Another year, another tremendous helping of music! We’ve had some real treats this year, and it was definitely a struggle to narrow things down to just three albums and three live shows. Here’s to 2018!
It feels like 2017 has been a neverending cycle of fantastic album after fantastic album! We’ve been spoilt this year with excellent music and although I have managed to narrow it down to just three, a special mention should also go to the awesome Nachtblut, who blew me away with Apostasie.
01: Wormwood – Ghostlands – Wounds From a Bleeding Earth
HOLY. SHIT. Whilst I had a more difficult time choosing my second and third choices, I always knew that Ghostlands – Wounds From a Bleeding Earth by the melodic black metallers Wormwood was my highlight of 2017. In short, this album is just incredible and I can’t praise it enough! I just haven’t been able to stop listening to it and the music has just stayed in my head constantly. (Indeed, if you take a look at my most played albums on last.fm, this one is out in front by some way!) The album has just made a tremendous impression on me, and from start to finish Wormwood just hits you with one incredible song after another. It’s insane to think that this is only Wormwood’s first album because seriously, this is something else. If you haven’t heard this album yet, then what are you waiting for?
02: Mustan Kuun Lapset – Saatto
Mustan Kuun Lapset presented us with Saatto fairly early on in 2017 but it really got the year off to a powerful start. It serves as a wonderful comeback piece from the band, with it being their first full-length release since 2007’s Viimeinen laulu kuolemasta, and it’s a triumphant return for them. Saatto is a wonderfully meaty bit of work with plenty of chunky, heavy tracks to sink you teeth into, and the way Mustan Kuun Lapset blends heaviness with just the right helping of melodies is masterful. It’s great to see that Mustan Kuun Lapset are back – so stick this album on at top volume and trust me when I say prepare to be amazed.
03: Atrox – Monocle
Prior to Monocle, I’d never heard of Atrox, but after hearing this rather magnificent piece of work, I’ve subsequently become acquainted with their entire back catalogue. I’ve never quite heard anything the same as Monocle, which shows how hard Atrox are working at ensuring their music is unique, and it’s definitely paid off for them. Monocle takes a fairly experimental prog/industrial approach, but there’s plenty of other approaches nestled within their sound and you can’t help but spot something different on every listen! Beware – these songs will get stuck in your head before you know it.
I haven’t been to as many gigs as I perhaps should have done in 2017 due to a relentless work schedule, but I’ve made the ones I have attended count and I’ve seen countless great bands this year! Special mentions must also go to Bloodbath at Eistnaflug and Insomnium in Manchester at the start of the year – it was very difficult to narrow my choices down this time.
01: King Satan – Original Stage, Nummirock Festival, 23/06
When I went to my yearly visit of Nummirock this year, I definitely didn’t expect that my highlight of the festival was going to be some band I’d never heard of prior to flying out there. I was hanging out with a friend in his camp on the final day of the event after seeing Whispered, since we didn’t feel there were any interesting bands left to watch, but for some reason we decided to check out this band on Spotify – and as soon as we heard them, we were really impressed and decided to venture out in the pouring rain to see their set. And I’m so glad I did because not only were they my highlight of the festival, this set was also my favourite show of 2017! The music was perfect to dance and jump about to, and we had an absolute blast from start to finish. I definitely need to catch these again in the new year now that I know all their songs.
(We didn’t actually review this performance but you can read our review of their latest album here instead!)
02: HIM – Academy 1, Manchester, 16/12
Oh gosh. It was really sad to say goodbye to HIM but they really did it in style in Manchester. A highly emotional night from start to finish, the Finnish love metallers put their heart and soul into the performance and it was such a treat to be a part of such a show. The setlist spanned across their entire career, with personal highlights for me being Heartkiller, Funeral Of Hearts and In Joy And Sorrow. It was an emotional night for all involved, and as well as that, it was a pleasure to see one of my old favourites go out on such a high. Thank you HIM, it’s been a blast!
03: Orden Ogan – Rebellion, Manchester, 08/11
This show was my first time seeing Orden Ogan live, but it definitely won’t be my last. The show was a lot of fun; their music is admittedly kind of cheesy but that’s what makes it so good. It’s infectiously catchy, with plenty of massive choruses to sing along to, and what made the show stand out for me was that not only did the performance sounded CD-quality, you could also see the band having an absolute blast onstage and it makes all the difference because it gets the crowd even more into the music as a result. (Additionally, the onstage setup featured two anamatronic figures with flashing eyes that held up guns that shot out streamers at one point, so how can you not enjoy a show that incorporates that into it?!)