2017 will be a year remembered as the year Donald Trump became US President, the year same-sex marriage was enshrined in law in Australia after a bitter, spiteful and completely unnecessary postal vote campaign and when the treatment of refugees by Australia authorities in off-shore ‘ ‘processing facilities’ finally became front page news. It was the year when the exposure of rampant sexual misconduct by power players opened the curtain on an international entertainment industry that is rotten to its very core, the world came almost as close as it’s ever come to nuclear conflict, Britain’s bid for separation from the EU became a struggle just to keep the nation together.

It was also a fantastic year for music. Amid the passing of numerous legends and huge stars – Chuck Berry, Malcolm and George Young, Gregg Allman, Tom Petty, Alan Holdsworth, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington among them – music stood tall once again, and as 2017 comes to an end, we here at LOUD reflect on the moments and monuments in music from the last twelve months. Let’s start with some of the biggest stories in rock music this year:

The Twin Suicides
Soundgarden were on the swing of a resurgence with work about to begin on a new album at the conclusion of touring when Chris Cornell committed suicide in his hotel room straight after a performance in Detroit on May 18. With the world still reeling, a second generation of fans lost their hero with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington took his life in similar circumstances on July 20 – his friend Cornell’s 53rd birthday.

The death of the Riffmaker
Sadly, once his departure from AC/DC due to a struggle with dementia was announced, it was only a matter of time before Malcolm Young was to  succumb to the condition that had laid him low from the band he forged 44 years ago. The man with “the right hand like God” passed away on November 18, just a month after his older brother George.

Black Sabbath bring on The End
February 4 was the very last performance by the band for which the term ‘heavy metal’ could well have been invented. In front of their home crowd in Birmingham, Black Sabbath played the final show of their final ever tour, closing out an incredible 49 year career.

The Decapitated Rape Charges
During their US tour in support of current album Anticult, Polish death metal band Decapitated were arrested in Santa Ana, California on September 9 on charges of rape and kidnapping. All four of the band’s members face a range of charges brought against them for the alleged kidnap and rape of a female fan after a show in Spokane, Washington. Released from prison on December 12, the band’s trial begins on January 16, 2018.

2017 in Pictures


Brian Giffin – Editor:

Paradise Lost Medusa ArtworkParadise LostMedusa
After building up to it for over a decade, the doom pioneers smash it out of the park for the album of the year.

In Contact FRONT 250mm 300dpi V1 SmallCaligula’s Horse – In Contact
Brisbane prog maestro’s fourth album is a masterpiece of multi-layered, cerebral rock.

MastodonMastodon – Emperor of Sand
The grooves of the new and the twists of the old, Mastodon deliver yet again.

Robert Plant Carry Fire 450Robert Plant – Carry Fire
The Golden God takes another stunning journey through yearning and wisdom.

AlicecooperparanormalcoverAlice Cooper – Paranormal
The rock album of the year. Alice is still one of the greatest.

RexcoverRex Brown – Smoke on This…
Rex comes out of the shadows to find his voice with some fantastic rock and groove.

Deep Purple InfiniteDeep Purple – Infinite
50 years on and Deep Purple are still the very best at what they do.

631275Mammoth Mammoth – Mount the Mountain
Melbourne stoner rockers rev it up and rock the fucking house down.

DeadcrossDead Cross – Dead Cross
Mike Patton goes mental with some hardcore buddies on a rollercoaster into chaos.

BC Bloodlust 2017 CoverBody Count – Bloodlust
Ice T and Ernie C return with one of the most savage politically-charged hardcore onslaughts in years.

Kreator Gods Of Violence ArtworkKreator – Gods of Violence
In another bumper year for thrash metal, the German kings unleash a monster.

Sepultura Machine MessiahSepultura – Machine Messiah
Brazil’s metal gods continue to innovate and diversify with one of the best releases of their post-Max period.

The Optimist CoverAnathema – The Optimist
The Liverpudlian quintet at their most shoegaze-y and existential.

CannibalCorpse RedBeforeBlackCannibal Corpse – Red Before Black
The masters deliver another epic gore-ridden death metal at its most extreme.

Contrive Official CovContrive – Slow Dissolve
After a problematic hiatus, Contrive channel their heartbreak into a surprising and diverse metal experience.

Pallbearer Heartless ArtworkPallbearer – Heartless
Pallbearer unfold a slow but catchy volume of new-school melodic doom.

Illimitable DolorIllimitable Dolor – Illimitable Dolor
Sydney doom band produce an epic masterpiece of sorrow.

Memoriam For The Fallen ArtworkMemoriam – For the Fallen
Bolt Thrower is dead – Long Live Memoriam.

KingparrotalbumUPKing Parrot – Ugly Produce
Australia’s kings of grind produce an ugly slab of madness and mayhem.

The Book Of Souls, Live Chapter CoverIron Maiden – The Book of Souls: Live Chapter
The live album of the year from the band who knows how to make them.

Live shows:

Opeth – Opera House, Sydney
Airbourne – Metro Theatre, Sydney
The Tea Party – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Nashville Pussy – Bald Faced Stag Hotel, Sydney
Thrash N’ Grind Fest – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle


TouchstonesTouchstones – Steve Mascord
A rivetting and heartwarming yarn of a man’s quest to find himself through his love of rugby league and heavy rock.

What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
Eminently readable and entertaining autobiography of one of rock’s most fascinating men.

For the Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade – Brian Slagel
Deeply absorbing and fascinating history of one of metal’s best known behind-the-scenes guys and his remarkable legacy.

Working Class Man – Jimmy Barnes
The saga of the country’s most successful solo artist continues in his typical no-holds-barred, frank style.

Bon: The Last Highway – Jesse Fink
Moving and controversial take on the great Bon Scott’s last three years on earth.

Paul Southwell – Contributing Writer:


Anathema – The Optimist
Alter Bridge – Live at the O2 Arena +
Black Star Riders Heavy Fire
Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis
Ayreon – The Source
Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony
Venom Inc. – Avé
Accept – Restless & Live
Glenn Proudfoot – Fire & Rain
Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter
Motörhead – Under Cöver
Arch Enemy – Will to Power
Threshold – Legends of the Shires
The Angels – Brothers, Angels & Demons
Edguy – Monuments
Eric Gales – Middle of the Road
Act of Defiance – Old Scars, New Wounds
Sweet & Lynch – Unified
Caligula’s Horse – In Contact
Supersonic Blues Machine – Californisoul

Live Shows:
Alice Cooper + Ace Frehley
Dream Theater
Glenn Hughes Classic Deep Purple Live
Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress
Kreator + Vader
Steve Hackett
Stairway to Heaven — Led Zeppelin Masters
Richie Kotzen


Xwhat Does This Button Do .jpg.pagespeed.ic.Or3L7nutBtWhat Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
The Angels – Bob Yates
Working Class Man – Jimmy Barnes
Paul Kossoff: All Right Now. The Guitars, The Gear, The Music Play It Loud – Brad Tolinski &  Alan di Perna
Talking Guitar – Jas Obrecht



Daniel Jaramillo – Freelance:


  1. Emperor of Sand – Mastodon

MastodonMastodon returned with another epic concept album, it’s savagely heavy with some cool catchy hooks in the choruses.

  1. ‎in•ter a•li•a – At The Drive-In

Inter AliaA 17 year long wait for a new ATDI album and it’s got the rawness and tenacity of where they left off.

  1.  BCCIV – Black Country Communion

BCCIVGlenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Derek Sherinian and John Bonamassa are as close as you can get to a blues rock supergroup of the 21st century and this album certainly solidifies their status in contemporary rock music.

  1. Made of Breath Only – sleepmakeswaves

SmwmoboSydney’s sleepmakeswaves are an intriguing outfit and have crafted a beautiful and intense instrumental album.

  1. In Contact – Caligula’s Horse

In Contact FRONT 250mm 300dpi V1 SmallProgressive rock sensations Caligula’s Horse are on the ascendency and In Contact demonstrates an evolution and maturity to their compositions and song writing skills.

  1. To the Bone – Steven Wilson

ToTheBone DigitalCover MediumSteven Wilson is an artist who never likes to repeat himself. To the Bone is a bold new direction, it explores an eclectic horizon from indie rock to psychedelic rock and even pure pop in the song ‘Permanating’.

  1. Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage

Prophets Of RageThis is the closest album we will get to a new Rage Against the Machine album. Chuck D and B Real take control in the political rhetoric while Tom Morello churns out the funk metal riffs with Timmy C and Brad Walk bringing their A game.

  1. The Night Siren – Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett The Night Siren CoverHackett at 67 is still very much a music innovator and The Night Siren explores music from Peru, Iceland and Azerbaijan taking the listener for a magical ride.

  1. Fractured – Lunatic Soul

LunaticsoulA deeply reflective and personal album, Mariusz Duda singer and bassist of Riverside has released a solo project that deserves high praise. It’s an album sonically exploring electronic music with prog rock sensibilities.

  1. Ecca Vandal – Ecca Vandal

EccavandalA rising star from Melbourne, Ecca Vandal is a punk rock prodigy fusing all the music she grew up with including hip-hop, metal and electronic beats. It’s a hybrid debut album delivering the future.



Dan Southall – Reviewer:

I am not big on lists simply because my taste in music is so wide and varied from hour to hour that nailing down a list worthy contenders would be different by the time I am finished organising it, instead I am throwing down a short list of albums that in my opinion you should have heard by now this year.

In Contact FRONT 250mm 300dpi V1 SmallCaligula’s Horse – In Contact

For my money the best modern Prog band getting around right now. Big call? Disagree? Check it out for yourself.

KingparrotalbumUPKing Parrot – Ugly Produce

Another Australian band at the top of their game right here, right now. Essential listening.

ObituaryObituary – Obituary

It’s Obituary, that’s why.

Memoriam For The Fallen ArtworkMemoriam – For the Fallen

The nearest we are ever going to get to Bolt Thrower again, and it is close enough for me.

657555The Haunted – Strength in Numbers

Marco Aro’s hardcore vocals and lyrics on top of a modern thrash beast.

Rancid – Trouble Maker

Rancid Trouble MakerI have always been a sucker for whatever version of punk you call this band, another slab of great musical storytelling.

68 Twopartsviper’68 – Two Parts Viper

I have followed Josh Scogin’s career closely for a long time, and that might lead to a touch of personal bias, but this is the most experimental he has been on record and it works.

Sepultura Machine MessiahSepultura – Machine Messiah

Another band that really found a great footing early in the year. If you aren’t a fan of the Derrick Era yet you are really missing out.

PrintToe To Toe – Rise Up

Genuine Aussie Hardcore, ‘nuff said.

AlicecooperparanormalcoverAlice Cooper – Paranormal

Because Alice Cooper is an originator within music and this album is brilliant.

There is plenty more I could mention such as Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’ Modern Ruin, or Dying Fetus’ Wrong One To Fuck With amongst a list of great heavy music released for this year. All I can suggest is you take the advice given by my fellow contributors here at LOUD! And stay heavy.


The top five in our popularly-voted poll for Favourite Australian Album of 2017 are:

5. ETERNAL REST: A Death in the Darkness
4. HOLLOW WORLD: Examinate
3. KAERULEAN: Metempsychosis
2. EVOCATUS: Mortem in Deos

There was 908 votes spread between more than 100 albums. The spread between the #1 and #5 nominees was only 8.1%.