Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Cream of the Crop: Arthalos Picks His Best of 2017

Albums I haven't heard yet:

The Ominous Circle (Pt) - Appalling Ascension
The Faceless (US) – In Becoming A Ghost
Wolves in the Throne Room (US) – Thrice Woven
Converge (US) – The Dusk in Us
Sarcasm (Se) – Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds
Exhumed (US) – Death Revenge
Redemptor (Pl) - Arthaneum
Evil Invaders (Be) – Feed Me Violence
Time Lurker (Fr) - Time Lurker
Diablo Swing Orchestra (Se) - Pacifisticuffs
Black Sites (US) - In Monochrome 

I've also written up on rateyourmusic a list for my favorite 100 metal records for the year, in no particular order, with descriptions attached to each entry. You can access that list here:

Arthalos' 2017 RYM listallurgy.

Top 25 Metal Albums of 2017****

25) Akercocke (UK) - Renaissance in Extremis
24) Slægt (Dk) - Domus Mysterium
23) Selcouth (Fi) - Heart is the Star of Chaos
22) Affliktor (US) - Affliktor
21) Atrox (No) - Monocle
20) Craven Idol (UK) - The Shackles of Mammon
19) Oz (Fin) - Transition State
18) Lör (US) - In Forgotten Sleep
17) Hällas (Se) - Excerpts from a Future Past
16) Cradle of Filth (UK) - Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay
15) The Doomsday Kingdom (Se) - The Doomsday Kingdom
14) Concerto Moon (Jp) - Tears of Messiah
13) Deep Purple (UK) - Infinite
12) Kreator (De) - Gods of Violence
11) Emptiness (Be) - Not for Music
10) Dool (Nl) - Here Now, There Then
09) Air Raid (Se) - Across the Line
08) Sólstafir (Isl) - Berdreyminn
07) Mastodon (US) - Emperor of Sand
06) Firespawn (Se) - The Reprobate
05) Argus (US) - From Fields of Fire
04) Dvne (UK) - Asheran
03) Nocturnal Rites (Se) - Phoenix
02) Enslaved (No) - E
01) Nokturnal Mortum (Ukr) - Істина

Another very strong here overall, with Britain compensating for the political shenanigans in the previous year with a superb lot - both seasoned veterans and a couple of relative newcomers. A few deviants like Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands, but otherwise the list looks like a surefire dominion of American, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish panache, reaching across several distinct genres (my top 100 pickings were much more diverse globally, however). A radiant comeback synergy is prevalent, whether it's Akercocke or Mastodon or Deep Purple, although many of the more experienced bands on this list had already been producing impregnable outings for a while. The Dool and Hällas albums may seem like a cheat, but ultimately both bands come from a hesher tradition and had a huge number of very 'metal' riffs on parade, so I had to do them justice. The top three entries were perhaps the most difficult to order: while I was mesmerized both by the ways in which Enslaved turned the genre around its progressive head yet another time, and by the stellar 'pure' power metal gusto of Phoenix, the Ukrainians were too close to perfection to be pushed to the back row. A sliver away from the majesty of The Voice of SteelІстина is an near-immaculate haunt of folk, electronics and black metal, and the mere name of Nokturnal Mortum is titular enough to gladden my heart.

I won't promise that everything on the bottom 10 is there to stay, though I can promise that all of this is getting repeated listens on my iPod. Fhtagn fhtagn to everyone who's still reading, and hopefully 2018 will be more propitious for the blog. 

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