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 – Lorn / Arrayed Claws EP (2017)

Absorb the music found in these five psychotic and violent tracks that perfectly exemplify the evolutionary path within the Black Metal field of this distinguished Italian act.

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ivr068-lorn-arrayed-clawsListening to the distinct Atmospheric Black Metal engendered by Italian act Lorn feels like contemplating a work-of-art by an unusual modern artist, changing its shape and form and bringing forward new elements every single time you stare at it. Since its inception in 1999, this alluring band from Bolzano, a city in the South Tyrol province of north Italy, has been delivering fresh extreme music through each of their releases, never sounding repetitive or outdated, with their full-length albums Towards the Abyss of Disease (2006) and Subconscious Metamorphosis (2013) being their most remarkable works to date. Now in 2017 Lorn are back with Arrayed Claws, featuring five psychotic and violent tracks that perfectly exemplify their evolutionary path within the Black Metal field.

If Subconscious Metamorhposis was a transcendental mental journey towards a superior illumination, Lorn’s new album looks more like a physical and desperate odyssey through the regions of Death. Featuring a classy artwork by Joel Angelini, with layout by Francesco Gemelli, Arrayed Claws will disturb your peace of mind and take you to the obscure realms of Black Metal crafted by the band’s mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Radok. Hence, as aforementioned, every instance you take a listen at such eccentric album you’ll experience different thoughts and feelings, expanding your comprehension of what atmospheric and experimental Extreme Metal truly means and, therefore, enhancing your personal connection with the music by Lorn.

In the opening track, titled Disharmonic Feticism, a darkened squall of brutal, extreme music hits the listener without clemency, with drummer Chimsicrin discharging furious old school Black Metal beats while Radok showcases all his skills through his demonic gnarls and violent riffs, not to mention its beautifully deranged lyrics (“Intentness / So that nothing correspond / Intolerance to the familiar / Orgasmic grate”). After seven minutes of violence and chaos, we face four minutes of a calm atmospheric passage to help soothe our souls, proving how broad extreme music can be when played by the right musicians (especially if they come from Italy, a never-ending source of high-end Black Metal). Their sonic demolition comes back in full force in Abstract Trap, a solid display of vicious Black Metal with Death and Thrash Metal elements to make it more aggressive, with the beastly Chimsicrin being unstoppable behind his drums. Moreover, this is another long, complex composition where again after around four minutes the band transitions their demonic music to an eerie atmospheric aura, with the difference that this time their havoc returns after a short while, with its ending feeling phantasmagorical and menacing.

lorn-logoThe second half of the album offers the listener two songs inspired by the Altaian mythology, two stages of a purification path. Toybodim, a fast-paced high-end Extreme Metal tune showcasing possessed vocals and lancinating guitars, takes its name from a black lake where the souls of the dead fall and become larvae, which can be seen in its lyrics (“Miserable parasite / The cowardice inebriates your void / Hidden haughtiness / Allegiance frighten your rotten self”); whereas the multilayered instrumental tune Sut-aq-Kol is a lake of milk where the spirits get purified, a placenta for the newborns. Musically speaking, this second song continues with Lorn’s banquet of extreme music, once again displaying boisterous drums and infernal riffs. The transition between these two tracks to the atmospheric Aus Nebel Turm aims at leaving the listener beaten and dismayed, with the painful awareness of being only a grain of nothing, lost in mysterious fogs of existence. After an ominous beginning, the music flows into pure Atmospheric and Experimental Black Metal, concluding the transcendental journey proposed by Lorn.

As mentioned in the beginning of this review, every single time you take a listen at the music by Lorn you’ll feel different,  and if you’re ready to experience and absorb all the fury and complexity found in the five tracks of Arrayed Claws, simply go to the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore to purchase this unconventional and extremely well-crafted album. Also, in order to keep track of such distinguished act, go visit Lorn’s Facebook page to know more about their music, future releases and other details, as a project like this that can unite harmony and disharmony in such enthralling way definitely deserves our sincere support.

Best moments of the album: Disharmonic Feticism and Toybodim.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Disharmonic Feticism 10:53
2. Abstract Trap 10:15
3. Toybodim 6:09
4. Sut-aq-Kol 4:56
5. Aus Nebel Turm 6:40

Band members
Radok – guitars, bass, synth, vocals
Chimsicrin – drums