Here are the albums that made the most impact on Donnie, musically speaking, this year.

10 – Akercocke – Renaissance In Extremis The UK’s premier Death Metal progressors refine their sound whilst keeping their trademark spit and venom intact to produce what is arguably their finest record to date.

09 – Ulver – The Assassination Of Julius Caesar I admit it, I was pulled in by the album title, being a classical scholar what else would you expect, but the multi-layered minimalism on display that can easily escape the ears on first listen demands repeated outings to explore the full extent of the talent on show.

08 – Europe – Walk The Earth Of all the those1980’s MTV friendly rock bands none have stood the test of time better or produced better albums this deep into their career than Sweden’s finest export.  Whilst many bands continue to live on past glories these rockers continue to forge a new path made of nothing but solid rock eactime they enter the studio.  They also happen to be superior in the live environment also.

07 – Roger Waters – Is This The Life We Really Want? Former Pink Floyd founder and bassist is as lyrically cutting and as angry, although not without humour,  as ever on his latest solo release which includes the lines “Picture a shithouse with no fucking drains, picture a leader with no fucking brains”.  Say no more.

06 – Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright! Only one year on from their last brilliant album, and seemingly always on tour, the 40 year veterans put all new bands to shame with another superb record.  “Long Time Coming” is the best rock track of the year and the quality throughout never dips.  They even found time to release a Christmas album as well.

05 – Gary Numan – Savage (Songs From A Broken World) The creator of dystopian musical masterpieces is at it again on his latest release.  Packed full of stand alone musical visions that work collectively as well as individually is just one reason why he is revered amongst his fanbase.

04 – Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand If there is another band in the world that deserves to be headlining festivals the world over more than the Mastodon then I would like to hear them.  Over the past decade they have proved themselves to be the most consistent and creative band in modern metal. Emperor of Sand is no exception.

03 – Alice Cooper – Paranormal A brilliant and somewhat majestic return to recorded form for the king of shock rock.  From the catchy as fuck “Paranoiac Personality” to the street trash of “Rats” the album is nothing but a triumphant reminder of how brilliant and influential the man is. About to reach his 70th birthday in early 2018 it’s not known how much more we will get of new music from Cooper but if this proves to be his last album it couldn’t have been done much better.

02 – Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars This album, the band’s third, was ear-marked by yours truly as a stonewall album of the year frontrunner from the moment it was announced and sure enough it did not disappoint.  Led by the powerful General Maurizio Iacono these Canadian death metallers with more than a penchant for Ancient Rome strikes a chord or sword into the heart or skull of every metaller.

And the winner is…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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01 – Me And That Man – Songs Of Love And Death Nergal, the chief musical terrorizer of all things holy takes a break from the magnificent Behemoth to join forces with his mate John Porter to delve even deeper into the darkness. Nergal comes across as part Nick Cave, Part ;latter day Johnny Cash and all engrossing and he regales the listener with tales from the dark side.  In many ways it is lyrically darker and heavier than some of Behemoth’s output proving that it’s not how loud he shares his thoughts, it’s how he does so and the intelligence and conviction of those beliefs.