Alex’s top 5 albums of the year 2017

2017 proved to be a year of excellence and branching out in terms of album output and talent on display. As unhinged as the world becomes, musicians remind us that there is art to be made from the chaos.  Choosing five metal albums to represent the year was no simple task, some albums were heavily pondered over, others snuck up unexpectedly and did not budge – Samael’s ‘Hegemony’ became number one over night. Each album represents a band who defined (or are a meaningful contributor) their respective genres and are definitely recommended. Some musicians polished their craft, whilst others evolved and challenged themselves.

Now for your pleasure, the top five albums of the year 2017:

1. Samael‘Hegemony’

Genre:                 Symphonic black metal, industrial metal

Release date:     13 October 2017

Label:                  Napalm Records

The Swiss black metal veterans return 6 years after their previous album with what can arguably be considered their best work since their genre-defining ‘Passage’. Samael pioneered a style that is immediately identifiable and accessible; mixing equal parts of melody-building electronic/industrial music with the veracity of black metal into a concoction of industrialized black metal. Vocalist Vorph and keyboardist Xy have created sonic gold with dramatic tracks such as “Samael” and “Murder or Suicide”, along with “Red Planet” for its likable chorus.

 

 

2. Cradle of Filth‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’

Genre:                 Gothic metal, black metal

Release date:      22 September 2017

Label:                  Nuclear Blast

Cradle of Filth has enjoyed a prominent return to their dramatic gothic roots and ‘Cryptoriana’ underlines the reverent band’s commitment to theatrical metal with storyline lyrics; Lengthy epics with layers of guitar ferocity, relentless drumming, nigh-orchestral arrangements and Dani Filth’s high-pitch screamed vocals have come to be a cornerstone of Cradle of Filth’s signature sound. “Achingly Beautiful” and “The Seductiveness of Decay” are as spectacular and “old school” as you can get on this album.

 

 

 

3. Kreator‘Gods of Violence’

Genre:                       Thrash metal

Release date:           27 January 2017

Label:                       Nuclear Blast

Kreator have maintained their status as a seminal Teutonic thrash act that has seen itself experiment but ultimately remained true to its high-tempo riffing, and ‘Gods of violence’ adds to the band’s legacy. The album showcases some of their best work since the late ‘80s, demonstrating the band’s ability to produce impressive guitar solos and Mille Petrozza’s vocal skills are still as remarkable as ever. It’s difficult to not enjoy the hooks/chorus on “Satan is Real” and “Fallen Brother”. ‘Gods of Violence’ is the band’s first album in their three decade career to crack the number one spot on the German charts.

 

 

4. Chelsea Wolfe‘Hiss Spun’

Genre:                 Doom metal, experimental metal

Release date:     22 September 2017

Label:                  Sargent House

Chelsea Wolfe is an oddity with regards to the music she produces as it rarely remains in one category and defies classification, and over recent years the music has evolved into something heavier, culminating in her first outright metal album and the result is clear: it’s full of doomed goodness. Seamless shifts between tracks would have you believe you were listening to one lengthy song with differing textures and subtle changes in composure. The album is the meeting point of two extremes – fragile and fierce; Ben Chisholm’s production value is unmistakable and invaluable.

 

 

5.  3Teeth‘Shutdown.exe’

Genre:                       Industrial, industrial metal

Release date:           19 May 2017

Label:                        OMF Records

A relatively new band from Los Angeles, California, that could be described as the cunning child of angry Nine Inch Nails and surreal Skinny Puppy if they had a three-way with an anarchistic wood chipper labeled “Fuck.Everything.Up”.  The band plays a mixture of industrial beats and driving guitar riffs coupled with the occasional sample; What really grabs you is the menacing attitude of the band and it shows in their music and live shows. ‘Shutdown.exe’ shows more aggression than their previous album (‘3Teeth’) which was more industrial-based. A straight album for a decent nostalgia trip.

 

 

Honourable mentions:

  1. Godflesh – ‘Post Self’
  2. Paradise Lost‘Medusa’
  3. Dying Fetus‘Wrong One To Fuck With’
  4. Septicflesh‘Codex Omega’
  5. Decapitated ‘Anticult’

 

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