Best Of 2017 – Last Rites Combined Staff

2017 was a big year behind the scenes for Last Rites—the biggest since we switched names back in December of 2012. Ownership changed hands, which on the surface had zero effect on readers, but it served as the impetus to finally scooch (most) everything over to new digs we felt were needed in order to maintain a modern look. Yes, we’ve got a few old (ancient) bastards on the crew, but we’re still stylish bastards. As anticipated, the move was largely uphill, but for the first time in quite a while, the people responsible for providing the content here are now solely responsible for keeping literally everything about Last Rites afloat.

Outside of the new paint job, the biggest change for 2017 materialized once we made the decision to pull the plug on the Last Rites crew Facebook “office” in favor of one of those fancy cloud-based “collaborative software” joints to help keep things better organized moving forward. We’d hoped such a change would streamline everyday administration, and it has, but what we didn’t expect was just how much this shift would bring the crew closer together under a roof that’s as close to a private version of the old MetalReview forums you can get without turning back the clock ten years. With this new system in place, conversation and interpersonal connection has escalated—not only with regard to Last Rites’ day-to-day nonsense, but in relation to life and times and music in general, too. Now, thanks in part to our newfound Hale-Bopp high-tech network snugglefest, the crew is energized, apprized and maybe just a teensy bit salty during High Sodium Fridays (when destroying a fellow staffer for an unabashed obsession with Striborg is commonplace).

Getting to the point and germane to List Season: One of the topics that has repeatedly boiled to the surface amongst the crew over the course of nearly every month this year is the fact that, for a number of us, 2017 has managed to be kinder to non-metal as opposed to metal. Not a terrible year for headbangers, mind you, thanks to the releases you’re about to see below and throughout our individual staffer lists beginning next week, but several shades softer than in recent years. That’s obviously a bit of a bummer, but what’s good about surviving amidst a modest dearth of head-lopping records savage enough to kill the entire crew across the board is that it forces individuals to spend more time with the albums we love without constantly scouring for the next big thing, which leads to deeper connections.

For 2017, our combined list represents the LR crew to a motherfucking tee: Dusty and seasoned enough that it holds fast to the dependable veterans who still manage to kill, but not so codgerly as to ignore what’s being delivered by some of the younger, more enterprising bands that have a thumb on the fierce pulse of today. If you glance at our rankings and wonder if we’ve even heard a number of the records that have already managed to hit high amongst our peers but seem to be missing, the answer is: Yep, we’ve heard them. 2017 was deficient in a number of ways, particularly with regard to black metal, doom, and power, and death metal once again managed to rule the roost. Our combined list reflects that truth.

As always, we’d like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to read, share and converse with Last Rites this year. We hope hope 2017 has been kind to you and yours, and we very much look forward to forging ahead into 2018 with all of you by our side.



Funeral doom is one of the most paradoxical of heavy metal’s many splintered sub-genres. On the one hand, the relative sparseness and simplicity of the genre’s accepted tropes might make one think it’s extremely easy to pull off. But in practice, the constituent pieces of the sound are so transparent that poor execution and uninspired songs have absolutely nowhere to hide. Thankfully, Belgium’s Slow demonstrates complete and utter mastery of the form on sole member Déhà’s fittingly named fifth album, V – Oceans. The atmosphere throughout is vividly aquatic, with rounded, undulating bass, chiming clean guitar, echoing snare-rim hits sounding the depths like sonar pings, and heaving waves of distorted riffing like, well, the unforgiving churn of the furious ocean. Friends, Slow is the real goddamned article. [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

Released: GS Productions, July 16th


“If I were to sum up Death Revenge in one word, that word would be magnificent. It is not just a great death metal album, but a great heavy metal album. It’s hard to say, in the endlessly subdivided genre that is heavy metal, if anything is capable of being considered a classic anymore, but I’m confident that 20 years from now, I’ll still be listening to Death Revenge. It is quite possibly the best thing Exhumed has ever done..” [JEREMY MORSE]

Released: Relapse Records, October 13th
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“We’re all perfectly familiar with the timeworn story’s harsh end, though. The sun melts wax wings; absolute power corrupts absolutely; molten hell burns eternally; Cenobites forever tear flesh from bone; and Kaecilius eventually gets incinerated and snatched up into the swirling abyss of the Dark Dimension. Similarly, the poor bastard at the heart of Kwintessensbargains for a particularly harsh fall via the ten minute disintegration that is “Finale” and “Icosahedron – The Death of Your Body.” A poisoned and exceedingly helpless climax that could make the darkness of BAN‘s The Work Which Transforms God seem like a stroll in the park puts a final grip on the ol’ gray matter by the tale’s end. And then… Abrupt silence.” [CAPTAIN]

Released: Season of Mist, March 17th
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“Here’s another typically obnoxious way to describe Klabautamann on Smaragd: painterly. The core of the sound is a warm, organic type of progressive black metal where the instruments sound not just like real instruments, but like real instruments whose tones have been deliberately and repeatedly fussed over. So, although the presentation is straightforward, it is nevertheless rich and meticulous, painted with careful color and heavily stylized brushstrokes.” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

Released: Zeitgeister Music, June 6th
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Knock Knock? Oh, Hello. It’s me. Death metal. Again. And this time I brought unrelenting pain for your brain. Yet another band finally pulling through in 2017 with a full length that exceeds expectations. While most of the world was busy worrying about middling efforts in the genre, Ascended dead were busy ripping the doors off the DeLorean as they sped towards the brutal future of death metal at a cool 88MPH. Ascended Dead compose ripping, chaotic tracks of death metal fury complete with brutal vocals and riffs to match. They even know how to dial it down when necessary and throw you an acoustic intro, interlude or what-have-you. Like some sort of bastardized Moby Dick (I assume that’s what the cover went for), Ascended Dead are a Captain Ahab terrorizing the seas on an unending quest to harpoon the title of death metal supremacy. [MANNY-O-WAR]

Released: Dark Descent Records, March 17th


“…if ever there was a band that could deliver such an oddity, it would be The Chasm, because this particular creature lives to RIFF above all else, and it hungers to beat your shivery bones to dust with pummeling drums. No voiced command or accompaniment is necessary to execute objectives such as this.” [CAPTAIN]

Released: Lux Inframundis Productions, September 28th
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“There’s more experimentation on Post Self, a wider range of vocals that span the full arc of the Godflesh discography, and the record maintains a freshness with the energy of its beats and Green’s insistence on flattening skulls with annihilative bass play. Summarily, it’s a big victory for anyone who’s missed the darker, more atmospheric face of Godflesh, and its the sort of “late in the year” record that could make those who’ve already locked in their favorites of 2017 want to put their head through the wall…in a very grateful kind of way.” [CAPTAIN]

Released: Svart Records, November 11th
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The past 18 months have been chicken-and-waffles levels of good for death metal. And during that span, many bands have tested the waters with demos, splits, and EPs. None, however, delivered beyond expectations like Tomb Mold. Their highly anticipated LP simply ripped the lid off their graveyard brand of death metal and spewed forth whatever junkyard demon adorns their cover. Thick riffs, bludgeoning drums, diaphragm-damaging vocals and absolutely masterful compositional dynamics make Primordial Malignity the assurance that Tomb Mold has the potential to be the death metal band of our dreams. [MANNY-O-WAR]

Released: Blood Harvest, February 3rd


It was a heck of a year for Slovakia (music-wise, I don’t pay attention to their politics or whatever but they do make good wine), but when all was said and done Count Von Krolok soared above many other black metal releases while imposing his black metal dominance over the mountainy landscape, sucking blood and souls from the infidels. The album is full of traditional blackened metal riffs with bouncy, garage-like drums filtered through production that feels intimate–as if the Count’s fangs are about to sink into your flesh. Flying Above Ancient Ruins has a vibe that just won’t quit–and many staffers succumbed to the infection. (And, it goes without saying that more than a few of us had a serious art-boner for the hellacious cover.) [MANNY-O-WAR]

Released: Hexencave Productions, June 13th


“Cannibal Corpse has never been an exceptionally speedy band, but one of the over-arching themes here is forceful delivery over beats per minute and the approach works well. Corpsegrinder’s vocals feature no isolated high shrieks and the fretwork often dwells on the top half of the neck. It’s almost less of a straightforward death metal album and more of an insanely brutal thrash album–“almost” being key here as this is still a Cannibal Corpse album and thrash mostly sucks.” [CHRIS REDAR]

Released: Metal Blade Records, November 3rd
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“Just what in the triple-double-flip got into these guys is beyond me, but they apparently want to stuff us all into a hungry car crusher, and that’s wonderful. I can understand if fusspots choose to squawk about the vocals at the outset, mostly because they explore unfamiliar territory, but the uniqueness they add to the overall brew is what helps a record like this stand out when zillions of other releases battle for attention. Hell, buy the damn thing just to hear the riffs this Derek Webster nutcase comes up with—you won’t be disappointed.” [CAPTAIN]

Released: The Flesner, May 5th
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It’s pretty easy and convenient to call Kelle surut soi “the best Moonsorrow album Moonsorrow never made” and be done with it. This wouldn’t be without a pretty huge grain of truth, after all. Havukruunu plays the same type of sweeping, majestic, gargantuan, pagan- and folk-tinged, Bathory-bombast-fueled, Epic-with-a-capital-E black metal as their Finnish countrymen–with tremolo riffs and blasts and huge choral arrangements and visions of foggy mountains and everything else. But there are two crucial keys to their success. The first is that Havukruunu often prefers things on the more intense edge of the spectrum, eschewing any and all humppa tendencies in favor of a sound that is completely battle hardened (go ahead, try not to think of the ride cymbal clangs as crashing swords). The second is that the only other band doing this style even remotely this good has already been name dropped; Kelle surut soi is absolutely in the same class as Moonsorrow’s best, and is begging for ears. [ZACH DUVALL]

Released: Naturmacht Productions, April 29th


“More than just the core sounds, however, is that Deep Calleth embraces the band’s artfulness more than ever before. It is an expression of sadness as much as it is a statement of triumph, restrained while oozing with personality, and extremely focused while flowing freely through a variety of moods. Like every previous step in their career, nothing seems forced because this is just two guys doing what comes to them naturally, still letting their muse carry them where it may, and letting the quality of the songs speak for themselves.” [ZACH DUVALL]

Released: Century Media, September 23rd
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“The funny thing about Incantation is that, for as legendary a name as they are in the history of death metal, they sometimes seem rather underappreciated compared to many of their similarly positioned peers. If both Immolation and Suffocation likely captured a larger share of press attention and record sales throughout the years, Incantation has more or less soldiered on, changing their approach imperceptibly (if at all) throughout the years despite a cavalcade of lineup changes. Without any high-profile breakups or huge lapses in their discography, Incantation has basically just always been there, churning out reliably awesome death metal with such nonchalance that it was easy to take them for granted. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that Incantation just might represent the Platonic ideal of death metal.” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

Released: Relapse Records, August 11th
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“In general, the weighty, often melancholy aura that flecked Argus’s previous albums is present in much heavier doses here, but the band thrives on such darker terrain. “216” is a particular highlight in this gloomier vein, with an opening that drips with the same sustained longing as Warning. “Hour of Longing” concludes with a magnificently lyrical guitar solo, and while “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” might be a touch too long at eleven minutes, on a close listen, it’s not at all obvious where one could trim it without diminishing its power, particularly given that the mournful midsection boasts the album’s most sumptuous tones and weeping leads.” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

Released: Cruz del Sur Music, September 8th
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Exuvia, by contrast, does not feel threatening, and it does not create images of some cataclysm or sense of loss. Rather, the feeling here is of enchantment and magic, as absolutely corny and hokey as that may sound. The land to which you are transported is alien and otherworldly, to be sure, but wonders are afoot, and giving into the sounds creates that sense of wonder. Make no mistake, this is still dark, dark music, but it is a welcoming darkness. The Ruins of Beverast has never been farther from “pure” black metal, but the music, in so many ways, has never sounded more symbolically black.” [ZACH DUVALL]

Released: Ván Records, May 5th
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Kingdoms Disdained is not a prank, but a curious, indirect bit of fan service. We wanted a new death metal record from Morbid Angel, and we got a new death metal record from Morbid Angel. That it probably isn’t the death metal record some folks expected speaks as much to the band’s talent as it does to how we process the careers of such monumental musicians.” [ZACH DUVALL]

Released: Silver Lining Music, December 1st
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“The centerpiece here is the nearly 23-minute epic “A Mote Constitutes What To Me Is Not All, And Eternally All, Is Nothing.” The graceful, elongated build process here will almost seem like overkill upon the first listen, as will the bookend after the volcano of aggression that oozes throughout the center. It’s after repeated exhibitions that the layers start to congeal and the true beauty of this exercise starts to make sense — there is hardly a squandered second in relation to the complete composition. The way sections reach their natural conclusion and fade back into parts previous is exquisite.” [CHRIS REDAR]

Released: Willowtip Records, April 21st
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“Immolation belongs to the most elite tier of bands in all of death metal history not only because of their longevity and consistency, but because of the ferociously unique style they have carved out and honed over time. One of the remarkable things about this band is the sheer strangeness they are able to wring out of the most basic of set-ups: no fancy effects, keyboards, or studio trickery, and yet the roiling lebenswelt of Bob Vigna’s inimitable style still sounds like radio transmissions from a planet where the air is a swamp, the ocean is fire, and the soil is alive. As with all of their post-Unholy Cult material, Atonement is more straightforward, more focused, and less chaotic.” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

Released: Nuclear Blast, February 24th
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“If anything, Paradise Lost’s return to extremity has only enhanced how great they were and are when employing all tools at their disposal, especially their gothic tones. Nowhere is this clearer than on the album’s masterful title track. The pairing of a chilling clean vocal line with an unexpectedly uplifting lead guitar melody is perhaps the album’s finest moment, and only sticks with the listener as the song moves naturally through various moods. The song is a clinic in understated songcraft and performance, and an instant Paradise Lost classic.” [ZACH DUVALL]

Released: Nuclear Blast, September 1st
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Despite the disgustingly handsome Einar Solberg only being the tender age of 32, he has the benefit of 16 years of experience providing glorious, angelic, earth-shattering vocals for Leprous. Formed in 2001, the band has been on an upward trajectory since their debut 2009 LP Tall Poppy Syndrome, and it certainly continued with the sublime Malina. Their 2017 effort is a beautiful work of progressive genius effortlessly combining beautiful passages highlighted by Solberg’s flawless voice with emotionally moving instrumental undulations. Malina is truly an album for all occasions with enough depth to suit any state of mind. [MANNY-O-WAR]

Released: InsideOut Music, August 25th


“The true highlight, however, lands with the album’s title track, which, apart from being a rather ideal embodiment of all the band’s unique features, also represents one of the finer songs Pagan Altar has recorded in years. The way that slow kick drum thumps a weighty lifeblood alongside Terry’s warm (nasally, but comforting) storyteller’s voice and Alan’s delicate fretwork, and the manner in which that doomy lick lifts off at 2:25 into its soaring centerpiece – this is precisely the reason many of us hold the band in such high regard.” [CAPTAIN]

Released: Temple of Mystery Records, August 24th
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“The essentials are all present, too. Grutle hasn’t lost an ounce of grit or gravel—neither has Ivar, for that matter—and E feels as if a wee more attention is placed on the lower bellow that helped launch tunes from Below the Lights through the roof. Also, as is often the case, Ice Dale’s lead work is largely low-key, but he occasionally splits the sky with a burst of color at the most opportune moment, e.g. two minutes into the absolutely cracking “Axis of the Worlds.” And finally, E most certainly delivers the quintessential Enslaved innovation that In Times desperately lacked. The riffs and the overall guitar work is proggier, heavier, nuttier (is that a flippin’ Epiphone Wildkat at the onset of “Axis?”) and quite simply ten shades more interesting compared to most of what the band has done since Axioma Ethica Odini.” [CAPTAIN]

Released: Nuclear Blast, October 13th
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“For all the (deserved and correct) talk about how superlatively and disorientingly heavy Pyrrhon can be, a thing that is sometimes curiously overlooked is just how excellent these guys are at their instruments. The standards for instrumental dexterity in this type of technically demanding music have been raised so high that it’s tempting to take them for granted, but the crucial thing for Pyrrhon is not just that these guys can play the hell out of fast, complicated patterns, but that they are consistently doing inventive, thematically appropriate things with those fast, complicated patterns.” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

Released: Willowtip Records, August 11th
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“I’m not entirely sure what’s going on across the pond that’s inspiring all these young Euro bands to release so much quality forward-thinking death metal, but it’s not just the Surströmming up in Sweden. Norway has crews like Diskord, Obliteration and Reptilian bending the stodgy rules, and now we have Venenum putting an emphatic pin into Deutschland. Whatever’s happening, let’s hope it continues. And in the meantime, whether this represents a window into a transitional chapter that ultimately leaves this sound behind or not, Trance of Death is here for our pleasure today, and it’s an incredibly rewarding listen that’s sure to land Venenum a hell of a lot of well deserved praise.” [CAPTAIN]

Released: Sepulchral Voice Records, March 17th
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Once again, a heartfelt thank you is owed to all of our readers, the bands, the labels, and the PR companies that remain a part of the Last Rites world. We obviously wouldn’t be here without you, and we look forward to facing whatever new, exciting and formidable challenges lay ahead for 2018. We hope the year has been favorable to you all.

Next week our individual lists begin. In the meantime, as always, we’d love to see your favorites as well. We love reading lists just as much as we love making them, so let ’em rip in the comments below, or hit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Rest in peace:
Malcolm Young (AC/DC)
Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost)
Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave)
John Wetton (Uriah Heep)
Tony “It” Särkkä (Abruptum, Ophthalamia)
Chuck Mosley (Faith No More)
Gabriel Mafa (Negură Bunget)
Jonathan Rossi (Pilgrim)

Posted by Last Rites


  1. Probably one of the best organized/formatted year end lists I have ever read. Also, I have never heard of the band in the number one spot. Looking forward to digging (or re-digging) into many of these jams. Thanks!


  2. I haven’t heard a lot of those so I’ll definitely be checking them out. I thought this was a really good year, and there were more albums I wanted to listen to than I had time for. My list would be:

    1. Bell Witch
    2. Fuoco Fatuo
    3: Origin
    4: Ruins of Beverast
    5: Brume
    6: Dying Fetus
    7: Yellow Eyes
    8: Spectral Voice
    9: Converge
    10: Couch Slut
    11: Funeral Chant
    12: Power Trip
    13: Wiedgedood
    14: Flight of Sleipnir
    15: Integrity
    16: Usnea
    17: Less Art
    18: Fen
    19: Cavernlight
    20: Loss
    21: Chaos Moon
    22. Cannibal Corpse
    23: Municipal Waste
    24: Frowning
    25: Father Befouled


  3. Yet again, it looks like I missed out on quite a bit. Can’t wait to dig into some of these.

    Here’s my list as it stands

    1. Solstafir – Berdreyminn
    2. Grift – Arvet
    3. Saiva – Markerna bortom
    4. Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven
    5. Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
    6. Mord’a’Stigmata – Hope
    7. Enslaved – E
    8. JoDoden – Sittandes i sjon med vatten over huvudet
    9. Ensnared – Dysangelium
    10. Schammasch – The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite


  4. Damn. No Walpyrgus? I figured it was a shoe in to make the list.


    1. That album is really cool, but I’ve only got to listen to it a few times. I’m sure it will grow on me a lot.


  5. Antichrist – Sinful Birth
    Antisect – The Rising Of The Lights
    Condor – Unstoppable Power
    Godflesh- Post Self
    Heavy Death – Sarcophagus In The Sky
    Hellripper – Coagulating Darkness
    Hideous Divinity – Adviens
    Immolation – Atonement
    Integrity – Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume
    Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
    Stalker – Shadow Of The Sword
    Trenchgrinder – Peace Is Forfeit
    Unsane – Sterilize
    Vampire – With Primeval Force
    Wolfbrigade – Run With The Hunted


  6. Amenra – Mass VI
    Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar
    Emptiness – Not for Music
    Ashenspire – Speak Not of the Laudanum Quandary
    Lorn – Arranged Claws
    Selofan – Cine Romance
    White Ward – Futility Report
    The Underground Youth – What Kind of Dystopian Hellhole is This?

    I agree about 2017 having had good non-metal releases. There was also a lot of good metal, but at least for me it was often a matter of great songs rather than great albums.
    Nice number one pick with Venenum. Liked it when I first heard it, but not enough to come back and give it a fully focused listen. I’ll give it another go.
    Keep up the good work and thanks to you all for running this beauty of a site!


  7. I thought it was a decent year for black metal, with some very strong releases:


    As well as a bunch of very worthy releases:

    Whoredom Rife
    Blood Stronghold

    As for death metal, my top releases were Suffering Hour and Spectral Voice.


  8. Best of 2017
    1. The Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia
    2. Blut Aus Nord – Deus Salutis Meæ
    3. Paradise Lost – Medusa
    4. Venenum – Trance of Death
    5. Wode – Servants of the Countercosmos
    6. Hans Zimmer – Blade Runner 2049
    7. Immolation – Atonement
    8. Depeche Mode – Spirit
    9. Mutoid Man – War Moans
    10. Dalek – Endangered Philosophies
    11. The Ominous Circle – Appalling Ascension
    12. Aosoth – V: The Inside Scriptures
    13. River Black – River Black
    14. Godflesh – Post Self
    15. Krallice – Loüm
    16. Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
    17. Nightbringer – Terra Damnata
    18. Chaos Moon – Eschaton Memorie
    19. Necrot – Blood Offerings
    20. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
    21. Heresiarch – Death Ordinance
    22. All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal
    23. The Great Old Ones – A Tale of Dark Legacy
    24. Arckanum – Den Forstfodd
    25. Lock Up – Demonization
    26. Undergang – Misantropologi
    27. White Ward – Futility Report
    28. Obsolete Incarnation – New Breed of An Incurable Disease
    29. Drab Majesty – The Demonstration
    30. Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained

    Top EP’s of 2017
    1. Temple of Baal / VI / The Order of Apollyon – Split
    2. General Surgery / Body Bag – Split
    3. Daeva – Pulsing Dark Absorptions
    4. Oranssi Pazuzu – Kevät / Värimyrsky
    5. Cruciamentum – Paradise Envenomed

    Top 3 Disappointments
    1. Witchery – I Am Legion
    2. Dead Cross – Dead Cross
    3. Tau Cross – Pillar of Fire

    *Full disclosure, I spent to much time on this.


  9. This list is frustrating. Frustrating in that I haven’t heard a number of these, and it reminded me about things I wanted to hear but missed. Overall, very good work guys!

    My poor list would be something like this:
    1. Pyrrhon – WPFS
    2. Wormwood – Ghostlands
    3. Enslaved – E
    4. Unleash the Archers – Apex
    5. Paradise Lost – Medusa
    6. Witherfall – Nocturnes and Requiems
    7. Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
    8. Exhumed – Death Revenge
    9. Beneath – Ephemeris
    10. Dyscarnate – With All Their Might

    Weird year for me, I spent a lot of time digging into back catalogs and albums from previous years. Not as much obsessing over exploring all the new releases as usual.


    1. I’ve been meaning to check out that Dyscarnate, but haven’t gotten my ears to it yet.


      1. If you go in knowing it’s fairly modern-meathead-sounding, and can live with that, it’s pretty rad. It’s dripping in testosterone yet measured out with some sly nuance and subtle dynamics.

        Also, after spending all day with this staff list hammering my ears, I can say with confidence that Tomb Mold is seriously bitchin’. Succumb is wonderfully scuzzy, and Venenum is capital S Special.


  10. I just couldn’t get into this year’s Leprous release for some reason. But there are a lot of albums on here that I really do need to check out. Can’t argue with that top 3, though! Tremendous.

    My top 10:
    10. Enslaved – E
    9. Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
    8. Venenum – Trance of Death
    7. Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep
    6. Krallice – Go Be Forgotten
    5. Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia
    4. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
    3. Acrimonious – Eleven Dragons
    2. Immolation – Atonement
    1. Pyrrhon (pronounced Pyrrhon) – What Passes for Survival


  11. Nice list!

    Definitely on my best-of list in alphabetical order:
    Artificial Brain
    The Chasm
    Der Weg Einer Freiheit
    Ingurgitating Oblivion
    John Frum

    Need to listen to more before I decide whether to include or exclude them:
    All Pigs Must Die
    The Great Old Ones
    Inanimate Existence
    Ne Obliviscaris
    Svart Crown
    Wolves in the Throne Room


  12. This best of list is almost certainly one of the most exciting things that happens to me every year. Hours of new metal to get my teeth into. Fantastic work all year from a truly dedicated troupe. You are all awesome.


  13. Shit, we’re in December and I haven’t really thought about this properly at all. My current top ten is this, but probably subject to change:

    1. The Ominous Circle – Appalling Ascension
    2. Anakim – Monuments to Departed Worlds
    3. Joey Concepcion – Alignment
    4. Fleshkiller – Awaken
    5. Dodecahedron – Kwintessens
    6. Sorcerer – The Crowning of the Fire King
    7. Mahakala – The Second Fall
    8. Ulsect – Ulsect
    9. Vampire – With Primeval Force
    10. Below – Upon a Pale Horse

    Beyond that, there’s a tonne of stuff I haven’t listened to enough to justify their inclusion or not, including Akercocke, Samael and The Chasm. Shameful really.


    1. Agh! I forgot The Ominous Circle on my list! That’s easily a top 10er.


  14. Was barely able to put together Top 10. Not a good year for sure, but:
    1. Enslaved – E (light years ahead of everything else released this year)
    2. Divine Element – Thaurachs of Borsu
    3. Immolation – Atonement
    4. Godflesh – Post Self
    5. Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi
    6. Narcotic Wasteland – Delirium Tremens
    7. Annihilator – For the Demented
    8. God Dethroned – The World Ablaze
    9. Archspire – Relentless Mutation
    10. The Drip – The Haunting Fear of Inevitability


    1. God Dethroned–right on. Glad to see this made someone’s list


  15. 1 The Obsessed – Sacred
    2 Youngblood Supercult – great American Death Rattle
    Sorcerer – The Crowning of the Fire King

    Ruins of Beverast, Wolves in the Throne Room, Pyrrhon… At some point.


  16. Don’t really have an order to this, and with this being December, I’ll probably hear 75% of everything that came out this year in the next few weeks, so my provisional top 10:
    Amenra – Mass VI
    Blut Aus Nord – Deus Salutis Meae
    Brand New – Science Fiction
    Enslaved – E
    Lo! – Vestigial
    Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
    Ne Obliviscaris – Urn
    Paradise Lost – Medusa
    Pillorian – Obsidian Arc
    Queens of the Stone Age – Villans


  17. Here is my list, not really in order, except the first 3, yes, these are my top 3 (Der Weg, Arduini/Balich, Venenum):

    Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Finisterre
    Arduini/Balich – Dawn of Ages (i never heard such EPIC metal, fuckin A!)
    Venenum – Trance of Death
    Aeternam – Ruins of Empires
    Nazghor – Infernal Aphorism
    Throne of Heresy – Decameron
    Selbst – Selbst
    Wiegedood – De doden hebben het goed II
    Void Ritual – Heretical Wisdom
    Immolation – Atonement
    Beneath – Ephemeris
    Havukruunu – Kelle surut soi
    Tombs – The Grand Annihilation


    1. damn, forgot to list:
      Beyond Grace – Seekers.


  18. Your staff list here has introduced me to a couple killer bands I totally missed this year: Slow and Krolok. Awesome. That Slow album is some of the best funeral doom I’ve heard. Wish I could understand the lyrics (in French i think?).

    Anyway–thanks guys for all your effort and for maintaining this awesome website that helps keep us all closer to the heaviness.


  19. First year in a while where no black metal made my overall list. I agree it wasn’t the best year for metal, but I still had a great time with Elder, Couch Slut, Pallbearer and a bunch of hardcore/metalcore stuff like Employed to Serve and Code Orange. I still haven’t heard Tomb Mold though and I am expecting big things!

    My album of the year is Forest Swords- Compassion. It’s an electronic release, but it gives me similar feelings to the early Godspeed You! Black Emperor records. Would recommend it to anyone who likes post rock or electronic music, and is feeling adventurous.


  20. I really am out of the loop. I had no idea the dude from Pilgrim died. How awful. I thought Void Worship was a stellar album and was really excited to see where their particular brand of Reverend-worship ascended to. God damn it’s been a rough couple of years for the death of great musicians.


    1. Negru died as well??? Jesus Christ I’ve missed out on a lot this year.


  21. Could y’all comment on Akercocke? I loved it


    1. I don’t recall anyone on staff being terribly moved by it. Those who dig it really seem to love it, though.


    2. I spun it about three times and was quite underwhelmed. In general I prefer them to sing less, since their clean vocals aren’t great. Some great riffs, and I’m sure it’s exactly what they wanted to achieve, just didn’t fit my personal Akercocke preferences.


  22. That Incantation record is a hundred times better than it has any business being. And it definitely has much business being spectacular.


  23. 1. Havok – Conformicide. Modern thrash from Colorado. Not inventing the wheel here; you’ve heard this before: Megadeth-style solos, vocals that sound like Death Angel at times, that slap bass that sounds like it comes from a Suicidal Tendencies song. But they pull it off well.

    2. Witherfall – Nocturnes and Requiems. Progressive power metal that is required listening for guitar-heads out there. Jake Dreyer absolutely shreds on this one; he’s also the new guitarist in Iced Earth, so hopefully more people get into this album because of that.

    3. Unleash the Archers – Apex. Another power metal (with a few death growls) album. The focus on this one is the phenomenal pipes of Brittney Slayes … she dominates this one. It’s also the least cheesy of their albums and most musically mature. Beast of a record; if I was ranking, this one would be in my Top 3.

    4. Harlott – Extinction. Probably the best pure thrash metal album of the year. If you dig Exodus/Kreator/Slayer, you need to pick this one up from these Australian ragers. Riffs for days and it just never relents.

    5. Power Trip – Nightmare. The best crossover thrash of the year. No modern flair here; this one is straight up old school. “Swing of the Axe!!” I listened to this album the most of any on the list.

    6. Dodecahedron – Kwintessens. This one is just ridiculous avant-garde black metal from the Netherlands. It’s not the easiest stuff to get into (there is a lot going on), but it’s worth checking out if you dig the style.

    7. Sunless – Urraca. Progressive death metal from Minneapolis that is getting a lot of national attention. Very experimental at times, downright melodic in others. Gorguts influence is there. Crazy that this is their 1st album; really looking forward to see what the guys can do in the future.

    8. Destroyer of Light – Chamber of Horrors. Sludgy doom from Texas. These riffs are FAT and heavy as hell. Great cover art. Vocals are gruff most of time, but then he’ll throw in an Ozzy-sounding section. Groovy, man.

    9. Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia. This one needs to be heard to really understand … it’s all over. Experimental black metal, doom, tribal beats, electronics … It’s all oddly jarring, but it works. You’ll either get the brilliance right away, or it’ll take 5 or 6 listens. Or never. Not a party album, but it’s pretty amazing.

    10. Spirit Adrift – Curse of Conception. Another fabulous doom release. This one-man band (he plays and sings everything) is old-school doom with soaring vocals, but he still changes things up to add a bit of modern metal to the mix at times.

    11. Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis. I’ve always been a big fan of this British band, so I was thrilled they made a new one after 10 years … and it doesn’t disappoint. I know the vocals turn some off, but for me it works. Great mix of progressive death/black metal with bits and pieces of thrash and slower goth sections; great solos.

    12. Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World. Melodic, symphonic death metal from Finland. They speak of the “Gothenburg Sound” from the 90s … this is that sound done perfectly.

    13. Wode – Servants of the Countercosmos. Another British band that is working over that classic black metal sound with a modern twist. Heavier than their first, this one lets loose with some solos you don’t always hear in this genre. Fast, aggressive, wonderful black metal.

    14. Ingurgitating Oblivion – Vision Wallows In Symphonies Of Light. German technical, progressive death metal release from earlier this year that I didn’t get into until this fall. Definitely in that Deathspell Omega/Gorguts style and right up with them in terms of quality. It’s that good. Really, really impressive.

    15. Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper. I feel like this one has to be here just for the accomplishment: One 80+ minute funeral doom song. Yes … one 80-minute, dark, life-is-a-bowl-of-sadness funeral doom song. Oh yeah … and there’s no guitar. It’s just drums/bass/organ/vocals. It’s not for everyone … I mean, it’s SLOWWWWWW and isn’t easy to get through. But damn. One of the best album covers of the year.

    16. Squalus – The Great Fish. Another band with no guitar, just bass/drums/vocals/keyboards. Imagine that in a prog/sludge style with lyrics taken from the book Jaws … yes, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” Jaws. It’s odd and heavy and weird in the best way possible.


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