The Best Death Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2017

Infrared Horizon is crawling with unusual textures and inventive twists of the sort that, once upon a time, only Gorguts had mastered. To Artificial Brain, technical death metal isn't a clipped, hollow mess of lightning scales whipped at the listener for the sake of showing off; this brand of technical death metal is about exploring unorthodox song structures, following a creative vision, plumbing the depths of the death metal genre. Infrared Horizon turns complex music back into art - but it's still heavier than a bulldozer, so don't go getting too fancy on us.

Benighted once again did what they do best: awesome face-ripping, brain-melting, mosh-inducing brutal death metal. And while they've been upping the grind side of their ultraviolence, they still retain that sick and psychopathic twisted edge that makes them so memorable. Enjoy the violence!

While still retaining some of their tech death elements, Decapitated show us that the only cult they're part of is the cult of Dimebag. The band's deepest foray into groove thrash, Anticult is short and sweet and filled with head-banging riffs and crisp hooks. Guaranteed to start a mosh pit in your living room.


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Where other bands would use a single chord, Dying Fetus uses an entire scale smashed into a half-second. Where other bands would tighten up the space with a drum fill, Dying Fetus crams an entire master class on how to break the sound barrier with a bass pedal. Where other bands would use a simple death growl, Dying Fetus spews out some kind of ulcerous retching that almost equates to human vocalization. Dying Fetus has been riding tech death pretty hard over the last few years, and Wrong One To Fuck With is another product of that effort. If you had any thoughts of doubting Dying Fetus's dedication... well, it's in the title.
By mere coincidence, the three great classic bands from the New York area released their new albums in 2017. The other two "-tions" didn't make any waves in the metal community. Incantation was at least good, but Suffocation was a severe disappointment. I'm glad to say that Immolation are still going very strong. Atonement is what the fans hoped for, bearing all the trademarks of Immolation's well-established, unique style, but at same time sounding fresh and inspired. The album is also a lesson in how a death metal record should be produced. A lesson that another cult act hasn't learned...

This band has definitely hit the ground running with this powerful debut, a maelstrom of thunderous death metal, a delicious black metal underpinning, and... clean vocals? Yes, one of the most distinguishing features of Succumb is the vocal talent that is Cheri Musrasrik, belting out soaring wails that sound more akin to some sort of dark occult rock style than death metal. This certainly isn't the only feature that makes Succumb's debut refreshingly original either, as the blend of death and black metal combined with a pleasantly diverse tempo approach also helps to make it quite unique. Unusual and probably not for everybody, but undoubtedly one of 2017's strongest debuts.


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Hailing from Portugal, The Ominous Circle is another "newcomer" to the death metal scene, though their debut, Appalling Ascension, brings much more to the table. Appaling Ascension offers a straight-forward relentless attack, with a penetrating mixture of death metal elements all over. Searing, shredding guitars, striking, tumultuous drums, and uncompromising brutal growls. The main force lies in a compact, dark, noisy sound and, for sure, the diversity in structure that differs from track to track gradually. Strongly recommended, with a guarantee of success.

Despite the tongue-twisting German name, this death metal cult hails from Chile. Unaussprechlichen Kulten have practiced their eldritch rites since the early 2000s and their fourth album, released by the brilliant Iron Bonehead label, will put them on the map on a more international, non-euclidean scale. Their cavernous death metal sound with unnerving and strange lead guitars confuses and hypnotizes the listener. At times slow and even captivating with its twisted melodies... But it's only a set-up for the inevitable vortex that will drag you to some of the most violent and blasphemous metal made this year.

Fear Those Who Fear Him completes Vallenfyre's trilogy of albums and, following Greg Mackintosh's recent interviews, it may also be their last. Old-school death metal fused with plenty of grind, crust experimentation, and gorgeous death/doom treats make up twelve tracks full of doom, gloom, and bleakness. If this ends up being Vallenfyre's swan song, we couldn't have asked for a better send-off.

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Trance Of Death easily would have made the cut just on the basis of the of the ripping riffs and top-notch death metal. You know, before breaking the chains of formulaic DM and including all sorts of evocative interludes and sections, the kind perhaps more fitting in some bastard black-meets-prog metal outfit. The end result is a stunning album that towers over 2017's worthy and inferior DM releases both.


Write-in votes

Abyssphere - На пути к Забвени
Aether Realm - Tarot
Akercocke - Renaissance In Extremis
Archpire - Relentless Mutation
Archspire - Relentless Mutation
Azarath - In Extremis
Belphegor - Totenritual
Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers
Blasphemer - Blasphemer
Blood Feast - The Future State Of Wicked
Broken Hope - Mutilated and Assimilated
Cannibal Corpse - Red Before Black
Coma Cluster Void - Thoughts From A Stone
Craven Idol - The Shackles Of Mammon
Cytotoxin - Gammageddon
Cytotoxin - Gammagedon
Deivos - Endemic Divine
Delusional Parasitosis / Ecchymosis / Dissevered / Bleeding - Scaphism 4-Way Split
Disbelief - The Symbol of Death
Dying Fetus - Wrong One To Fuck With
Dyscarnate - With All Their Might
Entrails - World Inferno
Evocation - The Shadow Archetype
Excommunion - Thronosis
Execration - Return to the Void
Exhumed - Death Revenge
Extremity - Extremely Fucking Dead
Firespawn - The Reprobate
Future - HNDRXX
God Dethroned - The World Ablaze
Gorephilia - Severed Monolith
Hypnos - The Whitecrow
Igorrr - Savage Sinusoid
Incantation - Profane Nexus
Infected Dead - Archaic Malevolence
King - Fleshgod Apacalips
Maat - Monuments Will Enslave
Memoriam - For The Fallen
Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdain
Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained
Necrot - Blood Offerings
Obituary - Obituary
Phrenelith - Desolate Endscape
Pyrrhon - What Passes For Survival
Rings of Saturn - Ultu Ulla
Septic Flesh - Codex Omega
Septicflesh - Codex Omega
Shadow of Intent - Reclaimer
Suffering Hour - Ascension
Suffocation - ...Of The Dark Light
Tchornobog - Tchornobog
Tehom - The Merciless Light
Temple Of Void - Lords of Death
The Faceless - In Becoming A Ghost
Torture Squad - Far Beyond Existence
Ulsect - Ulsect
Undergang - Misantropologi
Undergang - Misantropologl