|My Top 30 albums of 2016|
An absolutely stellar year for new music (I am sure everyone can agree on that), and one that I dove headlong into.
I have listed 30 albums (no Ep's, compilations, live albums or reissues) with some brief commentary for my Top 10.
I also included an extra 10 that I enjoyed very much but didn't quite make the cut (and even that was difficult with me having to leave off still more that I dug!)
A Moon Shaped Pool
An album imbued with shades of sadness and pain that captured my heart and soul since it dropped in May, and probably my most played album in 10 years (I was on this thing 3 times per day minimum for at least a month before tapering off...). A band that has not lost their artistic edge but continues to refine their strengths and continually shake off any shackles that attempt to pigeonhole their sound and maintain pure artistic integrity.
(Favourite track - Ful Stop)
|2||Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds|
Whilst much of it was written before the death of his son Arthur, tragedy and introspection has informed the very essence of this work, making for a haunting masterpiece for the ages. Warren Ellis' subtle compositions create the perfect counterpoint to Cave's baritone delivery of his darkly poetic and abstract vocal drama.
(Favourite track - Anthrocene)
|3||Devin Townsend Project|
The album title really speaks to the album's theme, as well as Devy's musical journey at this point, where letting go of some of the control has opened up new soulful avenues of expression instead of merely spinning his wheels like the last couple of albums. This is peak Townsend right here, and for me his best complete work since 1997's Ocean Machine album.
(Favourite track - Higher)
What more can be said of this parting swansong that hasn't already been said? My favourite Bowie album just happens to be his final gift to the world, a world which could barely contain his talent and spirit.
(Favourite track - Blackstar)
Completely undervalued in the critical and fan community, and a testament to Akerfeldt's integrity and willingness to continue and explore the bounds of his art, despite what his fans might think of it. Adventurous, captivating and one of Opeth's most enjoyable outings (a term that many are scared to associate with the band) in their 12 album career.
(Favourite track - Will 'o the Wisp)
The Fall of Hearts
The loss and addition of some key players has barely had an affect on the pure class that this band emits from album to album, mainly due to the rock solid team of Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström . A more mature and progressive effort than their last, and another crowning achievement in their near flawless trajectory.
(Favourite track - Serein)
The Impossible Kid
A late discovery that stormed up my list with constant playback since I first heard it. This dude's flow is like honey from the rap gods, the beats and production are tastefully conceived and his lyrical attack sounds as if he eats the thesaurus for breakfast on a daily basis. It also helps that every cut is a slice of his personal journey through his 40+ years of life and the nostalgia is palpable.
(Favourite track - Shrunk)
I have been aware of this band for some time, but this album was my first real exposure to their blackened shoegaze leanings. Influenced largely by Hayao Miyazaki's 'Princess Mononoke', this album has a wonderful cinematic vibe that I find completely immersive and irresistible, and the bands only two members in Neige and Winterhalter sound completely in sync with each other and what they have set out to achieve here.
(Favourite track - Eclosion)
The Glowing Man
I had attempted to absorb Michael Gira and co's epic works in the past, but I had never been completely captivated until now (which has inspired me to dig back into earlier work). This album is just massive on every level with an almost 2 hour run-time and some near 30 minute tracks that are largely improvised! Every song builds and builds to an orgasmic crescendo and is a completely immersive and rewarding journey for the patient and discerning listener.
(Favourite track - Cloud of Forgetting)
|10||Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas|
Whilst I have always been a fan of this band, they never quite reached the level of grandeur for me that ISIS did, but here with the addition of the banshee wails of Julie Christmas, they seem to have added a dimension to their mammoth wall of sound that they were somehow missing. I don't know if this is a one-off experiment with her in the mix, but Mariner is certainly the best album of their career for me because of it.
(Favourite track - The Wreck of the S.S. Needle)
|11||The Dillinger Escape Plan|
A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring
|14||Crippled Black Phoenix|
The Violent Sleep of Reason
|21||Slice the Cake|
Odyssey To the West
Fires Within Fires
Theories of Flight
|25||The Pineapple Thief|
|28||Black Crown Initiate|
Selves We Cannot Forgive
What One Becomes
|30||Trees of Eternity|
Hour Of The Nightingale