Dyscarnate — With All Their Might
This list could have very well been packed with nothing but death metal records because 2017 was a hell of a year for the genre, but in the interest of diversity and representing all spectrums of the metal sphere, we didn’t. That said, Dyscarnate’s latest banger, With All Their Might, is most definitely deserving of a spot on this list. The sheer brute force carried behind the riffs on this album could smash through a steel-reinforced concrete wall, and the fact that metal this loud, pissed and heavy was made by only three guys is a testament to the talent and conviction behind Dyscarnate. All hail the new kings of death metal.
Converge — The Dusk In Us
In the five years between All We Love We Leave Behind and this year’s fantastic The Dusk In Us, a lot has happened in the Converge camp. Not only have they been touring like a bunch of mad men and growing into mutant-freaks as musicians (Seriously, how does Ben Koller even do some of that stuff behind the kit?), frontman Jacob Bannon became a father, a new characteristic of him that shines through in his brilliant lyrics on The Dusk In Us. This is Converge reinvented; they still retain the same angst, fury and passion they’ve always had, but The Dusk In Us still seems different, in the best way possible.
Royal Thunder — Wick
The vocal performance of the year has to go to Royal Thunder’s Mlny Parsons (Mel for short), whose powerful, bluesy croon will make anybody with a soul still standing and heart still beating quiver with disbelief. Royal Thunder have been making waves for the past several years as one of rock’s best kept secrets, but with this year’s Wick, they’re finally getting the long-overdue recognition they deserve. The band’s uncanny ability to mix blues, grunge and classic rock is only strengthened by the sweet, sweet sounds of their immensely talented frontwoman.
Cannibal Corpse — Red Before Black
Florida death metal legends Cannibal Corpse returned this year with their 14th studio album, Red Before Black, a record that drips with the brutality of CC’s early records while adding a nice layer of the flesh-ripping musical insanity that has characterized their last few records. The result is an album by an ever-relevant band who continues to define metal. Anybody who says that death metal is “just noise” needs to listen to Cannibal Corpse; there is an exacting method to their murderous madness, and it shows more than ever on Red Before Black.
Full Of Hell — Trumpeting Ecstasy
Make no mistake: With Full Of Hell’s third full-length record, they’ve cemented themselves as perhaps the most pissed-off band in metal. One listen to the completely chaotic sonic cacophony that is Trumpeting Ecstasy and your face will begin to resemble something a lot like the burning nun that adorns the album’s cover. At just under 24 minutes, Trumpeting Ecstasy will batter you, pummel you and beat you into submission. It’s an extremely unsettling listen, but it made for one of the year’s most compelling metal records. Also, don’t miss the chance to see this band live.
Enslaved — E
One of Norway’s most beloved metal exports, the viking metal aldermen in Enslaved continued to stray further and further away from their black metal roots with this year’s masterful E. Enslaved have been gradually shifting to a more musically progressive style over the past decade, and this shift arguably came to head in E. A beautiful sense of melody clashes with Enslaved’s trademark brand of riffing and musical intensity to create an experience that is truly epic.