10. The Ominous Circle – Appalling Ascension
Starting off the year as well as this list, The Ominous Circle came out with a debut album that put Portugal back on the map for many metal fans. With Portal and Incantation influences worn on their sleeves, the band strived to put their own spin on the dissonant and cavernous style of death metal that has seen a rise in popularity over the course of this decade. A memorable debut and a project to keep an eye on.
09. Tyler, the Creator – Flower Boy
After taking a break from Tyler’s output with 2015’s Cherry Bomb, the good reviews for his latest effort caught my attention. Previously a controversial figure it seems that Tyler’s sound, much like him, has reached maturity on this album. Exploring his interest in jazz and R&B more thoroughly, Tyler has come out with a rather mellow and lush album, creating a stark contrast to his grimy and abrasive early output. Despite being a bit of a grower, Flower Boy is Tyler’s most coherent and well-crafted album.
08. Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Though many like to wave off Archspire as “wankery”, I would consider them one of the most important bands in modern technical death metal. Proving this, the band came out with a strong third album that sees the band prioritize coherent and memorable songwriting over simply going even more technical. As a result, Relentless Mutation delivers a fine-tuned fusion of stunning technicality and surprising accessibility.
07. Der Weg einer Freiheit – Finisterre
Not many bands manage to release their most intense material this late into their career but Der Weg einer Freiheit pulled it off as they keep holding up the banner for german black metal. Finisterre is arguably the band’s blackest album to date and consists of five furious tracks. Cutting down on the atmospheric sections Der Weg einer Freiheit delivered a fiery tornado of dense black metal attacks on their best album since their 2009 debut.
06. The Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia
This year saw german one man black metal project The Ruins of Beverast come out with its best album so far. On Exuvia sole member Alexander von Meilenwald once again masterfully combines black, death and doom metal influences into something entirely unique. The expansive compositions hypnotize with their use of psychedelic guitars, sampling and Meilenwald’s proficient hand for crafting densely atmospheric metal.
05. Bird Problems – TAR
Coming out with a strong debut canadian Bird Problems delivers a sophisticated and playful yet ambitious debut album. Though the band doesn’t break any new ground on TAR, they fuse influences from proto-djent bands such as SikTh and contemporary djent in the vein of Periphery with nods to Traced in Air era Cynic. Through all of that the extensive vocal cast is TAR’s most striking feature as the versatile and catchy vocal performances breathe soul into the solid prog metal foundation.
04. Botanist – Collective: The Shape of He to Come
Starting out as a solo project that was often waved off as gimmicky Botanist’s sound and line-up have evolved significantly over the course of the last few years. With The Shape of He to Come Botanist recorded their first album as a full line-up and the first part of the Collective Series. With a sound more ambitious and imaginative than ever before, Botanist came out with their most cohesive, complete and impressive album to date. In addition to this album the band also released another album featuring the entirety of their setlist for their European tour, featuring a different line-up and re-interpreted songs off of early Botanist releases.
03. Aosoth – V: The Inside Scriptures
Marking the end of an era for the band, Aosoth have come out with their fifth and, for now, last album. V: The Inside Scriptures constitutes a logical continuation of the band’s modern sound and ties concepts from the band’s previous works together, making this their most complete album yet. Furious, dark and disturbing, The Inside Scriptures is one of this year’s finest offerings.
02. Flotation Toy Warning – The Machine That Made Us
With 13 years between this and their debut, Flotation Toy Warning’s The Machine That Made Us was a long time coming. Yet it sounds like the band never left. The Machine That Made Us picks up where Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck left off and sees Flotation Toy Warning deliver a more cohesive effort as the band trades the warm, summery atmosphere of their debut album for a somewhat vintage sound. Every bit as bittersweet and wonderfully strange as their debut, Flotation Toy Warning make a triumphant return.
01. White Ward – Futility Report
Debuting with a fulminant mix of black metal and jazz, ukranian White Ward launched themselves to the top of my list of favorite albums of 2017. The nocturnal jazz sections fronted by the sorrowful wails of a saxophone made for a striking contrast to the feral black metal onslaughts. With memorability and impressive impact, Futility Report was the soundtrack to many cold and rainy days and will continue to be for years to come.
Firebreather – Firebreather
Heavy grooves for fans of High on Fire and Red Fang, delivered by a swedish trio.
1476 – Our Season Draws Near
Catchy and energetic death rock.
Colin Stetson – All This I Do For Glory
Mechanical, mysterious and mesmerizing. Colin Stetson once more proves that he’s unrivaled on the saxophone.
Ex Eye – Ex Eye
Instrumental progressive/post metal featuring Greg Fox (Liturgy) on drums and Colin Stetson on the saxophone among other notable members.
Idles – Brutalism
UK post punk with an emphasis on punk. Very sarcastic, very energetic, very memorable.
Ostraca – Last
Heartrending and intense fusion of powerviolence and screamo. A big step forward for the band and definitely worth paying attention to.