05) Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (Reprise Records)

Earlier this year I met bassist Troy Sanders and he told me to listen to this album while I’m in a really, REALLY good mood. When he first told me that, I gave him a confused facial expression. However, once I listened to the album in its entirety from my own home, I realized why. Mastodon’s Emperor of Sand is arguably one of the most depressing albums that was released this year since the subject involves watching your loved ones or even yourself die. There’s an ample amount of musical expression between the proggy movements along with the heavier interludes that make you not want to turn this record off. It is one brilliant to nearly flawless effort and the songs I enjoy the most are “Precious Stones,” “Steambreather” and “Ancient Kingdom.”


04) Ne Obliviscaris – Urn (Season of Mist)

It took me a long time to like this album, and a mucIntra Venus – Ne Obliviscarish longer time to fall in love with it. I was expecting to hear a similar or better quality than their prior albums Citadel and Portal of I, and obviously, that was my issue since those will always stand on their own. Overall, the record felt short, incomplete, and forced. However, it had the potential to be pristine by adding roughly 20 minutes along with polishing a few tracks. Similar to Cradle of Filth’s new album, I spent many hours listening to this to understand its excellence. You will eventually embrace the slower-paced melodies and feel that it clocks at just the right amount of time. Songs I enjoy the most are “Libera (Part I) – Saturnine Spheres” and “Intra Venus.”


03) Ayreon – The Source (Music Theories Recordings)

Arjen Lucassen is a genius and he continues to surpass all expectations after each and every album he makes including all of his projects and creative outlets. When I first listened to The Source, I knew it would be featured on my list, especially since it reminded me of Ayreon’s 2008 effort 01011001. Songs I enjoy the most are: “The Day That the World Breaks Down,” “Everybody Dies,” “Run! Apocalypse! Run!” and the entire record!


02) Decapitated – Anticult (Nuclear Blast)

These Polish death metal giants went from having a fantastic year to facing one of their worst nightmares. I’m not going to discuss their case, which all four members have pleaded not guilty for rape and kidnapping and basically, all judgements should be on hold until they are proven innocent or guilty. I’m a female who also participates in the #MeToo movement and yet, I learned to separate this from music. For instance, I never liked Quentin Tarantino, actually, I despise the man and yet I always end up enjoying his movies. With that said, Decapitated’s Anticult LP was arguably their most mature record to date. The arrangements add layers of suspense which makes each track unpredictable. Songs I enjoy the most are: “Impulse,” “One-Eyed Nation,” and “Earth Scar.”


01) Kreator – Gods of Violence (Nuclear Blast)

Since January I knew that this would be on the top of my list for best albums of 2017. You want to bang your head to nearly every song on this record and I was shocked with how great this LP was. I’ve had songs such as “Satan Is Real,” “Totalitarian Terror,” “Gods Of Violence” and “Hail To The Hordes” stuck in my head practically all year round.


Honorable Mentions:

Epica – The Solace System EP

Xandria – Theater of Dimensions

Orden Ogan – Gunman

Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid

Sólstafir – Berdreyminn

Battle Beast – Bringer of Pain

Belphegor – Totenritual