IT'S FINALLY HERE! IT'S FINALLY HERE!!! Sans the rules I've been putting into every single part of this Top 100 list. Let's get crackin'!
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.
HERE IT IS, THE TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2017!
20.) Dead Quiet- Grand Rites
FFO- Progressive Metal, Heavy Metal, Experimental
This is really a band that is hard to categorize and you can call them by many labels and somehow, it will be a good description. Coming from the music city that is Vancouver, Dead Quiet has released their sophomore album and it is everything I need in a musical journey, Catchy, Heavy, Emotional, Mind Mending, Jaw Dropping, And Some Of The BEST Written Songs of 2017! If you dig bands from the Vancouver area like Bend Sinister, Barn Burner, Anciients, and 3 Inches Of Blood...you're in luck as past and present members of all those bands are in Dead Quiet. It's quite the hodgepodge on paper, but the end result is pure, unadulterated magic. Go check it out!
19.) Akercocke- Renaissance In Extremis
FFO- Progressive Black Metal
Another band that I never would have thought would reunite, returns with their most stellar album to date. Such a great mix of Black Metal, Atmospheric, Death Metal, and Prog; Akercocke is showing bands that have come after them how this style of music is done. Stellar from start to finish and some versions come with a bonus disc of demos and covers that is absolutely worth checking out. Once you hear this band, you'll understand how they paved the way for so many bands that they influenced and it's about time they got the love they deserve.
18.) Toothgrinder- Phantom Amour
FFO- Mellow Metal
While the name and especially the first album does not show this aspect at all; Phantom Amour is one of the most mellow, atmospheric and original Metal albums to come out in 2017. This, without question, is a polarizing album as the Math Metal side of the band is shown at maybe 5-10% capacity, while the more mellow, melodic and dare I say pop driven, Metal songs take complete precedent. If I had to describe it, imagine the lighter ends of Periphery mixed with Devin Townsend Project's Sky Blue album and throw in some Post Rock for good measure. At first I was completely shocked by the album, then listen after listen after listen, I realized this is one of the best albums of the year. I kinda really hope they keep up this style as we need more original sounding music in Metal. Kudos boys, KUDOS!
17.) The Contortionist- Clairvoyant
FFO- Atmospheric Metal, Progressive Rock
The Contortionist, whether it's intentional or not, has gotten progressively lighter with every album and that's honestly the best thing that could happen for the band. With the band's second album with frontman Michael Lessard, the band ee3xplores more of their atmospheric and prog rock elements that was always a part of the band, but never took center stage till their previous album, Language. This is a feel good Metal album you need in your life. It gives an overall message that there is still time in your life to make yourself a better person; I can't think of a better selling point for an album in today's climate. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the musical renaissance that is The Contortionist.
16.) Obituary- Obituary
FFO- Classic Death Metal
Do you like Obituary? Do you like their Classic Death Metal Sound? Do you wanna hear a brand new album filled with the best parts of their music style? Do you wanna hear the BEST Pure Death Metal album of 2017? If you answered yes to any of those 4 questions pick up this album, NOW!
15.) Anathema- The Optimist
FFO- Progressive Rock, Gothic Rock, Electronic
I'm pretty sure this will be the closest thing we will get to a positive Anathema album. The conceptual sequel album to 2001's A Fine Day To Exist; Anathema puts out an album that thematically continues the concept talked about in said album but flourishes it out to be a fantastic musical endeavor. Some of the bands heaviest moments in decades is shown off here, some of the band's most emotional moments are shown off as well. Basically if you love Anathema or enjoyed anything they've done since after their Doom Metal days, you will enjoy this album. Will it be your favorite? That's up to you, but you'll never know until you check it out!
14.) Power Trip- Nightmare Logic
FFO- Thrash Metal, Crossover Thrash Metal
There are three main types of Thrash going on today. A Revival of the 80s thrash scene, the Municipal Waste/Iron Reagan style Thrash that focuses on fun and funny stuff, and then there's the trend I hope Power Trip starts...reinventing Thrash! No extra layers, no fluff, no filler, just pure heavy music with the basic of instruments and an absolutely killer sense of songwriting. Power Trip is what I hope will help save Metal from monotony. They are doing it so far, but I just hope every band after Power Trip will learn a thing or two from these guys.
13.) Steven Wilson- To The Bone
FFO- Progressive Rock, Art Rock, Pop
I am so happy to say that this is the most successful Steven Wilson album to date (in any band he's ever been a part of). While a polarizing album, I honestly consider it the 2017 Edition of Porcupine Tree's Lightbulb Sun. All the same poppy moments, the right amount of Prog, Just enough Heavier moments to not feel like a metal album. Just overall....a fantastic display of music. While it took Steven Wilson till the age of 50 to REALLY hit the masses outside the prog community, this was definitely the right album for it to happen. Pure Perfection!
12.) Loch Vostok- Strife
FFO- Extreme Progressive Metal
When I first discovered these guys with the album, V: The Doctrine Decoded, I considered them to be a perfect blend of Emperor and Fates Warning that I didn't know I needed in my life. While quite different from that description; I think it still fits into what the band is doing these days. Great Extreme Metal moments that would make Ihsahn happy, while having some great experimental and prog metal moments that a Fates Warning fan would love. Strife takes everything they have done since their beginnings and made one of the more angry albums in their catalog and for good reason. The world sucks right now in so many ways. This album really shows off why it sucks and maybe even give insight on what to do to make it better. Loch Vostok is a band that I can't support enough and easily deserve any and all love they get. Give them some more love by checking them out and being their newest fan. You know you wanna!
11.) Zornheym- Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns
FFO- Symphonic Black Metal, Progressive Metal, Horror
Talk about a debut album! A insane concept album album about an Insane Asylum and backstories of some of of the inmates it holds. It is as sick, twisted and wonderful as it sounds and totally fits the need for a horror movie that need to be made out of this. The musicianship is phenomenal, the songwriting is so fitting, and everyone involved on this album made this album beyond stellar. I was lucky enough to have this album just a tad earlier than others so I really got to digest it and I gotta say, the more you listen, the more you find, and the more you will become obsessed with Zornheym. I can't wait for album 2!
10.) November's Doom- Hamartia
FFO- Doom Metal, Progressive Metal, Death Metal
One of the best underappreciated bands going! When I saw November's Doom live in Minnesota in 2009, I was already a fan, but I grew to love them so much more after the show. Everything about this band just hits home on so many levels. Hamartia is one of the most emotionally driven albums in the band's discography. The more Death and Doom elements are more dialed back than previous albums, but are still there. This focuses more on Paul Kuhr's clean vocals rather than his ferocious growls (Don't fret, they are still there!). This album really hits me hard lyrically and if you are anything like me, they will for you too. Go check out one of the best US Metal bands to exist.
9.) Enslaved- E
FFO- Progressive Black Metal, Viking Metal
I have absolutely no idea how Enslaved does it. Even with losing a key member of the band in the last year, the band has put out their finest album to date. While I KNOW that statement is enough to cause discussion. I love the Enslaved Prog era more than the original Enslaved Black Metal era. It has the right amount of prog with clean vocals mixed with the Black Metal and Viking Metal elements that blend together in perfect harmony. With E, the band continues on this route but makes things more Atmospheric than ever before. It's a completely solid 6 song album that takes you on a journey you will not soon forget. I think I may have seen Enslaved more than any other band in my life time, there's a reason for that! Check out E for the latest example as to why.
8.) Ne Obliviscaris- Urn
FFO- Extreme Progressive Metal
One of my favorite bands currently going has blessed us with their 3rd LP offering, Urn. This is easily the most cohesive and mature album to date. While we still go on many epic adventurous over the course of this album, things are more scaled back for songwriting sensibility and boy, that was a great move! All the most emotional moments are pushed to the forefront with great purpose, the musicality is even tighter than before, and the band is really showing off what they are musically capable of. Don't let internet trolls deter you, NeO is what the world needs now in extreme music and they are carrying the flag on what is possible and I couldn't love it more!
7.) Toehider- Good
FFO- A little bit of every genre you love
Toehider is capable of writing any kind of song in any style. In the past he has written everything from Folk to Indie Pop Rock, to Strapping Young Lad inspired anthems and I'm still missing a good chunk of genres covered. Good features much more of the Progressive Rock and Metal sides to his playing while still many of the quirks that makes him stand out compared to others around. And don't forget about his incredible vocal range! The song, How Do Ghosts Work?, is my favorite song of 2017; all you need to do is listen to it all the way through to understand why. Toehider, I really hope, will become the new Arjen Lucassen or Mike Portnoy, or Mikael Akerfeldt. The man is capable of writing everything and anything and make it coherent and so enjoyable. I can't wait for the next release, thankfully I have Good, plus his back catalog to enjoy till then. You should get them too! It's....GOOD!
6.) Mastodon- Emperor Of Sand
FFO- Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Sludge
I know so many people in my personal life that have hated the direction of Mastodon since Crack The Skye; I for one started to LOVE them since Crack The Skye! The Hunter is one of the finest albums written in the 21st Century. Once More Round The Sun is the hunter but more refined. But Emperor Of Sand....WOW!!!! It combines every single thing I love about the band in one album. It can go off on Prog tangents, it can go into Top 40 Rock tangents and it will all equally make sense. Roots Remain is easily the best song the band has written since Hearts Alive, if not ever (go ahead, fight me!). Mastodon deserves to be one of the best known bands going today, they earned it with all 7 albums so far. I can't wait to see what's next for the next seven albums from Mastodon.
5.) Ayreon- The Source
FFO- The Best of Progressive Metal
If you ever want to hear the best singers in Prog and Power Metal sing a conceptual story written by one of the greatest minds in metal music than you have no excuse to continue skipping out on Ayreon. The Source serves as a prequel to the whole Ayreon experience so far featuring some of the top names in Metal vocals. The songs are beautiful, catchy, soothing, heartbreaking, and lovable. Plus Arjen Anthony Lucassen, I can't stress my admiration for this man enough. Everything he writes turns to musical gold to me. This is just the latest piece of gold. You need this in your music library. Once you do, you'll never be able to go back!
4.) SikTh- The Future In Whose Eyes?
FFO- Progressive Metal, Technical Metal, Experimental
SikTh....what a band! Some of the most talented musicians on this planet are in this band and they have been so gracious to give us their first EP since reforming. If you've ever enjoyed the band in the past, this album features something you love about the band and then some. The beautiful choruses, the mesmerizing vocals, the spellbinding songwriting, and the completely odd sense to make everything cohesive and memorable. SikTh needs all the love...ALL THE LOVE. The guys are just simply incredible on and off the stage and should be headlining in North America every year. Let's make that happen in 2018. go pick this album out and find out why music is far from a dead scene.
3.) Zeal and Ardor- Devil Is Fine
FFO- If African American Spirituals were about Satan and not God
Not only my discovery of the year (technically around this time last year, but I got the promo early so it counts), but one of my favorite discoveries EVER! Taking the concept of mixing African American Spirituals mixed with Black Metal and you have the most intriguing mashup to ever be made in Heavy music. This concept is straight out of a horror movie that needs to be made. African Americans embracing the name of Satan rather than god, then revolting against their owners in bloodshed. The whole album plays out like a Horror movie as well (In a way, set it up as the soundtrack Get Out, it works). With this being the first official LP for the project and the band really picking up notoriety this year (especially from guitarist Tom Morello); Zeal and Ardor are going to continue to take the Metal world by storm. I am on the edge of my set waiting to see what's next.
2.) Pallbearer- Heartless
FFO- Doom Metal, Progressive Rock
I have enjoyed Pallbearer since day one, but it wasn't until I saw them open for Baroness last year in Minneapolis where I realized what an amazing band they are. Heartless takes everything that made the band what it is, and used it as inspiration to grow. More dynamics, more tempo variation, more of the sense that they are writing the music they want to write, rather than catering to the fans. Every song on this album could be considered one of the best of the band's career and they would not be wrong. This is such a great heartbreaking album that I hope will stand the test of time. I really hope this is the direction the band continues to go in. They can only get better from here.
1.) Pain Of Salvation- In The Passing Light Of Day
FFO- Progressive Metal
The very first album promo I received for 2017. From the first listen I knew that there was no way that anything else could compare. Other albums come so very close, and some songs I love more than this album for 2017, but this album as a whole is 100% perfection. This is a concept album about Daniel Gildenlow's struggle of health and thoughts going on in the hospital. I couldn't possibly relate more to this album as I suffered a similar fate to Gildenlow just a few months before he did, but for other reasons. I wondered if this was the end for me, I wondered if I'll ever do anything meaningful again, I contemplated to much in those days sitting in the hospital. From the last day in the hospital on, I vowed to do my best to try to improve my life in every conceivable way (while still sadly struggling). That is what this whole album is about. The fear, the unknowing, the love, the hatred, the regret, every negative and positive emotion you can possibly feel when you may be facing your mortality. I guess I should also say that the songs are absolute perfection as well. For anyone who knew my struggles from August 2013-March 2014 or if you ever had to deal with yourself or a loved one in this kind of situation, you owe it to yourself to pick up this album. It's a life changing album for me and it just may be for you as well.
And there we go 120 album of 2017 that deserve all of your love in one way or the other. I really hope you find some discoveries in this list. Let me know if you do and of course spread these lists to your friends so they can discover some new music as well.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for most lists on music and possibly other forms of entertainment as well. But until then, this is That Drummer Guy saying, SEE YA!
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.