2017 Mid-Year Recap: Best Albums (Staff Picks)

Rosie Walker’s Top 10

#10. Kreator – Gods Of Violence: These German gents have been playing thrash metal for over 35 years and still manage to make fun, innovative songs. Though this newest release is slightly more polished than their past recordings, it still has their acute, archaic, signature sound. This album holds more complicated movements than what a lot of other thrash bands would dare to do, which make them one of the best. The classic Kreator sound shines on every track, and it’s with rage and angst the band gives what every thrash lover wants to hear.

#9. The Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic: This Swedish supergroup is taking the best parts of classic rock and running with it. It’s this band’s third album and they continue to deliver fun, yet emotional trips full of synths, catchy choruses, and giddy guitars. Some of the members’ influences like Toto and Foreigner dazzle each track that exploit their obvious love of the ’80s. You can hear the enjoyment these talented stars had in making this and it’ll have you wanting to boogie. It’s a light-hearted, clever record that everyone should own.

#8. Fit For An Autopsy – The Great Collapse: It was a pleasant surprise when this album came out. Being labeled as a deathcore band in the past, this fourth full-length record of theirs proves Fit For An Autopsy are now so much more. Their sound has evolved and though not every song is a winner, the distinct growth of the band can clearly be heard. They boldly address some serious issues in their lyrics and explore some impressive guitar work. Their raw, ripping riffs reflect the trouble and chaos that is happening around the world right now. The band’s honest, heavy sound stimulates and gives you something to think about while you head-bang.

#7. Persefone – Aathma: Progressive metal is a subjective genre and very hard to pull off. Yet this unsuspecting band from the small country of Andorra has figured it out. Along with their melodic metal, the complexity and limitless layers in their edgy sound marks them as unusual and outstanding. Their songs create new avenues of unique harmonies and odd time signatures. The band’s marriage between consonance and aggression is a happy union that has the listener putting this record on repeat.

#6. The Raven Age – Darkness Will Rise: Guitarist George Harris is the son of Iron Maiden bassist, Steve Harris. Having a well-known father probably has something to do with the band’s growing popularity, but the kid’s guitar skills are obviously real. This debut album shows off the band’s ability to mesh their NWOBHM influences with some profound, modern melodies. With their clean vocals balancing with the low-tuned strings of the band gives a very cool, new metalcore vibe. Their epic, classic sound combined with modern metal makes for a refreshing, exciting record.

#5. He Is Legend – Few: This group is one of the most underrated American rock bands out there. Their newest release hits home with its very personal, creative songs. These guys know how to put a freaky twist on rock n’ roll by cleverly delivering tracks full of energy, heart, and seduction. Their skill delivers variety with hints of punk and pop scattered throughout the record. Gritty and real, He Is Legend is an electrifying band that has depth and killer hooks.

#4. Goatwhore – Vengeful Ascension: This dexterous, brawny band is the prime example of a hard-working metal act. They mould moody, savage sounds by their versatile, seasoned skills that ravage the senses. They pay homage to the greats like Motörhead and Venom by mixing their New Orleans groove with speed and brutality. Exceptional, dirty guitar tones and demon-like vocals give a bleak, but exciting feel to the album. Each and every song entices you with its coordinated chaos. High fives to these guys for making one of the heaviest and catchiest albums of the year.

#3. Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora: This group has carried the metalcore banner for over 20 years and this new release proves they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Their remarkable ability to combine hardcore and punk with heavy metal is eloquently displayed throughout this record. They release true aggression with such fiery furor, providing the listener an escape from reality. Their unlimited energy and hard-hitting heaviness penetrates the eardrums and has you hooked from beginning to end.

#2. Mors Principium Est – Embers Of A Dying World: Showing off the Scandinavian melancholy, this death metal band knows how to sound sad. Rich with synths and shredding guitar solos, it’s a great album for fans of theatrical metal. The crushing growls are highlighted on each song, showing off their special abilities and range. The dramatic amplification of sound and spirit on the record is quite original. Their obvious skill has evolved over the years into a more refined, savvy sound. Everyone needs melodic death metal in their life and this is the perfect album to help with that.

#1. Wolfheart – Tyhjyys: The title of the album, meaning ‘emptiness’, gives an indication for what the overall theme is about. Wolfheart has never shied away from being brutal in sound and honest in lyrics. With the theme of nature being at the core of most of their work, Wolfheart reveres and comments on the dynamic aspects about their own cold country of Finland. Their eager competence and intense sound paints a vivid picture of wildness and depth. Somber, yet energizing, these guys know how to take melodic death metal to a new level. They capture the cruelty of winter in their sound with ferocious riffs consistently raging and showcasing the eerie beauty in the music. The band is hard and ever-heavy, but holds strongly to melody that sustains with substance and feeling. Wolfheart hits home with their meaningful music and has the best metal release this year so far.

Continue on Page 4 for Jaide Alicia’s picks!

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