2017 has been a pretty big year for music. There have been new break-out bands, a lot of genre mixing, and collaborations from artists we might not expect. Bands we haven’t heard from in a long time finally released some new jams for us to bang our heads to. The Best Metal Albums of 2017 were super hard to pick because of the constant flood of good music coming our way. Here’s my top 10 for the year. I hope you enjoy!
Best Metal Albums of 2017 (Top 10)
10. Pain Again by Varials
Varials makes extremely heavy, slamming music that’s sure to get you moving. On Pain Again, they took earlier elements and improved upon them. The vocals are more brutal, the instrumentation more precise, and the breakdowns more severe.
Pain Again feels like an album that’s made specifically for an unforgettable live performance. Once you press play, you’ll see what I mean. The lead-ups to the climax in each track leaves your head nodding even after the music stops.
Rhythmically, Varials stands out from the other bands making semi-similar music right now. Recently signed to Fearless Records, it’ll be exciting to see what they throw at us next.
Stand out tracks include “Colder Brother“, “Pain Again“, and “To Lay In Sin“.
9. Hiss Spun by Chelsea Wolfe
I wish I would’ve gotten into Chelsea Wolfe’s music sooner than this year. Hiss Spun is a slower, super melodic doom metal-esque album. It’s hard to narrow her music down to a single genre.
You can expect to hear multiple musical elements throughout the duration of the album. Even though it’s slower than most metal albums, by adding several layers to the music it’s still as heavy as ever. The almost minimal vocal work contrasted with the instrumentation almost makes it heavier. (Definitely heavier than you’d expect it to sound.)
The genre experimentation ranges from sludgy doom metal all the way to purely acoustic on the track called “Two Spirit”. It’s an amazing body of work to sit back, relax and consume all at once. Chelsea Wolfe makes albums that force you to pay attention and sound like they were designed to be listened to from track one to the end.
Stand out tracks from Hiss Spun include “The Culling“, “Spun“, and “Two Spirit“.
8. Vicious World by MyChildren MyBride
MyChildren MyBride has been a constant fixture in the metalcore genre and Vicious World is my favorite album of their’s to date. Right away from the start of track one titled XeNO, you’re hooked in.
Throughout Vicious World, it alternates between clean singing and the grueling metalcore vocals mixed in with bouncy instrumentation. Lyrically, it leaves the listener to interpret and perceive how they choose fit.
MyChildren MyBride experimented with tracks like KevlAr by adding an almost hip-hop instrumental under whispered/screamed vocals to create a totally different atmosphere from what you’d expect to hear on an album like this.
Overall, expect heavy metalcore with clean singing melodies and crunchy guitar riffs. Some stand out tracks include “XeNO“, “KevlAr“, and “I.O.U.N.“.
7. Nepenthe by Bermuda
With Nepenthe, Bermuda took what they did on their previous album and made everything better. It’s more melodic at points, more djenty, heavier, and features a couple guest vocalists that really add to the atmosphere. Guest vocals include Dustin Filth and iamnotaperson.
It’s always nice when the guest vocals really add to the songs rather than take away from it. BOTH guest vocalists gave us the extra element to Bermuda’s instrumentation and gritty vocals to where it leaves you wanting more.
The masterful fusion of djent, deathcore, and metal won’t let up on the gas until the last track ends. At some points you might get a Joshua Travis vibe from the guitar parts. Overall, it’s an extremely chaotic (in a controlled way) album that leaves your ears ringing and thoughts racing.
Some stand out tracks include “Survivor’s Guilt“, “Nepenthe“, and “Sterili Matri“.
6. Grimoire by She Must Burn
Grimoire is the first full length album from the UK-based band She Must Burn. Throughout the 9 track body of work you’ll hear powerful symphonic black metal. I wouldn’t compare it to a band like Cradle of Filth necessarily but the strings, keys, and alternations between painful-sounding screams and the serenading female vocal parts is almost reminiscent of their work.
She Must Burn far surpassed their first EP release on Grimoire. Expect darker-themed lyrics based around a Gothic romance. At some points the screamed vocals might remind you of There Is A Hell-era Oli Sykes (in the best way possible).
Overall, if you’re into a fusion of symphonic, Gothic, metalcore, and black metal elements, you won’t be able to get enough of this album.
Stand out tracks include “Gloom“, “Victoria“, and “From The Grave“. The video below is a short album-sampler to give you an idea of what to expect.
5. The Great Collapse by Fit For An Autopsy
To start the list off we have Fit For An Autopsy hailing from New Jersey. They’ve been a steady fixture in the metal scene since 2011 and after some lineup changes I think they’ve found their sweet spot. The Great Collapse really sets them apart from other bands playing deathcore in a memorable way.
They have a live concert from Rain City Studios which can be viewed here on YouTube if you’re interested. Seeing a band live usually changes the way you view a band’s music, even if you’re not actually there in person. Watching their performance of some older songs but mostly new ones off of The Great Collapse is the best introduction into their music.
Some of the stand-out tracks include “Black Mammoth“, “Iron Moon“, and “Heads Will Hang“. This album is perfect for those of us who love faster, heavier, more metallic music with a little gruff melody thrown in every now and again.
4. Phantom Anthem by August Burns Red
Number four on the list is a band from Pennsylvania called August Burns Red. They have proven they’re here to stay and have been active since their first release in 2005. Phantom Anthem sticks out as an unexpected addition to a year end best of list. They consistently play melodically heavy music that showcases the years of dedication and instrumental mastery. The way they mix acoustic guitars with the otherwise typical metalcore instrumentation is what really sets them apart from other bands in that realm.
Phantom Anthem is sure to get your brain firing on all cylinders whether you need to meet a deadline on that project you’ve been procrastinating or just sitting back and enjoying the record. This album’s an extremely riff-heavy experience that will leave your ears ringing and your mood lifted. My personal favorite that’s gotten way too many plays off Phantom Anthem is the track called “Dangerous”. From the opening, leading up to the ending part it’s a metallic masterpiece, (or disasterpiece as Slipknot might put it).
Some stand out tracks include “Dangerous“, “Quake“, and “Float“.
3. False Idol by Veil of Maya
Veil of Maya was formed in Chicago, Illinois and has been in the metalcore scene since their debut release in 2006. False Idol starts out with a track called “Lull” that does the opposite of putting you to sleep. A distorted speaking voice intros the chaos that follows.
Carrying right into the next track titled “Fracture”, the opening riff and vocal crescendo hook you in right away and you know the rest is gonna be gold. (Which it was.) I don’t wanna spoil the rest for you but that should give you a good idea of the ride you’ll take when you listen to False Idol for the first time, and hopefully many times more.
Heavy riffage, brutal vocals, and melodies that’ll get stuck in your head for days are scattered throughout the entire 44 minutes of False Idol ‘s run time. This album kicks ass from start to finish but some of the stand out tracks include “Fracture“, “Whisteblower“, and “Follow Me“.
2. The Place I Feel The Safest by Currents
Hailing from the small state of Connecticut, Currents is a relatively new band that released their first EP in 2013. Their hard-hitting, emotional metalcore album The Place I Feel The Safest is a must-have addition to any metalhead’s library. Press play and nod along to the djent like any true djentleman would.
Instead of a sophomore slump, Currents managed to hit their second full-length out of the park. This was the most unexpected stand-out of 2017, but it got some of the most plays on my end. It’s always nice to see a lesser-known band break through into a seemingly over-saturated genre and still manage to impress a dedicated listener.
Stand out tracks include “Silence“, “Tremor“, and “Withered“.
1. Rust by Monolord
Monolord is a Swedish doom metal band that makes sludgy, hypnotic, but heavy music that you can’t help but nod along to. You’ll feel yourself being pulled into a deep, almost psychedelic trance. Rust is their 3rd album release and the songs usually clock in at around 6 minutes long. You’ll wanna set some time aside to get the full experience and their music is some of the best for taking a cruise.
The opening track on Rust is “Where Death Meets The Sea”. Right away you feel the groove and if you’re not used to this type of music it could take a little patience. Once you get hooked in, it’ll be hard to pull you away and you might shed a tear or two when the album finishes. The vocals are hard to decipher at some points but that’s part of what keeps you coming back for the second and third listen.
I’d recommend this album for fans of slower, heavy music that doesn’t have unclean vocals, that can be a turn off for some. The singing is eerie and has some sort of effect that the singer uses on stage for live performances via a vocoder of some sort. All in all, the time I’ve spent listening to this album since it’s release was well spent.
Some stand out tracks include “Wormland”, “Rust”, and “At Niceae”.
Hopefully you enjoyed this list. You might not have seen your personal favorite on here but if nothing else, maybe you can add a couple albums to your playlist or library. Although this Top 10 was a little bit “metalcore”-heavy, there’s something here for everyone who loves metal. That wraps it up for the Best Metal Albums of 2017, here’s to an awesome year in music and hopefully a big one for next year! You can find 100% Official Music Merchandise here from bands like these and many others.
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Sonic Elevation: Ride The Waves.