kreator – Gods of Violence
Kreator have been one of my fav bands since I first heard the song “Toxic Trace” on the power hour way back in the later 80’s. The band are more melodic and a finely tuned thrash machine these days but still releases some of the best modern thrash there is. The catchy song (and wicked video) for “Satan is Real” is an anthems for 2017 in my world.
Vintersorg – Till Fjälls, Del II
As mentioned in the intro – Even though I’ve been a Vintersorg fan since I saw him live way back in 2001 on the COSMIC GENESIS tour, it’s been in the past year or so that I’ve really been more in awe at his songwriting prowess and chameleon-like vocal abilities. Despite this album being entirely in Swedish, and I clearly don’t understand a word of it, I love it!
Moonspell – 1755
Another album that is not in English…this one is in Portuguese, and is the band’s first entirely in their native tongue. I do wish that there were some songs on here that took advantage of Fernando’s clean vocals as he’s so good at it and transitioning between the two styles, it is a waste to leave it entirely off the album! Despite this drawback, the material is fantastic!
Iced Earth – Incorruptible
Stu is a modern day vocal god! A potential successor (along with Ralf Scheepers) to the lofty vocal-god thrones occupied by the likes of Halford-Dickinson-Tate-Kiske-Dio. The riffs are, as always with this band, top notch. I hope to see them on this album tour early in 2018 and get to get a face-full of Shaffers’s power-thrash riffage.
Overkill – The Grinding Wheel
The first power metal album to crack my list. A band that doesn’t get to tour on my side of the world at all but should be getting on tours over here with regular visitors like Primal Fear and Sabaton. Maybe someday.
Orden Ogan – Gunmen
In league with Blind Guardian and other bands who use an army of vocal tracks for the lead vocal lines, OO play a form of power metal with a lot of heaviness and little of the fluff that some bands in the genre (some rightfully some wrongfully) are accused of possessing.
Accept – The Rise of Chaos
Enslaved – E
Just WOW. Only got this album in late December so it hasn’t had time to sink in. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had more time with it, that it may of crept further up my list. This is a deep album with many facets that will require many listens to fully appreciate.
Elvenking – Secrets of the Magick Grimoire
For me, this is a band that has had some musical highs and lows. I was totally captivated by their first full length Heathenreel in 2001. There were some album between then and now that I didn’t much care for and some that I did. With their 2017 album I found myself once again really digging their unique folky power metal.
11. Prong – Zero Days
Album after album, Tommy Victor delivers!
12. Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep
Sorta black metal, but much more controlled and listenable than some of the harsher bands of the genre. I love their vibe, image, atmosphere, etc.
13. Arch Enemy – Will to Power
This one kinda surprised me because I wasn’t much into their previous release, War Eternal. I strongly feel that Alissa White-Gluz should be allowed to do 50/50 (clean/death) vocals – but this is coming from someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of death metal…I prefer non-clean vocals to be more from the black metal sphere than the total cookie monster realms. lol
14. Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord
Long overdue, glad they are back with a strong album!
15. Ensiferum – Two Paths
A mix mash of folk and some kind of blackened power metal feel on this.
16. Taake – Kong Vinter
I’m a newbie to Taake. I really liked this album. I found it oddly soothing to listen to despite it being abrasive.
17. Communic – Where Echoes Gather
Not a new band, but I’d consider myself a new fan of them as this is their first album that caught and kept my attention.
18. Striker – S/T
One of the better “new” (as in not classic) Canadian bands.
19. Fen – Winter
Again, this is a soothing album – black metal but with a lot of mellow atmospheric bits. The addition of some clean vocals are welcomed, to my ears anyway. I’m going to have to dig deeper into this band!
20. Dragonforce – Reaching Into Infinity
A great band indeed. Often cheesy, but sooo good. 🙂
Helloween – Pumpkins United. Yes it’s only one song, but what a song. Shows great promise for an album featuring shared lead vocals by Kai, Kiske, and Deris.
Best Remake Album: Iron Savior – Reforged – Riding on
Best live video
Primal Fear Angels Of Mercy – Live In Germany
Runner up: Hansen & Friends: Thank you Wacken Live.
Best Concert: No big concerts came here in 2017. Traveling again in 2018 to see something good.
My Favorite Discovery of 2017 was…
ENSLAVED! I knew who they were for many years, and I’ve even heard some of their music before, but it wasn’t until recently with their 2017 release “E” that it clicked and I’ve started getting into this band.
Best Local Band
Emblem. A NWOBHM inspired band from St. John’s NL. Lots of cool riffs and harmonies etc. Recommended.
Disappointments of 2017
- The untimely death of vocalist Warrel Dane. This one REALLY sucks. One of my fav vocalists from both Sanctuary and Nevermore. What a talent, what a loss. Only 56. Still hard to imagine. 🙁
- The new albums from Firewind and Nocturnal Rites. I guess I was expecting something more. Neither is a “bad” album, but I only listened to each a couple times and just couldn’t really get into it even though both bands are killer.
- The unnecessary album “Legendary Years” by Rhapsody of Fire. The songs were perfect as they were originally recorded, there was no need to record all this with a new singer. Not that he’s a bad singer at all, just that this decision to do this was perplexing when they should have released a new album with new songs on it to show they can do it without Luca or Fabio.
Hopes for 2018
I’m not sure if these bands will put out an album in 2018 – nonetheless, I’d love to hear good and heavy new albums from Pagan’s Mind, Tyr, Borknagar, etc.
I also hope to be able to see some concerts in 2018 as 2017 was a dry year.