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
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!