For those not familiar with how we do things here at Metal Trenches, we split the year up and provide a Top 10 for each of our 3 categories. This list is focused on the releases this year that I found the most Enjoyable, regardless of originality or musicianship. Those other two factors did play into the ranking, but mostly these were the albums that I listened to the most in the first half of 2017 and had a hard time pulling out of my queue. Don't miss our other lists on Musicianship and Innovation.
Crypt Rot are amazing. Grimy, ugly, and offensive. This is just a great little release that packs maximum punch in a short amount of time. If you're into Tribulation's The Horror and other really heavy Swedish-influenced albums, you will love the hell out of this album. I have little else to say other then press play right now. FULL REVIEW
Yes, many of us are sad about the sudden breakup of Textures, but have no fear: Kadinja are here to fill the void. Not only does Ascendancy live up to its name with a massive leap forward from their previous EP; I would venture to place these guys right alongside heavyweights like Periphery in all departments. They have the songwriting chops, technical performances, catchy hooks, and soaring choruses that make Kadinja a complete package deal. If you're into melodic djent and progressive metalcore, do yourself a favor and pick this album up right now. FULL REVIEW
Comeback record! I am an OG Darkest Hour fan, but I had been really put off by the last 2 albums. Enter the man, Kurt Ballou, in the production department and color me interested. With Godless Prophets And The Migrant Flora, DH reaffirm their place as one of the best metalcore bands to hit the scene; and a band worthy of the "American Gothenburg" label with these stunning riffs. I also dig the more hardcore sounding tracks, like my personal favorite below. FULL REVIEW
French brutal metal group Benighted absolutely slaughtered with this release that should appeal to fans of Aborted and The Black Dahlia Murder (Trever Strnad even contributes his voice to a track). It's got the infectious hooks, monstrous vocals, and raging speed in the drums that we've come to demand from our modern death metal releases. As I summed it up in my album write-up, "Necrobreed will leave a bloody mess of viscera where you once stood." FULL REVIEW
As someone who never really got into this band previously, and doesn't listen to a lot of crossover in general, I had an amazing time with this album. Iron Reagan really delivered in terms of creating something that feels both fresh and timeless at the same time. Crossover Ministry is full of anthems that fit the D.R.I. sound and references perfectly; and also show that the same lyrical themes are just as relevant today as they were in the late 80's and 90's. Sometimes political, others just looking to party and freak out the neighbors, this is a punky, thrashy, rebellious good time. FULL REVIEW
Probably one of the most underrated melodeath bands in the scene today, Serenity In Murder suffers only from limited distribution and marketing. I assure you that this Japanese band has delivered easily the best melodic DM albums of 2017 so far in The Eclipse. These guys aren't widely known outside of their home region, but you would be remiss in writing them off. Melodeath is a bloated genre that has fallen somewhat out of style since its explosion in the 90's and early 2000's, but there are a few out there still keeping the torch shining brightly. With epic synths on par with Mors Principium Est and unending hooks and ripping solos, Serenity In Murder deserves your attention. FULL REVIEW.
It'll be easy for some of you out there to hate on this choice, but Halfway Human is both catchy AF and incredibly proficient when it comes to guitar. Within The Ruins never mess around when it comes to technical riffage, and this album is no different. It really boggles my mind that most of the attention in this genre is drawn towards clunky, caveman music when there is a much more impressive alternative readily available in Within The Ruins. I was not overly impressed with the brief clean singing additions, but I don't feel like they necessarily detract from the album either. Overall, this is a blast from start to finish. FULL REVIEW.
Svart Crown may not deliver the most original of styles, but they drive the blackened death metal home with a vengeance. Much like recent album from Behemoth, Abreaction delivers an ominous combination of dense atmosphere and supreme, blackened heaviness. There's a certain primal sexuality behind some of these noisy grooves, and the album conjures plenty of tribal and Pagan imagery. These songs worship the old gods. FULL REVIEW.
Code Orange delivered my favorite bone-crusher so far in 2017 with Forever. I listened to this album over, and over, and over again when it came out; and it is pronbably my most revisited album of the year. These are some of the most intense metallic hardcore anthems I have ever heard, often compared to last years Nails release. I listen to some of these tracks and am physically compelled to twist my face into expressions of rage I never thought possible. You will scream along, and you will want to break something. Added props for Code Orange being unafraid to throw in a few experimental twists as well as some alternative, grungy tracks to mix things up. FULL REVIEW.
It is so rare that an album I hype up in my head over the course of a few years lives up to the sky high expectations, but with Verity, Nokturnal Mortum have crafted an extremely worthy follow-up to The Voice of Steel. When stacked against their prevoius discography, Verity is perhaps their most powerful expression of folk-infused, Pagan black metal to date. And when stacked against other folk metal albums so far this year, there is simply no contest. The instrumentation is profound, opening a window to a different time; leading to a rewarding listening experience that keeps on giving. Pick up the album in several gorgeous iterations through bandcamp below or via Musical Hall. FULL REVIEW.