Yesterday I published my Top 10(ish) of 2016 and it’s a good list. But as has been pointed out, a lot of the supplemental material I usually include was missing. So today I’m posting a follow up: Angry Metal Guy’s Supplemental List(s). This should give you insight into some of the things which weren’t included, as well as a couple of other things I’ve been thinking about posting lists of for a while. This is being thrown together quickly and unplanned. But I just think you guys deserve it and I like list-making. It’s probably something I should list under my hobbies on Facebook.
To begin with, a Top 10(ish) is always a negotiation. And this year was a special case because there was so so so much I did not get time for and so many things that I liked, and which could have landed in the bottom five easily.
Gomorrah // The Haruspex — Brutal. Weird. Slinky death metal with an almost Anaal Nathrakh feel. I do love this album and strongly recommend it to anyone who likes brutal death metal. The songs are short, tight, and the sound just works. This is easily the truest death metal shirt I own right now, too.
Danimal Cannon // Lunaria — Nintendocore at its absolute finest. I’ve discovered since hearing this album that this guy is a ridiculous nerd and a great musician. He’s like the Steve Vai of chiptunes and Lunaria is just a fucking amazing album that I have spent a lot of time with. You should check it out if you are even remotely open minded.
Winterhorde // Maestro — This album is more a victim of my busy schedule than anything else. It is very, very good and I just haven’t made it back to listen to it as much as I would like. Sometimes things like “scheduling restraints” affect list-making, because the things aren’t given their proper due. But Maestro is a fantastic album and may even have gotten snubbed.
Wildernessking // Mystical Future — I gave this album a glowing review and then it got snubbed for Record o’ the Month. Then I stole the band’s logo and put it on our banner. Finally, these poor South Africans atmospheric black metallers didn’t make my list. And I do love this album, it just didn’t quite make the cut. Still, you should buy it.
Vainaja // Verenvalaja — This album is such a brutal, beautiful doom album. The LP mix is astounding and I don’t even like doom that much. Yet these dour Finns convinced Grymm and by proxy, they convinced me. I get the feeling this is an album I’ll be coming back around to in the future and spending a lot more time with.
Myrath // Legacy — This never got put on the list, but it was in tight contention because I fucking love these cheeseballs. I’ve seen some mutterings that they were just a cover band earlier, which implies through complaint that their Tunisian-metal thing is inauthentic. I give so few fucks about this kind of thing. Legacy is an awesome, poppy, enjoyable album from a band deserves credit for selling the fuck out and making great Eurovision metal. I hope they get huge and unbearable, so that everyone complaining about them being inauthentic is forced to see them everywhere. Douchebags.
Dark Tranquillity // Atoma — Atoma is my favorite record from DT in a long time. I love every song and I enjoy the whole thing. I know it’s going to be fantastic live and I am super into this album. It didn’t make the cut, but it’s not because it’s not a great album. Really happy to hear these guys put something out that was this strong.
Insomnium // Winter’s Gate — I have never enjoyed an Insomnium album, but I love Winter’s Gate. I think this is easily the finest material the band has ever released. The forty minute track is incredible and it really came out of left field. In a year with a lot of great melodeath, Winter’s Gate was some of the best. I just didn’t get to know this album well enough to justify it a place.
I wrote a glowing blurb of Haken and I stand by our review. I think the album is great and I think the band is among the best progressive metal bands in the world. However, I have such a hard time listening to it because I think it sounds really fucking flat. It’s not a fun album for me to listen to. After appreciating it initially, I just find myself not coming back to it. And when I do come back it I just can’t handle the super crushed mastering. These guys are such a fantastic, dynamic band, and yet the production job sounds so fucking flat.
This is precisely the same critique I have of the new Borknagar. And I feel bad about this because I’m a huge Vintersorg fan, have moderate contact with Mr. V and peripherally the other guys from Borknagar and was a big fan of Borknagar‘s last record. In fact, I kinda don’t review their stuff in the future, because I feel like a dickhead. But Winter Thrice just fell so flat for me and left me so disappointed. The music sounded great, but the production isn’t great and the sound for me makes it tough to love.
It’s a shame that production ruined these albums for me, and it’s a shame that both of these are Jens Bogren productions, because he also succeeded so masterfully with Fleshgod and has made the last couple Turisas albums sound great. But these really bummed me out.
Top 6(ish) Songs o’ the Year
#(ish): Blaze Bayley — “A Thousand Years” — This record suffers from some issues, even if I liked it quite a bit. Still, “A Thousand Years” reminded me vaguely of the glory years of Blaze’s early years post-Maiden. It’s a crackin’ tune of “good, honest heavy metal.”
#5: Bombus – “Deadweight” — Bombus was a weird find for me. I like this album a lot, even if the band actually made fun of my review when they posted it. And this song, which was also a single, is my favorite on the album. It’s just a great track of solid heavy metal and a funny little video. Love it.
#4: Sonata Arctica – “We Are What We Are” — Tony Kakko doing Tony Kakko things, “We Are What We Are” probably lands among my favorite Sonata Arctica songs of all time. It’s such a depressing song, but I think they nailed this chorus so hard. There are few bands that can write this kind of shit and get away with it, but SA pulls it off every time. Or, well, most times. They could probably be a bit less ESL, but hey, they are what they are.
#3: Dark Tranquillity — “Faithless by Default” — This isn’t the heaviest or riffiest song on the album, but “Faithless by Default” features DT doing what they are absolutely best at: moody, melodic death metal with Stanne’s trademark lyrical approach. I’ve never heard a band that’s as pithy and poetic in their death metal as DT. I’ve been running around screaming “We are faithless by default!” for months now.
#2: Fleshgod Apocalypse — “The Fool” — If you can’t listen to “The Fool” and feel the intense glee at the incredible composition and unique approach to metal that these guys are absolutely pwning on King then you and I don’t see eye to eye about things. And that’s normal. But fer fuck sake, people, how do you not just eat this up? This is just an amazing metal track.
#1: King Goat — “Conduit” — This is the song that got me hooked on King Goat. I listened to the album and enjoyed it, and then I got to “Conduit” and was just like “whoa.” This whole song is majestic, from the lilting introduction to the amazing anthem that you’ll hear at 5:06 (“For eons I linger…”). This whole song devastates the senses. It is a masterful track and my Song o’ the Year for 2016.