Although I didn’t check out as much music the latter half of 2017, there was some solid stuff released. Here is my list of my favorite heavy metal albums released during the back half of 2017 (July 1—December 31 release dates).
By this point in the year, you’re being inundated with Christmas songs playing in the grocery stores, malls, and wherever else you frequent. So yes, I’m going to throw some more of these tunes at you, but thanks to ex-Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen, these have a bit of a twist.
You’re probably asking yourself if we need another female-fronted doom metal/occult rock act. I get that. This blend of 1970s-influenced rock/metal has been flooding the scene for a while now, although it finally seems to be tapering off a bit. Even so, I think it’s worth discussing the better entries, which brings us to the self-titled debut of Australia’s Devil Electric.
Regardless of how you feel about Myrkur’s music, Amalie Bruun is an interesting figure. Starting her career as a singer/songwriter and occasional model, she went on to perform in the pop/rock group Ex Cops before deciding her true love was black metal and created the Myrkur identity. While the secret didn’t last very long, the music caught everyone’s attention.
Autumn is here and Halloween is quickly approaching, so my thoughts are beginning their seasonal migration into the darker side of metal. Detroit, Michigan-based death/doom act Temple of Void is back with their sophomore album, Lords of Death. Although this album released in the middle of summer, it slipped through the cracks and I hadn’t thought about it until a friend mentioned it recently.
I’ve been a huge fan of folk metal, Scando-Germanic mythology, and related themes for many years, but there has been a tendency for this type of metal to get stale over the years. Can the Swedes in From North show me something new on their self-titled debut, or will it be another trip across familiar oceans?
Heavy Metal Month II, Day 31) Freebie: any metal song! With no requirements, let’s go with something from my favorite album from one of my favorite bands, the sadly-disbanded Bolt Thrower. I’m probably in the minority, but …For Victory is my favorite album in their catalog. To me, they found the perfect tempo for their sound, and every song sounds like a three-way cross between an anti-aircraft gun, charging tank, and buzzsaw. Seeing as Bolt Thrower are often overlooked on lists of greatest death metal bands in history, Lest We Forget seems like the perfect reminder to jog people’s memories. When you’re done, give the entire album a listen, and then look into the rest of their catalog. You won’t regret it. This brings an end to Heavy Metal Month II. Thanks for reading!
Heavy Metal Month II, Day 30) A metal anthem I think of “anthem” as a song that is almost universally known, a fan favorite, and is a staple audience participation track at live shows. Since we haven’t discussed the mighty Judas Priest on this list yet, this is as good an opportunity as any. Painkiller fits all three of those criteria, and is one of Judas Priest’s more iconic songs. With spectacular melodies from Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, solid rhythm work from Ian Hill and Scott Travis, and the legendary voice of Rob Halford, Painkiller is always a solid choice. As a bonus, check out Halford performing Painkiller and Breaking the Law with Babymetal. It’s a bit of a “WTF” moment, but Halford looks like he’s having fun.
Heavy Metal Month II, Day 29) Deutschland: song by a German band Seeing as I’ve already covered Blind Guardian, Kreator, and Finsterforst on this list as well as looking back at Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part I on The Sons of Metal Podcast, I had an inkling to feature the reunion of Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen with their new project, Unisonic. Maybe it’s a bit of Inception doing the title track from the eponymous album, but hey… it’s fun, high-energy, and nostalgic all at the same time. This is another act that flies under the radar a bit, so it never hurts to make sure everyone is aware of it. Give the rest of the album a listen, too, while you’re at it.
Heavy Metal Month II, Day 28) Getting weird: song with an instrument uncommon to metal While this might be pushing the envelope on being “metal”, I’ve become a pretty big fan of the Swedish band Fejd in the last few years, starting with their 2013 album, Nagelfar. Eschewing traditional metal instruments for classic folk instruments such as the bouzouki, moraharpa, and hurdy-gurdy, Fejd may lean closer to straight folk versus folk metal. Their most recent album, Trolldom has a more metal feel to it, but I still enjoy their older work. Den Skimrande (from the aforementioned Nagelfar album) was the first track of theirs I heard, and hopefully you enjoy it as well.