Welcome back to my favorite time of the musical year, where I get to tell you all about the best music of 2017. While you may have noticed that I have been quite busy this year with doing over 50% more interviews than last year; I have had to scale back on some listening just a tinge to keep my sanity. That's not to say that I haven't collected 120 of, what I feel are, the best albums of the year!
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 6 lists 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. So this is my best compromise with doing 20 Honorable Mentions to show off albums that I really dig, but just didn't get the love that they deserved on my end 100% because of time restraints.
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.
Now let's have some fun and see if I can't help you discover at least one new band over the following week!
THAT DRUMMER GUY'S TOP 20 HONORABLE MENTIONS!
(IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
1.) Alestorm- No Grave But The Sea
FFO- Pirate Metal (Pirate Themed Power Metal)
Alestorm continues to to pillage and plunder their way into our hearts. This is easily one of the most fun Alestorm albums in ages., Great diversity, stellar songwriting, and so many signs the band is far from scrapping the bottom of the barrel. The band has gotten even more worldwide attention thanks to being on this year's Vans Warped Tour, and rightfully so. If you keep skipping out on these guys, this album should make you think twice about avoiding them any longer.
2.) Avatarium- Hurricanes And Halos
FFO- Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Classic Metal
Avatarium returns with their 3rd album in four years. The band is sounding tighter than ever with such catchy songwriting, soaring vocals, and and incredibly evil feel throughout the album that really hearkens into the evils of rock and roll. If you need doom metal with variety, Avatarium should be on your next to buy list.
3.) Byzantine- The Cicada Tree
FFO- Groove Metal, Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal
What has easily become my favorite Byzantine album to date, The Cicada Tree is Byzantine continuously reinventing themselves while keeping everything that makes them such a standout band. This record went under the radar for a lot of people, but this album deserves all the love it gets, Go find out why!
4.) Converge- The Dusk In Us
FFO- Metalcore, Post Hardcore
This album is the White Pony (Deftones reference for those not playing along) of the Converge catalog. While this album of course contains many tinges of the bands extreme and metalcore roots; the band explores it's Post Rock and Post Hardcore elements that was only referenced at in the past (the title track to Jane Doe being a great example, instrumentally) This is not an album for anyone who likes when the band is mellow, but if you dig Converge but not big on their chaotic side, give this album a try. It just may leave you wanting to go back on what you have missed so far.
5.) Dead Cross- Dead Cross
FFO- Heavy Metal, Hardcore Punk
Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo playing more simplistic Dillinger Escape Plan style insanity...what's not to love? A short, chaotic, twisted collection of songs that really showcase the heavy sides of everyone involved. This will be an album you continuously want to replay over and over again and you just may have to to comprehend everything going on. Fantastic stuff!
6.) Demon Hunter- Outlive
FFO- Christian Metal, Heavy Metal
The band has been so consistent with releasing catchy, heavy and enjoyable albums since their humble beginnings. With the success of their previous album, Extremist, the band takes Outlive to continue down the similar track of scaling back in the heaviness and focusing on writing catchy heavy metal. It's a winning combination for the band. If you want to enjoy some catchy christian metal without being bludgeoned over the head with over the top secular lyrics, Demon Hunter is the band for you.
7.) Krallice- Go Be Forgotten/Luum
FFO- Atmospheric Black Metal, Progressive Metal
I'm putting both of these releases together as they are under a month apart from each other in release (October 27th for Luum, November 21st for Go BE Forgotten). That is 100% why both of these albums are in the honorable mentions and not in the Top 100. With such little knowledge of the albums coming out (gotta love the surprise attacks) I haven't been able to sit down with both albums as I should but I love what I hear from both. Luum is much more melodic while Go Be Forgotten is more of the black metal/traditional Krallice sound. Both albums have their charm and deserve to be loved equally, so why separate them, go pick up both of them!
8.) The Lurking Fear- Out Of The Voiceless Grave
FFO- Traditional Black Metal, Expierimental
Do you miss the truly evil aspects of At The Gates? Fear not, the band did too! and they made new project called The Lurking Fear, which not only captures that evil horror we love, but expands upon it with very unsettling segments and tones throughout. It's the perfect yang to At The Gates ying. Killer stuff (no pun intended).
9.) Miss May I- Shadow Inside
The band told me in an interview earlier this year, that this is the first MMI record where they felt compelled to write the album they wanted to make. Not worrying about what sells, not worried about write Hey Mister Part II, just writing what the band has in their hearts. That was easily the best thing the band could have done. Catchy, heavy and from the heart. That's all I need in a band like Miss May I, and they put out their most flawless album to date.
10.) Nova Collective- The Further Side
FFO- Instrumental, Progressive Rock, Jazz Metal
This debut release featuring members of Between The Buried And Me, Haken, and Trioscapes. This showcases all of the quirky, wacky, and awe-inspiring instrumentation that sticks out in all the aforementioned bands, but with the twist of adding more prog and jazz elements to offset any need for vocals. Such a solid collection of songs and instrumentation. For those that wanna be inspired by authenticity, pick this up immediately!
11.) Portrait- Burn The World
FFO- Evil Heavy Metal
Taking the literal essence of satanic rituals and concepts to create classic heavy metal is just what the doctor ordered. Dark lyrics, NWOBHM/Mercyful Fate style songwriting, and a production that makes you feel like you are about to witness a blood sacrifice; Burn The World taps that market of legitimate evil metal and make it feel right. Don't miss out on this album if you are so intrigued.
12.) Primitive Man- Caustic
FFO- Doom Metal, Death Metal, Noise
Amazingly enough, this is only the second proper full length album from Primitive man since they started in 2013 (and technically 13th release counting demos, EPs, Splits, and singles). Caustic expands upon the band's sound of demented Death/Doom but adds a new layer of terror with the unsettling noise, static and soundscape that plagues (in a good way) the album. If you want an album that feels like a soundtrack to a twisted, real life, horror movie, pick up Caustic.
13.) Septicflesh- Codex Omega
FFO- Symphonic Death Metal
Sadly, a victim to not being able to enjoy this album nearly enough this year. Codex Omega continues on their the new fire the band has captured in the past decade, but expands upon it even further. The right amounts of catchy, heavy, symphonic, and intrigue. Septicflesh has one of the best album streaks going and they are showing no signs of slowing down.
14.) Set And Setting- Reflectionless
FFO- Instrumental, Post Black Metal
One of my favorite bands of the style, Set and Setting return with their latest album, Reflectionless. Focusing more on the Post side of their Post Black Metal sound, the band crafted an amazing display of songwriting that continues to prove you don't need vocals to be captivating. An album that is flying under the radar this year, you have the power to stop that from happening, go check this out!
15.) Siamese- Shameless
FFO- Rock with No Genre Boundaries
I've been following the band since they were formerly Siamese Fighting Fish. Shortening the name to the much more mainstream appealing Siamese, the band has become anything but more mainstream. While the band clearly has some songs that are meant to be on top 40 pop radio, no two songs ever sound alike and the band explores all that is capable of a rock band from heavy to mainstream to catchy to heavy. It's just one of those album you got to put on and experience. Picking out a song or two on YouTube or Spotify is a complete and utter injustice.
16.) Threat Signal- Disconnect
Easily the most underrated Metalcore band to ever exist. I could have sworn the band was going to lead the charge of what was possible in Metalcore, but sadly, as is the case with so many bands that don't deserve it, the band just had various issues from preventing it from happening. It feels like in 2017, the band finally threw everything expected out the window and wrote the most authentic Threat Signal album to date. Catchy, heavy, riff-centric, and captivating. Why is this not in the top 100 you ask? Completely due to the album coming out under a month ago and having to pick up the album myself, rather than a promo. Had I gotten it sooner, and honestly knew about it sooner, it would be so very high in my top 100 list. So make up for this being in my honorable mentions; go pick it up and rank it high in your list!
17.) The Unguided- And The Battle Royale
FFO: Melodic Groove Metal, The Original Sonic Syndicate Sound
Capturing everything that made the original sound of Sonic Syndicate so distinct, while expanding upon it tenfold since their start in 2011; The Unguided have written their catchiest, most melodic, and diverse album to date. Are you disappointed by the way bands that used to combine Pop and Metal and are just now making Pop flavored Rock and want that Melodic metal sound back, Go check out The Unguided!
18.) Wednesday 13- Condolences
FFO- Heavy Metal, Horror Punk
I jumped on the Wednesday 13 train so late in my life. It wasn't until I saw him live a couple years back where everything made sense to me. I love what he does with Melodic Rock, Metal, and Punk; adding all the horror and grotesque aesthetics (lyrically and image wise) to make a fantastic combination of fun music. That is completely the case here with Condolences. While not the biggest change in his career; he made an absolutely solid album that I go back to and enjoy over and over again from start to finish, and that's all I need.
19.) Wild Fire- Revolt
FFO- Modern Metal, Hard Rock
An utterly brilliant band combining what makes modern metal and hard rock so fun to listen to, but makes it stand out from the pack. Revolt is a great musical journey that shows off everything the band is capable of, no matter how heavy or melodic things get. These guys are just going to continue to get bigger and bigger and you owe it to yourself to check them out now while tickets are affordable.
20.) Wintersun- The Forest Seasons
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Without question, the most shocking album to be on this list. How could it not be in the top 100? You guessed right, time restraints! I love every song on the album, but if you only check out a song at a time, you are not going to fully give this album the attention it deserves. That's what happened to me this year. A display of sheer brilliance, a concept album about all 4 seasons in nature. While this isn't Time II (Which I know we all want to happen eventually), WIntersun has made a triumphant album that deserves love, no matter what social media and internet message boards tell you about the band these days. Go in with no pr-conceived notions and just experience The Forest Seasons. Winter is coming upon us, you're not going to want to go outside, you don't have an excuse!
And that's it, the Top 20 Honorable Mentions of 2017. Join me Monday fro the beginning of the biggest list of them all....THAT DRUMMER GUY'S TOP 100 ALBUMS OF 2017!
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.