The Year in Review // Best of Non-2017 Albums

Like every avid music listener, many of our favorite musical discoveries each year have actually been around for a while. Of course, these “new” albums don’t qualify for our annual end of year roundups, so we launched a new list last year dedicated exclusively to celebrating our staff’s top picks from outside of the current year. The following albums come from a wide variety of genres and range from releases we overlooked in 2016 to decades-old classics we finally got around to checking out. This has quickly become one of our favorite end of year features, and we hope you also discover some gems from yore that received just as much (if not more) playtime than some of the newer releases we’ve celebrated over the past twelve months.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 5/26/17

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with through your account, or create it manually with Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

Best Of – Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell was nothing if not human albeit one with otherworldly pipes and a mind ripe with the ability to form words and phrases in such a way as to simultaneously connect and befuddle listeners and onlookers. By all accounts he was a contemplative person who loved his inner circle very much but he wasn’t alone in his troubles. His imperfections, those that his fans knew about anyway, bred a certain closeness strengthening the bond they had with the performer. He was one of rock’s golden but least gilded gods. We have lost another great one but his legacy speaks for itself. We will miss you, Mr. Cornell. Our condolences from the Heavy Blog Family to yours. Read on for what our staff and special contributors feel is a sampling of some of the best work over the course of Chris Cornell’s amazingly moving career.

Rest In Peace, Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell died a “sudden and unexpected” death Wednesday night at the age of 52 in Detroid, MI while on tour. The Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman also started Temple of the Dog, whose other members would go on to form major grunge act Pearl Jam. Cornell, with the other members…

Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me – The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview [Part One]

Over the years, we’ve watched North Carolina’s Between the Buried and Me climb the ranks from metalcore weirdos struggling to find a place in the metal scene to prog metal masters with a legion of rabid fans and achieving worldwide headliner status. Through a series of critically-acclaimed opuses, a scene had formed itself around Between the Buried and Me as trailblazers of a new branch of modern progressive music, and one might argue that the biggest splash from the group came from their 2007 opus Colors, which turns 10 this year(!!!).

Thy Art Is Murder/The Acacia Strain/Fit For An Autopsy – The Depression Sessions

Sure, metal can certainly terrify listeners with occult imagery and sheer gore, but delving deep into one’s own personal neuroses can often take someone down a much darker path. Inexplicable sadness is often a much more relatable and ubiquitous demon than anything you’d see smeared across a Cannibal Corpse cover (not that there’s anything wrong with that). For that reason alone, it’s become a much more prevalent topic amongst death metal’s most notorious and now unjustly-reviled subgenre. You couldn’t have picked a better title for deathcore’s most anticipated EP of the year, and you probably couldn’t have picked a better batch of current bands to tackle the theme of depression either. Thy Art Is Murder, The Acacia Strain and Fit For An Autopsy are collectively as soul-bearing as they’ve ever been, and they’re still churning out brain-melting breakdowns in the process.

Hey! Listen to Eatliz!

One of the problems of the Israeli scene is that it cannibalizes its own best artists. Whether they leave for other bands, proving just how incestous this scene is, or simply get crushed by the overwhelming, daily reality of the cost of living, many of them shine bright for a…

King Goat – Conduit

King Goat have basically managed to inject new energy and dynamic into the tired stoner/doom formula. Much like HARK before them, they’ve found a new way in which the pieces of the musical puzzle fit. The fact that they’re unsigned and relatively new makes perfect sense. Innovation lies in the periphery, where the need to outperform the competition is all. It’ll be interesting to watch them from now on, to see exactly what they’ll do with the new exposure and upcoming music. Will they deepen their unique take on the genre, turn to more conservative avenues or throw us another curveball? One can only hope for the latter, since King Goat at their best when keeping us uncomfortable and on the edge of our seats.

Half Life – Alice In Chains

Alice In Chains were one of the few bands, in my opinion, to overcome the stigma that the label of “grunge” brought to bands in the 90s. While it took years (if even that) for the likes of Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots to be thought of as more alternative rock, Alice In Chains sort of stuck in the middle. They don’t quite fit into any particular genre. The amount of blues they are influenced by makes one want to put them in with the like of Guns N’ Roses, yet the heaviness that guitarist Jerry Cantrell brings to the table, combined with the vocal harmonies the band is now famous for, puts it somewhere in metal. (Cantrell, for the record, actually believes the band to be heavy metal.) But nonetheless, the influence the band has had has been enormous. Dirt remains one of the best albums of the 90s, and Layne Staley is remembered as one of modern rock’s greatest singers. It’s about time we go back and go over the albums that made this band what they are today.