¡Chicos! It is arrived. The list for which you have all been waiting. Listurnalia has run its course for 2017, and the semi-final list is upon us. This year, there were a ton of different albums mentioned, and let’s just say for the record that any record that was mentioned that isn’t on my (AMG) list is wrong. But, alas, other people also work here or the blog wouldn’t be written. So, in honor of all these lesser mortals who think they’re special, I present: AngryMetalGuy.com’s Meta List. Also known as…
#(ish). Sorcerer // The Crowning of the Fire King – [Steel Druhm #1, Ferrous Beuller #4, Huck n’ Roll #5, GardensTale, Dr AN Grier, Madam X #HM] — When October’s Record(s) o’ the Month dropped, one Steel Druhm posted as a response: “I find the lack of Sorcerer disturbing.” He took it upon himself to fix this oversight, crowning The Crowning of the Fire King his Record o’ the Year, and helping to drag it across the line into the top 10(ish). This slab of epic doom metal features “big riffs, bigger vocals, melodic sensibilities set to stun,” and though it took them 27 years to make it here, Sorcerer finally made a record so good that the Steely D needed to rely on r/DadJokes for his puns, because he was at a loss for words.
#10. Akercocke // Renaissance in Extremis – [Treble Yell #1, El Cuervo #1, Akerblogger #6, L Saunders, Dr Fisting #HM] — When Akercocke dropped Renaissance in Extremis in August, it was clear that everyone was in an epicurean reverie over the album. I had given explicit orders that Akerblogger not be allowed to review it, but when all was said and done, he gave the review that any number of staff members would have given at the time. Ironically, it was not the self-proclaimed fanboy who crowned this his Record o’ the Year, but two others. With that, another top 10 and a couple honorable mentions, Akercocke‘s long-awaited opus landed here. A good start to a new era of great releases from Akercocke, we hope.
#9. Pain of Salvation // In the Passing Light of Day – [AMG, Dr Fisting #1, Huck n Roll #3] — Pain of Salvation‘s newest opus was an album that inspired dramatic support and love from some, and disdain from others. Between my #1, Dr. Fisting‘s similarly hearty endorsement and Huck n’ Roll‘s also extremely positive sentiments, In the Passing Light of Day landed at a healthy #9 in the aggregations. The album is long, emotional, and it’s not a return to the progressive metal of PoS‘s distant past. But there was no more intense, emotional, and raw album in 2017, and it’s “the kind of once-in-a-lifetime album that I never expect to be duplicated.” A special record that inspired a lot of love, and was excellent for trolling people who can’t cope with Daniel Gildenlöw’s chiseled shoulders and equally chiseled man bun.
#8. Converge // The Dusk in Us – [Grymm #2, Treble Yell, Mark Z #4, Roquentin, Kronos #9, Master ov Muppets #HM] — Converge are a legendary band that has not lost any of its potency, if you judge by their performance in Listurnalia. Converge landed the November Record o’ the Month, and went on to snag three top 5 spots. For a band with a ‘core’ in their genre title, they did better than any I can remember in AngryMetalGuy.com history. And Grymm would tell you that it’s because great music from great bands simply can’t be denied, even after all these years. “It’s rare for a band with over 25 years of history to remain relevant with the changing tastes of the music scene at large. It’s next to impossible, however, for a band to be around that long and not only remain vital, but continue to improve, mature, and captivate, all while remaining unflinchingly heavy, brutal, and most importantly themselves.”
#7. Archspire // Relentless Mutation – [AMG, Kronos #4, Treble Yell #5, Ferrous Beuller, GardensTale #6] — Archspire helps to round out the bottom half of the list with a flurry of blast beats and, apparently, a single “open chug breakdown at the end of ‘Remote Tumor Seeker’,” which some people have declared to be deathcore. So if this is deathcore, we here at AngryMetalGuy.com—at least the five of us who rated Relentless Mutation in our Top 10(ish) of the year—would like you to know that deathcore’s time has finally come, and that it sounds surprisingly like the best technical death metal we’ve heard in a long damned time. In fact, Relentless Mutation is so good, that it won Record o’ the Month in September, and landed three Top 5 spots during Listurnalia, which makes it our #7 record of the year. Also, I love the art work.
#6. Æther Realm // Tarot – [Dr Wvrm, L Saunders #1, Eldritch Elitist #2, GardensTale, El Cuervo #HM] — Æther Realm‘s Tarot was not only a missed review, but it was one of my biggest personal misses of 2017. Fortunately, the melodeath and folk metal nerds at AngryMetalGuy.com did not let our oversights stand. They rallied around Tarot, giving it three Top 2 spots on their lists and knocking out a Things Angry Metal Guy Missed to His Great Shame in order to correct this oversight. Dr. Wvrm was emphatic in his write-up: “Maybe it’s that combination of story and spark that made my listen today, probably my 50th of the year, as engrossing and blood-pumping as my first. Maybe it’s none of the above, and instead is some intangible that I’ll never nail down. Tarot should suffer no detractors because what Æther Realm have achieved here is spectacular. I have no idea how they will top Tarot, but I can’t wait to see them try.” Mea culpa.
#5. Unleash the Archers // Apex – [Dr AN Grier #1, Grymm #4, Ferrous Beuller #5, Eldritch Elitist #6, GardensTale #9] — So I’ve been writing my own overview of the different records on this list, but I will allow Steel Druhm‘s writeup from the Record(s) o’ the Month from June do all the talking here. “Unleash the Archers was a bit of an inside joke around the AMG dot com brainquarters these past few years, and some of the less mature writers (read as: all) would haze and shame Doc Grier for his defense of their 2015 opus, Time Stands Still. They were so cheesy, so corny, they said. They give power metal a bad name, they said. Then Apex happened and those voices fell silent. Now the good Doctor has the last laugh, and laugh he often does. Apex is still a power metal album, but it has a newfound grounding in heavier fare. Some hear Bathory, others hear Ensiferum. Whatever the influence, it’s more forceful, somber and powerful, but that catchy, sing-to-the-skies glory is still there in heaping helpings. Songs like the ridiculously hooky, yet deadly serious ‘Cleanse the Bloodlines’ brought several staff writers around, and with this mötley crëw, that’s no easy feat. A concept album with solid construction, slick songwriting and gravitas? Apex nails it all. It’s rare that Grier awards a 4.0, and he did so here without hesitation. He’s still a power metal weenie though.” What a long way Unleash the Archers came in 2017.
#4. Spirit Adrift // Curse of Conception – [Dr AN Grier #2, Dr Fisting, Grymm #3, Roquentin #5, Huck n Roll #7, L Saunders #9, Steel Druhm #HM] — Curse of Conception was Spirit Adrift‘s second record in as many years, and surprisingly, it’s better than its predecessor. These guys pushed into the annals of old school metal, utilizing influences from Sabbath, Maiden to Cathedral and even dropping riffs that reminded Grymm of Pantera. This development didn’t just land them on Grymm‘s list, but earned them 4 spots in Top 5s and landed them on 7 lists in all. This is the result of a major evolution in their sound: “I’ve not seen a band grow or strengthen their chops as musicians and songwriters as quickly as Spirit Adrift has in the year or so since their debut. In fact, any of the songs on here could make for a great single, all without sacrificing the band’s integrity. That’s the power of a strong album.” And the plebeians agree: Curse of Conception is a strong album.
#3. Caligula’s Horse // In Contact – [GardensTale #1, Kronos #2, Huck n Roll #4, Dr Wvrm, L Saunders #5, AMG #6, Sentynel #8] — When In Contact landed, our very own Kronos didn’t really expect that it could live up to Bloom, but he was wrong. With each listen he grew “to appreciate this incredibly ambitious, startlingly successful love letter to beauty and compassion even more,” and he wasn’t alone. Gaining five Top 5 accolades and landing on my list, In Contact managed to land itself at #3 in our aggregations. While I don’t anticipate that In Contact transformed us all into philosopher poets like it did to Kronos, his syphilis-induced rant still strikes a chord to which only In Contact can respond: “To put it in a more directly Nietzschean context, what are we to do in a broken world with a dead god? In Contact answers with all the authority it can muster: love! create! share! sing! It is all any of us can do, and if that seems no solution, even the most resolutely negative among us perhaps will perhaps reconsider when prompted by [ol’] Freddy himself: ‘You oughta learn to laugh, my young friends, if you are hell-bent on remaining pessimists.’”
#2. The Night Flight Orchestra // Amber Galactic – [Sentynel, Huck n Roll #1, El Cuervo, Dr Fisting #2, Dr Wvrm #4, GardensTale #7, Grymm, Steel Druhm #HM] — Amber Galactic is an album that inspired a surprising number of accolades among our writers in 2017. Given its status as a nostalgia project from the D List members of melodic death metal bands, it’s surprising that my very own trusted writers would give this record five Top 5 spots, including two #1s and two #2s. This after a review calling it the best “party record” of 2017. I was, myself, shocked to see the ease with which otherwise intelligent people were drawn in by the “excellent song writing” and, I quote, “Billy Joel-isms” and the “echoes the transitional late ’70s/early ’80s rock,” as though said “transitional late ’70s/early ’80s rock” hadn’t actually already happened. But alas, the tendency for the metal scene to crawl up its own ass in search of its authentic knows no bounds, and this lack of boundaries ranked (thankfully) 2nd on our aggregated Top 10(ish) list.
#1. Lör // In Forgotten Sleep – [Eldritch Elitist #1, GardensTale #2, Swordborn, Sentynel, AMG #3, Huck n Roll #8, Dr Wvrm #10, Grymm #ish, Dr Fisting, Steel Druhm #HM.] Lör, by virtue of its not “sound[ing] like cocaine” and also coming in on the most lists—a grand total of 10, 8 without honorable mentions—is AngryMetalGuy.com‘s aggregated #1 record for 2017.1 In Forgotten Sleep is a fantastic album that snagged five Top 5s, because it’s a remarkable album. As our own Eldritch Elitist wrote, ““In Forgotten Sleep is a remarkable record in every aspect, one of the only works in my collection that can justify every second of a seventy-minute run-time, and indisputably [one of the best] album[s] of the year. Whether Lör can keep up this momentum has yet to be seen, but In Forgotten Sleep already feels like an underground classic in the making.” And In Forgotten Sleep has simply gained momentum for many of us since August. There’s a reason that half a year later, we’re all still calling this a masterpiece.