Technically speaking, this isn't a staff list. Continuing the tradition of head editors past, I asked only that our writers submit personal lists with no intention of compiling them into a single "definitive" statement of taste. I think this model works better for a site like ours that aims to cover a wide swath of niche genres and cult bands that don't produce music for a mass audience, and it gives space to our writers to express their taste with zero compromises to each other. That said, when it comes to numbers and analytics, I'm like Marge Simpson with potatoes: I just think they're neat.

Over 13 lists, our writers had a total of 250 potential slots to fill with albums (it would have been 260, but one writer declined to include honorable mentions). In the end, we selected a total of 211 unique albums. That's 84%! I don't have the data on previous years, and I haven't done any similar analysis of the rest of the metal blogosphere, but if our goal was to cover to as much music as possible, that seems like a pretty high rate of success.

We did of course have some overlap as well. To create the staff-wide list, I assigned each album a score from 1 to 20, so that (starting with honorable mentions) the 20th ranked album would receive one point, the 19th would receive two points, and so on. For the sake of clarity, we're only going to include albums that received more than one vote. Here's how the top ten albums shake out including point totals, votes counts, and ties:

1. The Dusk In Us by Converge - 75 (4 votes)
2. Reflections of a Floating World by Elder - 55 (4 votes)
3. Mirror Reaper by Bell Witch - 53 (4 votes)
4. Dead Cross by Dead Cross - 44 (3 votes) and Nightmare Logic by Power Trip - 44 (3 votes)
5. Hiss Spun by Chelsea Wolfe - 38 (2 votes)
6. Forever by Code Orange - 37 (2 votes) and What Passes For Survival by Pyrrhon - 37 (3 votes)
7. Thrice Woven by Wolves In The Throne Room - 35 (2 votes) and Love From With The Dead by With The Dead - 35 (2 votes)
8. The Assassination of Julius Caesar by Ulver - 33 (3 votes)
9. War Moans by Mutoid Man - 30 (3 votes)
10. Ex Eye by Ex Eye - 29 (2 votes)

Considering that we devoted an entire week to the release of The Dusk In Us, it isn't too much of a surprise to see Converge's latest score so high. The folks that liked Converge really liked Converge too, putting the band at the top of their lists, which explains their wide gap ahead of Elder and Bell Witch. The same is true of Code Orange and Chelsea Wolfe, who only received two votes each, but had high placement on both of those lists.

Meanwhile, the ties result in some funny contrasts. You have the young bulls of thrash metal in Power Trip going head-to-head with Dave Lombardo and friends in Dead Cross, a Pittsburgh vs. Philly showdown between Code Orange and Pyrrhon, and two rain-soaked, doomy and gloomy locales rubbing shoulders: Wolves In The Throne Room and With The Dead.

Even with those 211 different albums, we're still far off from providing a comprehensive look at the world of heavy metal and beyond in 2017. That's where you, dear reader, come in. If you feel so inclined, we would love to hear your favorite albums of the year, especially if that record didn't get mentioned on any of our lists. Thank you for spending time with us listening to tunes and shooting the shit. We'll see you again in 2018.


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