The Metal Gamer Best of 2017

Another year another best of the year list! This one is long overdue as I planed to post this several weeks ago but something always came in the way. Some of you might know I also write for Swedish site Rocknytt and I’ve of course submitted a best of to them as well. Difference from that list versus this one is that, just as last year, my list here will be based on albums I’ve reviewed in this blog. So the two lists will differ but I rather keep my blog to the more underground music (even though I do review some mainstream stuff as well). Some big changes to this year is that the list is now a top 40. I’ve added some more categories as well with best debut, concert and more. List is in no order (except for the categories I’ve chosen) and without further ado here it is, The Metal Gamer albums of the year!

Album of the Year: Archspire – Relentless Mutation

The complete Top 40:
Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence
Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi
Ereb Altor – Ulfven
Evocation – The Shadow Archetype
Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With
Mordbrand – Wilt
Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone
King of Asgard – :taudr:
Firespawn – The Reprobate
Svart Crown – Abreaction
Mordbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained
Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer
Desultory – Through Aching Aeons
Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler
Hideous Divinity – Adveniens
Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky
Shaarimoth – Temple of the Adversarial Fire
Throne of Heresy – Decameron
Amentia – Scourge
Legacy of Emptiness – Over the Past
Dzö-nga – The Sachem’s Tales
Solbrud – Vemod
Ofermod – Sol Nox
HerezA – I Become Death
Svartsyn – In Death
Entrails – World Inferno
Oceano – Revelation
Lorna Shore – Flesh Coffin
Enterprise Earth – Embodiment
Wolfheart – Tyhjyys
Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World
Persefone – Aathma
Benighted – Necrobreed
Gutslit – Amputheatre
Corpse Garden – IAO 269
Falls of Rauros – Vigilance Perennial
Rings of Saturn – Ultu Ulla
Ne Obliviscaris – Urn

Deathcore album of the year: Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer
Technical death metal album of the year: Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Death metal album of the year: Evocation – The Shadow Archetype
Atmospheric black metal album of the year: Solbrud – Vemod
Black metal album of the year: Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
Debut album of the year: Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler
Best concert I went to in 2017: Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and Chevelle (Royal Arena, Copenhagen, March 4th)
Five albums I missed but need to listen to:
Necrot – Blood Offerings
Phrenelith – Desolate Endscape
Fit For An Autopsy – The Great Collapse
Azarath – In Extremis
Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
Most anticipated album of 2018: Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram


Ne Obliviscaris – Urn (Extreme Progressive Metal)


I will start by saying Ne Obliviscaris has grown to be one of my favorite bands. I just love their music and it grows on me with each play-through, as a great album should. That being said my expectations of Urn has been through the roof. For those unfamiliar with Ne Obliviscaris I often call them “the Bethoven of metal” or “cultivated metal” as their extreme progressive metal is insanely well played and beautiful. A rather unique sound I would say as the closest I can get is Be’lakor or Persefone but I do find them quite different from Ne Obliviscaris as well. For Urn their sound has evolved even more. It’s beautiful acoustic symphonies and orchestral might goes straight to your soul and leaves it’s mark just to lash out into a flurry of riffs and growls. It’s a thing of beauty you have to experience yourself to even grasp how well made this is.

Everything from the violin, growling, clean singing to the guitar riffs is made for perfection, a symbiosis of metal and classic music unlike any other. It’s rather uncanny what Ne Obliviscaris have managed to create here and I am left here with a hard time finding the words that will give Urn the praise it deserves. Urn is one of the best albums this year and if you do not know about Ne Obliviscaris yet now is the time to get sucked into a whole new world of how metal can be played.

Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Persefone and Be’lakor
Favorite song: Libera, Pt. 1 – Saturnine Spheres
Score: 5/5

Persefone – Aathma (Progressive Death Metal)


Ah Persefone, a band that I’ve always liked when I want “sofisticated” progressive/technical metal as I like to call it. Plus the fact the have some of the coolest album covers I’ve seen on literally every single album. Andorra’s offering to the metal world Persefone now gives us Aathma, the bands 5th release since they formed in 2001.

You are instantly hit with sweet guitar solos and riffs that will make you blush like if your crush were singing to you from the guitar sound. I know a lot of my readers aren’t fans of clean singing but how can you not like Persefone when musically everything just clicks. Aathma is as much as an outer body experience as it is progressive death metal madness.

The fun thing with Aathma is how the tracks leads up to one another and you can feel the emotions flow through this album. Opening songs are instrumental and will guide you through the journey to come. Then comes Prison Skin and you’re left numb. After that you just sit down and relax, take it all in as I am sure Persefone fans know by now. You enter such a calm and blissful place in your mind while listening to Persefone it’s a nice change from the worlds usual sorrow and death. Let go of anger, fear and guilt.

If you were to listen to only a few tracks on this album then do take Aathma Part I to IV. The ending of this album is superb and could easily be an EP by itself (actually looking at metal archives they have it down as a 20 minute long track). Lucky enough it’s on Aathma and the one hour soul searching experience is over in a great fashion. Fans of Persefone don’t worry Aathma is another hit from Andorra’s finest, granted hard to top Spiritual Migration as that’s one of the best progressive albums released in my opinion but still an insanly good album. If this was a release from a band which didn’t have such a high average level then it would be named progressive album of the year right away. Question is readers, are you ready to transcend?

Persefone – Aathma is out now through ViciSolum Productions.

For fans of: Ne Obliviscaris and Edge of Sanity
Favorite song: Aathma Part I-IV

Dischordia – Thanatopsis (Progressive Death Metal)


Some might debate if Dischordia is technical death metal or progressive. It is hard to tell at times however I do feel Dischordia is more towards the progressive side like The Faceless, or even djent masters Meshuggah than lets say Archspire. A bit slower, less brutal with more riff and djent based music for the most part. There are segments that leans more towards the faster brutal tech death sound though. Thanatopsis is my first contact with Dischordia and after hearing James Dorton (Black Crown Initiate) would feature on the album I knew that something special is going on at the Dischordia camp.

James does add some punch to the song The Ruin but I am glad to say that the band stands perfectly fine on their own feet, as it isn’t even the best song on the album. Thanatopsis II: The Ruin is a good song but songs like Thanatopsis II: The Road, The Curator and Bone Hive are masterpieces with djent, tech death and progressive elements to them. Hard to not groove to those bad boys.

Want a good mix of Meshuggah and The Faceless I would recommend giving Dischordia a try.

For fans of: The Faceless and Meshuggah
Favorite song: Thanatopsis II: The Road

Destroying the Devoid – Paramnesia (Progressive Death Metal)


Destroying the Devoid is one of the latest additions to the great roster at Unique Leader Records. Created as a solo project by Craig Peters to compose material beyond the traditional confines of technical death metal according to Unique Leader Records website. The opening track Chasm of Existence starts of as a normal tech death song but eventually becomes way more than that as it gets into the symphonic field and I even think some parts resemble old school gaming sound, really cool stuff. Carnivale Nocturno makes me instantly think of clowns, especially Pennywise. You just need to listen to the opening minute and you will get why. The song reeks of fear and gives me chills like from the old movie IT.

The whole album keeps changing tempo from tech death to progressive and symphonic, creating a rather unique mix that Peters was looking for. Beyond the Dark Veil part 1 to 3 are just beautiful. Starts off with an instrumental track that sets the mood on what is to come, which is just great progressive death metal. I think it’s good Unique Leader Records have added a new band like Destroying the Devoid to their roster as Peters got a really cool sound going and I hope he keeps this up.

For fans of: Black Crown Initiate and Ne Obliviscaris
Favorite song: Beyond the Dark Veil, Pt. II: Into the Darkness Beyond

Anno Domini – The Cold Expanse (Symphonic Black/Death Metal)


Australian Anno Domini is another veteran band I’ve come across lately turning 11 years old this year. Having only released one full-length album prior to The Cold Expanse however I might forgive myself for not knowing about them until now. This is one of the very few black/death albums I’ve review, maybe the only one even, that has some clean singing to it. The Cold Expanse starts very epic symphonic black almost Dimmu Borgir meets Ne Obliviscaris like, then change to clean singing but still keeps being heavy. I have to say it works and makes them a bit different than your typical symphonic black metal band, eventhough I think some songs got a bit too much clean vocals to them for being a black/death metal album. The songs really change character well, a trait not many bands try to do, Artificial Divine Intelligence for example got some Egyptian sounding touches to it whereas Primordium got no clean singing at all and is more towards the standard symphonic black metal sound.

Want to experience how it would sound like if Australian black metal had a baby with Norwegian black metal then Anno Domini’s The Cold Expanse is worth looking into.

For fans of: Ne Obliviscaris and Dimmu Borgir
Favorite song: Primordium