Best Metal Albums of 2016, even more...

Hey there. I’m Sergiy Trushel, the bassist in Catatonic Society, the band that Jay from the podcast is in. I was listening to the METALHEADS Top 25 and cannot get rid of one thought: this is very subjective. One doesn’t just realize “this album is number 3” overnight. I’ve accessed my college days which filled with neverending math (and alcohol) to find a way to make a subjective process of finding top X number of albums a little more objective: with a help of computer and someone (me) comparing albums in pairs and picking the best. Not digging into matrices, eigenvalues, Monte Carlo methods and such, this is simply a result of thousands comparisons of almost 200 metal albums I’ve listened to. Mostly boring power metal. Now I hate power metal. Thanks, power metal, you ruined yourself for me.

Every album in this list was compared 111 times to other albums so the results should be more or less valid, though I was surprised by some of them. I could probably rearrange results more to my liking, but it would defeat the purpose, right? So here it is, a computer-generated list with human-generated comments for every entry.

People bitch about 2016 not being a good year for metal music and music in general but still, there’s enough good stuff out there so I went with Top 55 instead of 10 or 25 or even 50. Fifty five. That’s the number. It doesn’t contain EPs, live albums, or compilations. So shall we?

55. MYRATH - Legacy

Myrath is a band from Tunisia and they play… pop metal?... I guess. This is essentially a power metal album with a lot of keyboards and other ethnic instruments and strong Arabian folk influences. The album starts very strong, but definitely fall into “boring” category after a few songs. It’s a pity, but again, in the land of boring power metal, a power metal band with a shtick is a king.

54. HANSEN & FRIENDS - XXX - Three Decades in Metal

Kai Hansen, who we know from bands Helloween and Gamma Ray decided he doesn’t want to sing anymore at some point. Or wait, he decided that twice. Apparently, now he wants to sing again. But not alone. The results is the album that you could call a slower version of Gamma Ray with a lot of guest appearances of people you may know from other German bands. It’s good. But not as good as I expect from Hansen. Faster! Schnell!

53. ZARPA - Dispuestos Para Atacar

I live in California so my typical thought about music with lyrics in Spanish was… not metal. But Zarpa, a band formed in 1977 in Spain, has changed my impression with a hammer blow. This is a great heavy metal. Think of Judas Priest or Accept but in Spanish. I need to listen to their older albums now. 

52. MOONSORROW - Jumalten Aika

Not much to say. It’s Finnish, folkish, keyboardish, blackish band you already know. Here’s another album.

 51. WOLF HOFFMANN - Headbangers Symphony

Wolf Hoffmann, a guitarist from Accept, releases his second solo album. Just as the first one, it contains metal versions of several classical pieces you may or may not heard before. It’s interesting but it’s not as interesting as the first one. Worth listening to at least one though, but

haven’t we heard Symphony #40 already?

50. SKYLINER - Condition Black

Skyliner is a band from Jacksonville, Florida. They are categorized as “progressive power metal”, which is a euphemism for “I don’t know what style they play, but I kinda like it”. I like it too. It reminded me a little about Iced Earth and Blaze Bayley Iron Maiden era. I just wish “American power metal” had a more distinct name.

49. RUNNING WILD - Rapid Foray

Okay. I’m a huge Running Wild fan. If I’m about to be marooned on some uninhabited island with a CD player and solar battery and just one CD, I’d take Blazon Stone. But two albums released after their “reunion” are simply a bile vomit of someone who ate and regurgitated runningwild’s stuff with something else I cannot even name. They are abominations that should be marooned instead of me. But they will never go away. They can never be undone. And now we have the third one, and man, I’m kinda relieved. It’s not a bile vomit anymore. I can actually listen to this and find some good songs. But...

Technological advances have played a cruel joke on Running Wild. It’s so easy to produce music nowadays, even without leaving my mom’s basement, and some people will like it… or maybe fall for it. While this album shows a steady movement back to the roots, it’s plagued with the most boring drum line that could be generated by computer, flat synthesized bass guitar, and software driven guitar tone instead of a Marshall. If Rock-n-Rolf could replace a vocalist, that would happen here too, I guess.

Running Wild started to roll downhill when they stopped being an actual band and became a one-man project with a computer. I hope the next album will include an actual person who hits drum heads. Damn, even MY band uses an actual person!

48. BLAZE BAYLEY - Infinite Entanglement

Hey, if your band is called “Blaze Bayley”, it doesn’t mean we should hear only Blaze Bayley, with the instruments way, way back somewhere in the room! Other than imperfect production, it’s a typical Blaze Bayley album. If you liked previous albums, you’ll probably like this one too. But it’s not as good as his older albums.

47. SUIDAKRA - Realms of Odoric

Somewhat slow melodeath with occasional bagpipes and other folk stuff. It’s ok, but nothing more than that.

46. PARADOX - Pangea

Old German thrash metal band. This is not an “old German thrash metal” album though. It sounds quite modern and well-produced. It’s good but not too good. About #46 good.

45. DISTANT PAST - Rise of the Fallen

Hey guys, do you like Gloryhammer? Nah, I’m just kidding. Except for the guest appearance by Gloryhammer’s vocalist, it sounds nothing like it. Distant Past is more of traditional metal, just with awful double vocals. Everything else is quite good and up to par, but the vocals… An instrumental version would probably made it higher up the list.

44. ENTOMBED A.D. - Dead Dawn

A band that needs no introduction. But as much as I like Entombed, this album falls flat. I don’t know, maybe because of the muddy sound. Maybe I just want it more death-n-rollish. Of course, I want another Wolverine Blues even if all you purists hate it.

43. NOVEMBRE - URSA

Italian doom metal band Novembre releases their first album in 9 years. If I were to describe the music in three words to someone unfamiliar with the band – you for instance -- I’d say it’s a “melancholic version of Amorphis with a small dose of later Cynic or Aeon Spoke and even some amount of atmospheric black metal bands (too many to mention just one).”

It’s a good album, but you won’t bang your head to it.

42. PATH OF DESOLATION - Where the Grass Withers

I have a strange hobby. From time to time, in the middle of the night, when no one looks, I go to Kickstarter and back some metal bands I’ve never heard of before. I started doing this since my own band was successfully kickstarted. Usually, results are meh and the best I get is my name in liner notes. But not this time.

Path of Desolation is a melodeath band from Lausanne, Switzerland. This is their first full-length album, and it’s, well, melodic death metal. It sounds like that new In Flames album we’ve been waiting for, but never get, and probably never will. Not too fast, melancholic and in a minor key. Not breaking a new ground, just the stuff we like. If you don’t like it, you probably never played in a melodeath band. But I did. Also, according to the band, I’m the first person in the US who has this CD.

41. GHOWL - Ghowl

It’s a pure coincidence, but I kickstarted this album as well. And you’ve never heard of this band, I’m sure of it! They are not even on metal-archives (I plan to fix this injustice soon).

Ghowl is a metal band from Sweden. You probably imagine other bands from that glorious country, but this isn’t like those. It’s just heavy metal… sometimes even doomy, 90 to 120 BPM kind of metal. Clean vocals, downtuned but that’s about it. Lyrics are heavily influenced by horror movies. And it’s great!

You should try to find it if you can. It’s definitely worth a listen.

40. DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - Fear of Angst

You might be sensing a pattern here, but I kickstarted this one too.

Disharmonic Orchestra is a former grindcore turned avantgarde metal band from Austria. This is their first album released in 14 years (and second in 22). The result is interesting. Sometimes it sounds like Cynic when they were still a metal band. Sometimes it sounds like Metallica if they had a bassist and a drummer. Sometimes it falls into extreme territory. Sometimes it sounds completely unique. So check it out.

39. DARK FUNERAL - Where Shadows Forever Reign

I swear it starts with Abba’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme” opening melody. Must be because they are both from Stockholm. But seriously, it’s a good black metal album. Believe me, in order to make this list, I listened to a lot of bad ones. I don’t know if I will regularly listen to it, but it’s ok.

38. MEGADETH - Dystopia

It’s hard to review Megadeth albums because the ghost of Rust in Peace is always standing right there behind you, whispering in your ear, and clouding your perception. That and you’re just old. You want another Rust in Peace but it never comes. Whose fault is it? Who’s to blame, Mustaine or you? Or both? Anyway, I tried to listen to this album with as clear mind as possible, though it was quite hard. I consider Rust in Peace the best thrash metal album of all time. What can you do after this, “Risk” again?

It’s a good album, but I just cannot connect with modern Megadeth to actually enjoy it. It has everything in place: musicianship is top notch, good riffs, good songs, but it just doesn’t click and stay in place. I wanted to enjoy this album but I couldn’t. It’s still a good album. You may like it more.

37. SVARTTJERN - Dødsskrik

Okay, if the opening track is called “All Hail Satan”, you know what you are getting into. I would call this “accessible black metal for teenagers”. It’s well produced and lyrics are deep if you’re 15, so there’s that. Anyway, I enjoyed it enough.

36. PATH OF DESTINY - Dreams in Splendid Black

Blackened death metal with background keyboards from Germany. Worth listening.

35. FORTERESSE - Thèmes pour la Rébellion

Canadian (or judging from lyrical themes) Quebecois atmospheric black metal band. It sound like that other band you know. I mean, it’s not like the style allows too much variety. Maybe not as good as Mgla or Drudkh but quite similar, you if you’re a fan of either band, check Forteresse too.

34. UNEARTHED ELF - Into the Catacomb Abyss

I’ve never heard about it until it was mentioned on podcast, so I checked it on bandcamp… and immediately bought a CD.

Unearthed Elf is a one-man project from Milwaukee, WI. It’s labeled as “doom metal”, but it’s actually a gothic metal at its foundation. Next level of doom, more energetic and faster. Good songwriting. Go and buy it already!

33. CHTHE'ILIST - Le dernier crépuscule

Quebec again. But this time, it’s death metal. I’ve heard several people comparing it to Demilich, so you get the idea. I think this is where the relative popularity of this debut album comes from. Well, we won’t have any new Demilich albums in near future, so Chthe’ilist will do. It’s not bad, just not really original. Then again, this is death metal we’re talking about. A lot of bands just copy other bands. Such is the circle of life (and death…metal).

32. PATRIARCH - Rage of Gods

Thrash metal from Belgium. Would be much higher if not for absolutely awful production. Kinda like Psychotic Waltz meets Control Denied. And then recorded the album in a cave, with cavemen acting as engineers, mixers, and producers.

Don’t go cheap on production, guys. Because your result sounds like a demo.

31. METALLICA - Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Ha, didn’t expect that?

Shitting on Metallica is like reading in this day and age… everyone does it (well, not anymore with reading, but at least you’re reading this). I never even expected to listen to it, but in my darkest state of mind I managed to pre-order Hardwired on Amazon and was actually surprised when it came in mail in its 3 CD glory. It was lying on my desk for about a week until I actually find some time to listen to it.

Well, it’s undoubtedly Metallica. You can tell from a few seconds of listening. It’s well-written, well-produced, but I still want them to hire an actual drummer. Leave this kind of “drumming” to Running Wild already (see number 49 here). Take your example from Arch Enemy. I also liked my Metallica when it had more than two riffs per song, but that’s probably too much to ask.

It would be a well-received album if released by some other band. Metallica just has too much baggage, both good and bad. People who won’t listen should try this. It’s not bad, Metallica’s had worse. Multiple times.

 30. VICIOUS RUMORS - Concussion Protocol

Is 2016 a good year for bands from 80ies? You decide. Vicious Rumors is a Bay Area thrash band that never became as successful as other bands from the Bay, and it’s a shame. This is a solid album. Must listen if you’re a thrash fan, and probably even if you’re not.

29. PRIMAL FEAR - Rulebreaker

Okay, finally some power metal. It’s simple, straightforward, melodic, and heavy. And, comparing to a whole bunch of modern power metal that was left in 100th numbers of this list, it’s actually riff-driven.

Remember, guys, real metal is about riffs. Ralf Sheepers does a great job of singing and screaming, and always in the right places. Guitar solos and fills are quite generic (and I swear I heard that in insert album name), but who cares? The drums are pounding and bass is filling all the rest of the space. Everything you want, but maybe sometimes you just want more?

28. THE UNGUIDED - Lust and Loathing

The Unguided sounds like what you would expect. Mix everything Swedish in a cauldron, add modern production..there you go. Can I call this post-gothenburg metal? That’s the best description. I just wish they’d cut breakdowns and “cue clean vocal over keyboards” because that trick is getting old and I don’t really want to hear it anymore.

27. DEATH ANGEL - The Evil Divide

Death Angel consistently releases good albums and 2016 was a good year for 80ies thrash metal in general…so that’s all I want to say. Now go and listen to this album if you haven’t already!

26. PARAGON - Hell Beyond Hell

Another power metal album done well. Sometimes it’s fast and thrashy, sometimes it could be simply an Accept or U.D.O. homage, sometimes it falls into typical boring power metal choruses but not for too long. A good, enjoyable album for fans of German metal.

25. EXUMER - The Raging Tides

Did I already say “2016 is a good year for thrash metal”? This album’s blueprint is simply stolen from the 80ies or earlier 90ies. Did you like thrash metal from that era? Then go and listen. The album is produced by Waldemar Sorychta so it sounds a little like Despair with a modern production. Grip Inc. cover is a nice tribute but doesn’t really compare to the original. I listen to the cover and the original version one after another and… no, it just doesn’t work here. But the rest is good.

24. HELSTAR - Vampiro

This is really good. Thrashy American power metal from Texas. I don’t care about vampires that much, but the music, riffs, and vocals are really cool.

23. DESASTER - The Oath of an Iron Ritual

This album is a killer. A nice mix of black and thrash, so if you’re a fan of either genre, you need to listen to this album. You won’t be disappointed.

22. STEVE GRIMMETT'S GRIM REAPER - Walking in the Shadows

When I see First/Lastname Band, I always imagine the same thing. Put another way, “the worst.” I’m sure you do too. But this time I was wrong and I’m glad I was.

Grim Reaper is (was? still is?) a NWOBHM band founded in 79, split-up in 88. Reformed by vocalist Steve Grimmett in 2006 but they never recorded again anything until now. So first album in 10 years for this incarnation and first in 29 years total. How many of you are over 29 anyway?

The result is a good solid HWOBHM that doesn’t sound dated. I listened to it several times and I’m I’m a fan now. If you like old British metal with modern production, this is for you too.

21. HERMAN FRANK - The Devil Rides Out

Another (now former) Accept guitarist on this list, but much higher. Herman Frank left Accept because he wasn’t allowed to write his music, and look who lost that battle?

I hope I play music like this when I’m 67.

20. EQUILIBRIUM - Armageddon

A little slower than previous albums, with more keyboards and even some dancey NDH additions. Still, very enjoyable folky/symphonic metal from Germany. I like NDH, so if Equilibrium starts sounding more NDH-y, I still win. And those 8-bit synths added here and there are just funny.

19. TESTAMENT - Brotherhood of the Snake

Not the best Testament album. Not even better than the previous two, so my expectations weren’t met. Still, a solid thrash metal, and I’m glad they are around.

18. DARK TRANQUILLITY - Atoma

Not the best Dark Tranquillity album. Not even better that the previous two… wait, did I just write this already in some other place? Still, a solid… oh man, no. I’m glad they have a bassist now. I just liked We Are the Void more.

17. PROTECTOR - Cursed and Coronated

Swedish thrash metal that sounds a lot like mid-80ies German thrash a-la Sodom or Violent Force with a little black metal influence. Despite the obviously awful rhymes like “fire/desire” and mispronunciation of “xenophobia” as “kse-no-pho-bia”, it’s actually quite good. If you like 80ies German thrash, of course. 

16. DESTRUCTION - Under Attack

I’ve never been a fan of Destruction. I always preferred other German thrash metal bands and I’m mostly unfamiliar with their music. So Under Attack came as a pleasant surprise to me.

15. INSOMNIUM - Winter's Gate

Finnish melodic death metal band decided to record just one song for this album. It lasts 40 minutes though. I usually listen to albums as opposed to just songs so it doesn’t bother me much but when doing parties, we using chromecast and every person just queues a song to listen. No chances for this song to be heard, it’s too long!

Anyway, it’s a good album. I just found the format strange.

14. ARTILLERY - Penalty By Perception

80ies thrash metal band? Check. Mispronunciation of words? Check. Great stuff anyway? Check.

As someone who is not a native English speaker, I regularly check Merriam-Webster to find a correct pronunciation of words that I know, but don’t use in actual conversations. Like “scythe”. “Excuse me officer, but this is just a scythe and I think it’s legal to carry it in public outside school zones”. So if I wanted to record an album that is expected to stand the test of time, I’d be checking every damn word.

13. DESTROYER 666 - Wildfire

What’s that? Another blackened thrash album in the list? These two things are not even my favorite genres!

The first album recorded by a new lineup, but still has the same quality.

12. LONEWOLF - The Heathen Dawn

Comparing to Rapid Foray, a “Running Wild of a smoker”, this is “Running Wild of a healthy person”, and a power metal that I actually like a lot! I don’t even know if it’s correct to call Lonewolf power metal. It has all the parts, but is much more enjoyable than other 50-something power metal albums from 2016 I had to listen to. It’s just fast and heavy and epic and… just check it out.

11. FLOTSAM AND JETSAM - Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam and Jetsam. The band you all know. The band you never cared about. I hope you’ll change that now, because their self-titled album is a killer. Since they released the song “Iron Maiden” I was like OH MY GOD, IF ALL SONGS ARE LIKE THIS, I’M GONNA DIE. You cannot go wrong with writing a homage to “The Trooper”, right? Unfortunately (or fortunately), the album is more diverse, and fortunately, it’s very good. Flots had some albums of questionable quality, but this one goes up to Doomsday and No Place. Keep the good work, Flotsam. Let the next album be as good.

10. KRYPTOS - Burn Up the Night

To me, Bangalore is associated with software engineering and not heavy metal. What a pleasant surprise to find out that India’s Silicon Valley has some other similarities to SF Bay Area.

Kryptos sound as if modern thrash metalheads went back in time and kidnapped Judas Priest. Or Judas Priest went forward in time and kidnapped some modern thrash metal people and probably one black metal guy too. Then they all made love, and this is the direct result.

Absolutely must listen.

9. RAUBTIER - Bärsärkagång

Raubtier is considered an “industrial metal”, and therefore looked down by snobs on metal-archives or other purist places, but this album is much closer to Finntroll than to Ministry, KMFDM, or Static-X. And it’s goddamn great! The title track is now officially my favorite song with riffs that contain only three or less notes.

I don’t know about you guys, but I listened to this album on repeat four times, and now it’s starting the fifth round. Bärsärkagång, bärsärk!

8. WITCHERY - In His Infernal Majesty's Service

Another blackened thrash metal from Sweden, and it’s really, really good. Go listen to it now!

7. ABBATH - Abbath

I don’t even need to tell you anything about this (pulls down the Abbath balaclava).

6. NOTHGARD - The Sinner's Sake

Nothgard call themselves “Epic Melodic Death Metal“. But actually it means “Power Metal on Steroids”. And it’s great. Yes, it sounds a little like That Other Band, but since That Other Band didn’t release an album this year, I’m going to listen to this.

5. ASPHYX - Incoming Death

Old school death metal with a lot of slow death/doom. I wanted to say “they don’t make this anymore” but immediately realized that they still do. Guitar melodies are actually quite a modern addition to this dark and raw genre. I kind of miss it sometimes so maybe that’s why this album went so high in the list (remember, it wasn’t really me, it was a program).

4. ANCIENT - Back to the Land of the Dead

Full disclosure: I like black metal when it’s melodic enough, but don’t really care for bands like Mayhem. Ancient, with their first album in 12 years, are definitely in the first category. It goes even further, sometimes falling into Fields of the Nephilim kind of stuff. Then, probably no one really cares about actual musicianship in black (I think it’s started with You-Know-Who), so you can only say “I like the atmosphere”. And yes, I like the atmosphere. And those Nephilim parts too.

3. OMNIUM GATHERUM - Grey Heavens

This is so good I don’t even know what to say. Absolutely great, though quite simple. I’ve checked reviews on internet and they are mostly negative, but I just don’t care. Don’t blindly take other people’s opinions into consideration. Yeah, this one too.

2. METAL CHURCH - XI

A year and a half ago, Mike Howe, the vocalist from their most commercially successful lineup, was reunited with the band (now with an otherwise completely different lineup though). Being a huge Howe-fronted Metal Church fan from my school and college days, I was looking forward to this and preordered a deluxe edition. And I wasn't disappointed even a little. Vanderhoof still writes great riffs and Howe, after keeping his voice in a fridge somewhere in Tennessee for twenty-something years, still has one of the best vocals in metal genre. I’ve seen them twice on their tours recently and they kill live. Mike also looks like a nice guy who listens to other bands on the tour along with his family in the crowd, taking pictures with fans like me. I wish them about 20 more albums, just don’t “borrow” riffs from Mestatoll’s Kuu anymore!

Oh, and Christmas postcard from the band was a really nice gesture.

1. SODOM - Decision Day

Sodom is a band that never disappoints. I could pre-order their next album now and be sure that I’ll like it. I just want the current musical collaboration between Tom Angelripper and Bernemann to continue forever. This album has everything a Sodom fan would like: Tom’s vocals, great riffs, motorheadish bass, crazy drumming and uncompromising thrash metal that is not stuck in 1987. There’s nothing wrong with that but I always liked that Sodom albums had contemporary sound. Decision Day sounds like Sodom but it also sounds like Sodom from 2016. I listened to it maybe few dozen times and still think this is the best of what I got in 2016, hands down.

What else was in 2016 that isn't metal but still interesting? Bowie’s last album is dark and depressive, your favorite black metal band cannot even come close to it. Die Krupps had nice live album. Lots of people died. What’s next? In 2017, there will be new releases by Kreator, Trollfest, Overkill, Pyogenesis, Deep Purple, maybe Voivod will release a full-length (I had to omit their last EP for not being an album enough but it’s great); Skyclad, Triosphere, King Diamond, Judas Priest, Coroner, Carcass, Queensryche all planned to release new albums soon. Should be a good year. We’ll see.

Here’s a Youtube playlist for you to enjoy. Insomnium is excluded for being non-radio-friendly.

 

Best Metal Albums of 2016, continued...

If you haven't gotten your fill of 2016 lists, then read on. Below are assembled lists of varying lengths and sizes which were provided to us by friends and listeners.

First up we have our friend and contributor "Spotify" Mark. Not only did he give us his top 25 albums of 2016, but he also told us what he liked about them.

Mark's List

1. Thrawsunblat – Metachthonia

It probably seems like I'm sucking up to a friend of the show as well as one of the hosts, but I'm not. This album is a masterpiece and I don't care who knows that I feel that way. The album I listened to more than any other by far. Beautiful in every way.

2. Khemmis – Hunted

This is the most "listed" album of the year but rightly so. Sometimes music can be straightforward and great at the same time and that is exactly what this album is.

3. Allfather - Bless the Earth with Fire

An album I never stopped listening to all year. Hardcore, sludge, stoner all mixed up into a tight, hard hitting package.

4. Anaal Nathrakh - The Whole of the Law

Angry Metal Guy review on why he feels allegiance to Anaal Nathrakh: "perhaps it’s because, whenever you hear people talk ill about any type of metal (kill your mother, rape your dog, etc.), chances are the music that Anaal Nathrakh spawns are the exact sounds these people actively imagine in their heads." Heavy Metal Overload: "The most enjoyable migraine you’ll ever get." Yeah, so what those guys said are why I like this.

5. Cobalt - Slow Forever

Another album I never put down. A killer combination of so many elements. Also had the privilege of seeing them live.

6. Nails - You Will Never Be One of Us

A brutal half hour. I listened to this and Anaal Nathrakh back to back, which was really loud and fun.

7. Obscura – Akroasis

A brilliant slice of tech death. An album I haven't seen on a ton of lists and I'm not sure why because it rules.

8. Vektor - Terminal Redux

A dizzingly intense listen, but so much fun.

9. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking

Killer album with an engaging story. Also had one of my favorite songs of the year: A Dream That Cannot Be feat. Doro.

10. Oathbreaker – Rheia

I've only listened to this album twice, but it was recommended to me at just the right time - rough day, had the free time to sit in the dark and listen to it with headphones - and it had an effect on me I can't forget.

11. Interment - Scent of the Buried

Unapologetic Swedish death metal. Never lets up nor strays from its theme (hint: it's death). Wicked buzzsaw guitar tone.

12. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner

A combination that is greater than the sum of its parts.

13. Sumerlands – Sumerlands

I didn't think I listened to this album enough to deserve to be able to put it on the list. But then I listened to it twice a day for two days and realized it is not to be left off this list.

14. The Lion's Daughter - Existence is Horror

Come for the throat-shredding vocals, stay for the sludgy, blacked-out, sometimes-synthy beatdown.

15. Oozing Wound - Whatever Forever

Irreverent, cynical thrashy noise rock with one of my favorite album covers of the year. Sometimes the Metal Archives "lyrical themes" say it all: War, Drugs, Death.

16. Castle - Welcome to the Graveyard

Something about their particular brand of doomy blasphemy really grabbed me. Fun listen.

17. Anciients - Voice of the Void

Cool burst of proggy, riff-based metal. While you wait for the next Mastodon album.

18. Inquisition - Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith

Do you like riffs? Like, really like them? Because I do and that's why this album is on this list.

19. Revocation - Great is our Sin

Super-solid effort from a tight-as-hell band.

20. Mantar - Ode to the Flame

Excellent follow up to 2014's Death By Burning. Catchy, groove fest that's heavy in all the right places.

21. Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crepuscule

Two words this album conjures for me: grimy and dirty. Those are good things.

22. Insomnium - Winter's Gate

I just like saying the word melodeath. This album kicks ass. Truly stirring in multiple places.

23. Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows

A surprisingly controversial album on the MetalHeads podcast. It has some challenging aspects, length, for one, but the awesome parts are awesome.

24. Ihsahn – Arktis

Just a killer, epic album.

25. Metallica - Hardwired…To Self Destruct

I think this album rules. If you don't, that's cool too. If you think it sucks, I think you have Metallica-related baggage that you need to let go of.
Mark didn't stop there. In the spirit of John's statistical analysis he scoured a bunch of other lists to see what the rest of the world liked best. From Mark: "Don't ask me WTF I did this for, but I compiled 40+ best of lists to figure out what everybody likes. Khemmis was very popular."

1. Khemmis - Hunted
2. Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep Of Reason
3. Blood Incantation - Starspawn
4. Gojira - Magma
5. Cobalt - Slow Forever
6. Vektor - Terminal Redux
7. Oranssi Pazuzu - Varahtelija
8. Astronoid - Air
9. SubRosa - For This We Fought the Battle of Ages
10. Nails - You Will Never Be One of Us
11. Sumac - What One Becomes
12. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner
13. Alcest - Kodama
14. Abbath - Abbath

Next up we have Galen and Neutrino from Infera Bruo.

Galen's List

1. Virus - Memento Collider
2. Borknagar - Winter Thrice
3. Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder
4. Fates Warning - Theories of Flight
5. Opeth - Sorceress
6. Sumac - What One Becomes
7. Bethlehem - Bethlehem
8. Inquisition - Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith
9. Abbath - Abbath
10. Khonsu - The Xun Protectorate

Neutrino's List

1. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner 
2. Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
3. Obscure Sphinx – Epitaphs
4. Inquisition – Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
5. Borknagar – Winter Thrice 
6. Virus – Memento Collider 
7. Eternal Khan – Lost in the Night of Ages 
8. Nordjevel -  Nordjevel  
9. Sumac – What one Becomes  
10. Abbath – S/T
11. Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign
12. Black Fucking Cancer – S/T
13. Sarke – Bogefod 
14. Alcest - Kodama
15. Oranissi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
Next up, Cam Pipes, formerly of the mighty 3 Inches of Blood, weighs in on his three favorite albums of 2016.

Cam's List

1. Running Wild - Rapid Foray
Although they don't sound like alike, Running Wild are basically Germany's AC/DC, to the extent that they have locked down a pretty recognizable formula of their own and continue to crank out some killer tunes decades since their inception. Rapid Foray is another raucous and jaunty pirate filled chapter in the saga of Rockin Rolf Kasparek. Stand out tracks: Warmongers, Black Bart, Last of the Mohicans.
2. Blood Ceremony - Lord of Misrule
More people need to check this band out. Lord of Misrule really shows Blood Ceremony's remarkable growth and maturity as songwriters since the last album. The really tight, warm production sharpens the band's hard rock edges compared to previous outings. There's a primal feel to their 60's/70's influences as you're taken on an electric ride of occult wonderment. Some nice interludes and mood changes mixed among the more driving, hook-laden riffs and no song feels out of place. Stand out tracks: The Rogue's Lot, Lord of Misrule, Old Fires
3. Enslaved - The Sleeping Gods/Thorn
I know this is technically not a new album but the songs are basically brand new to a majority of people. Enslaved has long been one of my absolute favorite bands. This is a great chunk of songs to tide the fans over until the next full length album. This release really showcases what Enslaved are aptly capable of doing and where they could be going musically. It's like each track is its own short story written by a different author but they all intertwine into a larger narrative. Enslaved continues to be a sonically diverse group. The true fans think they know what to expect with each successive record but there's always surprises with this band. I'm encouraged by this EP knowing Enslaved will keep pushing the boundaries and doing things their own special way. Stand out tracks: Heimvegen, Alu Misyrki, Nordlys.
Coming to us from Sweden...just kidding, from Finland, is Jani Konttinen of Perihelion Ship

Jani's List

1. Vektor - Terminal Redux
2. Twilight Force - Heroes of Mighty Magic
3. Fleshgod Apocalypse - King
4. Opeth - Sorceress
5. Cult of Luna & Julie Christams - Mariner
6. Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
7. Witherscape - Northern Sanctuary
8. Ghost - Popestar
9. Alcest - Kodama
10. Moonsorrow - Jumalten aika
This next list is from Adem Tepedelen, author of the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, and our beer bible here on the podcast.

Adem's List

"Because I'm old, my picks for 2016 are primarily older bands or bands that sound old school."

1. Diamond Head - Diamond Head 
2. Brain Tentacles - Brain Tentacles 
3. The Shrine - Rare Breed
4. Destruction - Under Attack
5. Victims - Sirens
Shawn Roarke provides our next list. You may recall Shawn from one of our previous episodes where he came on for an interview, or like Buke, you may be a huge fan of NHL hockey.

Shawn's List

These were my 20 favorite albums of 2016. I’m not sure that they are the best albums of the year because as much as I listen to music, there are still a ton of discs I need to hear. But, I do know they are all great pieces of work. They are listed alphabetically.

Abbath – Abbath, Season of Mist
Want to know how important Abbath was to the Immortal sound? Listen to this disc and you will have a good idea. It harkens back to the best of Immortal, but also moves the sound forward in its own way. A powerful solo debut.
Allegaeon – Proponent for Sentience, Metal Blade
This album just blew me away. The guitar work on it is fantastic and the new singer, Riley McShane brings a whole new level to the music. Saw these guys in Jersey without their drummer and it was perhaps the most unique set I have seen all year/decade.
Amon Amarth – Jomsviking, Metal Blade
Might well be the best album I have heard in 2016. You know what you are going to get with Amon Amarth – sweeping, sonically lush tales of Viking derring-do. The boys have never done it better than they have with the disc.
Charred Walls of the Damned – Creatures Watching Over the Dead, Metal Blade
I could listen to Richard Christy drum all day. But, this is more than just a platform for Christy’s virtuoso drummer; it is an accessible, varied album that should please fans of many different genres.
Church of Misery – Then There Were None, Rise Above
Yes, Church of Misery has tapped the serial killer motif pretty dry in the past decade, but they have not exhausted their riffy, crusty, doomy musical presentation. This is a whole new version of Church of Misery (bassist Tatsu Mikami is the only member left from the last release) and it is different enough to be entertaining. Lead vocalist Scott Carlson adds a new bent to the whole macabre parade.
Defeated Sanity – Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata, Willowtip
Basically, Defeated Sanity did a split with itself. Side A is traditional Defeated Sanity, big, crushing riffs, an omnipresent bass and drums galloping like a stampede of wildebeests. Side B is a throwback to the original Florida death metal scene and everything has a bit more of a flourish and virtuosity. The gang at Willowtip put out some Grade-A stuff each year, but this was the best of the best in my eyes.
Die Like Gentleman – The Quickening Light, Independent
Introduced to this Portland contingent through the spectacular Doomed and Stoned in Portland sampler a few years back (Ten Hells by DLG is among my favorite songs of the past few years), I was excited to see Gentleman put out a new disc. It, as expected, perfectly captures the doomy, sludgy sound that should be a recognized export of the Northwest Territories of the United States, but does it in its own unique way. Die Like Gentleman are among my favorite finds in my musical wanderings.
Eight Bells, Landless, Battleground
Another Portland band, this one is almost without description or genre classification. Yes, it is doomy, but it is also proggy. Singer Melynda Jackson creates a sense of yearning with almost every song.
Every Time I Die – Low Teens, Epitaph
The ETID crew has a tried-and-true formula. They make aggressive, but fun music with clever, intelligent lyrics. On Low Teens they do it as well as they have at any point in the past decade. A fun album.
Gojira – Magma, Roadrunner
This is different. Not in a better or worse way, just different for Gojira. Melancholy is explored throughout the album, which is not as confrontational or as in your face as past offerings. Sometimes, change can be good. This is one of those times.
Hammers of Misfortune – Dead Revolution, Metal Blade
This is in my Top 5 for 2016, but that is no surprise. I have been a champion of this outfit, and particularly John Cobbett for many years now. Cobbett is an underrated guitarist, as this album once again shows. So many people are pissed off, for a variety of reasons, in 2016, but Cobbett and Co. show an intelligence to their anger/frustration in this offering. A must listen!
Hatebreed – Concrete Confessional, Nuclear Blast
Hatebreed is one of those bands that you either get or you don’t. I get everything about Hatebreed and always have. Their message has gotten me through more than one tough stretch in my life and I’m sure they will do so again.
Killswitch Engage – Incarnate, Roadrunner Records
Vocalist Jesse Leach said he wanted to make people think with the lyrics on this album. He did just that, but KSE still managed to surround the message with the standard elements that have come to define their sound.
Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us, Nuclear Blast
Thank god this album was a mere 21 minutes long because it is a full-out frontal assault by Nails that will leave you breathless and maybe a bit fearful. A perfect dose of grindcore.
Product of Hate – Buried in Violence, Napalm Records
It’s got some groove in it. It’s got some power in it. It’s got some violence in it. It’s got a sick level of thrashy musicianship in it. All in all, not a bad debut for these Wisconsin-based lads.
Revocation – Great is our Sin, Metal Blade
Among the most technically sound discs on this list, this Boston four-man just keeps getting better with each release. Ash Pearson, the band’s new drummer on this album, is a great addition.
Shammasch – Triangle, Prosthetic
This is 100 minutes of the most experimental, challenging, beautiful music you will ever hear. This is a triple album concept and each disc is a stand-alone achievement. The second album is the best thing these Swiss boys have done to date. Can’t recommend this – or their earlier stuff enough.
Sumac – What One Becomes, Profound Lore
Oh man, this album is all over the place. That is not a criticism, it is a complement. It is a different listen each time. Listen once for the vocals, the unique raspy howl of Aaron Turner. Listen again for the guitar, which yo-yos from chaotic to concise. Or the rhythm section, which is completely on point. Just make sure you listen, again and again.
Tombs – All Empires Fall, Relapse
This is not the Tombs I once knew. There is no denying they have moved in a new direction with this EP. I for one am OK with it as it harkens back at times, while also moving forward, to the gothic metal on which I cut my teeth almost 30 years ago. Among the most interesting discs I heard this year.
Trap Them, Crown Feral, Prosthetic
The songs are fast, both in style and duration and the lyrics are belligerent. In other words, this is a typical Trap Them offering; but in reality it is not. Simply, they do everything better on this album than they have in the past and that is a good thing.
Up next we have a list from Mike Klassen of the blackened doom band Culted.

Mike's List

1. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
2. Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows
3. Neurosis - Fires Within Fires
4. Sumac - What One Becomes
5. Swans - The Glowing Man
6. Batushka - Litourgiya (technically a 2015 release-Dec. 5-but I didn't hear it till this year, so I'm sticking with it)
7.Gorguts - Pleiades Dust
8. Cult Of Luna/Julie Christmas - Mariner
9. Schammasch - Triangle
10. Abbath - s/t
11. Voivod - Post Society
12. A.M.S.G - Hostis Universi Generis
13. Cobalt - Slow Forever
14. Zhrine - Unortheta
15. Wovenhand - Star Treatment
16. Antaeus - Condemnation
17. Almyrkvi -Pupil of the Searing Maelstrom
18. Aluk Todolo - Voix
19. Inquisition - Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
20. Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder
Winner in the category of "Providing more than we could ever expect from someone's list" we bring you, and thank, Chris Voss.

Chris' List

15 Albums of 2016 You Need to Check Out (But Might Not Have Yet)
by Chris Voss (aka Necrolytic Goat Converter)

You can say a lot of things about 2016, but one thing you cannot say is that there wasn’t an ridiculous abundance of great metal releases. Cast a stone this time of year and everyone and their brother are writing up end of year lists (there are probably some great ones right here on this very website). Hell, over on my new stomping grounds I took a sizable amount of space to talk about why we make lists, what they say about us, and what my particular end of year list said about me.

Now here’s where it gets crazy: that list had 45 records on it. And it wasn’t even CLOSE to the end of great metal I heard this year.

So when Buke graciously asked me if there was anything I wanted to contribute to the Metalheads Best of 2016 Lists (and can I take a moment to fanboy out and and say that, as far as metal podcasts go, this marathon of great music conversation is doing stuff no one else is? This is what real passion sounds like and we need more of it) I immediately jumped at the chance to talk about some of the other great metal out there that deserves your attention. The reach and breadth of what metal can be is expanding at an exponential rate, looking forward as much as it is looking back.

So in that spirit, I sat down and came up with the following list of gnarly, shredding and often triumphant metal that - if you haven’t had a chance to check out - you should get into your ears and brain as soon as possible. Think of this as the second course - when you read Buke, George, Jay, John and the rest of the gang’s lists come to the table, pull up a chair and let’s sit down for another course of the flesh that sustained me in 2016.

1. Attacker - Sins of the World
Metal on Metal Records doesn’t mess around; the focus is on old school heavy metal, and Attacker’s brand of blisteringly fast speed/power metal fast brings to mind the furious metal I grew up in the late 80s and 90s. It’s impossible not to drive your fist to tracks like “Carcosa” and the Geoff Tate-like screams in “We Rise.” When people bring up the term “old school” this is what comes to my mind.
2. Bacterial Husk - Agnosia of Omens
Dark and dirty death metal EP that bring to mind early and classic Obituary, Cannibal Corpse and Leprosy-era Death with righteously scuzzy production that can’t mask the talent on sings like “Sculpting the Locust Deity” and “Leech Carriage.” This is hero worship executed flawlessly, and at only 15 minutes long it’s easy to play again and again.
3. Burial in the Sky - Persistence of Thought
There are probably more well-known progressive/technical death metal albums released this year (ahem, Obscura *cough*) , but for my money the best album in that crowded quintillion notes a minute genre was Burial in the Sky with their self-released debut LP Persistence in Thought. Putting real emphasis on melody and structure they never lose sight of the song, and on barnburners like “Anchors” they show why they’re leaving other bands in their dust.
4. Candiria - While They Were Sleeping
Probably the most well-known band on this list, but it’s simply criminal Candiria were overlooked on so many lists (including my own, which is why I’m rectifying it here). Putting a renewed emphasis on the heavier elements that marked classic records like The Process of Self Development this is everything that made me fall hard for this band. And yes, there are jazz breaks again.
5. Dunsmuir – Dunsmuir
Do you really need me to tell you to check this out? It might have gotten lost in the shuffle of other records, but you tell me there’s a band playing hard 70s style metal and hard rock, and it features Neal Fallon (Clutch on vocals) as well as Vinny Appice from all that was great in the 70s and 80s (Black Sabbath, Dio) and I will storm any gate to get a piece of this. It doesn’t disappoint.
6. Green Bastard – Pyre
Fuzzed out sludge/doom out of New Hampshire, Green Bastard evoke early Torche and the best of bands like Sleep, OM, and even a little Hawkwind to craft three sprawling tracks of great feedback driven metal. The bass of frontman Spencer Benson can summon Elder Gods and move your soul four inches to the left. This is what happens when you move forward while acknowledging your forebears.
7. Imperium Dekadenz - Dis Manibvs
On album #3 the Austrian black metal merchants continue their unique brand of melodic, atmospheric black metal, accentuating the darkened mood on tracks like “Only Fragments of Light” but always knowing the best way to focus their power without sliding into sloppy tremolo-picked rote black metal. Melancholic majesty reigns on “Still I Rise” and “Volcano.”
8. Krypts - Remnants of Expansion
This is how you do death/doom, folks. Cold and sinister and dirge-like without actually being all that slow is quite a feat, and on tracks like “The Withering Titan” Krypts pull it off like it’s no big deal. This was a huge help standing out in the cold watching my kid’s soccer games, just saying...
9. Mesarthim - The Great Filter
I had a hard time trying to figure out which of the FIVE releases Australian DSBM band Mesarthrim put out this year to represent the amazingly consistent work they’ve done, and then just a few days ago this single 21:33 track was put out and it’s everything great about this mysterious entity. Shifting moods and tones organically there’s not a bad second, let alone moment on this. Perfect introduction if you’re not familiar.
10. Mothra - Decision Process
Instrumental band carrying the Tool torch loud and proud. I’d stop short of calling them a clone, however; there’s a myriad of influences from shoegaze to post-rock that twist and turn in the folks of each song. The beautiful production helps to give each instrument the space needed to breathe and carry the whole album into a pace reserved for massive dreams.
11. Sarcoptes - Songs And Dances of Death
Yeah, it’s pretty much straight ahead 90s symphonic black metal, but there’s a thrash quality I keep coming back to that I enjoy. The beginning of “The Fall of Constantinople” has a Slayer riff that kept me moving right into the unholy chants and blast beats. Nothing is reinventing the wheel (or Steel) but it’s good, clean and evil fun.
12. Slaves BC - All is Dust and I Am Nothing
One of two small “cheats” in this list, as technically this was on my honorable mentions list, but I wanted to devote a little more space to it. Slaves BC is furious blackened hardcore that pummels you into submission. Kicking off with “God Has Turned His Back” each song meditates on the human experience, particularly as it relates to faith. Shots of doom occasionally serve to vary the intense and brutal experience Slaves BC provides, but I think it’s one worth having.
13. Tarot – Reflections
You have to reach way back to the beginning of the year for this slice of retro art rock that has a huge debt to 70s art rock like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep as well as modern occult masters like The Devil’s Blood. It’s heavy in the same way the latest (and outstanding) Opted record is, and you don’t think it’s metal, open you third eye and expand that mind, man... This is music to get lost in. Headphones essential.
14. Twilight Fauna - Fire of the Spirit
The second and final of my “cheats” Twilight Fauna’s latest is not an easy listen, and it’s not one that I can turn on at any time. It’s mix of cavernous noise/metal and Appalachian neo/dark folk demands a careful and patient ear, and rewards the listener with nuances that are revelatory as a musical experience. This is experimental but simultaneously deeply personal and human. Take your time and you won’t be disappointed.
15. Wildhunt – Descending
And we end where we began, with one of my favorite labels. If both the Euro thrash of Wildhunt and the speed metal fury of Attacker don’t turn you onto Metal on Metal Records, I can't help you. With songs like “Age of Torment” and “History Deletes Itself” this is the perfect blast of retro metal that continues to remind me of what brought me to the genre in the first place and why I keep pursuing it in every corner and genre.
Thanks to Metalheads and especially to Buke for inviting me to share some music with you all. Let’s keep it heavy in 2017!
-Chris

Necrolytic Goat Converter: https://necrogoatconverter.bandcamp.com
Have you gone into a Metal List Coma yet? There's still plenty more to gorge upon. Here is the top 10 list from RocknRoll Beer Guy.

RocknRoll Beer Guy's List

1. Revocation- Great is Our Sin
2. Everytime I Die - Low Teens
3. Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissassociation
4. Car Bomb - Meta
5. Meshuggah - Violent Sleep of Reason
6. Oathbreaker - Rheia
7. Opeth - Sorceress
8. Brain Tentacles - Self Titled
9. Killswitch Engage- Incarnate 
10. Twelve Foot Ninja- Outlier 

Check out RocknRoll Beer Guy:
https://rocknrollbeerguy.wordpress.com
Dan Klajncar's list. Kudos for the non-metal list!

Dan's List

1. Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
2. Cobalt – Slow Forever
3. Vektor – Terminal Redux
4. Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
5. Oathbreaker – Rheia
6. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
7. Mizmor – Yodh
8. Ketzer – Starless
9. Child Bite – Negative Noise
10. Sumac – What One Becomes
11. Zhrine – Unortheta
12. Schammasch – Triangle
13. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
14. Inverloch – Distance|Collapsed
15. Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
16. Wildernessking – Mystical Future
17. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
18. Blood Incantation – Starspawn
19. Asphalt Graves – The New Primitive
20. The Lion’s Daughter – Existence Is Horror
21. Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
22. Eerie – Eerie
23. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
24. Ripper – Experiment of Existence
25. Martyrdöd - List

Top 5 Albums That I Wish I Spent More Time With

1. Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law
2. Anciients – Voice of The Void
3. Opeth – Sorceress
4. Hammers of Misfortune – Dead Revolution
5. Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts

Top 5 Albums That Aren’t Metal But Can Appeal To Metal Peeps!

1. Soft Kill – Choke
2. MONO – Requiem For Hell
3. Super Unison – Auto
4. Tiny Moving Parts – Celebrate
5. Gost – Non Paradisi (Secret Arcana)
This one comes from John Burkholder-Travis, and might I say he has a very fine choice for number 1.

John's List

1. Thrawsunblat - Metachthonia
2. SkeletonWitch - Apothic Gloom [EP]
3. Gruesome - Dimensions of Horror [EP] (better than Savage Land and I even bought the tshirt)
4. Ihsahn - Arktis.
5. Destroyer 666 - Wildfire
6. Uhtcearu - Plight of the Wanderers
7. Kvelertak - Nattesferd
8. Alcest - Kodama
9. Cobalt - Slow Forever (Would be 3-4 if I cut it down to 1 disc)
10. Anthrax - For All Kings
11. Hyperion - Seraphical Euphony
12. Witchery - In His Infernal Majesty's Service
13. Rotting Christ - Rituals
14. Witchcraft - Nucleus
15. Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows
16. Borknagar - Winter Thrice

Crawling out from the utopian depths of his moss-ridden cave, bringing the kvlt: Rick Bonnin

Rick's List

In no order:
Prerdatory Light - Predatory Light
Demon Bitch - Hellfriends
Slaves BC - All is Dust and I am Nothing
Zhrine - Unortheta
Wormrot - Voices
Trap Them - Crown Feral
Temple Nightside - The Hecatomb
Blood Incantation - Starspawn
Gevurah - Hallelujah
Mizmor - Yodh
Urzeit - Anmoksha
Uskumgallu - Rotten Limbs in Dreams of Blood
Mare Cognitum - Luminiferous Aether
Mare Cognitum/Aureole - Resonance Crimson Void
Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crepuscule
Altarage - Nihil
Matt Fichter's list, in no particular order...

Matt's List

Khemmos - Hunted
Neurosis - Fire Within Fires
Nails - You'll Never Be One Of Us
Seven Sisters of Sleep - Ezekiel's Hags
Holy Serpent - Temples
Abbath - Abbath
Inquisition - Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith
Gost - Non Paradisi (not metal)
Gojira - Magma
Myrkur - Mausoleum
Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley (not metal)
Winterfylleth - The Dark Hereafter
Kvelertak - Nattesferd
Domkraft - End of Electricity
Brant Bjork - Tao of the Devil
Graves at Sea - The Curst That Is
Slomatics - Future Echo Returns
Conan - Revengeance
Allllmost there. Stay on target. The second to last list is from Matthew Stewart.

Matthew's List

1. Wormed - Krighsu
2. Thrawsunblat - III: Metachthonia
3. Blood Incantation - Starspawn
4. Obscura - Akroasis
5. Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crépuscule
6. Oranssi Pazuzu - Varahtelija
7. Vektor - Terminal Redux
8. Incarceration - Catharsis
9. Khemmis - Hunted
10. Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows
11. Ihsahn - Arktis
12. Omnility - Dominion of Misery
13. Tombs - All Empires Fall
14. Death Fetish - Clandestine Sacrament
15. Frozen Ocean - The Prowess of Dormition
16. Ancestor's Blood - Hyperborea
17. Show Me The Wolves - The World They Took Over
18. Cult of Luna/Julie Christmas - Mariner
19. Rorcal - Creon
20. Trap Them - Crown Feral

Honorable Mentions
Carbomb - Meta
Blood Ceremony - Lord of Misrule
Fallujah - Dreamless
Revocation - Great is Our Sin
Closing us out is the list from Metal Nick.

Nick's List

15. Metallica - Hardwired...To Self Destruct
I already got a slot of slack from people in the metal community for even mentioning this record, but FUCK THEM! I don't listen to the music I listen to to impress anybody. This album really made me happy. The last Metallica Album I really enjoyed was the" Black Album" after that the next 4 records were not really my cup of tea. I felt like a little kid again listening to the Black Album the day I got it. Great riffs, amazing song writing. Metallica really caught me off guard with this one.
14. Nails - You Will Never Be One Of Us
This is not my favorite Nails album, but it was a good one. There was a lot of hype surrounding this record when it came out. I enjoy Todd's crushing riffs and angry vocals. Earlier this year I saw Nails for the 2nd time (they never like to come south of Philadelphia, but hopefully this tour in March stays) and when they broke into the title track the place went nuts. It reminded me why I love this band so much in the first place. By the time I got this record in the mail I was pretty stoked to hear how great the songs were considering "abandon all life" was a hard record to follow up.
13. Brain Tentacles - Self Titled
Some may say this is not a metal record, and that is fine. Dave Witte is a phenomenal drummer and the saxophone adds a great touch to this album. This album has a John Zorn "Naked City" vibe to it, and that's always a good thing. I caught these guys live with Gorguts back in October and they were even better live.
12. Gorguts - Pleiades’ Dust
A large part of me did not want to add this to the list mostly because it felt more like an EP than a full length. Gorguts (Luc in general) are brilliant. This album has so many elements of Prog, death metal, avant grade, and all around great riffs. I caught these guys live back in October and they played the entire record and it made me more impressed with this release.
11. Despised Icon - Beast
Despised Icon are who I hold responsible for my videos success on Youtube. If it weren't for Alex Erian re posting my videos on their My Space page back in 2006 no oone would have ever checked out any of my videos. When they called it quits back in 2010, I was bummed out because seeing these guys perform live makes me so happy. When I heard this record I was blown away that they still had it in them to write great music. The drums on this album are unreal, its like Alex Grind somehow got faster than he was before. I have nothing for love for this band and this record.
10. Wormed - Krighsu
Wormed is probably my favorite Brutal Death metal or Slam band out there. This new record picked up where the last one left off with crazy guitar riffs, super fast drums and one of the scariest sounding vocals you will ever hear in your life. I was lucky to catch these guys twice at MDF this year, and they performed quite a few songs from this record both sets.
9. Sex Prisoner - Tannhäuser Gate
To those who are not familiar with Sex Prisoner they are a hardcore/power violence band out of Arizona, They have a super sludgy guitar tone and crushing vocals. This is actually their first full length album ,they have released a bunch of demo's and 7" records before they finally put out a whole album. This band reminds me a lot of Weekend Nachos mixed with Eyehategod.
8. Animals As Leaders - The Madness Of Many
Tosin is a fucking genius. Each AAL record is more different from the previous, I wondered how they would be able to be different from "The Joy Of Motion" and somehow they did it. The track "Cognitive Contortions" in particular has a mega man 2 level vibe to it that captured my attention immediately. This band can do no wrong.
7. Weekend Nachos - Apology
It saddens me that this is their last album. Some of the best live sets I have seen over this past decade have come from Weekend Nachos. I was not that impressed with the previous album "Still" but they certainly made up for it with this one. Every song on this album delivers crushing guitars with angry vocals on top. I will truly miss these guys and my vinyl collection of theirs is going to finally stop growing.
6. Asphalt Graves - The New Primitive
To anyone who is unfamiliar with this band it consist of Jason Netherton (Misery Index), Brent Purgason (Gwar), Shannon Lucas (Ex-BDM) and Adam Faris who is a RVA local musician. This album has an early Misery Index/Napalm Death-Fear Emptiness Despair vibe to it. Very grindy with an amazing guitar tone and crushing drum sounds. They cover a Disrupt and a Nasum song on this record so if you are a fan of either of those bands check out Asphalt Graves, you wont be disappointed.
5. Car Bomb - Meta
When I was making my top 2016 list I was going to add Meshuggah to this list, but when I heard this record I had to kick them off all together. Car Bomb is a very techy/prog metal band that has a drummer that might as well be from outer space bacuase I cannot describe how unreal his drumming is. After three attempts I caught them live finally in Philadelphia this past November and they did not disappoint.
4. Magrudergrind - II
This was the very first new album of 2016 I bought, and GODDAMN!! Magrudergrind and fucking incredible! Avi is one of my favorite vocalists, his scream is so insane it literally makes you want to get up and break something. I was so impressed with this album that I bought three copies on vinyl!!
3. Revocation - Great Is Our Sin
Some may think I am bias with this band because of how great of friends I am with these guys. You may be right about that, but you cant deny how great of song writers they are. Dave Davidson truly is one of the best guitarist of our generation. This is their first album with Ex Three Inches Of Blood drummer Ashley Pearson and he shows you why they replaced Phil with him. By the second track on this album you get a full blown explosion of metal in your ears. I cant say enough good things about this band except this album is the reason these guys are one of my favorite bands.
2. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation
Again another great band making their final album in 2016. One thing I took away from this album was that this was by far their best produced album, and probably their best album all around. This is another album that I loved so much that I own 6, YES 6 copies of it on vinyl.
1. Vektor - Terminal Redux
Vektor is a really special band to me. To most people its just thrash. To me they are a progy thrash band with black metal-ish vocals. I got an extremely advanced copy of this album (3 months before it was released) and by the 2nd listen I could tell that this was going to be my favorite album of the year. Every member of this band is really talented at their instrument and it shows in full on this record. There are some parts of this album that may turn the average metal fan off, but I say you gotta progress your sound to stay relevant in this genre and they did just that. All in all I was extremely impressed with how great the song writing was on this album, an amazing follow up to 2011's Outer Isolation.

Best Metal Albums of 2016

This seething black cauldron of suck that is 2016 is almost over. A lot of bad things happened this year, and we lost a seemingly staggering amount of people this year. But lots of good things happened as well. There was also a mountain of killer albums this year, so let us take solace in the great metal releases of 2016. Below is the METALHEADS combined list based on the lists of all those who participated in the year-end podcast episode. Once again, John has taken all of our lists and crunched the numbers based on how often an album showed up on people's lists and where it was ranked on their list. Below that are all the individual lists for everyone. Let us hope that 2017 is a better year, and one equally rich in metal releases. Cheers! - George

#10
Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows
Cult of Luna & Julie C. - Mariner


#9
Devin Townsend Project
Transcendence


#8
In Mourning
Afterglow


     
#7
Khemmis
Hunted


#6
Orannsi Pazuzu
Värähtelijä


#5
Perihelion Ship
A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring


     
#4
Thrawsunblat
III: Metachthonia


#3
Blood Incantation
Starspawn


#2
Ihsahn
Arktis


     
#1
Gojira
Magma


George's List:


1. Thrawsunblat - III: Metachthonia
2. Cobalt - Slow Forever
3. Ihsahn - Arktis
4. Fleshgod Apocalypse - King
5. Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
6. Subrosa - For This We Fought the Battle of Ages
7. Hail Spirit Noir - Mayhem in Blue
8. Perihelion Ship - A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring
9. Gojira - Magma
10. Hyperion - Seraphical Euphony
11. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner
12. Thy Catafalque - Meta
13. Unearthered Elf - Into the Catacomb Abyss
14. Anthrax - For All Kings
15. Borknagar - Winter Thrice
16. Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika
17. Witchcraft - Nucleus
18. Khemmis - Hunted
19. Anaal Nathrakh - The Whole of the Law
20. Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
21. Uhtcearu - The Plight of Wanderers
22. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
23. Wildernessking - Mystical Future
24. Lotus Thief - Gramarye
25. Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder

Buke's List:


1. Khemmis - Hunted
2. Ihsahn - Arktis
3. Revocation - Great Is Our Sin
4. Opeth - Sorceress
5. Obscura - Arkosis
6. Vektor - Terminal Redux
7. Textures - Phenotype
8. Thrawsunblat - III: Metachthonia
9. In Mourning - Afterglow
10. Borknagar - Winter Thrice
11. Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary
12. Blood Incantation - Starspawn
13. Harakiri for the Sky - III: Trauma
14. Hyperion - Seraphical Euphony
15. Gojira - Magma
16. Centinex - Doomsday Rituals
17. Dark Tranquility - Atoma
18. Perihelion Ship - A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring
19. Be'Lakor - Vessels
20. Zhrine - Unortheta
21. Hannes Grossman - The Crypts of Sleep
22. Winterfylleth - The Dark Hereafter
23. Nucleus - Sentient
24. Spellcaster - Night Hides the World
25. Allegaeon - Proponent for Sentience

Jay's List:


1. Witchcraft - Nucleus
2. Pelander - Time
3. Kvelertak - Nattesferd
4. Black Fucking Cancer - Black Fucking Cancer
5. Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows
6. Vredehammer - Violator
7. Graves At Sea - The Curse That Is
8. Witchery - In His Infernal Majesty’s Service
9. Trap Them - Crown Feral
10. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
11. Hammers of Misfotune - Dead Revolution
12. Rotting Christ - Rituals
13. Big Business    - Command Your Weather
14. Anthrax - For All Kings
15. Occult Burial - Hideous Obscure
16. Destoyer 666 - Wildfire
17. Cobalt - Slow Forever
18. Abbath - Abbath
19. Ihsahn - Arktis
20. Moonsorrow -Jumalten Aika
21. Eerie - Eerie
22. Black Tomb - Black Tomb
23. Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
24. Glenn Hughes - Resonate
25. Thrawsunblat - III: Metachthonia

Will's List:

1. Eerie - Eerie
2. Gojira - Magma
3. Centinex - Doomsday Rituals
4. Borracho - Atacama
5. Sililoquium - An Empty Frame
6. Blood Incantation - Starspawn
7. Slomatics - Future Echo Returns
8. Zhrine - Unortheta
9. In Mourning - Afterglow
10. Witchery - In His Infernal Majesty’s Service
11. Revel in Flesh - Emissary of All Plagues
12. Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows
13. Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
14. Destoyer 666  - Wildfire
15. Church of Misery - And Then There Were None
16. Uhtcearu - The Plight of Wanderers
17. Helgamite - Hypnagogia
18. Khemmis - Hunted
19. Allfather - Bless the Earth With Fire
20. Slabdragger - Rise of the Dawncrusher
21. Dehumanized - Beyond the Mind
22. Troglodyte - Anthropological Curiosities and Archeological Relics
23. Wildernessking - Mystical Future
24. Wayfarer - Old Souls
25. Hellbringer - Awakened From the Abyss

John's List:


1. Fates Warning - Theories of Flight
2. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
3. Oak Pantheon - In Pieces
4. Insomnium - Winter's Gate
5. Blood Incantation - Starspawn
6. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner
7. Perihelion Ship - A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring
8. Anciients - Voice of the Void
9. Gojira - Magma
10. Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
11. Votum - :KTONIK:
12. Counter-World Experience - Pulsar
13. Ihsahn - Arktis
14. Lotus Thief - Gramarye
15. Alcest - Kodama
16. Be'Lakor - Vessels
17. Spotlights - Tidals
18. Wildernessking - Mystical Future
19. Hail Spirit Noir - Mayhem in Blue
20. In Mourning - Afterglow
21. Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary
22. Thrawsunblat    - Metachthonia
23. Hammers of Misfotune - Dead Revolution
24. Unearthered Elf - Into the Catacomb Abyss
25. Vektor- Terminal Redux

Joel's List

1. Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika
2. Opeth - Sorceress
3. Ihsahn - Arktis
4. Forteresse - Thèmes pour la rébellion
5. Alcest - Kodama
6. Wode - Wode
7. Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
8. Winterfylleth - The Dark Hereafter
9. Amon Amarth - Jomsviking
9. Rome - Coriolan
10. Dark Tranquility - Atoma

Need to Listen to in 2017
Unearthed Elf, Hammers of Misfortune, Wildernessking, Troglodyte, Testament, Witherscape, Hail Spirit Noir, Allfather, Centinex, Lotus Thief, Hyperion, Thy Catafalque, Gojira, In Mourning, Witchery, Perihelion Ship, SubRosa, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Oak Pantheon, Kvelertak, Orannsi Pazuzu, Pelander, Cobalt, Witchcraft, Fates Warning, Eerie, Khemmis

Best of 2016 Mid-Year Lists

In Episode 51 of the podcast we did a Top 11 Albums of 2016 Mid-Year. Here are everyone's lists, as well as a combined list John put together based on which albums showed up the most on all of our lists.

The Combined List

  1. In Mourning – Afterglow (3) - 28 points
  2. Vektor – Terminal Redux (5) – 25 points
  3. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä (2) – 24 points
  4. Destroyer 666 – Wildfire (3) – 22 points
  5. Ihsahn – Arktis (3) – 22 points
  6. Cobalt – Slow Forever (3) – 21 points
  7. Gojira – Magma (2) – 20 points
  8. Thraswsunblat – Metachtonia (2) – 19 points
  9. Perihelion Ship – A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring (2) – 18 points
  10. Fleshgod Apocalypse – King (3) – 17 points
  11. Graves at Sea – The Curse That Is (2) – 15 points

George's List

  1. Thrawsunblat - Metachthonia
  2. Cobalt - Slow Forever
  3. Fleshgod Apocalypse - King
  4. Ihsahn - Arktis
  5. Gojira - Magma
  6. Anthrax - For All Kings
  7. Graves at Sea - The Curse That Is
  8. Vektor - Terminal Redux
  9. Slice the Cake - Odyssey to the West
  10. Borknagar - Winter Thrice
  11. Hyperion - Seraphical Euphony

Buke's List

  1. Obscura – Akroasis
  2. Hyperion - Seraphical Euphony
  3. In Mourning - Afterglow
  4. Perihelion Ship - A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring
  5. Zhrine - Unortheta
  6. Thrawsunblat - Metachthonia
  7. Nails - You Will Never Be One of Us
  8. Vektor - Terminal Redux
  9. Destroyer 666 - Wildfire
  10. Fleshgod Apocalypse - King
  11. Destroyers of All - Bleak Fragments

Jay's List

  1. Kvelertak - Nattesferd
  2. Vredehammer - Violator
  3. Rotting Christ - Rituals
  4. Graves at Sea - The Curse That Is
  5. Destroyer 666 - Wildfire
  6. Cobalt - Slow Forever
  7. Anthrax - For All Kings
  8. Winterhorde - Maestro
  9. Fleshgod Apocalypse - King
  10. Vektor - Terminal Redux
  11. Nails - You Will Never Be One of Us

Will's List

  1. Gojira - Magma
  2. In Mourning - Afterglow
  3. Destroyer 666 - Wildfire
  4. Gruesome - Dimensions of Horror
  5. Helgamite - Hypnagogia
  6. Allfather - Bless the Earth with Fire
  7. Troglodyte - Anthropological Curiosities and Archeological Relics
  8. Slabdragger - Rise of the Dawncrusher
  9. Conan - Revengeance
  10. Church of Misery - And Then There Were None
  11. Wayfarer - Old Souls

John's List

  1. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
  2. Oak Pantheon - In Pieces
  3. Votum - :KTONIK:
  4. Perihelion Ship - A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring
  5. Ihsahn - Arktis
  6. In Mourning - Afterglow
  7. Spotlights - Tidals
  8. Abysse - I Am the Wolf
  9. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner
  10. Vektor -Terminal Redux
  11. Wildernessking - Mystical Future

Dan's List

  1. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
  2. Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts
  3. Sumac - What One Becomes
  4. Vektor - Terminal Redux
  5. Gadget - The Great Destroyer
  6. Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner
  7. Latitudes - Old Sunlight
  8. Ihsahn - Arktis
  9. Sig:Ar:Tyr - Northern
  10. Cobalt - Slow Forever
  11. Wo Fat - Midnight Cometh

Neutrino's List

  1. Borknagar – Winter Thrice
  2. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
  3. Spektr – The Art to Disappear
  4. Batushka – Litourgiya
  5. Abbath - Abbath
  6. Eternal Khan – Lost in the Night of Ages
  7. Virus – Memento Collider
  8. Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign
  9. Nordjevel – Nordjevel
  10. Desaster - The Oath of an Iron Ritual

Galen's List

  1. Virus - Memento Collider
  2. Borknagar - Winter Thrice
  3. Abbath - Abbath
  4. Sarke - Bogefod
  5. Ulver - Atgclvlsscap
  6. Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts
  7. Dark Funeral - Where Shadows Forever Reign
  8. Batushka - Litourgiya
  9. John Zorn - Mockingbird
  10. Nordjevel - Nordjevel

Feind’s Best of 2016 So Far…

Hello Metalheads and my friends THE MetalHeads! I’m Feind Gottes author and writer/editor for Thy Demons Be Scribblin. We’re about at the mid-way point of the year so a short time ago Buke (my new internet stalker!) asked me if I’d be willing to provide a little mid-year list if I wasn’t already doing one for my own site. I didn’t hesitate to say yes but since I will be doing something for my own site I wanted to somehow give two completely different lists basically so I could cheat and share 20 of the year’s top albums so far. What I came up with was a way to have the best of both worlds. I receive, seek out and try to support lesser known bands as much as possible because I really get sick of people saying things like “there are no good new bands/music anymore.” That is a load of BS that says to me, “I’m too lazy to look for new music and I’d rather complain that it doesn’t just appear out of thin air into my little earholes.” Especially in the last few years I’ve found it literally hard not to run into new awesome music and bands if you take just a few minutes to look. All of that aside, since if you listen to the guys’ podcast which if you’re here I assume you do, you should already have or at least be aware of the bigger acts who have put out great albums this year like Gojira, Aborted, Amon Amarth and a slew of others so for this Top Ten of the year so far I thought I’d share my Top Ten Indie Albums of 2016 with you. Some of these are true independent albums self-released by the band and some are from smaller, lesser known indie labels. So without further ado here are ten albums that prove it has never been a better time to be a MetalHead!

10 Archaic Decapitator – Light of a Different Sun Ep

#10 Archaic Decapitator.jpg

Archaic Decapitator are a new progressive, technical melodic death metal band from Connecticut that you may want to keep your eyes on in the future. This may only be a 5 song Ep but it’s better than most full albums you’ll hear this year. If you like bands likeAt The Gates, Abysmal Dawn or Hour of Penance you should definitely check this album out. The songs are intricate, complex and beautifully heavy.

9 Projekt F – The Butterfly Effect

And now for something completely different as Monty Python would say, Projekt F are definitely a horse of a different color. Think Tool meets Nine Inch Nails meets Mudvayne and you’ll be in the right ballpark. A little industrial, a little nu metal and a little progressive is what you’ll get from Projekt F. I’m not a huge industrial metal fan but with the mix of several styles incorporated into their sound, Projekt F are more than just a run of the mill industrial band. Another band I think you’ll be hearing much more about in the future.

8 Subterranean Disposition – Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure
Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records

One of my favorite doom bands of the last few years has been Spain’s Horn of the Rhino, who unfortunately I recently discovered have called it quits, and that is who new death doom dealers Subterranean Disposition most remind me of. Maybe it’s just the insertion of the saxophone into their sound (HotR are the only doom band I’ve ever heard do that) that brought about that comparison but whatever. This is one of the most unique doom albums I’ve heard yet this year. There’s plenty of death metal in the mix for any of you who are not really a doom fan too. There are a ton of very generic sounding doom bands out there these days which makes SD stand out all the more.

7 Neid – Atomoxetine

Enjoy Napalm Death? Who doesn’t, right?!? Then you need to add Neid to your grindcore collection! Neid are the Italian Napalm Death for you. Fast, heavy as a ten ton elephant riffing and a nice facsimile of Barney behind the mic is what you’ll get from Neid. I’m not even a grindcore fan in general and I f’ing love this album so that should tell you how damn good it is. If you need to get out some aggression and anger (and who doesn’t?) there are few albums that will help you more.

6 Verdun – The Eternal Drift’s Canticles
Label: Head Records

Slow plodding blackened doom of the highest caliber is what Verdun offer up on their debut album. If you liked Morbid Evils last year then you’ll probably dig the hell out of this because it’s even better than that. Once unheard of for metal, France is becoming a real hotbed of fantastic “not your average run of the mill” metal in the last few years and you can add Verdun to the growing list of fantastic metal bands who call France home. This is one of the best doom albums of the year for sure.

5 Dope Smoker – Marijuana

This was an album I found just looking around Bandcamp one day for some new material and I hit play thinking it would be awful and just a joke. The band’s name is what caught my attention due to my pure love for Sleep’s infamous DopeSmoker album or if you’re not in the know on that one, DopeSmoker is one 63 minute long epic doom track that ended up being the end of Sleep until they reunited for live shows starting a few years ago. This Dope Smoker is a band from Wales in the UK who may be professing an obvious love for the sticky icky but rather than it being a bunch of stoners goofing off these are some seriously excellent doom tracks. Unlike most doom these 10 tracks are short (most 4-5 minutes) blending their sound into a mix between sludge, stoner metal and doom. I keep coming back to this album over and over so it must be good.

4 Astrakhan – Reward In Purpose
Label: War On Music/Sunmask

I only received this album a few weeks ago but it’s already become one of my favorite albums of the year. I know Buke agrees with me because we talked about it. I probably would’ve listened to this one a hundred times already but I got the new Gojira album a few days later so I keep going back and forth between the two. Progressive technical doom is what you’ll get from Astrakhan. This is the band’s debut album but this album sounds like a band who have been playing together for years. It’s like Tool with a touch of doom added to the mix. Rather than ending on an epic note Astrakhan begin with the nearly 11 minute epic, Omajod, which is a precursor for the rest of the album that follows. It may seem counterintuitive to do this but it makes the shorter tracks that follow pack a bigger punch in my humble opinion. This is an album you need in your collection, it’s simply awesome!

3 Boss Keloid – Herb You Enthusiasm

This album was a pleasant surprise since it came my way via a PR rep that actually took the time to see what other music I liked. Most of the PR firms that send us music basically see that we like metal so just use the “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” approach which is fine because we get a lot of awesome metal that way but here I got the “hey I see you liked Band X so you might like this” approach. I may not have heard Boss Keloid if that didn’t happen and that would have been a huge shame because this is one excellent album. A perfect mix of doom and sludge Boss Keloidwill rock your balls off! They sound like what would happen if Clutch were a sludge/doom band. How they haven’t been signed to a major label is beyond me.

2 Wo Fat – Midnight Cometh
Label: Small Stone Records

Wo Fat continue to be one of the best sludge/doom bands on the planet who continually slip under most people’s radar. Their last album, 2014’s The Conjuring, was a sludge masterpiece and here on Midnight Cometh they’ve added a huge dose of groove moving this one more to stoner metal territory. Midnight Cometh is filled with one fat groove filled riff after another that make this album fun to listen to over and over which I assure you that I have. This album was also a pleasant surprise since I had no idea it was coming out until I saw it by chance one day. It’s another album that I keep coming back to again and again making it one of my favorites of the year thus far.

1 Ape Cave – Pillars of Evolution

This is another album I found completely by chance and damn I’m glad I did! I’ve said for months now that this is my doom album to beat this year and while some have come close none have done it yet. This album came out in January and I still listen to it at least once or twice a week and sometimes more. Pillars of Evolution is a psychedelic doom masterpiece and it’s the first output from this little band from Portland, OR. I don’t know if it’s the mountains and forest scenery up there that inspires so much fantastic metal but Portland is home to several of my current favorites including YOB, Red Fang, Lord Dying and now I can include Ape Cave in that mix. I’m not sure an album will come along that knocks this off my top spot this year but when it’s this good… who cares?! Don’t have it yet? Fret not the band is still giving it away for free on Bandcamp! Get it before they wise up and charge you for it! They also have their first video coming soon for the awesome song below, Ego Death.

Hopefully some or perhaps all those bands were new to you unequivocally (don’t even try to pronounce that Buke!) putting to rest the complaint that “there’s no good music coming out any more.” Those ten are only the tip of the iceberg of awesome music floating around out there. No matter what style of metal you’re most into I promise there are great new bands popping up every day, you just have to spend a few minutes looking around to find them. The big labels can only do so much and today it’s easier than ever for a band to get their music out there for you to hear so go look, it’s there waiting for you to discover it. Until the guys screw up and ask me back to the podcast… Feind Out!

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Top 10 Albums of the Last 15 Years (or so)

In Episode 41 of the podcast we did a Top 10 Albums of the Last 15 Years list. In case you missed it, or couldn't be bothered, here are our lists from that episode, as well as a combined list John put together based on which albums showed up the most on all of our lists.

The Combined List

  1. Mastodon - Leviathan
  2. Gojira - From Mars to Sirius
  3. Opeth - Blackwater Park
  4. Sentenced - The Cold White Light
  5. Celtic Frost - Monotheist
  6. Machine Head - The Blackening
  7. Tied for 7th - Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor
  8. Tied for 7th - Opeth - Ghost Reveries
  9. Tied for 9th - Anthrax - Worship Music
  10. Tied for 9th - Bloodbath - Resurrection Through Carnage

George's List

  1. Woods of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
  2. Sentenced – The Cold White Light
  3. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
  4. Ahab – The Giant
  5. Timeless Miracle – Into the Enchanted Chamber
  6. Celtic Frost – Monotheist
  7. Powerwolf – Blood of the Saints
  8. Anthrax – Worship Music
  9. Children of Bodom – Hatecrew Deathroll
  10. Bloodbath – Ressurection through Carnage

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Amon Amarth – With Oden on Our Side
  2. Dissection – Reinkaos
  3. In Mourning – The Weight of Oceans
  4. Machine Head – The Blackening
  5. The Ocean – Pelagial

Buke's List

  1. Machine Head - The Blackening
  2. Opeth - Ghost Reveries
  3. Sentenced - The Cold White Light
  4. Between the Buried & Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
  5. Hatebreed - Perseverence
  6. Killswitch Engage - Alive of Just Breathing
  7. Lamb of God - As the Palaces Burn
  8. Bloodbath - Ressurection through Carnage
  9. 3 Inches of Blood - Advance & Vanquish
  10. Anthrax - Worship Music

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Children of Bodom – Hatecrew Deathroll
  2. Tombs - Savage Gold
  3. Dimmu Borgir - Death Cult Armageddon
  4. Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden
  5. Mastodon - Leviathan
  6. Pantera - Reinventing the Steel
  7. Iron Maiden - Brave New World

Jay's List

  1. Celtic Frost - Monotheist
  2. Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor
  3. Mastodon - Leviathan
  4. Opeth - Blackwater Park
  5. Isis - Oceanic
  6. Enslaved - Ruun
  7. Machine Head - The Blackening
  8. High on Fire - Blessed Black Wings
  9. Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
  10. Iron Maiden - Brave New World

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Vanden Plas - Christ-O
  2. Goatwhore - Blood For the Master
  3. Type O Negative - Dead Again
  4. Pig Destroyer - Terrifyer
  5. Tool - Lateralus
  6. System of a Down - Toxicity

Will's List

  1. Gojira – From Mars to Sirius
  2. Cannibal Corpse – Kill
  3. Kreator – Hordes of Chaos
  4. Bloodbath – Nightmares Made Flesh
  5. Clutch – Blast Tyrant
  6. Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden
  7. Slayer – Christ Illusion
  8. Borracho - Splitting Sky
  9. Pyres – Year of Sleep
  10. Hark – Crystalline

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Yesterday Saints – Generation of Vipers
  2. Iron Maiden – Brave New World
  3. High on Fire – Snakes for the Divine
  4. Deicide – To Hell With God
  5. Testament – Formation of Damnation
  6. Mastodon – Leviathan
  7. Cavalera Conspiracy – Inflikted
  8. Behemoth – The Satanist
  9. Candiria – What Doesn’t Kill You
  10. Sick of it All – Death to Tyrants
  11. V.Y.G.R. – Hypersleep
  12. Every Cannibal Corpse Album

John's List

  1. Opeth - Blackwater Park
  2. Mastodon - Leviathan
  3. Gojira - From Mars to Sirius
  4. Primordial - To the Nameless Dead
  5. Novembers Doom - The Pale Haunt Departure
  6. Amorphis - Eclipse
  7. Devin Townsend - Addicted
  8. Arch/Matheos - Sympathetic Resonance
  9. The Ocean - Pelagial
  10. Opeth - Deliverance

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Isis - Oceanic
  2. Enslaved - Below the Lights
  3. Celtic Frost - Monotheist
  4. Symphony X - Paradise Lost
  5. Wilderun - Sleep at the Edge of the Earth

Top 5 Albums of 2015 - Joel Violette of Thrawsunblat

Top lists are hard. So are intros to them. So I think I’ll skip that bit. Here are my top 5 albums of 2015, in no particular order.

Dynfari - Vegferð Tímans: Icelandic atmospheric bm with haunting melodies, vast soundscapes and even a bit of philosophy thrown in. The sort of thing you listen to on long dark walks to the tops of mountains — or at the very least while considering them. It’s a new atmosphere — done well, and a refreshing take on the genre.

Immortal Bird - Empress/Abscess: Being in a band with someone who co-writes one of your favourite albums of the year is an experience I suggest you try, if at all possible. Empress/Abscess is a punch to the teeth all the way through; so heavy, gritty, ruthless. Probably the most unique melodies I heard in 2015 — without a single note out of place.

Amorphis - Under the Red Cloud: Got my folk fix from Amorphis this year. In a genre like folk metal, where the set of chords and melodies must conform to the set of chords and melodies that sound like folk metal, it always, without fail, blows me away when I hear something new. Like, truly new. Riffs that both haul you in and take you to a brand new melodic place. Amorphis have done it here.

Jaga Jazzist - Starfire: The only non-metal album in the list, and only the instrumental one, too. Came across this band via the title track, which I recommend you undergo at least once before you die. I love any experience that can combine the logical with the, er, non-logical — things that hit you in the brain and in the feels. Here the time signatures whizz around you in circles while the melodies enrapture you.

Wilderun - Sleep at the Edge of the Earth: Someone described it as celtic prog metal, and I think that’s pretty accurate. It’s as complex as Opeth, both in structure and in actual riff composition, which doesn’t mean a damn if even a lone note is off — which it of course never is. An enthralling, almost cinematic release from fellow North American folk metallers, and a release I’m glad Thrawsunblat III isn’t competing against.

Top 10 Metal Albums of 2015 - Combined

The following list was compiled by John based on the lists from George, Buke, Jay, Will and John. He assigned points to each album based on where they showed up on each person's list and then added up all the numbers to see how albums ranked. Enjoy!

#10
Yesterday's Saints
Generation of Vipers


#9
Swallow The Sun
Songs from the North 1,2,3


#8
Draconian
Sovran


     
#7
Odetosun
The Dark Dunes of Titan


#6
High On Fire
Luminiferous


#5
Paradise Lost
The Plague Within


     
#4
Alkaloid
The Malkuth Grimoire


#3
Wilderun
Sleep at the Edge of the Earth


#2
Cattle Decapitation
The Anthropocene Extinction


     
#1
Amorphis
Under the Red Cloud


Top 25 Metal Albums of 2015 - George

I have heard some people say that 2015 wasn’t as good a year for metal as last year. I find myself unable to agree with that assessment. For the better part of 2015, I felt like I was spinning around in circles trying to catch all the great albums as they came flying by; I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a great undiscovered treasure just around the next corner that I had not yet discovered. Despite this, there were a great many wonderful discoveries this year, and I attribute many of these to Bandcamp. When I decided to change over my music collection from MP3 to FLAC this past spring, Bandcamp became my go-to spot for buying music. While I had been using Bandcamp before my FLAC obsession, this year it was probably my greatest resource. Not only can you get albums from many signed bands, but you will also find music from unsigned bands that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. I cannot thank Bandcamp enough for all the great music they have provided me with this year, and you will find some those releases in the following list of my Top 25 albums for 2015. I hope you can find some new music to enjoy in this and the list that follows. - George

#25
Temple of Baal
Mysterium


#24
Skepticism
Ordeal


#23
Mgla
Exercises in Futility


     
#22
Stellar Master Elite
III


#21
Dead to a Dying World
Litany


#20
Void of Sleep
New World Order


     
#19
Shining
IX - Everyone, Everything, Everywhere Ends


#18
Tribulation
The Children of the Night



#17
Slugdge
Dim and Slimeridden Kingdoms


     
#16
Ur Draugr
The Hunger Undying


#15
Paradise Lost
The Plague Within


#14
Avatarium
The Girl with the Raven Mask


     
#13
Ahab
The Boats of the Glen Carrig


#12
Mephorash
1557 - Rites of Nullification


#11
Bell Witch
Four Phantoms


     
#10
Amorphis
Under the Red Cloud


#9
Wilderun
Sleep at the Edge of the Earth


#8
Yesterday's Saints
Generation of Vipers


     
#7
High On Fire
Luminiferous


#6
Dodheimsgard
A Umbra Omega


#5
Cattle Decapitation
The Anthropocene Extinction


     
#4
Alkaloid
The Malkuth Grimoire


#3
Myrkur
M


#2
Iron Maiden
The Book of Souls


     
#1
Swallow The Sun
Songs From the North 1,2,3


HONORABLE MENTION

  • Baroness - Purple
  • Black Star Riders - The Killer Instinct
  • Catatonic Society - Baptistina
  • Faith No More - Sol Invictus

You May Also Like...

In a year ripe with so much great metal music, it was painfully difficult to complile a list of only the top 25 metal albums. While the albums below did not make my top 25, I feel that each of them are worthy of attention as well. Once you have checked out all the albums in the list above, if you still find yourself wanting more great metal, check out the albums listed below. I have been accused of not being able to edit myself, but I cannot help being a huge fan of all these albums. In an effort to appease complainers I actually whittled away 25 other albums to keep this list down to 50. Dig in. I hope you find some great new music you hadn't heard about previously.
  • A Flourishing Scourge - As Beauty Fades Away
  • Arcturus - Arcturian
  • Ascension - The Dead of the World
  • Ashen Horde - Nine Plagues
  • C R O W N - Natron
  • Cave of Swimmers - Reflection
  • Chapel of Disease - The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art
  • Corpse Garden - Entheogen
  • Corrections House - Know How to Carry a Whip
  • Cretus - Dux Mea Lux
  • Crypt Sermon - Out of the Garden
  • Cult of Endtyme - In Charnal Lights
  • Dystopia Na - Dweller on the Threshold
  • Elder - Lore
  • Gorilla Monsoon - Firegod: Feeding the Beast
  • Gruesome - Savage Land
  • Haar - The Wayward Ceremony
  • Hate Eternal - Infernus
  • Hooded Menace - Darkness Drips Forth
  • Horrendous - Anareta
  • I am the Trireme - Gnosis - Never Follow the Light
  • Immortal Bird - Empress/Abscess
  • Infera Bruo - In Conjuration
  • Inner Sanctum - Legions Awake
  • Khemmis - Absolution
  • King Giant - Black Ocean Waves
  • Lychgate - An Antidote for the Glass Pill
  • Maieutiste - S/T
  • Majestic Downfall - …When Dead
  • MAKE - The Golden Veil
  • Melechesh - Enki
  • Midnight Odyssey - Shards of Silver Fade
  • Minsk - The Crash and the Draw
  • Mutoid Man - Bleeder
  • My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery
  • Napalm Death - Apex Predator
  • Nechochwen - Heart of Akamon
  • Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed
  • Outre - Ghost Chants
  • Roundtable - Dread Marches Under Bloodied Ragalia
  • Shape of Despair - Monotony Fields
  • Skraeckoedlan - Sagor
  • Solefald - World Metal
  • Sulphur Aeon - Gateway to the Antisphere
  • Sylosis - Dormant Heart
  • Tau Cross - S/T
  • Valkyrie - Shadows
  • Visigoth - The Revenant King
  • With the Dead - S/T
  • Wolfheart - Shadow World

Top 25 Metal Albums of 2015 - Buke

#25
Ageless Oblivion
Penthos


#24
Visigoth
The Revenant King


#23
Feral
Where Dead Dreams Dwell


     
#22
Sorceror
In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross


#21
Vhol
Deeper Than Sky


#20
Monolord
Vaenir


     
#19
RAM
Svbversvm


#18
Gruesome
Savage Land


#17
Behold! The Monolith
Architects of the Void


     
#16
Barren Earth
On Lonely Towers


#15
Entrails
Obliteration


#14
Amorphis
Under the Red Cloud


     
#13
Alkaloid
The Malkuth Grimoire


#12
Byzantine
To Release is to Resolve


#11
Black Fast
Terms of Surrender


     
#10
Between the Buried & Me
Coma Ecliptic


#9
Elder
Lore


#8
Saviours
Palace of Vision


     
#7
Black Tongue
The Unconquerable Dark


#6
Cattle Decapitation
The Anthropocene Extinction


#5
Tau Cross
Tau Cross


     
#4
Gloryhammer
Space 1992


#3
In Twilight's Embrace
The Grim Muse


#2
Draconian
Sovran


     
#1
Wilderun
Sleep at the Edge of the Earth


HONORABLE MENTION
  • Barshasketh - Ophidian Henosis
  • Crypt Sermon - Out of the Garden
  • Exgenesis - Aphotic Veil
  • Ghost Ship Octavius - Ghost Ship Octavius
  • Majestic Downfall - ...When Dead
  • Mammoth Storm - Fornjot
  • Melechesh - Enki
  • Mutoid Man - Bleeder
  • Royal Thunder - Crooked Doors