CVLT NATION’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2017

TEN – DEVOIDOV Here Lies…

Remember Pharaoh? Back in 2014, the genius New Jersey-based “depressive hardcore” band released their masterpiece debut full-length Negative Everything on the A389 label to critical acclaim, gifting the world with something unique, harrowing, and unseen which no one in hardcore had attempted before: bending punk rock to the plight of depressive rock to create an abyss of heavy misery that stood completely on its own and sounded like none other.

Shortly after the release of their debut, Pharaoh changed their name to Devoidov, and in total seclusion continued work on their miserably wretched craft. Today we’re proud and honored to bring you the second chapter of this band’s baneful existence, in the form of  their brand new full-length Here Lies… – another masterpiece of doomed sonic depression that masterfully blends punk, doom metal, shoe gaze, depressive rock, and hardcore to devastating effects. If you ever thought you’d already heard sad and depressed shit, maybe you should think twice and give this band’s music a spin, because holy fuck, they bring absolute sonic misery to a harrowing climax.

Read the full review here.


 

NINE – WITCH TRAIL Thole

Unholy fuck, the soon to be released EP Thole by WITCH TRAIL is all fucking that! This band is so honest in the way they write songs. They can go from genre to genre in one tune without skipping a beat. What I just can’t get enough of is how much depth they put into every composition. Not enough people are talking about this band, which is wrong because they have created one of the best records of 2017. CVLT Nation is fucking honored to be streaming Thole in full below. Nothing but respect goes out to Babylon Doom Cult Records for releasing this gem of a record and you can pick it HERE!

 

EIGHT – KING WOMAN Created in the Image of Suffering

Following the release of their Doubt EP in 2015, I was really looking forward to what King Woman would do next. And soon enough, the band is putting out their debut album, Created in The Image of Suffering, through Relapse, making good on their promises of ethereal doom tones and rock vibes. The background story here is equally important, since following the release of Doubt, King Woman did not rest on their laurels. Apart from the new album coming out via Relapse, the band also went to record with Jack Shirley, known from his works with Deafheaven and Oathbreaker among more, who has done a brilliant job in taming the heavy, thick sound of the band, but without causing them to lose their unique tone and identity.

As was the case with Doubt, so it holds true with this record, in that it is a transcendental work. And this effort is displayed across the sonic palette that King Woman possesses. It starts with the grim elements of the doom form, slithering through slow pace, taking on ritualistic elements. The scenery gets dim, and the transfusion of old-school elements is capable of crushing you on tracks such as “Deny.”

Read the full review here.

 

SEVEN – DRAB MAJESTY The Demonstration

Drab Majesty, for those who aren’t aware, is an ethereal, intergalactic postpunk band created by gender neutral human Deb Demure of L.A. They’ve come a long way since releasing an initial four-track cassette in 2012, most notably with the release of their first LP Careless in 2015 and their collaboration with King Dude last year, Who Taught You How To Love? Now their highly anticipated album The Demonstration is finally here, and it’s more than everything you dreamed it would be. It’s full of atmospheric spacescapes, darkwave melodies, and themes that breach the limits of time and space.

Read the full review here.

 

SIX – R.I.P. Street Reaper

Street Doom…Scythe Rock…whatever you want to call it, R.I.P. bring the pain in a glorious and dirty way. The vocalist harnesses the wild look in Jack Torrance’s eyes and rides the madness into sonic outer space on a reaper’s scythe. Here at the CVLT Nation HQ, we’re addicted to the noxious riffs and pummelling beats these guys come with on every fucking song. So we’re extra stoked to be bringing you an exclusive stream of their track “The Casket” off their impending RidingEasy Records release, Street Reaper. This whole album rips, so make sure you pick up one their the limited first pressings from RidingEasy here! For now, open the casket and let the corpses out to play…


FIVE – FULL OF HELL Trumpeting Ecstasy

It’s clear that Full of Hell are far from ending their rampage, but that doesn’t keep Trumpeting Ecstasy from feeling like the summation of all they’ve learned through touring, writing, collaboration or otherwise. FOH long ago set the template for succinct songs brimming with bombastic ideas and here those ideas rain down with such velocity you hardly notice the flood creeping up to your ears. “Deluminate” spasms with bone-breaking intesity, segueing like a vein running off from Amber Mote. Vocalist Dylan Walker is nothing short of an animal throughout as he gnashes his fangs against guitarist Spencer Hazard’s nickel-plated serration. In spite of the guitar tone’s megaton heaviness, the tracks are breathless, with nary a moment of respite between them. The vast expanses of static that permeated their prior efforts are largely gone, giving way to reality tearing blitzes like “Branches of Yew” and “Digital Prison.” Drummer Dave Bland’s playing here is on par to miniguns spewing to the cadence of mathematical equations as he finds the ability to throw creatively spaced tempos amid his exhaustive sprees, namely on “Ashen Mesh.” Final track “At the Cauldron’s Bottom” is a splendid exercise in grimy melody as the hyperspeed pace gives way to a calculated, lumbering sludge metal romp where Walker finds himself exchanging snarls with Old Man Gloom’s Nate Newton. “Cosmic Vein” brings in a brief wall of haze before blasting away with psychotic glee, melting from raw punk circle pitting to climactic grind neck-snapping; handily the album’s busiest entry.

Read the full review here.


 

FOUR – CHELSEA WOLFE Hiss Spun

The ethereal domain of Abyss has morphed into an earthy manifestation with Hiss Spun. This is one heavy album, drenched in fuzzy guitars and distortion. This is also reflected in the production choice, where Kurt Ballou is brought in to helm the recording of the record. His presence slightly shifts the more dreamy and delicate tone that John Congleton brilliantly awakened in Abyss, and opens up the path for the new direction that Wolfe is undertaking.

The beginning of the record, with the heavy guitars in “Spun” detail this doom laden leaning, as the heavy riffs slowly unfold, and the thick veil of distortion covers the instrumentation. In terms of the distortion, a brilliant sonic fuzz that is achieved here, with a very wooly and asphyxiating quality. Moments like “The Culling” and “Particle Flux” go over the top when this distortion kicks in, and manage to balance exactly the right tonality. Not too edgy, but still adequate in presenting an extreme and impressive quality. This is where the basis of the darkness exists for Hiss Spun, originating from the doom metal fold, but Wolfe offers further experimentation, as is expected. Abstract rock moments are introduced, especially in the case of the opening track, where the progression goes from a short but very potent black metal break, to a free form rendition. It is a risky take, but there is something intrinsically alluring about this loss of self that is absolutely mesmerizing.

Read the full review here.

 

THREE – ELECTRIC WIZARD Wizard Bloody Wizard

Considering that Time To Die signalled a return to form, Wizard Bloody Wizard comes as a surprise, as it completely dives into the sleaze and gritty nature of heavy rock music via its doom metal beginnings.

This mentality of capturing the heavy rock sound in its purest form has caused a few changes, the most significant being the use of Electric Wizard’s own studio, Satyr IX Recording Studio, to produce this piece of work. Characterized as an “anti-studio” by the band, the space attempts to recapture the spirit of times past, with Electric Wizard limiting their use of equipment, relying more on the raw power of songwriting and the allure of an unpolished sound instead of the processed sound and use of effects. The overall result works very well for the band in terms of the song structures and attitude they present, granting a primitive-like quality to the end result, displaying an enticing take on the in-your-face quality of heavy rock.

Wizard Bloody Wizard aims for the direct, and goes straight for the jugular from the first note. It is essentially an attempt to get back to a basic level, leave behind whatever the band deems unnecessary and present the devastating force that heavy rock riffs hold, and the rock ‘n’ roll mentality that accompanies them. The lead work in the first single, “See You In Hell,” features all the sleaze the band is able to muster, while the hooking vocal delivery in “Necromania” ties in perfectly with the frank approach of the songwriting. The guitar solos further introduce that concept of rock allure, furiously sounding off behind the steady drum progression, diving into moments of ecstasy.

Read the full review here.

 

TWO – AMENRA Mass VI

Even though Mass VI does not deviate from the previous works the band has produced, it still finds them continuing to perfect their craft and enhancing their sound. Working again with legendary producer Billy Anderson, someone who understands the intricacies of heavy, experimental music and has worked with the band before, Amenra return to form. The repetitive melodic lines, acting like mantras are there, introducing the record with the mesmerizing start of “Children of the Eye” and dragging you down into the core of the music. Many bands attempting to use repetitive forms tend to lose their scope, ending up with boring tracks, but Amenra have a clear handle on the technique, understanding how it should be structured to maximize impact.

Amenra have always been capable of awakening this sense of imagery that good post-metal music can bring forth. The heavier parts of “Plus Pres De Toi” are filled with this sense of movement and grandeur, building an epic perspective one strum at a time. Incorporating ambient passages within the long form movements is another element that builds narrative cohesion for the band, dropping into a clean interlude, something that exposes a contrasting side to their heavier or melodic manifestations. The fact that everything is wrapped around the post-metal mentality of progression boosts all these elements to no end, with the band not only taking the repetitive form of the genre, but also building an impressive movement for the track, constructed step by step and augmented to point of an impressive crescendo.

Read the full review here.


 

ONE – POWER TRIP Nightmare Logic

Throwbacks tend to be the “in” thing lately. Nostalgia permeates everything from films releasing sequels to entries released decades ago or to current bands going on tours playing one classic in full. That’s cool and all, but the trick is getting old. Some of those movies don’t do anything new and bands playing their greatest hits don’t always bring the legendary flavor that made those classics what they are. While those bands are focused on looking back with a self-reverent eye, there’s Power Trip, whose gaze is affixed to past and future and with a third eye searing the present like the Death Star’s superlaser. To clarify, their furious crossover manages several monstrous tasks at once, chief among them their crafting of an ethereal sound that tips its hat to the 1980s while also surging forward with youthful freshness. Don’t mistake the use of “youthful” with “inexperienced” as the axe-wielding found on Nightmare Logic has rolled more heads than every season of Game of Thrones combined. Their second album following 2013’s Manifest Decimation’s and their 2016 split with Holy Terrorists Integrity, Nightmare Logic shreds through its eight tracks at a biting pace.

Considering the aplomb with which they execute their sound, it’s only natural that Power Trip have garnered the fan base that they have. To clarify, their performance at last year’s Southwest Terror Fest was met with ravenous anticipation, on par with heavyweights like Pig Destroyer and their performance a rightful highlight. Nightmare Logic is that energy given truest form, a throwback that seeks to redefine while revering, all the while giving your headbanging muscles some due exercise.

Read the full review here.


 

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The Author

Meghan

Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.