The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2017

“We sort of find that music tames the beast, you know.” – Malcom Young

It’s that wonderful time of the year again, and I’m obviously not talking about Christmas and the holiday season. In a year where we lost so many talented and important musicians in rock and heavy music for various reasons, including Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Trish Doan (Kittie), Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost), Warrel Dane (Nevermore, Sanctuary), John Wetton (Uriah Heep), David Zablidowsky (Adrenaline Mob, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Chuck Mosley (Faith No More) and Cherry Taketani (Okotô, Hellsakura, NervoChaos), among several others, not to mention the end of the unmatched Black Sabbath, who we were able to witness live one last time during their farewell tour The End, only the freshness and energy flowing from brand new metal music can give us hope, not allowing Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll to die as many like to prophesy every single year.

Having said that, it’s time to blow our goddamn speakers with The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2017, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, taming the beast inside us all as wisely said by AC/DC’s heart and soul Malcolm Young (R.I.P.). And as 2017 was the year of bands that cannot be considered dinosaurs in metal (or at least not yet), such as Trivium and Mastodon, that certainly points to a bright future ahead for Heavy Metal with their recent releases because, as you know, we won’t have behemoths like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica kicking ass on stage forever. By the way, this was definitely a fantastic year for Mastodon, who not only released one of the best albums of 2017, the excellent Emperor of Sand, but they also had some extra energy to burn with the classy EP Cold Dark Place, which by the way is part of our top 10 EP’s of the year (as you’ll see after our top 10/20 list). Alright, without further ado, turn up the volume and enjoy our 2017 list… LET THERE BE ROCK!

1. Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence (REVIEW)
A superb album full of fast and intricate riffs, poetic lyrics, a sensational new drummer and, above all, the return of Matt’s trademark screams.
Best song of the album: Betrayer

2. Kreator – Gods Of Violence (REVIEW)
We shall praise the best Teutonic Thrash Metal institution of all time, as the gods of violence come alive.
Best song of the album: Totalitarian Terror

3. Blaze Bayley – Endure And Survive (REVIEW)
The indomitable Blaze Bayley returns with the second installment of Infinite Entanglement, his most ambitious project to date.
Best song of the album: Blood

4. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (REVIEW)
Follow the inspirational story of a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence in this excellent album of Progressive Metal.
Best song of the album: Word to the Wise

5. Accept – The Rise of Chaos (REVIEW)
Let total chaos and destruction rise to the sound of the brand new album by the unstoppable Teutonic masters of Heavy Metal.
Best song of the album: Analog Man

6. Moonspell – 1755 (REVIEW)
An orchestral and emotional concept album that will take you to the year when a giant earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon.
Best song of the album: Todos Os Santos

7. Striker – Striker (REVIEW)
Canadian Heavy Metal has never been more vibrant and rapturous than this.
Best song of the album: Born To Lose

8. Divine Element – Thaurachs Of Borsu (REVIEW)
Witness the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war and human society.
Best song of the album: Thaurachs Of Borsu

9. Torture Squad – Far Beyond Existence (REVIEW)
Don’t cross the path of one of the most respectful bands from the Brazilian Thrash and Death Metal scene.
Best song of the album: Blood Sacrifice

10. Solitary – The Diseased Heart of Society (REVIEW)
Four veteran thrash metallers canalizing all the hatred, degradation and perversions of our modern-day society into their music.
Best song of the album: Architects of Shame

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Karkaos – Children Of The Void (REVIEW)
12. Prometheus – Consumed In Flames (REVIEW)
13. Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain (REVIEW)
14. Terrifier – Weapons of Thrash Destruction (REVIEW)
15. Body Count – Bloodlust (REVIEW)
16. Dzö-nga – The Sachem’s Tales (REVIEW)
17. Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay (REVIEW)
18. Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black (REVIEW)
19. Infernäl Mäjesty – No God (REVIEW)
20. Katharos XIII – Negativity (REVIEW)

As aforementioned, we also have for you this year our Top 10 EP’s of 2017, ranging from the most rebellious form of Deathcore to the most melodic type of Symphonic Metal, from visceral Doom Metal to demonic Black Metal, and so on. In addition, those bands hail from all four corner of the earth, proving once again that it doesn’t matter where you go you’ll always be able to find first-class metal music, including all of its genres and subgenres, to please your avid metallic ears.

1. Primal Age – A Silent Wound (REVIEW)
2. Sinners Moon – Far Beyond The Stars (REVIEW)
3. Aversio Humanitatis – Longing for the Untold (REVIEW)
4. Loathfinder – The Great Tired Ones (REVIEW)
5. Ljosazabojstwa – Sychodžańnie (REVIEW)
6. Lorn – Arrayed Claws (REVIEW)
7. Jupiter Hollow – Odyssey (REVIEW)
8. Dö – Astral: Death/Birth (REVIEW)
9. Mastodon – Cold Dark Place (REVIEW)
10. Afire – Afire (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2017? If you want to check another awesome list, I highly recommend Antichrst Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2017 (Editorial Staff), a great online publication that we at The Headbanging Moose also contribute to on a regular basis. Also, don’t forget to tune in to Timão Metal every Tuesday on Rádio Coringão for a blazing fusion of metal and soccer, and to The Headbanging Moose Show every Thursday on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal from all over the world!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2018!

Actually, before all is said and done, here’s for you the 2017 Christmas single from Norwegian Melodic Power Metal project Aldaria called When The Time Has Come, featuring several renowned guest musicians such as Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Yannis Papadopoulos (Beast In Black),  Lars Rettkowitz (Freedom Call) and Morten Gade Sørensen (Pyramaze), among others, with 100% of all income of this single being donated to Cancer Research. “This is a very important cause for me, as I lost my mother to this horrible disease in 2010. The single will be available across all streaming and digital platforms, and on Aldaria’s official webstore, where you will get a special edition with a lossless audio file, instrumental, high resolution cover art, and lyrics”, commented guitarist Frode Hovd, the mastermind behind Aldaria. Let’s all support such important cause!

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Album Review – Kreator / Gods of Violence (2017)

We shall praise the best Teutonic Thrash Metal institution of all time, as the gods of violence come alive.

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kreator_gods-of-violence_worldwideFrom the triumvirate of Teutonic Thrash Metal, comprised of Destruction, Kreator and Sodom, the band led by the iconic Miland “Mille” Petrozza has always been my favorite, delivering top-of-the-line, enraged and apocalyptic music since their inception in Essen, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany in 1982 when the band was still called Tormentor. And it might have taken almost five years for Mr. Mille Petrozza and his loyal bandmates to release new material since their 2012 opus Phantom Antichrist, marking the longest gap between two studio albums in their career, but after listening to the breathtaking Gods of Violence, their fourteenth studio album, you’ll see the wait for the greatest Thrash Metal band in the history of European metal was definitely worth it.

Featuring an ungodly artwork (both the worldwide and the American versions) by German graphic designer and illustrator Jan Meininghaus, who has already worked with bands like Bolt Thrower, Sacred Steel and U.D.O., as well as Kreator themselves in Phantom Antichrist and their 2013 live album Dying Alive, Gods of Violence is a brilliant lesson in Thrash Metal that, at least for the year of 2017, will change the world capital of the genre from the famous San Francisco Bay Area, in California, to the city of Essen. One might ask how Gods of Violence can be so fantastic if it’s not a revolution in music, as it brings the same old Kreator we’re all used to. Well, that’s the beauty of it, as Kreator didn’t try to be different than what they are in essence. Quite the contrary, they sound more old school than ever in the new album, always drinking from the endless fountain of evil named man, and the amount of passion, aggressiveness and energy they put into each and every song is all that’s needed for Gods of Violence to become a contemporary classic.

The epic marching intro Apocalypticon builds up the expectation of the listener for this Thrash Metal masterpiece, and that’s exactly what Kreator bring forth starting with the sensational, belligerent World War Now, a true high-octane thrashing work-of-art that will sound thunderous when played live, with Mille and Sami Yli-Sirniö blasting their infuriated riffs while Jürgen “Ventor” Reil shows how drums should be played in this type of music. Moreover, it also contains their trademark European melody that makes their music so captivating, which can also be seen in Satan Is Real, a headbanging hymn with all the elements that made the band what they are today. Not only that, Mille sounds menacing with his raspy vocals during the song’s devilish chorus, leading us all to believe that Satan is indeed real.

kreator_2017Totalitarian Terror, a song about the fight for freedom and the war against oppression (and the best song of the album in my humble opinion), is a thrilling, bestial composition where the guitars by Mille and Sami will pierce your mind beautifully. Furthermore, this Teutonic Thrash Metal anthem is filled with fiery solos, frantic beats and a powerful, insurgent chorus (“Totalitarian Terror / Welcome the strike / Wielder to strike / Totalitarian Terror / Feeding the oppressor / Resistance must rise when freedom has died”), or in other words, the perfect combination of elements to turn it into a classic. After a  serene acoustic intro, the title-track Gods of Violence brings forward more traditional Kreator, perfect for going absolutely mental during the band’s live concerts, with Ventor having an outstanding performance on drums while Christian “Speesy” Giesler brings thunder to the musicality with his metallic bass lines.

Get ready for a sonic tempest named Army of Storms, another excellent option for their live concerts presenting poetry in the form of Thrash Metal (“For tornados and hurricanes / Will not hold us back / Ultra void as the ultimate deception / Ride the winds broken free / Now revolt and you will see / Nations and empires reborn / Beyond the blood red horizons you’ll hear us”) and sounding very melodic thanks to the brilliant guitars by Mille and Sami; followed by the mid-tempo classy composition Hail to the Hordes, where Kreator pay a kick-ass homage to their loyal fans (“If night will fall black shadows / Are taking our sight / We carry each other through the darkest / Moments of life, stronger than hate / Stronger than fear, stronger than all / We are one / Hail to the hordes”). Simply break your neck to the pounding drums by Ventor, with the epic sound of guitars inspiring us all to raise our fists in the air to this mighty German thrashing horde.

Kreator’s shredding has always been superb, and the metal whirlwind Lion with Eagle Wings is no exception to that rule. Not only it has a sophisticated and potent name, but the band also sticks to their foundations with a pinch of modern metal music, with the result being obviously awesome; whereas Fallen Brother showcases one of the most touching metal videos (and songs) ever made, a tribute to all our deceased heroes including Lemmy, Dio, Jeff Hanneman, David Bowie, Prince, Chuck Schuldiner, Scott Columbus, Bon Scott, H. R. Giger, Leonard Cohen, among many others. In regards to the music itself, it’s beyond powerful, vibrant and cohesive, a lesson in heavy music by Kreator that will stick to your head forever.

kreator_gods-of-violence_north-america

Gods of Violence North America Cover

Then we have Side by Side, where violent riffs and supersonic drums build the perfect atmosphere for Mille to vociferate the song’s lyrics against all types of prejudice and how we should unite to eradicate that from our society (“As we crush homophobia / Side by side / And we’ll never let the shame / Turn our vision to ice / And I’ll remain by your side”). It amazes me how such brutal album can contain so many references to brotherhood, friendship and unity, proving how high-quality metal can make our lives better. Lastly, Death Becomes My Light might be a melancholic and introspective creation by Mille and his horde, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as heavy as hell presenting crushing riffs and drums, while Speesy keeps galloping his bass guitar. And when the song is over, you’ll just realize there’s not a single moment in Gods of Violence that’s below excellent, as simple as that.

You can get a lot of extra details about Gods of Violence, including tour dates and news, at the special microsite created for the album, and grab your desired version of it at the Nuclear Blast webstore, including the amazing special edition with the bonus Blu-ray/DVD “Live at Wacken 2014”. It’s already a great moment for heavy music in general whenever Kreator release new material, but when the album is as splendid as this, we know it’s our duty to listen to it nonstop and  praise the best Teutonic Thrash Metal institution of all time, as the gods of violence come alive.

Best moments of the album: World War Now, Totalitarian Terror, Gods of Violence, Hail to the Hordes and Fallen Brother.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Apocalypticon 1:06
2. World War Now 4:28
3. Satan Is Real 4:38
4. Totalitarian Terror 4:45
5. Gods of Violence 5:51
6. Army of Storms 5:09
7. Hail to the Hordes 4:02
8. Lion with Eagle Wings 5:22
9. Fallen Brother 4:37
10. Side by Side 4:19
11. Death Becomes My Light 7:26

Band members
Miland “Mille” Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Christian “Speesy” Giesler – bass
Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums

Guest musician
Boris Peifer – bagpipes on “Hail to the Hordes”