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50 Best of 2016

From Norwegian Pop to Dad Thrash
Title

Skylar Grey, Sleigh Bells, Metallica, Aurora, and Devin Townsend.

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2016 was a pretty good year for music. Admittedly, there was nothing that I would call a classic or game changer, but there was a huge influx of albums I would still refer to as excellent or outstanding. It wasn’t just the great albums that made 2016 special, it was also the bands that released them. We had albums from Korn, Metallica, Testament, and Anthrax that were some of their best in years (if not decades). We also had a lot of cool re-issues this year. Circle of Dust remastered and re-released their entire discography, including the Argyle Park side project. These weren’t just cash grabs either. These were totally remastered and released with one or more extra discs of unreleased and rare material. We also had remastered albums from Mother Love Bone and Temple of the Dog. The other one I can remember is the remastered version of Remedy Lane (only their best release).

Anyway, this list is my Top 50 albums of the year. This was a painstaking process as I took my ratings and bumped them against the average Sputnik rating while also checking them against the overall Metacritic value (where applicable) to confirm that my opinion was indeed correct. From there I would assign a number to each album based on how original it was and where it stood within a band’s discography and the genre it comes from because an album can’t be featured on a end-of-year list if it’s not absolutely the shit in the majority of people’s minds. At that point I entered all of that into a specialized Excel sheet that would quantify and stratify in order to find every mean, median, and mode that each album fell into. Only then could I be certain that my opinion was objectively (and subjectively, because why not?) correct. Unfortunately, all of that data was lost when the bullshit started oozing from underneath my keyboard.

So, if you’re still reading, this is the list of stuff that I enjoyed the most in 2016. I don’t care what the general consensus on any of these albums is. It doesn’t matter where the album falls in a band’s discography or within a genre. I definitely don’t care how original it was. I only care if I enjoyed it and continued listening to it.

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Title 50-41

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50. Alcest – Kodama50 Alcest

Post Black Metal // Prophecy Productions // Album Review

Kodoma exhibits much of what made its predecessors so enjoyable and wraps the nuances together with a little something new. The end result is an album that evokes nostalgia and invokes inspiration. — Xenorazr

Alcest’s previous release, Shelter, dove straight in to the mellow atmospheric parts of post rock and Anathema worship. Kodama feels like a direct reaction to that release. It is grittier and noisier and features a return of the black metal vocals (in addition to the clean singing). The production, too, is more raw than its predecessor. If Kodama has an Achilles Heel it is that it lacks the focus of the previous release. There are too many times during this album where it feels like the songs just kind of meander around without much direction or differentiation.

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49. Epica – The Holographic Universe
49 Epica

Symphonic Metal // Nuclear Blast // Album Review

Maximalist bullshit like their past four albums. It is bombastic for the sake of it with little good songwriting to back it up and awful pseudo-intellectual lyrics. This album is so over the top that I can’t even take it seriously. — AngryChristian

The above soundoff isn’t exactly wrong. What will ultimately decide whether you like The Holographic Principle is whether or not you like over-the-top bombast or not. Personally, I’m kind of a fan of lack-of-substance bombast… it’s a guilty pleasure. Besides, Epica are easily the best of the symphonic metal bunch. They aren’t cheesy (very often), they know how to play their instruments (in symphonic metal that’s actually an issue), their songs are pretty damn riffy, they have great death growls and female vocals… and Simone Simons is hot.

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48. Helstar – Vampiro
48 Helstar

Technical Thrash // EMP Label Group // Album Review

A successful sequel to Helstar’s magnum opus “Nosferatu”. — The NoTrap

Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of their 80s and 90s output, including their ‘classic’ Nosferatu. The vocals were kind of annoying, the productions were questionable at best, and they just weren’t my thing. Starting with their reformation in 2008, though, they started to catch my attention. Their music became more aggressive, riff-oriented, and dark. Also, the vocals improved (although they’re still the weak link). Vampiro is simply a continuation of their previous 2000s releases, and it is pretty damn good.

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47. Imminent Sonic Destruction – Triumphia
46 Imminent Sonic Destruction

Modern Progressive Metal // Luxor Records

Huge improvement over the last album. Everything sounds a lot better. Lake of Fire and Something in the Way are great tracks. Nice blend of genres and the Devin influence is very nice. — Recreate

Imminent Sonic Destruction’s debut came from out of nowhere. It was an excellent blend of traditional prog and Devin Townsend, but with a tendency to break into dirty, riffy, sections that kept the songs from ever overstaying their welcomes. Triumphia improves on their traditional prog influences and makes use of the Devin Townsend sound in a much less blatant way, but they lost the unpredictable heavy sections which is what really set this album apart. Triumphia is a great album, but is just a little too safe.

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46. Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
45 Oceans of Slumber

Doom/Progressive/Atmospheric // Century Media // Album Review

The sideshow metalcore and death metal antics are mostly ignorable here and, with any distempered luck, will be dropped for the next full-length. Thankfully, the female-fronted clean leads more than make up the progressive metal balance. These are, without a semblance of a shadow of an enigma of a doubt, the most salient feminine musings I’ve ever heard — leycec

Oceans of Slumber’s female vocalist, Cammie Gilbert, carries this band. Of that, there is no doubt. Musically, the band blend death/black metal, doom, post metal, and even a bit of prog. The music can literally go from morose doom to high-tempo death/black metal without any warning, which is also a double edged sword. Oceans of Slumber’s music lacks just the slightest bit of direction and focus, and the songs themselves never get a chance to truly build. Having said that, there are definitely some really good songs on here, but they leave a little potential on the floor. I see good things for this band.

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45. Todtgelichter – Rooms
44 Todtgelichter

Black Metal/Progressive // Supreme Chaos Records

If the lack of ratings, soundoffs, and reviews are anything to go by, Todtgelichter is a tough band to get into. It’s not really surprising, though. They take the cold, abrasive sound of black metal (including the throat-shredding vocals) and push it through a morose form of progressive rock. The female singing, too, is tough to get into because her vocals occupy a semi-nassally niche that lacks emotion in order to maintain the dark, cold, atmosphere that dominates the album. The thing is, though, it’s all worth it. Buried behind that ‘price of admission’ are great progressive rock songs with a very unique sound.

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44. Sleigh Bells – Jessica Rabbit
43 Sleigh Bells

Indie Pop/Noise Rock // Omnian Music Group // Album Review

Bad noise music and bad pop music. Fails in both categories. — FlipTrackz

That soundoff pretty much sums up any criticism I’ve seen of this album. In fact, the only soundoffs currently on this site are negative. I have to disagree, though. I think it’s good noise music and good pop music. I can see where the criticism comes from, though. This album definitely doesn’t try to blend the genres as well as the previous releases, and even within individual tracks there is a disjointed feel. I like it. I think it’s an enduring quirk that sets this album apart from its predecessors. At the end of the day, Jessica Rabbit is an album that makes the melodies, noise, and abrasive structures all more prominent without making any effort at integration; this leaves them battling for top billing. You’ll either love or hate the struggle.

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43. Toothgrinder – Nocturnal Masquerade
42 Toothgrinder

Progressive/Hardcore/Metalcore // Spinefarm Records // Album Review

Album is great and very diverse! Has lots of progressive and hardcore elements and is catchy as hell! This is not a perfect album but it is very good and worth a listen! — VanFullOfSpooks

Nocturnal Masquerade has kind of a djent, tech metal, metalcore sound. It definitely sits more on the tech/prog side of things, though. Initially,  Nocturnal Masquerade took a lot of listens to really click. There are a lot of twitchy rhythms, break-neck tangents, and abrasive shouts that just didn’t click on the first two listens. The smattering of catchy choruses and memorable melodic moments kept me coming back, though, and eventually everything fell into place. Just be prepared to give it a handful of listens.

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42. Dark Tranquillity – Atoma
41 Dark Tranquillity

Melodic Death Metal // Century Media Records // Album Review

DT with spacey vibes.. I really liked forward momentum and atoma, quite melodic. — thegreywind

In case you didn’t know, Dark Tranquillity lost one of their main songwriters during the writing of this album. If you didn’t know, it becomes fairly obvious after listening to Atoma. Atoma is basically Construct without any of the cool melodic layering, hooks or diversity. Basically, it’s a stripped down version of Construct. Don’t get me wrong, there are still cool melodies, growls and clean singing… but something is just a little off. Losing Martin Henriksson definitely left a huge hole in Dark Tranquillity’s sound, but despite its shortcomings, Atoma is still pretty great.

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41. Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
40 Katatonia

Atmospheric Progressive Metal // Peaceville Records // Album Review

In the case of The Fall Of Hearts, it takes the progressive leanings of Dead End Kings even further than before, and continues to make use of crisp melodies, moody atmosphere, and solemn, if a bit monotonous, vocals. — Alabaster Jones

Katatonia finally went and did it. Ever since the huge transition that took place between Tonight’s Decision and Viva Emptiness, Katatonia have been threatening to just take their music to its atmospheric progressive metal conclusion. They first attempted this on Dead End Kings, but they failed. This time they get it right. The problem with Dead End Kings was that it sacrificed the catchy nature of the previous three releases in order to be ‘progressive’. This time, they push the progressive side even further, but they also return the memorable hooks and melodies to their rightful place.

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40. Defecto – Excluded
39 Defecto

Thrash/Progressive/80s Rock // Prime Records

This is one album that definitely flew under the radar, and would probably have a tough time appealing to a large demographic anyway. Defecto takes Kamelot’s version of power/progressive metal and blends it with a Practice What You Preach era Testament sound, but pushes the whole thing through a Kings-X/Galactic Cowboys filter. The order of the day is huge, riffy, proggy songs with blazing solos and in-your-face infectious choruses. The vocalist even reminds me of 80s-era Chuck Billy (Testament) with maybe a bit more melody in places. There’s even some death metal vocals in places to accentuate various sections. Approach with an open mind because the array of genres means that there’s something to put off just about anybody if you let it.

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39. Heaven Shall Burn – Wanderer
38 Heaven Shall Burn

Melodic Death Metal // Century Media Records

Alternative titles: Wanderer (Veto Part II) Wanderer (Iconoclast Part IV) Wanderer (Another HSB album – but this time with that one song with female vox and a great Sodom cover) — Malcontent

I don’t think anyone has even accused Heaven Shall Burn of being original. They started out stealing the sound of Carcass’ Heartwork and mixing it with the modern Gothenburg melodic death metal sound. Eventually they had a large enough discography (one or two albums) to begin ripping themselves off and here we are. Wanderer is maybe a little more aggressive and riffy than they’ve been in awhile, but it’s basically another cookie-cutter Heaven Shall Burn release. They should be capable of more, but this is still pretty good.

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38. Dawn Of Ashes – Theophany
37 Dawn of Ashes

Industrial/Black Metal // Metropolis Records

Industrial black metal is almost always a train wreck. It’s either the sound of a black metal band with their first drum machine or an industrial band with terrible keyboard parts and even worse vocals. Dawn of Ashes have always been able to avoid those pitfalls, and they’re even better on Theophany. Dawn of Ashes seamlessly meld industrial beats with metallic influence, death/black vocals, electronics, and symphonic portions into a cold, black metal inspired sound that should have been what Samael morphed into after Passage. Excellent industrial groove combined with relentless double bass, powerful vocals, and heavy synth/riff combos.

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37. Angela Martyr – The November Harvest
47 Angela Martyr

Grunge/Shoegaze/Metal // Avantgarde Music

This is one tough album to crack. The entire 47-minute duration feels like one droning, lethargic trip. During that runtime is an album comprised of a blend of atmospheric doom, grunge, and even shoegaze. The vocals are fairly two-dimensional while still providing just the slightest bit of melody. The beats are all programed which gives The November Harvest a unique feel. So, what’s the draw? After repeated listens everything just starts to click and you’ll find yourself wanting to come back. The November Harvest is definitely one of those albums that works better as a whole and with repeated listens. Definitely worth the time and repetition.

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36. In The Woods… – Pure
36 In the Woods…

Black Metal/Progressive Metal // Thrill Jockey

The greatest band in the motherfucking universe is back.. life can be great in times like these. — Spag

One of the new breed of dark, mellow progressive rock bands. This is the only album I’ve heard from In The Woods so I can’t be sure, but it definitely sounds like they probably started out as some sort of doom/black metal band. It’s obvious in the riffs that pop up under the progressive elements. It’s clear in the monotone vocal melodies, and subtle growls; and the doom/black metal influence is all over the atmosphere of the songs. So, while it’s not quite as accomplished as some of the other bands that have made the transition, it somehow ends ups just a little bit better because there’s still a dark undercurrent in the keyboard melodies, vocals, and riffs.

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35. Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion
35 Serpentine Dominion

Death Metal/Metalcore // Metal Blade Records // Album Review

The shorter song lengths definitely help keep George’s rather one-dimensional delivery from becoming stale or ever overstaying its welcome. The shorter lengths also help keep songs energetic and moving–something from which melodic death metal especially benefits. This is short and to the point, full of riffs, and no filler. — zaruyache

The collaboration between Killswitch Engage’s guitar player, Cannibal Corpse’s vocalist and ex-The Black Dahlia’s drummer. So what does it sound like? The heaviest fucking Killswitch Engage album ever. There’s definitely a prominent death metal influence, but with Killswitch’s guitarist composing all the songs and their vocalist writing all the vocals, it can’t help but sound like a crushingly heavy Killswitch album; complete with more than the occasional clean vocal. As the soundoff above stated, the songs definitely benefit from their brevity with only one even breaking the four minute mark. This makes for what is essentially, short bursts of highly aggressive melodic death metal.

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34. Psalm Zero – Stranger to Violence
34 Psalm Zero

Post Punk/Goth/Industrial // Profound Lore

I think this is really good. — DDconjoined

With a persuasive soundoff like that, I don’t even know else there is to say… but I’ll do my best. The main draw of this album is its unique feel. It has a sound that kind of borders on Bauhaus-style goth and New Model Army-style post punk, but with a melodic undercurrent courtesy of some electro-industrial influences. The vocalist sits in that deep, emotive style you’d expect from the genre descriptions but he is surprisingly still able to deliver some pretty memorable vocal melodies (and even uses the occasional hoarse shout in places). The music, too, is almost instantly memorable and pretty damn entertaining. Stranger to Violence‘s sound definitely comes out of left field, but is well worth the effort.

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33. Necromancing The Stone – Jewel of the Vile
33 Necromancing the Stone

Power Metal/Traditional Metal // Metal Blade Records

As far as bands partially inspired by Michael Douglas action-vehicles go, this is p good — David Mackowiak

In case it wasn’t obvious from the cover, band name, and album name… this is totally cheesy power/traditional metal. Despite what should be a laughably terrible output, the band manages to deliver a pretty damn good album. The reason Jewel of the Vile avoids burning in its own terrible cheese is that there is a prominent occult/black metal sound that really sets it apart and makes it a pretty great release. This is accentuated by some cool guitar solos and a solid percussive backing. The vocalist, too, avoids the high-pitched pitfalls of many of his peers by sticking to a slightly lower register accentuated by occasional death growls, but in the end he is still a power metal vocalist; for better or worse.

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32. ANNISOKAY – Devil May Care
32 ANNISOKAY

Metalcore // Long Branch Records

These guys have such a solid sound, and their songwriting drastically improved. Powerful screams, powerful cleans, and solid guitar work drive the album from front to back. — SteakByrnes

There really isn’t much to say about this album besides the fact that it really is just solid metalcore. The screams/growls are powerful. The clean singing is good and catchy. The music is really well done with a metalcore-meets-djent feel that also features just a little bit keyboard ambience around the edges. Each one of the band’s albums have incrementally improved upon its predecessor and Devil May Care is no different. There’s no out-of-left-field changes, no unique elements, no drastic improvements, but there’s also nothing wrong with that.

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31. Winterfylleth – The Dark Hereafter
31 Winterfylleth

Black Metal/Folk // Spinefarm Records // Album Review

…Winterfylleth’s newest output isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s fairly decent–crappy Ulver cover aside. It’s solid-ish epic/folk/black metal; it’s just not amazing, and there’s not enough original material to make it as good as previous outputs. — zaruyache

First, I have to say I enjoyed the Ulver cover. Yes, it’s completely faithful to the original but I really liked the original so it was a nice surprise the first time I heard it here. Much like the band’s decision to do a no-frills cover song, though, the rest of the album is basically a no-frills approach to their folky black metal sound. I appreciate that direction, because when these folk-inspired bands start really laying on the cheese, I lose interest quick. These guys are still basically melodic black metal with a folk influence that accentuates instead of ruins the songs. The Dark Hereafter is another great release from these melodic/folk black metallers. The fact that they end with an Ulver cover just seals the deal.

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30. Thank You Scientist – Stranger Heads Prevail
30 Thank You Scientist

Progressive/Alternative/Jazz // Evil Ink // Album Review

The whole album truly sounds like it’s coming from the heads of mad scientists, which appears to fit a story the album is telling that I’ve yet to fully piece together. If there was a downside, it’s that there isn’t a radio-friendly song in sight… because so many tracks here change wildly overtime, and they can be up to 9 minutes long. — VirtualBlaze

Alt Prog with jazz influences, to include all kinds of brass instrumentation. As should be expected with that kind of description, the price of admission is pretty high. I expect that there are just as many people that hate this as like it. To me, it kind of remind me of Coheed and Cambria meets Art By Numbers meets Fair to Midland. Yes, you have to be in the right mood for this or the horns and nasally vocals will drive you crazy, but when the mood is right, Stranger Heads Prevail is excellent and definitely delivers a unique listening experience.

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29. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
29 Ulcerate

Technical Death Metal // Relapse Records // Album Review

If you don’t mind listening to “Everything Is Fire” v.1.4 then you’re going to enjoy another slab of atmospheric death metal from the best in the game. — Xenophanes

That soundoff basically sums up my opinion of the album. With Shrine of Paralysis, Ulcerate serve up another batch of dark, chaotic, technical death metal. I’m sure there are subtle differences that people ultra-familiar with the band’s discography can point out, but I’m not one of those people. I hear basically the same chaos, tones, riffs, and growls I’ve heard on every other one of their albums. Before it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not. This is still really good, but if it wasn’t for the subtle differences in production, I wouldn’t have any clue what album any Ulcerate song came from… and since we’re being honest, even the different productions wouldn’t really help.

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28. Crystal Castles – Amnesty (I)
28 Crystal Castles

Electronic/Indie Pop // Casablanca // Album Review

I’m not a Crystal Castles fan. I’ve never thought they sucked, but they’ve never really kept my attention either. From what I can remember, their previous albums were just a little too noisy for me (or I could be remembering completely wrong). Either way, this one is very atmospheric and warm with some great melodies, creative beats, and an excellent use of samples and occasional vocals. There’s still the prerequisite noise that I vaguely remember from their previous releases, but it seems more well done this time around.

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27. Departe – Failure, Subside
27 Departe

Black Metal/Post Metal // Season Of Mist

Zhrine meets Ulcerate meets DsO. Pretty straightforward, but damn good stuff. Easily one of my favourite albums this year. gg, tasmania — ramon

Failure, Subside was a tough album to appreciate. There’s just so many parts where there isn’t really anything ‘happening’ if you’re just passively listening. That passively listening ruined this for me the first few times. If you were to focus your attention on nothing but the music, though, you’d hear that the great use of atmospheric noise coupled with excellent riffs and melodies that slowly end up building towards a chaotic crescendo full of throat-shredding growls and relentless double bass. You’d figure out that each song kind of takes you on a journey through different movements that almost require those more subtle moments so that you’re not just beat over the head for 50 minutes. Going back and forth between atmospheric post metal and chaotic Ulcerate-inspired technical death metal, this is one hell of an album.

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26. Skylar Grey – Natural Causes
26 Skylar Grey

Pop // Interscope Records

There’s no Sputnik reviews (or even soundoffs) for a mainstream pop album. That isn’t really surprising. It is a shame, though, because Natural Causes really seems to have more in common with trip hop or electro pop than it does any faceless mass-produced top 40 pop album. I know there’s a (small?) audience for that kind of music here, and I don’t know if they’ve bothered with this… but they should. There’s definitely an electro-ambient feel to Natural Causes that is way less pop and much more down-tempo electro that almost borders on trip hop.

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25. Deftones – Gore
25 Deftones

Alternative/Metal // Reprise Records // Album Review

ahhhh, new Deftones and people calling each other virgins. feels like middle school all over again :’) — Hellscythe

I’m not sure why every new Deftones release brings so much negativity. It could have something to do with their loose attachment to the nu metal movement, even though that has been null and void since the release of their sophomore album. More likely, it’s all the kids that used to like the band that have ‘grown up’, and now have to prove to everyone that they’re too mature for a band like this. Kind of like when you see an ex that you really used to like and you have to immediately start talking shit to prove that you’re over her… but you’re fucking not. Get over it. Deftones are still the same Deftones that you used to love, but unlike your ex, they’re still willing to take you back.

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24. Anciients – Voice of the Void
24 Anciients

Progressive Metal/Post Metal // Season of Mist

Mastoolopeth!! Anciients is definitely a band to keep an eye on in the future. A lot of potential here. — Fractal

Anciients is another one of those bands that kind of hovers in obscurity because they don’t fit comfortably in any one genre. There’s some traditional progressive metal elements, some modern prog, some Opeth-inspired death metal, some down-tempo post metal stuff, and even bits of black metal. This is definitely a heavier album than debut release, Heart of Oak. As such, if there’s one negative to Voice of the Void it’s that it isn’t nearly as memorable as their debut. This one requires much more active listening and a familiarity with the songs before they really start to grow on you. Either way, Anciients are doing great things.

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23. Thrice – To Be Everywhere…
23 Thrice

Alternative // Vagrant Records // Album Review

Thrice have done something really special here by coming back from a hiatus to deliver possibly their best musical album to date. They kept talking about their equipment and search for a great guitar tone in interviews, and it’s easy to see what they’re talking about. They absolutely nail it there. — TheSupernatural

I haven’t really been a fan of Thrice since Vheissu back in 2005, and the last album of theirs that I totally enjoyed was Artist in the Ambulance in 2003. Around the time of The Alchemy Index their ambition and desire to move on from their roots just totally lost me. Based on the hype, they were definitely onto something, but I had missed the boat. Of course, they’ll never go back to their roots or even the hybrid-sound that was Vheissu, but at least To Be Everywhere is better than the Alchemy albums or anything that came after them. At this point, Thrice have settled comfortably into a chill, adult-oriented alternative rock that isn’t exactly ground breaking, but they’re doing it really well.

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22. Ladyhawke – Wild Things
22 Ladyhawke

Electronic/Indie Pop // Polyvinyl Records

I’m not really familiar with her earlier albums, but apparently this is the weakest in the bunch. I’m kind of skeptical about that because this is really good. Wild Things is a catchy, lush, electro-pop release that is huge on hooks. The cool thing is that the album isn’t just a slave to almighty chorus. It’s obvious from the well done electronics that back every song that this wasn’t just some cookie cutter pop release. On the other hand, if that’s your thing, the hooks will more than keep you coming back.

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21. Evergrey – The Storm Within
21 Evergrey

Progressive Metal // AFM Records

Wasn’t crazy about the album initially (and a little disappointed to be honest), but the more I listen my opinion changes for the better. Love that they added in more keyboards and there are concurrent themes throughout the album and that it feels like 1 complete piece rather than a random collection of songs… — KJ Swantko

At its core, The Storm Within is just another typical traditional progressive metal release that shares plenty with song-oriented bands such as Queensryche and Fates Warning. There’s the obviously excellent musicianship, powerful choruses, classy solos, and soaring vocals that make up any good progressive metal album, but there’s also a bit more. The Storm Within takes most of the good parts of traditional prog and mixes them with a subtle djent/modern prog edge. Admittedly, I don’t really keep up with Evergrey, but I’m pretty sure the modern elements are new for them. Whether or not they are, the band pulls off their sound really well.

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20. Madder Mortem – Red in Tooth and Claw
20 Madder Mortem

Progressive Metal // Karisma

Would benefit greatly from a reduction in the number of slow, ballad-esque tracks, but it’s still an entertaining prog metal record with interesting and varied female vocals. — David Mackowiak

I’ve never been a huge fan of Madder Mortem. It has been years since the last time I checked out one of their albums, but I remember not really liking them… although I can’t recall why. I also didn’t know that it had been nearly seven years since the release of their last album. Is this a comeback album or do they just subscribe to Metallica’s album release schedule? Again, I don’t know. What I do know is that despite whatever shortcomings they used to have, they got it right on Red in Tooth and Claw. Madder Mortem’s defining characteristic is the powerful (and forceful) female vocals of Agnete M. Kirkevaag that buck convention by eschewing the operatic vocals the metal genre is known for. Instead she simply busts out the melodies. Red in Tooth and Claw is a moody, riffy, dark progressive metal album with a powerful female vocalist.

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19. Caliban – Gravity
Caliban

Metalcore // Century Media Records // Album Review

Definitely superior to their last album, the riffs are thunderous and the guest appearances add some nice diversity to the vocals, although the lyrics can be quite lackluster at times. — cloakanddagger

I’ve always had a soft spot for Caliban’s music despite the fact there’s nothing extraordinary about them. The most unique thing about Caliban is their excellent use of electronics in order to create some awesome melodic elements within the chugging. They’re also really good at churning out memorable choruses even if they sometimes get in the way of the overall pace of the song. Other than that, the best thing that could be said about Gravity is that it is another step above their previous releases with some cool vocal variety and a flawless representation of the metalcore genre. Gravity made an excellent addition to my gym playlist.

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18. Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct
18 Metallica

Thrash/Metal // Blackened Recordings // Album Review

I am really enjoying this. I feel like a teenager again hearing new Metallica music that isn’t mediocre. I’d give this a higher rating if Lars Ulrich wasn’t the worst Metal drummer of all time. The drumming is too generic and better fills would elevate the sludgy/doom feel on some of these tracks. Luckily, the rest of the band carries the performance very well and James sounds better than he has in about 15-20 years. — Malconstant

Throughout Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’s extended runtime, it becomes pretty clear that this is the sound the band is comfortable with. With few exceptions, that sound seems to be one that uses the riffs and song structure blueprint of Justice, the crunch and tempo of the black album, and the hooks and songwriting from Load. To be honest, that mix works pretty well and leads to Metallica’s best release since the early 90s. There’s no attempt to recapture their classic sound, no blatant radio single, and not even an attempt at performing more than what they’re comfortable with. If you’ve followed Metallica beyond the black album, you’ll find a very good, honest, release in Hardwired… To Self-Destruct.

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17. Source – Return to Nothing
17 Source

Modern Progressive Metal // Pavement Music

Really enjoyed this album. The bass is what really stood out to me, along with the mix of tool style. Can’t wait to hear whats to come. — cryovive

This band was one of those surprises you can find when you use the ‘recommended’ section of one of those streaming services. It should be noted that despite the quality of their music, they definitely don’t have an original sound at this point. Source are kind of a mix of Tool/Soen and Rapid Eye Movement-era Riverside… but mostly Tool and Soen. There are even moments where I can hear classic Opeth in the melodies and riffs. Despite the blatant influences, Return to Nothing is a really great album that features a pretty cool rhythm section. Also, this album is definitely one of those growers. Let it grow, and hopefully they’ll pull out something a little more original next time.

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16. Eternal Deformity – No Way Out
16 Eternal Deformity

Black Metal/Progressive // Temple of Torturous

The Eternal Deformity that I’m used to is that of the Beauty of Chaos/Frozen Circus era. A band known for classic Depeche Mode covers and quirky progressive black metal. I’d imagine, though, that Eternal Deformity’s earliest material was more of a pure black metal style. If I’m right, then I’d be able to call No Way Out a ‘back-to-roots’ album because it is definitely way more black metal than weird prog. It still has it’s share of clean singing and keyboard melodies, but they’re more along the lines of what you could expect from a normal black metal release. It also has much more of a riffy thrash influence than their previous two releases. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of melodic progressive elements, but they’re not prominent and definitely not strange. The two best songs are easily the two 10-minute tracks. Overall, No Way Out is still a really good release, it’s just a different sound for this band.

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15. Aurora – All My Demons Greeting Me…
15 Aurora

Indie Pop/Electronic // Glassnote // Album Review

Now this is the kind of indie pop that I really like. It’s chill and kind of quirky with a female vocalist, memorable melodies and a strong electronic influence. The lyrical topics  range from your strange acid trip inspired songs such as ‘Running With the Wolves’ to more serious topics such as the first person narrative about receiving assisted suicide. If you watch her videos, it is kind of clear that maybe she’s trying a little too hard to be strange or whatever, but the album is pretty awesome, so she gets a pass. Similar to stuff like Kerli, Bjork, Florence + The Machine, Ladytron, etc.

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14. Mechina – Progenitor
14 Mechina

Industrial/Symphonic Death Metal // Independent // Album Review

This is by far the best sounding, catchiest, and most mature Mechina record yet. I am blown away by how good this is. Besides Empyrean, I only liked a few songs from each of their other albums. Most of their songs seemed to blend together without much variety, but not on this record. — Darkwatch025

Mechina are basically a one trick pony. They do an ultra-melodic, symphonic industrial-death metal thing, and they do it really well. Also, they’re kind of lucky in the fact that there’s not really anyone else out there doing exactly what they do. The problem from my point of view is there really isn’t much else to say. They’ve definitely improved their little formula with every new release to the point that that Progenitor is actually excellent. They’ve improved and diversified their symphonic elements and they’ve augmented the two-dimensional death vocals with an increased use of female vocals which finally helps to (almost) differentiate the songs. Mechina may be a one-trick pony, but it’s a trick that they’ve totally mastered.

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13. Anthrax – For All Kings
13 Anthrax

Thrash/Metal // Megaforce Records // Album Review

For All Kings is not as thrashy as 80s Anthrax, but it demonstrates that 29 years since Among the Living they are still one of the best. With this album, they continue to be one of the (if not the) most fun and upbeat thrash metal bands around. — marf1300

In all honesty, For All Kings is great, but it is definitely front-loaded. It could have used a few more thrashers down the line to really push it to the next level, but it is still the best thing they’ve done since Persistence of Time. During For All Kings’ runtime, there are classic, nostalgia-laced moments mixed with an embrace of modern metal, wrapped in some of the band’s strongest songwriting. It’s an album that can riff its way into your head, but it’s going to stay there because of the excellent choruses. Like a cross between Persistance of Time and Worship Music. Riffy and relentless like PoT, but catchy and song-oriented like Worship Muisc. Definitely the best they’ve done since PoT.

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12. Korn – The Serenity Of Suffering
12 Korn

Nu Metal // Roadrunner Records // Album Review

It builds off Paradigm Shift in beefier more substantial fashion. Tighter instrumentals and better written songs focusing on their older signature sound from issues/untouchables/take a look in the mirror era. Jon Davis has not lost one bit of his passionate vocal versatility. They are definitely back to their roots with this one. — tresm87

If your stance on Korn is one born of cynicism, then there’s probably nothing the band could do to win you over. Jonathan still wears his angsty feelings on his sleeve, and the core Korn sound is still very much present, but it is being done better than it has in nearly fifteen years. It seems the band have taken stock of their 20+ year career and selected the parts that would best work for them today and combined them with some newer ideas and fresh sounds. The result, to me, sounds like a natural evolution from their best release, Untouchables, with stronger songwriting and a significant increase in aggression. The Serenity of Suffering is easily Korn’s most diverse release; featuring melody, aggression, new sounds and old staples in just about equal measures wrapped into some of the band’s strongest songs in years.

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11. Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
11 Architects

Atmospheric Metalcore // Epitaph Records // Album Review

No Architects release as of yet had wowed me on first listen, but this did. It isn’t necessarily that the album doesn’t have its flaws – like most other Architects albums, it suffers from sounding a bit too similar throughout. The atmospherics and vocals blend in a way that make many tracks sound similar to one another. But that doesn’t change the fact that they sound awesome… — MegaResurrectedJake4

I’m going to be honest. When I first heard All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, I wasn’t too impressed. It was basically melodic semi-progressive keyboard-driven metalcore. I appreciated the cool use of keyboards, but most of the songs kind of blended together due to similar vocal melodies on every song. What initially kept me coming back at all was the song “Gone With the Wind”. That was the song where all of Architects’ musical pieces came together perfectly, and I kept coming back to it. It never compelled me to bother with the rest of the songs, though. That incentive came with the death of their guitar player and primary songwriter, Tom Searle. People were talking about the songs on this album being tied to his battle with cancer, and it got me curious. After a few listens, the subtle differences really started presenting themselves and eventually I was sold on the entire album. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of similarities between the songs, but additional listens should reveal each song’s unique features.

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Title 10-1

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10. Flotsam And Jetsam – Flotsam And Jetsam
10 Flotsam and Jetsam

Thrash/Metal // AFM Records // Album Review

Excluding The Cold, Flotsam and Jetsam erase 20 years of mediocrity, with an album firmly rooted in ’80s thrash and classic metal (no wonder why they are still warmly heralded in old school metal lairs such as Greece, namely their 2015 live concert in Athens). The current line-up shreds instrumentally, whereas Erik AK’s vocals are still distinguishable from a light year away. Album could have been a true rival to the band’s classic stuff, should its sound was livelier, more raw. — Voivod

With the constant personnel rotations, it’s always a bit of a surprise when it comes to a new Flotsam and Jetsam release. Sometimes it’s a good surprise and sometimes it’s a little bit of a disappointment. Flotsam and Jetsam’s new self-titled release is definitely a good surprise. It brings back the 80s thrash vibe in a way that even the band’s No Place for Disgrace re-recording couldn’t pull off, and it blends it with the modern moody aggression of The Cold. This blend easily places it in the top 5 of Flotsam and Jetsam’s discography, led by the standout track ‘Verge of Tragedy’. If Ugly Noise made it seem like Flotsam and Jetsam were kind of going through the motions and lacking direction, their self-titled release with returning member Michael Spencer and fresh blood Jason Bittner completely make up for it while proving that sometimes a little member churn can be a good thing.

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9. Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
09 Insomnium

Melodic Death Metal // Century Media Records // Album Review

Despite failing to dethrone “Vessels” as the best album of the year within the genre, “Winter’s Gate” is certainly one of the best 2016 releases. The overall atmosphere and interesting songwriting always manage to captivate the listener throughout the entire album. A must-have for any melodic death metal fan. — The Notrap

It seems there are two camps when it comes to Insomnium. There are the fans that think their best times started with the debut and stopped with Above the Weeping World. They appreciate the dark, emotive, side of the band. The other group is more into the albums that started with Across the Dark. They appreciate the more aggressive approach Insomnium started using on that release. Of course, the people that are mostly into this album fall into the latter fanbase, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something here for both side. This is the pinnacle of Insomnium’s sound. The best of their melodic death metal sound mixed with progressive tendencies, acoustic guitars, and even a few black metal-ish moments. The clean singing, too, finally works for the band in a way it never has in the past. Not a single wasted moment in the entire 40 minutes.

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8. Votum – :Ktonik:
08 Votum

Atmospheric Progressive Metal // Inner Wound Recordings // Album Review

Brooding and atmospheric, Votum make some interesting shifts on the bizarrely titled :KTONIK:, slipping through post and progressive elements in a way that easily calls to fans of recent Katatonia albums.  — Xenorazr

Maybe it started earlier, but I started to notice a new breed of dark, atmospheric progressive metal bands around the time Porcupine Tree started making a name for themselves. It wasn’t long after that when bands like Riverside starting getting bigger and bands like Katatonia started moving in that direction too. Votum is another one of those bands, but they actually do it even better. Their darker parts are more moody, their heavier parts are heavier, and their vocalist is much more expressive. On top of that, the songs themselves are just better. They’re catchier and more interesting. Just check out the opening track to hear what I am talking about. This is like a cross between Dead End Kings-era Katatonia blended with Rapid Eye Movement-era Riverside, but heavier and more entertaining than either one of those.

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7. Redemption – The Art of Loss
07 Redemption

Progressive Metal // Metal Blade Records // Album Review

I feel like this is to Redemption as Blackwater Park is to Opeth; competently made and solid progressive music that serves as a comfortable reference point for the band. — Xenorazr

Someone once said that Redemption does what Dream Theater seems incapable of doing. They can write classy progressive metal tracks that are full of heavy riffs and technically proficient solos while still keeping their focus on the actual songs. Redemption also has a vocalist that is a benefit to the band, and on The Art of Loss all of those things have come together to create another excellent album. The fact that they somehow managed to pull a myriad of awesome guest musicians, including Chris Poland, onto the recording only goes to show how much this band is respected. The Art of Loss is an album that had plenty going against it, but instead of calling it a day, Redemption has endured once again. The Art of Lossmaintains the heavy riffs and driving rhythms of This Mortal Coil, but returns the focus to the classy progressive metal that defined the band’s earlier albums. If The Art of Loss isn’t considered Redemption’s best album, it’s damn near close.

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6. Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake
06 Testament

Thrash // Nuclear Blast Records // Album Review

Definitely more varied than their more recent work… ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ finds Testament assembling concepts and song structures from all across their discography, while pushing out some new aspects as well. Good to see the death metal passages return as well. — David Mackowiak

Apparently this album was a rushed pain in the ass to write; you couldn’t tell by listening to it. Brotherhood of the Snake is easily Testament’s best release since reforming the classic team on The Formation of Damnation. What really sets it up is the diversity that is present. If there is a quintessential album that blends just about everything Testament has done into one release, this is it. I hear The Legacy, The Gathering, Practice What You Preach, Souls of Black, Low, Demonic, and even some occasional black metal influence from Eric’s Dragonlord side project. It’s also good from beginning to end, which wasn’t the case on their last album. The only influences lacking from this album are The Ritual and any kind of power ballad.

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5. Waldgefluster – Ruinen
05 Waldgefluster

Post Black Metal // Nordvis Records

I first heard Waldgefluster on their split release with Panopticon. The folky melodic black metal song was really good, but the acoustic track was dull. That left me wondering whether this album would be full of great black metal interspersed with tedious, meandering folk. The great answer is that the first part is true, but the second part never happened. Instead, this is probably one of the best post black metal albums I’ve heard. It is dynamic and varied, and the songs actually seem focused (as opposed to the tedious meandering that seems to ruin so many post black albums). There are elements of folk, early Ulver, 90s melodic black metal, and post rock. Well worth checking out.

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4. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
04 Devin Townsend Project

Progressive Metal // InsideOut Records // Album Review

sounds like some astral spyro fuckin terria fuckin decon laced riffage and emochuns and shit. — Piglet

Devin Townsend has never been very consistent. For every City, Terria, or Ocean Machine album there’s been any of the post-City SYL albums, Physicist, and also a majority of the Devin Townsend Project releases. That’s just the trade off we make in order to benefit from the times his manic personality has created a gem, but it had started to be a long time since we had received gold. I’m not sure what changed (other than he let his band be included in the writing), but Transcendence is excellent. It takes the best parts of his Ocean Machine and Terria albums, and mixes it with the catchier parts of his DTP stuff, and the end result is his best album in a long time. Easily his best to be listed under Devin Townsend Project, if nothing else. It’s about time.

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3. Hypno5e – Shores of the Abstract Line
03 Hypno5e

Djent/Post Metal/Progressive // Pelagic Records // Album Review

Simply for its aggression i give it a high rating. The singer doesn’t have the dreadful black/death metal dirty vocals but more of a hardcore style of screaming. The clean singing is pretty good, pretty smooth. The atmosphere of the album is what really shines though. Moods i would say are introspective, aggressive, cathartic, and at times liberating. — Smashingfrogballz

Like its predecessors, Shores of the Abstract Line is a sprawling behemoth of an album that requires attention and multiple listens to truly appreciate. Unlike its predecessors, though, the work is enjoyable and never feels tedious. The mellow sections that often derailed songs on the previous releases have taken on a more focused direction thanks to less spoken word parts combined with stronger melodies from both the instruments and the vocals. The heavier sections, too, have improved immensely thanks to a wider variety of influences and tempos. Shores of the Abstract Line finally delivers on the potential that previous Hypno5e albums only hinted at. The mellow sections are poignant and compelling while the heavier sections pummel the listener with more nuances than ever before.

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2. C.B. Murdoc – Here Be Dragons
02 C.B. Murdoc copy

Technical Death Metal/Metalcore // ViciSolum Records

Instantly refreshing sound for a band in this genre. — ericleb010

I’m not a huge fan of most modern technical death metal. A lot of it is basically uncontrolled chaos and noise that is (admittedly) excellent in the moment, but doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Here Be Dragons is different. First, the death metal that they seem to draw from is more Slaughter of the Soul era At the Gates than Morbid Angel or whatever bands a lot of these other tech death artists find influence from. This At the Gates influence immediately affects the more melodic (yet ferocious) riffing style as well as the grittier, higher, vocal style. Another one of their obvious influences is Atheist; a band very capable of busting out technical, yet wholly memorable, riffs and melodies. This is all combined with the occasional rhythmic acrobatics of bands such as Meshuggah. Basically, this is like At the Gates combined with the technical chaos of Atheist combined with the quirky rhythmic experimentation and heaviness of Meshuggah without all the repetition. Yeah, it’s that good.

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1. Fates Warning – Theories of Flight
01 Fates Warning

Progressive Metal // InsideOut Records // Album Review

Theories of Flight picks up from where its predecessor concluded, and marks a further refinement/improvement in terms of song writing and Alder’s vocal delivery. For the former, Fates Warning still have it in them (albeit things get a little repetitive towards the end), when it comes to making prog metal elegies like “The Light and Shade of Things”, in which every possible human sentiment can be readily felt. As for Alder’s work, the fact that he allowed some vibrato to (re-)emerge from his chords here and there, is a well intended innuendo to old school (metal) fans (of the band). — Voivod

The traditional progressive metal genre is in dire need of another classic album. While staples of the genre continue their downward slope, Fates Warning has been consistently excellent… but not quite classic. That stands to change with the release of Theories of Flight. Of course, it’s probably too early to announce that this album deserves to join that elite list, but there’s no denying that the argument should definitely begin. When a band somehow manages to take the most solid and memorable moments of their breakthrough release and seamlessly mesh them with a sound they’ve been circling around for years, and do so flawlessly, then it is at least worth proclaiming that they’ve released a milestone within their own career. But is it worth stopping the discussion there; I don’t know? While it’s too early to start calling Theories of Flight another pinnacle of the progressive metal genre, in 10-years’ time that may very well be what this album has become.

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Willie
11.28.16
I know it's early, but there's not much coming in the next four weeks and I'll be moving and wouldn't have time in December anyway.

JWT155
11.28.16
So it has begun... awesome list Willie!

FullOfSounds
11.28.16
Really nice write-up, already knew was #1 was gonna be lol

danielcardoso
11.28.16
Love this type of lists nice one willie :]

Sabrutin
11.28.16
Great job. Cool to see 48, haven't checked the album out though. I listened to 30 some time ago and I need to check it again before the year ends, it was pretty cool. I should check 4 again too. 41 is quite definitely my aoty. 1 is sweet but I haven't felt the impulse to listen again in a long while

SowingSeason
11.28.16
awesome format and great blurbs

I haven't heard most of these albums and probably won't, but your wordpress wizardry is unrivaled

SandwichBubble
11.28.16
Pretty cool. Seeing as how all the albums on here I've listened to I didn't particularly enjoy, I think I'll skip these :d

guitarded_chuck
11.28.16
thought the thrice album was absolute garbage but good work here nonetheless

theBoneyKing
11.28.16
I probably wouldn't like most of these but kudos for all the effort that clearly went into this list.

I think it's time for me to start writing my blurbs if I'm actually gonna do a write up for every album on my list.

EvoHavok
11.28.16
Sweet list. However, regarding DT, Henriksson only contributed to two tracks on Construct, so his leaving isn't exactly the main cause for the changes that made you not like Atoma as much as the predecessor.

DoofusWainwright
11.28.16
This list looks beautiful...but sounds...I'm not going to be mean and say it.

This list looks beautiful, we leave it there.

Willie
11.28.16
-- I listened to 30 some time ago and I need to check it again before the year ends, it was pretty cool. --

Yeah. That album people either seemed to love or hate. That was the case with quite a few of my picks this year, actually.

--41 is quite definitely my aoty.--

I really like Katatonia's three album deal from Viva Emptiness through Night is the New Day, but they lost me a little bit with their newer stuff.

-- 1 is sweet but I haven't felt the impulse to listen again in a long while--

Give it another shot... you know you want to.

--Sweet list. However, regarding DT, Henriksson only contributed to two tracks on Construct, so his leaving isn't exactly the main cause for the changes that made you not like Atoma as much as the predecessor. --

Well, shit. Ha ha. Thanks for the info. I feel better about their potential in the future now, but I still don't know what happened with Atoma.

To all the people that say great looking list, but not so much the actual album picks. I definitely know at this point that there's not a single sputnik user that shares my tastes, ha ha. I actually enjoy all the set-up and artwork stuff.

Jom
11.28.16
You're a true man of the people incorporating user blurbs. Happy to see that I have a handful of records to still check out between now and end of the year festivities (e.g. C.B. Murdoc).

teamster
11.28.16
Nice list brother. Glad to see "post" in some of the genre tags ;) Check out my AOTY - Mouth Of The Architect - Path Of Eight...U might dig it.

Gyromania
11.28.16
Glad to see your blurb about katatonia. I thought dead end kings was complete shit. It still drives me nuts that people think it's better than night is the new day. Maybe I'll check the new one out now.

Willie
11.28.16
--You're a true man of the people incorporating user blurbs. Happy to see that I have a handful of records to still check out between now and end of the year festivities (e.g. C.B. Murdoc).--

Just trying to do something different this time around instead of the same old thing. That C.B. Murdoc album is awesome. If there's one on this list that should appeal to most the sputnik metal guys, it's that one.

--Nice list brother. Glad to see "post" in some of the genre tags ;) Check out my AOTY - Mouth Of The Architect--

Ha ha. I can't tell if that's sarcasm or not. I did check out that Mouth of the Architect release. I don't really remember it too well, but I have it rated at a '3' which means I liked it, at least.

--Glad to see your blurb about katatonia. I thought dead end kings was complete shit. It still drives me nuts that people think it's better than night is the new day.--

I'm totally on board with that line of thinking. I thought Dead End Kings was boring with none of the redeeming qualities of their previous releases.

Emyay
11.28.16
interesting list. will be checking out a bunch of these.

JasonCarne
11.28.16
Great list and write-ups although I didn't enjoy many of the albums on this list nearly as much as you did.

klap
11.28.16
you should def check out earlier Ladyhawke

Sniff
11.28.16
Will check Departe. Nice write up!

RogueNine
11.28.16
Really dig the inclusion of user soundoffs

ChaoticVortex
11.28.16
Excellent list with lots of interesting choices. I'm suprised but also glad that Testament made the top 10 it's a really great album. I also recommend Death Angel's new record which I've found equally killer as well. Kinda expected that Fates would be your Number 1, and it deserves it, fantastic stuff.

Hawks
11.29.16
Gotta check 5 and 36 tonight.

OldCrime
11.29.16
Good list. 1 is 1.

FlipTrackz
11.29.16
Thanks for using my soundoff bb ;)

theacademy
11.29.16
yo that testament shreds!!!!

Emim
11.29.16
Hypno5e is great, list is great

dbizzles
11.29.16
Really stoked to hear that Waldgefluster album now. Good work.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
11.29.16
this is ~exactly~ as bad as expected

Storm In A Teacup
11.29.16
list reminds me of 2005 sputnik

DaveyBoy
11.29.16
I was just about to rec. you something too Trey. Oh well, too late. Or is it?

MH18
11.29.16
Long but excellent read, fantastically written. Although I don't agree with all of them, will check #1, sounds interesting.

Crysis
11.29.16
I like your description for Winters Gate. I, of course, fall completely into the former group of fans haha

This post looks like it took a ton of effort but it came out brilliant. Fantastic job Trey.

theNateman
11.29.16
SO MUCH METAL

jmh886
11.29.16
funny your thoughts on Ulcerate are the exact same as mine haha.

Willie
11.29.16
--you should def check out earlier Ladyhawke--

Yeah. I've added them all to an Apple Music playlist. I'll let you know what I think.

--Will check Departe. Nice write up!--

Thanks. Let me know what you think. If you haven't heard the last Nero di Marte album, you should check that out, too. Same basic style.

--Really dig the inclusion of user soundoffs --

Thanks. Just trying for a different approach.

--Really stoked to hear that Waldgefluster album now.--

I'd only heard them on that split release, so I was really surprised how good it was.

--this is ~exactly~ as bad as expected --

It wouldn't be a Willie list without you. Thanks for your continued presence. True metal forever!!

--I was just about to rec. you something too Trey. Oh well, too late. Or is it?--

Not too late. Staff lists aren't due until the first.

--This post looks like it took a ton of effort but it came out brilliant. Fantastic job Trey.--

Thanks. I knocked it out during football on Thursday and Sunday. I actually enjoy the creation and set up... it's relaxing.

greg84
11.30.16
Grey write-ups, Trey. I'll have to check out some of those.

greg84
11.30.16
*great

OmairSh
11.30.16
Fuck yeah Willie Fates Warning at 1!

Really cool to see you rate Votum so highly. I found the new album to be a bit of a disappointment after Harvest Moon. I was hoping they'd expand more on the gritty hard rock elements of their sound as opposed to the metal ones.

Katatonia's latest album bored me tbh. I much prefer DEK

Cool list

Pangea
11.30.16
This list looks great

ThyCrossAwaits
11.30.16
So is 37 like Nadja?

Voivod
11.30.16
Great list and so many things to check out, albeit in a haste.

TheNotrap
11.30.16
Great list Willie.
The user soundoffs was a pleasant surprise, it strengthens the sput community. Thanks for including my blurbs.

Vampiro, Flotsam and Winter’s Gate are also among my favourite ‘16 releases.

Itwasthatwas
11.30.16
not a fan of vektor willie?

Willie
12.01.16
--Really cool to see you rate Votum so highly. I found the new album to be a bit of a disappointment after Harvest Moon. I was hoping they'd expand more on the gritty hard rock elements of their sound as opposed to the metal ones.

Katatonia's latest album bored me tbh. I much prefer DEK--

It's possible I would have felt the same way, but the first Votum release I heard was the 2016 one. I'm really into that moody atmospheric prog right now.

That's crazy about Katatonia. My opinion is the exact opposite.

--This list looks great--

Thanks.

--So is 37 like Nadja?--

I'd never heard them, so I sampled a few things on their bandcamp page. I'd say Angela Martyr is similar, but not nearly as dissonant.

--The user soundoffs was a pleasant surprise, it strengthens the sput community. Thanks for including my blurbs.--

I'm glad their inclusion seems to have been received well.

--not a fan of vektor willie?--

I like them, but nearly as much the Sputnik collective.

Relinquished
12.01.16
what were your thoughts on Sumac's What One Becomes exactly?

JWT155
12.01.16
I'm surprised Gojira failed to make the list.

Atari
12.01.16
great work here Willie. I'm glad you put Testament above the new Metallica (though hardwired is better than I initially gave it credit for). I also really need to spend more time with that new Waldgefluster album. Seems like a grower, and 'Ruinenfelder' is a really nice song

RoundOnEndHiInMiddle
12.01.16
That's so cool that you put user soundoffs in the blurbs. Thanks for using one of mine, I appreciate it very much

BallsToTheWall
12.01.16
My man.

thegreywind
12.04.16
Excellent list here. I'd also include albums from Be'lakor, Thranenkind, Moonsorrow and Saor at least.
Thanks for recommending some new albums and for putting my soundoff there in DT album..

Egarran
12.04.16
You made me check out Aurora months ago, and I'm still thankful. Would never have found that in my metal echo chamber.

Piglet
12.04.16
Gahahahahahahhaha i was high as shit when i wrote that soundoff never did i know months later it would revisit me in full glory under Willie's blog, what a wonderful place sputnik is

Donchivo
12.06.16
I wish I had your job... I didn't even manage to listen to 50 new releases in 2016... awesome list!!! A lot that I got to check out...

Willie
12.09.16
--what were your thoughts on Sumac's What One Becomes exactly?--

I liked it. It was more interesting than your average post metal-style release, musically speaking. I just wasn't a fan of the monotonous vocals, and even with decent music, it seemed to all blend together after a while.

--I'm surprised Gojira failed to make the list.--

It was really close. 40-60 are all pretty interchangeable.

-- I also really need to spend more time with that new Waldgefluster album. --

Did you give it more time?

--That's so cool that you put user soundoffs in the blurbs. Thanks for using one of mine, I appreciate it very much--

Thanks. Was just trying for something different.

--I'd also include albums from Be'lakor, Thranenkind, Moonsorrow and Saor at least. --

Be'lakor and Moonsorrow are two more that could have fallen within the 40-50 range.

--You made me check out Aurora months ago, and I'm still thankful. Would never have found that in my metal echo chamber.--

Yeah. She was a good find. I don't even remember how I found her anymore.

--Gahahahahahahhaha i was high as shit when i wrote that soundoff never did i know months later it would revisit me in full glory under Willie's blog, what a wonderful place sputnik is --

Ha ha. That explains so much.

--I wish I had your job... I didn't even manage to listen to 50 new releases in 2016... awesome list!!!--

I can basically listen to 8 hours of music a day, 5 days a week. So, between promos and Apple Music, I can hear a lot of new stuff.

Atari
12.13.16
"Did you give it more time?"

I hadn't but I'm on it right now! Ruinenfelder is a great track and stood out to me before, but let's hope the rest of it starts to grab me this time around


SacredSerenity
12.14.16
Mariner? Mariner? Mariner??????

Dewinged
12.14.16
Beautifully crafted article Willieman! I do share the enjoyment in some of these. Also surprised not seeing Vektor on the list. It practically melted Sput.

Willie
12.15.16
--I hadn't but I'm on it right now! Ruinenfelder is a great track and stood out to me before, but let's hope the rest of it starts to grab me this time around--

Definitely one of my favorite 'post' black metal albums.

--Mariner? Mariner? Mariner??????--

I might have screwed that one up, because I really like that one. It would have been on my list for sure, but I was under the impression that it was an EP.

--eautifully crafted article Willieman! I do share the enjoyment in some of these. Also surprised not seeing Vektor on the list. It practically melted Sput.--

Thank you. As for Vektor, I love the music, but not the vocals.

Inveigh
12.15.16
Great list man. You have vastly different taste than me within the same genres, but I dig a lot of these. Great write ups as always, plus the formatting looks as cool as it does every year.

What were your thoughts on Megadeth - Dystopia and the new Diamond Head? I ask because I see Metallica, Anthrax and Testament here, and I love those three records as well.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.15.16
Willie your response flatters me

SacredSerenity
12.15.16
"I might have screwed that one up, because I really like that one. It would have been on my list for sure, but I was under the impression that it was an EP."

haha no worries, I just thoughtanyway that you simply might have forgotten it

dogdaysunrise1
01.07.17
I agree with most of your list, but how Metallica made it in there with their mediocre release, I can't understand.
Death Angel - The Evil Divide, is miles ahead of self destruct.
Vektor - is completely missing, but at least you got Testament in there and thank God it's quite at the top of the list.

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