#10. Fireball Ministry – Remember The Story: Los Angeles’ own Fireball Ministry have been pillars of the stoner rock/metal genre since 1999, and are back to the peak of their powers with their 2017 album ‘Remember The Story’. It is their first since the 2010 self-titled release, and it can be safely said, well worth the wait. Vocalist/guitarist Jim Rota is in his element, as is his entire band. Riffs and harmonies flow through this entire album and all the sonic ingredients combine into a smooth cohesive unit that makes for easy listening. Fireball Ministry have always stuck to their guns and never followed trends or changed their sound to blend in. They were always at odds and against the grain, but strangely enough, only now in the year 2017 find themselves releasing an album when their genre is at the height of its popularity. But their effort on this album is as honest as always, and the result is an album that will stand the test of time.
#9. Kadavar – Rough Times: German psych rock trio Kadavar made a very strong impression with their first three albums ‘Kadavar’ (2012), ‘Abra Kadavar’ (2013) and ‘Berlin’ (2015), and keeping up with their prolific output, delivered yet another full-length this year. ‘Rough Times’ sees them retain their distinct, instantly recognizable sonic texture but they delve into darker tunes and lyrical themes, adding a new dimension to their already powerful and compelling musicality. Amidst a plethora of stoner rock revivalist bands it can be difficult to stand out and not get lost in the sea, but Kadavar does just that, and one listen to ‘Rough Times’ will tell you why.
#8. Accept – The Rise of Chaos: Ever since they returned in 2010 in a new incarnation fronted by Mark Tornillo, German classic metal legends Accept have been so consistent that you can almost bet your money on them releasing a great new album every two years. In seven years they have released as many as four albums, and the latest release ‘The Rise of Chaos’ lives up to all expectations with ten anthemic tunes right up any old-school metalhead’s alley. Although the band now has a new rhythm guitarist and drummer, the songwriting duo of Wolf Hoffmann and Peter Baltes is as solid as ever on this one, plus the band continues to work with producer Andy Sneap to give this era of theirs its own identity. Accept certainly still has the creative urge and arsenal to write albums as strong as ‘The Rise of Chaos’, and one hopes that the Tornillo-fronted Accept keeps on making new music for many more years to come.
#7. Mothership – High Strangeness: Dallas TX stoner rock trio Mothership has risen through the ranks since their 2010 inception, with an ultra-impressive 2012 self-titled debut, an equally great follow-up, ‘Mothership II’ (2014), and a slew of captivating live performances. In 2017 they’ve really soared to much higher altitudes with their third full-length ‘High Strangeness’, which is equal parts trippy and rocking, as an ideal stoner rock album should be. Very few albums this year are as easy to listen to as this Mothership record, as this trio presents their best creative effort till date, and clearly showcase the quality and level of musicianship they have reached through countless live shows. ‘High Strangeness’ has the spark to make a great first impression, but also the substance to have a longlasting impact that makes you keep revisiting it. Everyone needs to get on board and trip on this ship.
#6. Iced Earth – Incorruptible: Tampa, Florida’s Iced Earth have been proud flag-bearers of American classic heavy metal for more than three decades, and regardless of lineup changes, have always offered something interesting with their studio albums. Their 12th full-length ‘Incorruptible’ is their third and by far best album with Stu Block on vocals. The riffs and harmonies flowing out of guitarist / songwriter Jon Schaffer on this one are nothing less than instant classics, and form the backbone for the great songs that decorate ‘Incorruptible’. With fast-packed head-bangers, slow epics, and even an instrumental gem, this album has all you could ever ask for from Iced Earth, and stands tall as one of the finest releases of 2017.
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