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!
Adrien’s Best Metal Albums of 2017:
Released March 24
Curse of Conception
(20 Buck Spin)
Released October 6
The City That Always Sleeps
Released September 15
Released October 20
Sweet Death And Ecstasy
Released October 20
Released October 13
A Funeral For The World
Released September 8
Released August 11
Red Before Black
Released November 3
Released July 28
11. Satans Hallow, Satans Hallow
12. Kreator, Gods of Violence
13. Power Trip, Nightmare Logic
14. Mastodon, Emperor of Sand
15. Venom Inc., Avé
16. Arch Enemy, Will to Power
17. Walpyrgus, Walpyrgus Nights
18. Weaponizer, Lawless Age
19. Night Demon, Darkness Remains
20. Accept, The Rise of Chaos
Favourite Album-Cover Art of 2017:
Pallbearer – Heartless
(Profound Lore, released March 24)
Cover Artist: Michael Lierly
A big, grandiose album requires big, grandiose artwork to compliment it, and Pallbearer did just that with the lavish double-LP spread for Heartless. Having something tactile you can lose yourself in while the music plays enriches the album experience, and this record’s artwork and design is gorgeously rendered.
Best gig I attended in 2017:
The best metal show of the year for me was seeing Gojira and Pallbearer in the summer. Pallbearer, as you can tell, dominated my 2017, and it was cool to see how much they’ve evolved as a live act. They have so much more presence compared to three years ago. As for Gojira, they remain one of the best live acts on the planet, and as they always do, they put on an unforgettable show.
Favourite Metal Item Added To My Collection in 2017:
That’ll have to be the super-duper deluxe edition Master of Puppets re-release. You could tell this was a dream project for the band, because so much care was put into this spectacular set, as longtime fans (like yours truly) are afforded a chance to witness the evolution of a young band over the course of two years, including the creation of The Greatest Heavy Metal Album of All Time™, from riff tapes, to demos, to rough mixes, to the final masterpiece. Featuring a bevy of live recordings from their absolute zenith, a cassette of Cliff Burton’s final performance, Jason Newsted’s rehearsal tapes, a hardcover book, and loads of bells and whistles, it is a glorious, shamelessly nostalgic package. I couldn’t be happier with it.
Most anticipated album for 2018:
Judas Priest’s Firepower. And Opeth. Always Opeth. I’m excited for new tunes by Audrey Horne. And maybe this’ll be the year for that damned Tool record.
My 2017 in Metal:
Does anyone remember laughter? Apparently not, or at least that’s what some vocal people in the metal scene want you to believe. No, in this age of hypocritical manifestos and overuse of the embarrassing term “woke”, some metal journalism (for lack of a better word) was preoccupied by negativity in 2017: doom, gloom, in-fighting, witch-hunts, virtue signaling, scene policing, personal politics, scandals, discord, post-Trumpian tension. Awareness and social change are crucial issues, especially today, but some in the American metal media are – justifiably – so consumed by their rapidly imploding republic that they’re letting their anxiety cloud their perspective of heavy metal as a global phenomenon. Typical of American exceptionalism, it feels as though they think that the rest of the world should be as full of white liberal guilt and righteous indignation as they are because their own country is in the toilet. As lousy as it is to see genuinely decent American people endure the last couple years, the rest of we “foreigners” are thankful to live where we do, which in turn must make it easier to enjoy the stupid, escapist, fun side of traditional heavy metal. Thank goodness for that, too. Please, metal friends, do everything you can to make this world a little better, but as timely as socially aware heavy metal music feels in 2017 don’t forget why we all started listening to this music in the first place, too. Live a little, bang your head a little, have a beer or three, crank the spectacular new Midnight album, escape, and smile a little.
2017 “Metal Person of the Year”:
Those poor “Nameless Ghouls” suing Tobias “Papa Emeritus” Forge because they didn’t like doing laundry and sleeping on a cramped tour bus. If that isn’t emblematic of the metal scene in 2017, I don’t know what is.