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 – Jupiter Hollow / Odyssey EP (2017)

A young Canadian duo ready to bring fans of complex music a spacey, experimental and refreshing experience with their excellent debut EP, bursting with high-quality heaviness and progressiveness.

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ep-cover-odyssey-jupiter-hollowWhen two very young and promising Canadian musicians unite in the name of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll, focusing all their developing talent and crescent passion for heavy music into their compositions, the result is always interesting to say the least. That’s the case with Progressive Rock/Metal duo Jupiter Hollow who, since their inception in the summer of 2015 in the city of Barrie, in the province of Ontario, Canada, are ready to bring fans of complex music a spacey, experimental and refreshing experience, reminding listeners of bands like Tool, Pink Floyd, A Perfect Circle and Rush. And if you enjoy that fusion of heaviness and progressiveness, you definitely should take a shot at their excellent debut EP, entitled Odyssey.

Jupiter Hollow are Grant MacKenzie (21), who plays guitar, bass and synth for the band and started his music career over 8 years ago at the age of 12, sitting in his basement watching the 2009 movie Rock Prophecies, and Kenny Parry (18), who started in music at the young age of 2, setting up pots and pans like a drum set and banging away. Now as Jupiter Hollow the two musicians use technology to their advantage, allowing them to perform with a dominating stage presence while captivated their audiences with their unique sonic journey, consequently catching the attention of the music industry in Toronto. The band then plans on releasing a full-length album titled AHDOMN, giving a short and sweet taste of what they’re capable of delivering in their debut EP, which I’m sure will please your ears avid for high-quality heavy music.

In the first of the five tracks of the EP, named Deep In Space, classic Rock N’ Roll lines are blended with modern Progressive Metal, with Kenny sounding a lot like the iconic Geddy Lee in his prime time (all fans of Rush need to listen to this awesome tune). This song has a beautiful melody with an impactful instrumental, especially the bass lines by Grant and the complex drumming by Kenny. Psychedelic and atmospheric, Ascending is a smooth and passionate ballad that will touch your soul before Hades Heart brings more of the band progressiveness in the form of a classic Rock N’ Roll power ballad. This dynamic Canadian duo knows how to add poetry to their music (“Piece by piece we sit in the sand / On separate beaches / Staring at the same star we fell in love beneath / Travelled once around in each other’s touch / Once alive on an honest trip / My psyche lies and kills your grip / Just give me gas and I’ll light it up”), with a soulful guitar solo by Grant inserted in the music to add more electricity to such inspiring composition.

grant-_-kenny-sandra-beattyOver 50 Years is where they let their Dream Theater vein take the lead, blasting more metallic and thunderous lines through their guitar and bass, again with those eccentric lyrics we always expect in progressive music (“It’s been too long / Since anyone’s tasted sweet sugar on that beach / With everyone facing death / Sinfully stricken poison pet / You say: “These are our people you prick” / These are our fucking people”, I don’t care. / I can’t be associated with you”). The heavier and more intricate riffs by Grant set the stage for Kenny to fire some harsher vocals, turning this into the most exciting composition of the EP in my humble opinion. And the title-track Odyssey, the fifth and final act of this solid album, provides the listener a futuristic voyage through the realms of Progressive Rock and Metal, with the clean vocals by Kenny emanating strong emotions in a James LaBrie-style, while Grant does an amazing job with his minimalist but powerful guitar and bass until the song’s eerie ending.

For every Justin Bieber that’s born in our home and native land Canada, heavy music fights back with a Kenny Parry and a Grant MacKenzie, keeping a necessary balance in our multicultural ecosystem. With that said, if you want to avoid any disruptions in our beautiful Canadian environment, I suggest you go support Jupiter Hollow through their official Facebook page, listen to their fine music and more at their YouTube channel (where you can also stream the full EP), and obviously purchase Odyssey through their official website or BandCamp, on iTunes or on Amazon. If these two young musicians can deliver such excellence in music at a very young stage of their careers, imagine what they will be able to provide with the proper support from fans like you in the coming years?

Best moments of the album: Deep In Space and Over 50 Years.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Deep In Space 5:06
2. Ascending 2:52
3. Hades Heart 4:30
4. Over 50 Years 5:05
5. Odyssey 5:50

Band members
Kenny Parry – vocals, drums, synth/keys
Grant MacKenzie – guitar, bass, synth