May was another month where it was difficult to figure out which five albums would make the cut. The top spot was pretty easy, but there were around 10 albums with a legitimate claim for the other four spots. Here are our choices for May 2017’s best new albums.
1. Loss – Horizonless (Profound Lore)
Funeral doom is not easy music to listen to. If you made it all the way through Loss’s 2011 debut Despond, you know what I mean. This is music made for crushing souls and sucking hope out of the world. It’s an ordeal for the band to play, and an ordeal for us to listen, but when it’s done well, oh boy does it get you.
Horizonless ups the ante from Despond in every way. The band says Horizonless will take the listener even further beyond the realms of hopelessness, and they’re right. These are massive, ponderous, death-filled dirges that suck the air out of the room. But not only are the songs and ambient segues nightmarishly dark, they’ve been meticulously constructed and produced, giving us one of the best-sounding, written, and performed doom albums of the year.
2. Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic (Nuclear Blast)
What do you get when you combine members of death metal stalwarts Soilwork and Arch Enemy? Why, you get the most exuberant tribute to ’70s arena rock possible, of course! Amber Galactic ranks up there as one of the best albums 1980 could have given us, with Night Flight Orchestra having sonic influences ranging from old Kiss to Prism (for you Canadians) to Toto, and even with a sprinkling of Abba.
Sound dated? It is, but it isn’t. The band has crafted ten memorable songs that are all catchy as hell. Production is stellar, and Soilwork’s Bjorn Strid sings the heck out of these songs. You’ll be humming along to “Star of Rio,” “Josephine,” and “Something Mysterious” all summer long, and you should be. Amber Galactic is the feel-good summer album of 2017.
3. Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy (Profound Lore)
At first glance, Full of Hell are nothing more than cacophonous noise. But upon deeper examination this under 25 minute dirge is a powerful statement to how concise an album can be in 2017 and still get their point across. Trumpeting Ecstasy is the first exclusively Full Of Hell full length (following collaborations with Merzbow in 2014 and The Body in 2016) in nearly four years and it feels like they have truly honed their craft.
Whether it be the powerful opener “Deluminate,” scorcher “Crawling Back to God” or the particularly ominous guitar tone on the title track; the violence has variety and Full of Hell have delivered what is easily their best release yet and have set the bar very high for grind and powerviolence in 2017.
4. Solstafir – Berdreyminn (Season Of Mist)
Solstafir‘s sound has evolved over the course of their two decade career, with the Icelandic band’s style in the post metal vein these days. Their latest album Berdreyminn is their first with new drummer Hallgrímur Jón Hallgrímsson.
The album has plenty of catchy melodies along with more experimental parts. Lengthy instrumental sections give the lengthy songs room to breathe, but don’t meander aimlessly. Each track takes time to develop, building drama and anticipation in a cinematic atmosphere. Vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason has an emotional delivery and style that connects with the listener even if you don’t understand the Icelandic lyrics.
5. Alestorm – No Grave But The Sea (Napalm)
In a world that’s taking itself way too seriously these days (and taking offense at everything along the way), Alestorm are the perfect band to force us to let our guards down and raise our mugs up. And raise them we do, right from the beginning of this ten-track buccaneering opus. Music throughout is Alestorm’s trademark brand of Scottish folk-tinged anthemic power metal.
All told, No Grave But The Sea is a welcome addition to Alestorm’s booty, and it’s guaranteed to be a welcome soundtrack to the upcoming summer. My words of advice: put aside your metal pretensions, don your eyepatch, raise a bottle of rum to the sky and enjoy.
Other 2017 Monthly Best Metal Album Lists