METAL DISCOVERY'S TOP 12 ALBUMS OF 2017
2017 has been a particularly strong year for new music. A year of surprise releases, unexpected gems, long awaited new albums and further compelling works from established acts. And, most importantly, a year that's provided us with some of the most refreshingly innovative and sonically iconoclastic creativity for quite some time. And some of the most emotionally nourishing music. That's why I've eschewed the traditional "Top 10" list and extended mine to 12. All albums are more than worthy of inclusion, with some deserving much wider attention than they've probably received thus far. So, as the year nears its end, sit back with a festive tipple, a mince pie and peruse this list of stunning 2017 releases. Then check out some or all of these gems...
Bent Knee: 'Land Animal'
Inside Out, 23rd June 2017
"Bent Knee have succeeded in crafting an all too rare album, where a perfect balance has been struck between innovation, accessibility, cognitively stirring discourse, emotional engagement and sheer, unmitigated entertainment."
Vicisolum Productions, 24th February 2017
"Moments of ethereal beauty... are mixed up with passages of bewildering technicality, clean-led ambience, and bursts of fury-fuelled brutality. And it all gels and flows perfectly in a transcendently creative work of utter brilliance."
The Eden House: 'Songs for the Broken Ones'
Jungle Records, 23rd June 2017
"The songs on here are perfectly orchestrated soundscapes of blissful enchantment, made more emphatic by some well-chosen vocalists, who sing in beautified unity with the music's alluring charms."
Eluveitie: 'Evocation II - Pantheon'
Nuclear Blast, 18th August 2017
"This is Eluveitie at their gloriously potent best. Reassuringly so, considering the overhaul of their lineup. The band have weathered personnel changes in the past and returned stronger than ever, and 'Evocation II - Pantheon' is the evidence they've done so again. Phenomenal stuff."
Inside Out, 25th August 2017
"...a genuinely innovative masterpiece that offers up an emotionally immersive experience for those who favour aesthetic affect over progressive effect. Leprous have survived their recent lineup changes, and are at their musically most potent with this new one."
Samantha Fish: 'Belle of the West'
Ruf Records, 17th November 2017
"In one sense, 'Belle of the West' is anachronistic... it sounds of another era... yet, it's a refreshing blast from a bygone age that sounds timelessly relevant in 2017 and will, no doubt, still sound relevant in decades to come."
Tangerine Dream: 'Particles'
Invisible Hands Music, 26th June 2017
"...showcases the relevance of the post-Froese era of Tangerine Dream. I'm sure the man would've been proud of this trio continuing his legacy in the way in which they are...The future of Tangerine Dream is in safe hands... the evidence is here on 'Particles'."
The Dark Element: 'The Dark Element'
Frontiers Music, 10th November 2017
"...Olzon's incredible voice; some amazing instrumentations and performances that provide the perfect sonic backdrop for her voice; and an endless string of enthralling melodies that drive the album forward in the most invigorating of ways..."
Pain of Salvation: 'In the Passing Light of Day'
Inside Out, 13th January 2017
"...every word sung, every note played sounds heartfelt, sincere, scathing, bitter and, ultimately, cathartic in the most naturally expressed ways possible. This is all helped along by an incredible sounding production by the ever-reliable Daniel Bergstrand..."
Michael Schenker Fest: 'Live Tokyo International Forum Hall A'
Inakustik, 24th March 2017
"The chemistry between the live assemblage of MSG alumni is axiomatic throughout the show and an intoxicating display of convivial comradeship. And, as with all live Schenker experiences... man, his guitar tone... pure aural succulence and entrancing melodic sublimity..."
Igorrr: 'Savage Sinusoid'
Metal Blade, 16th June 2017
"I'm guessing it's Igorrr's intentions to evoke a mixed-emotion response, be it positive or negative. I adore art than can provoke such a variety of reactions. Bored of bland, banal regurgitation? Check out this fine beast of a record. It's quite the experience."
Sumo Cyco: 'Opus Mar'
Self-released, 31st March 2017
"...a finely crafted slab of 21st century mosh pit metal... and then some...Bouncy, groovy, heavy, melodic and energetic, 'Opus Mar' is a rather infectious shot of fun-fuelled adrenaline. It brings back "entertainment" to the metal genre in the most refreshing of ways."