I left the hulking beast that was 2016 quietly, careful not to disturb the now fallen giant lest I startle and incur its wrath in those final seconds. Best to be careful: it had been a while since I had a year where the chaos of the outside world match and stoke the rage, doubt, and pain in my insular little life. But for every terrible news item that stabbed into our collective cultural eye there seemed to be another great — no, fantastic — album waiting to echo, share, and ultimately help ease our pain. And I’m not even limiting that to metal: everywhere incredible music was being created and shared, as if somehow deep down we all knew we were going to need it.
All of which goes to say 2017 has a long road ahead of it if it hopes to match the staggering amount of quality releases the previous year offered up for the masses. In a year where seemingly every single one of my favorite bands released something I was initially worried I might not find a lot to look forward to this year. After 10 minutes I had at least two dozen upcoming releases I couldn’t wait to get my hands on (not even including the latest from Black Anvil, which I happily address here). And while I won’t touch on everything, I’ll point out a few albums I’m hoping will stave off the bats and wolves looking for blood in the Year of Our Metal Lord, 2017. Continue reading