My list of recommended releases for 2017 (yes, 2017, not 2018)

Author:John Frank
Date:2019-01-29 23:32:20
Edited:2019-01-30 01:12:39
Yes, I realize this is very late. Yes, I realize this is totally excessive. I ended up digging 378 releases from 2017, which destroys my previous record of 309 titles in 2011. So much for being more reasonable and selective in my old age. I also came across 161 older albums I felt were worthwhile because apparently trawling for new releases is not enough for me.

2018 was a very stressful year for the Frank family, but I am grateful for the gifts that came out of it. I count my continued obsession with experiencing insane volumes of new metal as one of those gifts.

And now I have a few thousand releases from 2018 to check out! But first, my list from back in times of yore...



1. Eclipse - Monumentum / melodic metal/hard rock

Sweden. Sorry, tr00 metal warriors. I grew up on hair metal, and the infectious confections of Erik Martensson, that beautiful Swede, have made me deliriously happy for three albums now. Monumentum is not quite as stellar as its predecessor, Armageddonize (2015), but it still pulls all the right strings. I often required cheering up in recent times, and Eclipse was there for me whenever I needed them.

2. Kobra and the Lotus - Prevail I / traditional/mainstream metal

Alberta. I did not get into Queen Kobra (see, there was a hair metal band named King Kobra... never mind) when I heard High Priestess in 2014, and I am not sure what my problem was. I now dig that album, but Prevail I is clearly the band's best work. Most of the tunes still have a traditional metal bent, but a more commercial sound has been introduced by Kobra and her krew and it works really damn well. I am reminded of Disturbed on several of the tunes, which is a compliment coming from my untr00 ass. Kobra Paige's vocals are, of course, impressively powerful and utterly compelling. Shit, I even can appreciate the instrumental on this amazing album. Just killer, fist-pumping excellence throughout.

3. Seven Kingdoms - Decennium / American power metal

Florida. I do not believe I had heard Seven Kingdoms prior to this, their fourth full-length release. That was a huge oversight on my part. The band started in 2007, and the Game of Thrones HBO series did not start until 2011, so at least they are named for the books and not the TV series. Sabrina Valentine is the vocalist, and her beautiful voice adds a lot to the proceedings, whether she is singing about a Targaryen or Lannister. (Don't worry, only some of the tunes are Songs of Fire and Ice, I think. The cool cover art is certainly not inspired by tits and dragons.) Decennium includes the two new ditties on their 2016 EP, In the Walls, and that title track is one of the most memorable songs of 2017 for me. The entire CD is as infectious as greyscale and as invigorating as the best full frontal sexposition scene. Don't fuck up like a Stark. Revel in the gritty majesty of Seven Kingdoms.

4. Ember Falls - Welcome to Ember Falls / mainstream metal

Finland. This is an absolutely massive debut. Ember Falls takes elements of Disturbed, Soilwork, Voyager, and Sybreed and weaves them into solid fucking gold. The tone is very upbeat and poppy complete with dancey keyboards and huge choruses, but there is sufficient heft in the riffage and aggression in the vocals for this metalhead. So. Damn. Catchy.

5. Need - Hegaiamas: A Song for Freedom / modern prog metal

Greece. I have enjoyed Need's previous two albums, but I was shocked by how immediately compelling and subsequently rewarding Hegaiamas, their fourth album, was to me. Each song is elegantly constructed utilizing intricate musical architecture and evocative vocals and lyrics. Redemption's best work (Fullness and Origins) is an appropriate benchmark, but Need branches out more than Nick and his minions tend to. I don't think a fairly traditional prog metal album has ranked this highly for me in quite some time.

6. In Search of Sun - Virgin Funk Mother / semi-prog hard rock

England. Does a combo of Fair to Midland and Mindfunk sound good to you? It sounds funkin' stellar to me. In Search of Sun's 2014 debut, The World Is Yours, is a good time, but the band vastly surpassed my expectations on Virgin Funk Mother. And, yes, of course, there is a song on the album entitled "Motherfunk".

7. Polkadot Cadaver - Get Possessed / eclectic metal

Maryland. This band has improved with each album, and that trend continues on their fourth full-length. There are copious, killer industrial metal moments evoking NIN, Ministry, and Pitchshifter circa, and there is a whole bunch of catchy-as-fuck quirk similar to that presented by Faith No More, Shaolin Death Squad, and Stolen Babies. We don't get depressed, we get possessed!

8. Soen - Lykaia / modern prog metal/rock

Sweden. Their best work to date maintains their strong Tool influence and incorporates some latter day Opeth. Of course, I dig Soen considerably more than those bands. There are so many moments of absolute majesty on Lykaia. It is an album that never fails to sweep me away on waves of bliss.

9. Centripetal Force - Eidetic EP / technical metal

Italy. On their three-song debut, these guys are vying to become the next Spiral Architect. Of course, they do not approach that stratospheric level of brilliance, but they show a lot of promise. The vocalist is the dude from Synaptik, and he puts in another impressive performance.

10. Persefone - Aathma / progressive death

Andorra. I have been a fan of these guys since their 2004 debut, Truth Inside the Shades, and their fifth release is easily my favorite entry in their discography. Their blend of Cynic (Paul Masvidal provides vocals on one song) and dense prog metal like Seventh Wonder on massive doses of steroids is a triumph.

11. Gross Reality - Escaping Gravity / thrash

North Carolina. Their sophomore effort is a huge improvement over their 2014 debut, Overthrow. The tunes on Escaping Gravity never fail to energize me with their infectious riffage, compelling song structures, and one of my favorite vocal performances on a thrash record in recent years. Paradox, Prototype, and Puppets era Metallica come to mind as benchmarks, but Gross Reality has it own special thing going on.

12. Prospekt - The Illuminated Sky / progpower

England. Their second album and the first with vocalist Michael Morris. The Illuminated Sky is a significant improvement over The Colourless Sunrise (2013). They owe a substantial debt to Symphony X for their musical approach, but Prospekt executes this style so damn well that any lack of innovation is easily excused.

13. Witherfall - Nocturnes And Requiems / American power

California. Witherfall has clearly heard a few Nevermore albums, and they execute the style better than most. In fact, after Warrel Dane sadly passed away, vocalist Joseph Michael sang for Sanctuary on their tour.

14. Fleshkiller - Awaken / extreme prog metal

Norway/Illinois. Fleshkiller consists of Ole Børud, guitarist and vocalist in Extol, Ole Vistnes, bassist in Shining and Tristania, Elisha Mullins, guitarist and vocalist in The Burial, and a Norwegian drummer with three names. The key participant in that mix is the first Ole, as Awaken sounds a lot like the last Extol album from 2013. The songwriting on that self-titled album is stronger than it is on Awaken, but this is still a real treat for Extol fans.

15. The Faceless - In Becoming a Ghost / progressive death

California. This is their first release since Autotheism (2012) and their best album since their 2006 debut, Akeldama. The widdly graagghhh backbone is very well done, but what makes this album more noteworthy are the more eclectic embellishments including jazzy breaks, quirky keyboards, and effective clean vocal passages. This album is a surprising accomplishment given the gap between releases and Michael Keene's struggles with drug addiction.

16. Undrask - Battle through Time / melodic death

North Carolina. On their first full-length release, Undrask has crafted one of the more joyful, upbeat melodic death albums in recent memory. To be clear, I am not referring to the lyrics. I rarely pay attention to that aspect, especially in death metal. The music, however, is catchy, crunchy, melodic bliss.

17. The Summoned - Sessions / complex deathcore

Massachusetts. Their second full-length is a significant improvement over its worthwhile predecessor, If Only Minds Could Paint Pictures (2011). Eclectic, manic, cacophonous, intricate, and intoxicating, this is easily one of the best releases in this general style, alongside The Number 12 Looks Like You and The Crinn.

18. Locust Leaves - A Subtler Kind of Light / extreme prog metal

Greece. The first full-length from this two-man band is a unique and impressive work of art. I hear all sorts of crazy shit in the four epic (6-11 minutes) tracks from Ihsahn to Hammers of Misfortune to Confessor to Mekong Delta. A very promising band.

19. Trigger - Cryogenesis / modern thrash with some aspects of mainstream metal

Australia. This full-length debut compares favorably to Trivium's best work. The thrashy riffage is infectious, and the melodic vocal lines are often catchy as hell.

20. Vuur - In This Moment We Are Free - Cities / progpower

Netherlands. It is so awesome to finally enjoy more music featuring the stellar vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen. Nighttime Birds was released in 1997, after all. Of course, Vuur ("Fire" in Dutch) is much more uptempo and heavier than most of her work with The Gathering. Anneke wrote these songs primarily with producer Joost van den Broek, and several of them ("My Champion - Berlin", "Freedom - Rio", "Days Go By - London", "Your Glorious Light Will Shine - Helsinki") are stone-cold killers.

21. Vexovoid - Call of the Starforger / semi-prog thrash

Italy. On their first full-length, Vexovoid are clearly establishing their claim to Vektor's throne. More variety from track to track would bolster Vexovoid's royal legitimacy, but they certainly seem to have the capacity to rule.

22. Myopia - Transmyopic Interconnection / extreme prog metal

Poland. This is their fourth album, and it is easily their best release. The grating screams are still less than ideal, but the music is quite the trip if you are a fan of Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross era Voivod and you don't mind the occasional complex noisecore passage.

23. Adimiron - Et Liber Eris / extreme prog metal

Italy. Adimiron really upped their game on their fifth full-length release. The clean-n-dirty vocal mix is utilized in a very effective, evocative manner. The music is an interesting mix of Soen (Tool + Opeth) and some Mastodon circa Crack the Skye.

24. Droid - Terrestrial Mutations / semi-prog thrash

Ontario. Their first full-length exhibits a passionate appreciation of Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross era Voivod. I think they execute the style better than the originals currently do, actually, and I dig Target Earth. Droid is no Vektor, of course. Droid would need more twisted riffage to compete on that level.

25. The Spirit - Sounds from the Vortex / melodic black

Germany. This debut is an impressive offering for fans of the genre. The constantly oscillating guitar is energizing and makes me recall the glory days of the late 90s when melodic death reinvigorated my interest in new metal releases. Sounds from the Vortex was re-released in 2018 by Nuclear Blast.


Ancient Empire - The Tower / American power metal

California. Not as engaging as Other World (2016), but The Tower still showcases cool tunes in the same style as its predecessor.

Arkaik - Nemethia / complex death

California. Their fifth and best offering of brutal widdly graaagghhh.

Artificial Language - The Observer / prog metal

California. On their first album, these guys have created a collection of joyous, modern prog metal tunes exhibiting copious widdly and compelling melodies.

Bestial Invasion - Contra Omnes / prog thrash

Ukraine. On their second full-length, they continue to impress in the sadly underpopulated field of progressive thrash. If they focus less on speed and fuck with time signatures even more than they currently do, they could be one of the modern greats in this genre.

Bridge of Diod - Of Sinners and Madmen / metal with some thrash and groove

Italy. This full-length debut does not neatly fit into a specific subgenre, which probably speaks well of it. I hear some Pantera (Power Metal mostly, maybe some Cowboys) and perhaps a smattering of the more modern stylings of Metallica and Megadeth, but the songs exhibit a mainstream metal sense of fun.

Brotthogg - The Last Traveler EP / complex blackened death

Norway. Debut from Kristian Larsen Moen (Subliritum) on all instruments, along with vocalists Craig Furunes (Chton, Demontera) and Jonas Moen (Subliritum). Reminds me of Extol at times.

Caligula's Horse - In Contact / modern prog metal

Australia. I don't know if I like this better than its predecessor, Bloom (2015), but In Contact is surely another winner from the band in a similar style.

Caved - Lost to Time / prog thrash

New Zealand. Debut from this one-man project. At its best, I am reminded of Aydra, Extol-Synergy, and occasionally classic Coroner.

Cønstantine - Esthesia / modern complex prog metal

Finland. Their third full-length is by far their best work. Their approach seems to be an amalgam of the widdly-filled thrill ride of Protest the Hero and the emotional labyrinth of Caligula's Horse.

Contrarian - To Perceive Is to Suffer / complex death

New York. Enjoyable latter day Death worship that is a step up from their 2015 debut, Polemic.

CroworD - The Great Beyond / melodic death

Austria. Debut of melancholic yet energetic melodeath. Brings back those late 90s glory days.

The Dark Element - s/t / symphonic

Finland. Features the vocals of Anette Olzon. Tracks 1-4 and 6 are catchy as fuck, Nightwishy good times, but the album falls off a cliff after that.

Daydream XI - The Circus of the Tattered and Torn / progpower

Brazil. This is an immense improvement over their debut, The Grand Disguise (2014). Bears some resemblance to Symphony X, but proggier.

Decadence - Undergrounder / thrashy death

Sweden. Another winner with oodles of catchy riffs and nods to Death.

Decapitated - Anticult / death

Poland. An enjoyable comeback after its disappointing predecessor, Blood Mantra (2014). Not the Decapitated of old, but their simplified approach is still engaging.

Deserted Fear - Dead Shores Rising / thrashy death

Germany. I was not aware of these guys prior to Dead Shores Rising, their third album. Turns out their entire discography is worthwhile, though this is their best effort. Nice mix of thrashiness and melody within a death metal framework.

Dialith - Through Stone EP / symphonic power

Connecticut. Three songs featuring soaring female vocals and hefty riffage. I look forward to hearing their full-length debut.

Dodecahedron - Kwintessens / complex black/avant-garde

Netherlands. I could not get into their self-titled 2012 debut, but Kwintessens ensnared me immediately with their fucked up visions lurking in the same eerie habitat as DSO.

Doomocracy - Visions & Creatures of Imagination / doom (duh)

Greece. Not a huge doom fan, but I found an inordinate number of doom albums to dig in 2017, and this sophomore effort from Doomocracy is one of the best. Definitely has that classic doom vibe a la Solitude Aeturnus.

Epicenter - Subversion / semi-prog thrash

New Hampshire. Subversion is an immense improvement over their 2014 debut, Grab the Reins. The music is often straightforward and catchy, but there is enough quirkiness to perhaps pique the interest of those who require a wee bit o widdly as well. The cover art certainly screams "Underground 80s prog metal totally rules!".

Evil Invaders - Feed Me Violence / thrash

Belgium. On their second full-length, these purveyors of good times rethrash are firmly in Gama Bomb territory. That translates to Overkill for the crusties who stick to the classics.

Excruciation by Silence - Endless Twist EP / semi-prog thrash

Russia. On their second EP, the band has an instrumental entitled "Complexifying Mind, Alterating Being" and a cover of an Aspid tune. That should give you some idea of what the band is all about.

Execration - Return to the Void / blackened death

Norway. This is their fourth full-length release, and it is easily the best in their discography. The backbone of most of the tracks is well-executed traditional death in its original form, a la early Death. However, each tune is embellished with blackened riffing and atmosphere, often interesting drumming, and oddball touches that make me think of classic Voivod or early Mastodon.

Expain - Pinching Nerves EP / prog thrashy death

British Columbia. Their sophomore effort is a significant step up from their decent 2014 debut, Just the Tip. Pinching Nerves invites comparisons to Arsis and Revocation, two of the most consistently interesting bands in metal today.

Face Down Hero - False Evidence Appearing Real / thrash

Germany. Another band that apparently slipped through the cracks for me, as this is their sixth album, and I was not familiar with them. Their previous two albums are cool, but they raised their game on False Evidence Appearing Real. The Hetfield-esque vocals are an asset. The riffage and melodies are reminsicent of Trivium at their thrashiest. If the whole album was as kick ass as the first half, this would be in my top tier for the year.

Fate Unburied - Logos / semi-complex death

Italy. Debut full-length. Interesting music exhibiting regular nods to Focus era Cynic.

Foredoomed - Ordeal / melodic death

Finland. Their debut brings early Insomnium to mind, but with some traditional prog metal touches interjected at times.

Godless Crusade - World in Flames / thrash

Germany. This two-man band's approach is reminiscent of mid-paced Kreator. Lots of simple, catchy riffage on this debut.

The Great Discord - The Rabbit Hole / modern prog metal

Sweden. Their second full-length is a delightful swirl of aggressive riffage, proggy structures, and killer female vocals. Some of the songs remind me of Madder Mortem at their best (All Flesh Is Grass). High praise indeed.

Hegemon - Initium Belli EP / black

France. Another high quality offering from one of the better bands in the black metal scene.

Ice Age - Breaking the Ice / thrash

Sweden. Ice Age boasted an all-female lineup back in the day (now their drummer is a dude). They released four demos from 1986 to 1989, but never produced an album. Breaking the Ice includes re-recorded versions of five songs from the demos plus five brand new songs. Classic Megadeth comes to mind occasionally, but overall this is "just" high quality, authentic thrash for the crusty oldsters.

Krallice - Loüm / complex black metal

New York. More fucked up, twisted, manic blackened soundscapes from these workhorses. Features Dave Edwardson of Neurosis on vocals.

L'Anima - Departures / prog metal

England. The band started out as a collaboration between guitarist Pedro Caparros López of Breed 77 and lead singer Andy Mitchell, frontman of the Yardbirds. The music often toggles back and forth between prog rock and prog metal, but the music is always interesting and compelling. As a bonus, they even include some infectious melodies betwixt and between the flamenco breaks and funky rhythms.

Lich King - The Omniclasm / thrash

Massachusetts. This is their sixth album, the first I have liked since Toxic Zombie Onslaught (2008), and it is easily their best effort. Dig on the Nuclear Assault vibe and nod sagely along with tunes such as "Preschool Cesspool" and "Crossover Songs Are Too Damn Short".

Locust Year - The World Became Flesh / prog blackened death

Finland. This impressive debut hosts dynamic songs featuring clean and dirty vocals, beautiful melodies and unnerving dissonance. Exhibits elements of Deathspell Omega and classic Opeth.

Mason - Impervious / thrash

Australia. Sophomore rethrash release summons Exodus and Kreator.

Mean Streak - Blind Faith / melodic metal

Sweden. This is their fourth album and the first I have liked from the band. Some killer, memorable choruses on this one. Just a good time in general.

Metalian - Midnight Rider / traditional with some American power

Quebec. Their second full-length album is a jolly good time for fans of classic Judas Priest. They speed things up on some tunes for a change of pace.

Miasthenia - Antípodas / melodic black

Brazil. These guys have been peddling their brand of keyboard-backed melodic black metal for five albums now, but I just discovered them. Antípodas appears to be their best effort.

Mors Principium Est - Embers of a Dying World / melodic death

Finland. Another killer album from these veterans. Perhaps not quite as awesome as its predecessor, Dawn of the 5th Era, which placed at #15 on my 2014 list, but their sixth album is surprisingly compelling for a band this far into their career.

Mustan Kuun Lapset - Saatto / melodic death/black

Finland. Fifth full-length. The good ole days of melodeath. Oodles of catchy melodies to go along with the aggression.

Nemesis Alpha - s/t / modern melodic death

North Carolina. Debut from one-man band with Björn Strid of Soilwork guesting on vocals. Sounds like, yep, Soilwork, but the song structures are proggier overall. Also, there are multiple tracks that are more laid back than your standard ragers.

Neptuniam - Poetry of Creation / complex death

Brazil. Debut of early Cynic-like widdly graaagggghh. The production could be stronger, but it does not distract from all of the impressive instrumental interplay.

Nervcast - Locked and Loaded EP / heavy mainstream metal

Ontario. Debut. "Chemical Solution" sounds like classic Metallica. "Fallen Angels" reminds me of Alice in Chains. "Moonstruck" has a heavy hair metal vibe, something like classic Hardcore Superstar meets "Bark at the Moon". "Locked and Loaded" brings to mind Trivium circa The Crusade (their traditional metal phase). This EP is just a damn good time. All members are also in Laugh at the Fakes, which is also good. Maybe LatF became Nervcast. Not sure.

Norrsköld - Withering Virtue - The Second Chapter / melodic death

Sweden. Their second full-length is a gift to genre fans. Intense, yet melodic. The guitarist, bassist, and drummer are former members of Irrbloss.

Nuckin' Futs - Abyss / thrash

Spain. This is a substantial improvement over their 2014 debut, Slavery. Brings to mind classic Accuser and early Poltergeist.

NYN - Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt / progressive blackened death

Maryland. I tried and failed to get into the 2014 debut Eventuality when it was released, but this followup grabbed me immediately with its nonstop energy and batshit loopiness. This is mostly a one-man band, but Mr. Tokgozoglu had Tom "Fountainhead" Geldschläger contribute guitar solos and Jimmy Pitts of Scholomance fame add his keyboard prowess to the mix.

Peace Is Just a Break - Little Boy / modern melodeathcore

Switzerland. Their debut is chock full of driving riffage, pummeling drums, and keyboard accents. Scar Symmetry (gruff vocals only) meets Fear Factory at a World War II memorial.

Portrait - Burn the World / American power and traditional metal

Sweden. I own Portrait's previous two albums, but Burn the World is clearly their best effort for my tastes. The King Diamond/Mercyful Fate comparisons still ring true, but I also hear a little Helstar, Liege Lord, and Onward at times.

Prayers of Sanity - Face of the Unknown / thrash

Portugal. The best effort from these rethrashers to date. As before, their sound is a mix of Slayer and Exodus.

Prismind - Disciples of Design / semi-prog American power and traditional metal

Ontario. This would be a top tier disc if the band had better quality control and jazzed up some of the chug-chuggier tunes. Most of the tracks are highly enjoyable though. Over the course of the album, the music elicited favorable comparisons to Psychotic Waltz circa Bleeding, Trinity era Division, Sieges Even on Sophisticated and Uneven, and Slavior.

Pyramaze - Contingent / progpower

Denmark. This is the first Pyramaze album I have liked. Their songwriting has improved significantly, and the vocals of Terje Harøy, formerly of Teodor Tuff, are a treat.

Replacire - Do Not Deviate / semi-complex death

Massachusetts. The band's followup to The Human Burden (2012) has not enthralled me like its predecessor did. The music seems less proggy, and the songs are not as compelling. That said, the tunes on Do Not Deviate still have plenty to offer in their more standard widdly graagghh framework.

Satan's Hallow - s/t / traditional metal

Illinois. Debut of no frills, catchy retrad with spirited female vocals.

Setheist - They / semi-prog thrashy power

Poland. At their best, they remind me of Alas to some extent due to the female vocals and aggressive riffage. Three of the five band members are named Tomasz. Good thing they all have nicknames.

Shrapnel - Raised on Decay / thrash

England. These rethrashers stepped it up considerably on their sophomore effort. The tunes smack of Exodus and Overkill.

Space Vacation - Lost in the Black Divide / traditional metal

California. Fourth album of good times retrad with high-pitched vocals, infectious choruses, and oodles of cool, melodic guitarwork.

Stallion - From the Dead / traditional/speed metal

Germany. Their sophomore effort is much better than its predecessor, Rise and Ride (2014). The songs run the gamut from hairy to thrashy, but they are always a joyful journey.

Striker - s/t / traditional metal

Alberta. Their fifth album and best entry in their discography. They have honed their ability to craft a hook, and I appreciate the effort.

Subliminal - Bestemmia / semi-complex death

Ecuador. This full-length debut is in the realm of Necrophagist but with less widdly. So I guess they're more like Deadborn. Whatever, just dig on the riffs.

Sunless - Urraca / complex blackened death

Minnesota. Impressive debut that brings Gorguts, DSO, and early Mastodon to mind. The drumming is a highlight.

Sutrah - Dunes / complex death

Quebec. This debut features six songs ranging from approximately 7 to 10 minutes in length, and Sutrah makes excellent use of every minute of the running time. I hear some latter day Death, Obscura (especially due to the fretless bass), and StarGazer - A Great Work of Ages, but Sutrah's music stands on its own. The guitarist is also in Chthe'ilist, by the way.

Synaptik - Justify & Reason / semi-prog thrash

England. Synaptik's debut, The Mechanisms of Consequence, is #8 on my 2014 list, so I had high hopes for its followup. Unfortunately, only the first two tracks, "The Incredible Machine" and "Human/Inhuman" live up to the promise of their previous work. The other three songs are enjoyable (yep, only five tracks in total - at least they are 6 to 9 minutes in length), but they are not stellar. There is a significant Nevermore influence apparent on all of the tracks, which was not present on the debut, if I recall correctly.

Taberah - Sinner's Lament / American power metal

Australia. Their third full-length contains elements of Paradox, Blind Guardian, Satan, and even some hairier/melodic metal. Some catchy ditties here.

A Taste of Fear - God's Design / semi-complex thrashy death

Italy. Debut featuring thick, punishing riffs and a wee bit o the widdly (often associated with bass guitar). Shares some DNA with early Decapitated and latter day Death.

Theory - The Art of Evil / American power metal

Denmark. First full-length of quality work in the realm of Nevermore or Communic. The vocalist is also in Malrun and Defecto.

Undead Corporation - No Antidote / metalcore/mainstream metal

Japan. This is Undead Corporation's third album and the first I have liked from the band. Their brand of manic catchiness reminds me of a more mainstream Destrage (or Soilwork for a more widely known benchmark) with clean female vocals, male core vox, and some industrial synth. Lots o fun.

Vulture - The Guillotine / thrash

Germany. First full-length of take no prisoners, old skool thrash with high-pitched vocals. It is in the general realm of Exodus - Bonded by Blood with some early Slayer in the mix as well.

Your Chance To Die - Ex Nihilo / complex death

South Carolina. This is their fourth album, but it is the first I have come to appreciate. Genre fans should lap this up like cerebrospinal fluid leaking from a decapitated shift manager, or demon zombie, or what have you.


Abandoned - Still Misanthrope EP / thrash

Germany. First release from the this meat-n-potatoes thrash band in ten years.

Acrimonious - Eleven Dragons / black

Greece. Features guitarist/bassist from Thy Darkened Shade, but the music on Eleven Dragons is more straightforward than that of Those Who Bring Forth Widdly For Mighty Satan.

Aeons of Silence - Transcendence of Spiritual Lifeforms EP / melodic death

Costa Rica. This promising debut has melody and atmosphere to spare.

Affliktor - s/t / blackened thrash

Wyoming. One-man band from Toby Knapp of Onward, Necrytis, and other projects.

Amber of the Land - Preconceived Notions / melodic death

Illinois. The third full-length from this one-man band mixes some proggy touches and a bit of thrashiness into a melodic death framework.

Amplified Memory - Vas Hermeticum / semi-prog melodic death

Germany. Sophomore effort of melodeath with proggy touches.

Apotheon - Mechanically Consumed EP / complex death

Colorado. Second EP.

Archaic - How Much Blood Would You Shed to Stay Alive? / thrash

Hungary. Their second album is in the Slayer/Lamb of God rethrash realm.

Archspire - Relentless Mutation / complex death

British Columbia. Third album of frenetic, brutal widdly.

Argus - From Fields of Fire / traditional

Pennsylvania. Their brand of retrad continues to be on point on their fourth album. Cool cover art as well.

Atavistia - One within the Sun / symphonic melodeath

British Columbia. The debut from this one-man band contains four epic songs in the vein of Wintersun.

Athame - Hódító / black

Hungary. Debut with a fair amount of melody in the guitarwork.

Attic - Sanctimonius / traditional/American power

Germany. Another successful King worship effort.

Azziard - Metempsychose / black

France. Their third album incorporates elements of death metal and some melodic guitarwork.

Babylon Fire - Heresy in Black EP / traditional/American power

England. Their debut, Dark Horizons, reached the second tier on my list for 2012. On Heresy in Black, they have a new vocalist, and the songwriting is not as compelling.

Battle Beast - Bringer of Pain / traditional/mainstream metal

Finland. Their fourth album and the first I have liked. Upbeat, simplistic fun with enjoyable female vocals.

Beneath - Ephemeris / complex death

Iceland. This is better than their previous two releases on Unique Leader.

The Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers / thrashy melodic death

Michigan. The eighth album from these veterans is not as compelling as their best work, Abysmal (2015) and Ritual (2011), but it is still worthwhile.

Black Reaper - Blood Moon Rising / thrash

Slovenia. Debut of bare bones thrash.

Black Soul Blade - The Masterpiece of Hate / groove/thrash

Russia. The second album from these bully boys.

Blasteroid - Universal Knowledge EP / complex death

Greece. Debut.

Blaze of Perdition - Conscious Darkness / black

Poland. Their fourth album is no less savage than the rest of their discography.

The Bleeding - Rites of Absolution / thrash/death

England. This full-length debut is a mix of old school thrash and death.

Blind Revision - Of White and Grey EP / modern prog metal

Rhode Island. The female vocals and progginess on the second EP from this band may appeal to fans of Mythologic.

Bloodhunter - The End of Faith / thrashy death

Spain. This is an improvement over their self-titled 2014 debut. The End of Faith is in the vein of modern Arch Enemy, complete with female growler.

Bubblemath - Edit Peptide / eclectic prog rock

Minnesota. Their second album is weird and varied enough to compensate for the lack of heaviness. Reminds me of a lighter version of Faith No More or Shaolin Death Squad at times, but I am sure prog rock dudes could come up with a better comparison.

Burning Ground - Last Day of Light / traditional

Italy. Debut of midpaced metal.

Chaos Addict - Sacrament of Hope / mainstream metal with elements of thrash/groove

Croatia. Strong vocals and hefty riffage for the genre are selling points.

Chaos Machine - s/t / thrashy deathcore

Maine. These guys categorize themselves as progressive death/thrash, but despite the fact that they have a song entitled "Calculating the Algebra of Need", I don't concur with their assessment of their sound. As evidence for my categorization of their debut, I offer the core elements and lack of widdly.

Chronosphere - Red n' Roll / thrash

Greece. Third album of workmanlike rethrash. The vocals are not a highlight.

Chronus - s/t / mainstream metal

Sweden. Their full-length debut reminds me of recent Mastodon with a touch of Ghost.

Claret Ash - The Great Adjudication: Fragment One / black

Australia. More high quality black metal from this quartet.

The Clearing Path - Watershed between Firmament and the Realm of Hyperborea / prog black

Italy. This one-man project has evolved to incorporate more twists and turns than those heard on Watershed between Earth and Firmament (2015) and the Abyss Constellation EP (also 2015). The standard DSO and Gorguts influences apply.

Cloak - To Venomous Depths / black-n-death-n-roll

Georgia. This full-length is both evil and groovy.

Communic - Where Echoes Gather / American power

Norway. This is the first Communic disc I have liked since Waves of Visual Decay (2006). The first four tracks (two songs with two parts each) are among the best the band has written.

Condor - Unstoppable Power / thrash

Norway. Frantic bash-n-thrash. Old skool.

Confess - Haunters / hair metal

Sweden. At its best, their sophomore effort reminds me of Hardcore Superstar's two excellent offerings, Dreamin' in a Casket and Beg for It.

Confession by Silence - Reach the Surface / melodic death

Germany. Happy riffage and keyboards, somewhat grating vocals.

Core of Io - Part II: Europa EP / proggy djent
Core of Io - Part III: Ganymede EP / proggy djent

England. For those who want widdly with the chugga. Part II was released in December 2017, Part III in February 2017, and Part IV: Callisto in May 2015. Edgy.

Corpse Hoarder - Hard to Kill / death

Pennsylvania. Debut of simple, catchy death metal.

Corps-sans-Organes - Abeterno EP / semi-complex death

Colombia. They have no way of sending their CDs to the USA. Now you know.

Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore / metalcore

Ontario. I do not check out many standard core bands anymore, but I end up finding a few worthwhile albums in the genre each year. This is their fifth album, and it is the first I had heard from the band.

Crowley - Nocturne / traditional

Japan. These guys were around in the 80s and released an EP in 1985 and Whisper of the Evil in 1986. They reformed in 2014 and released new material in 2017. Truly an album for the crusty oldsters.

Crown the Fallen - The Passing of Greed / melodic death

Austria. Debut of melodeath with prominent keyboards.

The Crushing - A Collection of Short Stories for Boys / traditional with power elements

England. Full-length debut in the general realm of Slough Feg.

Cryptic Fog - Staring through the Veil / blackened death

Indiana. On this debut full-length, the production may not be ideal, but the vast array of riffs on display make up for any shortcomings in the album's sound.

Damnation Defaced - Invader from Beyond / melodic death

Germany. Third full-length of melodic death with some thrashiness and keyboards.

Dark Avenger - The Beloved Bones: Hell / American power

Brazil. These guys improved considerably on their fourth and final album. Sadly, their vocalist passed away in 2017. Bombastic power with more twists and turns than is typical in the genre.

Dark Matter Secret - Perfect World Creation / instrumental complex death

Russia. Full-length debut of widdly, hold the grrraaaagggggghhhh.

Darkenhöld - Memoria Sylvarum / melodic black

France. Their fourth album is a worthy addition to my collection, but the songwriting is not as strong as on their previous work.

Decrepit Birth - Axis Mundi / complex death

California. Maybe this is better than its predecessor, Polarity (2010). I have not checked. Axis Mundi is certainly not a fave like Diminshing between Worlds (2008), but it definitely makes the cut for me. I hear Obliveon circa Nemesis in some of the riffage, which is nice.

Default Dimension - s/t / thrashy melodic death

Spain. The intense riffage alternates with more melodic passages that remind me of Trivium to some extent.

Defeater - Endless Ray EP / thrash

Chile. This debut consists of two original tunes and a cover of Agent Steel's "Bleed for the Godz". Defeater features a female singer, yet the vocals are not as high-pitched as those of John Cyriis. No shock there.

Deity - s/t / death

Ontario. Debut of good, old-fashioned death metal with Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy on drums.

Deivos - Endemic Divine / semi-complex death

Poland. I have tried to get into their previous work, but this fifth album is the first one to do the trick. Loosely in the Decapitated vein, but the riffage is not as compelling.

Demonic Resurrection - Dashavatar / symphonic death

India. A worthy followup to The Demon King (2014), Dashavatar features nimble riffage and prominent keyboards. The vocals are not a highlight.

Dendera - Part One - Blood Red Sky EP / American power

England. Worthwhile but not as compelling as their previous two albums. For fans of Jag Panzer and perhaps Iced Earth.

Deserter - Coils of the Lesser Serpent / thrash

Belgium. Debut full-length. Four band members are Neckbreaker, Bassbeast, Blastbeat Bastard, and Pablo (real name: Kevin).

Dessiderium - Rain Gates / progressive melodic death

California. Second effort from this one-man band. Song lengths range from approximately 9.5 to 14 minutes.

Destruction - Thrash Anthems II / thrash

Germany. More redone classic tracks. I buy way too many CDs.

Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pacifisticuffs / eclectic/avant-garde metal

Sweden. I dig five songs (tracks 1-3, 5-6) off of their fourth album, which is five more than I have enjoyed from the band in the past.

Disabuse - Death Machines / crossover thrash

Netherlands. These guys were around back in the day with their 1989 EP, Sorrow and Perdition, but I was not aware of them until their latest comeback release, Death Machines.

Discordance - In the Shadow of Leaves / semi-complex death

Italy. Full-length debut of raw, somewhat involved death metal.

Distillator - Summoning The Malicious / thrash

Netherlands. Sophomore rethrash effort.

Divine Element - Thaurachs of Borsu / melodic death

Greece and Hungary. Their second album of melodeath with some blackened elements contains five songs and three instrumental interludes.

Domgård - Ödelagt / black

Sweden. Their third album and the first I have liked.

The Doomsday Kingdom - s/t / doom

Sweden. Debut of project featuring Leif Edling and Niklas Stålvind, the vocalist for Wolf. As you might expect, the album sounds like a mix of Candlemass and Wolf. Works for me.

Dream Tröll - The Knight of Rebellion / traditional

England. Debut of happy retrad that reminds me of a lighter Eternal Champion with prominent, bouncy keyboards.

Dreaming Dead - Funeral Twilight / melodic death

California. Raw, often frantic melodic death with a female growler/screamer.

Drehg - The Wolf You Feed / proggy instrumental

Mississippi. This one-man band comes up with some seriously cool riffage and shredding. Djentiness is present, but it is not overwhelming.

Drottnar - Monolith I EP / semi-prog black

Norway. Three tunes that are more streamlined and considerably less interesting than their previous craziness, but they still make the cut.

The Earth and I - The Candleman / modern prog metal

New York. Their debut features compelling female vocals, interesting song structures, and some djentiness.

Emblem - s/t / traditional

Newfoundland and Labrador. Enjoyable tunes though the vocals could use some refinement.

Embrace the Dawn - The Effigist / death

International. Snappy riffage.

Enfold Darkness - Adversary Omnipotent / complex death

Tennessee. It took these guys eight years to produce a followup to their debut, Our Cursed Rapture. Well, it took one original member and four new guys to create Adversary Omnipotent. Anyway, they are moving in the right direction, as this album is an improvement over the debut in every way.

Engulfed - Engulfed in Obscurity / death

Turkey. Full-length debut of tremolo riffing and frantic drumming.

Entrench - Through the Walls of Flesh / thrash

Sweden. Third album of old skool thrash with some early Death thrown in the bloody stew.

Eruption - Cloaks of Oblivion / thrash

Slovenia. Eruption's previous album, Tenses Collide, reached the second tier on my list for 2012. The songwriting on Cloaks of Oblivion is decent, but it does not reach its predecessor's heights. There is a curiously strong Sanctuary/Nevermore influence in many of the songs, which sounds good in theory, but is not mindblowing in execution.

Eukaryst - s/t EP / complex death

California. Their second release consists of three songs of somewhat raw widdly grrrraaaaggggghhhhhhh. The material is a significant improvement over that on their 2014 debut, Dreams in the Witch House.

Euphoria - The Omega Void EP / thrash

Michigan. Their second release has elements of Vektor's sound, but the band is not remotely close to operating on Vektor's level.

Everdying - December's Rainy Day EP / melodic death

Illinois. Re-recorded version of this one-man band's 2009 debut.

Exarsis - New War Order / thrash

Greece. Their fourth album featuring furious rethrash with high-pitched vocals.

Exsöm - Roundtrip EP / modern prog

Switzerland. This is their debut EP.

Extirpator - Fire in the Hole / thrash

Ecuador. Debut of basic thrash a la Mortal Sin from this one-man band. The sound is far from ideal, but the riffage is solid. I tried to buy the CD, but the dude said it was too difficult to do so at this time.

Fallen Nation - s/t Demo / thrash

Russia. This is the first offering from these rethrashers. They describe their music as technical thrash, but they have a way to go before they warrant comparison to their influences, which appear to include Voivod (shirts worn in band photos) and Hellwitch (they cover "Torture Chamber" off of the Transgressive Sentience demo).

Felo De Se - Fidelis In Se EP / melodic death

Belgium. A promising debut featuring both melancholy and aggression.

The Forbidden Ritual - Tearfrost EP / melodic death

India. The music on this debut bears some resemblance to Opeth circa My Arms Your Hearse.

Formis - Chaozium / thrashy death

Poland. Their third album, Chaozium continues this band's winning streak, though their 2010 debut, Perfect Excuse, is still my favorite entry in their discography.

Fractal Universe - Engram of Decline / extreme prog

France. Full-length debut of aggressive prog metal with harsh vocals.

Frozen Sun - Sea of Madness / mainstream/traditional/stoner

New York. Sophomore effort that brings to mind recent Mastodon and Orange Goblin.

The Furor - Cavalries of the Occult / blackened thrashy death

Australia. This is this two-man band's fifth full-length release, but I was not aware of them until now. Their tunes are a filthy blend of elements of black, thrash, and death metal.

Gigan - Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescence / complex death

Illinois. I did not get into these weirdos' previous disc, Multi-Dimensional Fractal-Sorcery and Super Science (2013), but they lured me back into their demented neural net on their fourth full-length.

Glass Mind - Dodecaedro / instrumental prog

Mexico. Cool instrumental prog metal.

Goldenseed - The Astral Hologram / eclectic prog

Italy. Goldenseed is the project of Gabriele Pala, the guitar player from the kult tech death band, Karnak. His vocals are not a highlight, but his playing is entertaining. The Astral Hologram does not measure up to Collector of Illusions (2007), but it is definitely more interesting than his previous disc, The War Is in My Mind (2012).

Gruesome - Fragments of Psyche EP / semi-complex death

California/Florida. This contains one new Death worship tune, one Death cover tune ("Choke on It '91"), and some demo versions of previously released tracks. They have moved onto the Human era for their latest homage. The tune works well enough for me, but I have heard my betters say that the band was not really up for that level of musical complexity. Perhaps that's why they only wrote one song in this style.

Gutslit - Amputheatre / brutal death

India. Just in case you did not guess their musical style based on their band name, one of the song titles is "Maraschino Eyeballs". Hardly subtle, but at a brisk 28:40 in length, this album works well enough for me even though I am not much of a gorehound. Amputheatre is a huge improvement over their 2013 debut, Skewered in the Sewer. Like I said, you know what to expect with these guys.

Hadal Maw - Olm / semi-prog blackened death

Australia. Interesting material on this one. I found Olm to be significantly more enjoyable than their 2014 debut, Senium.

Harbinger - Human Dust EP / metalcore

England. This is one of the better recent regular metalcore releases. They have jettisoned some of the progginess of their 2016 debut EP, Paroxysm, but the songs still work quite well for me.

Harlott - Extinction / thrash

Australia. More rethrash inspired by Exodus and Slayer on their third album.

Hate in Hands - Evolve / deathcore

Russia. Deathcore is not my favorite genre by a long shot, but these guys do it up right on their second album.

Hegemony of God - Prahara / melodeathcore

Indonesia. I am probably the only person in the US who has this CD, as the band took the time to write a Facebook post about a murican liking their tunes. I always get a kick out of that. On their debut, they unleash a torrent of punishing riffs, catchy melodies, and visceral screams.

Helioss - Antumbra / symphonic blackened death

France. I was not familiar with this two-man band (yes, there are programmed drums for those who care about such things) until Antumbra, their third full-length, was released. It turns out that all of their material is worthwhile, though the production could be crisper.

Hell Done - The Dark Fairytale / power/trad metal

Italy. I found out about these guys because the band includes the drummer and guitarist from Eva Can't. The music is fun, catchy stuff in the realm of Rage's better material.

Hell in the Club - See You on the Dark Side / hair metal

Italy. This is their fourth album, but it is the first I have found to be to my liking. I thought cool new hairy tunes could only come out of Sweden, but I guess I was mistaken.

Hellripper - Coagulating Darkness / thrash/speed

Scotland. Debut full-length from this one-man band that is clearly a pupil of ye olde skool.

The Hirsch Effekt - Eskapist / progcore

Germany. I was not previously aware of these guys. Eskapist is their fourth album. For fans of Protest the Hero and The Fall of Troy.

Hollow World - Exanimate / thrashy melodeath

Australia. First full-length. The song structures are more involved than is typical in the genre. The rhythm section, in particular, brings attention to itself.

Holycide - Annihilate... Then Ask! / thrash

Spain. First full-length.

Human - Contemplating Soliloquy / complex death

Italy. Big improvement over their 2016 debut, Cerebral Inwardness.

Ignitor - Haunted by Rock & Roll / traditional metal

Texas. Sixth album, first I have liked. Jason McMaster on vocals.

Inanimate Existence - Underneath a Melting Sky / complex death

California. Their fourth album is a nice comeback after the subpar Calling from a Dream (2016).

Incarnator - Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam / complex death

Russia. Their latest effort is not as engaging as their previous excellent full-length, Caeca Superstitio (2013), but I eventually came around on it. I guess I have not yet tired of quality Chuck worship.

Inconcessus Lux Lucis - The Crowning Quietus / blackened thrash/traditional metal

England. The material on the second full-length from this two-man band has an early Witchery vibe at times (more Symphony for the Devil than Restless & Dead). Catchy, and dare I say, fun stuff.

Incordia - The Talon-Elder / melodic death

Germany. Sophomore effort. The first 43 seconds of the the opening track is just the sound of falling rain. Come on, guys. At least make that shit a skippable intro. Death to intros!

Infinitas - Civitas Interitus / folk metal

Switzerland. Their first full-length features female vocals and plenty of energetic folksiness within a traditional/power metal framework. Too bad the CD is $27 not including shipping.

Ingurgitating Oblivion - Vision Wallows in Symphonies of Light / complex death

Germany. This is their third album as Ingurgitating Oblivion and the first I have come to appreciate. For your records, the band used to be named Of Trees and Orchids. The album consists of only four tracks, but they range in length from 7:39 to 22:50, so they certainly provide sufficient value for your hard-earned dollar. Each song is all over the place from Ulcerate dissonance to proggy jams to Gigan freakouts.

Innate - Apt to Change / thrashy melodeath

Ontario. Second album. The sound could be crisper, but the tunes are still enjoyable. Cannot even find samples of their first, Madness of Imperial Blood (2004).

Innermoon - Cloud Walkers / melodic death

France. The debut from this two-man group has an epic, melancholy feel. The songs are often mid-paced with keyboard accents, and there are occasional melodeathcore touches.

Irdorath - Denial of Creation / melodic death/black

Austria. This is the fourth album and the first I have liked from the band. They play a somewhat raw blend of melodic death and black metal.

Ironborne - Prophecies of Blood EP / traditional metal

Northern Ireland. Debut with three originals and a cover of a Thor tune.

Isfet - Shards from a Formless Past / melodic black

Brazil. First full-length. Not the best production. Maybe they spent most of the album budget on the cool cover art.

Jarun - Sporysz / prog black

Poland. Their third album is not as impressive as its predecessor, Pod Niebem Utkanym z Popiolu (2015), but it is definitely worthwhile.

Juggernaut - Out of the Ashes / thrash

Spain. Debut of tough guy thrash. One of the guitarists and the drummer were in Father Golem.

Kadinja - Ascendancy / proggy djent

France. Full-length debut. I do not care for most djentrified metal, but these guys maintain my interest.

Karkaos - Children of the Void / modern melodeath

Quebec. Their second full-length is a significant improvement over their 2014 album, Empire. Two of the six band members are women. The melodic singing and growlies come courtesy of Viky Boyer, and Justine Ethier is the drummer.

Karmacipher - 陣獄 EP / complex blackened death

Hong Kong. Two tracks, but at least they are each approximately eight minutes long. Dissonant in the vein of Ulcerate.

Karmic Juggernaut - Great Again! EP / eclectic prog rock

New Jersey. Second EP consisting of fun, musically involved weirdness. Reminds me of Shaolin Death Squad at times.

The Kennedy Veil - Imperium / semi-complex death

California. This is their third album and the first I have liked from the band. Unique Leader material, but good enough for me.

Khar Darna - Iron Wings (Хар Дарна - Железные крылья) / symphonic power metal

Russia. Iron Wings is this female-fronted band's debut offering. The tunes are fairly laid back, not grandiose affairs.

King Leviathan - Paean Heretica / mix of blackened thrash and traditional metal

England. First full-length after three EPs. Clean and dirty vocals.

Knife the Glitter - s/t / instrumental extreme prog

New Jersey. Features guitarist from Dillinger Escape Plan.

Kosmopyria - Sinister / symphonic black/death

Germany. Sinister is their second album as Kosmopyria. The band used to be named Obscura Religio. Three members are also in Munarheim. Catchy, happy, fun time. But, you know, in an evil way.

Krallice - Go Be Forgotten / complex black

New York. Not as interesting as Prelapsarian (2016) or Loüm, but still worthy.

Kreator - Gods of Violence / thrash

Germany. This is their fourteenth album, the first since Phantom Antichrist (2012). Gods of Violence is better than its predecessor and their first comeback album, Violent Revolution (2001), but it's not nearly as enjoyable as Enemy of God (2005) and Hordes of Chaos (2009).

Lantern - II: Morphosis / blackened death

Finland. Second full-length release from this two-man band.

Last Rites - Nemesis / thrash

Italy. Fourth full-length. Straightforward thrash with death vocals.

Lifeless - The Occult Mastery / death

Germany. Third album of Swedeath worship. The weird thing is that I prefer Lifeless to many of their presumed influences.

Lilith - Miasma Metal - Grown from Scorn / death-n-roll

Germany. This sophomore effort is much better than its predecessor, Catharsis (2011).

Lör - In Forgotten Sleep / folky progpower

Pennsylvania. Debut offering filled with epic tales of faeries and woodsprites (lyrical content assumed).

Lord Blasphemate - Lucifer Prometheus / melodic black/death

Brazil. Fourth full-length, and the first I have gotten into. From the band name and album title, you would think this is hair metal, but nope. Our Great Dark Lord works in mysterious ways.

Lost Dreams - Exhale / melodic death

Austria. They finally hooked me with their sixth album. Maybe the increased quality is due to the six year span between Exhale and its predecessor, Blinded by Rage.

Lunar Shadow - Far from Light / traditional metal

Germany. Their first full-length is chock full of epic tunes including two over eight minutes and two exceeding nine minutes. A sharper production would be appreciated though.

Madrost - The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh / thrashy death

California. Their third full-length is significantly better than their previous work. The occasional proggy touches are a nice touch. The grating vocals are not a selling point though.

Malefactor - Sixth Legion / melodeath

Brazil. Their sixth album is the first I have liked from the band.

Malokarpatan - Nordkarpatenland / blackened traditional metal

Slovakia. Their second album is much more enjoyable than their debut. My favorite tracks have some thrashiness to them. The raw sound is not ideal.

The Mantle - s/t / instrumental prog metal

New York. An impressive debut that flew under the radar for me for a long time. Filled to the brim with impressive guitarwork.

Masquerade - Soul Deception EP / thrashy death

Switzerland. Debut. Quality riffage.

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand / modern prog metal

Georgia. I do not care for The Hunter (2011) or Once More 'Round the Sun (2014), the first two albums released in the mainstream Mastodon era, but the songwriting on Emperor of Sand is more to my liking. I definitely prefer the eclectic genius of Crack the Skye or their frenetic early days, but I can accept their less confrontational approach if the songcraft is strong enough.

Mercury Rust - s/t / hard rock/proto-metal

Sweden. Debut that brings Rainbow and other cool proto-metal bands to mind.

Meridius - Sealed in Blood / thrash

British Columbia. First full-length. Plenty of calmer, less thrashy moments mixed in with the raging. Vocals are often melodic.

Mesosphera - Mythopoiesis / complex death

Italy. First full-length. The production could be crisper, but the sound is not a deal-breaker.

MindMaze - Resolve / prog metal

Pennsylvania. Their previous full-length, Back from the Edge, made my top 10 of 2014. Resolve is similar in style, and the musicianship is still top notch, including the impressive vocals of Sarah Teets. The songwriting, however, is not as compelling, as the melodies are not as memorable, and the music is not as engaging.

Misanthrope Monarch - Regress to the Saturnine Chapter / thrashy death

Germany. First full-length. Growlies + Riffage = Gruffage, part of any balanced diet.

Miserium - Ascension / prog metal

Hungary. This is the second full-length release from the band. It features a somewhat eclectic mix of styles and moods. This is not your dad's Dream Theater clone.

Monolith Cult - Gospel of Despair / doom

England. Their second album is in the general classic doom mode a la Candlemass.

Mourning Ashes - Chapter III: Oblivion / melodic death

Arizona. This is the third album from this one-man band, and it is his most appealing work so far. Plus, he sent me a free shirt, so he must be pretty cool.

Mudra - One Look Beyond / thrash

Peru. Third album. Mudra incorporate a bit more variety in riffage and song structures than the typical rethrash band.

Mutard - Inhuman Inebriation EP / thrash

Germany. Debut. Just look at their band name and album title. You know exactly what they sound like. Mutard is here with pizza and beer.

Mycelia - Dawn / prog deathcore

Switzerland. Fourth release. A fair amount of chug to go with the widdly, but they are not completely djentrified.

Ne Obliviscaris - Urn / blackened prog metal

Australia. Third full-length. Citadel was a second tier release on my 2014 list. Urn is in a similar musical style. The album starts strongly, but the songwriting is not quite as compelling overall.

Necrot - Blood Offerings / death

California. Debut. Traditional death metal like mom used to make. Come wallow in the filthy grime.

Necrytis - Countersighns / American power

Wyoming/Nevada/South Carolina. One of guitarist Toby Knapp's many projects (Onward, Affliktor, etc.). Also includes vocalist/drummer from Sue's Idol, Shane Wacaster. Not as good as Onward, but in a similar vein.

Nervecell - Past, Present...Torture / death

United Arab Emirates. Third full-length. I ended up deciding all of their discs are worthwhile, but this is their best. Sounds like Job for a Cowboy mixed with more traditional death metal.

Neshorn - Even in Dark Days / thrash/groove

Poland. Debut. Catchy aggression or aggressive catchiness? You decide.

Neuronspoiler - Second Sight / traditional metal

England. Their second full-length features more tasty trad metal that brings Riot and Maiden to mind.

Nexion - s/t EP / black metal

Iceland. Debut. Some death metal elements are present as well.

Night Viper - Exterminator / traditional with some speed metal

Sweden. Their second album is a vast improvement over their debut. The female vocals are a highlight as is the classic 80s metal approach.

Nightborn - Skyless / thrash

Sweden. Debut from this one-man band. This is not a typical rethrash release. The songs are longer than average (most over six minutes), and some proggy elements are present.

Nightbringer - Terra Damnata / black metal

Colorado. Fifth full-length, and the first I have liked from the band. The occasional progginess adds to the album's appeal.

Nightrage - The Venomous / melodic death

Greece. Seventh full-length. Fourth I have liked. An improvement over its predecessor, The Puritan (2015).

Nimrod B.C. - God of War and Chaos / thrash

Chile. Second album. Reminds me of Detente - Recognize No Authority at times.

No Limited Spiral - Into the Marinesnow / melodic death

Japan. Second full-length of pummeling melodeath.

No Rest for the Jaded - Unleashed / mainstream metal

Germany. Debut of often hefty mainstream metal.

No Return - The Curse Within / thrashy death

France. Tenth full-length, and the first album I have liked since their thrash debut, Psychological Torment (1990), which I picked up in a record store in Germany. Bonus trivia: PT was produced by Marquis Marky of Coroner.

Nocturnal Rites - Phoenix / melodic metal

Sweden. Their ninth album, and the first I have liked since Afterlife (2000). Phoenix is in a more commercial vein than the power metal of their past.

Northwind Wolves - Dark... Cold... Grim... / symphonic black

California. I would prefer a fuller sound on their debut offering, but their snarling, keyboard-heavy tunes are engaging.

NVC - The Deleted Scenes / extreme prog metal

Quebec. Debut consisting of five tracks, three of which are over ten minutes long. Happy keyboard melodies abound, and there are copious twists and turns within the epic song durations. Clean vocals and growlies are present. Wintersun is one possible benchmark.

Obscurity - Streitmacht / melodic death

Germany. I became aware of the band when they released their self-titled disc in 2012, which is their sixth album. Apparently, I then promptly forgot about the band because I never checked out their 2014 album, Vintar. Thankfully, Streitmacht refreshed my memory. I also finally explored their entire discography and came up with two worthwhile older releases in addition to Vintar. So I now own five Obscurity CDs. Don't tell my wife.

Obsidium - Lesson of Hatred / complex death

France. Debut of ditties in the vein of Necrophagist and Psycroptic. I expect even better things from them on their next album.

Occulta Veritas - The Inner Wail / instrumental prog black

Italy. First full-length from this one-man band. Lots of nifty twists and turns in these focused songs (all but one are under four minutes in length).

Old Night - Pale Cold Irrelevance / doom

Croatia. Debut of epic doom (five of the six tracks hover around 10 minutes in length). The compelling, passionate vocals are a highlight.

Old Season - Beyond the Black / traditional metal

Ireland. The band's second full-length is chock-full of mid-paced songs with big melodies.

Omens of Plague - The Merciless Beyond / melodeathcore

Argentina. Debut featuring malice and melody.

Once Awake - Ever So Cold / thrash/groove

Norway. Debut of angry thrash. For fans of Lamb of God and Pantera.

Opticleft - s/t / complex death

Nevada. On their debut, Opticleft show a facility for widdly, but the production is subpar.

The Outer Limits - Apocalypto / thrash

Bulgaria. Second album of no frills rethrash.

Pallbearer - Heartless / doom

Arkansas. Their third full-length release, and the first I have liked from the band.

Panikk - Discarded Existence / thrash

Slovenia. Second full-length. Vio-lence - Eternal Nightmare + Accuser - Who Dominates Who. Not that good, of course, but enjoyable rethrash nonetheless.

Patria - Magna Adversia / black

Brazil. This is the sixth full-length from the duo of singer Triumphsword and guitarist/bassist Mantus. The drumming is courtesy of session musician extraordinaire, Asgeir "Pays the Bills" Mickelson. Perhaps on this album he should have been given a cooler name. I humbly suggest either or Polearmconscript or Neverspiral.

Persona - Metamorphosis / symphonic metal

Tunisia. This is the sophomore effort from this female-fronted band. Jelena Dobric performs both melodic and gruff vocals.

Pictured - Deathbearer EP / thrashy death

France. This is the four-song followup to The Strand of Time (2010). Their guitarist also in Arcania.

Pile of Priests - Tenebrous Labyrinth EP / semi-complex thrashy death

Colorado. Their third release is an improvement on its predecessor, Void to Enlightenment (2015). I hear some Revocation in their sound.

Power Trip - Nightmare Logic / thrash

Texas. The second full-length release from these guys was the token thrash album in many metal critics' end-of-year lists. I do not get as much out of it as they apparently do, but the bare bones riffage does get my head banging. The album is certainly a huge improvement over their previous work, which had more of a crossover vibe. Trivia: Their lead guitarist is also in Eternal Champion.

Pyramid Theorem - Element of Surprise / mix of mainstream metal and modern prog metal

Ontario. Their third album is a big improvement over their previous efforts. The energetic, fun vibe is infectious overall, though my enthusiasm varies significantly from song to song.

Ram - Rod / traditional metal

Sweden. Fifth full-length. Third album in a row from the band that I have enjoyed, though I would have bought it solely due to the clever wordplay of the album title.

Ra's Dawn - From the Vile Catacombs / progpower

Germany. This is much better than their previous two albums. Depending on the song, I hear echoes of Evergrey, Iced Earth, and Exodus in the band's varied musical approach.

Red Eyes - The Red Album / melodic metal

Netherlands. Their sophomore effort is much more fun than its predecessor, Obey the Beast (2012). There is a mainstream sensibility to their tunes, but the band does not pander to or bore the listener.

Redemptor - Arthaneum / complex death

Poland. Their third full-length is their best effort to date. Though not as dissonant or weird as Gorguts, Redemptor may well scratch the same itch.

Resurgence - Besieged / death

British Columbia. Debut of high quality death metal.

Rift - Super Killer Fragile / thrash/groove

England. In 2001, ex-Sabbat guitarist Simon Jones and ex-Skyclad drummer Jay Graham worked together in Return to the Sabbat. A promise to work together on something new took 15 years to come to fruition. The result is an enjoyable slab of tough guy thrash with some groove tendencies.

Rites to Sedition - Ancestral Blood / melodic black

North Carolina. Debut of all the fast-n-furious tremolo picking you could ever need.

Ritual of Odds - Ritual of 9 / modern melodeath/groove

Greece. Third album of mostly mid-paced groovy death with melody.

Running Death - DressAge / thrash

Germany. Their second full-length is a substantial improvement over its predecessor, Overdrive (2015). It is a mix of Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction era Megadeth.

Salems Lott - Mask of Morality Part I EP / traditional/hair metal

California. Their second EP consists of three metallic tunes with hairy tendencies.

Sanctifyre - Immortal Champions EP / American power metal

Oregon. Their first EP is in the general vein of Riot - Thundersteel and Liege Lord - Master Control.

Sarcasm - Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds / death

Sweden. Second full-length in the classic Swedish death realm. Features the guitarist and drummer from the melodeath band, Imperial Domain.

Sawhill Sacrifice - Pimeyteen Ja Kuolemaan / melodic black

Finland. Their third and final album is easily their best work.

Schizoid - Evil Incarnate / thrash

Nicaragua. Their third full-length is a bash-n-thrash affair with short but sweet tunes.

Screamer - Hell Machine / traditional metal

Sweden. Their third full-length and best effort to date. For fans of Riot and perhaps Sword.

Sektor - Allegory / blackened death

Germany. Second album. Intense, man.

Selbst - s/t / black

Venezuela. Two-man band's debut full-length.

Selcouth - Heart Is the Star of Chaos / avant-garde rock

Multinational. Selcouth consists of musicians from Finland, France, Spain, Russia, and Argentina. Among them, the whole Khanus line-up, as well as members from Smohalla, Stagnant Waters, Pryapisme, Fixions, As Light Dies, Aegri Somnia, and Monje de Fuego. In the general realm of Virus, but more diverse.

Seminary - Automnymous / complex grindcore

Alberta. One-man band playing short, intense bursts of psychopathy.

Sempervivum - Death by Prescription / thrashy death

France. This is their first full-length offering. There is some melodic riffage mixed in with the thrashier bits.

Sentient Ignition - Enthroned in Gray / complex death

California. On their debut, each track is varied and contains interesting twists and turns, including the occasional blackened touch. Screams, growls, and clean vocals are utilized. Not your standard Unique Leader type band.

Seprevation - Echoes of Mercy EP / thrashy death

England. Their full-length debut Consumed made it to the second tier of my 2014 list. This EP is cool enough, but it is not as interesting as its predecessor. The raw production does not help matters.

Seraphic - Journey to Illumination / symphonic metal

Australia. Debut featuring operatic female vocals. Reminds me of Nightwish from the good old days.

Severpull - Divided by Two EP / thrash

California. Debut of four furious thrashing tracks.

Shade Empire - Poetry Of The Ill-Minded / symphonic black

Finland. Their fifth album, and the first I have liked.

Shroud Ritual - Five Suns / instrumental prog black

Washington, D.C. One-man band debut.

Shutter Down - Awake / hard rock/maintream metal

Portugal. Debut of cool radio tunes you will never hear on the radio.

The Silent Wedding - Enigma Eternal / progpower

Greece. Their second album consists of atmospheric, mid-paced tunes with emotive vocals and keyboard accents.

Sin Cruz - Enter the Unknown / melodic metal

Sweden. Debut of catchy ditties, crunchy guitars, and big melodies.

Skeptic - Worship the End / semi-complex death

New York. Their debut offering features a small degree of widdly and an unpolished sound.

Skulldrain - Hatred Rising / thrash

Sweden. Their debut consists of cool riffage and so-so vocals.

Skulled - Eat Thrash / thrash

Germany. Second album of infectiously fun rethrash featuring simple, yet effective riffs and gang vocals. Soothes the savage geezer, I tell ya.

SkyEye - Run for Your Life EP / traditional metal

Slovenia. Quality Maiden worship on their debut.

Slaegt - Domus Mysterium / blackened traditional metal

Denmark. The first proper track on Slaegt's second full-length release, "I Smell Blood" never fails to get my head banging. The rest of the tunes ain't too shabby as well. A rough approximation of their sound is early Hammers of Misfortune meets Witchery.

SnakeyeS - Metal Monster / American power metal

Spain. Second full-length cheesefest. Painkiller era Priest fun times. I came across the video for the title track and thought of it solely as a good laugh. But then I needed to listen again. And again. The guitarist, bassist, and drummer used to be in Sphinx.

Sons Ov Omega - Reign / melodic death with elements of black and thrash

Sweden. Their debut offering showcases a variety of approaches including guitarwork in the realms of death, black, and thrash. Some proggy moments and dirty and clean vocals add to the album's appeal.

Sorcerer - The Crowning of the Fire King / doom

Sweden. Not as compelling as In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross, which reached my second tier in 2014, but still worthwhile.

Spectrum of Delusion - Esoteric Entity / complex death

Netherlands. The intricate riffing and prominent widdly on bass are the highlights of this debut album. The growlies are not top notch, however.

Speed Queen - King of the Road EP / speed metal

Belgium. Debut with a fun retro vibe.

Sphaera - C8H11NO2 EP / eclectic extreme prog

France. The title of their debut is the chemical formula for the neurotransmitter dopamine. The three tunes contain multitudes of metallic musical styles and moods. The bassist and one of the guitarists were in Slatsher.

Starblind - Never Seen Again / traditional metal

Sweden. Third album of trad metal with a clear affection for Maiden. The vocals are fine, but they are not the album's strong point.

StormThrash - Systematic Annihilation / thrash

Venezuela. This is the first full-length release from these rethrashers.

Succumb - s/t / blackened death

California. This debut offering exhibits a somewhat unique sound, as it pairs raw, often frantic, music with cavernous, tortured screams and guttural chants.

Suffering Hour - In Passing Ascension / blackened death

Minnesota. Debut full-length populated by creepy, raw, somewhat dissonant, occasionally proggy hellscapes.

Suffocation - ...Of the Dark Light / semi-complex death

New York. This is the eighth full-length release from these veterans of the death metal scene, and it is the first disc of theirs that I have enjoyed. What's next, digging Morbid Angel? Obituary? This is so messed up.

Suicidal Causticity - The Human Touch / semi-complex death

Italy. Their second album is a brutal stomper.

Sunless Sky - Doppelgänger / American power metal

Ohio. The faster, heavier tunes on their sophomore effort are reminiscent of Helstar and Agent Steel. The guitarist from Shatter Messiah and vocalist from Wretch are members of Sunless Sky.

Suns of Sorath - Flowers of the Lily / complex death

Colorado. The first full-length from this two-man band features oodles of nifty, diverse riffage. The guitarist also plays drums in Pile of Priests.

Syron Vanes - Chaos from a Distance / traditional metal

Sweden. This is their sixth album. Their debut came out in 1984, but I was not aware of them until now. I checked out their previous albums, and they did not do much for me.

Tankard - One Foot in the Grave / thrash

Germany. This is the beer guzzlers' sixteenth full-length studio album. I own Chemical Invasion (1987), Beast of Bourbon (2004), Vol(l)ume 14 (2010) and now, One Foot in the Grave. Starting with Beast of Bourbon, I like every third album. High quality control from these veterans.

Tankist - Unhuman / thrash

Estonia. First full-length of somewhat raw, yet varied thrashy goodness.

Tantal - Ruin / symphonic thrashy melodeath

Russia. Ruin is this female-fronted band's third album. Its predecessor, Expectancy, was #14 on my 2014 list. The songwriting is not as strong here, but the tunes are still quite enjoyable.

Terrifier - Weapons of Thrash Destruction / thrash (duh)

British Columbia. Second album of fast-n-furious, derivative rethrash. Seriously, one of the tunes has riffage that is almost a direct ripoff of Testament's "Apocalyptic City". But whatevs, the songs are fun enough for me.

Terror Empire - Obscurity Rising / thrash/groove

Portugal. Second full-length release of tough guy thrash.

Tethys - Whispers of Creation EP / semi-complex death

Colorado. Their debut consists of four tracks that ebb and flow well enough to keep my interest. A sharper production would be welcome though.

Theory in Practice - Crescendo Dezign EP / complex death

Sweden. These five tunes are not as interesting as the two tracks on the Evolving Transhumanism EP (2015).

Throaat - Reflections in Darkness / black with elements of thrash

New York. First full-length. Spooky and raw, yet evil and fun. You know, the type of band that offers its digital album for $6.66.

Thron - s/t / black

Germany. On their debut, the black metal comes with a large dose of melody and some chunky thrashiness on occasion.

Tiberius - The Beautiful Ones EP / modern prog metal

Scotland. Their second EP is populated by four tunes in the general realm of Protest the Hero. Tiberius could be a band to watch.

Tidal Dreams - Previsor / power/traditional metal

Greece. Second album. This armory of tr00 metallic glory is the scabbard for my sword.

Tongues - Hreilia / black

Denmark. First full-length of melancholic, somewhat dissonant blackened grimness.

Tower of Babel - Lake of Fire / traditional metal

Massachusetts. Debut of ye olde metal in the vein of Rainbow/Astral Doors. This is the first project involving guitarist Joe Stump that I have liked.

Trivium - The Sin and the Sentence / thrashy metalcore

Florida. A return to their typical style after the power metal of Silence in the Snow (2015), but the songs are not as compelling as those on Vengeance Falls (2013) or In Waves (2011).

Turmion Kätilöt - Dance Panique / industrial metal

Finland. Not nearly as cool as its predecessor, Diskovibrator (2015), but still a good time.

Tyranex - Death Roll / thrash

Sweden. Third album of old skool fast-n-furious thrashin'. There are two women in the band, the bassist and the guitarist/vocalist who is also in the reincarnated version of Ice Age. Tyranex's other guitarist is in Immaculate.

Tyrmfar - Human Abomination / melodic death

Switzerland. First full-length offering of chunky melodeath from these gleeful folks.

Unbeheld - Dust EP / blackened death

British Columbia. Lots of frantic riffing and screaming on the band's second EP.

Under Threat - The Prison Within / melodic death

Colombia. The Prison Within is the fifth album from Under Threat, and it is the first of the band's offerings that I have liked.

Ungraved - The Nova Vvorld / melodic death

Russia. On their second album, Ungraved plays mostly mid-paced melodeath with prominent keyboards.

Urn - The Burning / black

Finland. This is their fourth full-length and the first from the band that I have liked. Their energetic, often thrashy spin on black metal is quite appealing.

Vampire - With Primeval Force / thrash

Sweden. They continue to be enrolled in the old skool as when they were freshmen with the Cimmerian Shade EP (2015).

Varg - Götterdämmerung EP / melodic death

Germany. Cool, short followup to Das Ende aller Lügen (2016).

Venenum - Trance of Death / death

Germany. First full-length release of classic, grimy death.

Vice - The First Chapter / groove/modern thrash

England. Their debut should appeal to Machine Head fans.

Vintersorg - Till Fjälls del II / viking/folk metal

Sweden. Nineteen years after their debut full-length, they release a sequel. A nice comeback after Naturbål (2014).

Virulent Depravity - Fruit of the Poisoned Tree / complex death

Tennessee. Their first foray into the world of widdly graaaggghhh includes Malcolm Pugh of A Loathing Requiem and Inferi.

Virus - Investigator EP / avant-garde rock

Norway. Two tracks from these oddballs.

Voyager - Ghost Mile / progpower

Australia. An improvement over their previous disc, V (2014).

Warbringer - Woe to the Vanquished / thrash

California. Their fifth album is an improvement over its predecessor, IV: Empires Collapse (2013).

Way to End - Senestre / prog black

France. Their third album is a significant improvement over their previous work. The mid-paced, quirky songcraft is a delight. The grating, raspy screaming is not.

Whatever End - A Birth of Loss / progpower with some doom

Greece. On their debut, they sound like a more melodramatic (grandiose vocals, keyboards), less polished version of Nevermore. One of the songs is a total doomfest, and there are some doomy moments elsewhere.

Wild Lies - Prison of Sins / melodic metal

England. Their debut full-length is heavier, less hairy, and not as catchy as their 2013 EP, Jack's out of the Box, but it's still a good time.

Wintersun - The Forest Seasons / symphonic prog melodeath

Finland. This is the first Wintersun disc I have been able to get into. Clearly, I just needed them to convince a whole mess of fanboys to crowdfund a studio for Jari Mäenpää and crew to properly appreciate his grand vision.

Within the Ruins - Halfway Human / semi-prog metalcore/djent

Massachusetts. Their fifth full-length is a nifty comeback after subpar Phenomena (2014). Seems more djentrified than previous efforts.

Wolfheart - Tyhjyys / melodic death

Finland. Their third album is a swell comeback after the subpar Shadow World (2015). "Tyhjyys" translates to "emptiness" or "void". Cheer up, guys! You should smile more.

Worldfall - False Salvation / American power metal

Florida. This one-man band's debut brings Metal Church to mind on occasion, but Worldfall has a more modern sound (complete with some harsh vocals).

Wormwood - Ghostlands - Wounds from a Bleeding Earth / melodic black

Sweden. Their first full-length is a good time for fans of the genre.

Worsis - Blinded by the System / thrash

Brazil. Debut of angry thrash. The releasing of anger can better any medicine under the sun.

Wounded Not Dead - The Battles of Horus of Edfu / semi-prog death

England. Their debut is not the poppy, accessible affair you would expect from the catchy title. Wounded Not Dead, in fact, is a death metal band that injects some slightly proggy moments into their bash-n-smash.

Wretch - The Hunt / American power/traditional metal

Ohio. On their third full-length release, Wretch's music brings to mind bands such as Steel Prophet and Helstar.


Alitor - "Patterns of Redemption" (single)
Art Nation - Liberation ("Ghost Town", "Maniac", "The Real Me", "A Thousand Charades", "Paralyzed")
Cognizance - "Ether of the Void", "The Foreboding Impasse" / complex death
Alice Cooper - Paranormal ("Paranormal")
Cryptic Shift - "Cosmic Dreams" (single)
Crystal Viper - Queen of the Witches ("The Witch Is Back", "I Fear No Evil")
Desecrator - To the Gallows ("To the Gallows")
Jag Panzer - The Deviant Chord ("Born of the Flame", "Dare", "Far Beyond All Fear")
Method - At the Kill split ("Ride the Nightmare", "Firebreak", "War Commander")
Midnight Sin - One Last Ride ("Loaded Gun", "The Maze")
Nasty High - Liquid Scream ("Can't Get Enough", "Here We Are")
Pile of Priests - "Redemptionem Per Cruciatu" (single)
Sons of Apollo - Psychotic Symphony ("God of the Sun", "Signs of the Time", "Labyrinth")
Starsoup - Castles of Sand ("The Catcher in the Lie", "Brother's Plea", "Escapist")
Tetrafusion - Dreaming of Sleep ("Blank Pages", "Echo Chamber", "The Void", "10,001")
Thy Darkened Shade - Saatet - Ta Apep split ("Cascade of Nun")
Thy Darkened Shade - ANTM split ("Thy Darkened Shade")
The Unity - s/t ("Rise and Fall")


(Note that I did not add descriptions for older albums from bands that have a 2017 release in the list above.)

Alias - Metal to Infinity (1989) / traditional metal
Alias - s/t (1987) / traditional metal

Florida. I was not aware of these guys back in the day. When I initially came across these reissues, I thought they were associated with the Canadian hard rock Alias that released a self-titled album in 1990. For fans of Hittman, Titan Force, and their ilk. I prefer Metal to Inifnity, but the self-titled debut has a sufficient number of worthwhile songs.

Azziard - 1916 (2009) / black
Azziard - Vesanie (2013) / black

Belenos - Errances Oniriques (2009) / black metal
Belenos - Yen Sonn Gardis (2010) / black metal
Belenos - Kornog (2016) / black metal

France. This one-man band plays moody black metal with enough oomph to keep my interest.

Beyond - Quantum Bummer (1990) / eclectic semi-prog metal

Ontario. This is their only album, and I love the title. Perhaps slightly in the realm of Last Crack and latter day Psychotic Waltz.

Bitterness - Resurrexodus (2015) / thrash/melodeath
Bitterness - The Final Declaration of the End (Swansongs for the Faithful) (2012) / thrash/melodeath
Bitterness - Genociety (2009) / thrash/melodeath
Bitterness - Autumn's Fall (2005) / melodeath/thrash
Bitterness - Memories of a Dying Past (2004-2007) / melodeath/thrash
Bitterness - Sweet Suicide Solutions (2003) / melodeath/thrash
Bitterness - Dawn of Golden Blood (2002) / melodeath/thrash

Germany. Kind of crazy that I never heard of these guys until the Memories of a Dying Past compilation showed up on my favorite blog. Their style is a mix of Kreator and melodeath with the more recent releases being thrashier than their earlier work. My favorite entry in their discography probably is Autumn's Fall, but all of their albums are worthwhile.

Blaakyum - Line of Fear (2016) / groove/thrash/American power metal

Lebanon. Their second album blends genres and adds a Middle Eastern flavor to some of the tunes.

The Bleeding - Death Eternal EP (2013) / thrash/death

Chordewa - Recast Gear for the Mindcraft Course (2013) / extreme prog metal

Moldova. First full-length. Catchy title, guys. The music is fairly standard prog, though the production could be improved. The grating, harsh vocals detract from the overall vibe.

Chronosphere - Embracing Oblivion (2015) / thrash
Chronosphere - Envirusment (2012) / thrash

Confession by Silence - Face the End in the Mirror (2012) / melodic death

Core of Io - Part IV: Callisto EP (2015) / proggy djent

Cryptic Fog - Path of the Withering Moon (2009) / blackened death

Cryptic Shift - Beyond the Celestial Realms EP (2016) / semi-complex thrashy death

England. On their second EP, I hear some nods to Vektor and Revocation, but Cryptic Shift has a long way to go to be in the same league as those giants of the scene.

Cynic - Uroboric Forms - The Complete Demo Recordings (1988-1991) / complex death

Florida. Five demos before Focus was released in 1993. Includes eleven tracks not on Focus.

Damnation Defaced - The Infernal Tremor (2015) / melodic death

Dark Matter Secret - Xenoform EP (2015) / instrumental complex death

Deserted Fear - Kingdom of Worms (2014) / thrashy death
Deserted Fear - My Empire (2012) / thrashy death

Distorted Wonderland - s/t (2010) / hair metal

Sweden. On their debut, they remind me of Hardcore Superstar's glory days (Dreamin' in a Casket, Beg for It) to some extent.

Divine Element - s/t (2000) / melodic death

Doomocracy - The End Is Written (2014) / doom

Dreaming Dead - Within One (2009) / melodic death
Dreaming Dead - Midnightmares (2012) / melodic death

Droid - Disconnected EP (2015) / semi-prog thrash

Embrace the Dawn - s/t EP (2015) / death

Engulfed - Through the Eternal Damnation EP (2012) / death

Epoch - Sacrosanct (2015) / blackened death

Belgium. A relentless, fast-paced debut.

Euphoria - Operation: Genesis (2016) / thrash

Eva Can't - Hinthial (2014) / extreme prog metal
Eva Can't - Inabisso (2011) / extreme prog metal

Italy. On their second and third albums, they present an interesting blend of crushing riffage, prominent keyboards, and a clean/dirty vocal mix. The music is not particularly intricate, but the band changes things up on the regular. Sadly, I did not get into their 2017 release, Gravatum.

Evil Invaders - Pulses of Pleasure (2015) / thrash

Excruciation by Silence - "Down a Semitone" (2016) / semi-prog thrash
Excruciation by Silence - Accession EP (2016) / semi-prog thrash

Execration - Morbid Dimensions (2014) / blackened death

Exhumation - City of Decay (2011) / melodic death
Exhumation - Symbol of Fear (1999) / melodic death

Russia. Raw early melodeath on Symbol, more polished on City.

Exivious - Chrysalis - The Early Demos (2001-2003) / complex death

Netherlands. Eight tracks from three demos.

Expain - Just the Tip (2014) / prog thrashy death

Face Down Hero - Product of Injustice (2014) / thrash
Face Down Hero - Divisions and Hierarchies (2011) / thrash

Fallen Prophets - Whispers in the Abyss EP (2016) / blackened thrashy death

New Mexico. The production on their debut is a bit muddy, but the songs still shine through.

Fate Unburied - Dehumanized Society EP (2012) / semi-complex death

Five Star Prison Cell - Slaves of Virgo (2007) / progressive noisecore
Five Star Prison Cell - The Complete First Season (2005) / progressive noisecore

Australia. Their first two releases should be tasty to DEP fans. I did not care for their final release, Matriarch (2010).

Foscor - Those Horrors Wither (2014) / black

Spain. Their fourth album of melancholic black metal is the band's best work.

Fractal Universe - Boundaries of Reality (2015) / extreme prog

From Nowhere - Kingdom of Fools EP (2016) / thrashy death

Spain. Re-recording of their 2006 debut EP. Not as cool as Agony (2011), but it's still worthwhile.

Frozen Sun - s/t (2014) / mainstream/traditional/stoner

Glacier - The Writer's Eye (1985-88) / traditional metal

Oregon. Compilation of their self-titled EP (1985) and 1988 Demo.

Glass Mind - Haunting Regrets (2011) / prog metal

Mexico. This is a re-recording of their 2008 debut album. At this stage in their career, they had a vocalist, and he did a decent job.

Gorbalrog - Untergang (1999) / melodic black

Germany. This is their only release.

The Great Discord - Duende (2015) / modern prog metal

Sweden. This might be better than The Rabbit Hole. So much compelling, catchy material. Easily one of the best older discoveries in 2017 for me.

Gregzeye - The End Days (2013) / groove/thrash

Croatia. Their debut features thick riffage and death vocals. Includes two guys from Moltencore.

Harbinger - Paroxysm EP (2016) / semi-complex metalcore

Hate in Hands - Through the Veins (2014) / deathcore

Helioss - One with the Sun (2015) / symphonic blackened death
Helioss - The Forthcoming Darkness (2012) / symphonic blackened death

The Hirsch Effekt - Holon: Agnosie (2015) / progcore

Hollow World - The Wrath Kept Within EP (2015) / thrashy melodeath

Holycide - Toxic Mutation EP (2015) / thrash

Inconcessus Lux Lucis - Crux Lupus Corona (2014) / blackened thrash/traditional metal
Inconcessus Lux Lucis - Disintegration: Psalms of Veneration for the Nefarious Elite (2014) / blackened thrash/traditional metal

Incordia - The Darkness Surrounding (2015) / melodic death

Inextalis - Catatonic Universe (2013) / proggy melodic death

Quebec. Formerly known as Amnesia, they released their only album, Land of No Return, in 1998. They changed their name to Inextalis in 2013. I recall looking for a followup to Land of no Return for many years before I gave up on these guys. I am glad that they resurfaced and embarrassed that I am late to the party. Fans of the widdly should give Catatonic Universe a shot - it is quite varied and engaging. One of my better older finds on this list.

Inner Aggression - Beginning of an Inner War (2007) / melodic death

Germany. First full-length. They changed their name to Akrea and released three albums under that moniker.

Isfet - Souls Dragged into the Abyss of Torment EP (2016) / melodic black

Kadinja - s/t EP (2013) / proggy djent

Karmic Juggernaut - 2012 EP (2012) / eclectic prog rock

King Leviathan - Milo's Revenge EP (2016) / mix of blackened thrash and traditional metal
King Leviathan - The Shrine EP (2015) / mix of blackened thrash and traditional metal
King Leviathan - s/t EP (2014) / mix of blackened thrash and traditional metal

Kobra and the Lotus - High Priestess (2014) / traditional metal
Kobra and the Lotus - s/t (2012) / traditional metal

Alberta. These do not reach the heights of Prevail I, but they are damn good. I know I heard High Priestess when it came out and dismissed it. That was a big mistake.

Kosmopyria - s/t (2015) / symphonic black/death

Last Rites - Unholy Puppets (2016) / thrash

Loanshark - s/t EP (2016) / traditional metal

Finland. The five songs on their debut contain mostly fast-paced guitarwork, but there is some hairiness in the mix as well. A promising band.

Mason - Warhead (2013) / thrash

Metalian - Metal Fire & Ice EP (2015) / traditional with some American power
Metalian - Rock Solid EP (2011) / traditional with some American power
Metalian - Wasteland (2009) / traditional with some American power

Miasthenia - Legados do Inframundo (2014) / melodic black
Miasthenia - Supremacia Ancestral (2008) / melodic black
Miasthenia - Batalha Ritual (2004) / melodic black
Miasthenia - XVI (2000) / melodic black

Miserium - Return to Grace (2013) / prog metal

Mudra - The End of World (2012) / thrash

Munarheim - Stolzes Wesen Mensch (2015) / symphonic blackened folk metal
Munarheim - Nacht und Stürme werden Licht (2014) / symphonic blackened folk metal

Germany. Their lineup includes three members of Kosmopyria. A grandiose good time for Gaia.

Mustan Kuun Lapset - Talvenranta (2005) / melodic death/black

Nervecell - Psychogenocide (2011) / death
Nervecell - Preaching Venom (2008) / death

No Limited Spiral - Precode:Slaughter (2014) / melodic death

Nuckin' Futs - Slavery (2014) / thrash

Obscurity - Vintar (2014) / melodic death
Obscurity - Várar (2009) / melodic death
Obscurity - Thurisaz (2003) / melodic death

Occulta Veritas - Igneous (2015) / instrumental prog black

The Outer Limits - World Metal Domination (2014) / thrash

Patria - Individualism (2014) / black

Penthagon - s/t (2012) / thrash

Italy. On their debut, the production could be crisper, but the bare bones riffs are there.

Persona - Elusive Reflections (2015) / symphonic metal

Premonition - Visions of Emptiness (1989-1993) / semi-prog thrash

Texas. Premonition released four demos, but never produced an album. This is a compilation of their first three demos: Demo 1989 (1989), Visions of Emptiness (1992), and Brutal Healing (1993). The three songs from their 1995 demo, The Human Condition, are not included.

Prospekt - The Colourless Sunrise (2013) / progpower

Quintessenz - To the Gallows (2016) / blackened thrash

Germany. The sophomore full-length from this one-man band is a vast improvement over their previous work.

Redemptor - The Jugglernaut (2014) / complex death
Redemptor - 4th Density EP (2011) / complex death
Redemptor - None Pointless Balance (2007) / complex death

Salems Lott - s/t EP (2015) / traditional/hair metal

Sanctuary - Inception (1986) / American power/thrash

Washington. Features remixed and remastered studio recordings from 1986. Except for "Dream of the Incubus" and "I Am Insane", all other songs were re-recorded for their 1987 debut album, Refuge Denied.

Sarcoptes - Songs of Dances and Death (2016) / black

California. Franitc black metal on the first full-length from this duo. Fun fact: Sarcoptes is a genus of mites.

Screamer - Phoenix (2013) / traditional metal

I dig four songs on Screamer's second album: "Demon Rider", "Slavegrinder", "Far Away from Home", and "Phoenix".

Selbst - An Ominous Landscape EP (2015) / black
Selbst - Aversio A Deo Et Conversio Ad Creaturas split (2014) / black
Selbst - Three Ways of Consciousness split (2013) / black

Seminary - "Cured" (2015) / complex grindcore
Seminary - Games EP (2012) / complex grindcore
Seminary - The Bow (2011) / complex grindcore

Setheist - The Flash of Creation EP (2014) / semi-prog thrashy power

Seven Kingdoms - In the Walls EP (2016) / American power metal
Seven Kingdoms - The Fire Is Mine (2012) / American power metal
Seven Kingdoms - s/t (2010) / American power metal

Skärlet - s/t (2016) / hair metal

Australia. Their first and last album exhibits an affection for Kix, Motley Crue, and Guns N Roses.

Skulled - Chaos through Order (2014) / thrash

Slaegt - Beautiful and Damned EP (2015) / blackened traditional metal

SnakeyeS - Ultimate Sin (2015) / American power metal

Space Vacation - Cosmic Vanguard (2014) / traditional metal
Space Vacation - Heart Attack (2012) / traditional metal

Spell - For None and All (2016) / proto-metal/traditional metal

British Columbia. This is their second album as Spell. The band previously released an EP and a split as Stryker. Some of For None and All is too old-fashioned for me, but most of it is metallic enough for me to get through the rocky parts.

Starblind - Dying Son (2015) / traditional metal

Stormcast - Frame of Mind (2014) / melodic death

Cyprus. On their debut, Stormcast crank out copious amount of cool riffs and create compelling atmospheres. The blackened vocals are not a highlight, but overall this is one of the better older albums I discovered in 2017.

Striker - Stand in the Fire (2016) / traditional metal

Alberta. I did not get into this when it came out, but I am now fully converted.

Subliminal - Psicofonias EP (2014) / semi-complex death

Suffering Hour - Foreseeing Exemptions to a Dismal Beyond EP (2014) / blackened death

Suns of Sorath - Sisyphus EP (2011) / complex death

Taberah - Welcome to the Crypt EP (2016) / American power metal
Taberah - Necromancer (2013) / American power metal
Taberah - The Light of Which I Dream (2011) / American power metal

Tankist - Be Offended EP (2015) / thrash

Terror Empire - The Empire Strikes Black (2015) / thrash/groove

Throaat - Black Speed EP (2015) / black with elements of thrash

Trigger - Machina EP (2014) / modern thrash with some aspects of mainstream metal

Tyrmfar - In The Depths of a Dark Spirit EP (2015) / melodic death

Under the Abyss - A Future to Behold (2015) / modern thrash/groove
Under the Abyss - A Wavering Path (2010) / modern thrash/groove

France. For fans of Machine Head and Trivium. Clean and dirty vocals are employed.

Venenum - s/t EP (2011) / death

Vexovoid - Heralds of the Stars EP (2014)

Voodoo Child - Adrénaline (1985) / traditional metal

France. I was not aware of this, their only album, until I saw it on a blog. The lyrics are in French, and there is a song entitled "Cocaïne Tush". C'est magnifique.

Wildhunt - Descending (2016) / thrash

Austria. This is their first full-length release, and it is a real treat for fans of 80s thrash. Hexenhaus, Mekong Delta, and Poltergeist come to mind as points of comparison. One of the best discs in this pre-2017 list.

Wretch - Warriors (2014) / American power/traditional metal

Zergoth - Psychological Defense (2010) / thrash

Florida. Varied thrash with some traditional metal leanings on their only album so far.

"It's not exactly a horrible album, but it's no better than something by, I dunno, Pagan's Mind or some other shirt-tucking nerdprog band." - Matt Johnsen of Pharaoh
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