Last week, in part 1, we noted that there’s too much going on in metal these days to leave all our ‘best of’ and year-in-review lists to December. Now a few more Hellbounders have chimed in on what’s caught their ears so far in 2017. Check out their highlights (and the odd disappointment) below.
Metal meets 2017: late winter chronicles
GENE A. GAONA
1. Six Feet Under: Torment
2. Obituary: Obituary
3. Harlott: Extinction
4. Superjoint: Caught Up In the Gears of Application
GRUESOME GREG’S 2017 TOP FIVE *SO FAR*
5. Mothership – High Strangeness: The Sword Who? The new heaviest band from Texas keeps on rolling with a new album, new tour (no Toronto dates—yet!) and opening for Blue Oyster Cult in Dallas.
4. Unearthly Trance – Stalking the Ghost: After a couple years of jamming with Tim Bagshaw under the Serpentine Path moniker, the original Unearthly Trance returns with perhaps their best album to date.
3. Forming the Void – Relic: It seems New Orleans isn’t the be-all, end-all of the Louisiana heavy music scene. This outfit from Lafayette’s new record makes Mastodon sound even more disappointing.
2. The Obsessed – Sacred: Don’t call this one a comeback—Scott Reeder and Greg Rogers are nowhere to be found. But even though Wino pretty much just slapped The Obsessed’s name on an erstwhile solo effort, this album does nothing to tarnish his legacy.
1. Curse the Son – Isolator: I was debating whether to include this one, as it was originally issued over a year ago, just recently seeing a proper full release…but then I pushed play, and Curse the Son blew everything else I’ve heard in 2017 away.
Concert of the Year (thus far) – Arthur Brown/Acid King/Jex Thoth/Electric Citizen @ Barracuda, Austin, TX, Feb. 25th: Seeing Jex Thoth and Lori S share the same stage was worth the trip, while watching Texas hipsters moshing and stage-diving to Arthur Brown was pretty trippy.
Disappointment of the Year – Psycho Las Vegas 2017 lineup: Giving top billing to black metal and death metal bands defeats the purpose of what appeared to be North America’s premiere stoner/sludge/doom fest. I won’t be going back this year.
I’ve been a LOT more discerning with my listening time this year so instead of racking my brain on which five to include because there are so many great ones, I had a harder time thinking of at least five that I felt were worthy of extra special mention. Also, I had to check some dates because the second quarter of 2017 looks great! In no particular order:
Pallbearer – Heartless (Profound Lore): Pallbearer continues to climb the prog tree with their follow-up to Foundations of Burden. (The only album I’ve scored a perfect 10.) Naturally expectations were high and for the most part they were met. Admittedly there are some sections where my attention wanders but it feels like the next logical step in their evolution. I just hope they don’t go as far as Opeth. That would be a real shame.
Alunah – Solennial (Svart): There’s just something about Sophie Day’s voice that puts me under a spell. It doesn’t hurt that the bluesy, smoky, fuzzed out, earthly doom she’s singing with warms the soul like the embrace of Mother Nature herself. The band are always in tune with nature and there’s a peaceful feeling that comes with Solennial no matter the edge Alunah put on their mellow. My copy’s on its way over the English Midlands as we speak.
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed II (Consouling Sounds): This album just blows me away. Totally captivating black metal. Members of Amenra and Oathbreaker (among others). I can’t even speak in complete sentences. There’s melody. There’s razor-sharp riffs. There’s just enough atmosphere that you’ll shake a stick at it but you don’t really mean it and let it get real close anyway. Absolute stunner.
Void Ritual – Spirits of the Black Past (self-released): Lemme just say the cover of Immortal’s “Mountains of Might” that starts this bleak and hateful EP is pretty fantastic. Sole member Daniel Jackson cuts right to the bone with eviscerating riffs, authoritative percussion and soul charring vocals. If you haven’t checked out his work yet, might as well start here.
Fuck You Pay Me – Dumbed Down (Tank Crimes): I don’t always listen to hardcore but when I do it’s usually from Cleveland. Dumbed Down takes me to the same maniacal state of mind that Ringworm’s Snake Church did last year. It’s just no-fucks-given, balls-to-the-walls, LET’S-DESTROY-SHIT hardcore that just wouldn’t feel right outside of a basement. Prepare to have your spine tied up like a pretzel just before those veins by your temple explode.
I’ll get back to you on the new Mastodon. I had to wait til release day to hear it!
Obituary – Obituary
Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
Lock Up -Demonization
The Obsessed – Sacred
Colour Haze – In Her Garden
Cult of Luna – Somewhere Along the Highway
Slow Dive – Souvlaki
My Top 7 Albums So Far in 2017
Obituary – Obituary (Relapse)
Power Trip – Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord)
Fuck You Pay Me – Dumbed Down (Tankcrimes)
Solstafir – Berdreyminn (Season of Mist)
Black Star Riders – Heavy Fire (Nuclear Blast)
Pallbearer – Heartless (Profound Lore)
Tomb Mold – Primordial Malignity (Blood Harvest/Regain Records)
Pentagram – Relentless (Peaceville Records, 1993)
Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen