Dec 012017


We’re now beginning the final month of 2017, and you know what that means: Now begins the final countdown to the end of the year (and the strengthening onslaught of the annual holiday season). In the world of metal, this month we’ll also start seeing more and more lists of the year’s best releases.

Back in 2009, when this site was just a few days old, I wrote a post about year-end lists and why people bother with them. The best reason still seems to be this: Reading someone else’s list of the albums they thought were best is a good way to discover music you missed and might like.

We don’t do an “official” NCS year-end “best albums” list. However, we publish the picks of each of our regular staff writers as well as a large group of guest writers (which we’ll start doing later this month).

Every year we also invite our readers to share their lists and we’re doing that again right here, right now. If you’ve been pondering what you’ve heard this year and have made your own list of the albums, EPs, or splits released in 2017 that you think are the best of what you’ve heard, we invite you to share it with us in the Comments section to this post. And if you haven’t made a list yet but want to, there’s still plenty of time (read below).


We don’t have any hard-and-fast rules about year-end lists. Your list doesn’t have to be a specific number — it doesn’t have to be a “Top 10″ or “Top 20″ list, it could be a Top 2 list or a Top 15, or any other number.

And it doesn’t have to be a cross-genre list, i.e., the best of all metal you’ve heard this year. It could be the best death metal, or the best black metal, or the best grind, or the best folk metal, and on and on — pretty much whatever you want to do and feel comfortable doing, as long as it fits your definition of metal.

Don’t be shy, and don’t worry about being judged — if you haven’t figured it out already, it ain’t our style or the style of our commenters to ridicule what someone else thinks is great metal.

And if you don’t have a list ready yet, no sweat, because you can come back to this post whenever you like and add your list later — or comment on the lists others have posted. I’ll put a link to this post at the top right side of every page so people can find it quickly — look for the link to 2017 NCS READERS’ YEAR-END LISTS. That will make the comments to this post a collection point for “Best of” readers’ lists. And that link will stay on our page from now through this same date in 2018.

So start thinking and start commenting (please, and thank you).

P.S.  The Comment section is divided into pages. If you scroll down to the end of the first page of comments you’ll see a link that says “Newer Comments“. Click that to see more lists and to add your own.


  1. This was a great year for metal, especially underground speed/thrash metal. These were the records I spun the most:

    Antichrist – Sinful Birth
    Antisect – The Rising Of The Lights
    Condor – Unstoppable Power
    Godflesh- Post Self
    Heavy Death – Sarcophagus In The Sky
    Hellripper – Coagulating Darkness
    Hideous Divinity – Adviens
    Immolation – Atonement
    Integrity – Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume
    Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
    Stalker – Shadow Of The Sword
    Trenchgrinder – Peace Is Forfeit
    Unsane – Sterilize
    Vampire – With Primeval Force
    Wolfbrigade – Run With The Hunted

  2. 1. Spirit Adrift, Curse of Conception
    2. Dreadnought, A Wake in Sacred Waves
    3. Dvne, Asheran
    4. Loss, Horizonless
    5. Black Cilice, Banished From Time
    6. Burial Oath, Beyond the Vale of Shadowlands
    7. Wrvth, S/T
    8. Horrified, Allure of the Fallen
    9. Becomes Astral, Paleblood Sky
    10. Woe, Hope Attrition
    11. Finisterre, Der Weg einer Freiheit
    12. Wiegedood, De doden hebben het goed II
    13. White Ward, Futility Report
    14. Cepheide, Saudade
    15. Empirine, Eld
    16. Inanimate Existence, Underneath a Melting Sky
    17. Wormwood, Bloodlands
    18. Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper

    • That Wrvth album came out in 2015. I got all excited for a second thinking you were talking about a brand new one.

  3. I hate being the first (or one of) to post because I know I’m missing things. But these are what really grabbed me and kept bringing me back this year.

    Favorite Albums:
    Dyscarnate – With All Their Might
    Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
    Hideous Divinity – Adviniens
    War Crab – Scars of Aeons
    The Ominous Circle – Appalling Ascension
    Archspire – Relentless Mutation
    Havukrunnu – Kelle Surut Soi
    Temple of Void – Lords of Death
    Flesh Killer – Awaken
    Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
    The Fevered – I Have Seen Death
    Incendiary – Thousand Mile Stare
    Get the Shot – Infinite Punishment
    Order ov Riven Cathedrals – The Discontinuity’s Interlude
    Monolord – Rust

    Favorite EPs/Splits:
    Vitriol – Pain Will Define Their Death
    Gatecreeper – Sweltering Madness
    Funeral Hearse – The Fist, the Spit, the Sword
    Gods – Fear is the Price of Our Instrument
    Neverending Winter – Xnyc
    Ziggurat –Ritual Miasma
    Black Harvest – Attrition
    Cruciamentum – Paradise Envenomed
    Khemmis/Spirit Adrift – Fraught with Peril

    I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s posts and what I’ve missed.

  4. In no particular order:

    Nightbringer – Terra Damnata
    Farsot – Fail-lure
    Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Finisterre
    Au Dessus – End of Chapter
    Pillorian – Obsidian Arc
    Violet Cold – Anomie
    Great Old Ones – A tale of dark legacy

    • Before Nightbringer’s album came out they released the song Serpent Sun, which for some reason didn’t grab me (I loved all of their prior releases). So I didn’t pay too much attention to this release. I really should have given them the benefit of the doubt though, and now that I’ve heard the whole album – holy shit was I wrong to not have paid attention sooner. I think Let Silence be his Name and Inheritor of a Dying World are two of the best black metal songs I’ve heard this year.

      I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying thanks for reminding me that Nightbringer doesn’t put out weak albums.

  5. This year I selected 11 full length releases of new material that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend with no reservations. I thought to include Cultes des Ghoules and Bestial Raids, because they’re both fucking awesome, but had them both on my list last year and this year’s list was already long with overly gushing and overwrought reviews. Here they are.

    Anima Damnata – Nefarious Seed Grows to Bring Forth Supremacy of the Beast
    Brutal. Chaotic. Brilliant.

    Below – Upon a Pale Horse
    EPIC DOOM, with a capital E.P.I.C. D. O. O. M.

    Cardinals Folly – Deranged Pagan Sons
    Deranged: check. Pagan: check. Sons: um, well I’m sure they’re in there somewhere. In any case, this album lives up to its name, and is a truly satisfying serving of traditional doom.

    <b.Firebreather (Sweden) – s/t
    A doom-mazing debut.

    Hades Archer – Temple of the Impure
    When you want some music to crush your brain with, it doesn’t get any brain-crushier than this. Love it. My favorite of the year so far.

    Necrot – Blood Offerings
    A delicious slab of rotten death metal.

    Occasvs – Nocturnal Majestic Mysteria
    Symphonic. Bombastic. Quite good, with many surprising – dare I suggest mysterious – twists and turns throughout the songs that keeps them interesting. The bass is excellent.

    Owlcrusher -s/t
    This blackened sludge will ooze through you from the opening groans to the bitter end of the soulcrushing finale. Don’t miss it.

    Vassafor – Malediction
    If Pink Floyd had ever written blackened death metal, perhaps the world might have been ready for Vassafor. But they didn’t, and we’re probably still not. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying the hell out of this album NOW.

    Venenum – Trance of Death
    This is a perfect album to just get lost in.

    Weregoat – Pestilential Rites of Infernal Fornication
    Bestial black metal the way god intended. Title track is particularly divine.

    In addition, I can’t help but mention two highly anticipated December releases:

    Deathcult (Norway) – Cult of the Goat
    I’ve only heard one song, but this is almost certainly going to be one of the best black metal releases of the year. Unless the rest of the album is just disco covers of Justin Bieber songs. But that would be a radical departure from their previous releases, and so is probably very unlikely.

    Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs
    Again, I’ve only heard one song so far, but as one of my most anticipated albums of the past few years, I’d be surprised if this doesn’t turn out to be my favorite album of this year. In fairness too, DSO has never released anything other than a killer album, and while this might not contain much by way of metal, you can expect it to embody both weirdly brilliant and brilliantly weird songwriiting incorporating many and diverse genres all the way through. They could probably even do disco Bieber and make it good.

    • Damn, Below are great! Thx for pointing me there.

    • Just an addendum to mention an album I just found out about

      Jess and the Ancient Ones – The Horse and Other Weird Tales
      Occult psychedelic doom rock. If you’re not generally a fan of this genre, but are willing to give it a listen, maybe start with the song “Anyway the Minds Flow”

    • Thanks for your effort putting this, a real help; so thank you!
      off to listen to Occasvs, as i should;
      and cannot wait any longer for the new Aquilus! (if he really unleash it before this year as he said, i have faith it will easily win the year)

      • My pleasure. Glad you found it useful. And Aquilus has a new album in the works?! That’s great news – thanks for the heads up – I will wait for that one eagerly.

  6. Almyrkvi – Umbra
    Anatomia – Cranial Obsession
    Antiversum – Cosmos Comedenti
    Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
    Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
    Funeral Mourning – Left Seething Yet Unspoken & Veneration of Broken Worlds
    Imperceptum – Aeons of Saturnine Desolation
    Kriegszittern – Minenfeld (Split)
    Ophiuchi – Bifurcaria Bifurcata
    Pillorian – Obsidian Arc
    Skáphe – VII
    Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors Of Unbeing
    The Clockwork Deity – An Anthology Of Human Sickness
    Vrångbild – A Psyche Engaged To The Vortex

  7. Top 10 albums in order of most listens (estimated), not meant to be a critical ranking:
    1. Hällas – Excerpts from a Future Past
    2. Kauan – Kaiho
    3. Solstafir – Berdreyminn
    4. Elder – Reflections of a Floating Void
    5. Au-Dessus – End of Chapter
    6. Enslaved – E
    7. Ne Obliviscaris – Urn
    8. Falls of Rauros – Vigilance Perennial
    9. Leprous – Malina
    10. Dreadnought – A Wake in Sacred Waves

    Other albums that I really liked (alphabetical):
    Blaze of Perdition – Conscious Darkness
    Cormorant – Diaspora
    Draugsól – Volaða Land
    DVNE – Asheran
    Grift – Arvet
    Horn – Turm am Hang
    Katla – Móðurástin
    Klabautamann – Smaragd
    Lorn – Arrayed Claws
    Pillorian – s/t
    Sannhet – So Numb
    Violet Cold – Anomie
    When Bitter Spring Sleeps – Star Thrown
    White Ward – Futility Report
    Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven

  8. 1: Ende- Emen Etan
    2: Midnight- Sweet Death and Ecstasy
    3: Necronautical- The Endurance at Night
    4: Hellripper- Coagulating Darkness
    5: Taake- Kong Vinter
    6: Trenchgrinder- Peace is Forfeit
    7: Sielunvihollinen- Ruhonkantaja
    8: Abigor- Höllenzwang
    9: Witherfall- Nocturnes and Requiems
    10: Pillorian- Obsidian Arc

    Honorable Mentions (Didn’t make the list
    but strongly recommended):
    1: Mountanier- As Righteous, As Flawed: Volume I
    2: Switchblade Cheetah- Temple of the Bitch
    3: Vamacara- Mantras for the Manifold
    4: Affliktor- S/T
    5: Inquisitor- Stigmata Me, I’m in Misery
    6: Wucan- Reap the Storm
    7: Firebreather- S/T
    8: White Death- S/T
    9: Hell- Hell
    10: Morvigor- Tyrant

    Song(s) O’ the Year:
    1: Crypt Sermon- De Mysteriis Doom Sathanas
    2: Rimfrost- A Clash Under the Northern Wind
    3: Ende- Das Hexenhaus

  9. Really don’t care about ranking albums. But, rest assured, a lot of thought did go into this. I’ll just say that the albums that are higher on the list are generally the ones I liked better with Venenum being my absolute favourite

    Venenum – Trance of Death
    Cloak – To Venomous Depths
    Temple of Void – Lords of Death
    Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
    Suffering Hour – In Passing Ascension
    Martyrdoom – Grievous Psychosis
    Winds Of Leng – Horrid Dominion
    Bestia Arcana – Holokauston
    Immolation – Atonement
    Highland – Loyal to the Night Sky
    Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
    The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers
    Beneath – Ephemeris
    Gorephilia – Severed Monolith
    Selbst – Selbst
    Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly
    Hideous Divinity – Adveniens
    Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With
    Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black
    Rienaus – Saatanalle

  10. I’ll go with top ten.

    1. Krallice – Go Be Forgotten
    2. Woe – Hope Attrition
    3. Coma Cluster Void – Thoughts From A Stone
    4. Bufihimat – I
    5. Ingurgitating Oblivion – Vision Wallows in Symphonies of Light
    6. Serpent Column – Ornuthi Thalassa
    7. Obitus – Slaves of the Vast Machine
    8. Jute Gyte – Oviri
    9. John Frum – A Stirring in the Noos
    10. Pyrrhon – What Passes For Survival

    Honorable mentions:
    Hell- Hell
    Black Harvest – Attrition

    • Good to see both Ingurgitating Oblivion and John Frum on your list. Neither seem to be showing up quite as often as they deserve.

  11. Pagan Altar – The Room of Shadows
    Stalker – Shadow of the Sword
    Vulture – The Guillotine
    Portrait – Burn the World
    Hällas – Excerpts From a Future Past
    Legionnaire – Dawn of Genesis
    Lunar Shadow – Far From Light
    Satan’s Hallow – s/t
    Dead Head – Swine Plague
    Power Trip – Nightmare Logic

  12. 1. Wode – Servants Of The Countercosmos
    2. Dvne – Asheran
    3. Old Iron – Lupus Metallorum
    4. Pillorian – Obsidian Arc
    5. Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly
    6. Unearthly Trance – Stalking The Ghost
    7. Cloak – To Venomous Depths
    8. Sorxe – Matter & Void
    9. Sumokem – The Guardian Of Yosemite
    10. Celephaïs – Monad

  13. 1. Pallbearer – Heartless
    2. Aeternam – Ruins of Empires
    3. Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid
    4. Enslaved – E
    5. November’s Doom – Hamartia
    6. Nallatar – No Stars Upon the Bridge
    7. Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him
    8. Incancation – Profane Nexus
    9. Replacire – Do Not Deviate
    10. Hideous Divinity – Adveniens

    Song of the Year: “Opus Brain” – Igorrr

    Disappointment of the Year: Voyager – Ghost Mile

  14. Der Weg einer Freiheit-Finisterre
    Whoredom Rife-Dommedagskvad
    Rebirth of Nefast-Tabernaculum
    Nyss-Princesse Terre (Three Studies Of Silence And Death)
    Somnium Nox-Terra Inanis
    Ophiuchi-Bifurcaria Bifurcata
    Antiversum-Cosmos Comedenti
    Beltez-Exiled, Punished…Rejected

    • I’m paying special attention to lists that include Selbst, and it’s a good thing, because that Anomalie rules. Thanks!

  15. Aetheric – Serpents Beneath the Shrine
    Anomalie – Visions
    Archspire – Relentless Mutation
    Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizaon
    Beyond Grace – Seekers
    Dark Matter Secret – Perfect World Creation
    Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly
    Dodecahedron – Kwintessens
    Enfold Darkness – Adversary Omnipotent
    Ensnared – Dysangelium
    In Twilight’s Embrace – Vanitas
    Lantern – II: Morphosis
    Loss – Horizonless
    Orm – Orm
    Pyrrhon – What Passes for Survival
    Rebirth of Nefast – Tabernaculum
    Replacire – Do Not Deviate
    Unbeheld – Dust
    Vassafor – Malediction
    Venenum – Trance of Death
    Violet Cold – Anomie
    White Ward – Futility Report
    Woe – Hope Attrition

  16. Preliminary list, still not sure about the exact ordering. The top 2 in particular are tough to pick between for me.

    1. Yellow Eyes – Immersion Trench Reverie
    2. Aosoth – V: The Inside Scriptures
    3. Rebirth of Nefast – Tabernaculum
    4. Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
    5. Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
    6. Incantation – Profane Nexus
    7. Amenra – Mass VI
    8. Kafirun – Eschaton
    9. Archspire – Relentless Mutation
    10. Throane – Plus une Main à Mordre

    Runners up:
    Converge – The Dusk in Us
    Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence
    Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
    Chaos Moon – Eschaton mémoire
    Myrkur – Mareridt

    Best song: Amenra – “A Solitary Reign”
    Best demo: Void Terror – Soul Harvest
    Best EP: Sinmara – Within the Weaves of Infinity

  17. Krallice- go be forgotten
    Amenra- Mass VI
    Yellow Eyes- Immersion Trench Reverie
    Wolves in the Throne Room- Thrice Woven
    Wiegedood- Dr Doden Hebben Het Goes II

    Well, my top five at least. All I could think of off the top of my head. Obviously, I had the check the spelling in that last one.

  18. 1) Demonomantic “Blessed in Eternal Cruelty”
    2) Obskuritatem – U Kraljevstvo Mrtvih
    3) Haive – Iaton
    4) Beltez – “Exiled, Punished…Rejected”
    5) Mullspellzheimr – “Nidhoggr”
    6) II/Lihhamon split – “Miasmal Coronation”
    7) Yellow Eyes – “Immersion Trench Reverie”
    8)Cormorant “Diaspora”
    9) Acephalix – “Decreation”
    10) Rienaus – “Saatanalle”
    11) Ende – “Emen Etan”
    12) Temple of Void – “Lords of Death”
    13) Nocturnal Triumph – “Into Lights Graven Womb”
    14) Womb – “Devotion to the Sea”
    15) Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition – “Raping Angels in Hell” – Death n roll + Grind!
    16) Chaos Moon – “Eschaton Memoire”
    17)Abhordium – “Omega Prayer”
    18) Ovnev – “Incalescence”
    19) Asagraum ” Potestas Magicum Diaboli”
    20) Low Flying Hawks – “Genkaku”

  19. 2017 – Great releases from these bands.
    1. Nightbringer
    2. Au-Dessus
    3. Der Weg Einer Freiheit
    4. Dumal
    5. Bestia Arcana
    6. Selbst
    7. The Great Old Ones
    8. Throane
    9. Violet Cold
    10. Vassafor

  20. Here we go:
    1. Sunless – Urraca
    2. Rebirth of Nefast – Tabernaculum
    3. Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
    4. Tchornobog – Tchornobog
    5. Dodecahedron – Kwintessens
    6. Rosetta – Utoipoid
    7. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
    8. Ulsect – Ulsect
    9. Au-Dessus – End of Chapter
    10. Pyrrhon – What Passes For Survival

  21. Here we go:
    1. Sunless – Urraca
    2. Rebirth of Nefast – Tabernaculum
    3. Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
    4. Tchornobog – Tchornobog
    5. Dodecahedron – Kwintessens
    6. Rosetta – Utoipoid
    7. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
    8. Ulsect – Ulsect
    9. Au-Dessus – End of Chapter
    10. Pyrrhon – What Passes For Survival

  22. 1. Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar
    2. Hallas – Excerpts from a Future Past
    3. Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia
    4. Atragon – I, Necromancer
    5. Hell – Hell (Salem doom band, not the NWOBHM band)
    6. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
    7. Blut Aus Nord – Deus Salutis Meae
    8. Venenum – Trance of Death
    9. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
    10. Night – Fire Across The Sky

    Honourable Mentions: Jordablod, Ex Eye, Godflesh, Occvlta, The Obsessed, Owlcrusher, Tchornobog, Triumvir Foul, Woe, Wode, Bell Witch, Destroyer of Light, Amenra, Arckanum, Dread Sovereign, Pagan Altar, Boris, Alastor, Coltsblood, Noothgrush/Corrupted split (its old but whatever, its the shit), anything Urfaust did
    Dishonourable Mentions: Electric Wizard – what the fuck was that pish?

  23. Not listened to loads of new stuff this year and some of what I have listened to hasn’t lived up to expectation.
    But what has blown my mind
    Atomck- Every Room In Britain
    Violet Cold-Anomie
    Employed To Serve- Warmth of a Dying Sun.
    Dalek-Endangered Philosophies
    Full of Hell- Trumpeting Esctasy

    • Fuck yeah I was not expecting to see Atomck on any list, them being such an underappreciated band even here in the UK. My favorite grindcore album of the year for sure, and I’m seeing them live for the first time this Sunday!!
      My number one was Foreseen – Grave Danger, defo check it out if you haven’t man 🙂

  24. Acrimonious – Eleven Dragons
    Ende – Emën Etan
    Aosoth – V: The Inside Scriptures
    One Master – Lycanthropic Burrowing
    Enslaved – E
    Immolation – Atonement
    Rebirth of Nefast – Tabernaculum
    Blaze of Perdition – Conscious Darkness
    Venenum – Trance of Death
    Sun of the Sleepless – To the Elements
    Temple of Void – Lords of Death
    Primitive Man – Caustic
    Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis
    Impetuous Ritual – Blight Upon Martyred Sentience

    just scratching the surface here…

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