|Xeno's 2017 in Metal|
Mostly a list of what I listened to and got "something" out of, not necessarily a running list of what I loved.
Upon My Cremation Pyre
|3||Rebirth of Nefast|
Coditany of Timeless
Some nerds fed an AI a black metal album and for some reason chose the worst album from the genre's most unconventional band.
The Mortal Horizon
Created In The Image Of Suffering
Criminally overlooked, especially around these parts. This is a really beautiful album, eschewing different genre conventions to make something peculiarly understated. It’s a warm combination of shoegaze and sludge, like if Beach House covered Kylesa.
|8||Zeal and Ardor|
Devil is Fine
This is admittedly not very good. The pieces don't go together well at all and it's a hodge podge of half baked ideas which is made worse by the fact that they are great ideas that are completely wasted. Southern plantation style black metal looks bad on paper (and here, bad in execution) but has such insane promise as a weird and earthy sound.
NWOBHM mixed into a solid black metal sound yields a surprisingly straightforward and to-the-point record that kicks all kinds of ass.
A Conscious Creation from the Isolated Domain - I
Long-form doom that’s kind of boring but better than Bell Witch
The Room of Shadows
Triumph of Gloom
Heavy, cacophonous, and under appreciated black metal. It’s thrashy and chaotic and a very satisfying way. If I had only a few albums that I implored you to check, this would probably be one of them
The warning of one
Make death metal funky fresh again
The Mirror Void
Connected to Rebel Wizard, this is some nasty black metal that’s hard on the ears but good for the soul.
Deliverance From The Godless Void
Amazingly consistent and deep death metal. Just like their last album this is some solid, dark, and meaty death metal with a broad appeal. I think Pitchfork said it sounded like “hell” which is pretty fitting.
Admittedly the weakest Krallice offering but it’s unique amongst their discography for being more blunt and heavy than anything else they’ve done.
Every Room In Britain
Kinda grindy and punky and very British. Not my cup of tea (hehehe) but others have enjoyed it.
Go Be Forgotten
The best Krallice album yet. That either means everything or nothing to you.
Pretty earthy and cool death metal with heavy use of interludes that surprisingly doesn’t get tiring. Worth jamming but as a whole experience it defies very little.
Excerpts From a Future Past
Found the vocals to be incredibly unique and at times irritating. The music, initially, is very unique and beautiful but after repeated listens it’s a little superficial. Still, a pretty neat folksy record that’s lush and easy on the ears.
A little disappointed but this is some rocking black metal from one of bm’s best little bad boys.
To Venomous Depth
After repeated listens I have come to the conclusion that I like this better than I should, but still not a ton. It’s solid and standard death metal with a cheese-ball album cover.
The Unlawful Assembly
This album has been making some unexpected rounds on end-of-the-year lists and on a good day I feel like it’s deserved. Although hailing from the U.K., “The Unlawful Assembly” is fit for an American’s 2017 more so than any other black metal record. It’s about revolution and shaking up the system; rote for a punk group but pretty inspiring from a genre whose (small) Nazi underbelly is now a part of pop-culture understanding.
Big, clean, and proggy black metal—the antithesis of what I like these days. But this hit me hard. It’s elegant and forward thinking; uncompromising in its indulgence. It’s another beautiful statement from a band that’s always on it.
The Time Traveler's Dilemma
This has only worn off slightly but it’s got a good back story and, goofy vocals aside, just nails the spacey death metal aesthetic hard. The songwriting is killer and the album goes down so smoothly.
|34||The Ruins Of Beverast|
Big primal death-y and doom-y black metal from a modern legend. It’s received a lot of acclaim across the board and I’m glad to see it. I love the primal, tribal aesthetic and it fits RoB better than I would have ever thought possible.
Fine doom from a great band I saw kill it live once. They can’t get me to wax poetic like they once could but this is still a good album with a broad appeal.
V: The Inside Scriptures
|37||Purple Hill Witch|
Drenched in old school Sabbath vibes, it’s the aural equivalent to a book with an unreliable narrator as the vocalist slurs lyrics and fades in and out. Combined with that cover this is some of the most tasty and magical doom this year.
Reflections of a Floating World
A band I don’t talk about enough but they’re wildly consistent with their psychedelic brand of metal. Definitely a band (and album) is rec to anyone looking to get into metal but hasn’t had a lick of experience.
Haven’t spent a lot of time with this bad boy but I think I dig it. Sorta sludgy and dark but classy and elegant.
|40||Cradle of Filth|
Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay
After hating this band for years without ever listening to them I decided to check this out and I wasn’t disappointed. Cradle are fun on this album. Their schtick which I’ve always hated feels pretty tongue and cheek and the way they adopt the whole Victorian/goth aesthetic and make it ghoulishly enjoyable is a real treat. I haven’t felt the same way about any of their other albums but his has definitely changed my opinion of the band.
One could make a really strong argument that this is the best Godflesh album to date. They trumped their comeback album, at least, which is no small feat. This is one of the catchiest, grimiest, and brilliantly structured albums to date. There’s a lot of hyperbole to digest in this soundoff but it’s certainly not without merit. Check this album out.
I love this band so much. Their debut was my favorite metal record of 2014 and while this doesn’t quite reach the same heights it’s still some great techy and smart death metal.
I like this band more than I like to admit. This is the first thing I’ve checked from them since the excellent “Axioma Ethica Odini.” This is some fun and reliable black metal.
What an awesome atmosphere—this is doom straight from...well you can guess.
My greatest failing as a metal fan is not liking Immolation. I find “Close to a World Below” to be dreadfully boring. Before “Atonement” I only dug two of their albums, but luckily, things have changed and I’ve really taken to this. Surprisingly varied death metal from a band who defines “by the numbers.”
Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
It’s good. Cavernous and bleak—it’s a lush and dark death metal record that has all the cool kids raving. I personally don’t find it all that arresting, but it is a good record. It has some of the best use of atmosphere this year, even. Just don’t expect me to write home about it.
Immersion Trench Reverie
Best modern black metal band in the game (to a niche group). That’s arguable, but it must be said that Yellow Eyes are a tremendously talented band. This didn’t hit me as hard as I wanted it to but it’s solid from start to finish. Think modern day black metal condensed into one band.
|48||Inconcessus Lux Lucis|
The Crowning Quietus
|50||Blaze of Perdition|
Collective: The Shape of He to Come
Dulcimer black metal is the future. Band is always a pleasure.
|52||Temple of Void|
Lords Of Death
One of my favorite death/doom bands follows up their debut with an arguably better record, this time heavier on the death. This is some dark and brooding metal, equally suffocating and freeing. The vocals are some of my favorite from this year. Earlier I said “if I had only a few albums that I implored you to check…” this would easily be one of them.
Haven’t listened to this since it came out and admittedly I forgot about it. Good doom record with the best album art this year. It’s spacey and big but pales to their last album. Definitely a disappointment but check it out anyways.
This is some straight up dissonant Gorguts death metal worship. Normally I wouldn’t spend too much time on such an unimaginative creation, but “Urraca” is a joyously clean record whose attention to a higher ended tone sets it apart, it only slightly. What it lacks in inspiration it makes up for in consistency.
Evil Sound Screamers
I’m still furious that this dropped so close to Halloween. Even worse, I didn’t listen until November 1st. With such a niche appeal, timing is everything and they failed hard. Regardless this album is fulla great hooks and spooky charm. Psychedelic death-doom FYI.
Not the biggest follower of this band but this surprisingly heavy doom album took me by...er, surprise. Lovely listen from start to finish.
|57||Full of Hell|
Slick album from the number-one art-house grinders on the planet. There’s more death metal influence this time around but it still retains that caustic energy. Easily one of the most impressive heavy records of the year.
Red Before Black
Fun and catchy death metal from the legends themselves.
A Stirring In The Noos
Bizarre and progressive black metal
Curse of Conception
Really awesome doom that’s gathered some impressive acclaim. It’s sweet at times and feels soft, even. This is one of those albums whose impression Is felt immediately.
Beyond Death Beyond Reason
Through The Mirror
Servants of the Countercosmos
Weird and jazzy bm iirc
This is a death metal album whose immediacy hit me hard and let go just as quickly. I still don’t hear the metalcore influence because to me this sounds like Ulcerate worship with some trimmed fat and accessibility.
|68||The Black Dahlia Murder|
This was my first TBDM album and honestly I had no clue the following this band has. There is a huge swath of fans that see this band as top tier, and their impressive album sales render them one of the most successful extreme metal bands of all time. Now, I don’t really think “Nightbringers” is that good. But unlike a lot of other trendy albums that I don’t particularly enjoy, I definitely see the appeal of this band. They aren’t just a well oiled machine—they’re the sturdy and unshakable factory making the machines. This is absurdly tight death metal, perfected by years of work. Again, while I don’t love this record, I do think “Widowmaker” is the de facto metal banger of the year. What a way to open up an album.
|69||Falls of Rauros|
So this was put on the back burner way too long. Subtly atmospheric, this has some of my favorite moments in all of 2017 metal. It’s beautiful black metal that’s written to near perfection.
Vision Wallows In Symphonies Of Light
Chunky and progressive death metal—it’s four songs covering nearly an hour of material. There’s a little Meshuggah grooviness, Gorguts dissonance, Deathspell wickedness, and Artificial Brain atmosphere. It’s unwieldy and typically the sort of album I don’t rec strongly, but it’s a fascinating listen nonetheless, whose ending, with its smoothness, feels ripped straight from one of the middle era Toby Driver projects.
Primal Incinerators of Moral Matrix
Not as noisy or weird as their early stuff but still some acerbic and hateful black metal nonetheless.
Banished From Time
Raw bm from the master himself. Retreading makes this a hard sell but he’s doing the overdone harsh aesthetic better than anyone else.
Perennial list maker, Jute Gyte makes the weirdest and noisiest black metal out there and he does it A LOT. Recommended for those looking for a bizarre trip but admittedly you probably won’t return once the novelty wears off.
Dark Towers, Bright Lights
|77||Der Weg Einer Freiheit|
Standard and great black metal (I feel like descriptors such as this make up half this list). You may not be rendered imobile by greatness but you’ll surely be treated to a solid bit of modern black metal.
Fun death metal with a rocking energy and cool theme. Gets old fast though.
After years of releasing the same death metal album over and over again, Incantation return with an album that’s a bit better than anything they’ve released since their “classic” hey day.
Before the Gates of Gomorrah
We Will Be Watching...
Amarta (Formulas of Reptilian Unification Part II)
Sarcophagus in the Sky
Shores of Mourning
Black metal with cascadian influences and with a sorta Agallochy tone. Lots of atmosphere with female vocals a la WiiTR. Worth checking.