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Staff Year End Awards for 2017!
Our Annual Year End Edition of Metal that Hit Our Radar

By: Maximum Metal Staff
Published: Friday, December 29, 2017
We've gathered up our thoughts on the hard rock/metal releases of 2017! Even if you really don't give a shit what any of our opinions are, there are so many releases put out in this age of do-it-yourself creation that you may see names you missed, older bands you forgot existed or unknowns to look up and sample. It's all about getting the word out and supporting the music!

ERIC COMPTON
TOP RELEASES of 2017:
1. Lady Beast - 'Vicious Breed'
2. Marvel - 'At the Sunshine Factory'
3. Black Star Riders - 'Heavy Fire' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2Bv6sHg)
4. Ravage - 'Return of the Spectral Rider' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2wu2aMS)
5. In This Moment - 'Ritual' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2j4hziJ)
6. Night Demon - 'Darkness Remains' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2wB6Ssm)
7. Arch Enemy - 'Will to Power' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2ip1g2Y)
8. Iced Earth - 'Incorruptible'
9. Havok - 'Conformicide' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2AmKNDC)
10. Bobaflex - 'Eloquent Demons' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2jy1CRm)
11. Jack Russell's Great White - 'He Saw it Comin'' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2Aey9pI)
12. Accept - 'The Rise of Chaos' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2ffX4Rb)
13. Alice Cooper - 'Paranormal' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2AhMQIG)
14. 36 Crazyfists - 'Lanterns'
15. Quiet Riot - 'Road Rage' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2AidyRh)
16. Venom - 'Ave' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2zFe4FC)
17. Astral Doors - 'Black Eyed Children' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2AmBqDN)
18. Kreator - 'Gods of Violence' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2nYJ8Lj)
19. Overkill - "The Grinding Wheel' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2ngcvfM and http://bit.ly/2AkKdGp)
20. Prong - 'Zero Days' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2ArPbRq)
21. Adrenaline Mob - 'We the People' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2j3qfGl)
22. Appice - 'Sinister' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2Bp0CWT)
23. Unleash the Archers - 'Apex' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2CCPCav)
24. Sea - 'The Grip of Time' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2Ak1pt2)
25. Black Oak County - 'Black Oak County' (reviewed at http://bit.ly/2AHXt8m)

Top 5 Songs of 2017
1. Iced Earth - Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862)
2. Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire
3. Havok - Dog Maniacal
4. Ravage - Turn the Screw
5. L.A. Guns - Speed

Top 5 Non-Metal Albums of 2017
1. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
2. Turnpike Troubadours - A Long Way from your Heart
3. Natalie Hemby - Puxico
4. Ned LeDoux - Sagebrush
5. Sunny Sweeney - Trophy

2017 Label of the Year
Nuclear Blast

Most Hard Working Publicist of 2017
Curtis DeWar - Dewar PR

Most Shocking Event of 2017
Warrel Dane's Death

Eric's Senseless and Unimportant Rant for 2018
I'd really like to see less horned animals when I'm browsing album covers. Can we collectively just stop with the mammoths, deer, elk and other horned wooly beasts that just keep adorning our metal albums?

I would also love for bands and artists to stop with the bandwagon bullshit of insulting American politicians and leaders. We all get it--metal isn't typically bi-partisan and always leans to the left. But please stop with the "American government blows". Alice Cooper says it best: "Rock n' roll was built to go as far away from politics as you could get. When my mum and dad talked about who to vote for, I'd go in the other room and put on the Beatles or Rolling Stones--and I'm still like that." There are tons and tons of ideas that you can build on when writing lyrics. Grab any piece of nerdy pop culture out there and write endless songs of "1-2-3 Kill" and let's steer away from the political nonsense.

Blabbermouth and Team Rock, no one...I mean NO ONE...cares if Skid Row, Pantera, Dave and Lars, Sammy and Halen, Paul and Maiden, Blackie and Chris EVER GET TOGETHER AGAIN. As nice as I can say it...we don't give a rat's ass about any of that. Please just move on like the rest of us did way back in the 90s.

I love club shows. They are intimate. I don't like amphitheater songs where I am sitting, eating a hot dog and sipping a Diet Pepsi. Metal is built for standing in a dive bar getting showered in spit, sweat and stink. Let's not put place metal in the dumpsters...but let's mosh by one.

Personally, I'd like to see more bands, artists and promoters recognize Jacksonville, FL as the largest city in the US in mileage. We like heavy metal and would pay to see it here. Up yours Orlando and Tampa!

I like Pledges and Go Fund Me. It's cool. Just don't pester me about it. I gave you $2 the last time...and I still haven't eaten those cookies yet.

Yeah...we know. Your vinyl is better than my mp3s. Your needle is better than my mouse button. Let's move on.

Who's making the all metal streaming service? Me, you? Let's do this!

Cheers to 2017 and let's absolutely crush 2018!

FRANK HILL
TOP RELEASES of 2017:

Unleash the Archers - Apex
'Apex' ticked all of the right Power and Traditional checkboxes for me this year. Within its 10 tracks, there are fast-paced power wind-ups, chest-thumpers, contemplative numbers, Maiden gallopers, and addictive choruses all wrapped up in a cohesive story with thoughtful characterization. If you spend some time and climb into it, you'll hear beyond the genre conventions and into UtA's subtleties of superior musicianship from intricate drum rhythms and unexpected guitar chords to vocals that range from soft passages to all-out screams. All of 'Apex' is delicately connected with tracks that are standalone and supportive of the whole. It is at times introverted and extroverted. From glory to pathos to anxiety to triumph, each song brings its own emotional quality to the dark and appealing narrative. There are songs on here that will be covered by other bands in the years to come. There is potential to further expand and worldbuild the storyline. Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Primal Fear, Mercenary, Amaranthe) handled the production of 'Apex' giving it the polish it deserves. 'Apex' is power, passion, and vocals that sing us up to the sky and beyond.

Other Top Metal:
Overkill - The Grinding Wheel
Kreator - Gods Of Violence
Niviane - The Druid King
Seven Spires - Solveig
WildeStarr - Beyond the Rain
Ravage - Return of the Spectral Rider

Top Hard Rock:
Night - Raft of the World
Bobaflex - Eloquent Demons
Black Oak County - Black Oak County
Marvel - At the Sunshine Factory
Audry Horne - Blackout

Top EPs:
The Offering - The Offering
Mastadon - Cold Dark Place
Halestorm - ReAniMate 3.0 The CoVeRs eP

Cool Cover Songs:
Witchunter - Achille's Last Stand (Led Zeppelin)
Bobaflex - Hey You (Pink Floyd)
Halestorm - Ride The Lightning (Metallica)
In Flames - Hurt (live Nine Inch Nails)

Re-Discovered:
Magnum - Chase the Dragon --Styx meets NWOBHM goodness!

GREG WATSON
TOP RELEASES of 2017:
1. The Offering - The Offering EP
2. Nhor - "Wildflowers" series
3. Iced Earth - Incorruptible
4. Nero Doctrine - II: Interitus
5. The Great Old Ones - EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy
6. Signatura Rerum - The Legend 1
7. Nullingroots - Into the Grey
8. Evocation - The Shadow Archetype
9. Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained
10. Jesus Crost - Die Tonmeisterei Sessions

In Memoriam: Chris Cornell, Warrel Dane


TROY COLE
TOP 15 ALBUMS of 2017 in NO ORDER:
Annihilator - For The Demented
Arch Enemy - Will To Power
Bloddy Hammers - The Horrific Case of Bloody Hammers (EP)
Cloven Hoof - Who Mourns for the Morning Star
Iced Earth - Incorruptible
Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained
Night Demon - Welcome to the Night
Nightrage - The Venomous
The Offering - The Offering (EP)
Overkill - The Grinding Wheel
Paradise Lost - Medusa
Sanctuary - Inception
Sorcerer - The Crowning of the Fire King
Trivium - The Sin And The Sentence
Vallenfyre - Fear Those Who Fear Him

Surprise of 2017: Accept - The Rise Of Chaos

Best Debut of 2017: Vuur - In This Moment We Are Free - Cities

Worst of 2017: Steel Panther - Lower the Bar, Danzig - Black Laden Crown

DAVID LOVELESS
TOP RELEASES of 2017:
Gigan - Undulating Waves Of Rainbiotic Iridescence
Vallenfyre - Fear Those Who Fear Him
Artificial Brain - Infrared Horizon
The Contortionist - Clairvoyant
Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained
Enslaved - E
Elder - Reflections Of A Floating World
Junius - Eternal Rituals For The Accretion Of Light
Cannibal Corpse - Red Before Black
Leprous - Melina
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
Godflesh - Post Self
Myrkur - Mareridt
Sorcerer - The Crowning Of The Fire King
Anathema - The Optimist
Aosoth - V: The Inside Scriptures
Pallbearer - Heartless
The Offering - The Offering EP
Emptiness - Not For Music
Maharaja - Kali Yuga

BRAD CAPLAN
TOP RELEASES of 2017:
1. StoneSour - Hydrograd
2. Greta Van Fleet - From The Fires
3. Arch Enemy - Will To Power
4. Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Barefoot In The Head
5. Jeff Scott Soto - Retribution
6. Hell or Highwater - Vista
7. NothingMore - The Stories We Tell Ourselves
8. Falling In Reverse - Coming Home
9. The Killers - Wonderful Wonderful
10. Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold
11. The Magpie Salute - The Magpie Salute
12. Revolution Saints - Light In The Dark
13. Lynch Mob - The Brotherhood
14. Europe - Walk The Earth
15. Eclipse - Monumentum
16. All That Remains - Madness
17. Linkin Park - One More Light
18. Bon Jovi - This House is Not For Sale
19. Sixx: A.M. - Prayers for the Blessed

Highlight of the Year: Seeing the Ghost and Iron Maiden show in June. Epic. Up the Irons!!

Surprises: How good former Black Crowes Robinson brothers albums were (Chris Robinson's Barefoot in the Head) and (Rich Robinson's/The Magpie Salute).

Guilty Pleasure: Greta Van Fleet. So they are ripping off Zeppelin - but how great it sounds!!

Non-Rock Album of the Year: P!nk - Beautiful Trauma.

Likely to Make top 10 for 2018: Asking Alexandria's new self titled release.

Best live Albums: Iron Maiden "The Book of Souls - Live Chapter" and Alter Bridge "Live at the O2 Arena".

Best Carryover from 2016: Metallica "Hardwired...to Self Destruct".

VINAYA SAKSENA
Top Fifteen Metal Albums Of The Year:
Elder - Reflections Of A Floating World
Enslaved - E
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
Sabbath Assembly - Rites Of Passage
Dreadnought - A Wake In Sacred Waves
Protean Collective - Collapse
Primus - The Desaturating Seven
Living Colour - Shade
Myrkur - Mareridt
Ruby The Hatchet - Planetary Space Child
Circle - Terminal
Sail - Slumbersong
Vuur - In This Moment We Are Free
Soen - Lykaia
Paradise Lost - Medusa

Cool Shows Seen:
Pilgrim, Heavy Temple, Queen Elephantine @ AS220, Providence, RI
Disrhythmia, Sabbath Assembly, Desertion Trio @ St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY
SubRosa, Violet, Sea, Tovarish @ Alchemy, Providence, RI
The Atomic Bitchwax, Mirror Queen, Worshipper, Hey Zeus @ Great Scott, Allston, MA
Raven, Dead By Wednesday, Reckless Force, Ravage at Jewel, Manchester, NH

Worst thing about 2017:
Death of Jon Rossi

New Talent to Watch Out for:
Dreadnought, Sail, Heavy Temple, Benthic Realm



Deaths in 2017 (from Wikipedia):
January 28 - Geoff Nicholls, former keyboardist of Black Sabbath, died from lung cancer at the age of 68.
January 31 - John Wetton, former bassist of Uriah Heep, died from cancer at the age of 67.
February 8 - Tony "It" Sarkka, former multi-instrumentalist of Abruptum, Ophthalamia, Vondur and War, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 45.
February 13 - Trish Doan, bassist of Kittie, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 31.
February 25 - Rick Chavez, guitarist of Drive, died from internal bleeding.
March 12 - Joey Alves, former guitarist of Y&T, died from ulcerative colitis at the age of 63.
March 21 - Gabriel "Negru" Mafa, drummer of Negura Bunget, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 42.
April 5 - Paul O'Neill, guitarist and founder of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, died from an intoxication of various prescription medication at the age of 61.
April 12 - Keni Richards, former drummer of Autograph, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 60.
April 15 - Matt Holt, vocalist of Nothingface, died from a degenerative illness at the age of 39.
April 27 - Jeff Decker, former guitarist of Thor, died from a heart attack.
May 17 - Chris Cornell, vocalist and guitarist of Soundgarden, died from suicide by hanging himself at the age of 52.
May 20 - Ace Still, former vocalist of Goatlord, died from a heart attack and severe head trauma.
May 27 - Guillermo Sanchez, bassist of Rata Blanca, died from a septicemia.
June 28 - Nic Ritter, former drummer of Warbringer, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 37.
July 12 - Marc "Blaash" Michaelson, drummer of Bahimiron, died from undisclosed reasons.
July 14 - David Zablidowsky, bassist of Adrenaline Mob and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, died in a tour bus accident.
July 20 - Chester Bennington, vocalist of Linkin Park, died from suicide by hanging himself at the age of 41.
September 22 - Eric Eycke, former vocalist of Corrosion of Conformity, died from undisclosed reasons.
October 5 - Rodrigo Bvevino, former vocalist of Avenger, died from lung cancer at the age of 42.
October 21 - Martin Eric Ain, bassist of Celtic Frost, died from a heart attack at the age of 50.
October 22 - Daisy Berkowitz, former guitarist of Marilyn Manson, died from colon cancer at the age of 49.
October 28 - Bruce Black, former drummer of Meliah Rage, died from undisclosed reasons.
November 1 - Scott Wily, former vocalist of Vital Remains, died from undisclosed reasons.
November 5 - Danny Anaya, former drummer of MX Machine and Abattoir, died from cancer at the age of 52.
November 7 - Whitey Glan, former drummer of Alice Cooper, died from lung cancer at the age of 71.
November 9 - Chuck Mosley, former vocalist of Faith No More, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 57.
November 12 - Chad Hanks, bassist of American Head Charge, died from kidney and liver failure at the age of 46.
December 13 - Warrel Dane, vocalist of Sanctuary and Nevermore, died from a heart attack at the age of 56.




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RANDOM ACTS OF METAL
. Nightwish. Scanner
. Sinner. The Great Deceiver
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. Machine Head. Circle II Circle
. Fozzy. Ravage
. Manowar. Late Nite Romeo
. Alchemy X. H.I.M.
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. Thunderbolt. Curriculum Mortis
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