On the last Frantic’s Antics of 2017 I discussed my choices for albums of the year. I also mentioned I got to listen to somewhere around 40+ albums and I couldn’t mention them all. So now I’m going to take the time to give a brief rundown and rating of the albums that just missed out of the top 10.
Before we begin this will be, yes, an all metal list. I will apologize to any non-metal fans reading this. I won’t be mentioning the two honorable mentions from the last article either as I’ve already spoken about them (so I guess this is albums 22-12?). Most of this will be in no particular order, so without further adieu, let’s jump right in!
Black Anvil – As Was
Here’s a controversial one to start off with. Black Anvil started as a black metal band who slowly eased thrash into their sound. This album is basically 50/50 and I’ve found I quite enjoy that mix. But the black roots is what I believe garners the controversy as many labeled this bland, boring, and not black. Here’s where an argument could be had about roots vs progression. Maybe the songs with slower tempos and clean lyrics are a cardinal sin to some. I enjoyed the album and don’t think it deserves the hate. Maybe my less-seasoned black metal ears are failing me, but this is a good album.
Songs to get you started: On Forgotten Ways; As Was; Nothing;
Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
Genre: Atmospheric Black
Had I only listened to this once it wouldn’t have even been mentioned on this list as I thought it was boring as all get out. Upon re-listening, I am not sure what I was thinking. Atmospheric black metal is slowly creeping up on my favorite genre list, simply because most of the time I spend listening to music is at work and the atmospheric part of the genre helps me focus. Maybe I zoned out and thought it was boring? I’m not sure. But what I am sure of is that this album is pretty great.
Songs to get you started: Just listen to the whole thing – it’s one of those albums;
Primus – The Desaturating Seven
I was half-tempted to just put “Primus being Primus” as the whole review, but instead I’ll say there were some fun interesting songs here. The album is a concept album based on the children’s book The Rainbow Goblins (according to Wikipedia), but it is also a regression in terms of what Primus is known for. Seems odd to say that considering the source material… But nonetheless I still enjoyed it for what it was.
Songs to get you started: Just listen to the whole thing – it’s one of those albums (it’s also short);
Great American Ghost – Hatred Stems from the Seed
Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Time to make some enemies. If you didn’t like my Black Anvil rating, you’re gonna hate this one even more. GAG is another polarizing band in the world of metal (source: not listed on Metal-Archives) but also just look at that album art. Talk about the desire to appear edgy. Appearance aside, the album isn’t that bad at all. It doesn’t have any of the teen angst you’d expect upon first glance, and actually has some great compositions. If I were to recommend a band to get someone to stop listening to Five Finger Death Punch and instead lend their ears to the lesser known, typically better underground, I’d offer this up as a starting point. It isn’t over produced, displays impressive technical capabilities, and, again, isn’t an angsty teen’s wet dream. Some will have flashbacks of Metalcore, others will enjoy it. I don’t think there’s really a middle ground.
Songs to get you started: No Savior; Ann Arbor (Be Safe);
The Contortionist – Clairvoyant
This album was actually number 10 on my list until I revisited that Elder album, so that should indicate how good this was. This album was being talked about as one of those “unknown masterpieces” where people basically claim the album is perfect but no one has admitted it. While I don’t agree, I can’t deny the impressiveness of this album. The album is a further venture away from the death metal roots they once came from and while it apparently was a bad thing for Black Anvil to do something like this, The Contortionist is praised. I’m not saying they don’t deserve the praise, just pointing out something I noticed. Either way this album is great and you should give it your time.
Songs to get you started: Monochrome (Passive); Clairvoyant;
Widek – Hidden Dimensions
Genre: Prog Djent
Widek is slowly becoming a favorite of mine. While most of his work is a collaboration with someone else, it all blends together well showing that the mind slamming it all together is indeed the same person. A one-man prog/atmospheric metal act, Widek has done a few different collaborations with guitarists I like, including Sithu Aye (one on each of his albums) and Plini among many others. Hidden Dimensions is another great entry into the “couch musician’s” discography and I would highly recommend it to anyone who like pure instrumentals.
Songs to get you started: Deep & Shallow (feat. Marco Sfogli); Comet (feat. Sithu Aye);
Brendon Small – Galaktikon II
I’m hilarious. But seriously if you aren’t aware, this is where Dethklok went. Cartoon Network retained the rights and Brendon Small cannot make more Dethklok albums without their approval, and considering the revival campaign failed I don’t blame him for moving on. While we all wept, Small gave us Galaktikon II. While not as brutal as Dethklok, this album has heavy sci-fi influence and that impressive technical skill Skwisgar is known for. I’ll admit it isn’t the most memorable, but deserved a mention simply because I know many Dethklok fans who want more and think they’ll never get more.
Songs to get you started: The Agenda; The Ocean Galaktik;
Seer – Vol III & Vol IV: Cult of the Void
Fuck it just throw every genre in there. In reality this is about 90% Sludge and Doom, but you can hear the Prog and Folk influence. Nonetheless this album I recall reacting to the first track like “oh shit!” because it sounded that good. This was one I had a really, really hard time keeping out of my top 10, which should speak to how good it really is. And for stand-out performances… the whole band knocks it out of the park here. The riffs make you headbang or at the very least bob your head. The drums are heavy, technical, and sound. And the bass provides a good structure. The mix of harsh and clean vocals does this albums wonders. Honestly, start the album on the first track Ancient Sands (Rot Preacher) and if you like that give the whole album a listen as it gives you a perfect example of the album as a whole.
Songs to get you started: Just listen to the whole album;
Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay
Genre: Extreme Gothic
I’m still kicking myself for just starting to listen to Cradle of Filth in 2017. I know, I should be ashamed to call myself a metalhead, but it was just one of those bands I hadn’t gotten around to and forgot about all the time. With how much I’ve watched The IT Crowd I shouldn’t have forgotten, but the good news is I did get around to listening to them. I listened to Hammer of the Witches and enjoyed it thoroughly. Found out later they had a new album out in 2017 and threw it on my listen to list. I enjoyed it thoroughly as well, and can say for certain any Cradle fan will too. Don’t be me, fellow reader. Don’t forget to listen and come back to them 2 years from now. Do yourself a favor and listen now and listen well. They’ve been around for nearly 27 years and are still going strong.
Songs to get you started: Achingly Beautiful; Vengeful Spirit;
Sithu Aye – Senpai EP II: The Noticing
Genre: Bouncy Djent
So this isn’t a Metal album but I have to mention it. Sithu Aye is on of my favorite guitarists and I finally got to see him in concert back in the Summer around the time this came out. This EP (and the one before it) are just masterful. Sure, they’re a living, breathing meme. But they’re good. Just because it’s done partially for the lolz doesn’t mean it should be sentenced to death. You’d be pushing a glorious EP away for nothing. The callbacks to the first EP, the stories told via an album with 0 lyrics, and the self-awareness of the EP make this one of my favorites of the year. But alas, it is an EP and not an album, therefore I have to mention it here.
And I got this EP art on a shirt and signed by him, so there’s that.
Songs to get you started: Just listen to the whole thing, trust me;
2017 was a strong year for metal, like 2016 before it. While only 4 months of my 2017 were dedicated to new music, I still found a ton of new bands and material I couldn’t stop listening to, and 2018 is looking even more promising.
Having seen my top 20 or so albums, what do you think? Was your favorite of 2017 omitted? Not listed as high as you wanted? Let me know on Twitter (@FranticJ3) and I’ll see you guys next time!