7. Noumena – Myrrys
With Myrrys, Noumena continues the long-standing tradition of Finnish folks, delivering yet another metal masterwork. The refined new album accomplishes the remarkable feat of outdoing their previous studio effort, Death Walks With Me, by a far mile.
Aggressive tracks à la Pedon veri manage perfect harmony with the sorrowful slow burns like Kirouksen kantaja and Sanansaattaja. Above all, there is much to love about Suvi Uura’s operatic vocals that lend powerful emotions to both ends of the spectrum.
6. Ne Obliviscaris – Urn
Ne Obliviscaris is one of the most underrated bands out there. Five years back, the Australian metallers had unleashed a masterpiece Portal of I, an exquisite debut that unites emotive symphonies and fervent death growls to brilliant effect.
Their cinematic grandiose lives on in Urn. Against the background of blast beats and ariose guitars, Zenoyr’s melancholic vocals harmonise beautifully with Tim Charles’ soaring voice and violin intermissions. That is not to dismiss the other talents on strings and choir duty.
5. Septicflesh – Codex Omega
Be it with their distinct artistic or musical direction, Septicflesh never ceases to impress old and new fans alike. It seems almost ordained that their 2017 album Codex Omega would live up to unfairly high expectations.
Intensity pounds through the familiar yet evolved sounds of the symphonic metal giant, taut in its artful concord of orchestral and extreme music. Presenting three instrumental renditions of the best tracks off the album, the deluxe release is unmissable.
4. Sólstafir – Berdreyminn
It matters little that the Icelandic language is incomprehensible to me. Sólstafir speaks more than most through their evocative music – part doom, part progressive, and uniquely their own.
The artful ambience allures as Addi Tryggvason’s haunting vocals rise above atmospheric build-ups, suffused with poignancy and authenticity. Conveying perceivable emotions that are no doubt heartfelt in delivery, Berdreyminn is a musical magnum opus that truly lingers past its very last note.
3. Mr Big – Defying Gravity
Since their formation in 1988, supergroup Mr Big has delivered an impressive abundance of hit songs that never fail to rouse a crowd. Even if Defying Gravity does not veer far from their classic sounds, there is just no disappointing with these incredible talents.
It is great to see the original line-up back with new music. And we are so lucky to have Pat Torpey still drumming with the band, even for a few tracks. Open Your Eyes calls back to fan-favourite Addicted to that Rush, setting the energy high from the get-go, only slowing down for their forte in ballads with the beautiful Forever and Back.
2. Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
Twenty-odd years into his provocative career, Marilyn Manson shows no sign of stopping. Heaven Upside Down continues to show his penchant for divisive theatrics, showcasing his usual contentious lyrics and overtly sensual videos.
It is all deliberate shock entertainment, as songs like Tattooed in Reverse launches into familiar belligerent tirades against churches and prayers. The intensity of his polemic works. While this is unlikely to win over his doubters, his legion of fans will be more than pleased.
1. Greta Van Fleet – From the Fires
There is no escaping the obvious: Greta Van Fleet sounds plenty like Led Zeppelin. It is not just Josh Kiszka with Plant-like pipes, Sam and Jake Kiszka channelling serious JPJ and Page vibes, or that Danny Wagner might very well have absorbed Bonzo’s spirit.
Averaging 20 years of age, the band of three brothers and a friend somehow possesses the rare soul of an era thought lost. Phenomenal in the studio, astounding on stage. The comparisons are unlikely to die off any time soon. Still, these boys are quickly coming into their own, as their thundering EP From The Fires proves.
Shall we not forget the ones left out, only due to the lack of space. Honourable mentions include Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood, Rex Brown, and Styx, to name a few. Here’s to a better year ahead for all readers out there. Have a blast. x