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Anton Sanatov's Top Ten Albums of 2017

Added 14 January 2018, 6:31 PM

No. 10:

Band: The Charm The Fury
Album: The Sick, Dumb And Happy

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 2010
Record Label: Nuclear Blast

Attitude is quite surely one of Metal’s most distinct characteristics. Recalcitrance is this genre’s prerogative, and it takes a truly passionate band to bottle that anarchic energy and unleash it within the confines of a studio record. Well, Amsterdam’s THE CHARM THE FURY proved themselves to be one such band. Being a fan of the Dutch collective’s Metalcore debut “A Shade of my Former Self” I was actually somewhat taken aback by their new, more Groove and NWOAHM-oriented sophomore offering. Nevertheless, backed by the powers of their new label Nuclear Blast and their own relentless demeanour, the band’s satirical portrait of modern society that is “The Sick, Dumb And Happy” delivered a entertainingly jeering, competently written, purebred Metal record with the adrenalizing factor of an epinephrine shot. This one is guaranteed to get you jacked…or just send a Doc Marten’s boot up your keister.


Band: Integrity
Album: Howling For The Nightmare Shall Consume

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 1988
Label: Relapse Records

The band’s name says it all.  As one of the originators of the Metalcore genre and just a purely historical institution within the Metal community, INTERGRITY are a band to be spoken of with reverence. Guided by the wisdom of Dwid Hellion and backed by the blistering guitar talents of Dominic Romeo, INTEGRITY may have just deliver the most bonafide Rock ‘n’ Roll album of the year. Accompanied by the rattle of Blues shackles and fuelled by the raw materials cultivated by formulas of 80s Metal and Punk “Howling For The Nightmare Shall Consume” is a piercing artistic monster cloaked in blackened metallic spells of pure, spiritual music-making.
No. 8:

Band: Mors Principium Est
Album: Embers Of A Dying World

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 1999
Record Label: AFM Records

Many people frequently dismiss this wonderful genre of ours (Metal and its subsidiaries) as a nuisance to the concepts of musicality. Granted that songs within the domain of such sub-genres as Death Metal often see bands substitute brute force for melody, there are nonetheless prime examples within this beloved music universe where groups demonstrate an otherworldly grasp on compositional proficiency – one that has consistently earned Metal comparisons to Classical music. “Ember Of A Dying World” is indeed one such specimen of pure euphonious bliss. This grand, almost baroque epic of symphonic saturation and royal “riffdom” is perhaps a most true embodiment of Metal’s virtues.  MORS PRINCIPIUM EST deliver a record that flows from one song to another with the melodious narrative of medieval literature and rips like the manifestos of a heretic, thus encapsulating the endless magnificence of Melodic Death Metal.
No. 7:

Band: Employed To Serve
Album: The Warmth Of A Dying Sun

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 2013
Record Label: Holy Roar Records

It’s always a pleasure to see young bands prosper…for they are the future. When you see an outfit like EMPLOYED TO SERVE cut their way into the fold and fill it with hope for a genre that hangs on the tenacity of precisely such collectives, you can’t help but mosh in admiration. With coal-smudged, steam-rolling riffs and an industrial resolve, “The Warmth Of A Dying Sun” pays the 2 cents of a generation desperate to outline its disparaging existence within a superficial sphere. It is raw and yet composed, outspoken yet introverted, it is a child within an overpopulated world that has forgotten its potential – it is the offspring of a rare breed.
No. 6:

Band: Life Of Agony
Album: A Place’s Where There’s No More Pain

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 1989
Record Label: Napalm Records

There are times when those bumps in the tracks of a musical journey are but necessary obstacles that edge a given collective towards a brighter future. Adversity breeds character, and for a band within this genre the latter is a component that can potentially grant longevity. LIFE OF AGONY have seen their share of triumph and tempest, but whilst the New Yorkers’ careers may have lacked a certain stability, they are nonetheless still here, strong and willing, and have proved as much by delivering one of 2017 most anticipated records - their first in 12 years. Yet “A Place’s Where There’s No More Pain” is not just a long-awaited placation for eager fans, it is a confident album from a veteran band that doesn’t aim for reinvention, but instead focuses on convalescence and rejuvenation. On “A Place’s Where There’s No More Pain” LIFE OF AGONY lick their wounds by tearing through dark matters of existence with riff powered instruments of catharsis and serenading the demons within with lullabies of new-found equanimity.
No. 5:

Band: Code Orange
Album: Forever

General Info:

Year Of Formation:
Label: Roadrunner Records

It has been a huge year for Hardcore, and due in no small part to this juggernaut of a record. CODE ORANGE’s “Forever” has been all the rage in 2017 – receiving respect from industry veterans, earning a Grammy nomination and just about writing a new chapter for its genre.  Ironclad in a seething aesthetic and interlaced with Grungy undertones “Forever” is an anvil dropped on any cartoonish notions of modern music. The band’s progressive take on Hardcore can be the basis of a new artistic movement. This is not just a record, it is a manifesto - a piece of hardcore avant-garde realism that is as raw as the scent of molten rubber and as viscous as an oil well. It takes over and redefines, showing you the beauty of a broken shell and burdening you with the weight of giant wings; for it is not just an idea, it is an evisceration of a state of mind. (And my God is it heavy.)
No. 4:

Band: Myrkur
Album: Mareridt

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 2014
Label: Relapse Records

There has always been a beauty within melancholy that is easy to grasp but hard to define; and yet music seems to always have a place for it. However, though the inspiration for MYRKUR’s sophomore outing may indeed have been one of woe and tumult (the record was inspired by Amalie Bruun’s battle with nightmares and sleep paralysis) “Mareridt” is threaded with courage and shrieks with its fortitude instead of fright. The album in itself is a Nordic dream accompanied by state-of-the-art musical arrangements and the ancestral echoes of lost Pagan generations. As overtly beautiful as it is introspectively haunting it bridges the gap between tradition and progression, thus creating a mesmerising spiritual experience. Dark and yet alluring, “Mareridt” pulls you into the world of an angel possessed who wanders in search of her sanity, afflicted and yet persistent in her quest – and not hesitant to invite you on that journey with her.
No. 3:

Band: Toothgrinder
Album: Phantom Amour

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 2010
Record Label: Spinefarm/Universal

This was a late discovery for me…but one to rival the unearthing of a new species. There really isn’t much more that I can say about this flawless record that I haven’t mentioned in my recent review of it, for it is truly a genus of its own spontaneous origin. On “Phantom Amour” TOOTHGRINDER (a name you should get familiar with) explore their talents with the zeal of Jacques Cousteau and usher in a new strain of Progressive bliss. This record is quite simply a hybrid creature of organic birth and mechanical resolve - a resonating chameleonic concept that evolves with every note.
No. 2:

Band: Betraying The Martyrs
Album: The Resilient

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 2008
Record Label: Sumerian Records

Dreams of sovereignty linger within all of us, and yet only the select few reach such heights. Nevertheless, you can always tell when you’re in presence of greatness – be it recognised by the people or not - for that surrounding aura carries an air of undeniable supremacy. That is why when I came upon BETRAYING THE MARTYRS“The Resilient” I knew that the title was not simply a statement of bravado…but one of pure merit. From the opening notes this record proves itself to be a Metal colossus of royal blood as it soars across sonic battlefield on the melodic wings of Valkyries whilst pummelling you into the ground with the fists of ruthless gladiators. “The Resilient” is not simply a hard-hitting blockbuster of a record, it is a modern Metal epic of Roman might that sets the standard for the new generation of this musical empire.
No. 1:

Band: While She Sleeps
Album: You Are We

General Info:

Year Of Formation: 2006
Label: Independent

Family is the most important thing, and here we have a collective that embody that statement with every fibre of their being. WHILE SHE SLEEPS are a band of brothers that few groups can pride themselves to be, and their bond with the extended family of their devoted fans is a thing of genuine admiration and tender grace.
Critical acclaim can be a fickle thing, but if one plays to the rhythm of their heart the music shall speak for itself, and on their third full-length release WHILE SHE SLEEPS continue to pump every ounce of their blood into their sound to deliver yet another Metalcore masterpiece. Following the departure from their label the band embarked on the ‘independent’ path to find a new sense of freedom on “You Are We” - an ode to their loyal following that is tailored to the heart of each and every one of their ‘Sleeps’ brothers and sisters.

By taking a lighter approach than their previous records “You Are We” takes the band’s exceptional songwriting skills to the forefront and displays a compositional aptitude few modern band can rival. Every song is a meticulously crafted shard of virtue that explores the ails of society and ultimately puts a comforting arm around you shoulder, filling your breast with hope. Indeed, what makes this record so special is not the sheer amount of killer riffs or immaculate melodies, nor is it the perfection with which those are assembled. What makes “You Are We” so dear is that sense of belonging and sanguine bliss that it instils within a given listener. This album is here to hear you, to scream with you, and to be the helping hand wherever you may be. It is here to take a beating and throw back the final punch, to be a formidable competitor and a poised winner. “You Are We” is righteous, soulful record that breathes with aesthetic mastery and exists in the unity of goodness; and should be the benchmark not only for its genre, but for music in general.

Honourable Mentions:

In This Moment – Ritual
Polaris – The Mortal Coil
Courtesans – Better Safe Than Sorry EP
In Hearts Wake – Ark
Counterparts – You’re Not You Anymore

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