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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Will ‘Bones ‘ Lee


I don’t know if its the traveling, my art biz or just life in general but I’ve found fewer releases that have stood out for me in 2017. With the advent of the digital age metal has gone further underground in some ways. I feel like i may have neglected my metal soul and not dug enough and scoured the scene like I used to. Hopefully in 2018 I will rectify that.

Here we go, in no particular order.


Engulfed – Engulfed In Obscurity

There is always a turkish metal band on my playlist, I love the scene their and some of the bands that come out of the depths. This is old school death worship at its finest. It’s got touches all that you love; Incantation, Goreaphobia, Autopsy and a smattering of swedish death too. Needles to say, I can’t wait til the next release.

Venom Inc. – Ave

Will the real Venom please stand up? My vote will be for these guys. To me they just sound more real, more of “that” atmosphere and love the sound, updated but still harkens to the past. A logical next step from the Prime Evil album. Not to be harsh, but the Cronos led version sounds a bit more like a cover band. Oh by the way, I just love the cover artwork too.

Necrot – Blood Offerings

Are you a bit tired of the Entombed worship/sound? Do you miss Bolt Thrower, Pentacle, Dismember? Do you need that “new material” fix?  Well here you go, in one delightfully grimey and cobweb ridden package. Hailing from Oakland CA you would almost not expect that, judging from their sound. Great step in the right direction with this band.

Necrowretch – Satanic Slavery

Another album I would buy just on the cover artwork alone ( sorry, the artist in me ) but I am further thrilled with the sounds encased in this dark, bestial and rabid platter. A great mix of black metal, death metal, the riffing, the song structure, never boring. The VoKills of Vlad sets to the music wonderfully and just conveys that mood. Great album.

Urn – The Burning

This band has slowly crept into my good standing with each of their releases. Now with this disc they have my full attention. Full on fist-pumping, beer swilling, blackened thrash along the lines of Motorhead, Nifelheim and Gehennah. Plus, there are some cool metal moments spread throughout the tracks, that make it a bit more than just a standard one-dimensional release.

Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana The Seductiveness of Decay

Comeback of the year maybe? Dani Filth look like he hunkered down to rethink some things and recharge. Also he gathered himself a crew that create the nefarius sounds of the past but brink it kicking and screaming to 2017. That sound, the grandioseness, and Dani’s voice are back!

Burning Witches – s/t

Last year I had all female group Nervosa on my list. Now I have all female group Burning Witches on my active playlist. Granted this is much more traditional metal than Nervosa they just harken to the days of great power metal, with shades of Judas Priest, Warlock, Iron Maiden. Great stuff.

Jenner – To Live Is to Suffer

Okay, now take the sound from Burning Witches and meld it with Nervosa and you get Jenner. Another all female group and hailing from Serbia, they play a power ridden form of thrash that gives node to Heathen, Exodus and Destruction. Another great headbanging release and on my constant playlist.

The Pillars of Metal (honorable mentions)

  There are some bands, for the most part, than you can count on to deliver great product and sounds. Here is a few that still keep me headbanging

Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black

Sinister – Syncretism

Belphegor – Totenritual

Decapitated – Anticult

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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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