AOTY 2016, as chosen by 365 Days of Horror, Joaquin Stick, and Spear!

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We’re in the full swing of Listmania with the top 10 albums of the year from our core crew of writers!

365 Days of Horror’s Top 10 Albums of 2016

nadja

10. Nadja – The Stone Is Not Hit By The Sun, Nor Carved With A Knife | Gizeh Records

Nadja puts out albums and EPs at a record pace that would make the members of Tool shriek in absolute terror. The duo consistently put out great atmospheric drum/bass/guitar/synth music and The Stone Is Not Hit By The Sun, Nor Carved With A Knife. Nadja manages to make you feel without saying much.

 


aafcc

9. An Autumn For Crippled Children – Eternal | Wickerman Recordings

Dutch trio An Autumn For Crippled Children’s Eternal is a post-black metal depressive odyssey. It hatches in the emotional centers of the brain and slithers its way down into your chest where it lays in wait. Even ugliness can be pretty as heard in this album.

 


eldamar

8. Eldamar – The Force Of The Ancient Land | Self-Released

The Force Of The Ancient Land is the debut album of this Norwegian one-man project. I randomly discovered Eldamar while randomly clicking around Youtube and I am really glad I did. This is atmospheric black metal combined with an intense, yet tragic beauty. It makes me want to trudge through a snow-covered mountain to find the true meaning of life.  The synths and female vocalizations launch this album from good to great. I can’t wait to hear what else Eldamar has up his sleeve.


zvi 7. Zvi – Zvi II: Death Stops Us All | Halfpear Records

Though only 3 songs long, this album by Ron Varod (Kayo Dot, Sabbath Assembly, Psalm Zero) draws the listener in and holds them there until the very end. You feel yourself being drawn in with each somber note and every tortured scream. Guest vocals by Alan Dubin (Gnaw, ex-Khanate) hits all the right and painful notes. Zvi II: Death Stops Us All is a sleeper album that makes you regret shutting your eyes.


babymetal 6. Babymetal – Metal Resistance | RAL/Sony

The inclusion of Babymetal’s sophmore album Metal Resistance will probably upset a fair amount of strangers on the internet, but you know what? The backing band is very talented, the girls can sing, and the entire package is entertaining. Take a look at the rest of my list. It’s pretty much all depressing music. Metal Resistance makes me happy. That’s reason enough for it to be included.

 


katatonia-tfoh 5. Katatonia – The Fall Of Hearts | Peaceville

Katatonia specialize in a tender depression. While many bands pound the listener into submission, Katatonia gently rocks the listener into the sweet embrace of nothingness. Self-doubt, lost love, and general despair are par for the emotional course, but hopelessness never rears its ugly head. The Fall Of Hearts continues Katatonia’s Cal Ripken-like streak of great albums. Now excuse me while I find a rain-soaked window to stare out.


zao 4. Zao – The Well-Intentioned Virus | Observed/Observer Recordings

Though it was just recently released, The Well-Intentioned Virus showcases just how great a band Zao really was and remains to this day. They came to prominence during the hardcore/metalcore explosion of the early 00’s, but they were never really either one of those genres. This album showcases just how diverse their sound can be while still remaining cohesive. While most albums tend to blend together, The Well-Intentioned Virus stands out and is a great jumping-on point for newcomers.


killswitchengageincarnate 3. Killswitch Engage – Incarnate |  Roadrunner Records

Metalcore has gone through many permutations, but Killswitch Engage has always remained a constant. They have their own sound and it has worked for them for many years. Incarnate is catchy while still remaining heavy, a KSE staple. Vocalist Jesse Leach lyrics are honest and heartfelt which makes every song on the album feel earnest and important. Incarnate helps reaffirm my love for Killswitch Engage. Here is my full review of Incarnate.


Trees of Eternity - Hour of the Nightingale 2. Trees Of Eternity – Hour Of The Nightingale | Svart Records

I have been intending on writing a full review for Hour Of The Nightingale, but I have not been able to bring myself to do it. It is not for a lack of want, but for an inability to put my thoughts and feelings into words. This past spring I wrote a highly personal tribute for vocalist Aleah Stanbridge following her death and I have not felt ready to revisit those feelings. Hour Of The Nightingale is a hauntingly beautiful album. It makes me sad in a happy way and happy in a sad way. I wish that everyone could listen to it at least once in their life.


darktranquillityatoma 1. Dark Tranquillity – Atoma | Century Media Records

Dark Tranquillity have always been consistent. They have their sound and they have stuck by it for the majority of their careers. Atoma shows that the band has really grown and matured into a force to be reckoned with. Each song is a standout as they are full of purpose. When people ask “What does melodic death metal sound like?” or “What is the Gothenburg sound?” I will point to Atoma.

 

 

Joaquin Stick’s Top 10 Albums of 2016

10. Vektor Terminal ReduxEarache Records

This year, I have dipped into far more genres than ever before, so what better place to start than with some of my previously least-listened genres, technical and thrash. Though there were plenty of technical albums I enjoyed this year, I keep going back to this one. The opening and closing songs alone could have been released as an EP and it would still be up here. The diversity showcased is beyond impressive, and if the music is good enough for me to not just tolerate the weird vocals, but actually really LIKE them, that’s an achievement in itself.

Listen to – “Charging the Void


9. The Dear Hunter Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional Equal Vision Records

Let’s take a sharp left turn and listen to some progressive indie rock. As I’ve stated many-a-time, these guys have been my favorite “band-that-other-people-can-tolerate-too” band for a long time. After far too many years off from making their “Acts” albums, IV last year was good, and now V this year is excellent. They stretch the dramatic early 20th-century theme even further by adding a host of new musical concepts. Since the next act will be much different, I’m happy with this “musical conclusion”.

Listen to – “The Revival


8. Astronoid Air | Blood Music

This album somehow mixes music that I love now with some garbage I may have like in middle school and makes it an amazing. This ethereal shoegaze rampages on with blast beat-like ferocity. This is the pinnacle of this kind of music, and no one should attempt to do it again, even Astronoid. They should probably do something else now because Air should stand alone.

Listen to – “Up and Atom


7. iamthemorning LighthouseKscope

When it’s time to both lighten and darken the mood at once, I go with this Russian progressive chamber rock duo who created one beautifully somber album. This music hit me hard immediately, due to a mix of how vocalist Marjana slips between notes in the most beautiful and uncanny way and Gleb’s subtle piano work  lays the perfect atmosphere. To my surprise, after I pledged my obsession, I found that they got some help from members of prog giants Porcupine Tree and Riverside. Figures.

Listen to – “Too Many Years


6. Ihshan Arktis | Candlelight Records

I like my black metal with a side of… well anything else really. Ihsahn gives you more “other things” than black metal on this one, but it’s somehow consistant with the rest of his work. Arktis incorporated some excellent electronics that gave the album an icy atmosphere and is just generally unpredictable. Almost every song on the album is memorable and distinct, yet the overarching theme is undeniably present and intriguing.

Listen to – “Pressure


5. Somnus Aeternus ExulansisEpidemie Records

Now for the best album you’re not listening to. This one is harder to categorize, but it’s all the things I like at once. A little bit of old-school Opeth proggy death, building post-metal tendencies, and some of the best evil vocals all combine to make one wild listen. On top of it all lays a very dark and depressed concept that ties everything together musically and makes you actually feel something. These guys should be huge.

Listen to – “Frostbound


4. Spirit Adrift Chained to OblivionProsthetic Records

Now it’s time for one of my new obsessions. Nate Garrett came out of nowhere and surprised me with this exceptional piece of cathartic doom. His not-quite-perfect vocals are ultimately the charmer here. In a world of over-modulated music and boring perfection, it’s nice to hear something that is human for a change. Some minor forays into experimentation and demonstrated songwriting ability show that he should be around for quite some time.

Listen to – “Form and Force


3. Khemmis Hunted20 Buck Spin

As hard as I tried to keep my list diverse, I couldn’t help but put two similar stoner/cathartic doom albums on here. Seriously, Hunted and Chained to Oblivion are like brothers separated at birth. I am so unreasonably excited for this new era of doom. As much as I love some dark demented growls, bringing clean vocals back to good metal is something I look forward to. Hunted manages to mix both very well, adding some extra contrast to a solid sophomore album. These guys are deservedly on the hype train.

Listen to – “Candlelight


2. North Light the Way | Prosthetic Records

This is how you do post-metal. North disregard the theory that you have to be a little boring in the genre by packing Light the Way with melody and sludgy goodness. This album is a slow plodding death march that is full of surprises. The growls are punching and low, contrasting the soaring riffs and the rhythmic shapeshifting of the drums. My EOTY lists tend to have some recency bias, but Light the Way is one of the albums from early this year that I can not stop going back to. North is filling the Isis-sized hole in my heart and I hope they keep up to this new standard they set for themselves and the genre.

Listen to – “Primal Bloom


1. Alcest KodamaProphecy

Alcest is back in business. After releasing an album that I just sorta enjoyed, they dropped this blackened shoegaze piece of perfection. There are so many unique things happening on this album that I have a hard time talking about it. Seriously. I’m listening to it as I write this, trying to come up with a reason for why it is on my list, and I just can’t. It’s a beautiful, shape-shifting mystery that I can’t stop listening to. In Neige we trust.

Listen to – “Oiseaux de Proie

 

Spear’s Top 10 Albums of 2016

zealotry10. ZealotryThe Last Witness | Lavadome Productions

This has been a year filled with weird, gross death metal, and most of it was excellent. Any of them could have feasibly occupied a spot on this list (or indeed have made up the entirety of it), but I went with Zealotry, as I returned to them the most for repeat listens. A big part of the draw is that while this is very technical music, there is very little glitz beyond some shreddy guitar solos; The Last Witness is thick and ugly, moving like an undercurrent of sludge at the bottom of a river. That said, it’s also surprisingly clean- it’s easy to pick out and follow each part individually if you want, and that makes it all the more impressive hearing how it’s all put together. It’s dense and oppressive, but creative, and not much else sounds quite like it.

Defining Track: Yliaster


unfathomable-ruination9. Unfathomable RuinationFinitude | Sevared Records

Brutal death bands take note: this is how you do it. Finitude is absolutely insane, veering between the mind-numbingly fast and the crushingly heavy with reckless abandon. Songs go through rapid mutations from beginning to end, but they’re able to keep it all sounding coherent and bring each song full circle. It’s incredibly tight and varied, and it sheds many of the genre’s typical trappings for a uniquely brutal experience.

Defining Track:Neutralizer


obscura8. Obscura – Akróasis | Prosthetic Records

With the departure of super-duo Hannes Grossmann and Christian Muenzner, Obscura were in a prime position to redefine their sound. They did just that with the addition of Tom Geldschläger (Fountainhead) as their new lead guitarist and Sebastian Lanser on drums, as well as spreading the songwriting duties more evenly among their members. What really makes Akróasis is Fountainhead’s otherworldly fretless guitar playing, which brings a very distinctive flavor to the solos and adds an alien microtonal quality to a lot of the music overall. The album also has an oddly warm quality to it; even at it’s heaviest, it feels like there’s a sun at the center of it, burning with a powerful passion. It’s only a shame that we’re unlikely to hear another Obscura album like it.

Defining Track:Weltseele


deviant process7. Deviant ProcessParoxysm | PRC Music

I get why people don’t like tech death; you come for riffs and instead get something that sounds like Vivaldi on meth. You want something with some substance; music theory is good and all, but you want meat with those veggies. What you want is Paroxysm, the steak of the tech death world. This offering has everything you could ask for; beefy bass, guitar tone seared to perfect crispness, juicy vocals, and some super technical drumming (I’m running out of meat analogies). I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: this is the everyman’s tech death album, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you skip out on it.

Defining Track:As the End Begun


Saor6. SaorGuardians | Northern Silence Productions

AuraSaor’s 2014 opus, was a source of both solace and sorrow for me in what was one of the most trying times of my life. It evoked a powerful sense of nostalgia with its beautiful Highland melodies, starkly contrasting the bleak grayness I saw in the day-to-day. It made me feel like I was wasting myself when I could be working on something greater. Guardians is a worthy successor to Aura, bringing about many of the same feelings, though my own headspace is much clearer than those days. Intense yet meditative and surging with emotion.

Defining Track:Autumn Rain


mithras5. MithrasOn Strange Loops | Willowtip Records

Putting this album at number five makes me feel a little dirty; it’s easily good enough to top this list, but having a five-way tie for number one feels like cheating, so the rest of this is based on which albums I listened to most frequently. There’s not a whole lot I can say here that I didn’t already bring up in my review, so I’ll say this: On Strange Loops is a goddamn masterpiece. It’s melodic but heavy, savage yet beautiful, and it makes great use of effects and melodies that tie into the overarching concept of the album itself. Even after numerous listens, I’m still finding new things; a part I missed before, a connection I hadn’t yet made, and it gives me chills every time.

Defining Track:Between Scylla and Charybdis


crator4. CratorThe Ones Who Create : The Ones Who DestroyIndependent

Much like Alkaloid and their fantastic debut last year, Crator are more than just worthy of the moniker “supergroup;” they transcend it. The group is greater than the sum of its parts, and this is one of the most intense albums of their respective careers (which is saying something). The Ones Who Create is an intricate dance of dissonance, moving at an agitated fever pitch. In terms of raw, naked aggression, nothing can top it. It’s dark and unsettling on top of being brilliantly composed and produced, truly exemplary in every facet.

Defining Track: The Ones Who Create, The Ones Who Destroy


whispered3. WhisperedMetsutan – Songs of the Void | Redhouse Finland Music Publishing

Metsutan might not have the instant gratification factor of its predecessor Shogunate Macabre, but I feel it’s a better album in the long run. Whispered toy with some new ideas without sacrificing too much of their distinctive Japanese folk-influenced sound, and it pays off greatly. This is a huge step forward for the band; they’ve put a lot more care and effort into their craft than the average run-of-the-mill melodeath act, and it shows. Most importantly, it’s a damn fun album, and it only seems to get better with repeated listening.

Defining Track: Bloodred Shores of Enoshima


a0144143476_10 2. VektorTerminal Redux | Earache Records

Seeing Vektor perform “Ultimate Artificer” back in February cemented in my mind the fact that Terminal Redux was going to rip, but it still didn’t prepare me for the sheer scope of the experience. Here’s an album that is over 70 minutes long with the majority of its songs running over six minutes in length, and yet it still blasts by at warp speed with its cinematic presentation of an awesome sci-fi story. Vektor hits you with riff after riff after riff all the way up to the end, where it briefly recalls Pink Floyd’s “On The Turning Away” of all things before going into one of the most incredible conclusions of a metal album I’ve ever heard. Terminal Redux was an instant classic, and I have no doubt that it will go down as legendary in the annals of metal history.

Defining Track:Recharging the Void


a0737955160_10

1. Chthe’ilistLe Dernier Crépuscule | Profound Lore Records

As great as 2016 was for metal, nothing changed the game for me quite as much as Le Dernier Crépuscule. Chthe’ilist plays the same field as bands like Demilich and Timeghoul, but without feeling like they’re worshiping the past; indeed, I feel like it takes the style in a sinister new direction. This album drips with a vile ichor from every orifice, gleefully diving headfirst into the void and dragging you kicking and screaming with it. The music is deceptively complex, bending and twisting in odd directions on a mind-bending excursion through hideous ruins and desolate planes. It’s a journey I have been on many times since its release, and I imagine I will walk its winding paths many more times in the future. Even if you ignore everything else on this list, do not skip Le Dernier Crépuscule.

Defining Track:Tales of the Majora Mythos Part I

  • Joaquin Stick

    Spear, I can’t tell if I am looking at your top 10 or my Bandcamp wishlist. All bands that I really want to fund, but are just outside my “take all my money” range.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      You have a great list yourself!

      • Joaquin Stick

        🙂

        • Jack Rabbit

          Glad to see someone with Alcest at the top

    • Spear

      I’m pretty sure the entirety of yours is also on my wishlist, but my tech-addled brain hasn’t had the patience to let me sit down and listen to much of it yet. I’m glad to see Spirit Adrift on there, though.

  • That Astronoid album hits some weird middle ground between Devin Townsend, My Bloody Valentine, and like… Jimmy Eat World? It’s odd.

    • Joaquin Stick

      Ha, I won’t argue with that. It just makes me so happy for some terrible reason.

    • It’s an odd combination, but I think it works sinfully well.

    • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

      well i accually think this is a great album. my friends and I have all agreed. I think you people should listen up and accually turn up your stereos and listen to the music.

      -Anonymous, (February 3, 2006)

  • Howard Dean

    Metallica first, now Bay-beemetal. Does this mean ToH is coming out of its metamorph stage and will become a full-blown Metalsucks frog soon?

    When comes the Sergeant D posts about teenage scene bishes?

  • Max

    If 2016 has taught us nothing else – and it hasn’t – it’ll teach us that 2016 was the year the Void got Recharged.

    • 2016 taught me that I like putting things on lists but hate having to explain why I did it.

      • Max

        Please explain why you hate explaining.

        • Because, like, reasons n’ stuff.

          • Max

            Seems legit. I fully approve.

      • Lacertilian

        It’s writing about things for the second time that I find most difficult, guess I could quote myself but the husk where my ego once resided won’t allow me to do so.

    • I learned how to use a table router in 2016. It could be useful.

      • Max

        I enrolled at Trump University in 2016. They issued us a text book about real estate, but when I cracked it open, I saw that it was just Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” with the original cover torn off and Trump University’s stapled on. I’ve already read Think and Grow Rich; so no, I learnt nothing this year.

        • JWEG

          I once enrolled in a community center financial planning course that absolutely literally had this book on its reading list:

          https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B001BS6VZI/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

          • Max

            Out of all the reviews for it on the Amazon page you linked, this one is the best:

            “JBL is the greatest champion of all time!!!! He is magnificent and brilliant. He is great at wrestling and a total genius in and out of the ring. His car is a fantastic ride. It is a show of power and strength with those big bold bullhorns. I bow down to lord Bradshaw. The book is the greatest work of literature ever written. YOUR SO BRILLIANT, YOU GENIUS, YOUR SO BRILLIANT YOU GENIUS!!!! Ladies and Gentleman, this wonderful and charming man is so great that he even kisses babies at the Samckdown tapings!!! WOW!! Thats great appreciation to the fans. Wait a minute, kissing babies? Thats sick… This guy should be locked up and stripped of his title. He needs to be fired from WWE. GET OUT OF HERE!!! You suck JBL… What a sicko!!!!”

            That’s pretty much right up there with all the Amazon reviews for David Hasslehoff’s records and for Haribo sugar-free gummy bears.

          • Óðinn

            Upvoted for JBL. The speakers, not the hillbilly wrestler retard.

            Vintage JBL>>>>>>>>

            http://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/804211-vintage-jbl-signature-c37-speakers.jpg

          • JWEG

            I like my Bose speakers a lot, but I’d definitely also get JBLs for a full stereo system.

            That’s on my dream list, post-grad-student-expenses.

          • Óðinn

            Yes. Maybe a McIntosh amp, Thorens turntable, vintage Nakamich Dragon cassette deck…..

          • JWEG

            The fun part is that you can totally read it in JBL’s own (circa 2005 when I stopped watching) heel promo style, up to the point it derails and becomes obviously more like a snarky opponent parodying him…

            Y2J maybe. He was still there back then. I would hope they’re both retired by now though.

          • Óðinn

            I’m guessing that was a red flag.

            *it was at about this point in time when JWEG bagan to question the efficacy of this course*

          • JWEG

            One not-so-stealth reason for most of our local community center courses is to drive up the library branch circulation, since they’re both in the same building. So I checked it out just to ‘check it out’. Once.

            I doubt there are any American Adults who wouldn’t find the book’s content condescending, because if there ever were then they must have erased themselves from the gene pool by now…

          • Óðinn

            How’s the UVic library?

          • JWEG

            As a research library for a mid-sized University, not so bad. I quite preferred the UBC Libraries (for quite a few different reasons) while I was studying there, but the differences can mostly be chalked up to population size and different program needs.

            General “Information Service” and Research Help is kind of poor except if you go see a Subject Librarian, but as a trained Librarian myself maybe I’m just sensitive to that – though as a trained Librarian I also have the tools not to need it anyway.

          • Óðinn

            Thanks. Just curious. The UBC library is one of the best in Canada.

            Librarians >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      • Joe you got an air compressor yet? I overheard that guys need those.

        • Stanley

          You do if you have tubeless tires on your MTB.

        • I did! Got one as a hand-me-down a couple weeks back

          • Sweet! I was asking more in a joking manner, but now you can offer TovH brake service

      • Óðinn

        I learned to never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

  • RustyShackleford

    Killswitch?! I APPROVE! YEP!

  • Howard Dean

    Unrelated: On their FB page, Nokturnal Mortum just announced a new full length to be released this winter.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      They better keep those blues and funky influences that made Voice of Steel so delightfully delicious.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPPMd1d_QMA

      • Howard Dean

        Heck yes. They had moments that were almost jam band-esque on The Voice of Steel. On the track Valkyrie they have like a 3 minutes jammy solo that reminds me of Stevie Ray Vaughan or Joe Bonamassa or something. Great!

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      AOTY 2017

      On the reals though, I’m a bit nervous about this. I liked The Spirit Never Dies, but it was a quick appetizer at best, not necessarily indicative of their direction, skill and quality. And this is going to be their first ever release without any kind of an input from Saturious.

      • Howard Dean

        Agreed. I don’t think we can just brush off the departure of Saturious, since he contributed a lot creatively with his keyboards and folk instruments. Maybe it’ll lead to a more guitar-driven sound on the new album?

        I also really enjoyed their side of The Spirit Never Dies (I thought their side was a lot better than Graveland’s). But it’s going to be really tough to step out of the shadow of The Voice of Steel.

  • Hubert

    I agree with some of these picks and do not agree with some of the others. About a few, I have no opinion.

    • Howard Dean

      My man (goat).

      • KyleJMcBride

        Hubert is the G.O.A.T.

  • To my complete and utter lack of surprise, Spear’s list so far bears the most albums I was into this year.

  • Jack Rabbit

    My Quickly Thrown Together List:
    10)Nails-“You Will Never Be One of Us”
    9)Saor-“Guardians”
    8)Dillinger Escape Plan-“Dissociation”
    7)Black Queen-“Fever Daydream” *
    6)Wormrot-“Voices”
    5)Devin Townsend Project-“Transcendence”
    4)Vektor-“Terminal Redux”
    3)Frank Ocean-“Blonde”
    2)Deathspell Omega-“Synarchy of Molten Bones”
    1)Alcest-“Kodama
    *=Poser(Non-metal)

    • Joaquin Stick

      I forgot all about that DTP album. Yet another thing I need to revisit.

      • Jack Rabbit

        Probably the best DTP album since Addicted

      • Fuck. I never listened to it in the first place.

  • Óðinn
  • Óðinn
  • Hubert

    Lists with Mithras on them >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Óðinn
  • Stanley

    0/30. Dayum. Looks like I’m going to have to take a good, hard look at myself. What have I been doing with my life?

    • Spear

      Obviously not staying tech

      • Stanley

        I need to up my tech game.

        • Spear

          Good man. (but seriously, it’s not for everybody and I fault no one for not being able to get into it)

    • Howard Dean

      0-for-30 as well on this batch, though a couple of albums on Spear’s list were close.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      I can’t work with this!

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      I got 4

  • JWEG

    I’m still having issues getting my LP list down to 10 from 50, so instead here are my Top 10 Christmas-Themed and Christmas-Adjacent TV and Films I will be watching this Month, in no particular order. Viewing order might change if I find one or another on TV earlier than others, too:

    – Die Hard
    – Gremlins
    – Legend of Hell House
    – Silent Night, Deadly Night
    – Black Christmas
    – Scrooged
    – A Muppet Family Christmas (my inner child demanded it)
    – He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special
    – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
    – A Garfield Christmas Special

    Other yuletide films and TV will be watched, but these must be included.

  • W.

    Excellent stuff, gents, though i think Spear and I have the most overlap.

    Shield-eaters and world leaders have many likes alike, it would seem.

    • Spear

      Mmm, shields.

  • JWEG

    Thought of one way, since it naturally excludes a (metric) fuck-ton of stuff. Top 10 2016 LP by bands I discovered in 2016 (some debuts, some not):

    Astrakhan – Reward In Purpose
    Barishi – Blood from the Lion’s Mouth
    Black Kirin – National Trauma
    DEMOGORGON – Dilemma.Revenge.Snow (I don’t count it as an EP)
    Holy Grove – Holy Grove
    Kurishimi – Kurushimi
    Orion – Builders of Cosmos
    Snowburner – Future Primitive
    Spaceslug – Lemanis
    Warsnake – Warsnake

    Honorable Mention:
    – Temple of Abandonment – From Outer Spheres… Death

    This might actually qualify as an EP by length. It’s definitely a Demo though, so naturally excluded by convention. And in any case I expect the true LP to be in my ?2017? AOTY contenders list.

  • Waynecro

    Kudos to you for your number 6, 365 Days of Horror. That band is fucking awesome.

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    I honestly should check out Nadja more, but every time I listen to them I end up going back to the band that already perfected this particular style.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYtQe2XjkQs

  • Spear is good spear is wise, all hail the ancient instrument of war!

  • JWEG

    Also, @365daysofhorror:disqus:

    I respect your rationale for inclusion of a certain band, but when I want to listen to a poppy 2016 album that also makes me happy I just put on Emotion: Side B or Lady Wood.

    Heck. Here’s a Pop/Rock/Pop Rock Top Five that includes those. Order in this case is actually almost numeric, but not quite…

    Nada Surf: You Know Who You Are
    CRJ: Emotion: Side B
    Sam Roberts Band: Terraform
    Tove Lo: Lady Wood
    The Blue Stones: Black Holes

  • Waynecro

    That Astronoid album is a good, JS. That’s one of my go-to postworkout jams.

  • Waynecro

    I dig the list, Spear! Hell, I could make your best-of-2016 list my playlist tomorrow.

  • Óðinn

    I suppose it was only a matter of time…

    http://www.vs-webzine.com/imgitw/vargiyj4rT5ICAB2V.jpg

  • Thraeg

    Spear’s list is the best (i.e. most aligned with my own tastes) I’ve seen so far this year. Saor, Chthe’ilist, and Mithras in particular are way up near the top of my own top 10. Definitely going to make a point of checking out the couple on there that I haven’t heard yet.

  • tigeraid

    Khemmisssssss.

    Also pleasantly surprised to see a KSE mention. Even if I was a little underwhelmed by this last album.

  • Takeaways
    365 – I’ve heard good things about the Zao album and given I have a predisposition to all things coreish, I should see if these guys do anything for me (recalled hearing them years ago but nothing clicked)
    Joaquin – I have to revisit and North and Spirit Adrift in full, I gave them cursory listens with the intention of going back, but I was probably distracted by grind, hardcore, hip hop or sludge at the time.
    Spear – I only enjoy and handful of death metal these days but Unfathomable Ruination sounds like it warrants a listen if there are breakdowns to be had.

    • Unfathomable Ruination has breakdowns, but I wouldn’t really call them plentiful or even a focus of their music.

    • I think you and I have very similar music tastes.

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    It’s funny. There were so many good albums this year that a new fucking Mithras album nearly fell by the wayside for me.

    It absolutely rules though. I wish I could’ve put it on my list. But thems the breaks.

  • Óðinn
  • tigeraid

    Alright, I’ll crack this shit out. Top 10 is impossible, order is impossible, though I’d put either Khemmis or Grand Magus at #1.

    Khemmis – Hunted (I heard it was good! So fucking good. The writing is fantastic, and Phil Pendergast has embraced more sorrowful, soaring vocals over consistent growling, which only brings out the emotion of the tunes that much more. And the riffs–oh my.)

    Grand Magus – Sword Songs (VIKING METALLLLLLLLLLL. Righteous, furious, glorious. With JB at the helm can you go wrong? They’ve reached peak power.)

    Ihsahn – Arktis. (I do not like Black metal much. But apparently this guy is from a Black metal band, and he makes this cool proggy shit on the side.)

    Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary (groovy, melodic, riffy, prog, neat shit.)
    Helion Prime – Helion Prime (yet more badass female-fronted Power Metal.)
    Dragons Bane – Servants of the Forsaken Orb (groovy bluesy stoner metal based on fantasy novels? I’m in.)
    Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts (I don’t normally like this. But I like this. Very serene, very moving.)
    Monument – Hair of the Dog (Absolutely pathetic Iron Maiden worship. Which is why it rules.)
    Necromancing the Stone – Jewel of the Vile (Goofy punny name, but old-fashioned thrashy metal with little hints of death just to keep things interesting.)
    Sumerlands – Sumerlands (RIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFS)
    Winterhymn – Blood and Shadow (Love the string accompaniments.)
    Scythia – Lineage (Some very fun themes to go along with mostly traditional “epic” Power metal. But also surprises every now and then with weird instruments popping in, and the odd prog element. And what mighty vocals!)
    Eternal Champion – The Armor of Ire (I mean, never mind the killer riffs, just look at the fucking cover!)
    Barbarian – Cult of the Empty Grave (UUUUUGGGH! ABSOLUTE METAL.)
    Ravensire – The Cycle Never Ends (Give it time. It grows on you.)
    Anciients – Voice of the Void (Excellent follow-up to an amazing debut.)

    Honourable Mention:

    Metallica – Hardwired, etc (If only it was a nice, single disc with the 7 or 8 good songs on it, instead of this bloated 2-disc monstrosity. Still, how much better is it than their last two!)
    The Black Swamp – I Am
    Black Moor – Brave to the Grave
    Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
    Artillery – Penalty by Perception
    Killswitch Engage – Encarnate
    Sabaton – The Last Stand

  • Óðinn

    Listen careful darlin’, you’ll hear the deep sound comin’ down from Bobby Peru…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6ZBewK59z8

    I think the actual video for this is probably NSFW. But I’m not really a good judge of that. I’m a godlesss liberal heathen artist intellectual.

  • KyleJMcBride

    2016 has been really working overtime on the celebrity/musician deaths. Greg Lake RIP.

  • Loved three lista, bit I think I resonate more with 365 this year <3