The Best Alternative Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2017

Adimiron were great when they worshiped Gojira, but now it seems the band is content to live in no one's shadow but its own. Striking out for a new sound, Adimiron have maintained their grasp on groove, but have built up a dirtier, grungier, and more progressive approach. Et Liber Eris focuses a little more on atmosphere and melody and at the same time still packs power to pummel like Timelapse before it.

This is the sound of Anna Murphy, Ivo Henzi, and Merlin Sutter, the sound of strong pop melodies complicated by dark neofolk transgressions. While the punishing Gothenburg-style backdrop hasn't followed the trio from Eluveitie, the eerie, primordial murk most certainly has; when Anna Murphy's mesmerizing vocals intertwine with the thick, inventive riffs, the result is equally challenging and inviting. This is a powerful and intriguing album that may elude description and comparison but heralds Cellar Darling as a band to watch for in the coming years.
Refusing to dwell too much within a single sound, Chelsea Wolfe reinvents herself for her sixth opus, diving headfirst into doom-ish sounds by pushing up front the thick walls of guitar distortion while maintaining her enchanting gothic voice and not fully disposing of the industrial and folkish elements of her past work. Hiss Spun is a blend of impending doom and murky sweetness.

One of the least expected curve balls of 2017 was thrown by the mysterious Belgians from Emptiness. Eliminating almost all the black and death metal influences from their previous and well-regarded albums, the band choose to focus on mood and ambiance. You will find yourself dancing to the charming dissonance as elements of post-punk, darkwave, and industrial dominate this bizarre yet still disturbingly dark dance floor.


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12 years after Broken Valley, A Place Where There's No More Pain muscles back into form with chunky, grungy riffs and a heavy groove reminiscent of '90s alt-metal forefathers - but not the generic, edgy rock radio product that a lot of bands in this style degenerate into. Life Of Agony's songs have real momentum behind them, and the band's knack for memorable songwriting proves not to have vanished in the long years since its last effort. These tunes have a tough side and a vulnerable side that combine for an album unique among these nominees.
Mariusz Duda of Riverside fame produces his most intimate album yet, a reflection on personal tragedy. Beautifully layered with a rich, lush sound. Blending in many more electronic elements to the already atmospheric sounds he has been working with. Mellow and melancholic.

From the opener, "Vanishing People," to the album's closer, "The Truth Is Out There," the self-released debut of Poland's Setheist blends a solid dose of crunchy alternative riffs, dramatic arrangements, and a production that demands your attention and never lets it go. Blending angsty melodies with pensive moments, vocalist Maxi's lyrics ask us to question everything around us in songs like "Swines," while drummer Tomasz offers a direct, thrilling backline to songs like "The Greatest Story Ever Told." From a pulpit of tight, polished alternative metal, They commands we look around at everyone, until we realize just how many of us see the world through empty eyes.

Soen are like Port wine: they get better with age. This Lykaia wine is made up of particularly good Toolian and Opethian grapes here and there but their personal touch is more refined at every new tasting. Infectious riffs have been fermenting and are unleashed in quick succession with layered vocals supported by sophisticated musicianship. The final product is a very tasty, high-quality glass of metal with a distinct flavor.

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The sophomore effort of the Tau Cross collective relies on Rob Miller's passionate and characteristic voice and Michel Langevin's post-punk drums. Dark riffs and crust elements dominate Pillar Of Fire, which draws influences from Killing Joke, Motörhead and Joy Division, providing a consistent, slow-burning, and acidic sound. "Killing The King" is bound to be on repeat in your playlist for a long time.

French parody act/cover band/general vendors of merriment Ultra Vomit are filling a void nobody ever thought would exist. Whether you were looking for Looney Tunes grindcore, unexpectedly uplifting gospel AC/DC, or a disgustingly catchy ode to takoyaki sung in stentorian weeaboo Japanese, Panzer Surprise is your one-stop shop for stuff that makes people say, "Why the hell would anybody ever do that?" Why you were looking for that stuff, we don't really feel like asking, but it's true that Ultra Vomit have mastered the style parody; even if you don't get the joke, these songs are ineffably fun.


Write-in votes

Ørdøg - Sötétanyag
Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns
Art of Anarchy - The Madness
Big | Brave - Ardor
Daniel Cavanagh - Monochrome
Eastern High - Garden Of Heathens
Gwar - Blood of Gods
Igorrr - Savage Sinusoid
In This Moment - Ritual
Leprous - Malina
Mastodon - Emperor Of Sand
Migos - Culture
Motionless In White - Graveyard Shift
Mutoid Man - War Moans
O.R.k. - Soul of an Octopus
Prophets Of Rage - Prophets Of Rage
Pyogenesis - A Kingdom To Disappear
Sepultura - Machine Messiah
Soen - Lykaia
Stone Sour - Hydrograd
Trivium - The Sin And The Sentence
Vulture Industries - Stranger Times