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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Nick K

  1. BelowUpon a Pale HorseMetal Blade Records – One of the best Epic Doom Albums in many years. Vocalist is outstanding throwback to Tony Martin/Messiah Marcoin. Amazing well produced and performed. Awesome guest spoken word narration by Allan from Primordial.  Gets catchier each listen.  Very busy year of releases for Metal Blade.
  2. Decrepit BirthAxis Mundi Nuclear Blast Records – Quite possibly the best pound for pound death metal album of the year. Some of the most attacking guitar work done by Matt Sotelo. Awesome cover tunes.  Awesome cover art.  Everything you could want in a riff driven technical death metal record. Strongest release to date from these sickos.
  3. DyscarnateOf Might and Mountains – Unique Leader Records – One of the toughest, meanest death metal albums of 2017. Huge Production. Amazingly catchy tracks.  “Traitors at the Palace” is my favorite song of the year. Dyscarnate have really come into their own with this release hard to compare to anything else out right now.
  4. Redemptor – Arthaneum – Selfmadegod Records – See my review. Unbelievably meticulous and heavy.  Best extreme metal album of the year for me.  Definitely one you are not going to want to miss.  This took over eighteen months to make and it sounds like it.  Unique and although described as technical death metal really branches out with influences all over the place.  Gets better every listen.
  5. Narcotic WastelandIntrospective NightmaresMegaforce Records – Dallas Toler Wade’s (Formerly Nile) 2nd album featuring Phil Cancilla (Hank III, Malevolent Creation) on drums. Ridiculous fretboard work and drumming throughout. You get to hear a different side of Toler Wade’s playing that is almost southern rock influenced with beautiful harmony lines that are demonstrated throughout this killer record. “Faces of Meth” and “Bleed and Swell” two of the strongest tracks.
  6. The Ominous CircleAppalling Ascension – Osmose Productions – Scariest band since Portal. Maybe even scarier. For how chaotic their sound is maybe a little bit better produced than any efforts from Portal. If you are not familiar this a must own album.
  7. Bellwitch Mirror Reaper Profound Lore records– Definitely the best one track album of the year. A huge step forward and definitely positions them at the forefront of U.S Funeral Doom.
  8. Hideous DivinityAdveniensUnique Leader Records– Quite possibly one the most unrelentingly brutal albums of the year. A landmark album for the group. These Italian death metal monsters continue to write catchy tunes and push themselves with their performances. Fantastic Sinister Cover.
  9. Spectrum of Delusion Esoteric Entity Self Released– Best New Artist of 2017 by far. Spawn of Possession? Yes, will miss you.  Thankfully groups like these continue the torch of writing amazingly catchy and extremely technical death metal.  Some of the best fretless bass work I have heard in a long time.
  10. Morbid AngelKingdoms Disdained – Silver Lining Music – Admirable return to form by Trey Azagthoth and Steve Tucker. New members Daniel Von Vadim and Scott Fuller add their own. Strange production, a return to the Formulas Fatal to The Flesh meets Gateways of Annihilation sound.  Guitar solos are there but feel not as present.  Steve Tucker kills it on vocals.  Fuller’s drumming is outstanding.
  11. 11.ArkaikNemethia – Unique Leader Records – Very under the Radar release this year with a busy release year for Unique Leader and also technical death metal in general.   Very well played and produced.  Worth buying immediately. Gives new Decrepit Birth a run for their money. Similar style.  Look forward to seeing where Arkaik go from this release.
  1. Archspire Relentless Mutation Season of Mist Productions – one of the most precisely proficient technical death metal albums of the year.  A virtual clinic of technique displayed with matured songwriting.
  2. 13. ImmolationAtonementNuclear Blast Records– 2017 definitely was a strong year for New York Death metal. Immolation returns and continues to crush with their 10th full length.  Much like Suffocation lineup changes have been made since last release.  Ross Dolan and Robert Vigna continue to craft some of the most emotionally brooding death metal on the planet.
  3. Suffocation Of the Dark Light Nuclear Blast Records – New Chapter in the History of the band. New Members on Guitar and Drums. Still pummels.  Terrance Hobbs continues to carry the torch of brutal technical New York Death Metal.
  4. SarcasmWithin the Sphere of Ethereal MindsDark Descent Records – Having been around since 1992 it is insane that this is only Sarcasm’s 2nd full length. Total throwback to the old No Fashion Swedish Sound. Highly recommended for those looking for throwback melodic death/thrash.
  5. DeivosEndemic DivineSelfmadegod records – How many Polish bands can I put in my best of? This is a really tough record and with the amount of death metal released in 2017 this another album that would be easy to miss. Selfmadegod records has had an awesome 2017 of releases.  Definitely worth checking out.  Probably the most cowbell you will hear on a death metal release this year.
  6. Degial Predator Reign Sepulchral Voice Records – The kind of black/death metal band that could make you renounce a god within 30 seconds of first listen. Gross Vocals, off-centered guitar harmonies. Ruthlessly aggressive. If Dark Funeral, Angel Corpse, Morbid Angel and Summon got put into a blender and then drenched in corpse paint. Happy I heard this before the end of the year. Very well done.
  7. Biesy Noc Lekkich Obyczajow Third Eye Temple – More sickness from Poland! Biesy’s name translates to fiends in Polish. Sounds like a mix of Ulcerate and Immolation with some black metal tinges. Evil as fuck.  Look forward to future releases from this group.
  8. 19 The Drip- The Haunting Fear of InevitabilityRelapse Records – Alright! A Grindcore band makes the list! The Drip really sound like a band that belongs on Relapse.   Kind of like if Nasum and Misery Index made a hybrid.  Very well produced.  Very catchy.
  1. Daemusinem Thy Ungodly Defiance Willowtip Records – The Black Death sibling of Putridity. In ways very similar to Neocaesar. Maybe I like this a little more because of the contrast from Putridity.  Worth checking out if you like polished black death.  Great release from Tipton at Willowtip Records.
  2. Neocaesar11:11 Extreme Music – What happens when the guys that were in Sinister during the good albums (Hate, Diabolical Summoning) decide to start a new group and return to an extent to form? A pretty sick album is made. Some unique production values like operatic female vocals at times which kind of work but that is besides the point.  The death metal songs are sick, technical and catchy with that little burst of thrashniess to keep your head banging.  Horns up for this!
  3. Decapitated AntiKult Nuclear Blast Records – Legal troubles aside and from a strictly musicianship perspective this is an amazing album for extreme metal. Not necessarily death metal. Gone are the Sauron years of Decapitated and Vogg and company have seemingly moved father away from their initial death metal roots towards a maturation that is on display here. Take it for what it is worth. Some catchy material, period
  4. Aosoth V: The Inside Scriptures Agonia Records – These Frenchmen continue to cast spells with their meticulous form of Black Metal. Total Deathspell Omega Worship. III from 2011 is still my favorite from these guys.  Very solid effort.
  5. Desolate Shrine Deliverance from a Godless Void Dark Descent Records – Fourth Full Length. Absolutely dismally dissonant and heavy. One of the best active death metal acts from Finland.
  6. Displeased Disfigurement Origin of AbhorrenceCDN Records – Best Slam Death Metal album of the year and from South Africa no less! Pretty over the top musicianship and there is enough variety to make whole album pretty fun to listen to.

Best new artist – Spectrum of Delusion

Best Death Metal Album of the year: Decrepit Birth Axis Mundi

Best Extreme Metal Album of the year: Redemptor Arthaneum

Best Label – Nuclear Blast

Song of year: Dyscarnate “Traitors at The Palace”

BEST EP: Miserist



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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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