Approaching halfway through the year and 2017 has already delivered a plethora of fantastic heavy music.
It becomes hard to decide where to begin writing about some of the great (and not so great) releases of the year — and I’m a little late to the game this year. That being said, I figured I could bang out a handful of recent releases and offer my thoughts.
Here goes nothing.
Slay My Sanity – Heartbeat of Chaos E.P.
Hailing from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Slay My Sanity dropped an impressive five-song EP that would be the bands first studio recording.
Formed in 2009, the band was forced to take multiple breaks due to two members serving in the army. After finally being able to get the full band together the boys released a DIY album in 2015 entitled “Madness in Disguise” before recording Heartbeat of Chaos.
What I like about this band is their sound. Musically I am reminded a lot of In Flames – which guitarists Dan and Dmitry site as one of their influences.
Vocally, singer Alex reminds me a lot of Florida death metal giant John Tardy of Obituary. There is something about his delivery – I dig it quite a bit.
The run time on this EP is only about 20 minutes, which is a bit of a downer. I would have liked to have heard more; however, that leaves me optimistic to hear more down the road.
I would tell you to stream this one. It is available on the Bandcamp website for $4.95 but as of this writing, not available on iTunes.
CKY – The Phoenix
It has been eight years since the boys from CKY released a new record. 2009’s Carver City was the last album to feature singer Deron Miller before his departure from the band in 2011.
As a longtime fan, I was hoping for something to really blow my mind, or maybe at least have hints of brilliance that coul be found on Vol. 1 and Infiltrate – Destroy – Rebuild.
What I got was basicaly a disappontment.
The basic sound of the band is in tact. It definitely feels like a CKY record, but I have a hard time getting used to Chad Ginsberg on vocals. That is certainly not a knock on his capabilities — he is a solid rock singer — but I just felt that the record was flat without Miller at the helm.
Specifically, this album feels both uninspired and petty at the same time. Perhaps the petty was not the intention, but with tracks like “Replaceable”, “Lies From You”, and “Better Than Get Even” I was under the impression that despite years since the departure of Miller – hostility remains.
The album clocks in at just 31 minutes with eight songs. The highlight on this album is the guest play of Mastodon’s Brent Hinds on “Days of Self Destruction”.
I hate to say this, but this one is a pass for me. Skip it. Maybe you could stream it if you’re a die-hard fan, but there’s not much here to get excited about.
Iced Earth – Incorruptible
Being completely honest here: I’m biased when it comes to Iced Earth. I absolutely love them. Jon Schaffer can do no wrong in my eyes.
With that said, Iced Earth’s twelfth studio release is just as good as any other album they’ve put out. They are eternally consistent and managed to keep the sound fresh and the songs interesting while maintaining a Clydesdale-on-a-warpath pace.
Unlike the previous albums, Incorruptible does not follow a full-on story line surrounding one particular concept (See: Framing Armageddon, Plagues of Babylon, etc) — this is ten tracks that stand alone.
As a quick aside, I thought I would continue to miss Matt Barlow as the lead man, Stu Block (Into Eternity) has done nothing but blow me away since taking over for Barlow (and Tim “Ripper” Owens) in 2011.
Well, I pre-ordered the album on iTunes and own it on vinyl – so… you should definitely buy it too, especially if you are a fan of power metal (and for some reason unbeknownst to me have never listened to Iced Earth before).
Carach Angren – Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten
No, seriously… whoa.
I was not super-familiar with Carach Angren prior to this year. I heard a couple of samples on iTunes and decided to buy “Where the Corpses Sink Forever” on iTunes and liked it enough to pre-order ‘Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten”.
I’m so glad I did. This is one of the creepiest albums I’ve heard in a long time. I say that in a very complimentary way – not creepy like that uncle your parents told you not to sit near at family parties. No, creepy as in – this shit is fucking haunting and I love it.
The track “Charlie” had me thinking about the King Diamond “Abigial” record… well, minus the falsetto voice.
I’m scrolling through my phone as I write this, trying to point out a weak song on the record, and I simply cannot. This might be a dark horse in the “Best Metal Album of 2017” category. I still need to digest it a bit more before I give it that crown of thorns though.
Buy it. In some format. In all formats. Its worth it. These dudes are legit.
That’s going to do it for this entry. I have a handful more albums that I’d like to chime in on in the coming days/weeks.
With that in mind – what albums do you think are worthy of buying this year? Let me know, I’d love to hear it!