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01.04.21 Another Top Metal Albums of 2020 List01.02.20 Top 30 Albums of 2019
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Top 40 Metal Albums of 2017

This took me forever to type up, so I'm not going to waste too much time and essentially get straight to it. 2017 was a phenomenal year for every genre of metal basically and here in my opinion are the 40 best of the year! But first!! Here are some honorable mentions: Honorable Mentions: Dying Fetus - Wrong One To Fuck With Afterbirth - The Time Travelers Dilemma Tchornobog - Tchornobog Warbringer - Woe to the Vanquished Ascended Dead - Abhorrent Manifestation
I Can Tell You About Pain

The placement of this EP must rely only on the one song that actually exclusively appears on this it: “Eve”. And in my hopefully (but definitely) unbiased eyes “Eve” alone is enough of a reason to have “I Can Tell You About Pain” on my year end list. It’s on of the most well rounded and beautiful Converge songs this ear has yet to hear. Simultaneously savage and poetically gorgeous, I implore you that this is a good start to my list! Rating: 4.0
39Iron Monkey

Spilling over with anger, rage, and attitude like I’ve never heard it before Iron Monkey’s comeback album is a destructive force of grooving riffs and unhinged vocals. When I say grooving, I mean an unstoppable rhythm which will shift even the minor metal fan into headbanging with its surprising time signature changes. And when I say the vocals are unhinged, I’m hoping that someone will track down this nutter and throw him in the asylum which is where it sounds like he belongs! Ideally this album will make you partially insane while at the same time yearn to listen to Iron Monkey’s back Catalogue (this is what happened to me). Rating: 4.0
38Death Worship
Extermination Mass

Considering that the members of Death Worship originally come from Revenge, Blasphemy, and Conqueror should basically tell you all you need to know about this release. It is essentially a look into what a tornado made entirely of blackened death metal would look like. In short it’s a wall of noise filled to the brim with blast beats, chaotic lightning like solos, and menacing yet headbangable riffage. Can I guarantee that you will you be able to differentiate between songs? Eh, not really, but I promise that you will be easily entertained for 20 minutes. Rating: 4.0
37Stone From The Sky
Fuck The Sun

Every year I need a release that basically knows how to jam: how to take a riff or melody and just go as far as possible with it. This instrumental stoner doom release does just that! Stone From the Sky excellently combines elements of stoner fuzziness, absolutely soul crushing doom, and some crazy funk influences to keep the listener engaged and beyond that entertained for the whole run time. What makes this release even more special among its compatriots is the fact that each of these 6 fuzzed out tracks uniquely stand on their own instrumentally. The heavy bass line and riff found on opener “Inside the Dalek” is entirely unique from the funky groove in the preceding track “Hunters must be Hunted”. Rating: 4.0
36Fit for an Autopsy
The Great Collapse

The Great Collapse showcases a scene shifting from a purely aggressive death metal centric sound to an almost progressive message centric sound. While there is still breakdowns and anger to be found in bounds on his album, something else has seeped into Fit For an Autopsy’s flask and it is exactly what this genre of music needed! Dynamic is the mainly what I am hyping here! Songs like “When the Bulbs Burn Out” and “Empty Still” best demonstrate this effort. This makes space for tracks like “Black Mammoth”, “Heads Will Hang”, and “Iron Moon” to be more unique, aggressive, and standouts in their own rights. Rating: 4.0
Not For Music

“Not For Music” made staying in my mind’s eye since its release in January seem effortless. This of course is no surprise for an album with a sound as unique and introspective as “Not For Music”. This release is some weird amalgamation of post rock atmospheres, post punk pacing and despondent melodies, and some black and death metal influences thrown in for good measure. This all adds up to songs that will leave you scratching your head. Look no further than the almost disco like “Ever” and the out of nowhere metal riffing that occurs on closing track “Let It Fall”. Rating: 4.1
Gods of Violence

“Gods of Violence” was unleashed upon the unsuspecting metal community earlier in the year with its take no prisoners approach making some waves before succumbing to the many other thrash albums released this year (definitely a big year for thrash). Still, with Kreator’s unique melodic thrash metal approach and penchant for absolutely destructive fast paced riffs this album was easily able to hold its own and practically lead the thrash pack this year. We’ll see just how much more they can successfully push this sound but for “Gods of Violence’s” sake it works triumphantly! Rating: 4.1
33Cannibal Corpse
Red Before Black

It truthfully boggles my mind how an act on their 14th album can still sound this vicious and inspired. Sure, “Red Before Black” doesn’t break or really attempt to tread any new ground what it does do is deliver probably the most old school Cannibal album in many years. Just listen to opener “Only One Will Day” to hear 1996 Cannibal Corpse alive and well. There is some slight experimentation with dissonant riffing and solos though and when utilized it pays off extraordinarily on tracks like “Shedding My Human Skin” and “Destroyed Without a Trace”. Rating: 4.1
32All Hell
The Grave Alchemist

I promise this has nothing to do with me having to honor the local North Carolina scene. I will say it’s insanely awesome that Asheville’s All Hell have done as well and garnered the fanbase that they have. With their refreshing slightly more gothic take on the first wave of black metal however, this success is no surprise. And one listen to insanely catchy tracks like “Return of the Reaper”, “Wed the Night”, and “I Am the Mist” should tell you why. Rating: 4.1

Drone is not a genre of music I generally enter the foray of but to be fair to pigeonhole a band with the reach and legacy of Boris into only the genre of drone is doing them a huge disservice. For example across this album Boris play drone of course with opening tracks “D.O.W.N.” and “Deadsong” and then immediately segways into the powerfully heavy noise rock infused doom of “Absolutego”. By the time the more psychedelic second half of the album comes along Boris have easily gone through a couple more genres. The extra atmospheric and psychedelic tracks “Beyond” and “Dystopia” are just the icing on this extremely varied and exciting cake. Rating: 4.2
30The Ominous Circle
Appalling Ascension

I’ve really grown quite fond of the dirgish and extremely cavernous sound that Portal has excellently crafted throughout their career which of course means I’m perfectly fine to see other bands emulating it. Though I’m even more ecstatic when I see bands turning it into their own distinctive sound like The Ominous Circle have done on their debut record “Appalling Ascension”. The furious death metal wall of murk and distortion is slowed down here with a heaping of doom influence. The result is a distinctive listen and an already interesting sound being pushed into new territories. Rating: 4.2
29Suppressive Fire
Nature of War

With the impressive feat of releasing two great albums in two consecutive years, these Bathory meet Sodom rippers knocked it out of the park with their sophomore release “Nature of War”. The songs are longer and more ambitious: “Dreaded Bastards” and the riffs are sharper and more savage: “Vesicant” and “Nuclear Disembowelment”. They even managed to sneak on an ear worm or two into this release. Just look at “Depraved” and “No Man’s Land”. Definitely keep your eye on this 4 piece, especially in 2018. Rating: 4.2
Pestilential Rites of Infernal Fornication

Just take one look at the artwork and you will instinctively know just how over the top this band is willing to go. Add into the fact that Weregoat possess something that I feel many of these war metal bands lack, riffs, and you have one of the most memorable and absolutely crushing releases of this genre to date. Rating: 4.2
27Mountains Crave
As We Were When We Were Not

The post black metal sound on this album does an excellent job retaining it’s savagery and when these influences reach an apex the create quite an emotive wall of sound which should be hard to cast aside by any black metal fan. Rating: 4.2
26Falls of Rauros
Vigilance Perennial

My list continues the black metal comeback with arguably the most beautifully emotive black metal album of 2017. Falls of Rauros have always strived to balance out the savage pacing of black metal with gorgeous acoustic passages and a heaping of folk influence scattered throughout. On their latest “Vigilance Perennial” they find the perfect balance of these influences while at the same time weaving even more ambitious songs and melodies. Just look at the chilly yet beautiful first couple minutes of opener “White Granite”. Rating: 4.2
Blood Offerings

Necrot deserves every ounce of praise they've been receiving for this release. Every one of these eight tracks delivers a memorable old school sounding death metal punch with some of the best riffs scattered evenly throughout. From the opening head bobbing riff of “The Blade” to the final melodic flourishes of the closing riff from “Layers of Darkness”, this debut is a nonstop assault on your neck and ear drums. Rating: 4.2

“Atonement” showcases a band that has been around since the 1980s still inspired and most importantly still hungry. Atonement of course hits all of the classic Immolation high notes with aggressive hits like “Fostering the Divide” and “Destructive Currents” easily stands up to their fastest material. Of course it’s when they deviate from this fast paced sound that “Atonement” truly shines. When Immolation bring out the slow hellish melodies on songs like “When the Jackals Come”, “Lower”, and “The Power of Gods” that’s when this album easily stands toe to toe with the best stuff that all the newer death metal albums are putting out. Rating: 4.2
23Pagan Altar
The Room of Shadows

Cut to the final album from legendary act Pagan Altar and all of the fast paced aggression and suffocating atmospheres of the other albums on this list fades away into folk inspired traditional heavy metal with a huge inclination to jam. And believe me jam this album does! From the nonstop riffs in “The Portrait of Dorian Grey” and “The Ripper” to the absolutely gorgeous solos on tracks like “Danse Macabre” and “Dance of the Vampires”, “Room of Shadows” is quite a journey. It’s on the title track though that Pagan Altar truly gets their point across with this album. These songs are just as much about the story and the lyricism behind them as they are about the music and that is where this release excels. Rating: 4.2
22Pain of Salvation
In the Passing Light of Day

Pain of Salvation’s latest is an amalgamation of progressive rock, some Meshuggah riffs, beautiful atmospheres, and a ton of avant garde experimentation. “In The Passing Light of Day” will go from straight up emotive heavy metal “Full Throttle Tribe” to a Faith No More inspired stomper “Reasons”. When examined at a whole including the scifi concept behind it the closest album I can think of is Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime” and take that as a high compliment. Rating: 4.3
De Doden Hebben Het Goed II

This album doesn't stick to the same old tropes of either raw, traditional, or atmospheric black metal but is one that carves its own unique place within the genre. Weigedood’s sophomore effort is a riff filled affair which goes for the jugular from the first notes and only relents for some brief self-hatred in second track “Cataract”. It’s with these riffs that this album truly shows off its unique take on black metal. Wiegedood somehow add copious amounts of technicality in their riffage which works perfectly with their brand of speed driven black metal. Rating: 4.3
20Spirit Adrift
Curse of Conception

Spirit Adrift carve out their own unique sound in this ever growing US Doom scene, with a focus on riffs and superior vocal performance over everything else. Just listening to the first vocal line from opener “Earthbound” should tell you all need to know about this release. It’s beautiful blues and folk influence add a unique flare to Spirit Adrift’s sound and the American doom scene as a whole. Rating: 4.3
19Full of Hell
Trumpeting Ecstasy

This shit is like grind on acid injected with a heaping of some fat death metal riffage and a fair amount of harsh noise. There truly is no other album I’ve heard this year that has this chaotic adrenaline pumping sound. The fact that the music is in such a tight 23 minute package is just the icing on this extremely fucked up cake! Rating: 4.3
18The Great Old Ones
EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy

This is an emotive thematic black metal concept album that fully does the lovecraftian source material justice with its claustrophobic yet simultaneously monolithic atmosphere. This is mainly accomplished due to the ghostly melodies interwoven into the tracks and used explosively during the climax of the opening and closing songs. Rating: 4.3
Mass VI

Amenra has been working on the outskirts of the scene for almost 2 decades and with their fifth album I’d say it’s time for them to step into the spotlight. Amenra’s sound is a beautifully primal take on the abrasive mid 2000s neurosis post metal. Mass VI is slow and plodding yet can easily capture the listener’s attention with its penchant for riffs. However, it’s when Amenra strips down their sound on these 4 songs and bring some clean singing into the mix that they truly shine. Rating: 4.3
Dark Towers, Bright Lights

Cranial channel early Isis and Neurosis aiming to be as abrasive and in your face as possible with this debut album. They also put as much time into developing riffs as possible. Just look at the main riff that is built through album highlight “Bright”. It is first introduced in the opening moments of the track and then is constructed and then dismantled several times before finally peaking in an adrenaline pumping finale. This is the overall goal of this release: to make the listener bang their head and on this front, “Dark Towers, Bright Lights” easily succeeds. Rating: 4.3
15Nokturnal Mortum

All of these tracks are all over the place in the best way, with folk instrumentation, synths, and black metal all flawlessly appearing side by side. Though the run time does make this album feel a little bloated, if you stick with it, each track offers a different aspect of Nokturnal Mortum’s sound. The album as a whole will give you a very triumphant soundtrack to remember 2017 by. Rating: 4.3

This release checks off all of the necessary boxes for the funeral doom genre. Slow burning melancholic melodies: check, monstrous bottomless vocals: check, a slow yet steady tempo throughout: check. But this album wouldn’t be on this list if it only checked off a couple of boxes. No, “Horizonless” accomplishes a feat that the average funeral band could only dream of: to be fully encompassed by the feelings of sorrow, pain, and loss. For a full hour, every track sinks the listener deeper and deeper into this world of desolation and bleak landscapes from which it feels like there is no escape. Rating: 4.3
13The Black Dahlia Murder

The Black Dahlia Murder realized that they needed to revitalize their sound, and what better way to do this than to release a throwback to one of their most popular eras while at the same time continuing to tread new ground. “Nightbringers” succeeds in both these aspects, easily being the darkest, most fast paced, and consistent TBDM album since the aforementioned “Nocturnal”. At the same time though, they branch out with influences that have yet to be heard on one of their releases before. For example the tremolo picked wall of noise black metal on the title track, more Dissection esque black metal on closer “The Lonely Deceased”, and the neoclassical tinges found on “Kings of the Night World”. This is easily one of the best Black Dahlia murder albums and I would even argue sores beyond its main influence. Rating: 4.3
Emperor of Sand

On their return to the concept album format, these Georgia boys channel influences that have been seen throughout their career along with some new ones. “Adrolmeda” sees them at their most aggressive since dare I say “Blood Mountain”, while “Precious Stones”, “Steambreather”, and “Clandestiny” see them perfect those big hook choruses that have been around since “The Hunter”. The there are songs like closer “Jaguar God” which is unlike anything I’ve heard Mastodon pen, simultaneously filled with both sick riffs and pop hooks. This is essential and still creatively inspired Mastodon and on their seventh album in their career this is quite an impressive feat. Rating: 4.3
11Temple of Void
Lords Of Death

These doomy deathsters from detroit have stripped their sound of some of the more slow and melodic doom metal elements leaving behind a lean and mean crushingly bleak death metal record with a penchant for some mammoth sized slow burning riffs. For just a small taste look at opener “Wretched Banquet” which comes straight out of the gate with a nasty vocal and riff combo that will immediately shake the listener out of any haze that the beautiful acoustic intro track may have put them in. This style of attack continues throughout the whole album, whose 37 minute run time makes this a quick and concise record to its benefit. It’s on album highlight “Graven Desires” however that Temple of Void prove that they are true masters of their craft and that they are more than capable of holding down the fort for the death doom genre for as long as need be. Rating: 4.4
10Elder (USA-MA)
Reflections of a Floating World

More psychedelic and progressive than anything, this hour long journey into infectiously beautiful stoner melodies, lush atmospheres, and always forward moving song writing is exactly the break you needed from all of those blast beats and gutturals this year. Though it does fall to the pitfall of bloating on a track or two (like its just as excellent predecessor), overall the album flows tremendously well and keeps the momentum throughout. Where the album truly excels though is in the groove department and when a groovy riff is brought into the forefront with those stoner melodies and atmospheres ever present in the background that these songs really reach the next level. Rating: 4.4
9Spectral Voice
Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

This is without a doubt the riff album of the year. From your classic slow marauding doom riff to some of the best most fast paced death metal riffs I have heard in years “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” will cause you to go from slow headbanging to basically giving yourself whiplash at the drop of a hat. The fact that this band balances these two completely contrasting tempos perfectly throughout individual songs let alone individual albums is quite an impressive feat. Rating: 4.4
8Power Trip
Nightmare Logic

Somewhere between classic fast paced 90s thrash, chunky Pantera riffs, and an all too relatable (these days) anger at all things political these dudes from Texas found the collective metal nerve and hung around for the total run time of this album. Between you and me, they can stay there as long as they want as long as the riffs and drum sound found on tracks like “Soul Sacrifice”, “Waiting Around to Die”, and the title track is the end product. Rating: 4.4
Trance of Death

Venenum’s debut LP offers something that the score of other death metal releases lacked however: progress. Not content to stick with genre tropes Venenum carve out their own unique psychedelic infused sound on this album creating a heaping helping of deliciously dark and spacey atmosphere in the process. It’s this thematic approach to 90s death metal that I found so refreshing on “Trance of Death”. Don’t worry though, the death metal edge is still fully intact and ready to lay waste all who will lend an ear. Just listen to the amazing riffs found on tracks like “Cold Threat” or the first part of the title track “Reflections”. Speaking of the title track, this album is worth the price of admission for that 20 minute plus song alone. Rating: 4.5
The Dusk in Us

“The Dusk in Us” deserves as much credit as it can get for the varied yet singularly emotive 13 songs that appear on this album. The one noticeable constant across this album though is that this is some of their most accessible material yet. Lead single’s “A Single Tear” main guitar riff which is admittedly twisting and abrasive is still one of the biggest earworms of the year. “Under Duress”, the title track, “Wildlife”, and “Thousands of Miles Between Us” continue this trend. At the same time however this more accessible material is perfectly balanced out with classic Converge savagery, crazy riffs, an off kilter tempos. Look at “Arkhipov Calm”, I Can Tell You About Pain”, and “Broken By Light” for examples. This brings me to the main reason this release is as high up on this list as it is. This is arguably one of the best flowing and most cohesive albums Converge have ever put out. Rating: 4.5
The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite

The fact that this only 30 minute EP is in the top 5 of a list completely chalk full of hour plus full lengths should give you all the reason you need to give this daring conceptual EP a listen. If you still need more convincing however, I guess I don’t mind doing my part. In only 30 minutes, schammasch takes us on a cohesive journey that most full lengths would envy. This essentially one song, builds from almost nothing into an absolutely epic behemoth that commands almost religious reverence. Rating: 4.6

“Heartless” is probably Pallbearer’s most adventurous album to date and most varied to say the least. From the opening two more accessible songs “I Saw the End” and “Thorns”, to the incredibly dynamic and almost progressive leaning dirges of “Lie of Survival” and “Dance of Madness”, to the incredibly emotive and one of Pallbearer’s best songs “A Plea for Understanding” this album has it all. Add into the fact that “Cruel Road” is Pallbearer’s heaviest and most aggressive song to date and you have a release that has a little bit of everything that doom has to offer. Rating: 4.7
3The Ruins Of Beverast

This is one of those albums that I could easily argue transcends genre classifications and stands alone as a concise and complete work of art. From the opening eerie guitar melodies of the title track to the final climatic drone of slow burning finisher “Takitum Tootem! (Trance)”, the listener is engulfed in a suffocating dirge of ritualistic chants, slow moving black metal riffs (how’s this possible??), and hellish vocals. Rating: 4.8
2Black Cilice
Banished From Time

Soul shattering loneliness is really the only phrase that comes to my mind when I fondly think of this album. Black Cilice’s brand of extremely raw and abrasive black metal is one that immediately paints a picture of isolation and pure darkness. This is largely due to the production of this album which practically takes more of a centerpiece than any of the instruments. It gives the effect that the band is playing live through a blizzard a glacier or two away from where the listener is sitting and this is the albums most powerful attribute. Its ability to isolate the listener in an environment entirely created by the music. Rating: 4.9
1Bell Witch
Mirror Reaper

I’m sure by now you have all heard of the infamous 83 minute album/song by Bellwitch entitled “Mirror Reaper”. I am here to implore you to put aside the time, lock yourself in a quiet room, turn off all of the lights neigh for one candle, pour yourself a delicious beer or glass of wine, and fully immerse yourself in this release. And that’s one of the reasons why this album sits at number one, it is almost more of an event than a simple funeral doom record. Every single aspect of this release feeds seamlessly into the concept from the artwork, to the equally long film shot for this album, and yes even the unfortunate circumstances leading up to this release. Of course the music itself stands out even more than the events and other creative aspects of this release and is the main reason it has this spot. Rating: 5.0
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