A bit of the summer doldrums this month, with a few anticipated albums not living up to expectations. There were still plenty of excellent albums released in August, making compiling our monthly list a bigger challenge than usual. Here are our picks for the best albums released in August of 2017.
1. Pyrrhon – What Passes For Survival (Willowtip)
To say New York avant-garde extremists Pyrrhon push the envelope on their third full-length What Passes For Survival is an understatement. They shove, kick and propel that envelope into orbit.
No matter what kind of chaotic, experimental roads they venture down, they avoid the musical crash and burn. Technical wizardry, constant tempo changes and varied vocals make it a challenging but compelling and rewarding listen. From one minute blasts of extremity like “The Unraveling Part 3: Live From The Fresh Corpse” to the 12 minute closer “Empty Tenement Spirit,” Pyrrhon take the listener on a ride that’s unhinged, unpredictable, unorthodox and unforgettable.
2. Cormorant – Diaspora (War Crime)
Progressive black/death giants Cormorant return with Diaspora, an album that features even less songs than Becomes Astral (four), but clocks in at a massive 61 minutes. The tracks are between 8 and a whopping 26 minutes in length. In the hands of anyone else, this might be self-indulgent, but these Utah vets know a thing or two about sharp songwriting.
Diaspora is an excellent record, with all four songs taking us for thrilling rides. Production is a bit muddy, and the drums sound like they’ve been brickwalled too hard, but the songwriting and performances overcome this. With engaging arrangements, solid vocals, and tight musicianship, Diaspora is an epic record that even detractors of the death/black vocal style can get behind.
3. Void Ritual – Heretical Wisdom (Throats/Tridroid)
Void Ritual is the one-man project of Daniel Jackson, formerly of Ancestral Oath. With debut full length Heretical Wisdom, Jackson plays to the strengths of traditional Nordic-style black metal while injecting a heap of personality into this commendable release.
“The Flood” opens with gentle acoustics until harsh stings puncture the peaceful ambiance, finally going full-throttle into ice blasting drumming and simple yet captivating tremolo riffs. “Dead In Blackest Night” is a no holds old school breathtaker. Unrelenting and crammed with godly fury, it rips by with primal blasting and crashes, allowing a brief reprieve mid way only to come back with more venom. A truly stunning debut lit with the fire of the most grim of metal!
4. Incantation – Profane Nexus (Relapse)
The legendary Pennsylvania death metal band Incantation have returned to their original record label, Relapse, for their latest release. Profane Nexus is their eleventh full-length studio album.
Nearly 30 years into their career, Incantation continue to deliver first rate death metal. From crushing death to mid-tempo groove to deliberate doom, they weave an intricate tapestry of extremity, anchored by the growls of John McEntee. The heaviness is never in doubt, and they also supply a plethora of catchy riffs that contrast the aural devastation. From the one minute blast of “Xipe Totec” to the six minute closer “Ancients Arise,” Incantation put on an impressive display of death metal devastation.
5. Lör – In Forgotten Sleep (Self)
Lör are a veteran prog-power band with some folk influences out of Philadelphia, and In Forgotten Sleep is their self-released debut. Trust me, they won’t be unsigned for long. This album has it all in spades; the perfect mix of prog, heaviness (there’s a bit of harsh vocal work in here) and folk metal.
Songwriting and performances seem effortless here, with short interludes between epic cuts. Whether it’s the folk-influenced “Dusk” or the prog-power of “Eidolon,” Lör play it all with envious skill.
Other 2017 Monthly Best Heavy Metal Albums Lists:
January 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
February 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
March 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
April 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
May 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
June 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums
July 2017 Best Heavy Metal Albums