Editor’s Note: The year is almost over, and all of the Heavy Blog Best-Of lists have already been posted, but we’ve still got a little bit more content for you coming down the pipeline. One of our last pieces, and our last guest list, is from a band we can all agree has dominated the extreme music landscape of 2017: the inimitable Full of Hell. Placing at #1 on our personal list, featured in many of our writers’ personal end-of-year lists, and coming in at #11 overall in our aggregated list of the metal journalism “industry”‘s top albums of the year, it’s safe to say that Trumpeting Ecstasy was easily one of the finest releases of the year (and that’s not even mentioning the accolades the group has received for their collaboration with The Body that released a couple months ago).
Given both the extremity and esoteric nature of Full of Hell, none of the items Spencer has chosen as his personal favorites for 2017 should be particularly surprising. The punk-flavored death metal of Tomb Mold and the off-the-walls grind of Endon both match perfectly with the grind/death chaos he creates himself, while choices like Lingua Ignota speak to the wide-ranging palette that informs some of Full of Hell’s more experimental material – particularly their penchant for throwing any existing rules out the window when working with The Body. However, it’s obviously best to just let Spencer speak for himself on why he chose these five records as his favorites from 2017. So, without any more to say on my part, please enjoy one of our last pieces of content of 2017, from one of our favorite bands of this year.
5. Tomb Mold – Primordial Malignity
This is a record that I was very surprised I didn’t see on more peoples’ “end of the year” lists. This record has everything I love about death metal: dirty production, catchy riffs, ripping solos, over-the-top album art. I love hearing a death metal record that obviously has punk influence behind it and you can definitely hear it through out the record, especially in the drumming. There’s not much else to say about this album besides to pick it up, especially if you’re into the new crop of raw, underground death metal bands. Keep an eye out for their next record, due out sometime on 20 Buck Spin.
4. Lingua Ignota – All Bitches Die
I first heard of Lingua Ignota due to her involvement with a band I’m very familiar with, The Body. I knew if those guys were singing her praises so much, she must have been doing something special, and “All Bitches Die” lives up to it. This record runs the gamut from industrial dirges to beautiful melodies played on the piano. On top all of this are vocal acrobatics akin to such avant-garde greats as Jarboe or Diamanda Galas. The first track on this record, “Woe to All,” is a perfect example of everything I described above. So, if you want a heart-wrenching audio experience, I suggest checking this album out.
3. Godflesh – Post Self
It’s a rare feat for a legendary band to keep releasing records this long into their career, let alone high-quality records that are still pushing the envelope. The press releases up until the release of this record made me weary with their descriptions of the album – up until the first single. This record to me seems like the culmination of everything Godflesh has ever done: it has a perfect mixture of their more experimental sounds, from such records as “Us and Them,” and a continuation of the fantastic “A World Lit by Fire”. Even though you can hear elements from both of those records, “Post Self” is something new and original for the Godflesh discography. Hopefully with two incredible albums this late in their career, they can keep up this trajectory and keep releasing fantastic albums for years to come.
2. Endon – Through the Mirror
Endon is the future of extreme music. We were lucky enough to play with these guys the first time we went to Japan in 2014. We could not believe what we had witnessed, and had to tell everyone after tour to check them out. Fast forward to 2017, and they have released one of the most challenging but exciting records I’ve heard in years. Its hard for a band to take the intensity of their live show and inject it into a record, but “Through the Mirror” definitely pulls it off. Imagine Mr. Bungle as a grindcore band, but that even feels lazy when trying to describe this album. Listen to the song “Born in Limbo” to get an understanding of what I’m trying to describe. It’s not only my favorite song on the record, but my favorite song of the year.
1. Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
This is a record I felt went under the radar for a lot of people this year, but as soon as I heard it I absolutely fell in love with it. You don’t typically hear a death metal band with such technical and progressive tendencies be able to convey such emotion with their music, especially with such low, gutteral vocals. Use the guitar work in songs such as “Synthesized Instinct” and the title track of the record to hear what I’m talking about. Cannot recommend this album enough.