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Top Albums of 2017 – Brian O’Neill

WITTR Thrice Woven

I spent the better part of two decades writing about music, mostly the metallic stuff, until a few years ago when life got complicated: the music biz started to fall apart, and my personal priorities changed for a variety of reasons – foremost among them, I came out of retirement (this year). Making this list almost made me regret the decision; it was torture knocking off some great albums to arrive at the list you’ll see below. But I think that means that in the years to come, 2017 will be looked back on fondly as a strong one for the dark arts. I picked a good year to come back, right?

Honorable Mentions:

20. Pyriphlegethon – The Murky Black of Eternal Night (Iron Bonehead, Netherlands)
19. Alestorm – No Grave But The Sea (Napalm Records, Scotland)
18. Pagan Altar – The Room of Shadows (Temple of Mystery Records, United Kingdom)
17. Myrkur – Mareridt (Relapse Records, Denmark)
16. Zeal and Ardor – Devil is Fine (MVKA, United States of America)
15. Mammoth Mammoth – Mount the Mountain (Napalm Records, Australia)
14. Tau Cross – Pillar of Fire (Relapse Records, United Kingdom)
13. Ufomammut – 8 (Neurot Recordings, Italy)
12. The Wizards – Full Moon in Scorpio (Fighter Records, Spain)
11. Beastmaker – Inside the Skull (Rise Above Records, USA)

laster - Frontcover_1600



Ons Vrije Fatum


(Dunkelheit Produktionen, Netherlands)

Laster bills itself “Obscure Dance Music from Utrecht,” to which I can only say, “sure, why not?”

Listen here.




The Obsessed



(Relapse Records, USA)

Reforming under the hallowed Obsessed banner, Wino releases a crowning achievement in a career of distinguished doom.

Listen here.





Thill Smitts Terror


(Osmose Productions, Norway)

Like Blus Aus Nord on an acid-drenched trip worthy of Lewis Carroll’s most terrifying nightmare. Theatrical and ambitious but strangely catchy.

Listen here




Violet Cold



(Independent, Azerbaijan)

One-man project from Azerbaijan incorporates Middle Eastern mysticism within lush, experimental, atmospheric blackgaze.

Listen here


light of the morning star nocta


Light of the Morning Star



(Iron Bonehead, UK)

Too much Gothic metal dilutes the majesty and especially the power of both genres. This debut should make all those bands feel the shame that they deserve.

Listen here


rebel wizard


Rebel Wizard

Triumph of Gloom


(Prosthetic Records, Australia)

Australian band reimagines Sodom as NWOBHM expats with Gibby Haynes lurking somewhere in the shadows. The riffs go on for days!

Listen here


cypress ave


The Midnight Ghost Train

Cypress Ave.


(Napalm Records, USA)

Kansas stoner rockers make a stripped-down, riff-heavy record that Tom Waits might have made had he grown up on Black Oak Arkansas.

Listen here


WITTR Thrice Woven


Wolves in the Throne Room

Thrice Woven


(Artemisia Records, USA)

If Wolves In The Throne Room has taught us anything about black metal, it’s how gorgeous it can be.

Listen here


Chelsea Wolfe Hiss Spun
Chelsea Wolfe


Chelsea Wolfe

Hiss Spun


(Sargent House, USA)

The metallic assimilation Wolfe started with Abyss is complete and perfected here.

Listen here







(Sargent House, Belgium)

Former Refused cover band’s stunningly accessible debut is the shape of post-hardcore to come.

Listen here


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