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2016: Accounting For The Top Releases

Last year I was a little late to the party...busy studying for a professional exam and all. This year I thought I would try and stay on top of a list and hopefully follow it through to the end. I'm going to limit the list to anything I would rate 7 and up. Overall on this site my ratings are fairly favourable, because I try to stick to genres and bands I know I will like.

Also, I plan to include "PRO" and "CON" for each of the albums I include on the list, just to give the reader a quick idea of what I liked and disliked about a given album. The albums are ordered in preference.

Please feel free to leave suggestions, I am constantly monitoring other individuals' lists to find new music. Generally I'm a fan of Doom, Death, Black, Sludge, Stoner, Post and some Progressive (I'm picky here).

Hope you enjoy the list.

Created by: Chobo_jokeR | 29.02.2016

1. Asphalt Graves - The New Primitive
Death-Grind, PRO: Recently got heavily into Misery Index, so having another band with Jason Netherton in it is always a plus. New material to listen to. The album is compact and ferocious. One review described Netherton's vocals as a snarl, and I love that description and his vocals. Shannon Lucas kills it on the drums - even if he doesn't hit the kit as hard as Adam Jarvis. CON: Even though it's grind 24mins is a tad short, and there aren't any solos, but they make it work.
2. Vektor - Terminal Redux
Progressive / Technical Thrash, PRO: The album is through and through a thrash-terpiece. Collapse may just be one of my favourite songs. I've listened to it repeatedly, and I simply love the progression of this masterful ballad. Everything about this album is good. I'm not an overly huge thrash fan, so I was quite surprised when I connected with this album as much as I did. CON: Loses some steam in the middle, but finishes oh so strong that it doesn't even matter.
3. Grave Miasma - Endless Pilgrimage
Death, PRO: I have been waiting for this album ever since it was announced. I had been listening to their two other EPs and their sole LP on repeat and it was a delight to hear we would be getting more music from these guys. I had lofty expectations and they succeeded in surpassing them. As Neachy commented, the album is not as cavernous as their other releases, however, it doesn't negatively impact the album. The growls are strong and continue that OSDM feel. The solos are phenomenal and the rest of the guitar work is interesting. The middle eastern vibes to some of the songs are intriguing and overall this album is excellent. CON: The only negative thing I have to say is I wish there was more, but I'll take the quality over quantity any day of the week.
4. Lycus - Chasms
Funeral Doom, PRO: does a wonderful job of blending genres and keeping the listeners attention the entire time. I would argue this album is underrated and deserves more love. CON: although they didn't include a bunch of empty noise like on their debut, I felt like the album could have used another song...that or I'm just being greedy.
5. Glorior Belli - Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)
Southern Sludge Black, PRO: Unlike most, I quite enjoyed Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls. That being said, this album is better. It maintains the groove of their last couple albums, but the songs are more interesting and dynamic. The overall flow of the album is very good, and I don't really have a negative comment as far as it being dull or draggy. CON: Lacks a "Wow!" Factor - no real jaw dropping moments to push it to that next level.
6. Cobalt - Slow Forever
Black, PRO: At least in my opinion, this album maintains the expected high quality musicianship. Charlie Fell's vocals took a couple songs to get used to, but they really come around and work perfectly with the rest of Cobalt's sound. Although the tracks are long at times, I never found myself getting bored or waiting for a given track to end - plenty of variation. Weird blend of country type sound in a couple of the interludes work nicely. CON: It lacked some "Wow" moments, you know the ones when your jaw just hits the ground and you get the chills.
7. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
Psychedelic Black, PRO: a beautiful compromise between their first two albums and Valonielu that works in their favour.
8. Plebeian Grandstand - False Highs, True Lows
Black, Hardcore, PRO: Them guitar tones. That drumming (love the cymbal work). "Tame The Shapes" completely flipping the album on it's head - being a slow builder of a song, and then switching to an absolute onslaught at the end.
9. Wo Fat - Midnight Cometh
Psychedelic Doom / Stoner, PRO: The riffs are phat, the solos are tasty and the overall sound is mind bending. CON: Like most stoner releases the choruses are repeated... lots, but that's a minor detail.
10. Aborted - Retrogore
Brutal Deathgrind, PRO: Every song rips like fuck, is catchier than shit, has blistering solos, tight drumming and on point vocals.
11. Protest The Hero - Pacific Myth
Progressive Metalcore, PRO: Textbook Protest The Hero - may be favourite release of theirs since Kezia or Fortress. Not to say their other two LPs since weren't great, but those hold a special place for me. The songwriting is wonderful and complex. The bass player has some serious chops and the vocals are as good as ever. Great cleans with some nice "extreme/angry" growls at times. And lets not forget about the guitar work - stunning as per usual. The piano/guitar playing off one another on Harbinger may be the highlight for me.
12. Sulphur - Omens Of Doom
Death, Black, PRO: This band has managed to successfully channel an Enslaved-esque sound. Quirky. Catchy. Progressive at times and just overall well done.
13. Skáphe - Skáphe²
Black, PRO: a unique black metal version of Portal
14. Vale Of Pnath - II
Tech-Death, PRO: All I really have to see is it's Tech-Death done right. Has some nice groove to it, a cornucopia of solos, some cool keyboard parts and there are no robot vocals (yay!), CON: No real stand out moments that made me go wow! On the first couple of listens.
15. Graves At Sea - The Curse That Is
Sludge/Doom, PRO: Reminds me of Thou (whom I hold in high regard), CON: The vocals grated on my nerves at first, but eventually they became enjoyable
16. Zhrine - Unortheta
Some-what Technical Blackened Death, PRO: A well balanced blend of black and death with some technicality thrown in for good measure. CON: You could argue they abuse the "atmospheric outro" ... almost every song has one.
17. Ritual Chamber - Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)
Old School Death, PRO: The atmosphere. The solos. The down-tempo portions of the songs flirt with some death doom-esque passages (kind of makes sense with him having been the keyboardist in Evoken). CON: Nothing really innovative or particularly bold about the album. Gets a touch repetitive as well.
18. Paroxsihzem - Abyss Of Excruciating Vexes
Dense Death, PRO: If Portal and Impetuous Ritual had a love child (denseness with the wiry solos being ripped off)
19. Skuggsjá - A Piece For Mind & Mirror
Dark Folk, PRO: The flashes of Enslaved's sound stand out clearly and blend in nicely with the folk sound (Enslaved-Lite) CON: Could have used more than just flashes of Enslaved's sound.
20. Omnium Gatherum - Grey Heavens
Melodic Death, PRO: stronger than Beyond, reminds me of New World Shadows. Catchy songs, powerful melodies and classic Omnium Gatherum sound. CON: retreads the same water we have seen with their last two albums and doesn't offer anything new.
21. Naðra - Allir Vegir Til Glötunar
Black, PRO: a testament to the ever growing scene in Iceland. Melodic and visceral all at the same time. CON: songs blend together a little too much
22. Morar - Wahlheim
Black, PRO: develops a thick atmosphere with subtle melodies throughout. I feel as if this band is an Icelandic version of Agalloch (high praises I know).
23. Obscura - Akróasis
Progressive/Technical Death, PRO: a strong release after a lengthy absence. Reminds me more of Cosmogenesis with some slight progression in style. CON: the wanna-be cynic vocals have to go.
24. Inverloch - Distance Collapsed
Death Doom, PRO: From The Eventide Pool gives me chills. The band isn't afraid to use melody with their brutality. CON: The album title fucks with my list. A touch on the short side, I feel like they were just hitting their stride and the album ended.
25. Deströyer 666 - Wildfire
Blackened Thrash, PRO: riffs upon riffs upon riffs upon riffs. CON: don't remember a standout song on an initial listen
26. Hands Of Despair - Bereft
Progressive Black, PRO: grandiose in sound and varied in style.
27. Amon Amarth - Jomsviking
Melodic Death, PRO: Another Amon Amarth album to listen to CON: This album is a little stale at times and doesn't have those standout tracks from albums of yore (Death In Fire, Valhall Awaits Me, Twilight Of The Thunder God, etc.). Oh and "A Dream That Cannot Be" is super bad and I never thought I would say that about an Amon Amarth track.
28. Geryon - The Wound And The Bow
Technical Death, PRO: Uses that Gorguts sound nicely... CON: ...but it is almost abused. I think a guitar would add another dimension to their sound (doesn't quite pull off the Bass & Drums only combo off as nicely as Bell Witch)
29. New Keepers Of The Water Towers - Infernal Machine
Stoner, PRO: A relaxing and enjoyable listening experience. CON: Seems like a rather hollow performance after the spacey album Cosmic Child

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Chobo_jokeR ]


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Comments: 7   Visited by: 53 users
29.02.2016 - 14:16
Account deleted
Didn't think I would ever see that Skáphe record described as "accessible"
29.02.2016 - 16:54
Nice idea for PRO and CON. Obscura messed up big-time with regard to the Cynic vocals- I agree!
01.03.2016 - 04:59
Written by [user id=4365] on 29.02.2016 at 14:16

Didn't think I would ever see that Skáphe record described as "accessible"

I found it to be more accessible than a Portal album, but I certainly agree that it is not "accessible" in general. Perhaps I did a poor job of getting that across in my little one sentence point.
01.03.2016 - 05:00
Written by Diverge on 29.02.2016 at 16:54

Nice idea for PRO and CON. Obscura messed up big-time with regard to the Cynic vocals- I agree!

Thanks! Thought it was a little bit different. I originally had "+" and "-" but it made it a bitch to read. Yeah...there are parts of that Obscura album that I think are awesome and really enjoy, but the vocals just do nothing for me and don't add anything.
01.03.2016 - 11:00
Account deleted
Written by Chobo_jokeR on 01.03.2016 at 04:59

I found it to be more accessible than a Portal album, but I certainly agree that it is not "accessible" in general. Perhaps I did a poor job of getting that across in my little one sentence point.

Maybe. Not sure how the more in your face dissonance of Skaphe would come across compared to the ultra denseness of Portal. I doubt either would be played at a family gathering!
02.03.2016 - 04:02
Written by [user id=4365] on 01.03.2016 at 11:00

Maybe. Not sure how the more in your face dissonance of Skaphe would come across compared to the ultra denseness of Portal. I doubt either would be played at a family gathering!

Yeah... I don't imagine a single person in my entire family tree would appreciate Skaphe's release. Oh well, their loss.

Do you know what D.G.'s involvement was with the album? I'm curious as their main page still says unknown.
31.01.2017 - 01:08
Hi! Even though we don´t like the same styles (I´ve listened to only 5 of the records on this list), I find it interesting regarding your comments on the Pros and the Cons of the albums. I´m not very into technical death, but have you checked First fragment - Dasein? I think it´s absolutely great.

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