Another year ‘round the sun. This happens so often you can practically set your watch to it…
This year, like all the years before it, had a bunch of stuff happen in it. Ya know how reality works. Some of it was awesome. Some of it was significantly less and in some cases; not at all awesome.
That being said, the list you are about to set down IS awesome!
These are the top 10(ish) releases of 2016 according to me. And I’m awesome.
Also, I’ll preface this list with the guidelines that put an album into the running for top 10. Well, there’s only 1 guideline… I have to become an addict to the album in question and at least listen to it nonstop for a few days for it to be considered. These are the albums that I could NOT stop listening to.
1. Number ONE! This place goes to a band that is always off the wall with their releases, but they are always top notch. Heavy enough to bring a dynasty to its knees, yet delicate enough to pluck a lotus petal without bruising it; TWELVE FOOT NINJA holds the prime position in this list with their release “Outlier”. Since its debut, I have listened to this album at least once a day. Seriously. A DAMN fine piece of work.
2. The second album on this list is from a band I discovered by mistake a while back. I was looking for an ambient space release entitled Monolith. Instead, I found the BAND Monolith. I am very glad I did, too. This year they released “Nexus”. This album is one of the most epic musical pieces I’ve come across. Though it didn’t take the number one spot in the list, this is a masterpiece of aural creation.
3. Third place goes to a musician that was in my top releases of 2015 as well. This year, Plini released his first “full” album “Handmade Cities”. Incredible musicianship throughout this album, which is to be expected as everything he has put out has been amazing. The last song on the album (Cascade) did actually give me goosebumps.
4. Number 4 is occupied by the brilliant minds that are Opeth. “Sorceress” was released this year and though it took me forever to get around to listening to it… Once I did, it was thrown into immediate rotation. As with their last release, I liked it at first, but after a few listens I LOVED it. Opeth is one of the most creative bands in terms of progressive rock/metal and “Sorceress” showcases that creativity well.
5. THE HALFWAY POINT! Whew. I should note that this is taking forever to write because I keep listening to each album as I get to the next place… I also have the attention span of a gnat so I start searching for new music too and being distracted… Ahem…
ATLANTIS CHRONICLES with “BARTON’S ODYSSEY”! This is an awesome concept album with cover art by the one and only Pär Olofsson. Musically, this album is amazing, and the way in which the songs are presented, it just…. Flows.
Listen to it… You’ll get it.
6. The sixth entry into the pantheon of metal for the year is Anciients with their album “Voice of the Void”. I picked this album up on a whim because I recalled that a friend had mentioned the name to me. I never look into bands immediately when someone tells me about them… I’m not sure why. In any case, this album is amazing. Imagine if Opeth and Mastodon had a beautiful little demon baby. Fantastic piece of music.
What’s in the box?
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!
It’s The Arbitrary…
The album “Entropy” came out this year and hot damn it’s great. Definitely much more intricate and well carried out than I was expecting. With a name like The Arbitrary, I expected… Arbitrarity? That’s a word right? Randomness makes more sense I suppose… This album is very well executed and the musicianship is superb.
EIGHT. Moving right along, we are presented with a release from a Russian fellow with the moniker Between the Coral Reefs. His release “Anthracite Galaxy” is probably THE most underrated album of 2016.
Not probably… It IS the most underrated album of 2016.
Seriously awesome work and I have been cranking it since I found it in my path. Still don’t fully recall how I came upon it on Soundcloud… I’m glad I did though. Badass album.
9. I realize that when I am critically listening to music, vocals are typically the last thing for me to pay attention to. Metal is usually about the instrumentation and the cohesion of all of the parts into one solid presentation. Vocals can float around too, but they are less important to me.
With the album “Breathe” from Exist Immortal, I couldn’t help but notice the vocals first. Awesome clean vox AND metal growls/screams. It doesn’t stop at the awesome vocals either. This is a bit more into the alternative metal spectrum and not typically my style, but this release is insanely good. You will sing along. Is metal supposed to be this damn catchy?!
10. Okay… This is the last on my list… What’s crazy is that I found this album 2 days before the New Year and it immediately pulled a spot on my top 10 for the year. This album is fucking AWESOME. It is “illuminance” from Virvum. I was pulled in by the album cover and immediately bought the album after the first song. I wasn’t a big fan of the vocals at first… BUT they are the perfect fit for the music and after XX listens (I’ve lost count) they grew on me and now I growl along with them. Granted I have no idea what I’m growling, but it sounds cool. (To me)…
I wanted to keep my list to just 10 albums… Buuuuut, there are a couple more that I need to share.
First is “Śūnyatā” from Vipassi. Such a damn good album and still comes through my music rotation.
The second and final album to throw in for the year is the “DOOM” Soundtrack from Mr. MICK GORDON. Granted I am a little biased because when I first heard this I was blowing the heads off of demons. Among other brutal kill animations… (Seriously FUCKING brutal.) But even listening to the soundtrack on its own is sick. It’s like having your own personal stash of adrenaline to pump into you anytime you want.
Well, that’s the list. All phenomenal releases from insanely talented people and I cannot wait to hear more in the future.
Since I did a TL;DR last year, I’ll do one this year too.
1. Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier
2. Monolith – Nexus
3. Plini – Handmade Cities
4. Opeth – Sorceress
5. Atlantis Chronicles – Barton’s Odyssey
6. Anciients – Voice of the Void
7. The Arbitrary – Entropy
8. Between the Coral Reefs – Anthracite Galaxy
9. Exist Immortal – Breathe
10. Virvum – Illuminance
-Mick Gordon – The DOOM Soundtrack
-Vipassi – Śūnyatā
Bring on the tunes, 2017.