Top 10 Albums
10. The Arcadian Parallel-Divitius
Key songs: “Serpent Skin”, “Deja Vu”, and “Lucid”
9. Halfway Human– Within The Ruins
Key songs: “Shape-Shifter”, “Beautiful Agony”, and “Objective Reality”
8. The Saga Continues– Wu Tang Clan
Key Songs: “Fast and Furious”, “Lessons Learn’d”, and “Steetlife”
7. Dear Desolation– Thy Art Is Murder
Key Songs: “Slaves Beyond Death”, “Dear Desolation”, and “Into Chaos We Climb”
6. Red Before Black– Cannibal Corpse
Key Songs: “Only One Will Die”, “Code of the Slashers”, and “Scavenger Consuming Death”
5. Evolution– Once Human
Key Songs: “Gravity”, “Dark Matter”, and “Killers for the Cure”
4. Emperor of Sand– Mastodon
Key Songs: “Show Yourself”, “Precious Stones”, and “Jaguar God”
3. The Sin and The Sentence– Trivium
Key Songs: “The Sin and The Sentence”, “Betrayer”, and “The Wretchedness Inside”
2. As We Die– Doyle
Key Songs: “God of Flies”, “Run For Your Life”, and “King of the Undead”
1. Forever– Code Orange
Key Songs: “Forever”, “Kill The Creator”, “The Mud”, and “The New Reality”
Top 10 Songs:
- “Slaves Beyond Death”- Thy Art is Murder
- “Forever”- Code Orange
- “The Sin and The Sentence”- Trivium
- “We Know Where You Fucking Live”-Marilyn Manson
- “Final Breathe”- A Killer’s Confession
- “All Love is Lost”- Body Count featuring Max Cavalera
- “Fixated on Devastation”- Dying Fetus
- “The Ocean Galaktik”- Galakticon
- “Show Yourself”- Mastodon
- “Run”-Foo Fighters
Best New Band: Divitius
For pleasure and my radio show, I discover new bands all the time. What a moment it was when Circle Pit posted this random djent/prog band from Portland, Oregon. After hearing their single, I continued to YouTube to hear more. I eventually bought the album and was blow away with their heavy melodic style. Their singer brought her A game with her Angela Gossow like growls mixed with her superior clean vocals. Whoever mixed and mastered her vocals did a stellar job. One of the most interesting vocal recordings I’ve ever heard. This band isn’t very well known so please check them out! For fans of Arch Enemy, Periphery, Jinjer, and Fallujah.
Biggest Surprise Album: Hikari from Oceans Ate Alaska
Oceans Ate Alaska is still a relatively new band. Over the summer they dropped their first album with their new singer and it took fans by surprise. The random time signatures, aggressive breakdowns, and unique Japanese theme gave listeners an album to remember. It will be interesting to see what direction they go after this release. I know some fans had mixed feelings. This is the band’s second record and I think fans were lukewarm with them already having a new singer. I personally dig his style of heavy and clean vocals. Hopefully they give it another listen. I thought it was worth picking up.
Best Comeback: Brendan Small
About two years ago, Adult Swim slammed the door shut on hit television show, Metalocalypse. Questions left unanswered! Fans crying out for more! No matter how we look at it, the mighty guitar lord, Brendan Small, had to find a way to move forward. He went back to his solo project, Galaktikon. This time, he added vocals as if it was one of his Dethklok albums. It is trippy, it shreds, and has some of his best riffs. I don’t talk enough about album art, but hot damn the cover for this album is metal as fuck! It may not be Dethklok but fans should look into it. Check out the song “The Ocean Galaktik”.
Best EP: Cold Dark Place from Mastodon
If Emperor of Sand wasn’t enough. Mastodon surprise fans with an announcement of an EP release for the fall and it did not disappoint. The four songs included in the EP were four of their best songs of the year between the two releases. I hope Mastodon doesn’t take forever to release new material after 2017, but I appreciate them spoiling us.
Best Local EP: Remnants from Van Evera
This was a tough one. A ton of bands in the Northeast Ohio scene released EPs as opposed to a full LP. However, I felt Akron’s Van Evera really stood out among the others. Not only was it well produced (which is not a guarantee with an unsigned, local band), but they were straight forward with their sound. That may sound strange for me to point that out, but too many times new bands will have different types of music directions on a four song EP. Some also get to repetitive. But not Van Evera. They made it clear they have a unique heavy sound and they are ready to give Akron metal a great name! Their biggest moment this year was making an impression on Myke Terry from Volumes. He gave them a big shout out on stage when they opened for him in Kent, Ohio. Make sure to look into Van Evera.
Best Local LP: Doppleganger– Sunless Sky
If you haven’t noticed, I listen to a lot of different kinds of metal. If you are someone who still prefers the classic power metal bands, good news! I have a band you need to look into! Cleveland’s Sunless Sky brings a good mix of power and thrash metal. The lyrics remind me of something written by Iron Maiden or Helloween. Instrumentally, you can hear the Metallica and Slayer influence. The album starts with a banger in “Starfall”. For you 1980’s metal freaks you need to check out the catchy track “Lake of the Lost Souls”. The other track that really caught my attention was “Heroin”. In Northeast Ohio, we got a bad heroin epidemic. It’s not uncommon to hear a local metal band have an anti-heroin song. However, I really dig the approach Sunless Sky took with this song. Doppelganger is a prime example of how talented the underground music scene is in Cleveland. I highly recommend every metal head checks this album out.
Best Live Performance: Chimaira
In 2017, I saw the most concerts I have ever seen in a span of a year. From some of my favorite national acts to some of my favorite local acts. The list includes Periphery, Korn, Animals as Leaders, and Megadeth. Some bands I had the pleasure of seeing twice this year which include Carnifex, Oceano, Whitechapel, Rings of Saturn, Volumes, and No Zodiac. Then I saw rising stars, A Killer’s Confession, four times. So picking one show wasn’t going to be easy. I will be honest with you, before I attended Chimaira Christmas 15, I had my dude Gary Clark Jr. winning performance of the year. However, Chimaira gave a performance they probably won’t give again. They reunited for one show and gave the fans a setlist for the ages. It was a very special event for every Chimaira fan that came up and witnessed them dominating the stage. I would give my left nut to have them do another one. Chimaira is the definition of Cleveland heavy metal.
Best News of the Year: Chimaira comes back for Chimaira Christmas 15
Read the previous post again. I almost cried when it was announced. How could I not name it the best news of the year?!
Rock Heaven: Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Malcom Young, Chuck Mosley, Chuck Berry, and More.
The year 2017 will not be forgotten in the year of rock ‘n roll. It was a devastating year. The five men I mention in the headline are just the tip of the ice berg. Some of them were old and lived a full life. But a few of them will leave fans forever wondering if something could have been done to prevent their death. Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington’s suicides left fans, family, and friends in complete shock. Still to this day, it seems unbelievable. Gone. But never forgotten. I may not understand completely what someone is going through but if I had any advice for them: You can get through anything, hurting yourself also hurts others, and DON’T TOUCH HARD DRUGS!!!!! Thank you all for the memories. You will forever be loved.
Top 10 Most Anticipated of 2018
1. Tool- IT IS HAPPENING THIS TIME!!! The writing is on the wall!!! We will have a new Tool album in 2018!
2. Judas Priest- The metal legends will be putting out their second album without K.K. Downing. Redeemer of Souls was a solid release and it will be interesting how they follow it. Will it be their last one?!
3. Machine Head- The California mettallers will release Catharsis on January 26th. Their last 2 albums won my album of the year the year they were released. Machine Head is one of the few metal bands, in my opinion, who consistently puts out legendary status albums. January 26th will be like a mini Christmas for me.
4. Alice in Chains- Chains will be releasing their follow up to The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here in 2018. Many fans still have mix feelings towards that last album. But when you remember what they did with Black Gives Way to Blue, you can’t help but get a little bit excited. It will be interesting where William DuVall era Alice in Chains goes from here.
5. Killswitch Engage- Their last release, Incarnate, was not what I was expecting to follow the monster that was Disarm the Decent. However, I will never say no to new Killswitch Engage. They played with different ideas last time, I think they will go heavier this time around.
6. Gojira- BOLD PREDICTION, we will see a new Gojira album this year. The band has made the comment that it won’t take them six years to put out another album. They just finished a huge tour cycle. Don’t be surprised for a nice treat near the end of 2018.
7. Lamb of God- The band just announced they have a huge tour announcement soon. My gut says a new album is involved as well. They took the fall off. It just makes sense. The next chapter in the Lamb of God legacy will begin this year.
8. Clutch- Name a terrible Clutch album. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Don’t waste your time. These guys should change their name to Consistent. When Clutch puts out a new album you’ll get more than your moneys worth. Another great rock album will hit the shelves soon.
9. Stone Temple Pilots- STP was the first rock band I ever got into. That being said, I wasn’t a big fan of the other members trying to use the name after Scott’s death. However, after hearing Jeff Gutt and the new single, I’m sold on the idea. It’s not too much different from what AC/DC and Alice in Chains did after their singers’ deaths. Gutt does a fantastic job! They’ve tried to replace Weiland twice before, but they hit the nail on the head with this one.
10. A Perfect Circle- Yes, we will get a new A Perfect Circle and Tool album in the same year. I know, Maynard James Keenan will not want to make new music for us for about a decade. Unless its Pucifer. He seems to always be down to make music with them. Thank you, Maynard.
Most Anticipated Local (Northeast Ohio) releases for 2018
1. Paper Thin- A lot of people may not know these guys. They don’t sell out venues, yet. They don’t have any music online, yet. But both these things will happen soon. Paper Thin is some of the best progressive rock I’ve ever heard in my life. Akron has spawned a new creation and their debut album is almost done. If you are a fan of anything trippy, progressive, and with Chris Cornell type vocals, this is the band for you.
2. Kitchen Knife Conspiracy- The stompcore legends are at it again. Prepare to hear new music soon. The kind of music that you will want to play at your grandma’s birthday party, your daughter’s wedding reception, and your supervisor’s retirement party. Actually . . . . . . don’t do that. I’ll like you forever, but they will hate you. But when the new KKC comes out, get ready to party.
3. Big Ugly- An ugly metal child has been rocking around all of 2017, and in December they dropped their first EP. But that wasn’t enough for them! Big Ugly will plan on making and releasing new music at some point in 2018. The first EP will get passed around like a new sorority girl until the new jams are made.
4. My Lifes Burden- These guys have been around for a while. Started off more as a hard rock band. But with an almost completely different lineup, they are going more of a metal direction. They are currently making some of the best music they have ever made. Should be a fun disc.
5. My secret project- HAHAHAHA!!! Maybe if life would let me make music once and a while. Whatever! Its not about me, this is about the other guys.
6. Fallen Empire- The band consist of a few names that have been around the scene for a while. The debut tracks have gotten a lot of attention. It should be exciting to see how 2018 pans out for them.
7. Sterilizing the Deceased- One of the most talented metal acts in Northeast Ohio will be dropping new tunes in the near future. These guys can bring it on the stage and the studio. If you like snarling gutteral vocals, break downs, and down right nasty deathcore, this band is for you!