Here we are, prematurely wrapping up the dumpster fire that was 2017 and looking optimistically towards the nuclear irradiated fires of 2018. While it’s certainly been interesting in terms of world events, at least there has been a lot of good music released along the way. Having taken up writing New & Noteworthy (shameless self plugs are starting early today) at the beginning of the year I got to check out a lot of releases, but dove deep into far less than I’d have liked. Be sure to check out some of our other Top 10s too. My music tastes are pretty good and all, but so are those of Bram, Nick, Zenae, Zach#2, Matt, and Chris. Have a festive winter holiday season, and try not to get too pissed at any holiday cups.
This one I found doing the New & Noteworthy column for the week it was released. They hadn’t been on my radar before, but after hearing“Motherfunk” I was immediately interested with their blend of modern hard rock and progressive metal in the vein of Twelve Foot Ninja and Nothing More.
Recommended Tracks: “Motherfunk,” “Say it Like You See It”
9) Iced Earth, Incorruptible (Century Media)
This one seemed to polarize the Iced Earth fan base pretty hard. I personally really enjoyed and have all of the Stu Block Iced Earth albums so far. The wheel is still doing well, so you don’t see the band taking many risks here and there are definitely some songs that feel like they were half-written before going to production, but overall I think the good ones carry the weight of a few sub par tracks.
Recommended Tracks: “Black Flag,” “Seven Headed Whore,” “Clear the Way”
While this technically came out in 2016, it came out after I had my end of year list published so I had just figured I would keep it as a contender for this year. They aren’t reinventing the SID Metal with Into the Night World, but they’ve added a handful of jams to their discography and its overall a solid release. Being able to see them on their first US tour back in January was also really cool.
Recommended Tracks: “Into The Night World,” “My Dragons Will Decimate,” “Twe27ySeven”
Pittsburgh’s own Fist Fight in the Parking Lot slowed down a little with this release, but it excels with groovy riffs, energetic fills, and a fantastic vocal performance by singer Abby Krizner. I caught them at their CD release show alongside other Pittsburgh sludgelords Molasses Barge for a dank night of stoner metal.
I also think this one has the best art of the list.
Recommended Tracks: “714,” “Open Slopes,” “Miss Emma”
This is the first of three double albums that are going to mentioned in this (expanded) list. Threshold has been a band that I have casually known of, but never really looked into. I was hooked when I saw the video for “Small Dark Lines” while doing New & Noteworthy and was happy to find a very dynamic album looking deeper into it.
Recommended Tracks: “Small Dark Lines,” “Stars and Satellites,” “The Shire suite”
Having discovered these guys following the release of their last album, I had been watching for this one and I was surprising how long it took for me to come around to it. I’m really glad that I went back to it because Malina is an album that rewards with multiple listens. The album is just as complex in its delivery as it is poppy and meaningful. The album blends complex songwriting with poppier hooks without sacrificing lyrical quality or meaningfulness.
Warning: Must be able to count above 4.
Suggested Tracks:”Illuminate,” “Leashes,” “From the Flame”
Coming way out of left field, I had never heard of these guys before seeing the music video for “Gemini.” As it would turn out, this love letter to AOR is a supergroup caliber lineup of European death metal musicians make amazing rock n roll. You can feel the influences oozing out of the album. You won’t hear anything particularly new or groundbreaking with Amber Galactic, but it’s a fun listen all the way through. “Gemini” was probably my most played song this year.
Suggested Tracks: “Gemini,” “Star of Rio,” “Midnight Flyer”