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 – Ljosazabojstwa / Sychodžańnie EP (2017)

Prepare yourself for a 32-minute descent to the bottomless pits of hell while listening to the ancient thrashing Black and Death Metal brought forth by this arcane Belarusian horde.

Anti-Christianity, death, cruelty and other controversial topics, all vociferated in the darkest existing form of Belarusian. That’s what you’ll get in Sychodžańnie, the brand new and extremely occult EP by a Belarusian Death/Black Metal mysterious entity that goes by the name of Ljosazabojstwa, formed in 2013 in the capital city of Belarus, Minsk. If you have absolutely no idea how extreme music sounds when sung in “White Russian”, Sychodžańnie might be the perfect opportunity for you not only to feel the strength of this distinct East Slavic language in metal, but also to get to know more about Ljosazabojstwa, a fresh new name in underground music that will certainly disturb your peace of mind.

After releasing a demo titled Staražytnaje Licha, in 2016, Ljosazabojstwa are more than ready to haunt our minds with their demolishing, blackened sounds found in their new EP. With Sychodžańnie, which by the way was mixed and mastered by Ghostalgy Productions and features artwork and logo by VR, this arcane band takes their brand of ancient thrashing Black and Death Metal to a whole new level, balancing barbaric riffage with uncanny interludes and spoken word samples that make for a unique experience. In other words, prepare yourself for a 32-minute descent to the bottomless pits of hell while listening to the album’s six tracks of ruthless music, definitely not recommended for the faint of heart.

This cavernous album beings with Pozirk U Biezdań, an ominous intro where the mesmerizing sound of an organ opens the gates of the underworld to the dark and puissant Zhuba, where Blackened Doom, Black and Death Metal are united in the most aggressive way, with the deep growling by the band’s mysterious vocalist being supported by the cutting sound of guitars. In addition, its raw and vile beats, together with the song’s eccentric ending, will darken your thoughts without a shadow of a doubt. Then blackness keeps growing in intensity in the lesson in sluggish Blackened Death Metal entitled Piekła, with its guitar riffs feeling like a chainsaw hacking your limbs off. Moreover, its faster passages interspersed with slower Doom Metal-inspired moments add several layers of intricacy to the musicality, and it seems the band loves to include some wicked spoken excerpts (probably taken from underground movies) to their creations, just to give them an awesome slasher-flick soundtrack-like vibe.

Slow and steady beats ignite another feast of primeval, Stygian sounds by Ljosazabojstwa named Šliach Na Miehida, with their demonic lead singer vociferating the song’s cryptic lyrics in a truly threatening manner, also presenting a smooth acoustic break almost at the end before devastation returns in full force (and when you least expect, you’ll find yourself addicted to the band’s hellish music). The title-track Sychodžańnie is a horror movie-inspired instrumental bridge that will invade your senses before Zabojstwa Ljosu comes crushing your skull with a tempest of metallic, rip-roaring sounds, infernal vociferations and demented vocal samples. In addition, its guitars bring an acid hybrid of Death and Doom Metal riffs, while drums continue to smash us mercilessly until its devastating and climatic grand finale.

If you want to take a more detailed listen at Sychodžańnie, simply go to YouTube to fill your ears with Ljosazabojstwa’s dark Belarusian sounds, but if you’re already hooked on their vile music you can grab your copy of the EP at the band’s own BandCamp page, at the Hellthrasher Productions’ BandCamp or webstore, or at Discogs. And there you have the most demonic score you can imagine for some of those extremely somber, sorrowful and distressed moments you’ll face in life, how about that?

Best moments of the album: Piekła and Zabojstwa Ljosu.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Hellthrasher Productions

Track listing
1. Pozirk U Biezdań (Instrumental) 2:06
2. Zhuba 7:37
3. Piekła 6:56
4. Šliach Na Miehida 7:00
5. Sychodžańnie 1:36
6. Zabojstwa Ljosu 6:48

Band members
*Information not available*