Another year on the books, another year packed with excellent metal in every style. And while we didn’t see any significant trends emerge this year, you will notice if you look at our collective lists that there’s very little overlap in our picks. The new releases from the old guard, the standard bearers, and the heavy hitters of death, black, doom and beyond only make up a fraction of what’s offered here – everything else is new arrivals and recent rising stars. No matter where you find it, metal has never been so prolific or diverse, and that is great news for all you out there who are black of heart and hard of hearing. So get ready to dig in and get lost in the deepest bowels of the metal underground – when you come up for air, it’ll be 2018.

by Staff

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Kristofor Allred


WOOOO! It’s that time my friends. Time to give 2017 the Ric Flair chest slap that it deserves. WOOOO! As with any given year in life there has been ups and downs, but lucky for us we are Metalheads. Whether it’s a sunny walk in the park, or a shit storm of epic magnitude, we have our friend, our ally, our constant. We have METAL.


Top Albums of 2017 (in no particular order)


TEMPLE OF VOIDLords of Death (Shadow Kingdom Records)

A crushing experience in every sense of the word. Though I don’t put my top albums in a ranking numerical list, I can assure you that if I did, Lords of Death would tie for the number one spot.

RIVER OF SOULS The Well of Urd (self-released)

The other half of my tie for the number one spot (if there was a number one spot). This album is so well thought out and balanced. For reasons I can’t truly explain, it captures me in such a welcoming and almost peace inducing manner.VENENUMTrance of Death (Sepulchral Voice Records)

Traditional, yet eperimental.  Me likey. Top notch stuff right here.

AKERCOCKERenaissance in Extremis (Peaceville Records)

They’re bAkercocke! And boy, do they sound fucking awesome.

EXHUMED Death Revenge (Relapse Records)

Fuck “hello”, Death Revenge had me at “Ross Sewage”.

REDEMPTORArthaneum (Selfmadegod Records)

Wowsers! This album was quite the unexpected surprise. If you can’t appreciate this album, you’re either a huge jackass, or you’re dead.

CYTOTOXINGammageddon (Unique Leader Records)

Seething brutality meets soaring technicality.

DESULTORYThrough Aching Aeons (Pulverised Records)

The band delivers their swansong with this one, and it is quite a proper goodbye, if I do say so myself.

PARADISE LOSTMedusa (Century Media Records)

Deliciously divine death doom.

EVOCATION The Shadow Archetype (Metal Blade Records)

This album sees the band getting a little more “bite” back into their groove. Good ‘ol stick to your ribs death metal.

ARCHSPIRERelentless Mutation (Season of Mist)

Holy Shit! How does that vocalist not pass the fuck out? I wonder if they tour with a travel difibrillator.

OVERKILLThe Grinding Wheel (Nuclear Blast Records)

Probably the most consistent band in heavy metal; and I love them.

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDERNightbringers (Metal Blade Records)

Nothing really new from the band’s camp, but they do what they do so damn well. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality just keeps on knocking ’em down for these guys.

HOLYCIDE Annihilate… Then Ask! (Xtreem Music)

Catchy, crystal clear and razor sharp. Dave Rotten and co. conjure up some nice thrashings on this full-length debut.

FIRESPAWNThe Reprobate (Century Media Records)

Sophomore album from this little “supergroup” is another rager. Mr. L-G Petrov sounds particularly vicious.

MASTODONEmperor of Sand (Reprise Records)

Nobody does things quite like these guys. Even when I think they might have made a misstep, I am ultimately proven wrong and forced to wallow in my incorrectness.

DECREPIT BIRTHAxis Mundi (Nuclear Blast Records)

Nice to see the band “regress” a bit and mix a little of their straightforwardness from their debut album with their penchant for wild technicality.

CRADLE OF FILTHCryptoriana (Nuclear Blast Records)

The Brits are firing on all cylinders as of late. Lets hope they’re able to keep the pace and creativity flowing.

KREATORGods of Violence (Nuclear Blast)

Ze Germans are nigh unstoppable it seems.

DYING FETUSWrong One to Fuck With (Relapse Records)

Maybe their best album since Destroy the Opposition, maybe.

Honorable Mentions


DREAMING DEADFuneral Twilight (Hammerheart Records)

ICED EARTH Incorruptible (Century Media Records)

SKELETHAL …Of the Depths (Hells Headbangers)

SPECTRUM OF DELUSIONEsoteric Entity (self-released)

ENTRAILSWorld Inferno (Metal Blade Records)

VALLENFYRE Fear Those That Fear Him (Century Media Records)

ORIGINUnparalleled Universe (Agonia Records)

GOD DETHRONEDThe World Ablaze (Metal Blade Records)

DEUS OTIOSUSOpposer (Great Dane Records)

BELPHEGORTotenritual (Nuclear Blast Records)


Best/Favorite EP’s


MASTODON – Cold Dark Place (Reprise Records)

SACRIFICIAL SLAUGHTERGeneration of Terror (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

GORODKiss the Freak (Unique Leader Records)

“Nine for Mortal Men Doomed to Die” , aka Releases that made me feel like I was back in the early to mid ’90’s death metal explosion


IMMOLATION Atonement (Nuclear Blast Records) 

OBITUARY –  S/T (Relapse Records) 

INCANTATIONProfane Nexus (Relapse Records) 

MORBID ANGEL Kingdoms Disdained (Silver Lining Music) 

CANNIBAL CORPSERed Before Black (Metal Blade Records) 

MORTA SKULDWounds Deeper Than Time (Peaceville Records) 

SINISTERSyncretism (Massacre Records) 

SUFFOCATION …of the Dark Light (Nuclear Blast Records) 

BROKEN HOPE Mutilated and Assimilated (Century Media Records) 


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  1. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    Killer list, although i don’t get Bell Witch at all.

  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    amped to see Tetragrammacide and Godflesh getting some love here.

  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    The Godflesh is great

  4. Commented by: Don Roberts

    you didn’t like the albums from Immolation, Incantation or Cannibal Corpse ?

  5. Commented by: ben orum

    Thanks for the Oblivion love!

  6. Commented by: M Budziszewski

    Spectral Voice and Dying Fetus would’ve been my
    11 and 12 but I didn’t really have a solid 13-15. I’d rather agonize over a limited 10.
    Didn’t finally listen to the Dying Fetus until last
    month but haven’t been on a brutal death metal kick since earlier in the year.

  7. Commented by: EmmersonBiggins

    Don’t understand the love for a band as mundane as spectral voice… You mongos be sure to check out azarath, ascended dead, tomb mold, Acrimonious, degial, lluvia (for fans of Swedish DAWN)

  8. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    The Spectral Voice is interesting, not quite Bestial Blackened Death, not Funeral Doom, not quite OSDM…just a huge atmospheric sound world.

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