Saturday, December 10, 2016

Not Another End of Year Metal List! 2016

Two-thousand and sixteen can just go hang itself, am I right? While the year might be overall garbage, it did at least provide a good amount of metal. Once again there was a lot of metal that I listened to and I narrowed them down to my ten favorites. There were not a lot of stand outs for me at first but once I started deliberating what would be included in my list, it became apparent what the top ten really were. Here are my ten albums of 2016!
Runner Ups:

A.M.S.G. - Hostis Universi Generis 
Abnormality - Mechanisms of Omniscience 
The Album Leaf - Between Waves 
The Algorithm - Brute Force 
Aliases - Derangeable 
Allegaeon - Proponent for Sentience
Anaal Nathrakh - The Whole of the Law 
Arcade High - Kingdom 
Artillery - Penalty by Perception 
Asbringer - Yugen 
Black Crown Initiate - Selves We Cannot Forgive 
Blood Ceremony - Lord of Misrule 
Blood Incantation - Starspawn 
Borknagar - Winter Thrice 
Brain Drill - Boundless Obscenity
Candlemass - Death Thy Lover
Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crepuscule
ColdWorld - Autumn
Counter-World Experience - Pulsar
Dalek - Asphal for Eden
Dark Suns - Everchild
Death Angel - The Evil Divide
Disillusion - ALEA
End of Aeon - Through Infant Eyes
Enthean - Priest of Annihilation
Fallujah - Dreamless
Fleshgod Apocalypse - King
Formless - Eon
Forndom - Dauora Dura
Gadget - The Great Destroyer
Gatecreeper - Sonoran Depravation
Ghoul - Dungeon Bastards
Gost - Non Paradisi (Secret Arcana)
Grand Magus - Sword Songs
Greenleaf - Rise Above the Meadow
Gruesome - Dimensions of Horror
Haken - Affinity 
Harakiri for the Sky - III:Trauma
Hellbringer - Awakened from the Abyss 
Hemotoxin - Biological Enslavement
If These Trees Could Talk - The Bones of a Dying World
In Mourning - Afterglow
Inanimate Existence - Calling from a Dream
Inquisition - Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond...
Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows
Izegrim - The Ferryman's End
Karg - Weltenasche
Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts
Lycus - Chasms
Mandroid Echostar - Coral Throne
Marsh Dweller - The Weight of Sunlight
Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika
The Mute Gods - Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Mykur - Mausoleum (Live)
Nails - You Will Never Be One of Us
Necromancing the Stone - Jewel of the Vile
Nucleus - Sentient
Nuke - Nuke
Oak Pantheon - In Pieces
October Tide - Winged Waltz
Omnihility - Dominion of Misery
Omophagia - In the Name of Chaos
Ordo Obsidium - A Crooked Path to Desolation
Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
Phobocosm - Bringer of Drought
Polyptych - Defying the Metastasis
Rebaelliun - The Hell's Decrees
Revocation - Great is Our Sin
Rotting Christ - Rituals
S U R V I V E - RR7349
Sig:Ar:Tyr - Northen
Sinsaenum - Echoes of the Tortured
Spiritual Beggars - Sunrise to Sundown
Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
Thank You Scientist - Stranger Heads Prevail
Thrawsunblat - Metachthonia
Toothgrinder - Nocturnal Masquerade
Tusmorke - Fort Bak Lyset
Tygers of Pan Tang - Tygers of Pan Tang
Uada - Devoid of Light
Ulcerate - Shrines of Paralysis
Vader - The Empire
Vale of Pnath - II
Vektor - Terminal Redux
Vow of Throne - Farewell to the Sun
Voyag3r - Are You Synthetic?
Vredehammer - Violator
Waveshaper - Station Nova
Winterfylleth - The Dark Hereafter
Withered - Grief Relic
Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary
Wormed - Krighsu
Wovenwar - Honor is Dead
Wyrd - Death of the Sun
The Zenith Passage - Solipsist
Zhrine - Unortheta

 10. First Fragment – Dasein
This stunning debut from the Canadian quintet just blew me away! I’m a pretty big fan of technical death metal but it can get pretty stale. First Fragment do not disappoint as they have killer riffs, melody, and they are not afraid to be experimental. If you took Allegaeon and Spawn of Possession you’d get an approximation of what First Fragment sound like. One thing I will knock them on are the vocals. They’re not that prominent in the mix and it would be a little nice to hear something other than growls. Growls are definitely a staple of tech-death but with First Fragment being experimental it would be great to hear what their music would sound like with a different style of vocals.

Standout Track: Gula

9. Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
Winter's Gate
This seemed to be the year of concept albums. Insomnium makes number nine with their 40 minute single song epic. Winter’s Gate is classic Insomnium with epic and depressive riffs and strong melodies. I’ve always been a fan of these Finns, so of course their output will get put on the list.

Standout Track: Winter’s Gate

 8. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
It’s been a long while since I’ve really gotten into Amon Amarth. They’re one of the most consistent and reliable bands out there. They are still going strong after ten albums. Just as Winter’s Gate was a concept, so is Jomsviking. This is typical Amon Amarth but they mix it up a bit by having Doro Pesch guest on "A Dream That Cannot Be". These Swedes can still pillage your eardrums!

Standout Track: Raise Your Horns

7. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
Pleiades' Dust
I’m so glad that we didn’t have to wait that long for new Gorguts. Expanding on what Colored Sands built, Luc Lemay and team have created something special and haunting with PleiadesDust. Technically a single song EP, this 30 minute plus epic really pushes the boundaries of what is death metal.

Standout Track: Pleiades’ Dust

 6. Mithras – On Strange Loops
On Strange Loops
Mithras have taken their time to release a new full length but that’s okay because On Strange Loops is fantastic. The lads from United Kingdom have blended older Morbid Angel with more modern Gorguts to create a space age forward thinking death metal classic.

Standout Track: When the Stars Align

5. Opeth – Sorceress
Opeth is a band that for me can do no wrong. Sure, Heritage took a few listens to digest but I dig what they’re doing. I seriously doubt we’ll get another Blackwater Park or even a Ghost Reveries from these Swedes and that’s alright if they keep writing albums like Sorceress. Mikael Akerfeldt has really pushed his singing and songwriting on their twelfth full length.

Standout Track: Will O the Wisp

 4. Obscura – Akróasis
Like Opeth, Obscura is a band that can do no wrong to me. They haven’t been around as long as Opeth but they will leave a legacy with the quality that they write. Akróasis didn’t knock my socks off like Omnivium did but after cracking open the neutron star shell, I found some great progressive metal.

Standout Track: Akróasis

3. The Morningside – Yellow
Yellow is the first time I heard of the Morningside. I had added them to my Spotify playlist as their cover art was beautiful and because the genre tags on Metal Archives were something that appeal to me. They are a cross of As Daylight Dies and Agalloch. The Russian quartet know how to make some atmospheric death/doom metal.

Standout Track: As a Pilgrim

 2. Ihsahn – Arktis.
After the more experimental Das Seelenbrechen, Ihsahn went for a more traditional route that feels like a culmination of his first three solo albums. There’s nothing wrong with that as Ihsahn has really stepped up his songwriting and singing on Arktis.

Standout Track: Mass Darkness

1. Aenaon – Hypnosophy
I’m a little ashamed of myself as I almost forgot that Hypnosphy was released even though it was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. I was blown away by Extance back in 2014 and the Greek quintent has done it again with Hypnosphy. It’s not as experimental as Extance but it is very much progressive and there are some ear worms that will stay with you for awhile.

Standout Track: Earth Tomb

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