As the curtain starts being drawn shut on 2017 we give you our top ten albums of the year alongside some mini reviews of records we may have missed along the way. Thanks to everyone for continuing to check out the site and here's to more riffs and chaos in 2018! Keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of days as we also launch our massive 2018 preview! Words below from Nick Spooner.

1) Code Orange - Forever



When Forever landed in our inbox back at the start of January, many, including some of us at R13, felt that any debate surrounding the album of the year competition had virtually become moot. Even so, at that point it would have been a stretch for us to envisage, nearly twelve months on, that we'd be talking about Code Orange causing Rolling Stone to salivate all over themselves whilst they get displayed on advertisements in Times Square. Taking a savage hardcore blueprint seasoned with Nine Inch Nails-inspired electronics to create an unsettling and virtually unrelenting listen, Code Orange have reformatted the way in which this type of music must now be created. The fact that the mainstream has come to Code Orange without the band demonstrating one iota of compromise is also a hopeful sign for the future of heavy music. This is what hegemony looks like.

2) Power Trip - Nightmare Logic

Essentially a Frankenstein's monster of everything that makes heavy music great, Power Trip produced a thrilling crossover thrash record in ; one chock full of catchy riffing, quotables and enough headbanging moments to warrant a once over from your GP upon completion. The songwriting on Nightmare Logic is a massive improvement from Manifest Decimation, whilst the production on this record is nothing short of a complete delight. Such is the undeniable quality of this magnificent album that Power Trip have witnessed a huge spike in their stock in 2017, supporting Napalm Death on a UK tour and also playing the Loudwire award ceremony. On top of all of this, Executioner's Tax... has a massive claim to be track of the year. What a band.

3) Malevolence - Self Supremacy

If you've ever wondered what a hybrid of Hatebreed, Crowbar, Lamb Of God and facets of modern beatdown hardcore would sound like, then put down your map and compass, your search is complete. A phenomenally accomplished and confident follow-up to 2013's Reign of Suffering, Self Supremacy is the sound of a band moving up several gears. Everything on Self Supremacy has been flicked to turbo: the guitar work is exceptional (Low Life houses the contender for riff of the year), the rhythm section is nothing short of pummelling, there are mosh calls galore and breathtakingly heavy beatdowns that threaten to do lasting damage to the Earth's crust. That Self Supremacy does it all whilst remaining a whole load of fun at the same time marks Malevolence out for even higher praise.


4) Converge - The Dusk In Us

There is a reason Converge are held in such unparalleled regard by those that adore them: it is because they are one of the most consistent and reliable bands ever committed to tape. That being the case, there was never any doubt that The Dusk In Us was going to be anything less than brilliant, and so it proved. The frenetic attack of Kholler and Ballou, backed by the rumbling Newton and the always-impassioned Bannon, demonstrate across 13 tracks why they are the masters. Tracks such as Arkhipov Calm, I Can Tell You... and Cannibals all exhibit the classic Converge ferocity, whilst the title track and Thousands Of Miles Between Us are slow, gloomy numbers based upon Bannon's melodic vocals and pretty sparse musical canvasses. However, it is on sludgier cuts like album closer Reptilian, Murk & Marrow and the exceptional Trigger where this record truly sets itself apart. In a career constructed out of nothing but highlights, The Dusk In Us is right up there towards the top.


5) The Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers

Melodic death metal titans The Black Dahlia Murder managed to top their own lofty achievements this year with the magnificent Nightbringers. Where previous two slight stumbles Abysmal and Everblack both had their moments, neither were as wildly exciting, entirely captivating nor relentless fun as Nightbringers. Across nine blood-spattered stories of mayhem and devastation, Nightbringers roars along, fizzing with life thanks to some of the best death metal riffing of the year and some blistering solos, especially on Jars and Matriarch. Another great record from another old faithful.


6) Employed To Serve - In The Warmth Of A Dying Sun



Employed To Serve's step up from the fantastic Greyer Than You Remember to the exceptional In The Warmth Of A Dying Sun is pretty astonishing. Where Greyer... tended to favour mathier hardcore and frenetic musical passages, In The Warmth... batters the listener with a mid-tempo and powerful affair, though still dabbling in those thrilling jagged riffs, and showcasing more advanced songwriting abilities than their debut. The fact that vocalist Justine Jones has been heavily featured across some major publications, as well as their snorter of a set at Lenmania, shows how many huge strides this band have made, and marks them out as one of Britain's best and brightest hopes for the future.


7) Dyscarnate - With All Their Might

Plumping for groove over relentless blasting on their astounding third album, Sussex bruisers Dyscarnate came charging back into the metal consciousness this year with their best record to date. Sounding like Behemoth, Gojira and occasionally Meshuggah, With All Their Might wallops and crushes all before it, with truly memorable riffing and a rhythm section that work perfectly in tandem. Without a single duff moment, and remaining nothing short of electrifying, With All Their Might is a wonderful achievement and is a must for anyone who enjoys incessant headbanging. Dyscarnate deserve your attention.


8) Mastodon - Emperor Of Sand

We must be careful not to take Mastodon for granted. One of the best bands in the history of guitar music, Mastodon tossed out yet another worldy this year in Emperor Of Sand; a notch or two up in terms of heaviness from their last few outings, but at the same time one packed with more emotional and metaphorical weight than ever. At times sounding like a cross between Blood Mountain and Crack The Skye (though never quite reaching the lofty heights of those two masterpieces) and featuring another stellar vocal performance from drummer/superman Brann Dailor, Emperor Of Sand is the band's best album since Crack The Skye and is packed with the kind supremely accomplished songwriting that we've come to expect.


9) While She Sleeps - You Are We

Comfortably the best metalcore outfit around today, While She Sleeps are another band on this list that released their best album to date in 2017. You Are We takes the Sleeps format and improves upon it repeatedly, creating an album with a number of the greatest songs they've ever put their name to. Whilst in places the band have dialed back the heaviness slightly, the results speak for themselves with an album steeped in huge choruses and practically built upon ear worms. Feel and Settle Down Society will be in the Sleeps live set from now until they hang up their spurs, and You Are We as a whole proves that While She Sleeps simply don't write bad tracks.


10) Get The Shot - Infinite Punishment

This Canadian metallic hardcore band's third record is far better than it really has any right to be. What Infinite Punishment lacks in terms of breaking new ground, it more than makes up for in terms of the number of amphetamine-fuelled boots to the head. Across 12 tracks of thrash worship, addictive gang vocals and formidable breakdowns, Get The Shot have produced a record that is so much fun it's impossible to get to the end without sticking it back on again. What really marks Get The Shot out from others of a similar ilk is a lead vocal performance that is pushed up a number of registers, giving the band an interesting take on vocal interplay and overall musical approach. It also helps to have absolute ragers like Hellbringer and Blackened Sun in your arsenal.


Best of the rest!

With an operation as small as ours we unfortunately struggle to cover all the records that find their way in to our inbox across the year, and considering just how strong a year this has been it's been all the more painful to not have had the chance to post full reviews of all records around release. Before you pull out the world's smallest violin from your back pocket, we've identified a handful of records that came out this year which have been firm favourites here at Room Thirteen and sit nicely with those listed above! Words below from Tom Donno.

The King Is Blind - We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer



When The King Is Blind released their debut Our Father in 2016 it hit the heavy music scene with such a guttural blow of astonishing power the band ended up cementing their name in to the brain for all patrons of the riff. The question therefore inevitably became centred around what they'd be able to deliver by way of a follow up, and well lets just say they certainly haven't disappointed. The King Is Blind have shown clear signs that they've been able to utilise the base they'd laid out for themselves by producing a record which has more focus, a heightened level of raw aggression and a clear development as a unit. Tracks like GodFrost (Plague: Invidia) will require listening somewhere spacious as it has the capability of making you want to fling yourself through the nearest object. Steve Tovey has got to be one of the most underrated vocalists in the scene at the moment, his style being such a key component behind The King Is Blind sounding so consistently brutal and raw. Similarly, following the release of this record, it does feel like the band as a whole are somewhat underrated, as their touring schedule continues to grow and they're exposed to more people this will almost certainly change. Great album. (11/13)


In Search Of Sun - Virgin Funk Mother

In Search Of Sun are a band we've been following for a long, long, time here at Room Thirteen. From their days releasing EPs when they were known as Driven right up until now, their continual rise in popularity has been a genuine joy to witness. The band's previous record blended an array of different styles together as they grew more confident with exploring their more melodic style. If the title of this album hasn't already clearly indicated, the band have built on their previous output to create a record which hits you with swathes of melody and funk whilst still maintaining that heavier undercurrent. They truly are going from strength to strength at the moment and we're excited to see what this album and subsequent touring cycle is going to do for them. (10/13)


Jamie Lenman - Devolver

In one of the real surprise packages of the year, Jamie Lenman's Devolver has rightfully slammed it's way in to many of the 'ole end of year lists for 2017 and for good reason. Throughout Lenman's solo stint it has felt all a bit understated and largely forgettable, but with Devolver there's absolutely no chance of saying the same. He's thrown everything in to this with a level of bombast he's perhaps been missing for a while. Add to the fact that around the release he hosted his very own festival at Tufnell Park's Dome this has been quite the year for Lenman. (11/13)


Cannibal Corpse - Red Before Black

It's somewhat difficult to really convey just how important Cannibal Corpse are for the entire generation of extreme metal that followed their inception nearly thirty years ago. The fact that we are even sitting here talking about their 14th studio album after such a long career and it's as good as it is only emphasises how much of a staple they still are. Perhaps the most impressive thing really is just how relentless they still are - this is brutal, heavy, imposing and delightfully ferocious throughout. This is Cannibal Corpse being Cannibal Corpse and still being really good at it. (10/13)


So there we have it, another spectacular year in heavy music! We cannot wait to see what 2018 brings and look forward to you joining us along the way whether we're arm in arm in the fields of Donington or getting rowdy at The Underworld together, it's set to be a big one.