Best Albums Of 2017 (Staff Picks)

We revealed the editor’s picks for the best albums of 2017 earlier this month, and now it’s time to take a look at the picks made by our lovely staff! Check them out:

Ryan Falla’s Top 10

#10. Russkaja- Kosmopoliturbo: This album is fun, probably the most light-heartedly enjoyable experience of the year. An amagalation of ska, metal, and polka; ‘Kosmopoliturbo’ examines the many cultures of music throughout the world and brings them together to create the musical equivalent of multi-culture. This album comes highly recommended for those looking for an expansive take on “metal”; the high-energy “turbopolka” of Russkaja offering a strongly unique sense of musical affinity and exploration.

#9. Evil Triplet – Otherworld: Evil Triplet is what would happen if you took Les Claypool, fed him all the psychedelics in the world and made him write a psych rock album. Needless to say, the energy within ‘Otherworld’ is fun, exciting, goofy, and an all-around good time. This record is an absolute blast of a time; from track one to the close of the album you feel as if you’ve been taken on a rocket-ship-space-trip like no man has before. The best part? After experiencing it once you’ll want to experience it over and over again.

#8. Overkill- The Grinding Wheel: One of my favorites of the year; Overkill has done it again with their latest release, ‘The Grinding Wheel’. This is one of the more intense thrash records of the year, embracing the classic Judas Priest sound from Painkiller with their aggression and tonality. As far as thrash metal goes, there’s a reason why Overkill has held their own for nearly 40 years.

#7. Iron Monkey – 9-13: Iron Monkey brings to life an intense and unholy purging of sadistic tendency through music. The ugly, grimy sludge is virtually dripping from this record. ‘9-13’ is the swamp monster from the Black Lagoon as it creeps ever so viciously with a slow, yet devastating crawl. With one of the ugliest, yet most attractive records on this list, Iron Monkey viciously assaults your heart and soul with tracks that rip, grind and tear your very being. ‘9-13’ is fast, dynamic, ugly, heavy, sludgy; yet what it really is at the end of the day is an A+ record.

#6. Beastmaker – Inside the Skull: Modern doom metal tends to play on two fronts; either the monstrously slow and oppressive or psyched-out jam groove. Beastmaker happens to meet these two elements in the middle with their 2017 release, ‘Inside the Skull’. It’s not easy to maintain the dark, heavy creep of doom metal while pushing a moderately driving tempo throughout the record. ‘Inside the Skull’ crushes your soul as it runs from open to close. You very much get the sense that Beastmaker has a special flair to them; they bring the slow stoner jams at a tempo that grooves a little harder than the norm. It’s not often you find a band like this, making ‘Inside the Skull’ a top album of the year.

#5. Municipal Waste – Slime and Punishment: This is a punk record unlike any we’ve heard in recent memory. The unbridled fury, the explosive riffage, the powerful musicianship; it all comes together to create one of the most dynamic punk albums of the decade. Although this is very much a punk record, there’s the sense that Muncipal Waste is doing more with their songwriting than what you’d expect from a punk band. The music is unhinged and relentlessly hectic, yet the songwriting is precise and expansive. There’s a strong connection between the music of Municipal Waste and Suicidal Tendencies in terms of dynamics and tonality. Killer riffs, extreme subject matter, and political discourse create what is bound to be a classic Municipal Waste record.

#4. Petyr – Self-Titled: Petyr is a band that feels like a near generational talent, the surf-rock stoner metal path they travel isn’t one that has been often heard from. One of the last bands to embrace this style of music is the cult-classic band Witch; a two album hit that disappeared as soon as they arrived on the scene. Petyr feels like a rightful passing of the torch, a continuation of a path carved years ago. The psychedelic skater jams are very much in place with ’90s styled stoner jams ala Tony Hawk on the N64. It’s not a surprise to learn that the brainchild of this band, the rejuvenation of skater-stoner rock, is none other than Riley Hudson Hawk. The son of legendary skater Tony Hawk. You need to experience Petyr, easily one of the most underrated albums of the year.

#3. Harlott – Extinction: This is Slayer 2.0, not a ripoff or attempt to recreate, but a powerful continuation of a dynasty left in the dust long ago. Listening to ‘Extinction’ makes it frustratingly obviously how legendary bands like Slayer have fallen victim to nu-metal influences. Harlott is the pure, unadulterated speed metal that transforms a mosh-pit into a murder-pit. ‘Extinction’ by Harlott revives the original coked-out, fiendish tones of classic Slayer while presenting its own identity to the metal world. Pop this record on and forget that the ’80s even left, with bands like Harlott it almost feels like the good times might still be here. Almost.

#2. Mutoid Man – War Moans: One way to describe ‘War Moans’ is “dynamic as hell”. It’s hard to point out what exactly this band is playing with when you first expose yourself to this record.  Their mixture of “stoner-prog” and modern thrash sensibilities brings forth one of the most identifiable records of the year. Mutoid Man flows seamlessly through the bonanza of metal; despite the marriage of so many different metal elements there is still a strong musical core to what is done in War Moans. Despite the application of multiple, varied genre-works within this record, Mutoid Man introduces a strong “modern stoner-metal” that separates itself from the vast collection of stoner bands with all the twists present in their musicality. I want to call them a stoner-prog band, but at the end of the day they are simply Mutoid Man.

#1. Kadavar – Rough Times: ‘Rough Times’ captured me from the very beginning, and no doubt it will do the same for you as well. Like Mutoid Man, Kadavar introduces many modern sensibilities into a classic genre. The typical groove metal fundamentals of this record become twisted and reformed as Kadavar aims to proudly recreate the identity of groove rock with an influx of modern influence with classic fundamentals. While ‘Rough Times’ hits with sensational grooves as the final curve before the finish line comes forward, Kadavar flips the switch on us. The last third of the record swings into atmospheric, classic tones. A handful of tracks that fall in line with the music of Pink Floyd close out this record phenomenally. The change in tone isn’t jarring or discomforting, it’s simply a leap into new waters.

After being thrashed and abused by the torrential presence throughout most of the record you’ll find yourself within calm, wading waters to end this record. The juxtaposition between the ferocity of the metal grooves and sedation of the atmospheric journeys offers greater depth to ‘Rough Times’. The intensity of the record gives stronger dynamic to the sedated atmosphere at the end, and vice versa. This is the most compelling album of the year.

Continue to the next page for more staff picks!