We'll be honest: Rolling Stone is not the first resource we turn to for consistent coverage of the metal music scene. Nevertheless, the act of being recognized by Rolling Stone is a massive accomplishment for musicians in any genre, and if you're making heavy music, it has to be all the more outstanding for a renowned publication like Rolling Stone to choose your album as one of the best of the year. To that end, we send our huge congratulations to the ESP players in Obituary, Paradise Lost, Pallbearer, Mastodon, and the band behind the magazine's #1 metal album of 2017, Code Orange.
About their top choice, Code Orange's Forever, RS writes, "The most riveting moments belong to guitarist Reba Meyers, who provides eerie melodic vocal turns on "Bleeding in the Blur" and "Dream2" in between the other tracks' beatdowns." Here at ESP, we have an even bigger appreciation for Reba's precise and powerfully dissonant guitar playing, as she uses her LTD Viper-1000 as her main axe on both atmospheric ambience and brutally tight hardcore rhythms. Congrats to Reba and the whole band!
We already knew that Mastodon's Emperor of Sand would have to be on the RS list (it came in at #4). It was one of the most successful albums of the year spanning multiple genres, and guitarist Bill Kelliher turned to both of his ESP Signature Series guitars -- the ESP Bill Kelliher Eclipse (also available as the LTD BK-600) and the LTD Sparrowhawk -- in the creation of the album and the subsequent tour.
Coming in at #6 on the 2017 RS Metal Album list is Heartless by Arkansas-based metal band Pallbearer, which features ESP player Devin Holt. Rolling Stone says, "The overall effect is a beautiful melancholia: Guitars ring and chime and snake around one another, voices overlap in pristine harmony, arrangements ebb and flow and eventually swell to gargantuan proportions." We say, "Hell yeah they do!" You can read our recent interview with Devin here, where we discuss his seven-string baritone LTD AW-7B, among other things.
We were especially happy to see that RS gave respect to Paradise Lost's album Medusa, listed at #12 on their list. Paradise Lost features ESP player Aaron Aedy, and they've been a hugely influential (if somewhat under-appreciated by the mainstream) metal band since their formation in 1988, and the album is excellent. We had a nice chat with Aaron when he joined the ESP roster in 2015... read it here.
Last but never, ever least in any way, hearty hails go out to our Florida-based ESP-playing buddies in Obituary, Ken Andrews and Terry Butler. Their album Obituary hit the list at #14. As RS points out, "It takes either audacity or stupidity to release a self-titled album 30 years into your career. Luckily, Obituary have the guts (and the lyrics about guts) to pull it off." You'll see Kenny most often with his ESP M-II, while Terry pounds the low end with an ESP Stream bass. Check out the interview we did with both of them here.
Check out the entire Rolling Stone "20 Best Metal Albums of 2017" list here.