35 Overlooked Albums of 2017

Several overlooked albums by excellent artists did not appear in Decibel’s Top 40 Albums of the Year list. They will not appear on other lists, either. That’s why they are “overlooked.”

Heavy metal produces a surplus of excellent music which appeals to niche interests, or does not receive wider distribution. This has been true since the ’80s and even before. Every day multiple overlooked-but influential or at least beloved records celebrate an anniversary.

But we award accolades and write history based on group consensus. By “we,” I don’t mean Decibel staff. I mean you and I, other publications and even publications from outside the genre that still feel compelled to cover metal. We, the heavy metal constituency, cannot possibly remember and consider everything. This is more true now than it was in previous decades, thanks to the relative cheapness of modern home recording and the great leveling forces of Bandcamp, YouTube and other services.

As such, for reader consideration I’ve assembled a list of great or noteworthy records released this year by unusual and especially independent or unsigned acts. These are acts which never stood a chance against the popularity of new bands like Converge, or the historical weight of bands like Cannibal Corpse. In assembling the list, I looked for records which seemed to get no oxygen even though some are more well-known than others (hello, Falls of Rauros). Lists like this can offer what Philip K Dick would call a minority report.

Even this list will be incomplete. I am excluding records released by (in my subjective opinion) major metal labels such as Century Media, Nuclear Blast, Metal Blade, Profound Lore, Season of Mist, Prosthetic and more. Like everyone else, I am also shackled by own taste—expect a lot of proggy, gothy and melodic records and, um, zero war metal. Even in those parameters I can only listen to so much new music and remember it in the course of a year. As such, I encourage readers on Facebook or Twitter to leave other recommendations of hyper-niche 2017 records in response.

Thirty Five Overlooked Albums from 2017, in Alphabetical Order

Apostate Viaticum – “Before the Gates of Gomorrah”

Biesy – “Noc lekkich obyczajów

Coldfells – “Coldfells”

Cloven Hoof – “Who Mourns for the Morning Star?”

Crusty Old Toad – “Turn People Into Food”

Dreaming Dead – “Funeral Twilight”

Dvne – “Asheran”

Earthling – “Spinning in the Void”

Evo – “Warfare”

Falls of Rauros – “Vigilence Perennial”

Gutslit – “Amputheatre”

Hallas – “Excerpts From a Future Past”

Inconcessus Lux Lucis – “The Crowning Quietus”

Klabautamann – “Smaragd”

Lock Howl – “Pareidolia”

Locust Leaves – “A Subtler Kind of Light”

Mahakala – “The Second Fall”

Malokarpatan – ““Nordkarpatenland””

OMRÅDE – “Nåde”

Rope Sect – “Personae Ingratae”

Tchornobog – “Tchornobog”

Satans Hallow – “Satan’s Hallow”

Saule – “Saule”

Selcouth – “Heart is the Star of Chaos”

Soror Dolorosa – “Apollo”

Tusmorke – “Bydyra”

Venomous Maximus – “No Warning”

Varmia – “Z Mar Twych”
Venenum – “Trance of Death”

Vinsta – “Vinsta Wiads”

Vulture – “The Guillotine”

White Ward – “Futility Report”

Wode – “Servants of the Countercosmos”

Xanthochroid – “Of Erthe and Axen (Acts I and II)”