My favourite metal release of 2017 isn't included on the list below. That's because it's a live recording from 1986, which was included on this year's 30th anniversary CD remaster of Judas Priest's Turbo. That live show, which was captured on Priest's 'Fuel for Life' tour at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, was a visceral reminder of all the pyrotechnics that sold me on heavy metal when I was a teenager in the 1980s. But don't panic. I promise the list below isn't a Dadmetal fiasco. Well... hopefully not.
I admit that I love metal’s more primitive hallmarks. And I love raw and unpolished tunes as well. I've got zero time for ultra-modern tech-metal wankathons. But I’m not living in the past. I'd like to think my EOY17 metal list exemplifies the genre’s primal intensity in 2017, not 1986. Even if a lot of the albums below do deal in more old school worship than newfangled exploits.
Fingers crossed, you'll find some fresh discoveries below. Cheers for supporting Six Noises this year. Have a fantastic festive break.
FYI: I know there's a fuck ton of unranked music here. Read the rationale behind my EOY17 list mayhem
Ritual Knife: Hate Invocation and Utzalu: The Loins of Repentance
The two most impressive black metal albums of 2017. A mind-twisting duo of ultra-raw and ultra-abrasive recordings that tick all the corrosive and obnoxious boxes over and over again. Perfectly fucking horrible.
"Apocalyptically heavy and wretchedly visionary extreme sludge-doom ... colossal and earth-shaking audial torture." Nihilism incarnate. Beyond magnificent.
G.A.T.E.S: Back From The Grave
The long-awaited debut from Tokyo metalpunks G.A.T.E.S. Featuring: "hammering drums ... double-bass madness ... "d-beat chaos" and "loose and sleazy bass work". A "filth-laden swagger worthy of Motörhead" with vocals from ex-Coffins/Church Of Misery "throatshredder" Yoshiaki Negishi.
Anatomia: Cranial Obsession
"An expiring human corporal vessel that alternates between the agonizing affliction of the disease that consumes it and the soothing bliss of the inescapable, terminal fate that awaits it."
Antichrist: Sinful Birth
"Vicious, unforgiving ... possessed of an absolute disregard for just about anything that is currently cool, polished, or comfortable. Antichrist, more than any other throwback thrash band, really feels like it belongs to the era it draws upon for its inspiration."
Serpent Column: Ornuthi Thalassa
"Towering, majestic black/death carried by blazing, virtuosic tremolo melodies, and driven home by a dizzying, kit-wrecking drum assault."
Amenra: Mass VI
"No love without pain. No life without death. No light without darkness."
Black Cilice: Banished from Time
Rawer-than-raw black metal magick from mysterious Portuguese one-man band.
Squalus: The Great Fish
Truly impressive concept album based around Jaws (featuring ex-Giant Squid members). Made to order for a shark obssessive like me.
Chepang: Dadhelo - A Tale of Wildfire
Brain-scrambling, blistering, and dual-drum blasting grindcore from breakneck Nepalese band. An A-grade twisted cacophony.
Ugly, fetid, and rotten: "A love letter to the days of old, splattered with bile and smeared with dried blood."
Akatharsia: No Generation Without Corruption
Neck-wrecking and nerve-shredding black metal/rawpunk from Oakland, Califorian band featuring members of Fell Voices and Lycus.
"Sadistic, psychotic, and vile raw punk/industrial/noise/black metal ... a mangled and sanguine strangulation of completely collapsing and self-harming noise rock deviancy."
Murderous Japanese metallic punk hybrid: "A skull-crushing barrage of alienating audial hostility that redefines and re-imagines the most remote and liminal realms of hardcore."
Condor: Unstoppable Power
Brutal and 666% raging blackened thrash that harks back to the earliest works of Slayer or Kreator.
Dawn Ray'd: The Unlawful Assembly
"This is a 10-song strong call to arms, these are battle hymns for the coming class war."
Full of Hell: Trumpeting Ecstasy
"Experimental death-noise band deliver their most punishing, virulent, and dynamic album to date."
Spectral Voice: Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
"Their rawness and vast sound only emphasizes their genuine thirst for darkness ... the sound of one’s soul going further down the abyss, and they’re taking you with them."
Ragana: You Take Nothing
"The Oakland-based, anarcho-feminist duo juxtaposes black metal’s punishing squall with gothic folk to create haunting moments of tension and release."
Pagan Altar: The Room of Shadows
"Epic hard-rocking riffs and enchanting, poetic, and macabre lyrics. And thus closes the Pagan Altar legacy; which will be with us forever."
La Torture Des Ténèbres: IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl
"Gnarled black noise ... repeated listens reveal even more ghostly details floating amidst the chaotic din ... wildly riveting and unique."
Délétère: Per Aspera Ad Pestalentiam
"From the first note, you’re hit with a monumental guitar hook — a melodic riff swung like a flaming sword into a horde of unworthy enemies."
Power Trip: Nightmare Logic
"Crushing, soul-mangling, neck bustin’ album from Texas hardcore thrashers. Quite possibly the best thrash album you will have heard in the last decade."
Primitive Man: Caustic
"Soul-crushing blackened doom and noise-ridden claustrophobia ... a cataclysmic soundtrack for a world gone awry."
Occvlta: Night Without End
"Black metal has never been this raw, primitive, crushing and pure since the mid-90's."
Atriarch: Dead as Truth
"Apocalyptic noisemakers back with their fourth offering of mind-altering, doom-soaked, death rock ... venturing deeper into the blackened abyss with haunting incantations, exotic drones, and crushing aural experimentations that boldly embrace death's cold heart."
Usnea: Portals into Futility
"Expertly crafted and elegantly depressive doom/sludge ... across dark and brooding peaks and valleys, Usnea remind us that no matter how many doors are opened to the human species, our self-aggrandizement and hubris all lead to futility."
Yellow Eyes: Immersion Trench Reverie
"Yellow Eyes creates a stunning tableau that is both alluring and unnerving at once."
Desolate Shrine: Deliverance from the Godless Void
"The band continues to erase the already thin line existing between black, death and doom and once again come out of the abyss with their own instantly recognizable style."
Wode: Servants of the Countercosmos
"Wode have returned with a bigger bite and a more intense fury, and though the Wode of 2016 are in there somewhere, this is a different animal."
Necrot: Blood Offerings
"Old-school death metal at its finest ... Necrot has recorded an album so putrescent you can almost smell it."
Foreseen: Grave Danger
"Punishingly relentless pace and aggression ... throat-ripping vocals over lacerating Thrash dominance and possessed Hardcore breakdowns that twist seamlessly with an ever-increasing 80s Heavy Metal tenacity."
"Traveling further into the void and beyond the realms of hopelessness and despondency ... a journey destitute of all hope and redemption, one where heartbreak, total death and never ending despair triumphs."
Bonehunter: Sexual Panic Human Machine
"Bonehunter dive headfirst and headlong into a raucous yet well-oiled attack that, more often than not, lands well within the bounds of shredding speed metal: the chrome chassis gleams, but the engine pumps pure, black disgust."
Crurifragium: Beasts of the Temple of Satan
"Resolutely crude and barbaric and forsaking any niceties like 'progression' or good taste, Crurifragium explode forth with a filthiness beyond compare."
MONARCH!: Never Forever
"Punishing ritualistic drone doom ... ghostly, atmospheric, and haunting ... harnessing that plodding, down-tuned, and crushing low-end that has become their signature rhythmic backdrop to vocalist Emilie Bresson’s enchanting and spellbinding vocals."
"San Francisco’s most malevolent and perverted death-crust horde returns with their most gloriously wretched, involved, and primitive slab of aural barbarism to date."With The Dead: Love From With The Dead
"Soul destroying doom of the darkest order." Aosoth: V: The Inside Scriptures
"Distinctive and downright suffocating" release from cryptic French black metal band.
I haven't sorted any of my EOY picks into a specific order. That’s because I’m not really interested in who’s better or who's the best these days. I don't feel any compulsion to studiously rank the music that matters to me. And the last thing that music needs is to be pinned to a board and scrupulously arranged like a soon-to-be-forgotten museum exhibit.
That's just me though. If you’re interested in debating who deserves the most critical applause or underground acclaim, then have at it. And have fun while you're at it. I just don't have a dog in that fight anymore. I'm more interested in simply sharing all the thundering noise I adored in 2017. You can pick the winners or losers. Trust me, you'll do a better job than me.