We all live in this pathetic world, amongst those that bow down to total mediocracy of the spirit, aided by self-appointed internet warriors, in an attempt to shut down and silence bands, labels, venues, festivals, people. In that sense, 2017 has been, well, shit. On a musical level, though, 2017 has been great, and even more great that a lot of acts in the genre we all love, didn’t surrender to censorship, gossip, and other bullshit that plagues everything in this day and age.
It’s important to mention, that these aren’t in any specific order or by one specific genre. They were all extremely good, bypassing all other releases that traveled through my eardrums this year.
Possession – Exorkizein
I may be bribed here, since I was following Belgium’s Possession since their demon in 2013, but I guarantee you I’m not. I’m trying to think about any other album that I spinned more times than Exorkizein this year since it came out, and I’m not sure I can actually find one. Think about the evilest thing in the world that you can think of (besides your wife’s mother) and double it. Mix it with hypnotic riffs that leave you wanting for more, primordial drumming and bleeding vocals that pierce through your skin. This almost-40 minutes demonic entity is made out of total horror, in the best way possible.
Vassafor – Malediction
New Zealand’s duo of destruction are back at doing what they do best, which is basically to deliver some of the best extreme tunes out there. Malediction sounds like a record that has been resurrected after years of being laid in a tomb made of mud and blood, and it’s no less than magnificent.
Ensnared – Dysangelium
I’ll put this as simple as I can – Ensnared, hailing from Gothenburg (c’mon, act surprised here!) have recorded one of the best Death Metal albums of recent years. No, nothing new has been invented here, but they are managing to create what you’ve probably listened to about a thousand times, yet are succeeding in keeping the level of interest as high as I’ve heard lately.
Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors Of Unbeing
The band that share members with Blood Incantaion, has put out a brilliant debut album, comprised of lowest-of-the-low tunes that feature a great Death/Doom combo, and may I say, sometimes drives into the unknown (and sometimes overly used) territory of Ambience. Not to say that these guys are incorporating anything else but the tools of the trade, they create that ambience themselves and there lays the magic of it.
Vesicant – Shadows Of Cleansing Iron
In comparison to the previous New Zealandic duo that was here, Vesicant are a bit less known, but are no less deadly. Shadows Of Cleansing Iron is perhaps the heaviest and most brutal debut album I’ve listened to this year. This ritual of madness lasts for about 40 mins, and with the destruction it provides, your ears would probably be a bloody mess by the end of it. You will, however, enjoy every damn moment. Subtle melodies in between all the harshness and hellish vocals, make this album even more interesting, all the while not letting the leg off the gas for even a minor minute, creating a aura of darkness around the listener, and probably burning your speakers. Honestly, up until I picked this album up earlier this year, I didn’t even know these guys, yet they surprised me that much, that I decided to include them here, as they too, triumph over others.
Auðn – Farvegir Fyrndar
We don’t exactly know what is it with Iceland, and why a ton of bands that come from that place are that good, but it is indeed, a fact. Auðn are no different, with a stellar second full length album, these boys manage to step into the realm that a pile of bands try every time, yet fail miserably – The realm of Atmospheric Black Metal. It is enough extreme to actually be considered aggressive enough, and it throws one into a spiraling tunnel of elements. No gimmicks here, no dull repetitive moments, just plains of quality music that I longed to hear for years now.
Whoredom Rife – Dommedagskvad
Norwegian Black Metal is nothing new, but contrary to the widespread opinion, not everything that comes out of the snow-filled country is that good, and in 2017, Whoredom Rife surprised everyone with Dommedagskvad. A lot of stuff has been said about the evolution of the Black Metal genre in recent years, with all kinds of “Post” bands here and there, yet this release puts everything back into place – As straightforward, as edge cutting, as merciless as the genre can be. I missed this kind of sound.
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed II
The Belgian Wiegedood have created quite a name for themselves since their formation only 3 years ago, mainly with their previous album, that carries the same name as this one, only without the “II” at the end of it, yay for originality! Having said that, what the band lacks in album-naming, it has in music abundantly. Almost every second of this album is mesmerizing, captivating, and addicting. Wiegedood are a prime example of a how a modern Extreme band, can reach the top, cancelling most of the “Music after [Insert year here] isn’t original” arguments out there.
Midnight – Sweet Death And Ecstasy
The latest Midnight album is great from beginning to end. The band’s own take on the filthy genre they’re playing isn’t a stranger to anyone who ever put on any of their records, and Sweet Death And Ecstasy is just the right sequel to the last Midnight material. Not a lot is needed to be said about these cloaked American asses, as their mixture of sleazy Rock ‘N Roll, Venom-esque influence and Motorhead attitude, simply speaks for itself. An untamed, uncontrolled, uncompromising, unpolished gem of pure madness.
Succumb – Succumb
Another rather unknown name here would be Succumb. These are a bunch of psychos from the US who decided on creating some of the heaviest Death Metal this year has seen. Besides the addicting riffs these guys (and girl!) managed to achieve, that previous-mentioned girl leads the charge with her own certain kind of vocals, and these range anywhere between proper Death Metal roars, to crawling, slippery, liquidated yells that seem to belong to someone who’s currently staying at a mental hospital, and well, it won’t be for everyone’s taste, but it grew on me after a few listens. This self-titled is massive, and I can even forgive their Hardcore-ish moments, since the overall result is just fantastic.