Seeing as it's the end of the year, I've been doing a ton of last minute listening of new releases that are making it to my Best of 2017 list, trying to figure out who is beating who. So, lots of repeats here of stuff you've seen from me all year, but great listening nonetheless.

  • Sons of Apollo: Psychotic Symphony- this one came out of left field and became one of my favorites of 2017. Top notch progressive metal, catchy as hell and quite heavy.

  • Europe: Walk the Earth- just loving all this late period Europe, this album and the prior War of Kings are just dynamite, classic Deep Purple inspired hard rock.

  • Black Country Communion: BCCIV- classy stuff from one of the premier hard rock supergroups.

  • Wobbler: From Silence to Somewhere- pretty sure this is the prog rock album of the year for me. Just brilliant from start to finish, analog keyboard heaven!

  • Venom: Welcome to Hell/Black Metal/At War With Satan/Possession- been dipping into some classic Venom lately. Not the most polished band ever, but man, some of the most important early extreme metal ever created.

  • Enslaved: E- can these guys do wrong? Nope! More sensational Norwegian progressive black metal from these legends.

  • Orange Peel: Orange Peel- kick ass late '60s German hard rock, psych, prog, which of course is krautrock. Hammond organ galore and some killer guitar playing.

  • Cats in Space: Scarecrow- AOR, prog, pomp, hard rock, and pop heaven here with these guys. Roll Styx, 10cc, Kansas, ELO, Queen, and Supertramp in a blender and out they come!

  • Threshold: Legend of the Shires- awesome 2CD concept album from the always dependable UK prog metal veterans.

  • Simon Phillips: Protocol 4- mind blowing instrumental jazz fusion by a killer band.

  • Communic: Where Echoes Gather- comeback of the year right here folks. Blistering, moody progressive metal at its best!

  • Morbid Angel: Kingdoms Disdained- really strong bounceback from these death metal legends. Heavy & brutal as hell!

  • Styx: The Mission- easily my most played CD of 2017. Just a wonderful throwback to their glory years.

  • Iron Savior: Reforged-Riding on Fire- a great place to start for those unfamiliar with the German power metal veterans. Re-recordings of classics from their first bunch of albums.

  • Savoy Brown: all their '60s & '70s releases- finally, officially, went out and got all their pre-1980 releases. Great British blues rock as only Kim Simmonds and company could produce!

  • The Rolling Stones: Aftermath- a somewhat forgotten classic in my house, easily one of the best from the Brian Jones era.

  • Kadavar: Rough Times- stoner, metal, hard rock, psych, and space rock all rolled into one on this latest effort. I dig it!

  • Jim Ledford: Red Hot Legato- Lion Music debut from a good friend of mine. If you like tasty, melodic guitar instrumentals with great melodies, class, and serious chops, do not miss this one!

  • Dirty Thrills: Heavy Living- very cool new British hard rock band on Frontiers Records. Free-meets-Trapeze-meets-Humble Pie!

  • Bigfoot: Bigfoot-another stellar new, young band on Frontiers. Where do they find them all!

  • Kansas: Leftoverture and Beyond- awesome new live album from the legendary US prog act. Revamped line-up, new music, and, oh year, the 40th anniversary of Leftoverture!

  • King Crimson: Live in Chicago- blistering live set from this recent tour. Unbelievable...and I saw them do it live as well!

  • This article comes from Sea of Tranquility

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