Every year, metalheads spend the months discussing their favorite new releases, engaging in white-knuckle debates about why this album is better than that one. We've all heard the classics a hundred times over and wonder what we'll be heralding as a triumph of heavy metal 20 or 30 years from now. You can't look at the future without focusing on the present day, so here are the nominees for the Best Metal Album of the Year, presented by Razor & Tie, in the 2017 Loudwire Music Awards. (Nominated albums had to be released in the eligibility period of Oct. 22, 2016 through Aug. 1, 2017.)

After eight years, Metallica came through and delivered Hardwired... To Self-Destruct, an album championed for its hard-charging thrashing of old while still keep true to the band's ever-conscious mentality of charting new sonic territory. Not to mention, it's the first metal album in a long time to go platinum!

While Metallica continue their upward ascent, Power Trip have been working on their own with Nightmare Logic, emerging as thrash's most promising sensation. Dive bomb solos, a scathing outlook on our current world and hardcore fueled thrash make for a pit-perfect album.

Mastodon forged ahead with Emperor of Sand, leaving another distinguished footprint in their catalog. Their psych-centric, riff-charged evolution has been fascinating to watch unfold through the years and they broke into new realms ("Show Yourself"), still with a limitless access to their quiver of influences over the years that should satisfy Mastodon fans of any era.

The Stage recharged Avenged Sevenfold's metal sensibilities with a heightened ambition for adventurous arrangements and deep, philosophical insight. It's an album that embodies the absolute need for a start to finish listen, a cornerstone of any great record. Body Count's Bloodlust is equally thought-provoking, combining socially conscious lyrics with punch-exchanging rhythms as Ice-T brings a harrowing dose of reality.

Code Orange's fault-opening Forever tirelessly pursues new depths of heaving heaviness, drilling further down with shrieking pick scrapes and atonal notes. Riffs violently swung from hardcore's arms crash into piles of outside influences along the way, making Forever an absolute highlight of 2017.

Vote up to once per hour for your favorite nominee in the poll below. The voting period ends Oct. 2 at 11:59PM ET. Winners will be announced at the Loudwire Music Awards ceremony taking place Oct. 24 at The Novo in Los Angeles. In addition to revealing the winners, the ceremony will feature performances by AnthraxHalestormBody CountStarsetNothing MorePower Trip and more, while honoring Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford.

Get full details on the Loudwire Music Awards concert and ceremony here and purchase your tickets for the show at this location.

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