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 – Solitary / The Diseased Heart of Society (2017)

When four veteran thrash metallers canalize all the hatred, degradation and perversions of our modern-day society into their music, the final result couldn’t have been more exhilarating than their brand new first-class, unrelenting album.

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coverThe brand new album by British thrash metallers Solitary, the enraged opus The Diseased Heart Of Society, is so much more than “just another album”. It represents the complete rebirth of one of the most enduring Thrash Metal outfits from the UK, a roar of defiance from a band that are sick of the state of the world around them and tired of the weak imitations that have been masquerading as their beloved Thrash Metal. In other words, if you’re a fan of traditional and aggressive Thrash Metal the likes of Slayer, Testament and Forbidden, bands that stay true to their roots no matter what happens in their lives,  I’m sure Solitary will quickly become one of your new favorite bands right after your first listen at The Diseased Heart of Society.

Founded in 1994 in Preston, a city located in Lancashire, England, Solitary have rediscovered with The Diseased Heart of Society the passion and anger that first inspired them to take up arms and rage at the world around them. Their allegiance to the Thrash Metal cause has always been unflinching and from the heart, with their live album I Promise to Thrash Forever, released back in 2014, summarizing in its title everything Solitary stand for, and in their new album, featuring an austere artwork by Andy Pilkington (Very Metal Art) and some furious guitar solos by guest musician Stan Havard (Xentrix), they reinforce their love for heavy music in a professional, potent and crisp manner that will inspire you to slam into the pit and bang your head nonstop to their electrified thrashing tunes.

An ominous and serene intro named Blackened Skies permeates the air before all hell breaks loose in Wait, where drummer Roy Miller doesn’t waste a single second and begins crushing his drums mercilessly. Furthermore, the song’s belligerent melody and pace, together with the raspy vocals by Richard Sherrington delivering an aggressive message through the lyrics, remind me of the more contemporary albums by Exodus such as Shovel Headed Kill Machine, which of course translates into sheer awesomeness. And at the blink of an eye, Solitary fire more or their high-speed Thrash Metal, an insane, metallic chant entitled Trigger Point Atrocity, where the bass guitar by Pete Hewitt will keep rumbling inside your head while Richard and Andy Mellor deliver modern and piercing riffs that would make Testament’s own Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick really happy. And their feast of modern Thrash Metal goes on with another solid composition named Anthem of Regret, sounding slightly darker and more melancholic than the previous tunes. In addition, Andy is not only an excellent riffer, but his solos also bring a lot of adrenaline to the music by Solitary.

solitaryIn the superb Architects of Shame, a melodic intro keeps rising and accelerating until it reaches the boiling point of old school Bay Area Thrash, with its kick-ass pace and the perfect sync between guitars and drums turning it into one of the most electrifying of all songs, not to mention Richard’s amazingly acid performance on vocals. After that lesson in violence, the title-track The Diseased Heart of Society brings forward a Slayer-inspired start, with Richard and Andy suddenly slashing our ears with their riffs while Roy delivers very rhythmic and fierce beats. Put differently, this is a song tailored for triturating our necks by banging our heads as hard as possible. Then it’s time to speed up the music and slam into the pit with Solitary in the first single of the album, titled Unidentified, showcasing obscure lyrics about human trafficking violently declaimed by Richard (“Righteous another victim they’re dying everyday / I am the fallen saviour for the one who’s lost their way / Faceless all I have chosen salvation’s in my eyes / Corruption and exploitation their dependency is mine”). Every single time I face a modern thrashing tune like this I realize Thrash Metal has been the genre that evolved the best in the past few decades, offering the listener brutal riffs, sharp solos, metallic bass lines and furious drumming without sounding outdated or obsolete, all we need in this form of music.

The Words Define sounds like a “sequel” to the previous song, keeping the speed above the recommended limit while Richard is as visceral as usual with his harsh vocals, a combination that should sound incredible during their live performances. And if violence is what you want, that’s what Solitary offer you in the ruthless The Edge of Violence, where you’ll be treated to nonstop thrashing action, with Richard leading his bandmates with his rabid growls. Furthermore, the cutting guitar solos throughout the song end up bringing even more potency to the overall result, making it a must-listen for admirers of true Thrash Metal. And closing the album we have one more fast and furious chant by Solitary, the spiteful Humanity’s Decline, offering straightforward, brutal Thrash Metal to put anyone who’s still alive to an end, yet again displaying another bestial performance by Roy on drums.

You can grab your copy of such flammable, rip-roaring Thrash Metal opus at the UKEM Records’ webstore or at Solitary’s webstore, where you can also find available a sensational bundle  including a signed digipak, a media card with the digital version of the album, pre-production demo’s and documentary, the “I Promise to Thrash Forever – The Solitary Story” book, a Solitary key ring, a “The Diseased Heart of Society” patch, a Solitary sticker, a limited edition of the Solitary T-shirt (with breast, sleeve and back print) and a limited edition of the artwork in a 15×15 digital print on a metal plaque (please note that both the T-shirt and the artwork have only ten copies produced). The unstoppable Solitary, whose kick-ass music and all other details can be found at their official Facebook page, managed to transform in The Diseased Heart of Society all the degradation and downfall of our world into first-class, unrelenting Thrash Metal, which means at least musically speaking there’s something really good coming out of all tragedies we’ve been experiencing in the past few years, and we need to thank those British metallers for that.

Best moments of the album: Trigger Point Atrocity, Architects of Shame, Unidentified and The Edge of Violence.

Worst moments of the album: Anthem of Regret.

Released in 2017 UKEM Records

Track listing
1. Blackened Skies | Wait 4:30
2. Trigger Point Atrocity 3:26
3. Anthem of Regret 4:27
4. Architects of Shame 3:42
5. The Diseased Heart of Society 4:33
6. Unidentified 2:50
7. The Words Define 3:40
8. The Edge of Violence 2:54
9. Humanity’s Decline 2:56

Band members
Richard Sherrington – vocals, guitar
Andy Mellor – lead guitar
Pete Hewitt – bass
Roy Miller – drums

Guest musician
Stan Havard – lead guitar