2017 was a pivotal year for Live Metal. If anyone has happened to notice, our website is brand new, our hand forced as a major collapse ensued. But going into our lucky 13th year, we’ll continue to cover the bands we like and think our readers will raise their fist to, as well. That wasn’t our only adversity, as I was attacked in Baltimore on Halloween night trying to attend a Trivium/Arch Enemy show at Baltimore Soundstage (read). Despite the incident, I vow to continue going to shows just like I’ve done for 25 years.
2017 also hit the rock and metal world hard, as Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington both tragically committed suicide, leaving families and their legacies behind. We also lost AD/DC founder and guitarist Malcolm Young. So as we continue to lose these legends, who will the torch be passed on to? Hopefully in the coming years, we’ll have some answers.
Great things happened too, as I did some great interviews, saw some hair-raising live shows, and heard a plethora of new rock and metal from bands old and new. Below, I rank my top metal albums of 2017. This was actually not a hard list for me to compile. As in past years, I chose these albums as the ones I listened to the most during the past year (and continue to listen to). I also take into account the band’s and album’s overall impact, both in 2017 and into the future. It’s not the most underground or “kvlt” list you’ll come across, but it’s honest. I hope some will agree and even disagree, but, at the least, check out a band or album or song from this list you haven’t yet heard. So scroll on and try to forget about the two day hangover that’s only just begun.
“Suicide Silence” was the album that had to be made by someone. A lot metal has become entirely too predictable in recent years and this album was a statement that took balls. “You Only Live Once,” a great vocalist once said. Good to see that Suicide Silence is still living by this mantra. Read more.
Mastodon’s seventh album, “Emperor of Sand,” finally saw this critically acclaimed Sabbath-inspired, stoner-heavy metal band break through into the mainstream in prehistoric proportions. Read more.
For those Trivium fans who thought the band had become somewhat ordinary on the past two albums, “The Sin and the Sentence,” masterfully combines old and new Trivium styles in a perfect balance, playing out like a “best of” the band—this one has staying power. Read more.
Led by the spooky Dani Filth, “Cryptoriana” represented a resurgence for the gothic and black metal Brits. Be it lineup changes or once again finding their dark path, this ghostly album is haunted by the spirits of Cradle’s past, present & future with standout tracks “Achingly Beautiful,” “Heartbreak and Seance” and “Vengeful Spirit” (once again featuring Liv Kristine). These tales of Victorian Gothic Horror are the band’s best since the classic “Nymphetamine.” Read more.
Satyr and Frost—the deadly duo that make up Norway’s Satyricon—had been heading down this dark path for some time now, but this album could indeed be a game changer. It’s like black metal ‘n roll in the way that Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues” reinvented death metal, and close to the mastery of Behemoth’s “The Satanist.” If you liked Satyricon before, you’ll love the shit out of this album, and if you haven’t, then pay the ferryman and cross over into the underworld of “Deep calleth upon Deep.” Read more.
Next up is the debut album by Liv Sin “Follow Me,” featuring vocalist Liv Jagrell, formerly of Swedish hard rockers Sister Sin. The release has largely fallen under the radar but this is top notch classic metal, leaps and bounds above Sister Sin. With an incredible band, expect ripping solos, screaming vocals in the vein of classic ’80’s metal like Judas Priest, Helloween, Doro and Grim Reaper, but with a shredding modern production. Read more.
What makes Kreator’s 14th album so great that it ends up on my year end list?
To start, it’s fucking Kreator. To finish, this is fucking thrash at its best. And like another classic thrash band on my year end (see below), Kreator also know their strengths from being in the game for so long. Read more.
Max and Iggor Cavalera, brothers and founders of the Brazilian metal tribe Sepultura, return with another batch of tunes from their newest incarnation, Cavalera Conspiracy. “Psychosis” is album number four from the conspirators and is the missing link of Sepultura albums between “Arise” and “Chaos A.D.” Read more.
Though “Incorruptible” draws heavily on the glory days of early ’90’s metal, I would recommend this in a heartbeat to any fan of heavy music. I haven’t personally stopped listening to this album since its release. This time, Iced Earth lays any “concept” to rest for the time being, instead compiling 10 individual songs with no relation to one and other—expect all of them being executed to near heavy metal perfection. Read more.
“The Grinding Wheel” is unbelievably the 18th album for New Jersey thrashers Overkill. The “Wrecking Crew” released one of its best in years. But really, have they ever released a bad album? Not that I can remember. For me, this one stands head to head with classics like “Under The Influence,” “The Years of Decay” and “Horrorscope!” One can quickly point out standout thrash anthems like “Mean Green Killing Machine” (the band’s new theme song), the catchy as hell “Goddamn Trouble,” “Come Heavy” and the exhibit in thrash perfection with opener “Our Finest Hour,” but there’s not a track to skip on this album. Read more.