TEETH OF THE DIVINE STAFF PICKS FOR 2017


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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Benjamin Cedotal

 

As the year draws to a close, it’s always nice to revisit those releases that meant something. 2017 was yet another fantastic year for extreme metal with a plethora of unique, innovative, and downright exquisite albums being released with little respite. Some of the biggest groups in the game released stellar albums, but there were also many hidden gems to be unearthed throughout the year. Sifting through and compiling the best of the best is a daunting task, but the contributors here at Teeth of the Divine consider it a pleasure to ensure that metal enthusiasts gain access to the best of what the year has to offer. No more waiting. No more hesitation. Only metal.

# 20: Bufihimat – I 

Extremity is always a plus, and Bufihimat brings it in droves. This is some blistering tech/spazz/grind that brings to mind bands like Psyopus and Wormed. The tempos are fast and the riffs are guaranteed brainkillers.

# 19: Contrarian – To Perceive is to Suffer

Death metal in the vein of Atheist, Death, and other old-school masters of progressive leaning metal is a rare spectacle these days. Many bands following this path are just a little too obsessed with endless blast-beats and complexity for its own sake. Contrarian have just the right balance of prog and tech, along with some of the sweetest guitar melodies in recent history.

# 18: Nightbringer – Terra Damnata

The black metal terrorizers in Nightbringer have brought forth yet another ungodly offering in the form of Terra Damnata. The group has streamlined its sound just a tad, bringing together the best of previous releases to meld into an evil, yet fantastic album. This album features some of the deadliest riffs to be heard this year hands down.

#17: Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper

Doom metal (and especially funeral doom) as a whole is driven almost solely by emotional weight. Bell Witch is a band that understands this all too well. Mirror Reaper isn’t just forlorn or morose. It is absolutely devastating. A few minutes could have been shaved off here and there, but this newest entry in the duo’s discography is a monolith and a new height for doom and gloom.

#16: Beneath – Ephemeris

Brutal death metal as a subgenre is a bit of a mixed bag. For every band bringing something new to the table, there are countless others treading water and displaying the same monotonous slams, riffs, and vocals that have become the genre’s mainstays. Ephemeris is one of the few brutal death albums of 2017 that distinguishes itself as a must-listen, bringing forth chaotic riffs, atmospheric breaks, and songs with substance.

#15: Hummingbird of Death – Forbidden Techniques

Forbidden Techniques is definitely a hidden gem, bringing a thrashy grindcore sound reminiscent of Iron Reagan, but with ungodly drumming and touches of complete madness and chaos. This relatively unknown group has the potential to be a driving force in grind for sure.

#14: Draugsól – Volaða Land

Iceland has been dominating the black metal scene for several years now. It seems that every release from the country has a unique feel and plenty to say, even though many of the groups share members. Draugsól’s debut album is no different. Blistering black metal and introspective guitarwork combine to make an extremely memorable album that stands proudly among Iceland’s best.

#13: Chaos Moon – Eschaton Mémoire

This is as atmospheric and demonic as black metal gets. The entire album is drenched in psychedelic guitar effects and synths while the drumming goes completely haywire. Every second seems like another step on the journey into a cosmic hell.

#12: Pallbearer –  Heartless

Only a handful of bands manage to release album after album of high quality metal. Pallbearer is one of those bands that not only maintain a high standard, but actually improve drastically with each release. Every aspect of their previous albums has been refined and explored for an even grander, doom/prog sound. “A Plea for Understanding” is without a doubt one of the most beautiful tracks of the 21st century.

#11: Wormwitch – Strike Mortal Soil

Combining black metal with thrash and heavy metal isn’t exactly a new idea, but Wormwitch breathes new life into this niche genre with the groups debut album. There are just as many moments of beauty as there are headbanging riffs and blasts. The entire album is extremely fun to listen to without being simple-minded or one-dimensional.

#10: Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy

Full of Hell has an extremely solid track record, creating grindcore that unnerves but also excites the listener. Everything the group touches seems to turn to corrosive, disgusting gold, and Trumpeting Ecstasy is just as potent and destructive as anything else to be heard this year.

#9: The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers

Will TBDM ever cease to release amazing albums on a consistent basis? Probably not. Nightbringers summons the best of the band’s signature sound to create yet another technical, yet melodic masterpiece.

#8: Usnea – Portals Into Futility

There is a lot to be said about this wonderful, monolithic album. Every moment is a doomed, psychedelic, destructive force that absolutely will not relent. It may be a difficult listen, but the effort spent could not be more worth it.

#7: Archspire – Relentless Mutation

Good grief that is some fast drumming. “Relentless” is the perfect word for this album. There is no other

band that reaches this level of pure technicality while remaining catchy and melodic like Archspire does.

#6: Acrimonious – Eleven Dragons

Yet another wonderful black metal album hidden in the depths of the underground. The group displays phenomenal guitarwork along with adept drumming and a sense of pure evil. The songwriting here is topnotch and has no problem elevating the listener.

#5: Craven Idol – The Shackles of Mammon

This band scratches an itch I never even know I had. The Shackles of Mammon is an incredible brew of thrashy riffs, black metal madness, and some absolutely manic vocals. This album is deadly serious but undeniably fun and enthralling.

#4: Cormorant – Diaspora

Cormorant knows how to make some of the most interesting and captivating music on the planet. Some moments are odes to destruction and death, while others are simply overwhelming in their beauty. There just aren’t many black metal bands that break the mold like Cormorant does.

#3: All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal

Vicious. Punishing. Mayhem. These words barely scratch the surface of the newest offering of filth from All Pigs Must Die. Grind, hardcore, death, doom, black…. You name it, it’s there. This is a band that knows how to innovate without dilution or wandering aimlessly.

#2: Hideous Divinity – Adveniens

Technical death metal isn’t as consistently impressive as it used to be, but when it hits, it hits hard. Hideous Divinity’s new album is a perfect combination of impossibly technical drumming, visceral guitarwork, and an all-consuming evil atmosphere. Everything melds perfectly together into the most brutal yet classy album of the year.

#1: Zud – A Wilderness Left Untamed

Zud is a band that seem to be almost completely unknown. That is a shame, because the group has recently released an absolutely stellar album. Black metal and heavy classic rock create the foundation and the band just piles on riff after riff. Ripping solos, malevolent black metal, and rumbling bass are prevalent throughout the album, but there are plenty of left-field influences that keep things from ever getting stale. A Wilderness Left Untamed is catchy as hell, technically sound, and completely unique. Zud has created a legendary, if completely underground album.

 

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Comments

  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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