Represented in endless forms, deities have been the most revered of all entities to worship. Interpreted in numerous different cultures the idea comes in a variety of formats. Pledging your allegiance to a person or ideology, many have false allegiances. Regardless of agenda it seems that violence is almost always in tow. None more loyal than the fans of Metal, the legions of Thrashers of all ages once again make the musical pilgrimage with Kreator with their first release in four years, Gods Of Violence.
Modesty within music is somewhat of a gift. Often given the reins to roam free around musical composition, at times music of the instrumental persuasion can fall into the trap of nondescript widdling. Known for their technical prowess in their other outfit Ne Obliviscaris the make of Vipassi is relatively smaller yet no less worth your attention, particularly with their stunning debut Sunyata.
Of all the genres in the Metal universe the most caustic surely has to be Grindcore. Bred to be one of the most aurally assaulting sounds we can associate with music, The Drip are no strangers to extremities. Jumping off the deep end after their EP releases the band saved some of the heaviest material for last.
Throughout cultural history the idea that we are not alone has been a fascinating one. Spanning years, aliens have always been a hot topic amongst fiction, even causing the public to believe a radio reading of War of The Worlds was real! Embedded into society’s culture, no doubt in aid to the likes of Ridley Scott and James Cameron, the overall idea is that aliens are probably not going to be very nice when we have an encounter of The Fourth Kind and now we get to know what they would all have on their stereos…
One man’s trash is another’s treasure as the saying goes. For those unfamiliar with the Channel 4 Sunday phenomenon that was the old man calling ,Scrapheap Challenge, allow me to elaborate. Two teams of engineers, brought together to run into a scrapyard and create something out of nothing. Following the same formula, Sepultura return in 2017 after their celebratory Roots run to find their “scrap” to combine both ideas from an esoteric sense along with those of a mechanical nature to create the conceptual Frankenstein’s monster that is Machine Messiah.
Giving a renewed sense of life, death can be one of the most unforgiving teachers in life. Educating both mind and body in not taking what we are given for granted. Being diagnosed with a flesh eating bacteria, Pain of Salvation‘s Daniel Gildenlöw recently had a brush with that most callous of entities. Surviving the ordeal the man and band have returned to deliver In The Passing Light of Day. Fueled by resolve from Gildenlöw’s experience the record is a self affirmation of identity.
Traditional values are something that have been revered as much as they have been questioned. With its bedrock being the emergence of the early nineties movement of Mayhem, Burzum, Black Metal is one of the most steadfast in the genres of Metal. However as the years have gone by there have been some chinks appear within its seemingly impenetrable armour. Enabling more experimentation, you could argue a new wave of Black Metal was initiated. Allowing for grander songs, far reaching soundscapes with sprawling melodies. Advocates of this new progression in Black Metal are one Black Anvil. Releasing their Relapse debut Hail Death in 2014, elements of the genre were not only expanded but questioned and now the band return with their latest flurry of questions for this most studious of masterminds with As Was.
All lists must come to an end. It’s been difficult to choose 24 of the years best, as musically 2016 has been beyond phenomenal. We close out the shortlist with Serenity’s Leonardo da Vinci inspired ‘Codex Atlanticus‘.
I don’t really know why I didn’t listen to Haken sooner. In perfect honesty, ‘Affinity‘ was the first album I had ever heard by the progressive sextet, but one listen to this album and I was eternally hooked.
Iceland seems like an appropriate place for black metal as a dark and barren tundra. As you would have it, one of the best black metal albums of the year has come from the island.
The Devil Struck Again in 2016. And he struck hard.
A band that has absolutely mastered the art of epic metal certainly deserves to be shortlisted for the album of the year whenever new music is released unto the earth. 2016 is no different with the release of Equilibrium’s ‘Armageddon‘.
I always enjoy a good bit of power metal, but nothing has stunned me as much as Twilight Force probably since the release of Rhapsody’s ‘Power of the Dragonflame‘. On that notion, ‘Heroes of Mighty Magic’ definitely makes the shortlist.
A flurry of symphonic brilliance thunders into the shortlist at number 12. There’s very few bands that do it better than Epica, and ‘The Holographic Principle‘ is no exception to the band’s magnificent back catalogue.
Periphery we’re already becoming a massive force in the publicly branded djent genre, but ‘Periphery III: Select Difficulty’ has solidified that notion.
An album I would have never expected to make the shortlist for album of the year, but there we go. Devilment’s sophomore effort made a lasting impression, and it still sits on the record player much to personal surprise.