Nos' Top Ten Albums Of 2017

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Nos' Top Ten Albums Of 2017

Postby Nos » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:49 pm

At the end of every year, I look back at all the music I've listened to, and I come to the same basic conclusion. No matter the changing roster of bands, or the number of albums I listen to, the result is that I usually have right around ten albums that I feel strongly enough about to want to put on a list like this. Some years the bottom of the list are a little stronger, some a little weaker, but the numbers are always similar.

This year was a bit different in that there were more terrible albums than usual. Between those, and the albums I had high hopes for that disappointed me, I feel like this might have been a bit weaker than some of the record years. However, there were still enough records I really liked, so let's list my favorites, and a couple of other things:

Best Song: Michael Monroe - One Foot Outta The Grave

The compilation of his solo work came with this new single, and it's bloody awesome. I loved "Blackout States", and this carries right on where that one left off. This is pure rock and roll, and if the next album lives up to this song, it's going to rule.

Best EP: The Winery Dogs - Dog Years

Their debut was great, and the second album was a bit of a dud, so I didn't know what to expect from these tracks that didn't make it on either one. Turns out, they left some great stuff on the cutting room floor. This fits right in with the first record, and is easily better than Portnoy's other play for mainstream success, Sons Of Apollo.

Honorable Mentions: Skarlett Riot - Regeneration, Eclipse - Monumentum

Both of these are very good, but they just missed the cut. Eclipse might have stood a touch more of a chance if I didn't feel a bit disappointed in it, since I don't think it's as good as Erik's Nordic Union album from last year.

Now for the Top Ten:

10(tie). Nightmare - Dead Sun

Very heavy for power metal, Nightmare's newest era kicks off in style. I find these songs to be slyly catchy, and I absolutely love Maggie Luyten's delivery here. She sounds phenomenal, and a lot like a favorite of mine. Maybe I rate this a bit higher than I should because it answers my question, "what if ____ sang metal...."

10(tie). The Black Marbles - Moving Mountains

I love the sound of vintage/retro rock, but most of the bands aren't good at writing songs. Graveyard has been the only one that seems to get what made classic rock great, but The Black Marbles get it too. I love rock that sounds natural, and this does. It's half an hour of timeless rock, with great vocals, nice guitar playing, and plenty of diversity as well.

9. Orden Ogan - Gunmen

These guys have never made a bad album. This is their heaviest, and their most consistent album as well. They never let up, and it's filled with big songs and big choruses. I prefer the epic "Easton Hope" still, but this is the best encapsulation of what Orden Ogan is all about. Their second best, I would say.

8. The Warning - XXI Century Blood

These three teenage sisters have made a heck of a record on their own, considering their ages. It fits nicely into that category of pop/rock that I like, and no one else around here seems to. I know Halestorm is working on a new album right now, and they'll be hard-pressed to beat this one, if they're writing it on their own.

7. Creeper- Eternity, In Your Arms

Between the cheesy aspects, and the Peter Pan story, this is so much what I imagine Jim Steinman would have done if he came around during the time of emo. It's pompous, overblown, and a lot of fun. It sounds like a bigger, longer record that it actually is, which proves you can pack a lot of drama into a short amount of time. They have a very bright future.

6. Nocturnal Rites - Phoenix

I think I was one of the few people who liked where Nocturnal Rites was headed with "The 8th Sin", so I was happy this record picks up where that one left off. This is a great combination of heavy modern metal with big, hooky choruses. It works so well when it's done right that I'm surprised there aren't more bands able to do it like this. Johnny sounds great, and all but one track are top notch addictive metal.

5. Sorcerer - The Crowning Of The Fire King

I'm not a doom fan usually, but this isn't really doom. I've been calling it 'slow power metal', because it's far more melodic. The guitar playing is phenomenal, the solos are gorgeous, and the vocals are world-class. Doom might be depressing, but this sure as hell isn't. One of the best doom albums I've ever heard.

4. Rise Against - Wolves

The various forms of punk aren't my thing either, but that doesn't mean something can't sneak in every once in a while. Rise Against finds a great balance between righteous anger and sticky melodies. It's simple, but done so well there isn't much to talk about. It is great to listen to, though.

3. Harem Scarem - United

It's hard for a band to make their best album after twenty years, but Harem Scarem has done it. This album is head and shoulder better than anything they've ever done. The guitar playing is more involved than you would expect, and Harry Hess delivers melody after melody that are AOR bliss. It actually reminds me a bit of what would happen if The Winery Dogs wrote a pop album. Awesome.

2. The Dark Element - The Dark Element

I really like Anette Olzon as a singer, and this is the best material she's had to sing since Alyson Avenue's debut. She sounds amazing, and these songs do the symphonic approach in a tightly-written way, with great melodies throughout. It's an album that sounds positive and uplifting, and that makes it even better. Hopefully this 'band' will be able to make another album. If they could grow, the possibilities are endless.

1. Soen - Lykaia

The best Opeth album Opeth never made. It's also brilliant on its own merits. I went back and forth early in the year, but as we approached the end, it was clear to me this was the best album of the year. Everything about this album is stunning, from the evocative artwork, to the guitar playing that is inventive and unique, to the melancholy melodies that are haunting. And when you get the version with the bonus track, "God's Acre", it's nearly an hour of deeply engaging heavy metal that is both challenging and satisfying. This is forward-leaning metal in a year that felt stagnant, and my favorite album of the year.

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