Back in April Hellbound shared some of our staff picks from the first few months of 2017 (part one | part one, b). Now it’s time for part two, the spring/summer edition: more new metal that’s been catching our ears.
More 2017 heavy metal highlights according to Hellbound
Gene A. Gaona
Expulsion – Nightmare Future
Newcomer Expulsion is Grindcore, Death Metal, and Thrashy Punk all wrapped up in one little neat package. This EP is powerful, straightforward with no bullshit and no fluff. It is a fine example that you don’t need to waste time to get your point across and make face-melting heavy music.
Suffocation – Of the Dark Light
What can you say, these guy continue to put out quality Death Metal year after year (or every two years). What’s even more impressive is that their studio albums are even better live. After seeing them play some tracks off this album in San Francisco I was sold. Such a strong sounding group and this album is a brutal mix of speed, grooves and some incredible lead guitar work.
Warbringer – Woe To The Vanquished
Warbringer has always produced heavy records with a quality Thrash sound, but Woe To The Vanquished has taken them to another level. With awesome catchy riffs that are meant to make you Mosh, they also brought an epic Iron Maiden styled song to this album that is a hair over 11 minutes long. Warbringer has really started to fine tune their musical skills and this record is a really solid indication that they are more than your typical Thrash band.
Jay H. Gorania
Immolation – Atonement (Nuclear Blast)
Nine Inch Nails – Add Violence (The Null Corporation)
Pallbearer – Heartless (Profound Lore)
Goatwhore – Vengeful Ascension (Metal Blade)
Life of Agony – A Place Where There’s No More Pain (Napalm)
Honorable mention: Sepultura – Machine Messiah (Nuclear Blast)
Outstanding festival: Destroying Texas Fest (Houston, Texas)
CRAVEN IDOL – The Shackles of Mammon
Blackened thrash from the UK that’ll rip your face off in the first five minutes.
ORANSSI PAZUZU – Farmakologinen
Finnish psych wizards pull gems from the vault to enchant and entrance.
BARDSPEC – Hydrogen
Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved lets us in on his inner dreamscapes.
ARCADEA – s/t
Brann Dailor of Mastodon cuts loose and lets things get a little weird.
HEATHEN BEAST – $cam
Tasty, flavourful and real spicy grind from Kolkata, India.
5. Bison – You Are Not the Ocean, You Are the Patient: There’s already been a few really good Canadian doom/sludge/heavy-rock albums this year, but with apologies to Volur and Longhouse, Bison is the clubhouse leader. The B.C. boys really dial up the Neurosis on this comeback record! hellbound.ca/2017/06/bison-not-ocean-patient
4. Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2: You would not expect a really heavy, proggy, groove-rock outfit to call Nashville home. But no matter where they roam, these guys fucking slay! hellbound.ca/2017/08/howling-giant-black-hole-space-wizard-part-2/
3. Thoughts of Ionesco – Skar Cymbals: This long-dormant Detroit outfit might be the missing link between Black Flag and Saint Vitus—with some Today is the Day and Strapping Young Lad thrown in for good measure. An absolutely jaw-dropping EP! hellbound.ca/2017/06/thoughts-ionesco-skar-cymbals
2. Demon Eye – Prophecies and Lies: The North Carolina retro/occult doom rockers improve on their very solid debut with an even better sophomore effort. Producer Mike Dean draws all the Deep Purple and Pentagram he can from this band on this one! hellbound.ca/2017/08/demon-eye-prophecies-lies/
1. Ether – There is Nothing Left for Me Here: This completely underground Florida outfit has put out one of the best things I’ve heard in a while. Combining southern sludge, gothic doom, traditional doom and nihilistic lyrics inspired by their singer’s recent divorce, you might not hear a more mind-bending approach to grief and loathing this year! hellbound.ca/2017/06/ether-nothing-left
WORST ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Doom Side of the Moon. Three-quarters of The Sword muck their way through Pink Floyd’s most popular album, and it’s not even that much doomier than the original. No wonder JD Cronise wouldn’t touch this one!!!
Space Witch – ‘Arcanum‘ (HeviSike Records): Definite contender for album of the year. Cosmic stoner doom at its best. I’ve spent countless hours lost in its void. Fans of the heavy and spaced out will eat this right up! Pair with your favourite strain.
Couch Slut – ‘Contempt‘ (Gilead Media): Considered me stunned. Not only is this sludgy, doomed, black metal-tinged noiserock incredible on its own but Meg O.’s deeply pained vocals will send shivers up your spine and tears down your face. Mindblowing.
Tombs – ‘The Grand Annihilation‘ (Metal Blade): Mastermind Mike Hill continues to put out inspired black metal-based extremity. This time he actually has the same band as a previous release! If you know Tombs, you know you’re getting quality.
Necrot – ‘Blood Offerings‘ (Tankcrimes): DEATH METAL!!!! With all the “progressive”, “tech”, “experimental” death out there it’s really nice to see (relatively) new bands taking the old school approach and just tearing your face off with bloody riffs and no fucking around.
Elder – ‘Reflections of a Floating World‘ (Stickman/Armageddon): Not that progression is always a bad thing. Elder serve up another spectacular offering of progressive sludge/stoner rock that sucks you right in. The artwork is but a pale reflection of the depth explored here.
Woodhawk – ‘Beyond the Sun‘ (self-released): RIFFS! The Calgary outfit packs the riffs in like you wouldn’t believe. It’s so incredibly catchy and just plain rockin’. Not to mention a guest appearance from Kevin Keegan of Dead Quiet (ex-Barn Burner)! Awesome!
Guest pick: Sarah Riley
DragonForce – Reaching Into Infinity (Metal Blade)
Top Grades from Garren Ustel
Origin – Unparalleled Universe (Nuclear Blast) 9.5/10 hellbound.ca/2017/06/origin-unparalleled-universe
Iapetus – The Long Road Home 9/10
Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon (Profound Lore) 8/10
Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With (Relapse) 8/10
Enfold Darkness – Adversary Omnipotent (The Artisan Era) 8/10
Bison – You Are Not the Ocean, You Are the Patient (Pelagic)
Ides Of Gemini – Women (Rise Above)
Progeny – “The Light”
Raphael Weinroth-Browne – “Ricercare”
Unleash The Archers – Apex (Napalm)
Violet Cold – Anomie (Tridroid Records/Folkvangr)
Wintersun – The Forest Seasons (Nuclear Blast)
David Maxim Micic – Who Bit the Moon: davidmaximmicic.bandcamp.com
Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Leprous – “From the Flame” (single)
Metallica – Live at Rogers Centre, July 16