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C’kes’ Albums of the Year 2017

I have the feeling it becomes harder and harder for me to come up with top lists every year since I don’t get the chance to delve in as deep in all the musical releases as I’d like. I guess that’s called growing up, right? The last few years my favorite albums of a certain year were only discovered the months after New Year as I got a chance to go through other people’s top lists. I presume 2018 won’t be different. Still, there are some albums that have stuck with me this year and were already being played on repeat quite a few times throughout the year.

Honorable Mentions 10-6 5-1 Live top 3

Before we go into my top 10 I want to give some honorable mentions to a few bands:

  • One of those bands I discovered through other people’s top lists is The Great Discord. Their 2015 album Duende has every progressive vibe I love and combined with Fia Kempe‘s stellar voice this band really has the potential to stand out. Their 2017 release The Rabbit Hole did not make my top 10, but if you haven’t check out this band, please do so!
  • Pallbearer confirms their potential yet again with the release of Heartless. For me this is a band that I have to be in the mood for. So I don’t always listen to Pallbearer, but when I do I thoroughly enjoy their modern take on the doom genre.
  • Our own Belgian releases aren’t doing a bad job either! The year after Oathbreaker‘s domination of many top 10 lists with Rheia, Amenra do not offer any surprises anymore and just confirm – yet again – with Mass VI. In completely different genres there are other Belgian bands slowly building up the fanbase and international attention through their record deal with Nuclear Blast. Spoil Engine expanded their 2015 EP Stormsleeper into a full length and would have received a top 10 spot for sure if it were all new material. Diablo Blvd delivered a groovy and modern album with Zero Hour. We can be proud of our own metal scene! There is one more Belgian release worth mentioning but that one will have to wait for the top 10 list…
  • The trio of Cellar Darling, consisting of former members of Eluveitie (Anna Murphy, Ivo Henzi, & Merlin Sutter), overcame their departure of one the most successful folk metal bands and convinced me with This Is The Sound, a blend of gloomy rock and dreamy atmospheres layered with the modern use of the classic hurdy-gurdy instrument Anna is so known for.
  • I consider Language one of the best albums of 2014. In 2017 The Contortionist progresses further with Clairvoyant, exploring new musical directions led by the angel voice of Michael Lessard. I think this band will evolve further away from metal but their progressive music style is just too intriguing to miss out on!

Unfortunately, some long time favorite bands have released material this year that was highly anticipated but then just as quickly forgotten… While Arch Enemy‘s 2014 War Eternal introduced a new era for the band with the entry of Alissa White-Gluz, her sophomore album with the band Will To Power did not convince me at all. The same goes for Wintersun‘s The Forest Seasons, which was suddenly announced after 5 years of waiting for Time II, but didn’t offer much new to the band’s catalogue.

Luckily, some other favorite bands also convinced, yet again. For example, Paradise Lost dropped the killer album Medusa with which they consolidate their spot on the top of the death-doom genre after a career of 30 years! Another icon in their respective genre is Kreator who are at it even longer and they managed to threw some modern thrash metal classics at us with their Gods of Violence album.

And before we continue with the actual list I also want to share my most intense musical moment of the year. This was without a doubt the passing of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Together with the death by suicide of Chris Cornell and bands like Sólstafir and In Flames taking a pause to talk about mental illness and personal losses live on stage it was a dark thread running across 2017. As a psychologist myself I only hope more and more people find the courage to speak about mental issues in order to prevent terrible losses. Chester’s death hit home extra hard as it was his voice, his words, that have led me through some difficult teenage years. Is it irony when the person who prevents you from doing something radical and final, ends up doing something radical and so terribly final himself…?

But now without further ado let us continue with my countdown list of my top 10 albums of 2017!