We are finally hitting the nitty gritty of the top 100 list. The area where people really start to pay attention, where all the biggest publications think they are making a massive list of albums, HA! The Top 40 albums of 2017. Of course tomorrow will be showing off the top 20, but make no mistake; any of these 40 albums (plus the previous albums mentioned) all could have been in the top 20...actually, let's continue on with the trend of making sure everyone knows what's up with this list, and let the fun begin with the close to the top of the top!
For any first timers to my style of Best of Lists, here is a quick run down (which I'll also be featuring on the other parts of the top 100 and other musical lists as well.)
As with the last few years of this list I made up criteria of what constitutes this list and it is as follows:
1.) A full release
2.) Not a live album, covers album, Best of, or b-sides/rarities album. A complete original studio album (bonus covers or live tracks are A-OK)
3.) Of the Rock/Metal varieties (From Pop Rock, to Death Metal, to Noise can make this list)
4.) I had to have either bought the album or received the album via promo, by the release date of December 8th. IF you release an album after this date, you are just being a jerk to everyone that wants to show you off on their Best Of Lists.
5.) My personal taste
A bit more rambling before the list commences...
I can't state enough how any album featured in the following 100 albums are albums I really, really enjoy. Not a single one of these I consider to be bad or meh or something I feel you shouldn't check out. While many struggle to put together 3 or 5 or 10 of their favorite albums of the year. I struggle to make a top 100 without feeling like I left something awesome out.
And with that, there will no doubt be albums that people will not see in any of the following lists (100 best of, EPs, covers, epics, etc) that people will feel like I am insane for not putting on these lists. Here is why they are not going to be on those lists in order of likelyhood...
1.) As noted above, I didn't get to listen to it enough.
2.) Did not hear it at all.
3.) It's just not my bag, baby.
So let's begin the Top 40....COUNTDOWN STYLE!
40.) Morbid Angel- Kingdoms Disdained
FFO- Death Metal
Morbid Angel has had one of the most proficient legacies in Death Metal, while like every band, there are highs and lows; the band is back to being on the top of their game with Kingdoms Disdained. Reunited with Steve Tucker fronting the band (and of course playing bass); the band recaptures the evil, heavy, brutal, and chaos that the fans know and love about the band. As the album progressive, it gets more and more brutal and relentless; which is very much needed in 2017. It's so great to see Morbid Angel recapture the classic Death Metal throne in 2017. Bands will really need to step up with game in 2018; this is going to be a hard album to top.
39.) Subterranean Masquerade- Vagabond
FFO- Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock
The quickest turn around in a release coming in the band's career (less than 2 years) this supergroup is back with a vengeance. While former growler Paul Kuhr is no longer in the band, Eliran Waitzman does a great job of handling the big torch left behind by Kuhr. The music is in very capable of hands showcasing so much of what has made the band so great over the years with the experimentation, production, songwriting, etc. While still a relatively underground or dare I say...subterranean band; they continue to shine and grow as the years go on and I couldn't be happier. This is what I love about prog and it is done so very well.
38.) Vangough- Warpaint
FFO- Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal
Pain of Salvation meets Tool meets a love for rabbits and you got Vangough! with their latest release, Warpaint, the band explores even more of their emotionally drive brand of Prog with stellar musicianship from everyone in the band. The songs flow so perfectly with each other and you just get a great sense of storytelling from start to finish. This is what it takes to make a standout album and I couldn't love it more. I can['t wait to see what these guys do next.
37.) The Mute Gods- Tardigrades will Inherit the Earth
FFO- Progressive Rock
The most realistically depressing album of 2017. It's not so much about emotional pain or the lost of love ones; it's about how we, as a society have all but destroyed the earth to the point where it may be beyond repair (I'm being overly optimistic here; the album flat out explains how we are screwed). But when you go beyond the lyrics, the music is such a great progression from the debut album, the production feels superb, and it just leaves you with a great feeling of awe as you listen. You will be happy with the music,m but feel miserable listening to the lyrics. No matter where you stand on the status of the earth today; just listen to this album for a bit of insight; no matter if you agree or disagree. You just may learn something new.
36.) Leprous- Melina
FFO- Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal
Covering a lot of prog in this part of the list aren't we. Well, it's very much deserved. Leprous is the kind of band that just continuously gets better with every single album. Melina expands upon more of what the band is capable of and it is such an amazing trip. From sorrow filled ballads to absolutely insane prog riffs; Leprous covers it all. You can't avoid Leprous much longer; much like their name implies, it will eventually take over and consume you. Just give in already!
35.) Galactic Cowboys- Long Way Back To The Moon
FFO- Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive Metal
It took over 17 years, but one of my favorite bands of all times is back with an album that I never would have guessed would be made. Along with bands like King's X, Dredg, Fair To Midland, etc; Galactic Cowboys has everything in their formula to be one of the biggest bands in the business, but for some reason, it just never happened. That doesn't matter anymore as the band has produced some of their best songs in what could possibly be their best album to date! Such catchy and melodic songs, excellent production and a style that no one else seems to ever be able to pull off. I am really going to hope that this is the beginning of the next chapter of the band, but regardless of what happens next, I am so happy I have a new Galactic Cowboys album to add to my collection. I missed you guys!
34.) Angel Vivaldi- Synapse
FFO- Instrumental Metal
Angel Vivaldi is, without question, my favorite instrumental guitarist going today. Every note he plays is played with purpose, rather than just playing what he is capable of. I miss that so much in instrumental music. Anyways, Synapse is a concept album about all the different chemicals that flows through the human brain. Every song matching each chemical in a great way. While quite the short album; it's one that has instant replay value. Bow down before the king of instrumental metal, Angel Vivaldi!
33.) Ancient VVisdom- 33
FFO- Occult Rock
Being at 33 on my list is quite the coincidence, haha. Ancient VVisdom has had quite the journey so far in their career. From some amazing highs to soul shattering lows. 33 perfectly captures where the band is at in their lives right now, and of course praising the king of the underworld. The acoustic parts strike you perfectly, the heavy moments hit you just right and the album takes you away into the depths of evil in the best way possible. This whole group of guys are such great people, I really hope that 2018 is when the band goes out and destroys the world with more live rituals than ever before.
32.) Tokyo Motor Fist
FFO- Everything That Was Good About 80s Metal
Easily the most positive album on my list for 2017. It is 100% 80s love and passion, but done in 2017. The whole band features some of the best names in that time frame creating music that just needs to heard today. No over the top solos, no political messages, not hate; just a great collection of rock songs that you can tell come straight from the heart. I love this album so much and you should too!
31.) Perihelion Ship- To Paint A Bird Of Fire
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
A band that I am proud to say has grown in popularity since I talked about them with their debut album; Perihelion Ship has gotten even bigger and better with their sophomore album. The prog parts stand out so much more, the death metal moments mean so much more, and every single thing about the band is improved upon in the best ways possible. If you even remotely dig Progressive Death Metal, you are doing yourself a giant disservice by missing out on these guys, check them out now and make their fan base grow into what it deserves to be!
30.) Nullingroots- Into The Grey
FFO- Post Black Metal, Black Gaze
I love these guys so very much! Every single release just speaks to me and grabs me from beginning to end. With the band's 2nd album to feature vocals, the band expands upon their amazing sound in the best ways possible. The atmospheric parts are even more beautiful, the songwriting feels even better, everything just clicks in all the right ways. Give these guys the love they deserve; go check them out and see why I love the band so very much!
29.) Cryptodira- The Devil's Despair
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Post Metal
Had I heard this album sooner, it would be in my top 5 of the year, if not higher! This album captures everything I love about the band with their best production to date, best songwriting to date, and what I really hope will be their true breakout album. This album needs to be heard by all metal fans around. Why disservice yourself by ignoring the imagination, songwriting, and beauty that is Cryptodira? You know you wanna make this one of your favorite albums, you just haven't heard it yet. Go....GO!!!
28.) The Mantle- The Mantle
FFO- Instrumental Progressive Metal
My instrumental album of the year and one of my favorite debut albums I've heard in such a long time. Capturing all the things I love in instrumental metal, from captivating songwriting, to diversity and showmanship, to just a great display of how instrumental music should be done in the heavier side of things. This is just their debut album, I know that if everything goes right, they will just grow to become one of the biggest names of their style. Bands like Animals as Leaders better watch out; The Mantle is about to take their spot on top of the ma....ok bad pun; you know where I was going with that. Just go check these guys out. You literally have no reason to miss out as the album is free on bandcamp. GO CHECK THEM OUT!
27.) Junius- Eternal Rituals for the Ascension of Light
FFO- Post Metal, Atmospheric Metal
Ever since seeing the band open for Enslaved and Alcest, I have been in love with this band. Such a great eerie mystique that captures me in a hauntingly beautiful gaze every time I listen to them. This album returns what makes the band so great, but showing off more variety in sound and atmosphere. Junius is one of the best underground bands in existence and while I love having this band in my back pocket, they deserve your love too. Go check them out and have your jaw ready to be dropped.
26.) Mutiny Within- Origins
FFO- Progressive Metal, Metalcore
From releasing one of the best debuts of the 21st century to years of internal struggle to rising from the ashes once again to release their best album to date. This album captures everything I love about the debut album, but even more so, expands their sound in all the right ways to show that the band has more life for years upon years to come. Don't ever write off Mutiny Within, no matter what can happen in people's lives, they can easily gather their bearing and creating something truly meaningful. That's exactly what Origins is from start to finish. Go pick this up!
25.) Body Count- Bloodlust
FFO- Heavy Metal, Rap Metal, Political Commentary, Horror
I didn't realize how much I loved Body Count till the band's last album, Manslaughter. It captured everything I needed to hear at the time, and even now is so deserving of your ears. Bloodlust goes even further with that in mind. The evil parts are even more evil, the heavy parts are even heavier, the messages about life in 2017 couldn't be more accurate. Plus it features one of the most unique covers of Slayer you'll hear this side of Tori Amos. BOdy Count destroys on every level and Bloodlust shows that blood coursing through the veins of Ice T and Co. are from finsished. Find out why!
24.) Vattnet- Vattnet
FFO- Atmospheric Metal, Post Rock, Alternative Metal
Talk about a complete change in direction, but being exactly what you would expect. Vattnet has changed everything from their foundation, to lineup, to sound to name (dropping Viskar from the second half of their name). Vattnet is focusing on the more melodic, inspiring, and atmospheric parts of their sound and making...dare I say..the first happy album in the band's career. While the band's earlier work is top notch with it's blend of Black Metal; this is exactly where the band needed to go to stay such an inspiring band, and I can't commend them enough for doing so. Bravo guys! You are making the music you want to make, and listening to it always puts a smile on my face. I can't ask for anything more.
23.) CyHra- CyHra
FFO- Melodic Metal, Melodeath without screams
The most perfect paring that I would have never dreamed of. Jake E (ex Amaranthe) and Jesper Stromblad (Ex In Flames) have found a kinship that I couldn't possibly relate to more. Burned from past musical endeavors, this band combines what makes both guys so happy and wouldn't you believe it; they created one of the most impressive debuts of 2017! Every song is catchy with the right amounts of melodic and heavy moments throughout. I can't wait to see what these guys do next as this is exactly what I was hoping for when I first heard about the band. Now that they know it's a winning formula, the sky is the limit from here on out.
22.) Cavalera Conspiracy- Psychosis
FFO- Early Day Sepultura, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal
You are lying to yourself if you can say you missed the early day sound of Sepultura. Whether it is the current incarnation of said band, or anything the Cavalera Brothers have done since their respective departures. This captures it all. The evil, the heavy, the brutal, the speed, and even some great noise and industrial moments for a new good measure. This has everything you love about those day, but with cleaner production and and some of the best songs these two brothers have been in their entire careers. The sound Speultura originally created is alive....IT'S ALIVE!!!
21.) Witherfall- Nocturnes and Requiems
FFO- Dark Metal, Power Metal, Progressive Metal
It's going to be extremely hard to be unbiased here, but I do not care. This album is the most perfect example of what drummer, Adam Sagan has done on his short time on earth. One of the greatest, most positive and loving guys I will ever know, Adam showcased his final drum recordings on this debut album, which features an amazing lineup featuring members formerly of White Wizzard and currently in Iced Earth. So many epic songs, such a great array of emotions, and such an unbelievably stellar performance from everyone involved. Adam Sagan is one of the few people in my life that encouraged me not only to keep doing what I do as That Drummer Guy, but helped talk me out of suicide so many times; I didn't deserve him in my life, but I was so lucky to have him be a part of it for as long as I did. If you enjoy anything musically I described or if you wanna hear the drummer that kept me and continues to keep me moving on from the afterlife...pick up this album!
And that does it folks, an emotional end to the bottom 80 albums of my Top 100 list. Tune in tomorrow for the top of the top, the best of the best, the yadda yadda of the yadda yadda....THE TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2017!!!
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.