As summer turns to fall, the depth of quality releases in September was impressive. Many worthy albums had to be left out of this month’s top five including Acephalix, Dyscarnate, Wolves In The Throne Room, Myrkur, Satyricon and others. Here are our choices for the best albums released in September.
1. Caligula’s Horse – In Contact (InsideOut)
Australian prog metal juggernauts Caligula’s Horse are back with a new concept album, In Contact. To a degree, In Contact focuses on art, creativity, and the human connection. More importantly, though, are the songs and performances. Spread across ten songs and just over an hour, In Contact is a stellar slab of modern progressive metal.
Caligula’s Horse have always been known for adeptly blending melody with technical but not overdone arrangements, mixed in with the occasional djenty embellishments. In Contact is no different, with plenty of chugging riffs, stellar guitar solos, intricate yet still melodic movements, emotional vocals, and great songs. Aside from a small spoken-word misstep (that’s probably crucial to the concept, but not the album), this is a great prog metal album.
2. Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord (SPV/Steamhammer)
Jag Panzer’s American bred style of traditional/power metal has made it to album number ten with The Deviant Chord. Vocalist Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin sounds as good as he ever has, and unlike many classic bands, modern production lends itself to the band’s sound. The bass is fat in particular on “Salacious Behavior” as John Tetley does his best Steve Harris impression. The album has great variety from the opener “Born of All Flame” to the cover of Celtic folk song “Foggy Dew,” which strikes a chord with a similar style to how Slough Feg would handle a song like that.
This is a bona fide classic metal album from any era and stands toe to toe with Jag Panzer’s back catalog. If you are looking for one traditional heavy metal album this year, it may well be this wonderful release.
3. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun (Sargent House)
Chelsea Wolfe has drawn a lot of critical acclaim for her genre-spanning albums. Her latest release Hiss Spun will continue that praise, blending disparate styles into a cohesive and compelling whole.
The album is front-loaded with heavier tracks, such as the opening doom-laden song “Spun,” the deliberate “16 Psyche” and “Vex,” which includes guest growls from Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom). Those are contrasted by quieter and more ethereal tracks, some which glide along mellowly and others that have more tension. She incorporates styles including alt rock, folk and electronica. Wolfe’s vocals range from near whispers to melodic crooning to more aggressive and urgent singing. All of those styles are on display on “Twin Fawn,” the most dynamic song on an emotional and cathartic album that’s packed with them.
4. Ufomammut – 8 (Neurot)
The Italian sludge/doom trio Ufomammut deliver 8 songs on 8, which of course is their eighth full-length album. They took a different approach to recording this album, using their live sound engineer and recording live together in the same room.
The result is an album that doesn’t stray far from their previously established style, but is a bit more straightforward while remaining cohesive and displays more of the live energy. For the first time in a while there are no songs longer than 10 minutes, but Ufomammut still like to mix shorter tracks (3 to 4 minutes) with more epic compositions. It all blends expertly into one extended piece, a psychedelic trip of fuzzed out bliss.
5. Septicflesh – Codex Omega (Prosthetic)
Greek titans Septicflesh have a new drummer (Kerim “Krimh” Lechner) and are on a new record label (Prosthetic) for their latest album Codex Omega, but their trademark sound is intact.
They blend crushing death metal with majestic symphonic elements to create compositions that are extreme and atmospheric. They worked with producer Jens Bogren this time, who makes the brutality and orchestral parts blend seamlessly. The songs have an epic quality, but are focused and streamlined. It flows very well, and is a step up from 2014’s Titan. There’s also a second disc with three songs featuring just the orchestra and choir.
Other 2017 Monthly Best Heavy Metal Albums Lists:
January 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
February 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
March 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
April 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
May 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
June 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
July 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
August 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums