Last year has been very good to all wearers of battle jackets, hard rockers and other sinister folks. The compilation of my personal Top 20 (it couldn´t be done in less than that!) has therefore turned out to be quite demanding and one or the other high-class album had to give way to an excellent album at the very last moment.
Here are my 2017 annual highlights in alphabetical order:
Air Raid – Across the Line
The Swedes convince with catchy Heavy Metal and a great new singer, even more than on their previous albums.
Don´t Drop the Sword – Path to Eternity
Speedy Power Metal from Germany, which turns out to be far more than just a BLIND GUARDIAN copycat and yet is the ideal replacement drug for anyone who thinks that BLIND GUARDIAN have become too bombastic.
Dream Tröll – The Knight of Rebellion
Melodic Power Metal from England, which does not shy away from using cheesy 80s rock clichés. Earworm guarantee!
Emblem – Emblem
Heavy Metal from Canada that sounds just like classic underground Heavy Metal should sound. Pure enthusiasm and authenticity!
Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
Dark and at the same time symphonic Pagan Metal from Finland, which does not shy away from using Power Metal-ish guitars.
Horn – Turm am Hang
The demanding one-man Pagan Black Metal project from Germany focuses on a powerful atmosphere. Direct song structures are crossed with folk elements on epic scales.
Iced Earth – Incorruptible
The US Power Metal legend proves for the third time in a row that it still has relevance, which seemed to be lost in the 00s.
King of Asgard – Taudr
Viking Metal from Sweden that steers its longboat across the seas to epic BATHORY hymns and storms into battle with the full AMON AMARTH force.
Nachtgeschrei – Tiefenrausch
The swan song album of the best German Folk Metal band, which unfortunately announced its disbandment in June 2017. An album that once again clearly shows why this band is unique and will leave a huge gap in the folk metal scene.
Night Demon – Darkness Remains
NWOBHM from California, which manages to successfully raise the stakes in comparison to the already great predecessor album.
Night Viper – Exterminator
The Swedes skilfully place themselves in the intersection of NWOBHM, Speed and Thrash with this album. Fans of “Kill ´em all” should definitely check it out.
Pesterous Mind – Infinite Abyss
The guys from Hof / Berlin form their influences taken from Death and Black Metal into a modern variant of their own. The newcomer of the year!
Portrait – Burn the World
Theatrical Heavy Metal with an occult note from Sweden, which was certainly modeled on MERCYFUL FATE, but has much more to offer in terms of vocals than the “King”.
Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
This hardcore Thrash Metal saw from the USA cuts itself into your brain convolutions. This is the right stuff for everyone who is into SLAYER and S.O.D.
Sacroscum – Drugs & Death
Crusty Black Metal from Germany, doing the splits between classics like HELLHAMMER’s “Satanic Rites” and modern bands like MANTAR.
Sarke – Viige Urh
Enormously varied Black Metal from Norway, which relies on both rocking beats and an epic atmosphere. The microphone is handled by no one less than Nocturno Culto of DARKTHRONE.
Slaegt – Domus Mysterium
Progressive blackened Heavy Metal from Denmark, which you have to work on to get into it, despite the catchy songs. But it´s definitely worth the try!
Sons of Crom – The Black Tower
The BATHORY disciples from Sweden make a huge leap forward with this album and merge Heavy Metal and Pagan Metal into epic yet catchy songs.
Wode – Servants of the Countercosmos
Riff-driven Black Metal from England, that often strikes hard on the edge of Death Metal. More of an album for headbangers than for Black Metal purists.
Wrathblade – God of the Deep Unleashed
Epic Heavy Metal from Greece. A rousing highlight, which was probably only missing in many best-of-the-year lists only because of its very late release date.