Some years it is harder than others to pick your top 5 albums. This is not one of those years, picking my top 5 was trivial. T his is in no particular order though, as ranking among them is very difficult for me.
Verite - Somewhere in Between
I'm going to start this off with the one non-metal album on this list. In my estimation Verite has never written a bad song, and this trend definitely continues here. There were quite a few pretty solid pop albums to come out in 2017, but none of them can compete with Somewhere in Between. Favorite track is definitely "Better".
Leprous - Malina
Every one of the last three Leprous albums have made my top list at the end of year, and this trend continues. I will admit that Bilateral is still my favorite, the evolutions they made over the years with Coal and Congregation were interesting. One thing I think both Coal and Congregation lacked was focus. The songs lacked the tightness Bilateral brought to the table. They got a little pretentious, and not in, that so hard to pull off, good way. Malina is where they have fixed all of this. This is the evolution of the sound that Leprous was always meant to create. They have forged a path down the progressive trail, but this time with zero steps backwards. This is easily the best Leprous album since BIlateral and I can't wait to see what comes next.
Caligula's Horse - In Contact
I discovered Caligula's Horse about a year after Bloom came out, and what an incredible album that is. I'll be blunt, I don't like In Contact as much as I like Bloom. Bloom is a heavier album, though still not particularly heavy, while In Contact is more thoughtful in its approach. It is also very easily the "happiest" album on this list. This is a feel good brand of prog and I love it for that.
Soen - Lykaia
Soen started out when they released Cognitive as a Tool sound-alike. They did a great job replicating the sound of tool, you could tell they were masters of their craft. We also hadn't gotten a new Tool album in years so I didn't mind. I didn't fall in love with Soen till they released their followup Tellurian. With Tellurian, Soen blew the doors off that reputation and put out the greatest Prog Metal record of 2014, I still listen to it on a regular basis. I thought for sure they wouldn't be able to top that, which I will say they didn't, but what they did was match their previous effort, while still evolving their sound. Lykaia is a slow burn, it doesn't give away all of its secrets on its first listen. I fell in love with Lykaia over the course of a few weeks as my sub-conscious could digest the songs in its own time.
Archspire - Relentless Mutation
I love love love when a band blows me away. Archspire did this with Relentless Mutation. Their previous effort, The Lucid Collective, was a solid technical death metal album, but something about the production and tone put me off, it just didn't check all of the boxes for me. I could tell the talent was there, but for me the song writing wasn't up to snuff. With Relentless Mutation Archspire have made a 180. The sound of this record is perfect to a "T" for tech-death. I haven't loved a tech-death album this much since Kronos put out Arisen New Era in 2015. This is a barn burner of a record and if you like technical death metal, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
The last entry on this list is not one of my favorites, rather it is the most disappointing album of the year for me.
Origin - Unparalleled Universe
It pains me to say this since I like many of Origin's albums a great deal. Ever since I got into them when Antithesis came out, till they released what is arguably their best record in 2014, Omnipresent, they have been one of the best technical death metal bands out there. This album finds them lost though. They returned to form with a dynamic master, which all of their albums had till Omnipresent, which was awesome, but sadly the song writing suffers. This is a band that has lost its way, writing music for the sake of playing as quickly as they could. This isn't to say there are no good songs on the cd, they just cant compare to the best they have released. I hope the next album they release can stand up the greatness of their catalog and release some of the tightest and most musical tech-death in the industry like I know they are capable of.