Welcome to The Haystack!

News, Reviews, and Lists on Rock and Metal Ear Candy Big & Small!

Top 50 Metal Albums Of 2017

Top 50 Metal Albums Of 2017

The end of the year is a time filled with holiday cheer, new year celebration plans, and lists. Lots and lots of lists. For the end of a calendar year is also a time for reflection. And in the music world that means looking back at the artists, songs, and albums that impacted us the most. That also means arguing over what was best with the intensity of a murder trial. This list in particular is sure to breed a lot of deliberation. When it comes to their music, metal fans are known to be quite..."passionate" to say the least. We saved explanations for why the albums are there for the top ten. So without further ado, here's our list for the 50 best metal albums of the year!


50. Venom Inc



49. Betraying The Martyrs

The Resilient 


48. Lorna Shore

Flesh Coffin


47. Once Human


1200x630bb (1).jpg

46. Wage War



45. Immolation



44. Signs Of The Swarm

The Disfigurement Of Existence 


43. Cradle Of Filth

Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness Of Decay


42. Integrity

Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume


41. Decrepit Birth

Axis Mundi


40. Through The Eyes Of The Dead



39. Oceans Ate Alaska



38. Havok



37. The Black Dahlia Murder



36. Power Trip

Nightmare Logic


35. Archspire

Relentless Mutation


34. Myrkur



33. Satyricon

Deep Calleth Upon Deep 


32. Cannabis Corpse

Left Hand Pass


31. Paradise Lost



30. Emmure

Look At Yourself


29. Jasta

The Lost Chapters 


28. Shadow Of Intent



27. Ne Obliviscaris



26. Slaughter To Prevail 

Misery Sermon


25. Wolves In The Throne Room

Thrice Woven


24. Creature Of Exile

Age Of Annihilation


23. Kreator

Gods Of Violence 


22. Cannibal Corpse

Red Before Black 


21. Necrot

Blood Offerings 


20. The Human Tragedy

Within Here Lies Pain 


19. Fit For An Autopsy

The Great Collapse


18. Replacire

Do Not Deviate


17. Converge

The Dusk In Us


16. Rings Of Saturn

Ultu Ulla


15. Chelsea Wolfe

Hiss Spun


14. Epica

The Solace System


13. Byzantine

The Cicada Tree


12. Thy Art Is Murder

Dear Desolation


11. Suffocation

Of The Dark Light


10. Spite

Nothing Is Beautiful

Spite accomplishes a lot with a little. A grooving blend of nu metalcore and deathcore, the band's album Nothing Is Beautiful is pure pit-sparking fun. The distinct vocal style of Darius Tehrani adds a more unique element to the band's hardcore rooted sound. And while simple in its technique, the band makes up for it in quality execution and production. 


9. Enslaved


Enslaved's further transition into progressive rock hasn't marred the quality of their work. Without the black metal rasp of Grutle Kjellson, E could easily be considered a rock album more than a metal album. But the band's talent for expansive song structures and arrangements is still around in full force despite the simpler instrumental techniques employed. Accessible as this album may be, metal fans won't be able to deny the inventive songwriting of tracks like "Storm Son" and "Sacred Horse"or soothing vocals of new keyboardist Hakon Vinje. 


8. August Burns Red

Phantom Anthem

August Burns Red have always been a cut above their peers that rode the melodic metalcore wave in the early 2000's. Their continued success today is proof of that. But Phantom Anthem is a true upping of the ante for the group. Featuring some of the band's most technical guitar work yet, progressive leans in their songwriting, and even some djent qualities, ABR's drive for improvement is showing and proves there's still life left in the heavily saturated melodic metalcore genre. 


7. Mastodon

Emperor Of Sand

Further polishing their modern sound, Mastodon's Emperor Of Sand maintain's the band's streak of high quality albums. While the band shows cases a more straightforward songwriting style exemplified in "Show Yourself" and "Sultan's Curse" the band still is able to go spacey in cuts like "Jaguar God" and "Ancient Kingdom". Of particular note is the increased confidence of the melodic vocals of both Troy Sanders and Brann Dailor. With "Roots Remain" and "Steambreather" proving Dailor one of the more underrated melodic vocalists in modern metal. 


6. Zeal & Ardor

Devil Is Fine

Easily one of the most unique sounding albums on this list, Zeal & Ardor's Devil Is Fine is an artistic and progressive genre fusion of black metal's harsh intensity and the soul of American negro spirituals. The satanic nature of black metal is still kept in the lyrical content but flips it on its head having it portrayed in a singing style usually kept for positive religious praise. It's an interesting experiment into the avant-garde for metal and is a must listen for those wanting to experience something truly new sounding. 


5. Warbringer

Woe To The Vanquished

While other thrash revival bands are content to emulate the artists of the past, Warbringer carves their own path by taking their extreme metal influences and putting them through thrash metal's filter. Woe To The Vanquished focuses on war and conflict, popular thrash metal themes, and brings an intensity that matches the darkness of the subject matter. With Adam Carroll's excellent guitar work and John Kevill's distinctly hell raising voice the band is a cut above and apart many of their modern contemporaries. And even some of their own thrash idols. 


4. Septicflesh

Codex Omega

Septicflesh have long been a leader in the symphonic death metal genre and Codex Omega further proves that fact. With cinematic level orchestral compositions leading the way the band's underlying base of death metal adds the extra punch that puts songs like "Dante's Inferno" and "Portrait Of A Headless Man" over the top. A satisfying mix of classical's beauty and metal's beast, the band is able to marry the two styles like few others can.


3. Trivium

The Sin And The Sentence

Usually with each Trivium release the band looks to experiment and take their sound into stark new directions. This time around the band decided to make a record "for the fans" and pull from their musical past. And the fans are pleased! The Sin And The Sentence displays a musical consistency not seen from the band since Shogun. It balances technical skill, aggression, and progressive songwriting while maintaining accessibility. It even blends in some black metal influence in "Betrayer" and the title track. This is quite possibly the best record Trivium has ever crafted and shows the metal world why so much hype surrounded them when they first came to prominence.


2. Dying Fetus

Wrong One To Fuck With

The consistency of the current Dying Fetus line-up has proven to be a huge positive for the band as Wrong One To Fuck With is slamming tech-death perfection. It scratches every itch an extreme metal fan could have. Dizzying guitar work, bone-crushingly heavy grooves, and machine-like percussion. In one of death metal's strongest years ever Dying Fetus prove why they've managed to stick around for so long.  


1. Code Orange


Code Orange takes the top spot not just because Forever is a phenomenal album start to finish. But because it brings something certifiably fresh sounding to metallic hardcore. The band has discovered a way to adhere to the genre's "rules" of caveman brutality and relative simplicity but blend that with forays into industrial noise and haunting atmospherics. Code Orange also shows no fear in breaking from consistency with left field tracks like the melodic and grunge leaning "Bleeding In The Blur" or the alternative metal sound of "Ugly". A 1st wave metalcore revival has been brewing for a while now and with Forever these Pittsburgh natives just planted a flag as the leaders of the wave. 

Top 30 Rock Albums Of 2017

Top 30 Rock Albums Of 2017

Top 10 Thrash Metal Songs Of 2017

Top 10 Thrash Metal Songs Of 2017