2017 is off and running (and already in last place) and finally some new metal is trickling in. Every year I keep a list of upcoming releases that I’m interested in and from January through April, so far, there’s going to be a mega fuck ton of killer albums. I’m looking forward to the year in metal and I’m glad it’s starting to form now.

Still kicking around some 2016 releases, the year that just doesn’t seem to want to leave. So much good stuff I missed but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere so I’m going full in to 2017 and will continue to pick at 2016 when stuff pops back up. So let’s fucking do this:

NEW STUFF 2017 STYLE: (Click those titles)

Panphage – Drengskapr
Yes, this technically came out in 2016 but my pre-orded cd copy didn’t show up until this week so I’m counting it as a 2017 release. This was an anticipated one to be sure and 2016 wasn’t lacking in Panphage music. The incredible demo collection set came out in summer and that got spun in to the ground. This one finds Panphage at a more intense, melodic, forceful sound. Still raw and nasty but with a more epic feeling sound and atmosphere. Probably partly due to the story of the album having to do with Icelandic outlaw Grette Asmundsson from the old Icelandic sagas. This is already one of my favorite Panphage releases. Everything is fucking hitting on this one.

The Drip – The Haunting Fear of Inevitability
I’m not the biggest of grindcore fans but every now and then I like to revisit the genre and check out new bands. The Drip was recommended to me so I put their new album on my list to check out. Fucking grindcore with some awesome melodic elements, some groove, and some hardcore breakdowns, which aren’t my favorite but the rest is a fucking head banger. The good thing about grind is it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and the whole album is over in about 30 minutes which I think is just about perfect for grindcore. Good, powerful album.

Grave Digger – Healed by Metal
If you’re expecting some sort of metal masterpiece from Grave Digger this late in their career, you’re burying the wrong corpse, but if you like solid, German, rifftastic power metal, this is the band for you. Grave Digger are nothing if not consistent and this is another solid release for the band. Good fun.

Lancer – Mastery
Lancer is by the book, Euro fueled power metal with more focus on the musics drive then all the orchestration and symphonic stuff. They aren’t remarkable but they have their moments. This new one is meeeeeeeh… ok and I put the blame squarely on their cover art. Where the fuck is the robot ostrich from the past two albums?! I mean, a medusa with dragon snake hair is cool and all but you don’t just ditch something like a robot Ostrich. For shame Lancer. For shame.

Laster – Ons vrije fatum
This is my first encounter with this band although there’s a lot of love going around for their first album. This being their second there’s a lot of talk about the band making leaps and bounds in their sound, which intrigues me as this one is a highly textured, experimental black metal album that doesn’t lose itself to the experimentations or endless noise wank-ery. There’s so much going on, musically, vocally, thematically, this one is going to take a couple spins but that’s a task I’ll gladly lok forward to.

Suppressive Fire – Nature of War
Down and dirty, nasty war themed black thrash from North Carolina. Good fun with some good riffs, if nothing else.

2016 Leftovers:

Grafvitnir – Obeisance to a Witch Moon
Uuuuuuuuuughhhh. This one just oozes 90’s Swedish black metal from every crevice, and I fucking love it all over. Reminds me of the energy and styles of Setherial or Vinterland but not as melodic, but still, that Swedish melody is all over this. Fucking awesome.

Wardrum – Awakening
Fucking killer Greek power metal happening here. Not orchestra or symphonic elements but still manages to retain that euro-power metal feel and presence. More straight forward and edgy with a fucking phenomenal vocalist and all the power metal chops you can shake a scepter at.

King Goat – Conduit
Like a progressive version of Candlemass if they were fronted by the love child of Big Boss and A.A Nemtheanga, with some classic metal elements. Fucking awesomely creative and fun album here if that description isn’t enough to get you interested. Some original ideas bubbling under the surface on this one.

Necromancing the Stone – Jewel of the Vile
Guh. That terrible puns that make up this bands name and album title. So stupid but  the music is fairly decent. Thrashed up, power metal with some melodic death metal element sprinkled in. Dudes from Ribspreader, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Arsis make up the band so I’m actually surprised that this is what they sound like but some of that Dahlia style death metal rears it’s ugly head here and there. Nothing great. Not terrible.

Hermodr – The Howling Mountains
Hermodr’s second full-length this year and most of what I said about the last one holds true on this one, albeit the production is less lo-fi but still a bit rough. Surely intentional with a title like The Howling Mountains but to my ears it’s a warmer sound with more keyboards, more melodic riffing but still heavy as fuck on the atmosphere. That Burzum influence is undeniable, especially the earlier Burzum sound, but that’s probably par for the course with bands like this. I still dig it, it sounds awesome.

Graveland – 1050 Years of Pagan Cult 
I’ve never been able to get into Graveland despite how much people seem to praise this band. I just think there’s so many other folky viking black metal bands out there that do this better and nothing about them has really captivated me in any way. That being said, this album is fairly fun. Nothing out of the ordinary here for this kind of black metal but still a decent listen. Probably won’t put this on everyday but it is what it is.

Deathblow – Demolition Deployment EP
I dig Deathblow and their Utah based, Teutonic influenced, down to basics thrash attack. Just two songs on this one and a pretty rad Motorhead cover.

Taken – Taken
It’s like this band realized that after those first four Sonata Arctica albums the band fucking lost it and decided to pick up as if they never did. And that’s what this is. Highly Sonata Arctica/Stratovarius informed, cheesetasicly dramatic power metal firing on high. If you like the glory days of said bands, this is right up your fucking alley. Luckily I do.

The Handsome Family – Unseen
Beautiful, gothic tinged, irreverent, humorous, and dark folk/country/americana. They aren’t afraid to get emotional and balance it with a weird, slightly dark sense of humor. I read a review of it calling it “spaghetti western noir” and that’s a good concept for an album that feels like each song is a story. There’s a story telling aspect to it that makes the whole thing feel alive.

Acerus – The Clock of Mortality
Acerus is one of the many projects to come from The Chasm camp. If you aren’t familiar with The Chasm stop what you’re doing and go get their last album Farseeing the Paranormal Abysm. This is guitarist, bassist, vocalists Daniel Corchado’s more traditional metal project. While it’s full of amazing playing and catchy as fuck riffing, it’s hard not to expect quality of the highest order given what he produced with The Chasm. This is not up to that quality. It’s well played, fun, but I found myself drifting from time to time. Maybe a solid EP would have served this better. If you’re a fan of The Chasm maybe give it a go, or just put on Farseeing.

Vaerbitt – Tid
Beautiful, if not long winded, Norwegian atmospheric black metal with some awesome, slower, more introspective doom elements. The slow, plodding and crashing section of the final song is fucking amazing especially when it kicks back up near the end. This is a headphone album to be sure and with three songs all hovering around the 20 minute mark there’s plenty to digest. Maybe not spectacular but a bit different and engaging.

Hiss Golden Messenger – Heart Like A Levee
Raspy vocals dominate this soulful, emotionally exposed album. The music goes from country tinged storytelling, to insightful folk, to mixes of old soul and r&b but with more of a rock flair. Even some Prince styled pop rears it’s fabulous head. Good songwriting and beautiful music.

Until next time, make mine metal.