GHOST CULT ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2017: Part 1 (50 – 26)

As the dust begins to settle on what will undoubtedly go down in a history as a fine year for heavy and progressive music, the Ghost Cult crew present our favourite albums of 2017. While a year with only a couple of genuine life-changing, genre redefiners, nevertheless 2017 has seen an absolute plethora of very, very high quality releases. With over 400 albums reviewed this year, at an average of 7.5/10, there was a deep pool of quality releases selected and dissected throughout the year. A genuinely democratic inner sanctum here, we now present Part 1 of an official Ghost Cult Album of the Year (2017) run down that s truly representative of Ghost Cult, our writers, and our musical position as a site. Please share your thoughts and comments on the music we collectively love, as we countdown from 50 through to 26…


50. EMPLOYED TO SERVE – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun (Holy Roar) “But you, with your head spun round, you’ll want to hear The Warmth of a Dying Sun again. And you will be very excited to hear what Employed to Serve does next.” 8.5 JASON KOROLENKO (Review here)


49. IRON REAGAN – Crossover Ministry (Relapse) “Thrash/Crossover has always been a love of mine since early high school, but of late, I had kind of forgot about it in a sense. Iron Reagan’s Crossover Ministry has pulled me back in forcefully and beat me up for having forgot in the first place.” 8.5 TIM LEDIN (Review here)


48. BELL WITCH – Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore) “This is a tribute to a departed friend, burdened by bereavement but tragically beautiful, and is not for the faint of heart. Given the deserved attention, however, Mirror Reaper is easily one of the most breath-taking releases of the year.” 8.0 ROSS JENNER (Review here)


47. SOEN – Lykaia (UDR) “Put yourself between the release of Opeth’s Damnation and Ghost Reveries with a hefty side of Tool’s Lateralus and you will find Lykaia. This 51-minute journey ends entirely too fast, getting lost in its beautiful progressive technicality.” 7.5 EBONIE BUTLER (Review here)


46. BODY COUNT – Bloodlust (Century Media) “Bloodlust is the strongest and most consistent Body Count album to date, able to stand on the strength of the music alone, but enhanced by the evocative and contemporary lyrics.” 7.5 STEVE TOVEY (Review here)


45. CAVALERA CONSPIRACY – Psychosis (Napalm) “hands down, cards on table and ear holes suitably blasted away possibly the best thing either brother has done since Roots” 9.0 KIERAN MITCHELL (Review here)


44. DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT – Finisterre (Season of Mist)… ups the violence and savagery of their previous two, the guitars in particular sharpened to a razor point, but they’ve combined it with a grasp of song writing that normally comes at the expense of power in Extreme Metal – both sides are highlighted 8.0 RICHIE HR (Review here)


43. MEMORIAM – For The Fallen (Nuclear Blast) “With both Benediction and Bolt Thrower taking an indefinite break, the two bands joined forces to help gain some sort of closure, and write some top quality, neck-smashing Death Metal in the process.” 8.0 GARY ALCOCK (Review here)


42. AFI – The Blood Album (Concord) “Overall, AFI’s The Blood Album is an aural trance from start to finish. It’s 47 minutes of movement and colour. If you are a fan of AFI, you’ll love the album instantly. If this is your first brush with AFI, welcome! I know you’ll enjoy this album.” 8.0 VICTORIA ANDERSON (Review here)


41. CRYSTAL FAIRY – Crystal Fairy (Ipecac) “Gobsmacking is the word I’d use to describe Crystal Fairy’s newest…So, there is this grunge element to Crystal Fairy that is melded with New Wave lovingly embraced by psychedelia all with a sprinkle of metal.” 8.5 VICTORIA ANDERSON (Review here)


40. MENZINGERS – After The Party (Epitaph) “The Menzingers definitely shed a little punk rock skin on this record without completely stepping out the element they have evolved into. Prepare to be a re-inspired fan or an avid new listener.” 8.5 ROB SUSMAN (Review here)


39. ACACIA STRAIN – Gravebloom (Rise) “the Massachusetts scene has once again stood tall with The Acacia Strain the group continues to produce stellar albums and still aiming to beat out their previous successes, true to the sound that they are best known for, while also experimenting just a bit more than previously. 8.5 TIM LEDIN (Review here)


38. WHILE SHE SLEEPS – You Are We (Sleeps Brothers) “What happens next, and whether they achieve the commercial recognition three fucking strong albums in a row deserves, is, to some extent, out of their hands, but they could not have played it any better.” 8.5 STEVE TOVEY (Review here)


37. CANNIBAL CORPSE – Red Before Black (Metal Blade) “Another disturbingly barbaric triumph for the band, the song titles may not have the shock value of their early material, but amid the limb-strewn carnage lies a refinement and sophistication that separates Cannibal Corpse from many of their peers.” 9.0 GARY ALCOCK (Review here)


36. DYSCARNATE – With All Their Might (Unique Leader)


35. MORBID ANGEL – Kingdoms Disdained (Silver Lining) “Re-energized and fiercely determined, Kingdoms Disdained is the perfect old school antidote to the electronic and industrial experimentation of Illud…(this) is their best release since 1998’s Formulas Fatal To The Flesh” 8.5 GARY ALCOCK (Review here)


34. DARKEST HOUR – Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora (Southern Lord) “Darkest Hour may just have found their stride again with latest and ninth overall LP, (and) are back and are taking control of their destiny. Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora is a worthy addition to the canon” 8.0 HANSEL LOPEZ (Review here)


33. DANIEL CAVANAGH – Monochrome (Kscope) “Daniel Cavanagh is no stranger to writing powerful music that wears its emotions firmly on its sleeve. Cavanagh is a name you can always rely on, and Monochrome is an essential listen and the aural equivalent to a warm, loving hug.” 8.5 CHRIS TIPPELL (Review here)


32. LIFE OF AGONY – A Place Where There Is No More Pain (Napalm) “For older fans, it will sound as if their previous albums Ugly and Soul Searching Sun (both Roadrunner) had a baby, and this is the result. If Life Of Agony is a new band to you, soak this music in and let it take you over. It’s a hard-rocking, mood ring of a record that should be playing on repeat for a long time.” 9.5 OMAR CORDY (Review here)


31. SEPULTURA – Machine Messiah (Nuclear Blast) “Sepultura have never been interested in living off of previous successes. Respect the past, guitarist Andreas Kisser always stresses, without being bound by it and this album should be the one that finally silences the noisy minority clamouring for a return to days (and line-ups) long gone by.” 8.0 JASON KOROLENKO (Review here)


30. ICED EARTH – Incorruptible (Century Media) “A more cohesive collection of songs than the band’s previous couple of outings, and not as sprawling as either of the Something Wicked concept albums, Incorruptible is quite possibly Iced Earth‘s finest overall effort since The Glorious Burden” 8.5 GARY ALCOCK (Review here)


29. STEVEN WILSON – To The Bone (Caroline) “His loose goal going in was to make a pop-rock album in the vein of lightly prog-flavored favorites of his youth such as Peter Gabriel, Tears For Fears, XTC, and others. He achieved this on To The Bone (Caroline International), without any pretense you might associate with an artist making a choice like this.” 8.0 KEITH CHACHKES (Review here)


28. DEEP PURPLE – InFinite (earMUSIC) “With nearly 50 years on the clock and a currently ongoing tour entitled ‘The Long Goodbye Tour’, it is looking like Deep Purple will finally be calling time on their long and illustrious career… InFinite is a dynamic rock album worthy of praise and every Purple fan’s time.” 8.0 TOM THROWER (Review here)


27. PARADISE LOST – Medusa (Nuclear Blast) “Paradise Lost have aged like a fine wine. Name another band (that isn’t Iron Maiden) releasing material of this quality after three decades and more than a dozen records. Possibly one of the best records of 2017 – and easily the best to come out of the UK.” 8.5 DAN SWINHOE (Review here)


26. FULL OF HELL – Trumpeting Ecstasy (Profound Lore) “t is not very common where an album hits me right in the chest upon first listen. Full of Hell has been able to do just this with their latest release… My only gripe is that I honestly need more than twenty four minutes of ecstasy.” 9.0 TIM LEDIN (Review here)