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Articles : Prarthana’s Top Albums of 2017

By on December 31, 2017

I’m saving words and therefore will refrain from writing a massive introduction to enhance the sheer awesomeness of my list….. But 2017 has been a glorious year for music, here are some of my personal favourites!

Dodecahedron – Kwintessens

Scintillating, sinister and purely ingenious, this is undoubtedly one of my favourite albums released not only this year but in the last few. The Dutch outfit tells a dark tale through their atmospheric, dissonant music which grips you from the moment it begins, and doesn’t let go. Your only choice is to surrender yourself completely to every sound it holds and let it consume you, for it will be a memorable journey. Dodecahedron defy any boundaries of black metal and further establishes their unique, avant-garde take on the genre itself. There is a perfect balance between tracks that will rattle your brains with it’s bludgeoning atmosphere and the more ambient tones and electronic sounds of a track like  Descending Jacob’s Ladder. The creativity is incredible as Dodecahedron moves from one mood to another, psychedelic, trippy sounds that captivate you before you descend into a sea of darker, heavier riffs, every track combining the best of black metal, prog and weird ambient shoegaze styles. It’s hard to explain but just bloody brilliant.

The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale of a Dark Legacy

Of the many bands that try to emulate Lovecraft’s ingenious horror themes into musical form, only a few have really achieved something spectacular: one of them being France’s post-black metal outfit The Great Old Ones. An album that contains the magnificence of Lovecraftian-influenced music, the band has created a mystical, otherworldly record that boasts their musicianship, and ability to translate some of the greatest works of the author into aural form. Musically, the grim underlying mood that creeps upon you with every track is frankly, irresistible. While it has such an ethereal, murky atmosphere throughout, captivating and almost hypnotic, the album doesn’t fall short on its share of heavy, relentless energy along with the more gentle waves of progressive tranquillity. The band has clearly found a beautiful balance between an array of sounds which they make work in their favour. This album is a strong one and definitely one you cannot attach a label to. Thanks again Season of Mist!

YLVA – Meta

Discovery of the year is some of the heaviest music I’ve heard in 2017 and it comes from Melbourne’s YLVA, a band that literally came out of nowhere and crushed peoples eardrums with a menacing, and fierce album that I cannot get enough of. The four-piece are definitely one of Australia’s best heavy bands, and one of the most obscure. M E T A is an emotional experience brings together a culmination of sounds that make it decidedly hard and slightly confusing to really place them in a genre. But quite simply, this album has everything I love – sludgy grooves, doomish, haunting atmospheres, acoustic guitars and just an overall, incredibly heavy persona. This is not just any album you can headbang or mosh to; it has much more depth to it than that – almost like they are luring you into a different dimension, like Mesarthim but using a heavier means.

Blut Aus Nord – Deus Salutis Mae

Blut Aus Nord is a class apart, always have been and continue to remain so, proof being the latest release, ‘Deus Salutis Mae‘. Versatile, contemporary and unorthodox in style, this French black metal outfit has always defied the boundaries of the genre, exhibiting it in a unique and intriguing way. Experimental is what  Vindsval does best, to the point where they have now set the bar high for other bands playing in a similar vein. This album is what nightmares would sound like – confronting screams, ghostly chants and layers of ambient sounds to add to its extremely sinister aesthetic. Honestly, it took a few listens to wrap my head around this one, but once I did, the obscurity of this record draws you in again and again. Like I read somewhere, it’s definitely “hallucinatory”, and one of the most original compositions of music this year. There is no compromise on creativity and the use of varying sound dynamics is just one of many reasons as to why their music is so appealing. ‘Deus Salutis Mae’, holds the essence of Blut Aus Nord’s past yet allows plenty of space for evolution into their current entity, one that keeps pushing boundaries.

Solstafir – Berdreyminn

Iceland’s Solstafir, one of the country’s finest bands, brought forth one of the most brilliant albums of the year. ‘Berdreyminn‘ consolidates the band’s unique sound but only just, as they explore new realms, proving that there is always room for more experimentation. It moves along the same vein as ‘Otta‘ in terms of those interspersed folk and ambient elements but proves to be much faster, more progressive and arguably more emotional. There are strong, standout points throughout which prove that this is the work and result of Solstafir’s creativity however if you haven’t listened to them before, this could be a completely different band. Every track possesses it’s own entity and while a song such as ‘Naros‘  is melodic and eerie with beautiful distorted guitars, you cannot expect the same or similar on the next track. Anyone who has read my reviews before knows that I’m a sucker for unpredictability in the music I listen to; it’s like going on an adventure and finding some really cool shit along the way. This is exactly what Solstafir do with their new album.

Elder – Reflections of a Floating World

The three-piece psychedelic rock legends from Boston released an album that redefines progressive rock and metal as we know it. It also made me appreciate this band even more for their extremely unorthodox style of music – a groove-laden sludge fest that accompanies everything that is perfect about prog music. The signature melancholic soundscapes strengthened bystoner/ doom-laden riffs, distinct vocals, solos that go straight to the heart and layers of ominous keys. With every listen, you discover something new in Elder’s music, even more so on this album. Elder is unmatched.

An Autumn For Crippled Children – morfine EP/ trust EP

I know I’m cheating a little bit here but it’s two releases from the same artist in the same year, also trust came out literally a week ago so it deserves to be here. While Morfine is heavy and fierce, holding a lot of intensity and emotion, Trust shows a much more different side to this band. It’s like Explosions in the Sky suddenly turned around and decided to throw black metal into the mix. Happy, weird, dark and strange. Morfine has this really raw sound that somehow magnifies the emotional aspects of this album. The transitional mood swings so to speak, the highs and lows and the sheer beauty behind the instrumentation and musicianship are just some of the many strong points of this band’s latest release.

Mesarthim – Presence E.P

My favourite mysterious metallers dropped a beautiful surprise on all their fans earlier this year, reminding us of their obscure, melancholic existence. Their EP Presence signifies an evolution in Mesarthim’s music from purely black metal to more upbeat and electronic soundscapes although continuing to maintain that dark, spacey eerieness that they have become well-known for. Their brand of ‘cosmic atmospheric black metal’ has put them at the top of some of Australia’s best bands, a position earned and rightly so, having established themselves within the scene so quickly. While the music on Presence signifies new ground for Mesarthim, the music still evokes incredible emotion and allows your mind to explore the unknown. It’s always hard to explain or express what this band makes me feel. But every release of theirs is a piece of art.

Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi

Seriously, about bloody time this lot released new music. One of my favourite death metal bands ever, Decrepit Birth don’t muck around and are just downright brutal. Seven long years since they last put out music, but that gap in no way affected the band’s passion for edgy, dirty and heavy music. Axis Mundi is the epitome of straight up tech death metal, filled with chunky, punishing riffs, rhythmic, fast-paced drumming and a fair bit of melody thrown in in spurts, making this an album that shows why this band stands a class apart in the death metal world. Also, the vocals are hectic! The songwriting is some of the best they’ve done, each track packing in a punch. It was a lot to take in on first listen, but the sheer energy that this band exuberates through their music is enough to get you moshing in your living room and that’s the exact effect Axis Mundi has!

Majora – Aphotic

Majora is without a doubt, one of the best bands in Australia and continue to establish their position with the release of an incredible album, ‘Aphotic‘. It is no secret, my love for this band and the music they create, however, if I am to be objective, I stand in awe of their ability to remain unique in a genre that is fast becoming the norm. What Majora does; combining eerie ambient atmospheres and massive riffs, the sudden and dynamic shifts in their music placed throughout, as if hiding pieces of a puzzle, will undoubtedly draw the listener in, and have you wanting more by the end. There is all of this and much more in their latest work of art ‘Aphotic‘, a dark mystical journey with always a glimmer of light in sight.

Tongues – Hreilia

A band that I came across just earlier this month and instantly fell in love with – Denmark’s Tongues, combine the beauty of atmospheric elements with the eerie and sinister vibe of black metal. This would just be scratching the surface but that’s just to give you an idea of what these guys play. Dig deeper, and I mean much, much deeper and you will find an absolutely crushing release that holds thought-provoking lyrics, huge-sounding, rumbling bass lines that will have you drool (not literally) and a certain elegance in the technicality of their style. But it doesn’t stop there. ‘Hreilia’ brings forth the magnificence of combining elements of doom and death metal, masterfully woven in with the band’s heavy sound to create a musical experience that is intense, emotional and undeniably chaotic. An aural assault from start to finish that will have you wanting more after each track, Tongues have successfully made an album that boasts experimentation and the band’s versatility. It is an experience which alternates between haunting soundscapes, frenzied riffs and an overwhelmingly paranoid mood. Groove-laden and aggressive yet dark, ambient and melodic, there’s something truly special about this album, an incredible debut from a new band.

Myrkur – Mareridt

One of my favourite artists, hands down, Myrkur, has certainly outdone herself this year with her latest release ‘Mareridt‘, an absolutely beautiful exhibition of her finest work yet. A musical alchemist as I like to call her, everything about this album, from the production and instrumentation to the soundscapes and atmospheres is perfect. The album distances itself from black metal as compared to the last one, but still maintains elements of it’s hypnotic darkness.  Her distinct and incredibly engaging voice is a real treasure and what pieces together all the music so magnificently. The layers of atmosphere that give you visuals of pristine, gloomy forests and her signature use of traditional folk instruments woven into each track will captivate you. Myrkur cannot be compared as such to any other artist/band as her style is extremely unique and Mareridt goes to show how she is a class apart.

Septicflesh – Codex Omega

The Greek gods of symphonic death metal returned, and triumphantly might I add, this year with a record that blew me away. Quite frankly, Septicflesh is in a league of their own, with their latest offering to the world, Codex Omega consolidating their position in the world of metal. A majestic record that is so perfect in every way, this is without a doubt one of 2017’s best records. Thunderous riffs, orchestral sections that blend oh so magnificently with soaring symphonies and basically everything else that makes up an insane death metal album. These legends have mastered their art and have remained consistent in it’s delivery – no one does it like them.

Norse – The Divine Light of a New Sun

A release that truly boasts the magnificence of black metal in Australia and that it is well and truly alive, Norse released an absolute masterpiece this year with their second full-length album ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun‘. Dissonant, bleak and with an industrial touch, the album has a weird, otherworldly charm that is strangely hypnotic The songwriting is brilliant, the music crushing to the point where you feel it is summoning your soul and a production that only further highlights the sheer ingenuity of this band and their musicianship.


Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.