Ah, that most glorious time of the year for music writers – year-end season is upon us once again! 2017 was a tumultuous year, but even so, it was a damned good one for heavy metal, and Team Hellbound had a cornucopia of great albums to choose from.
Here, we turn the page over to our individual staffers to discuss their favorite records of the year, give their hottest takes on the state-of-the-heavy-metal-union in 2017, and tell the world what they’re looking forward to for 2018.
As always, every member of Team Hellbound would like to extend our warmest thanks to each and every one of you who continue to read our site, and we wish you all a very metal Christmas and a headbanging new year.
Hails, horns, happy holidays, and ho-ho-ho from Hellbound!
Gruesome Greg’s Best Metal Albums of 2017:
There is Nothing Left for Me Here
Released July 7
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 multifaceted musical approach to grief and loathing this year!
Gospel of Despair
Released November 17
Just when I thought the year was over, this UK outfit comes outta nowhere with the best epic doom album of 2017. No fuzz tones, no sludge screams, no songs about marijuana and/or outer space. This is true doom metal through and through.
Prophecies and Lies
Released August 11
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!
Curse of Conception
(20 Buck Spin)
Released October 6
I had this one down as my best epic doom album of the year until Monolith Cult came in with their hair in the wind without warning. While so many other modern doom bands strive to be like Sleep, these guys prefer to be Candlemass…and there’s nothing wrong with that at all!
Released November 3
Here’s another one for the “Holy Fuck” files. This Japanese outfit mixes sludge, grind and crust into a killer concoction that makes its mark in just 25 minutes!
Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2
Released August 25
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!
Released April 7
Don’t call this one a comeback—Scott Reeder and Greg Rogers are nowhere to be found. But even though Wino pretty much just slapped The Obsessed’s name on an erstwhile solo effort, this album does nothing to tarnish his legacy.
With the Dead
Love from With the Dead
Released September 22
Lee Dorrian is not amused. All the while taking potshots at the state of modern doom, the founding father of Rise Above Records takes us back to the early days of Cathedral with his latest album.
You Are Not the Ocean You Are the Patient
Released June 23
There’s 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 effort!
Released March 17
The Sword Who? The new heaviest band from Texas kept on rolling in 2017 with a new album, new tour (no Toronto shows, though!) and even opened for Blue Oyster Cult in Dallas.
Favourite Album Cover Art/Packaging of 2017:
I gotta say, Relapse did a bang-up job with The Obsessed reissue. The original album remastered, plus a long lost demo, AND a mid-80’s live set? Dude, this thing must be, what, 6 LPs!!!??? hellbound.ca/2017/10/obsessed-self-titled-reissue
Best gig I attended in 2017:
The inaugural Days of Darkness festival in Baltimore was a doom/sludge/trad metal fan’s dream. I could do without the synthwave next year, though…
Most anticipated album for 2018:
Is 2018 the year we finally get a new Sleep album?
My 2017 in Metal:
I took four trips to Trump’s America in 2017—and only got called into secondary inspection twice. Not all of them were metal-related, but there was a musical component to every one, whether it was catching a surprisingly decent (not to mention free) outdoor set by Aerosmith in Phoenix or making a pilgrimage to the Mother Church of Country Music in Nashville. Speaking of outdoor gigs, Austin’s a pretty good place to see a show in February, and as for Baltimore, well… next time I’ll know not to walk back to the hotel alone.
What you’re looking forward to in 2018, metal-wise or otherwise:
Matt Pike for President.
2017 “Metal Person of the Year”:
As far as doom is concerned, 2017 was the Year of Wino. Between a new Obsessed album, the reissue of their debut, and at least 50 live gigs over 2-3 separate tours, the dude was awfully active these past 12 months.