Not much small talk to be found. It’s early. And, I’m only on my second pot of coffee. So, let’s skip it. Now, if you’re an Enslaved fan, this is the week you’ve (we’ve) been waiting for as their fifteenth full length lands on Friday. It’s epic but that’s a surprise to literally no one. Anaal Nathrakh return with their most varied output to date and dare I say their most…progressive? On first blush it seems that way but you’ll have to decide for yourself—you know, your own opinion. Gorephilia nail the 90s death metal aesthetic and Fate plug into some seriously high voltage metal and punk to close out the top slots with a BANG. You know the drill by now but just in case, there’s a ton more to dig into below so go shuck cash at these artists and support them.Continue reading
Hey y’all, it’s been a minute! More accurately, it’s been about 221,000! Over the last four months, when I haven’t been watching the world rapidly start to resemble a toilet overflowing with diarrhea, I’ve been slaving away at my first semester of nursing school. Which has meant that finally, after a solid 2-3 years in a row of telling myself, “I’m gonna listen to less music this year,” I actually did listen to less music this year! My best estimate is…probably 165 albums? Maybe 170? Still a bunch, but down more than a hundred from each of the last couple of years. MISSION [SORTA] ACCOMPLISHED.
On the other hand, this puts me in something of an odd position when it comes to picking my “Best of 2017.” I didn’t listen to as much music. I deleted my Twitter and reduced my overall social media presence by, conservatively, 75% — which, by the way, was a fucking AMAZING life decision that I recommend all of you try — so I had neither a steady stream of albums-you-must-hear-or-you-will-be-shunned crossing my radar screen, nor the urge to seek out even more obscure albums that I could shun others for not having heard. Oh, and also, most of my favorite albums this year were from outside the metal genre. Me putting this list together and claiming it to be THE BEST OF 2017 would be a little delusional.
So, that’s why I’m not doing that. Okay fine, I’ve made a list and ordered it — alphabetically, because EAT IT, BIG RANKINGS — but that’s it. This is just some stuff I listened to and happened to really enjoy this year. Authoritativeness be damned. (Or left for the folks over at Last Rites.) Let’s jump in.
A note before beginning:
This list is going to focus on the metal portion of this year’s listening. (And perhaps, in some cases, the metal-adjacent.) So, even though Ulver put out my favorite album of the year in any genre with The Assassination of Julius Caesar, you’re not going to see that thing in this post. Same with Anathema. Same with…I dunno, Steven Wilson, or The War on Drugs, or other contributions from pretty-blatantly-not-metal artists. If time permits, I’ll do a year-end Rainbows in the Dark recap. (Maybe.) But this is my metal list, and it shall be kept metal. Now, all that said…
There’s a quote from Sun Tzu that got a lot of mileage from me this week, “In the midst of chaos there is also opportunity.” Think about that for a minute…it can be applied to nearly any situation and if the chaos (literally or figuratively) threatens to take over we must seek the opportunity. If we don’t then what’s the point? Anyway, ’twas one of those weeks but in metal we are free and thankfully there’s a lot to go around here on Initial Descent. Post metal behemoths Junius return with Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light and as was expected it is absolutely massive; in scope, musicality and the way the band hurdles every possible emotion with ease. On debut EP Summon Horrendous Destruction Oregon’s Petrification bring barbaric nastiness back to death metal and summon Finland’s storied lineage as well as the most highly esteemed USDM. Cold Fell offer up their full length debut Irwell which is as aggressively abrasive as it is majestic and strangely welcoming, and on Severed Monolith Gorephilia gives us ten tracks of ear shattering death metal with barely a breather amongst the pack. As usual, thats not all so jump in and get swept away. Oh and don’t forget, find that opportunity. Continue reading