Edit: there is an updated chart for the best metal albums in 2017. Check it out from the home page.
In a period of absence of major publications, we’ve been able to focus our attention on those niche works that represent the undergrowth of the metal world. We discovered new groups from the most disparate parts of our globe; we noted with pleasure that a few legacy indie groups keep on releasing very good material without chasing the lure of commercial success; we appreciated the effort from a number of bands in exploring remote musical territories. We draw the conclusion that metal is still alive, sometimes it manages to reinvent itself by merging together different techniques and multiple inspirations, generating sometimes results that exceed expectations.
This is the list of the best 10 metal albums we listened in the first two months of 2017. You will probably find some groups of which you had no knowledge before. Probably, towards the end of the year, these little jewels will suffocate under the weight of the great metals albums to come. But, for now, let them enjoy this unexpected visibility.
1 – The Project Hate MCMXCIX: Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures
Of Chaos and Carnal Pleasures is the eleventh studio release from the Swedish death-metal project founded by Lord K. Philipson, a project which sees Philipson as the only fixed member in the band; on every album he’s supported by a wide array of musicians. The six songs in this self-released work mixes together a number of different inspirations but the final result is far from being chaotic. This is indeed an excellent and very enjoyable collection of eclectic and progressive tracks. (Sub-genres: Death, Progressive, Experimental, Technical Death, Industrial)
Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures has exceeded all of my expectations, and I have known for quite some time that it would be absolutely spectacular to begin with. The work that everyone involved provided for me is the best shit I’ve ever heard. I speak greatly of this album and I do so for the simple reason it truly is something special that has been created (L.K. Philipson, Metal Underground)
2 – Primal Attack, Heartless Oppressor
Primal Attak is a relatively young thrash and groove metal band from Portugal. Three years after the release of their debut album, Humans, they are now back with their sophomore release, Heartless Oppressor. This is a very solid and energetic album, and even if it is strongly inspired from the works of Pantera, Hatebreed and Machine Head, it contains so many original features that establishes itself as a unique piece in the modern metal scene. This is a strongly energetic disc, at times brutal, fully packed with catching riffs and melodies. (Sub-Genres: Thrash, Death, Groove)
This is the first album this year that I can call an absolute balls-to-the-wall, no frills, uncompromisingly brutal metal album in its sheer intensity. Heartless Oppressor is exactly the sound of all the world’s major powers nuking the fuck out of each other. (No Clean Singing)
The new album not only picks up right where its predecessor left off, but also surpasses expectations showcasing a much stronger, tighter and more dynamic unit (from Bandcamp)
3 – Power Trip: Nightmare Logic
Nightmare Logic is the second album from Texas hardcore thrashers Power Trip.What really strikes in their songs is the ease with which different genres (thrash, hardcore, groove, just to mention a few) are mixed together to create an explosive and original mixture, which is at the end absolutely enjoyable to ear. (Sub-Genres: Thrash, Industrial, Hardcore)
You don’t need to be a metalhead to have a blast with Nightmare Logic. Screamed sardonics, persistent chug, and apocalyptic melodrama are all acquired tastes, sure. But Power Trip’s fist-pumping choruses, ricocheting grooves, and ample charm are so animated that they leave us with something addictive and, well, fun. (Pitchfork)
The second crushing, soul mangling, neck bustin’ album from Texas hardcore thrashers: Power Trip. Their raw energy, musical proficiency, perfect song structure, rich tones, fierce riffs, persecution, and collective attitude have seeded them as one of the most prolific underground staples in the US metal, punk, and hardcore scenes (from Bandcamp)
4 – Code Orange: Forever
Code Orange is an American metalcore from Pittsburgh, since 2012 they have released three albums. Their last work, named Forever, stands out because of its good qualities: nice songs, an audible sense of anger, and nice production. (Sub-Genres: Hardcore, Metalcore, Punk)
What helps make Forever a solid release though are the odd surprises within it. These surprises take the listener out of that constant crunch and hardcore slam, and present really terrific spins that are way out there. And with everything together, comes one beastly collection of jams (from Metal Injection)
5 – Violet Cold: Anomie
Anomie is the last release from Violet Cold, which is the experimental one-man band from Baku, Azerbaijan, active from 2013. This musical project by Emin Guliyev draws influence from a huge variety of styles including ambient, noise, classical, folk and black metal. (Sub-Genres: Atmospheric Black Metal, Experimental, Blackgaze, Post-Black, Shoegaze).
What makes Violet Cold unique is the fact that every piece of the puzzle is totally “DIY,” from artwork, instruments, lyrics, and vocals to recording, mixing and mastering. This is all done by Emin Guliyev, who doesn’t have any formal musical training. The result is a disregard for the rules and a totally fresh sound (Last.fm)
6 – Zerozonic: Zerozonic
Zerozonic is a thrash metal band from Norway; they have just released the fourth album of their career, which is a solide piece of metal packed with nice and interesting songs. (Sub-Genres: Trhash, Groove)
Pantera is frequently mentioned as an influence and a soundalike, and while this band is not a Pantera clone, the similarities are there: this is groove-laden, modern aggro-thrash, with vocals vaguely in the Anselmo ballpark. (BNR metal pages)
7 – Dead Trails, S/T
Dead Trails are a new thrash and death metal band from South UK; they started playing together since 2010 and have just released their debut long play (the album can be download for free ond bandcamp). This album is very nice and presents a nice combination of raw sounds and thrash riffs. I definitely recommend to download and listen, there are a few songs that are very nice to hear if you are into the death metal genre. (Sub-Genres: Deathl, Thrash)
8 – Decadence, Undergrounder
Decadence is a Sweden-based melodic thrash metal group powered by its two main members, ‘Metallic’ Kitty Saric and Kenneth Lantz. The two have been writing music together for over 15 years, and Undergrounder is the fifth album of their career. Characterized by female vocals and a distinct signature sound, this work interrupts a long period of silence that the band decided to take after the first decade of musical activity. (Sub-Genres: Thrash, Melodic Death)
Decadence never stopped, it evolved. And now they are back to continue spreading the message (said Kitty Saric to Blabbermouth)
A particularity of this release is that the band published a lyric video for every song in the album. Here we link the videos of the two songs we liked the most, i.e. the beautiful title-track and the old-school thrash of One More Fight.
9 – Angry Again, Divide and Conquer
Divide and Conquer is the second work from an interesting unsigned band from Switzerland. They play an enjoyable blend of epic, powerful and groovy metal which takes clear influences from Hatebreed and Machine Head. (Sub-Genres: Thrash, Groove)
10 – Soen, Lykaia
Soen is a progressive metal “supergroup” consisting of various high-profile extreme metal musicians. Lykaia is the third album released by the band and has the particularity that the whole album was recorded using only analog equipment. (Sub-Genres: Progressive metal)
Lykaia is ultimately a prog metal album of very high quality, and one that should be on the radar of any metal fan. Although there are strong similarities between songs, and sometimes other bands, the songs and album Soen have created are meticulously crafted by musicians playing and writing at the top of their game, to produce a heavy, melodic, and frequently emotional journey of moody metal. (Metal Wani)