When 2017 began, I was overly excited to hear countless new albums from artists including Ensiferum, Myrkur, Chelsea Wolfe, Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse Iced Earth and, many more. Unfortunately, a multitude of these new releases by talented artists felt more as a contractual obligation instead of a brilliant creative execution. The overall production quality remained high yet, the songwriting and structure itself fell flat, lazy, standard, and redundant. There were also albums that missed the mark compared to previous efforts.
With that said, there were at least 100 decent-fantastic albums including Alestorm’s No Grave But The Sea as they introduced the new pirate metal anthem, “Fucked With an Anchor.” The year expanded with hints of greatness from albums such as Royal Thunder’s Wick, along with Goatwhore, Trollfest, Converge, Morbid Angel, and the return of both At the Drive-In and Life of Agony. Speaking of fantastic records, here are my top ten.
10) Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay (Nuclear Blast)
It took me at least 50 listens before I realized this album’s potential. The first listen was the most difficult because I was disappointed and it had everything to do with 2015’s Hammer of the Witches, which is a stronger album that brought them back to Midian. Despite feeling this record was a forced conceptual piece, it does grow on you and you find yourself listening to the song “The Seductiveness of Decay” for three hours straight without even realizing it. Give this one several spins, and you will understand.
09) Paradise Lost – Medusa (Nuclear Blast)
I wasn’t going to mention Paradise Lost until I decided to revisit it. These English gothic/doom geniuses managed to remind us about our doomed mortal reality by reintroducing us to their earlier style along with adding a modern twist to their sound. The songs that I get lost in the most are “Fearless Sky,” “Medusa,” and “Blood & Chaos.”
08) Enslaved – E (Nuclear Blast)
Enslaved are constantly transforming. When a group changes their style (i.e. Suicide Silence, Linkin Park, Metallica, Anathema, In Flames, Opeth), a countless number of fans end up feeling angry or disgusted. It’s not always a smart or forgivable move. However, these changes have the capability to be a delightful surprise. Enslaved’s progression from black to progressive has moved in the most forgivable way, which leaves fans thirsty for more. This album had a few old school Enslaved remains, yet it moved along with their dark progressive melody which ended up making my jaw drop from its greatness. Songs I enjoy the most are “Storm Son,” “Sacred Horse,” “Feathers of Eolh.”
07) Moonspell – 1755 (Napalm Records)
This was one of the few albums that didn’t disappoint me. When I first found out about 1755, I knew I had to listen to it and it’s a strong piece from beginning to end. You don’t have to understand the Portuguese language, since these gothic metal masters managed to meticulously execute the concept with the musical arrangement as well as frontman Fernando Ribeiro’s tone. The album takes you back to 1755 with the Great Lisbon Earthquake as it discusses its aftermath and how it changed Europe. The songs I enjoy the most are “Em Nome Do Medo,” “Abanão,” and “Ruínas.”
06) Septicflesh – Codex Omega (Prosthetic Records)
For those who are planning on quitting coffee should listen to this album since it wakes me up every time. These Greek symphonic death metal warriors have officially challenged their creative capabilities and managed to execute one epic LP. I knew this record would stand out from the herd of 2017 releases and it is by far a huge accomplishment. Songs I enjoy the most are “Dante’s Inferno,” “Portrait of a Headless Man,” “Enemy of Truth,” “Faceless Queen.”