|Fearthyevil's: Best of 2016|
Just like always, not ranked except 1 and 2 but if it gives and idea, 30-1 are mostly 4.5's and the rest are 4/3.5 basically
BADBADNOTGOOD tone down the jazz a tad bit but still put out a great instrumental effort with some great guest features.
Favorite Track: Time Moves Slow
Car Bomb come out of the floodgates with a technical frenzy of disproportionate riffs much to the homage of Meshuggah. The production is great and does a lot to get the best out of every instrument all the while making this a brutal ensemble of constant heaviness.
Favorite Track: The Oppressor
Into the Vanishing Light
Night Verses sadly take a step back on the aggression that made their debut so good for a mix of ambience and alt rock included sections. Not as good as the debut but the standout tracks do a good enough job to keep me coming back.
Favorite Track: The Future is History: I Love You Dead
Plastic House on Base of Sky
Don’t really know how to describe this one accurately so I’ll let my boy TalonsofFire take the credit with his great review.
Favorite Track: Amalia’s Theme
Post Black Metal
An incredibly immersive experience akin to other bands in the genre such as Entropia, The Great Old Ones, etc. If you’re looking for a new kick in the vein of those other artist, this won’t steer you wrong.
Favorite Track: Ghosts
A brazen onslaught of nasty riffs and some of the bands best songwriting to date. This is also a lot more ambitious then past records considering the more melodic sections. As good as some of the tracks are, production definitely brings this a step-down but it’s still a great effort.
Favorite Track: The 1st World Syndrome
Celtic Black Metal/Folk
Saor deliver an aesthetic like no other black metal band does for me lately with the excellent use of flute sections, incredible riffs, and an atmosphere that just leaves me in awe. This is a must-listen for black metal fans!
Favorite Track: Tears of Nation
Cast the First Stone
Ion Dissonance release probably one of their heaviest records to date with amazing production, chaotic riffing and drums, and insane vocals. This is a testosterone rage filled release fit for any gym nut.
Favorite Track: To Lift the Dead Hand of the Past
|72||Downfall of Gaia|
Atrophy sees Downfall of Gaia trying to replicate their sophomore release but falling just a little short. Another great release by the band but compared to past work, this doesn’t hold me as much.
Favorite track: Woe
|71||A Tribe Called Quest|
We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service
Finally a come back album that not only isn’t complete shit, but is rather excellent and very fitting in their discography. Damn good production, excellent rhythm and delivery, and great guest features throughout. More comeback albums need to be of this quality unlike Refused. R.I.P. Phife Dawg
Favorite Track: Lost Somebody
Entropia improve in all aspects from their previous album Vesper, and amp up the sludge with a fury of dazzling instrumentals but tends to throw well-done atmosphere in there too. Don’t expect the vocals to floor you though
Favorite Track: Paradox
Perpetual Despair is the Human Condition
A two-piece outfit from Dallas, Texas that is seriously underappreciated. Their sound is unique blending in all different types of genres like crust, sludge, grind, etc. If you’re in for a little adventuring, give these guys a shot.
Favorite Track: Bound by Believers
Voice of the Void
Different then your average progressive metal effort in that they are switching time signatures on the flow constantly and just mustering up mind fuck riffs left and right. This takes from a wide array of influences like Opeth, Mastodon, Enslaved, etc. There’s basically something for everyone to enjoy here but keep in mind this is a long journey.
Favorite Track: Buried in Sand
|67||Mouth of the Architect|
Path of Eight
Normally MOTH would be delivering a heavy downtrodden mix of sludgy goodness however, they take a much more slow ethereal atmospheric approach that has mixed results from the fans. Personally, I enjoy lots of it because they still bring the colossal riffs but it’s nowhere near as much as before.
Favorite Track: Stretching Out (one of my favorite tracks this year)
The Violent Sleep of Reason
It’s Meshuggah being themselves and I wouldn’t have it any other way to be honest. Some of their best songs put to work on here accompanied with Jens insane vocals, Haake’s masterful drumming, and the chaotic/earth shattering riffs. This band never fails to deliver.
Favorite Track: Clockworks
Like Shelter, Alcest attempt to tighten up the shoe gaze to a much better degree then previously before with excellent heavier black metal sections thrown on top. Some of this is absolutely beautiful and I love a lot of the vocal delivery.
Favorite Track: Eclosion
|64||Emma Ruth Rundle|
Marked For Death
Emma Ruth Rundle releases a gothic rock filled culmination akin to the likes of Chelsea Wolfe filled with emotion and a beautiful dark harmonies accompanied by her angelic voice.
Favorite Track: Protection
Mick Gordon releases one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard for a shooter in a long time. This is ball to the wall heavy as fuck metal and it works perfectly for ripping and tearing into demons like no tomorrow. I normally don’t bother with soundtracks but each song here flows so seamlessly to the next. Great range of straight balls to the wall metal and electronic passages.
Favorite Track: BFG Division
Insomnium return again with another solid release to add to their already consistent discography.
Favorite Track: It’s a one track album so
Improving upon all the mistakes of Blissfucker by fixing production issues and
tightening the direction of their crude sound once again. Fast-paced, aggression filled behemoth sure to get your head twisted.
Favorite Track: Speak Nigh
Fires Within Fires
Post-metal legends Neurosis had a slight misstep on Honor Found in Decay but Fire Within Fires fixes most of that. Great buildups into destructive instrumentals, good production, and an atmosphere that can sucker about almost anyone into it.
Favorite Track: Broken Ground
Touche Amore deliver a heartfelt emotional affair about the passing of lead singers Jeremy Bolm’s mother due to cancer. The vocals will be pulling at your heartstrings with instrumentals just adding onto the emotional layer.
Favorite Track: Rapture
|58||Devin Townsend Project|
Heavy Devy strikes gold again with a progressive filled behemoth of slow building transitions into mind-blowing sections. Bringing Anneke back was also a welcome return because her and Devin together is a great combo with her incredible vocals.
Favorite Track: Higher
Stillicide is beautifully produced with outstanding bass work, nice space like atmosphere, nicely done vocals, and memorable guitar riffs and great choruses. Pretty underappreciated band
Favorite Track: Andromenous
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Converge and At The Drive-In crossed paths, had a baby, and it came out screaming in Spanish? Joliette is your answer
Favorite Track: Henry Coyote
For This We Fought the Battle of Ages
Breathtaking atmosphere accompanies each song with a sudden collapse of ongoing sludgy crescendos. Not as memorable as their last record but this band does an outstanding job at what they do.
Favorite Track: Wound of the Warden
It’s a decent instrumental album similar to Sithu Aye and Cloudwalker but with a little less substance and a bit of guitar wankery but it’s enjoyable.
Favorite Track: Every Piece Matters
Death Touches Us, From The Moment We Begin To Love
Not all that different from Touche Amore but it doesn’t hit on the emotional scale of Touche though. Still a damn good album
Favorite Track: In Colour
An ambitious black metal release that tries to differentiate itself from the stagnation this genre is starting to suffer from. It does a decent job but the real winner is when the band takes a more clean approach with guitar work on the album because the production suits it extremely well.
Favorite Track: Thirst
The North Corridor
Chevelle come through with probably their best-produced album to date and heaviest as well. The bass production on this album is magnificent but sadly choruses take a huge hit, which is sadly what Chevelle were always good for. Despite the hit, this is still another solid record from the trio.
Favorite Track: Worhol’s Showbiz
Disposal Of The Dead // Dharmata
Brutal Death Metal/Tech Death
Another solid effort from Defeated Sanity but this time they take an attempt at Death metal in the vein of bands like Cynic/Death. For some, they didn’t enjoy it but to me they did a solid enough job with the new sound on the second half of the record. Still, I hope they stick with the old stuff to be quite honest.
Favorite Track: Consuming Grief
You Will Never Be One of Us
Nails deliver with another brutal cranial assault of fast-paced kick to the groin riffage/drumming. Nothing different from them but what they do has always been great.
Favorite Track: Violence is Forever
What One Becomes
What One Becomes improves upon every detail the debut failed to deliver on. The atmospheric buildups are done extremely well, the chaotic drumming is golden, and the production accompanies the chaotic moments perfectly.
Favorite Track: Rigid Man
|47||If These Trees Could Talk|
The Bones of a Dying World
A very solid post-rock effort with simple compositions but a good dense atmosphere that is delivered through great instrumental soundscapes
Favorite Track: Earth Crawler
I’m terrible at describing what makes this band one of the best death metal bands ever so here’s Xenophanes review http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/70676/Gorguts-Pleiades-Dust/
Favorite Track: One track again
A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead don’t need any introduction at this point and this is just another really damn good release by an already acclaimed band.
Favorite Track: Daydreaming
White Lung tone down the abrasive straightforward punk for a much more somber melodic approach. Kenneth’s guitar playing is majestic, vocals are well done, and the songs just have ridiculously catchy verses/choruses, which this band specializes in.
Favorite Track: Deadweight
An extremely nasty downright destructive small little Ep that is sure to please anyone wanting a quick Sludge pick me up.
Favorite Track: Semblances
The Death of All Things
Amazing bass production and a fantastic vocal performance nail this one home for an engaging experience.
Favorite Track: Black Days
Blackened Death Metal
A haunting release by Zhrine that paints a devastating bleak picture while pummeling the listener with catastrophic instrumentals.
Favorite Track: The Syringe Dance
The White Album
Alt rock/Pop Rock
Weezer at this point needs no introduction but it’s good to see this band really seem to get back on track after years of miserable albums. It’s catchy, it’s a lot of fun, and can be played for a great pick me up. Lyrics still leave a lot to be desired but who really listens to Weezer for amazing lyrics?
Favorite Track: Thank God for Girls
An impressive album by Novembre that draws from a wide range of genres but most importantly engages the listener with amazing transitions, beautiful instrumentation, and some very heartfelt vocals. Unfortunately, some of the album begins to get a little repetitive but it’s more then filled with fantastic moments throughout.
Favorite Track: Umana
Bossk’s debut album encompasses everything that you would want from their debut after their eps. A great mix of post-rock atmospheres only to be embraced with a groovy sludge riffs one after the other. Well worth the wait and a great debut record for the band.
Favorite Track: Kobe
Amon Amarth haven’t really done anything different in their career. This is basically same old same old Amon Amarth but hey, it works. On a side note, that artwork is fucking awful
Favorite Track: Raise Your Horns
|36||Every Time I Die|
Every Time I Die bring their Southern style of metalcore with one of their strongest efforts to date. Keith vocals are the best they ever sounded, the riffs and songwriting are much tighter, and finally the band does a little experimenting with more melody. Honestly, this easily is some of the best material ETID has written throughout their long but consistent career.
Favorite Track: Just as Real But Not as Brightly Lit
A self-produced Pop record by Elizabeth herself filled with infectious hooks, great production, and beautiful vocals. An all-around fun record
Favorite Track: Shoulda Coulda Woulda
|34||Love Sex Machine|
Love Sex Machine
Ridiculously heavy record that pummels the listener without any chance for a breather at all. It’s a filthy record for anyone who just wants a straightforward no bullshit unfiltered rage induced nightmare of an album.
Favorite track: Black Mountain
|33||This is Not a Game of Who The Fuck Are You|
A very underrated metalcore gem that was released this year with little to no looks towards it. If you want some good metalcore, this is a good little ep to look into
Favorite Track: Somewhere
An engaging record with pleasant vocals and heartfelt instrumentals sure to pull in a select few for sure.
Favorite track: Visiting
Six years later Massive Attack return with a small ep that just teases and begs us for new material. Filled with brilliant beats, amazing guest features, and the return of Tricky: this was a recipe for success. New album when?
Favorite Track: Ritual Spirit
I’ll just let Xenophanes take the reigns again, especially since Ulver is not a band I can describe as accurately given the many styles they’ve taken on. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/69543/Ulver-ATGCLVLSSCAP/
Favorite Track: Cromagnosis
Allir vegir til glötunar
A solid black metal debut sure to please fans who are looking for chaotic riffs but with a bleak journey into dark atmospheric sections as well.
Favorite Track: Sal
She Sleeps, She Sleeps
An ambitious jazz effort by this instrumental group that dazzles with excellent rhythm sections, great use of electronics, and noise elements. Amazing record for any fan of jazz to give a go.
Favorite Track: She Sleeps, She Sleeps
An unapologetic debut packed full of abrasive vocals, filthy instrumentals, and catchy as all hell choruses. These guys just know how to make everything a blast to listen to while maintaining a rough edgy sound.
Favorite Track: Charlie Chaplin Routine
A Fistful of Peril
An amazingly underappreciated album with amazing beats, good lyricism, and some memorable guest features on top of really good production. The main downfall is the overuse of superhero themes and samples that can definitely turn people away.
Favorite Track: Two in the Chest
|25||Red Giant (USA-NJ)|
Easily one of the best newcomers in the genre. Infinity is beautifully produced with glorious vocals, unmatchable beats (except massive attack), and an atmosphere like no other. A must listen to in every regard
Favorite Track: Infinity
The Last Witness
An earth-shattering death metal record that improves upon the debut in every way with brilliant guitar solos, fast frenetic drumming, and some very eclectic riffing.
Favorite Track: Mutagenesis
The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Blackened Death metal
Deathspell are not your average black metal band and Synarchy shows this in every way. Unconventional riffs a plenty, haunting vocals, and a dark gloomy atmosphere bring this home for one of the greatest records of the year. Just wish it was a little longer since it’s only 40 minutes.
Favorite Track: Famished for Breath
Atmospheric Black Metal
A black metal release with some insanely good riffs, fantastic production, and unforgettable soundscape.
Favorite Track: Aether Wind
|21||The Dillinger Escape Plan|
Metalcore pioneers TDEP decide to call it quits after this album but deliver on one more final high note for the fans. This is filled to the brim with some of their most technical crazy odd times signature style songs, insane vocals by Greg, and blistering riffs and pounding drums. They also show how through the years they developed by throwing influences of blues, jazz, and more pop influenced sections and keeping everything fresh and innovative. Side note, Nothing to Forget has one of the best transitions I’ve ever heard.
Favorite Track: Honeysuckle
Danny Brown delivers again with absolutely great production, great rhymes/beats, and most importantly an excellent flow and features. He seems to get better with each new record.
Favorite Track: Ain’t it Funny
|19||Thank You Scientist|
Stranger Heads Prevail
I know I throw the word ambitious around a lot but this really is. Takes your usual post-hardcore sound with much more progressive elements atop a huge ensemble of jazz. Vocals are not for everyone but instrumentation alone should pull a lot of listeners in.
Favorite Track: Mr. Invisible
The Glowing Man
Swans follow up my 2014 aoty with another dark twisted sinister affair of minimalism doing what they do best. Each buildup is succinct, repetition perfectly done, and everything works to a t. Not on the level of To Be Kind but definitely up there within their discography.
Favorite Track: Frankie M.
Just like the debut, The Hotelier amp up the emotion to ten delivering greatly through catchy songwriting, excellent vocal delivery, and heartfelt memorable verses/choruses. Never really a fan of this genre but this band along with Captain, We’re Sinking prove there are gems to be found.
Favorite Track: Settle the Scar
An Ethopian Jazz Fusion/Alternative Rock effort that impresses with insanely unique vocals (none I’ve heard quite like this), excellent saxophone play, and a perfect mix of prog while tightening the jazz elements. This is a must-listen experience
Favorite Track: Gela Gela
Death Grips isn’t for everyone with their abrasive industrial mixed sound, ferocious ferocity of MC Ride’s yelled vocals, and Zach Hills bombastic drums. However, I feel as though Death Grips put out not only some of their catchiest best work to date but along with that their most accessible as well. Each song is gripping and well laid out
Favorite Track: Warping
The Impossible Kid
Certainly Aesop Rock isn’t doing anything new for rap but what he does do is extremely solid regardless. The Impossible Kid is amped up with fantastic production, good intelligent wordplay, and just very catchy verses/choruses. Another solid effort
Favorite Track: Kirby
|13||Howls of Ebb|
Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
Like I said not great at describing Death Metal especially when it’s quite peculiar so Xenophanes, it’s all you again man. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/69985/Howls-of-Ebb-Cursus-Impasse-The-Pendlomic-Vows/#a
Favorite Track: The Cabals of Molder
Pure In The Plastic
Polyenso go from what many called their last record, a Radiohead like clone into a much more mature pop oriented Indie sound that is booming with influences and great songwriting a like. Blissful beautiful vocals, amazing use of all types of instrument breaks, and picture perfect production to go on top. Polyenso continue to upon their success and release one of the best records all year.
Favorite Track: Where to Grow (Where to Be Born)
The sophomore release by this Polish jazz band is sure to please any fans looking for a wall of amazing horns and beautiful atmosphere that few currents acts can keep up with. Another must-listen record for anyone looking for a jazz fill
Favorite Track: Krew
The Well-Intentioned Virus
Zao are one of the best classic metalcore bands in my opinion during the early years when metalcore was pushing out its best work. Very few of those still produce work these days let alone be it consistently good. However, after six years of not having a new album, Zao return with their best album since 2003’s Funeral of God. Daniel’s vocals sound the most visceral/ferocious they’ve ever sounded, the newer use of melody and clean vocals were incredibly well-implemented, and the drumming/guitar work on this is just great all-around. They even take a stab at post-metal and manage to nail that too. So glad to see them back at it and still producing great material.
Favorite Track: Apocalypse
This is pretty much Oathbreaker throwing away the sludge focus they had on their sophomore record for a more shoegaze/black metal mix much to the likes of the obvious Deafheaven. Caro’s towering vocals carry this album along with fantastic riffs/drumming leading to some of their best work to date.
Favorite Track: Second Son of R.
Simply put, Norma Jean release the best work the band has done to date with incredibly strong songwriting, ferocious vocals/guitars/drumming accompanied by breaks of very well-done atmosphere, and earth-shattering breakdowns/verses. Every song feels so succinct and the band members as a whole feel as though they’ve been playing with each other for years, when in reality it was just 2013 when the newer members really came into the picture. I also enjoyed the production a lot with heavy focus of bass being more noticed and vocals not being overpowering but still a forefront.
Favorite Track: Everyone Talking Over Everyone Else
Take it from me, this is easily the best old school death metal throwback album I’ve heard all year and maybe in quite some time honestly. This album has amazing riffs, production, drums, etc. You name it; it’s practically going to be on here. The first two songs on this album alone should pull any death metal fan in and are some of the best death metal songs I’ve heard in awhile. A must-must listen
Favorite Track: Chaoplasm
You Fail Me (Redux)
I normally wouldn’t consider Redux/Remasters as something to put a best of list but Converge is not only one of my favorite bands, but this is one outstanding remaster. It somehow manages to bump up every aspect of You Fail Me and amp it up to 11. The drums are so well produced that I wish most drums sounded this good on hardcore records and it also manages to make the already raw sound of YFM to be even more genuine then before. This just makes me want some other great albums to be re-mastered this well or restore albums that are marred production wise. (cough The New American Gospel cough)
Favorite Track: Heartless
I’m pretty sure nobody really needs an introduction at all when it comes to this album considering it has gotten massive hype. Short version: this is easily one of the best thrash albums to come out in the past 15-20 years and will be considered a classic down the line. Hell, I think some are even considering it a classic now.
Favorite Track: Cygnus Terminal
David Bowie was a musical legend and we lost a great musician/person in 2016. Blackstar is basically Bowie knowing his time has come and crafts one of the most beautiful finale’s for an artist to go out on. It’s passionate, somber, and filled with incredible moments. I need to listen to the rest of his discography already
Favorite Track: Girl Loves Me
What Ihsahn is able to craft on Arktis is nothing short of incredible with it’s huge amount of variety tightly packed in. Tons of different influences take the helm such as classical, electronic, ambient, etc all while sprinkled on with his own flavor of black metal filled with great riffs and piercing vocals. The clean vocals and melodic sections can easily remind listeners of Opeth as well.
Favorite Track: South Winds
Shrines of Paralysis
Album of the Year Runner-Up
One of the most passionate and invigorating death metal releases this year that will please fans looking for a colossal wave of sound. Considering this is practically Jac’s favorite band, his great review showcases why this band is one of the best modern death metal bands going right now. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/71957/Ulcerate-Shrines-of-Paralysis/
Favorite Track: Chasm of Fire
|1||Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas|
Album of the Year
Cult of Luna craft one of their most memorable albums yet with Mariner, which is vastly because of the use of Julie Christmas appearance. The riffs on Mariner are crushing, melodies incredibly well done, and a cacophonous but beautiful atmosphere that just sucks you in every possible way. Every song has buildups of epic proportions just for a earth-shattering riff frenzy section with Julie’s harsh vocals laying down the forefront. Julie is an amazing addition to this album as each song she makes her own with her vocals adding a perfect layer to each track and when she combo’s with Johannes, it’s extremely memorable. Each song is crafted to utter perfection and just builds upon each part of the bands strengths from the past material to create Cult of Luna’s best album since Somewhere Along the Highway. Here’s hoping they actually do more collaborations if it is to this level of greatness again.
Favorite Track: Cygnus