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Articles : Matthew Hanson’s Top Albums Of 2017

By on December 31, 2017

As another year draws to a close we have to sit back and take a look at some of the outstanding tracks and records that still have the same effect on us that they did when we heard them for the first time. This year has been a great year for metal, although it’s getting to the point where we are saying that every year, which just proves the metal scene is thriving. Here is a list of my top 10 albums of the year:

1. Wintersun – The Forest Seasons

People were quite divided with this record, they either loved it or they hated it. I was one of the many that absolutely loved it, and months later can still feel the raw emotion put into each and every lyric. I felt that this had album of the year potential on my first listen, and hundreds of spins later I still get goosebumps when Jari releases his epic growl on the final track ‘loneliness.’ It may not have been the record people wanted, but it was 100% Wintersun, and a definite winner for me.

2. Trivium – The Sin and The Sentence

Trivium have been on a wild roller coaster of sound changes throughout their career, and it hit the point where some thought they would never be able to return to the heights they did with earlier albums such as ‘Ascendancy’ or ‘Shogun.’ The Sin and The Sentence not only did that, but it managed to take the best parts of many of their albums and meld it all into one sound. This album was the return to form many had been waiting for, with a few hidden gems along the way.

3. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

There isn’t really much to say about this record – Mastodon tried their hand at somewhat of a concept album, with lyricism centred around dealing with life and death. The album is full of non-stop riffs, underlined by raw emotion within the lyrics, which are either right in your face or slightly subliminal. Mastodon knew exactly what they wanted with this album, and it turned out perfectly. It’s a pure mix of heavy, catchy, deep and trippy; and the songs seem to get better with every listen.

4. Royal Thunder – Wick

Royal Thunder is a band that continually seems to be underrated and underappreciated. Although they have decided to ease up on the doom/sludge aspect they began with, the songwriting just continues to improve, along with outstanding vocal work from Mlny Parsonz. Wick takes you to a range of places, and brings forth an abundance of feeling with each track, and just cannot be faulted.

5. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World

I only recently stumbled upon Elders latest release, and it wasn’t long before I regretted not picking it up earlier. The 6-track album features no song shorter than 8 and a half minutes, and not one of them feels like it drags on too long. From the opening groovy riff, to the heavy rhythm guitar that comes in seconds later, this album had me hooked. Impeccable songwriting, and a fine genre-hopping record filled with doom, psychedelic, groove, and a whole bunch of riffage.

6. Noumena – Myrrys

Noumena made an interesting decision when it came to their fifth record, choosing not to use English lyrics for the first time, and opted for their native Finnish language. As a long time Noumena fan, I was worried about the decision, but upon hearing the album I have absolutely no complaints. The riffs are still there, the melodies are still right in your face, and the mix between the male growls and female cleans adds the extra layer to the tracks you didn’t know you needed.

7. Pallbearer – Heartless

Heartless is a record that does it all, Pallbearer have continued to release outstanding music and this effort is no exception. This is another record that has so many different influences and feelings, each song bringing its own brand of the Pallbearer name. The thing that really drives home with Heartless is the perfect blend of heavy and calm. Pallbearer blend the intricate beautiful riffs with slow doomy riffs that never tire.

8. Paradise Lost – Medusa

Continuing on from their previous record ‘The Plague Within’, Paradise Lost have gone with a riff infused gothic metal album. Medusa is all that Paradise Lost have proved they are, and more. The tracks range from the slow and heavy, to the simpler and catchier and all work on their own merit. This record is really fronted by some great vocal work, of both cleans and growls, and guided along by some great heavy guitar work.

9. Alestorm – No Grave but the Sea

It seems ridiculous to put a band like Alestorm in the top 10 of the year, considering even they think their music sucks; but at this point they aren’t giving me a choice. Alestorm continues to improve on their songwriting and somehow manage to come up with more ideas for pirate metal songs with the addition of humour, and chanty style choruses. No Grave but the Sea takes a bit of a heavier turn with added growling vocals, and overall heavier riffs – and could potentially be a stepping stone to some great heavy records in the future.

10. Enslaved – E

In today’s current climate, it’s difficult to change your sound too drastically without being absolutely torn to shreds – unless you crush it. With their latest effort ‘E’, Enslaved have managed just that by adding more of a progressive feel to their melodic black metal sound, and a severe addition of clean vocals. E is a phenomenal record that takes you on a dark journey that will keep you on your toes with every twist and turn.