Top Albums of 2017 – Brian O’Neill
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?
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)
(Dunkelheit Produktionen, Netherlands)
Laster bills itself "Obscure Dance Music from Utrecht," to which I can only say, "sure, why not?"
(Relapse Records, USA)
Reforming under the hallowed Obsessed banner, Wino releases a crowning achievement in a career of distinguished doom.
(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.
One-man project from Azerbaijan incorporates Middle Eastern mysticism within lush, experimental, atmospheric blackgaze.
(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.
(Prosthetic Records, Australia)
Australian band reimagines Sodom as NWOBHM expats with Gibby Haynes lurking somewhere in the shadows. The riffs go on for days!
(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.
(Artemisia Records, USA)
If Wolves In The Throne Room has taught us anything about black metal, it’s how gorgeous it can be.
(Sargent House, USA)
The metallic assimilation Wolfe started with Abyss is complete and perfected here.
(Sargent House, Belgium)
Former Refused cover band’s stunningly accessible debut is the shape of post-hardcore to come.