Welcome to the top 30!
It doesn’t feel like a year since I embarked upon my last end-of-year round-up, but here I am again, bringing you my annual labour of love that is my ‘Album of the Year countdown’. I first started this back in 2012. At that time, I still wrote for Powerplay Magazine and, as such, my time was more limited. And, ironically, I probably listened to less of the music that I really liked, as I was asked to review several releases every year that didn’t really interest me.
Nowadays, I can focus on my website and actively review the stuff that I really like. As I mentioned in my recent ‘honourable mentions’ posts, 2017 has been the busiest year to date for me. I have listened to literally hundreds of albums and, for the very first time, I have published over 100 reviews. Only a small handful of these have been tinged with negativity, because I still believe in spending my time talking about the music that I like and that I believe warrants the attention.
So, when it came to compiling this list, I knew it would be tough. I mean, how can nearly 100 albums fit into 30 spaces? I toyed with increasing the list for 2017 but after asking you, my loyal readers for your feedback, I have decided to stick with 30. The headaches that this has presented have been enormous, but it has been worth the effort.
I have also tried to actively broaden my musical horizons. If you put a gun to my head and asked me what my favourite subgenre of music was, I’d have to answer ‘progressive metal’. If that same gun remained in place and I was asked which subgenres I was less favourable towards, I’d answer ‘anything with ‘core’ in the title, doom and thrash’. However, during 2017, I have tried new things and, in some cases, my opinions have been revised. My final 30 might well reflect this slight shift in opinion…or it might not – I don’t want to give too much away.
As with last year’s list, everything that features in my top 30 has been reviewed on the manofmuchmetal.com website. It means that I can keep this series of posts more streamlined and succinct. You’ll therefore find the album artwork, an embedded track (hopefully different from the one that featured on the review), a quote or two from the review along with a link to it and a few words summing up why I believe the album deserves its place in my list.
If you have missed any of my lists of previous years, links to my countdowns from 2012-2016 inclusive can be found at the bottom of this post.
All that’s left to say, is thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the journey as I count down from 30 to 1 over the next month or so. Who knows, I might even finish this list before Christmas for the first time ever…
Mors Principium Est
Embers of a Dying World
“Embers of a Dying World’ is a title that underlines that Mors Principium Est have a certain way with words but as an album, it builds on their excellent previous record ‘Dawn of the 5th Era’ and truly announces the band as a true heavyweight in the melodic death metal genre. Many might already hold them in this esteem but for me personally, this is the true coming of age of Mors Principium Est. This disc is truly magnificent.
Credit has to go to Mors Principium Est for firstly sticking around in the face of constant personnel turmoil and secondly, for releasing what has to comfortably be their best work to date in ‘Embers Of A Dying World’. For those who enjoy melodic death metal or extreme metal of any kind with a grandiose edge and a polished sheen cannot fail to like this record. For me, it has made a huge impact…”
I must be honest and say that ‘Embers of a Dying World’ was not an automatic choice in my top 30 for 2017. When I was compiling the list, I thought long and hard about whether this disc should get a spot. Whilst I thought, I naturally listened to the record and then I realised that yes, this does ultimately deserve its place.
The reason? There are simply too many great songs on ‘Embers of a Dying World’ for it to not be included. ‘The Ghost’ is a killer track, as is ‘Reclaim The Sun’ and ‘Death Is The Beginning’. I could go on, but suffice to say that the quality extends right through the album, meaning that I am entertained from start to finish. Or should I say ‘Finnish’?! There are riffs galore, strong rhythms, expressive leads, and hooks and melodies aplenty; enough to sate even the most demanding of melodeath fans I reckon.
It is easy to get caught up with hyperbole when faced with a new record to review, particularly if you like it. However, having returned to Mors Principium Est’s sixth album after a short break and with a suitably cleansed critical ear, I stick by my quotes above. The incarnation of the band might be entirely different to when they formed nearly two decades ago but I have no doubt that ‘Embers of a Dying World’ is the best release under the Mors Principuim Est moniker to date.
If you missed either of my 2017 ‘honourable mentions’ posts, here they are should you be interested:
And from previous years: