Monday, 25 December 2017

Fave Death Metal For 2017

Death Metal for 2017:

First the albums without ranking:

Morta Skuld - Wounds Deeper Than Time
Holy fuck! Morta Skuld is back! I used to love For All Eternity. Classic 90s American death metal that one. This time sounding much better of course with modern production and no 90s murk. If you enjoy bands like Bolt Thrower and the like or just classic heavy grooving, you should love this.

Mors Principum Est - Embers of a Dying World
One of the most consistent and best melodeath bands since they started. They almost never let me down and the new album is real good too. A couple of tunes meander which is not my thing but when they kick the riffs into overdrive I'm giving it the horns and nodding along.

Fleshdoll - Hearts of Darkness
Catchy and punchy death metal. Heavy with rolling riffage with a thick, slightly murky sound.

Bleak Flesh - Overcoming Reality EP
Very nice tech death ep with vast array of riffy goodness.

Obsidium - Lesson Of Hatred
Tech death ala Necrophagist. Vocals totally annoying and core-ish but music amazing.

Unperfectum - Neomenia
I'm not really infatuated with melodeath any more but this caught my eye and ears. It's hyper melodic keyboard friendly melodeath. Not super aggressive or trying to scathe your ears with incessant rasps either. Very pleasant and super melodic death metal.

Rogga Johansson - Garpedans
The Swedish king of old school death with a solo album. The umpteenth of his career - he has about 3-4 releases a year. I find his stuff hit and miss but I mostly like this. Some nice keyboard touches too but mainly old school riffy death groove to get the juices flowing.

Necropolis - The Fate of Flesh (EP)
Just a 4 tracker and only 3 actual songs with an instrumental acoustic tune. The music is Death  worship but could be slightly cack handed in its aping but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to Chuck worship so a measly cheap sounding Death will have to do!

Incinerator - Stench Of Distress
Let's go retro. Buzzy guitars like a swarm of angry bees. Goodness!

Apotheon - Mechanically Consumed
Nice tech death 3 tracker with instrumental versions of the same songs as well.

Exhumed - Death Revenge
Great catchy death metal. Sometimes coming close to a few Chuck riffs.

Beneath - Ephemeris
Strangely it's been a great month for death fuckin' metal. Beneath adding to that tally with a catchy slab of battery.

Skyfire - Liberation in Death
One of my fave ever melodeath bands returns with an appetiser. Only 4 tracks but the quality is there for all to see. Lovely keys as always in this band.

Spectrum Of Delusion - Esoteric Entity
Tech death whirlathon. Vokills a bit dodge but OK. Music is warm, fluid and melodic with twangy and clean bass.

Arkaik - Nemethia
Hard hitting tech death blast fest. The scratchy vox are a bit harsh for me but they are not heard all the time. The normal death growls acceptable. Riffs are set to bludgeon and also with a machine gun like attack.

And now the top 15 in reverse order:

15. Undrask - Battle Through Time
Unknown US melodeath from outta the blue pleases me immensely. Imagine primetime IF with a little Minds I and earlier era DT and a little modern Amon Amarth and you have Undrask! Very cool shit!

14. Foredoomed - Ordeal
I have mostly given up on melodeath but this I love. Melodeath at its best for modern times IMO.

13. Paganizer - Land of Weeping Souls
Our old mate Rogga from a gazillion bands with another of his old school vehicles. This one however feels up to date but the pummelling riffs that still have that old school groove. Vocals are also perfect death roars. Love the monstrous rampaging grooves and head banging parts. Should please any fan of classic Bolt Thrower!

12. Nervecell - Past, Present..Torture
Savage, heavy death. Superb production and outstanding death vokills. Kinda death metal I love!

11. Carnal Decay - You Owe You Pay
This shit is fucked up. These guys are super angry man. Cross the road if you see these guys coming from the other side! Musically speaking this is as heavy and yet super slick and groovy as death metal gets. There is a slight hardcore atttude but I really like this take no prisoners feel. When I am feeling angry this sucker's going straight on. Some of these grooves will move mountains!

10. Dying Fetus - Wrong One To Fuck With
Definitely the best Fetus album ever. Too many great riffs and grooves to be moshed to here.

09. Lock Up - Demonization
Riffs! You like bludgeoning, earth shattering riffs? You like blasting drum overload? You're in the right place. I am surprised the album kicks so much ass. An amazing super brutal grindcore record.

08. Decrepit Birth - Axis Mundi
Some of the vocals are a little annoying but I can get by. The wicked tech riffing snaps necks as does the super tight double kick drumming

07. Archspire - Relentless Mutation
Absolutely insane tech death. Riffs, vocals and drums machine gun into your brain at rate of knots unheard of by the human ear!

06. Embrace The Dawn - The Effigist
Jaw droppingly awesome tech death with flawless clean sound. Absolutely love these guys. They amaze!

05. Incarnator - Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam
Death worship bands and albums are like gold dust so when one comes along we have to be grateful for small mercies. It's not Death but very good effort even though the vocals are a bit dodgy. The music is pretty amazing. A couple of Death covers tacked on at the end would've been nice too.

04. Suffocation - ...Of The Dark Light
Very cool stuff from another veteran death act with the Suffos. Winding tech death with urgent, manic riffs and always cool vokills. These guys don't need lessons from no one about death metal do they!

03. Obituary - st
Holy crap it's the best Obies album in aeons. The riffs are massive and groovy and Tardy's sick growls are in perfect tandem with the riffs. The grooves are fuckin' immense on this beast! Theyprobably thought let's try and release the definitive Obituary album - no bullshit, no title, no fancy cover, just Obituary death metal stomp!

02. Inanimate Existence - Underneath A Melting Sky
As I was saying death metal ruled and this was probably the best of the lot. Just a fantastic and  amazing tech death listen. Epic fret wizardry!

01. Cannibal Corpse - Red Before Black
The Corpse is back! A solid album and more complex than usual with torrents of whirling riffs rampaging here there and every fucking where. I wasn't that sure about this but repeat plays revealed pummelling monster catchy grooves and even a thrashier edge at times. Cannibal Corpse are experts at giving the fans what they want with no added bullshit. Just a straight up classic death metal album!

Fave Thrash Metal For 2017

A really enjoyable year for thrash fans. First the albums without ranking:

Nuckin' Futs - Abyss
Decent thrash with average vocals. Production a bit murky for my taste. But loads of cool riffs.

FurYenS - Plug and Plague
Not much in thrash lately so this will have to do despite my distaste for the vocals. The guy is pretty average and useless at times but the riffs are taut and tight.

Paralysis - Life Sentence
Thrash. Works for me. Head moving. Air guitar crunch ready. Happy enough.

Gumomanioacs - By Endurance We Conquer: Demons & Damnation
Cool thrash but overly long. Plenty great riffs. Vox average. Some nice bass playing too.

Shrapnel - Raised On Decay
Super heavy and brutal UK thrash. As heavy as thrash gets. They rip your throat out and spit in the hole!

Chemicide - the Act Of Retaliation
Nice thrash metal. Not amazing but keeps me moving and banging.

Thrash Bombz - Master of the Dead
Workmanlike cool thrash. Great sound, great riffs, let's go!

Skulled - Eat Thrash
Thrash metal at it's simplest and purest form is what you get with this album. Bangers rejoice!

Severpull - Divided By Two [ep]
Blistering thrash 4 tracker. A bit one dimensional but pure mayhem.

Cultural Warfare - Future Kill Ep
Heavy melodic thrash by these unknowns. Especially like the heavy clear vocals. No growling which is good. He's not exactly melodic but he's very clear. The music is like a mid paced Testament mixed with Flots maybe with a good tech flair.

Freakings - Toxic End
Thrash metal in its pure and simplest form. Won't amaze but gets the blood pumping well enough.

Alkol - Beeried Alive
Fun little thrash ep about drinking jam packed with great riffs.

Destruction - Thrash Anthems II
Nice project from teutonic thrash overlords.

Agresiva - Decibel Ritual
Vocals a bit dodgy but music is great so it's in. It's melodic thrash in style I should say and pretty neck wrecking.

Ultyma - Liberation EP
Cool as hell tech thrash 3 tracker. Just make an album already!

Lich King - the Omniclasm
First time I have liked the crossovery thrash merchants. Still raw as fuck but very cool fast and catchy too. What an insane year for thrash!

Comaniac - Instruction For Destruction
Vocals? Really average. Riffs? Really great. Cares? None. Just bang away.

Power Trip - Nightmare Logic
I dismissed this earlier but I think it deserves another chance. Not amazing but catchy thrash, vocals a bit annoying but I'll get over it

Jenner - To Live Is To Suffer
Solid thrash with female vocals. No screaming thankfully. Riffs really active, clean and energetic!

Epicenter - Subversion
Interesting slightly dissonant prog thrash. Vox a bit annoying but not enough to spoil enjoyment. Some riffs are killer and get the energy levels rising through the roof.

Black Reaper - Blood Moon Rising
Thrash again. Good again. Happy again.

Laid To Waste - Mental Decay
Thrash helps me yet again. What a year for thrash it's been.

Black Soul Blade - The Masterpiece of Hate
Another one on Joker Records from Russia. These guys play heavy bruiser-boy thrash metal. Some modern leanings but good pounding riffs, aggression and groove make for a cool listen. Vocals in English which helps. I didn't hate this!

Tankard - One Foot in the Grave
Very good album and their most melodic and catchy probably.

Mass Execution - The Day Before The Execution
30 minutes of mayhem. Thrash with crossovery vocals. But the riffs spill blood from my ears!

Ice Age - Breaking the Ice
Interesting band of chicks and a male drummer aping Megadeth in the main. Good stuff if not totally amazing.

Top 15 in reverse order:

15. Prayers Of Sanity - Face Of The Unknown
Yes normal headbanging service is resumed. Cooool thrashhhh!

14. BULLET-PROOF - Forsaken One
Very crunchy and heavy, very cool melodic thrash. Thumbs up guys whoever you are!

13. Chronosphere - Red n' Roll
Great thrash mayhem from the Greeks. Massive, steaming riffs, rough vocals which are not great but I don't care too much as the riffs crush.

12. Ancient Dome - The Void Unending
Great riffy thrash with cleanly shouted vocals. Great semi tech riffs and some of them even sound like Death riffs from Chuck. Great stuff if you ask me.

11. Warbringer - Woe to the Vanquished
Very cool effort. Last song is a bit hard going at 10 minutes but it picks up. The rest is aggressive thrash with fun riffs and hard edged angry yells.

10. Enclave - New Age Disorder
Cool, ripping, riffed up thrash. Works the oracle for me. Quite like the way the vocals are handled too being very understandable.

09. Overkill - The Grinding Wheel
Someone said it's more like Ironbound. Since that's my fave Overkill album of all time I was looking forward to this. My first play went swimmingly well. The riffs on this are fucking inspired man! There's bounce, thrash and groove, the works! Vocals from Bobby Blitz are raspy and typical but fun like Udo fronting thrash. Music is made for the moshpitters and hair flingers the world over!

08. Distillator - Summoning The Malicious
One boring slowish track but the rest is awesome. Great understandable vocals. Great tech riffs! Thrash at its best!

07. Havok - Conformicide
A more refined Havok album. Not so fast and chaotic. A lot of great passages. A lot of cool grooves. May require a few plays but will win thrash fans over in the end.

06. War Device - Infinite Chaos
Been spoilt when it comes to thrash this year. This is a great feast of riffs to chew, spit and mosh to!

05. National Suicide - Massacre Elite
Basically an Overkill album. A great Overkill album at that! Also hear some Justice/Killem All Metallica. Singer is a dead ringer for Blitz. Ticks all my thrash boxes and provides my only source of neck wrecking this month. Special mention for the song Take Me To The Dive Bar. I lose my shit on that one! But then there's the song What D'Ya Mean By Metal and then I'm bouncing off the walls! \m/

04. StormThrash - Systemtaic Annihilation
Holy fuckin' crap! Where in hell did these guys come from?? This rules my world badly. What fuckin' amazing riffs. Bangers rejoice! Can't deny this much riff mastery.

03. Panikk - Discarded Existence
Goddamn this is thrash metal art! Riff upon riff upon riff hammering you into submission. Fucking insane!

02. Kreator - Gods of Violence
Hell yeah! Kreator brings it home in great style and sound mega inspired. They sound much more melodic than usual but still give you thrash mayhem at its best!

01. Harlott - Extinction
Holy shmoly thrashing momma! Totally insane! The rage is super strong with the Aussies. They are just the best at this game IMO. I love this more than any thrash released this year and the competition is strong. These guys are just a hell of a ride for thrash vets the world over. Press play and strap in 'cause this bullet train an't stopping for nothin'!

Favourite albums of 2017

Albums below the top 50 and in no particular order:

Newman - Aerial
Superbly slick melodic rock from Newman as always.

Tommy Vitaly - Indivisible
Neoclassical shred metal mixed with normal melodic metal. Some songs have vocals and others just shredding and melodies.

Awaken the Giant - Black & Blue [EP]
Modern rock EP. Good vocals, heavy riffs and a few core emo elements but minimal. Enjoy the catchy songs a lot.

Ra's Dawn - From The Vile Catacombs
Heavy and melodic mid paced thrash with power metal overtones. The heavy crystal clear sound makes the album very listenable indeed.

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand
Heavy and melodic groove metal with ever busy drums. Some mesmerising moments of epic bliss. A solid and enjoyable Mastodon album.

Razorblade Messiah - Ride the Razor
Great little classic metal ep. Trad metal riffs with melodic vocals and decent songs. Fists in the air!

Arf Of Anarchy - The Madness
Modern rock with Scott Stapp. Catchy and very good for the most part. Hard hitting with angsty, melodramatic vocals from Stapp is the order of the day.

Night ranger - Don't Let Up
Some very good melodic tunes and a couple of bluesy rough numbers which I don't like. Overall pleasing melodic rock, good vocals and strong melodies. 

NоVоN - Thе Wаrrіоr's Fаtе
Hilarious and fun true metal from the German brothers of steel! Featuring the best song title of the year - Push, Push for Metal!

Bonfire - Byte the Bullet
I've never known a great deal about Bonfire but I think this maybe their best album yet. Melodic rock/metal at its Germanic best is what's on offer here. Very enjoyable stuff!

Place Vendome - Close to the Sun
Took a couple of plays but I like this in the end. Granted Miki Kiske's warbling will put off most people but there are some cool tunes here. The guitar work is also very awesome and melodic.

Edenbridge - The Great Momentum
I've always liked Edenbrdge and I love Sabine's vocals. She's one of my fave female singers by far. Just love her voice and my love affair continues strong on this disk.

Coastland Ride - Distance
This is very soft but very good Scandi AOR. Very lush instrumentation, lovely crystal clear production and sweet melodic vocals. Won't be the best AOR album I'll hear this year but good enough.

Stamina - System of Power
Don't recall a lot about this band but this album is great if you ask me. Very melodic, very catchy melodic power with the odd prog tendency but mainly just melody after melody. Very big surprise and very enjoyable.

Striker - st
I didn't like the last album it just didn't work for me. Now I like'm again. This is great. Good solid melodies from the singer.

Theory - The Art Of Evil
A new band playing heavy power metal something like Nevermore/Communic mix. The vocals are heavy and full throated but still melodic. Riffs are melodic and very enjoyable.

Deaf Havana - All These Countless Nights
Stepping out of my comfort zone but these songs and vocals are too good to ignore. This is an uplifting alternative rock album and much lighter than other modern rock bands I like. However the melodies are very addictive and cool as is the dreamy laid back vibe.

Firewind - Immortals
Welcome return for Gus and Co. Basse fits like a glove and Gussy sounds energised with a bunch of cool new tunes.

Grave Digger - Healed By Metal
Been bored by last couple of GD albums but I begrudgingly have to say I like Healed By Metal. It pounds and wrecks with heavy hitting power metal all over. Bolt even manages to sound like Lemmy at times which is a bit cool though I don't know if it was on purpose as a tribute or just natural.

Cellador - Off The Grid
Really much better than their last album which was good in itself. The singer has some superb melodies.

Confess - Haunters
Melodic Swedish glam metal. Like a slightly softer Hardcore Superstar but with a lot of cool tuneage.

Adrenaline Rush - Soul Survivor
You know what, even this gal's painfully average pop vocals can't stop this from rocking pretty hard. The full throttle riffs and music just rules.

Labyrinth - Architecture of a God
I wish it had more energetic songs but the quality is still there. It's just a more relaxed kind of Labyrinth and not power metal fixated. The song Stardust and Ashes is completely amazing though and I wish there were more tunes like that one.

Ancestry - Transitions
Nice power from Mexico. Probably closest to old Stratovarius in many ways. For a band with no profile from a power metal backwater it's definitely a job well done.

No Resolve - Unity
Modern rock has been good to me and every thing I look for in modern music is present and correct. Epic, room filling melodies from the singer and a booming thick production with the riffing. I even like the haunting ballads on this album.

Exos - Time For a Change
Very cool project which I know very little about. The album features various semi-famous and underground power metal singers each handling a song but it's the song material that wins the day. Very enjoyable.

Pride of Lions - Fearless
Some great tunes especially when Toby sings alone but the album as a whole is possibly a bit borderline namby pamby. If you like a more theatrical Survivor styled AOR you should like it though.

Painful Pride - Lost Memories
Rather catchy melodic metal from this band I've never heard of. Some very nice tunes and some so so ones. Overall pretty enjoyable melodic heavy metal.

Damnations Day - A World Awakens
Great progpower. Very good vocals, very decent but not totally amazing songs. Production is totally great though. First album was good but this is better still. Overall vibe is solid as hell.

Paladine - Finding Solace
Very decent epic metal with so so vocals. But I enjoyed most of this anyway.

Ayreon - The Source
Perhaps the heaviest and most melodic Ayreon album ever. I have liked random Ayreon songs in the past but never a full album. That has changed. This is almost a masterpiece as far as Ayreon goes. This is a double cd so I can't say I like everything but I liked 80% at least and probably the first time I can say that about any Ayreon album. Great vocals from all the cast too.

Aviator Shades - This Is What We Do
Fun hard rock with sweet riffs and vocals.

Wayward Sons - Ghosts of yet to come
Catchy hard rock. Plenty cool tunes.

Smash Into Pieces - Rise And Shine
Very cool modern rock with great vocals. Sweden come up trumps for me again after the solid last cd. The songs are just very catchy and I can see myself playing them over and over.

The Mantle - st
Didn't realise this was Kenny G's boy but I like this. I don't really listen to instrumental metal but this thing is awesome. Melody is put at the forefront of every tune. Guitarwork is superb and fluid.

Victorius - Heart Of The Phoenix
Quality Freedom call style power metal. Vocals could be better but they're OK enough and the songs are very happy go lucky and enjoyable in any case. Thumbs up from this power metal diehard!

Skarlett Riot - Regenerate
Great songs, very memorable. Her voice is a little girly for my taste. But I can't deny the songs because they are ace.

Sinner - Tequila Suicide
I don't really recall liking any Sinner albums a lot in the past. They were good but nothing I needed to immerse myself in. Which makes this all the more strange. I really like this album! It's really quite good indeed. It's like a heavier Thin Lizzy in places.

Dragony - Lords of the Hunt EP
Great little ep. Nice melodic power stuff until their next album.

Seven Kingdoms - Decennium
Well this is rather enjoyable. Her vocals are a bit girly but the melodies are very catchy. I just wish she sounded more manly if that makes sense. Still very good though.

Toxpack - Schall Und Rausch
I love this somehow. Punk street metal - very heavy very catchy! Good mix of attitude filled street music but no rap.

Dream Tröll - The Knight of Rebellion
Rather unique sounding UK melodic power metal. Not amazing but pretty enjoyable and brings a smile to my face.

Taberah - Sinner's Lament
Very good heavily riffed power metal. Choruses could be bigger but this mostly rules.

Siamese - Shameless
Very dreamy and melodic modern rock with smooth soft vocals which are almost poppy like Timberlake or something! Still some of these songs are very catchy and addictive with the mix of heavy riffs and soft melodies from the singer.

Wind Rose - Stonehymn
Epic and mighty sounding warrior metal. Some great moments but others pass by without gaining much favour with me but I may end up liking this heroic outfit in the end. There are plenty of great chest beating moments and a cool heavy sound.

Pyramaze - Contingent
At first I was a bit dubious about this but by the end I realised the band is still great as ever. The melodies are strong and memorable. The production could be a bit sharper but it's minor really which is a bit odd since Jacob Hansen is amazing at sounding huge on all his other production work. If you like melody in your metal then you need Pyramaze - simples!

Tyrants by Night - A Taste of Patience
They sound like Iced Earth but sped up and much more thrashy. Good melodic vocals too but it's all about riffs and there's freaking loads of 'em! Tyrants by Night are well worth a listen for any power/thrash fan.

Horisont - About Time
Retro 70s rock isn't really my thing but I really enjoyed this. Sounds like The Who mixed with Thin Lizzy and a very high pitched singer. Rather fun and authentic 70s, boogie rock.

Night Demon - Darkness Remains
This is great old school trad. Good riffs, reasonable vox, and headbangable songs. I'm in.

VHÄLDEMAR - Old King's Visions
Nice little comeback ep from this band who I haven't heard a peep from in years. There is power, pace and melody with a gruff singer. Actually he sounds like a dead ringer for old Nightmare singer Jo Amore.

Ravage - Return Of The Spectral Rider
Very good trad power metal with loads of gallop. Good solid vocals too. True metal joy!

Soulspell - The Second Big Bang
Very good power metal extravaganza. Singers galore and all turn in a solid effort. Perhaps not as good as Avantasia but it's not so far away after all.

Ironflame - Lightning Strikes the Crown
Yeah I like this. Normal true power metal. Good vocals and chest beating songs about being metal. Good melodies good production. Ticks all my boxes.

Wolfchant - Bloodwinter
Didn't really know the band before but the Viking, medieval, melodic folk death thing works very well here. Love the semi operatic vocals that make the choruses stand out more. Imagine a more folky Amon Amarth with clean booming vocals in the choirs and you have Wolfchant.

Excalion - Dream Alive
Very decent melodic power but I'm not sure I have a feeling yet for the vocal melodies. In the end after a few plays the class shines through and it makes the list with ease.

Santa Cruz - Bad Blood Rising
Some very good songs from the Fins and a couple of duff ones too but still makes it for the sheer fun of the great tunes.

Satin - It's About Time
Superb clean cut soft AOR. Great vocals and great guitars. Ballads are a bit namby pamby, duff but I can always skip. Love the rest from Tom Satin.

Souldrinker - War Is Coming
Yes it's pure heavy metal! Very much sounding like classic Mystic Prophecy even the lady sounds like RD Liapakis, mainman of MP.

Starblind - Never Seen Again
Maiden worship. Very enjoyable although the singer like their last album can be annoying with his OTT whining. However musically the band is pure late 80s Maiden. Somewhere in Time/Seventh Son era.

Von Hertzen Brothers - War Is Over
Loved their last and their new album is even more ambitious and epic. It's adventurous and very melodious with lush vocals and always interesting songs. I will have plenty more listens of this epic album of modern rock.

Hell In The Club - See You On The Dark Side
First time liking this Italian band. Very good slightly glam metal but not so much because then I wouldn't like it not being a glam fan.

Ember Falls - Welcome To Ember Falls
Modern metal ala Amaranthe but much heavier and no female vocals. Some wicked melodic choruses \and great riff passages all round. One horrible song with rapping but I'll forgive them that shocking error! :-)

Metalian - Midnight Rider
Catchy old school metal ala Maiden/Priest with a very rough sound.

Anthriel - Transcendence
Very cool melodic prog/power. A bit long winded but many majestic moments.

Ten - Gothica
Dramatic as always. Quality melodic music and much better than Isla De Muerta and I've always loved Gary's voice.

Stallion - From the Dead
Old school 80s fixated speed/thrash metal - raw but fun.

Forefather - Tales From a Cloud-Born Land
Had no idea the English pagan twins were releasing an EP. Then suddenly here it is and as usual it's totally epic. Glad they released this epic pagan melodic metal!

Jorn - Life on Death Road
Some very good songs from Jorn. I like the fact that it doesn't plod so much like much of his solo albums. This is quite fast and energetic on many occasions. Enjoyable effort if not totally amazing either.

Kee of Hearts - st
Very cool melodic rock. Great vocals and very cool tunes.

Martina Edoff - We Will Align
Much harder edged but still very melodic album from this sassy Swedish lady.

Wizard - Fallen Kings
Not amazing but someone has to hold up the flag for true metal after Majesty's great effort earlier in the year. Some great chest beating moments!

Accept - The Rise of Chaos
I like it. It's fun heavy metal. Simple enough really.

Kryptonite - st
Great melodic rock project. very enjoyable music and catchy songs.

Eagleheart - Reverse
Yeah quality Czech power metal - not often you'll be saying that! Great quality production and acceptable vocals from the guy.

Fire Strike - Slaves of Fate
Female fronted Maiden style trad metal. Fun if throwaway.

Blazon Stone - Down In The Dark
Great RW worship even the vocals are pure Rolf.

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr - Stand Your Ground
Jack returns once in a blue moon with an album of true cult heavy metal. This album is an enjoyable listen held together superbly by vocals from Todd Michael Hall if I'm not wrong. Some triumphant melodies but production is a bit raw or flat by today's standards.

Wraith - Revelation
80s trad throwback. Heavy riffs and melodic vocals. Enjoyable but not amazing but good enough to be included.

Galderia - Return of the Cosmic Men
I may have been hasty in my initial dismissal of this. It's actually rather enjoyable happy power. Very OTT, just the way I like it really. The singer when singing on his own is average but the choirs are epic and chest beating.

Altair - Descending A Devilish Comedy
Very good prog power. Vocals so so but I can get by. Music is class with a sweet production.

Valor - Arrogance- The Fall
Really enjoyed this melodic power metal from Greece. Voice could be a little better but he'll do and the melodies are cool and catchy enough from him.

10 Years - (How to Live) As Ghosts
Very good modern rock. Not that heavy but I enjoy many of the songs with a lot of memorable vocal melodies. Fills my modern rock needs nicely.

Metalite - Heroes In Time
Obviously a guilty pleasure this cheese fest dance metal. Who can admit in public liking this overly sugary and poppy stuff? Well me! It's catchy, hard to resist and executed expertly even though you need to go a week without sugar after spoon fulls of this stuff!

Air Raid - Across The Line
Enjoyable trad held back by just average vocals. Great riffs though and cool tunes though.

Atoms to Ashes - Through the Storm (EP)
Modern rock with pop edge. Should hate it but damn it's catchy!

Code Red - Incendiary
Super slick melodic rock from Swedish experts of the game.

Adelitas Way - Notorious
Very catchy modern melodic rock. Very big choruses.

CyHra - Letters To Myself
Super slick and catchy with a whole host of poppy melodies everywhere. Basically a second Amaranthe minus chick and growls.

Absolva - Defiance
A very good trad metal album from the Appleton bros here in the UK. Very strong effort for fans of melodic heavy metal.

Early Grey - Rock For Life
Enjoyable melodic rock from the Russians whose debut I liked a lot from last year. Nice vocals too.

Operus - Cenotaph
Out of the blue semi operatic, Candian power metal. Great effort too with an awesome mid range singer. Epic and lush music driven by energy and vocal histrionics. I'm happy with this unknown band!

Panzer - Fatal Command
Enjoyable classic German metal. Imagine if Destruction played more like Accept. Rocks right?

Prospekt - The Illuminated Sky
Very good prog metal from the UK. Vocals could be a little better but belting music.

Defecto - Nemesis
Very good and catchy melodic prog/power.

Phantom 5 - Play To Win
Why did I ignore this for a few weeks?? This is bloody great melodic hard rock and typically Germanic. Great stuff for me and miles better than their average debut.

Saints of Sin - Welcome to the Circus
English band playing fun as hell melodic hard rock. The guitars rip hard and the songs are very fun and super cheesy.

Crom - When Northmen Die
Very good folky power. Nice vocals too.

Aerodyne - Breaking Free
Pretty catchy melodic hard rock.

And now for the big Top 50 in reverse order:

50. Walpyrgus - Walpyrgus Nights
Very good melodic classic trad metal. Great vox too.

49. Vhäldemar - Against All Kings
They released an ep earlier in the year and now here's the fantastic new album. Great mix between Primal Fear, Grave Digger and Manowar! Hail!

48. Secret Sphere - The Nature of Time
Just a superb singing performance from Mr Luppi. He has an accent but I just love his style. Music is solid and the songs are enjoyable.

47. Gothminister - The Other Side
I'm the last person to listen to eurogoth but this album immediately caught my ear. It sounds like Pete Steele fronting Rammstein with something more Eurovision catchy even. Very enjoyable!

46. Arrayan Path - Dawn Of Aquarius
Very very good indeed. Enjoyable melodic power with oriental elements as always from the Cypriots. Some parts are a little long winded for me but overall very happy with their effort and especially the beautiful production and oriental guitar melodies.

45. Galneryus - Ultimate Sacrifice
Amazing as always. Shredding, ultra melodic, Japanese style power/speed metal. Sho, the vocalist is easily my fave Japanese vocalist. High and smooth as silk. I only wish he had confidence to sing in all English but I guess their Japanese fans won't accept that. Some of the English sung choral parts are truly epic bliss.

44. Red Eyes - The Red Album
The riffs on this unknown band's album plain rule! The vocals are good not great but acceptable. The songs rock and like I said the riffs on this bad boy rock like hell.

43. Nickelback - Feed the Machine
The best Nickelback album by far. Melodic, catchy modern rock with a big, hefty guitar sound. Good, memorable songs.

42. Inglorious - II
The vocals make this band what they are. This is a solid blues rock band but boy is the singer bloody great. His melodies are so soulful and engaging. Without him I'd pass on Inglorious but he just adds something great and memorable to the songs.

41. Within Silence - Return From The Shadows
Can't recall the history with these guys at all but this is right up my alley. Great melodies all over the shop and very nice production in this melodic metal band.

40. Wildness - Wildness
Absolutely top class Scandi AOR. Love it! So lush and easy on the ear.

39. Cats In Space - Scarecrow
Are you a fan of 70s lush harmonics? Then you need this album. Some fantastic songs and glorious harmonies. Just like pouring sugar down your ear holes!

38. Art Nation - Liberation
Much heavier than their last album but even better. Great songs with huge choruses. One for Eclipse fans to pump out loud whenever they get tired of if that's possible!

37. The Unity - st
The album is mostly bloody great. They've exceeded expectations although with the people involved it's not so surprising. The choruses are very catchy. Could do with a bit more pace sometimes to boost the energy but the vocals are awesome. The Love Might Kill guy is superb, he's absolutely the star of the show here.

36. Mean Streak - Blind Faith
This is great stuff. Very enjoyable catchy heavy metal and oh so typically Scandi melodic heavy metal.

35. Cryonic Temple - Into The Glorious Battle
Great true power metal, epic qualities and great choruses and solid vocals. Surprised to like this so much but like it a lot I do.

34. Houston - III
Superb AOR again. Amazing songs. Love Houston, One of the best Swedish AOR bands along with Work of Art and Heat of course. Note I didn't say Eclipse who I don't consider a true AOR band. Eclipse is just the best band period haha!

33. Unleash The Archers - Apex
Their best and most confident effort by far. Great power metal overall. Very good vocals. Very surprised I like it so much.

32. H.E.A.T - Into The Great Unknown
Plenty of great tunes and a couple of departures but I don't mind them at all. The band is firing as hard as ever.

31. The Ferryman - st
Very good indeed but I slightly prefer his own Freefall project. Still this is the best vehicle I've heard for Ronnie's vocals by far. Some killer tunes and a few that pass me by without too much fanfare.

30. Serenity - Lionheart
Just a real great power metal band these days. Love this epic and bombastic power metal!

29. Need - Hegaiamas:A song for freedom
This is some immense shit right here. I am so surprised. The story is a bit out there but it's all about the riffs for me. They are truly humongous and the vocals are pretty good too.

28. As Lions - Selfish Age
Featuring Bruce's son, ex metalcore boy grows up in new band. Very nice epic melodies throughout and no stupid screaming. Some huge rock anthems here.

27. Crazy Lixx - Ruff Justice
Great old school melodic rock/metal with a little sleaze but not too much. Some of the songwriting is pure 80s inspired. Like 80s Ozzy. Possibly their best album yet.

26. Fozzy - Judas
Easily the most commercial and hook ridden Fozzy album yet. Going for the big radio hits but still with huge weight in the riffs. Thumbs up for the wrestler dude here!

25. Blaze Bayley - Endure and Survive
Best Blaze album since almost forever. Welcome back Mr Bayley! Looking forward to part 3 of this trilogy.

24. DragonForce - Reaching into Infinity
A truly great 'Force album. One of their very best. They are trying to be a bit thrashier and it works a treat but still with super melodic choruses. I'd call this warp speed, hyper melodic

23. Amberian Dawn - Darkness Of Eternity
The Nightwish clones can do no wrong in my eyes. Love singer Capri's voice. She's a delight!

22. Bloodbound - War Of Dragons
If this album said Sabaton on the front and had Joakim as front man no one would bat an eyelid. In fact people would probably be raving over it saying Sabaton have released one of their best albums in their career. For me this is one of the best albums in Bloodbound's career especially on the albums without Urban Breed.

21. Keldian - Darkness and Light
Good to see these guys back. Very melodic and uplifting as always but heavier than their usual sound. The songs are very catchy and anthemic.

20. The Night Flight Orchestra - Amber Galactic
Very good 80s retro rock. Their best album no doubt. Some lush grooving and sweet retro melodies. Amazing production too.

19. Brothers of Metal - Prophecy of Ragnarök
Amazing newcomer band. Female vox, male rough vox but not harsh. Songs are amazing odes to metal and Swedish myths. Some wonderful melodies. Gods of War - one of the songs of the year no doubt. Great newcomer band!

18. Majesty - Rebels
Damn! The best Majesty album ever! I am amazed at this album. It's perfection in true metal form!I literally love every song here. Cheesy, true metal at its finest level. Manowar have been usurped and their crown has been taken over by Majesty. Hail to Majesty!

17. Brother Firetribe - Sunbound
Of course it's totally loveable. Lush, richly produced melodic rock with superb melodic vocals. Very listenable and a fantastic release you can listen to over and over again.

16. Tokyo Motor Fist - st
Melodic rock project with Ted Poley comes up trumps. Some fantastic happy go lucky songs on display all with Ted's high pitched vocals. Much better than his solo album from last year. This is just hella fun!

15. Power Quest - Sixth Dimension
Waited with baited breath and disappointed I was not. Highly enjoyable melodic power metal with songs that stay firmly fixed in the brain. Thanks to Steve and co for resurrecting the Quest!

14. Almanac - Kingslayer
A superb follow up to the debut from Victor and crew. Better, heavier and more melodic in every way.

13. Threshold - Legends Of The Shires
Never let anyone down. Even though I was worried about them dropping Wilson I needn't have been as returning singer Morgan is in fine form. Songs are amazingly great as always. Production is superb.

12. Beast in Black - Beserker
So Anton Kabanen left the beast and created the beast! But there's room for everyone in my book.This is a great start for the band. Much heavier and faster than his previous band but still with many of the same traits too.

11. Kobra And The Lotus - Prevail I
As a massive fan of Kobra's last album I was looking forward to this immensely. I'll spend a lot of time with this epic record that's for sure. Almost undoubtedly their best album so far and I look forward to Prevail II.

10. Voyager - Ghost Mile
Album kicks ass plain and simple. Melody, riffs. crunch and vocal candy!

09. Gods Of Silence - Neverland
Superb melodic and heavy stuff. Can't find any fault. Constant plays from me for this album ever since I first played it. Especially love the full throated singer's epic melodies.

08. One Desire - st
An incredible debut album from these Finns. Fantastic music and songs, melodic AOR in all its anthemic glory. Some mesmerising tuneage that demands repeat plays.

07. Battle Beast - Bringer of Pain
Axing the man song writer in your band is not normally a wise move but you know what they've actually pulled it off. This is a great record. It's a little different than Unholy Savior. It's a little rockier and less power metal in places. Sort of more tongue in cheek too. Noora is of course the star of the show. She's totally amazing. Lover her loads!

06. Serious Black - Magic
Melodies not as immediate as Mirrorworld but still amazing in their own right. One thing I do know is that the production is actually way heavier and better than the last album. Plus the album starts to reveal more and more of its charms the more you listen. Superb vocals from Urban once again.

05. The Dark Element - st
What can I say but just a wonderful listen for anyone who enjoys melodies in their Nightwish inspired metal.

04. Lionville - A World of Fools
I'm basically listening to a Work of Art album in all but name and I'm as happy as a pig in shit! The album is truly fantastic. Lars Safsund is a Godly singer and thankfully he's super busy on loads of albums. For now the new Lionville is a disk to be treasured until the next Work of Art album hits.

03. Harem Scarem - United
Wow this is just superb. Could be my fave HS record ever. People always go on about Mood Swings but this newie is bad ass and also very heavy sounding for HS. HS will surprise people with this release trust me. About as good as melodic rock can get in 2017.

02. Orden Ogan - Gunmen
Amazing stuff. Monumentally huge choirs that make you feel truly engaged with the melodies. Epic true, hero metal with a great theme. They even pull it off live. The band can do no wrong it seems.

01. Eclipse - Monumentum
I started with 9/10 and moved impossibly close to 10 without quite getting there. Is it better than Armageddonize and Bleed and Scream? Maybe not but with Eclipse I know I'm guaranteed sheer musical pleasure from beginning to end. Some spectacular tunes and even the average ones just straight up kick ass! In a year with some amazing albums listening to Eclipse still brought me the most happiness. What a band Eclipse is. What a song writer Erik is. The boy is a genius tunesmith pure and simple!

And now a list of my most enjoyed and played songs of the year of all styles

Top 50 songs of the year:

50. Houston - Everlasting
49. Beast in Black - Blind and Frozen
48. Amberian Dawn - Dragonflies
47. Power Quest - Face The Raven
46. Warbringer - Remain Violent
45. Undrask - Longhammer
44. Gods of Silence - Wonderful Years
43. Deaf Havana - Sing
42. Newman - Don't Wake The Lion - not on youtube
41. Dragonforce - Ashes of the Dawn
40. Hell In the Club - A Melody, A Memory
39. Gothminister - Ich Will Alles
38. Siamese - Ablaze
37. Smash Into Pieces - YOLO
36. Threshold - Stars and Satellites
35. Heat - Bastard of Society
34. Coastland Ride - Nation of Grace - not on youtube
33. Kobra and the Lotus - You Don't Know
32. National Suicide - Take Me To the Dive Bar
31. Mastodon - Show Yourself
30. Gods of Silence - You Mean Nothing More to Me
29. Kreator - Totalitarian Terror
28. Cats in Space - Felix and the Golden Sun
27. Art Nation - Ghost Town
26. Lionville - Image of Your Soul - not on youtube
25. Ten - Travellers
24. Pride of Lions - In Caricature
23. Nickelback - Feed The Machine
22. Harem Scarem - United
21. Majesty - Iron Hill
20. Tokyo Motor Fist - Shameless
19. Voyager - This Gentle Earth (1981)
18. Obituary - It Lives - only whole album on youtube
17. Harlott - Extinction
16. Harem Scarem - Sinking Ship
15. Battle Beast - Familiar Hell
14. Brother Firetribe - Indelible Heroes
13. Inglorious - I Don't Need Your Loving
12. Thershold - Small Dark Lines
11. Eclipse - Killing Me
10. As Lions - White Flags
09. Voyager - Misery is only Company
08. Forefather - One Blood and One Bone - whole ep only
07. Lionville - I Will Wait
06. Brothers of Metal - Gods Of War
05. Orden Ogan - Gunman
04. Serious Black - Now You'll Never Know
03. Orden Ogan - Fields of Sorrow
02. One Desire - Hurt
01. Eclipse - Born to Lead