|The Freshest 40 of 2017|
A self-indulgent, over-the-top long and complex post-black album - on paper it's not even that innovative. But it's so goddamn perfect.
I Am Become
Hanging Garden plays to their strengths, combining the best elements of their varied discography - manifesting themselves among Finland's greatest sadboy metallers.
The throwback to A Fine Day to Exit has Anathema innovating once more, delivering a piece of work that's on the same level as its astonishing predecessor Distant Satellites.
|4||End of Green|
Void Estate has no right to be as good as it is - an wristcutter of an album that wouldn't sound out of place ten to fifteen years ago - yet here it is. And it is so frigging catchy!
Poetry of the Ill-Minded
Shade Empire give Dimmu Borgir a run for their money with the follow-up the Omega Arcane that was impossible to make. Somehow these guys managed to and the end-result is impressive.
Transcendental metal. Persefone really are one of a kind in this. Spiritual Migration hinted on a change of sound towards a much more ethereal and progressive sound, and Aathma perfected it.
Visions is a tough pill to swallow, but after the first dozen spins it starts to unfold - and it sticks, at least with me it did.
Eternal Rituals For The Accretion of Light
Eternal Rituals bored me a little at first, but the devil is in the details - repeated spins revealed this quieter Junius has a lot more nuance and eye for the little things than before.
Concrete and Gold
Even though I liked Wasting Light, which was released 'relatively recently', I had no hopes for Foo Fighters even to surprise me or anyone else. I have never been so wrong. Concrete and Gold has Grohl put out the most Nirvana attitude since the loss of Cobain without even trying.
I did not like Citadel at all. Somehow everything was wrong; the growl, the violins - everything I liked so much about their first release initially. For me, Urn puts the pieces back in its rightful place and introduces some form of radio-friendly catchiness to NeO's sound, which works to me.
Old-school alternative, progressive metal in a refreshing new outfit. This is what Opeth would've sounded like if they didn't try so hard, I guess.
I thought La Partition would never come, but finally there is the follow-up to the stunning Februus. Djent is pretty much unpopular today, yet somehow Uneven Structure manages to remain relevant with this release. Not as original or brilliant as Februus, but very solid still.
Clouds are today's best miserable metallers around today methinks. Destin is a classic piece of melodic death/ doom metal with amazing guest appearances. I can't wait for their next full-length!
Medusa continues Paradise Lost's newly found back-to-the-start doom/death style where The Plague Within left off. It's not quite as surprising though, probably since the 'shock' of the return to form has worn off a little.
To the Bone
To The Bone is as poppy as Steven Wilson (hopefully) gets, but the result is very pleasing to the ears and somehow feels like Steven is being earnest in his fragility on this album.
Alas, the first signs Septicflesh shows they are running out of ideas after their return in 2008. Codex Omega is solid by itself and sports some of their brightest moments thus far (Dante's Inferno, Portait of a Headless Main, The Enemy of Truth), however especially the back end of the album is lacking.
|17||Cradle of Filth|
Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay
With every new Cradle release I don't think I want more Cradle release, but every time they prove me wrong. This hasn't been as true as it is now with Cryptoriana - their strongest since 2008's Godspeed on the Devil
Time Doesn't Heal Anything
From out of nowhere Lodz enters and makes me forget for a minute Ghost Brigade is no longer a thing.
|19||Mors Principium Est|
Embers of a Dying World
Mors Principium Est have been releasing the same album for over a decade, but somehow that still works. Embers actually is a step up from their other records by being catchier, more lead-driven than before.
Wolfheart is the flagship project that is supposed to focus Tuomas' musical energy (and he has a lot of those). His first two efforts paradoxically surprised me as expected - Tyhjyys, unfortunately, sees Wolfheart become somewhat predictable, but still very enjoyable.
Atmospheric, depressive black metal that produces shivers down the spine. I was unfamiliar with Sorrow Plagues before, but they put themselves on my radar!
To me, Chelsea Wolfe is one of the major brilliant music minds of the last five year. Unfortunately, Hiss Spun has Chelsea play it safe, doing what I think most want her to do: be louder, more metal. Personally, I liked her more sensitive side of Pain is Beauty more, but Hiss Spun is still an original, very Chelsea Wolfe-esque release.
Lorde releases the best pop album I've heard since a long time. Her work on Melodrama is so sincere, heartfelt, that is makes me overlook some overproduced elements here and there.
Dutch progressive black metallers release one of the nastiest releases of 2017 - hatred and decay given shape in music. I love it.
|25||Last Leaf Down|
Bright Wide Colder
Imagine Alcest at their dreamiest and extrapolate to an entire record. That's Bright Wide Colder. Last Leaf Down mixes up their sound a little, though, making it a very pleasant release, this newest one. Still, I can hardly tell the individual tracks apart.
|26||Wolves in the Throne Room|
An excellent slab of highly progressive black metal. I have a slight preference for their earlier work, but this is still an engaging, thrilling ride to listen to.
Where Wandering Shadows And Mists Collide
I almost forgot about Slechtvalk since their last, quite decent 2010 release. Slechtvalk in 2017 provide even more black metal decency - I am glad I stumbled upon this record at the beginning of this year.
Otta was pure brilliance, so nothing could top that. Berdreyminn doesn't attempt to and it a more conventional Solstafir release and plays to its strengths really well. I just wonder whether Solstafir have it in them to release another Otta some day.
One More Light
Linkin Park go too deep into experimental rabbit hole and lose themselves while they are at it. However, lyrically and thematically One More Light is so brutally honest that it grew on me. But maybe it's just because it's the last work of late Chester Bennington that I am nostalgic towards this record. I don't know, but this album's title track tears me up every time.
The Sea I'm Diving In
An emotional rollercoaster of an album that's hard to put a label on. One of the more creative and daring records I've heard this year.
Fear Those Who Fear Him
Splinters was absolutely gorgeous, unfortunately, Fear Those.. is not quite on par with Vallenfyre's 2014 effort. It tries a little too hard to sound like an underground record. Still, all the elements that make Vallenfyre such a great supergroup are present and Fear Those.. is an enjoyable bunch of traditional death metal songs with some amazing hooks in them.
If I have to believe Spotify, Absence is a 2017 release that I happened to have discovered this year as well. Sputnik calls this album Presence, which may or may not be the same record. In any case, Mesarthim's sound remains as elusive as its album names are. This record as an ethereal black metal experience that is a little tough to dive into, but is rewarding when one does.
Arcade Fire are just a very, very fun band - and I think 2017 was in dire need of some fun. These guys are a blast on stage and Everything Now resonates this perfectly.
Strength in Numbers
Strength in Numbers is almost anonymous after their comeback (and I dare say best) release Exit Wounds. It plays to all the same strengths Exit Wounds did, yet somehow fails to deliver as many quality songs. That said, by itself, Strength in Numbers is a fun record that makes me wanting for more The Haunted.
The ultimate hipsters with Apple product placement in their name are back and deliver another album that will make youngsters feel like this is the epitome of creativity. I, personally, would hardly go that far, but admittedly RELAXER is a blast to listen to.
|36||Der Weg Einer Freiheit|
The angriest Germans of progressive black metal are back and they're even more angry than before.
Migration is 2017's finest electronic releases to me.
|38||Cigarettes After Sex|
Cigarettes After Sex
I discovered these 'love song noir' musicians on a summer festival - however, their debut is much better served with a hot tub and a glass of wine. Lovely, creative release.
Not For Music
Not For Music is a release that at times feels a-tonal, noise-like - but keeps me interested. Somehow Emptiness manage to contain 'fearsome' into music and Not For Music is the ugly end-result.
Heaven Upside Down
Out of all albums to choose from, Marilyn Manson chose take inspiration from the Golden Age of Grotesque - arguably his weakest album to date. Fortunately, Heaven Upside Down has a lot more to offer in the end, but I can't shake off some feeling of disappointment after the brilliant The Pale Emperor.