This show is dedicated to the Runners-Up in my Best of 2017 list.
VAMPIRE (Sweden), album - With Primeval Force
Song: Revenants (0:25-6:18)
— Vampire does this incredible job of capturing a retro style, with bite. Swedish melodic death metal mixed with heavy thrash. It is a fucking versatile album within each song, it hella swings. There is so much to headbang to here, but also a bit of folk and ballad creating a fully-rounded and thoughtful album. And they just let loose, this shit would be wild live. This is their second, more polished album, after a hiatus of 3 years.
ALL PIGS MUST DIE (MA), album – Hostage Animal
Song: A Caustic Vision (6:19-8:16)
— The ferocious intensity of a hardcore and crust band that dives headfirst into brutal death metal. Sounds like they took a good vacation for the last 4 years, pouring out all their pent-up energy, and adding Trap Them's guitarist. Their slowest moments were wicked and pulverizing.
NIGHT DEMON (CA), album - Darkness Remains
Song: Hallowed Ground (8:17-11:38)
— Magical summer night hard rock. Night Demon doesn't shy from their roots, with songs titled Maiden Hell, We Will Rock You, Welcome to the Night and so on. They remind me of Chris Black projects, melodic power and hooks, this is mullet and beer metal.
GRAVE PLEASURES (Finland), album – Motherblood
Song: Joy Through Death (11:39-15:20)
— Previously Beastmilk, Grave Pleasures just annihilates every post-punk sound out there. Beastmilk won my 2013 Best Post-Punk, and soon split up. They have converted themselves to Grave Pleasures and have released their second album. What makes this band stand out compared to other bands in their goth-influenced genre is their production value, their ability to be unrelentingly catchy but completely unique. They surprise you with how emotional their sound is, how romantic, how nostalgic for dark basement clubs.
DYING FETUS (MD), album - Wrong One to Fuck With
Song: Die With Integrity (15:21-20:33)
— You go into battle with Dying Fetus, and their music is the anthem, goring enemies. They hit you between the eyes with precision, tight, technical, brutality. The guitar work is fucking insane, it speaks in tongues, and geezus the breakdowns. They somehow make this a groove-filled viciousness, how does that happen. Genius.
FORESEEN (Finland), album - Grave Danger
Song: Violent Discipline (20:34-23:42)
— Contender for Best Thrash and Best Hardcore. Finnish band Foreseen does a crossover style of thrash, blending in the energy of hardcore into their dirty as hell gritty thrash with tons of ripping groove that you just tighten your hand into a fist to punch the air. Blows Iron Reagan's new album out of the water in terms of crossover perfection.
CLAN OF XYMOX (Netherlands), album - Days of Black
Song: Set You Free (23:53-27:59)
— One of my favorite gothic synthwave bands of all time, released 80's dark synth and goth perfection with some of the best vocals of all time. This album will slam you into nostalgia, that is, if you ever were a goth.
GIGAN (Chicago), album - Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescence
Song: Hyperjump-Ritual Madness (28:00-33:07)
— It is the manifestation of strange brains dreaming. There is streaming psychedelic pulsating through veins of brutal and master technical extreme. This is their 4th album.
PUBLIC PSYCHE (Belgium), album - No New Violence
Song: Patterns (33:08-36:25)
— Public Psyche has a unique take on post-punk, incorporating a less synthetic sound - post-punk mixed with krautrock and noise experimental.
SEER (Vancouver), album - Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void
Song: Burnt Offerings (36:26-43:44)
— This is their second album. Lots of unrushed acoustic, nature sounds, and when it finally explodes, the lead singer is at the helm, lush and emotional.
KRALLICE (NYC), album – Loüm
Song: Rank Mankind (44:14-49:16)
— This is the album with Dave Edwardson. Yet another push into complex math structure, difficult and challenging, abstract and completely fucking enjoyable. Let your brain be bludgeoned.
DEMON HEAD (Denmark), album - Thunder on the Fields
Song: Menneskeæderen (49:17-54:32)
— Sexy psychedelic groove, emotional epic vocals accompanied by moody melodies. Just yeah bro.
IMMOLATION (NY), album – Atonement
Song: Thrown To the Fire (54:33-END)
— Serious fucking death metal. Lead singer does his style so well, unflinchingly rumbling guttural, so fucking hot. Versatile and groove-filled, filled to the brim with massive riffs and unusually splintered melodies. The drumming. . . fuck, the drumming.