Hello fuzzers! Here’s Mr. Muffer again!
What a crazy year, huh? Every year new stuff comes out of the water, with a new project, a brand new idea, a new original way to make us happy with music. I have always been the doom metal kind of guy, gravitating more towards the slow and the heavy, but metal had always been there. This year I listened to less metal than the other years. I don’t really know why, but it might have happened after I started to study music technically as a hobby. This might have shifted my tastes a little bit, and might also have made them a bit more exigent, mainly in the accuracy and other technical details.
This year my repertoire has been a little more diverse. I have listened to a wide array of styles, and have played a wide array of styles too. If you listen to all the albums in this list you’ll hear a lot of different stuff. Each album has its own taste, pace, genre, style. Music is just amazing like this!
Anyway, this is the list of the 10 best albums in 2017, some I listened way more than others, but I think that these are the ones that deserve being here for a reason.
Top 10 Albums of 2017
10 : Beastmaker – Inside The Skull
Beastmaker comes back again with another horror-like album. We’re talking about a very fuzzy, downtuned, heavy stoner/doom metal. There are plenty of good riffs composition, lots of odd time signatures.
The guitars does step up in this album, there are lots of well structured loops and the solos and bridges show us that the arrangements and the melodies were carefully picked, and recorded with a lot of applied technique. Very good musicians, indeed. Some choruses also feature a female voice, perfectly tuned, suiting the ambience perfectly.
Watch your back!
9 : Doom Side Of The Moon – Doom Side Of The Moon
No, this is not a cover album. You don’t need to listen closely to see that these songs are merely a reference version to one of the best albums in the history of rock, you know, these that make your head go places.
“But if I wanted to listen to the Dark Side of the Moon I’d listen to the real thing!”. Nope, I say. There are heaps of original content in these songs, and it makes it great for the fan to listen, it tells you from the very first song that you’re not going to see a cover album, and not a progressive rock album either! “Breathe” has a soothing mood for almost the entire song, but it does go under a freak attack in the end. “On the Run” is the same old EMS Synthi A pattern, in a more digital self and with a couple of new elements.
“Time” takes you for a long trip and throws in a couple of different tempos and arrangements for the song. “A Great Gig in The Sky” has a whole different mood, and is definitely a highlight in the album. “Money” is all Black Sabbath-ish, with a lot of fuzz involved, lots of new grooves added to the song, while the “Us and Them” version adds different chords to the song, but the thick stuffing of this song is very doomish and heavy, a lot of different drum approaches are seen in this song. A very jammish “Any Colour You Like”, “Brain Damage” wears a slow hard rock outfit, and “Eclipse” ends the album with a shiny metallic lead.
This is a very fun experience that every Pink Floyd Fan should go through, and let’s be honest here – Who doesn’t like Pink Floyd, right?
8 : B O N E P I P E – B O N E P I P E
B O N E P I P E is a Psychedelic Stoner/Doom Metal from Brussels, Belgium, and this is their first ever release. What we see here is a heavy, thick tone, absurdly compressed and fuzzed out. The pace of the album is really slow, Reverend Bizarre slow, however, Laye is also a death metal drummer, notably, he couldn’t stay away from faster fills and some technical snare drum work and this is what puts a lot of personality to their music.
We have 6 tracks, which four of them are between 10 and 16 minutes long, the remaining songs, feature a faster pace which compressed them down to around 7 minutes. Highlights are the bottomlessly heavy “GeedHolyMoney”, and the weird “HomoNaledi’s Bonepine”, showcasing a lots of screaming over compound tempos.
Remember that before listening to this album you must get a large animal bone, drill a hole in it, throw in some fuzz and light it up!
7 : Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard
Electric Wizard never really changed much in their variables for composing new stuff since the third album. We’re now at the mark of the ninth and we can hear a bit of change. It’s not like it doesn’t sound like Electric Wizard: it does, but essentially there are a few notable changes. The tone of the instruments are not as fuzzy and extreme distorted like the previous works, this album sounds way cleaner, with a better production, and the songwriting got a little bit more simple, repetitive (hey, sometimes, repetitive is good) and trippy.
“See You In Hell” is a very good example of this change, with a very bluesy style, very sloppy and crooked in a good way. “Wicked Caresses” is also a different highlight, as well as the weird track “Necromania”. The album ends on a high and massive note, spreading metal debris all over the listener, the song “Mourning of the Magicians” is a 70’s occult metal manifest. Guess how that might sound like, heh?
6 : Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks (Limited Event Series Soundtrack)
Angelo Badalamenti is a genius when it comes to the art of putting soul in music. Happy, soothing, mad, stressful, orgasmic, doomy, disturbing are only a few adjectives that could apply perfectly to his music. His themes are very gloomy and provides an unique atmosphere, the first song, for example, “Laura Palmer’s Theme” is perfectly executed reproduction of the song he composed for the famous US TV Show in 1990, written by Mark Frost and David Lynch.
There are some Lynch tunes in this album as well, but they’re all perfectly themed by Badalamenti. Lynch is a master in the art of getting into anyone’s skin not only in the form of images but also with audio sensations. He can annoy the listener to a very high level of audio torture and continuous agony, as you can listen in this second song “American Woman”, a complete shuffled electronic noise, gloomy synths, slowed down vocal melody with an infernal wind background. Some intentional glitches trigger some uncanny sensations, a very disturbing feeling that could cause a maddening effect in one’s brain.
There are other few highlights other than the usual classics but, its very difficult to pin down only specific songs and themes, because they’re all different from each other and they all have their own mood. This album is not a usual rock/metal album but it does provide a definitive audio experience.
Now go dance to the Audrey’s Dance Theme
5 : All Them Witches – Sleeping Through the War
This album is very hard to pin down to a specific style, because “Sleeping Through The War” is not really steady on a particular style of music.
There are some highlights worth mentioning. “Bulls” begins with a series of arpeggios with a series of heavy riffs with blues characteristics and vocals screamed and controlledly out of tune at rough rhythms. “Do not Bring Me Coffee” has a completely Moog soul, achieving nostalgia with modernity. “Bruce Lee” is a good reference to the eternal Jon Lord.
A psychedelic blues with a bizarre chord progression is spotted in “3-5-7”, while “Am I Going Up” appears as one of the best songs on the record, with a calm melody and high doses of fuzz, the same feature is contained in the song Alabaster, with a witty mood, possessed by Lou Reed’s soul. The record ends with the song “Internet”, being a longer song and containing more instrumental, a witty feel and a sticky joke chorus. A really great album, this one almost slipped through my fingers.
4 : Space Witch – Arcanum
Be ready for psychedelic keyboards, super heavy distortion, electronic space wave sounds, odd time signatures, trippy and soothing phases, and a very unusual British accented vocals.
The composition of the music still matches the formula used in the first album, the songs are traditionally divided in specific phases, but in this effort, the phases sound a lot less glued down from other riffs of other songs, as they used to throughout the first album.
I made a whole long and detailed review of this album here: Review
3 : Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
They did it again! Elder has just put out for us another masterpiece. And they did change a bit, and it definitely changed from the best. I don’t think that Elder is very near the metal sound of the genre, they now sound more like a heavy psychological rock with a thick stuffing of progressive rock.
A highlight of this album appears right when record starts, with the 11-minute song “Sanctuary”, which still has a lot of metal in it. The vocals are clean, but most of the time they have this lo-fi reverb that sets a very original mood for the album. “Sanctuary” is so well developed that it seems like several songs with the same color were sewed together in a fine piece of cloth.
Another highlight would be “Sonntag”. An instrumental track with a lot of Krautrock going on. Some of the vocal elements in the song “Staving Off The Truth” are sort of annoying and should be avoided for the next albums, but that makes no stain in the high quality music made here.
Extremely recommended for fans of psychedelic, well composed, resourceful progressive rock, especially for those who have a crooked ear for tunes.
2 : Samsara Blues Experiment – One with the Universe
Another absolutely great work by the masters of the Samsara Blues Experiment! Now the quartet is a trio, but they’re equally capable of making the same amount of noise on stage and in this in this album.
As it spins up, the audio waves are all fuzzed up in a silver rain, and it will stay that way until the end of the album. But, each song has at least one or two soft spots that worth listening, just to get a hold of these parts. A good example is the obvious reference to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” on the synth tones in the first smooth part of the first song, where a similar atmosphere is successfully created. And you’ll simply love how the vocals are placed in this album.
A better mastering would have contributed to this album to sound even better.
1 : Monobrow – The Nacarat
One of my most played albums of the year! That tells upfront that this band has no repetitive, boring or cheesy stuff, right? Exactly! What we see here is a very jammy instrumental album, very influenced by the “Earthless” jamming style, with some “Causa Sui” sprinkles all over it.
Another album with an outstanding drummer. All the drum fills, the complex shifting of tempos, and all the drum arrangements are very well structured, composed and creative, and makes the album a fun experience, very forward driven, with a happy witty spirit. The second song “Capes and Monocles” is a 9-minute jam, with guitars notably influenced by Isaiah Mitchell, filled with major and dominant ninth chords. The song “Twin Sheiks” is another highlight, mainly for the slow and atmospheric ambiences, also seen in the two unmentioned songs.
A very recommended record for fans of instrumental jam music, and my favorite of the year.
Honourable Mentions by Atmosphere Levels
By Fat Level
- Battle Hag – Tongue Of The Earth
- Bitchcraft – Bitchcraft
- Black Hand Throne – Sheol VI
- Blood Raven – Jotunn
- Dopelord – Children of the Haze
- Dr. Colossus – The Dank
- Altar of Betelgeuze – Among the Ruins
- Green Yeti – Desert Show
- Sahara – The Light
- Shooting Guns – Flavour Country
- Sulphur Dreams – The Divine Anthropocene
- Summoner – Beyond the Realm of Light
- TarLung – Beyond The Black Pyramid
- The Curf – Death And Love
- The Howling Eye – Dying Sun
- Throne – Consecrates
- Weed Demon – Astrological Passages
- Weed Priest – Consummate Darkness
By Purple Haze Level
- Cosmonaut Fuzz – Cosmonaut Fuzz
- Devil Electric – Devil Electric
- Emperor Guillotine – Emperor Guillotine
- Hela – Death May Die
- LSDoom – Soar Sauce
- Mad God – Tales Of A Sightless City
- Mephistofeles – Devotional Doom
- Show Of Bedlam – Transfiguration
- Pagan Altar – The Room of Shadows
- Terra Contra – Floating Coffins
- The Evil – The Evil
- The Red Widows – Rising
- Tiger Nest – Tiger Nest
- Weird Tales – Weird Tales
- Witchfinder – Witchfinder
By Temperature Level
- BongCauldron – Binge
- Brettus – From the Twilight Zone
- Cortez – The Depths Below
- Horseskull – Chemical Winter Blues
- Jake’s Meadow – An End to All Things
- Kalibos – HexA
- Kook – Kook
- Kroh – Pyres
- Major Kong – Brace For Impact
- March The Desert – Tidal Mind
- Olde – Temple
- Red Beard Wall – Red Beard Wall
- The Sword – Greetings From
- Arc Of Ascent – Realms Of The Metaphysical
- Blackout – The Horse