I know a lot of people do these quarterly look back at the current year so far but I don’t really do that. When it gets to June I tend to have a brief listen to all albums I have bought throughout the year and, in my mind, I tend to place said albums on a mental list. Of course, each and every year, musically, the standard seems to just get better and better so it becomes increasingly trivial to place one album above another; it’s the same with the end-of-year ‘best of’ lists.
2016 seems to have been hit-and-miss so far, unlike last year which saw a bunch of good/great released in such a short period. If we’re going off music I have bought so far, here’s a list:
- We had Dream Theater’s The Astonishing;
- Abbath’s self-titled debut album;
- Anthrax’s new one For All Kings;
- Megadeth’s triumphant return with Dystopia;
- Ihsahn’s new masterpiece Arktis;
- Deftones’ new album Gore;
- Rotting Christ return with Rituals;
- Conan’s third album Revengeance;
- Killswitch Engage return with Incarnate;
- Haken’s new prog outing Affinity;
- Bill Laurance’s new one Aftersun;
- Jim Rotondi’s Dark Blue and, lastly,
- Bury Tomorrow return with Earthbound.
LISTING AND EXPLANATIONS WHY
- Ihsahn – Arktis
Without any hesitation, I bought this album along with Deftones’ new one Gore, and after the brief initial getting used to the album, after that I pretty much loved the album and it’s still a constant listen. It’s less experimental than his last record, and more in line with meshing both sides of his personality together.
- Bill Laurance – Aftersun
A few month ago, towards the end of February beginning of March, I got bored of constantly hearing metal band after metal band say the same thing when promoting a new record. “Oh yeah, this is our best album, EVER!” I need something different to rejuvenate myself. It’s not that I was becoming bored of metal, I still love metal no doubt, but it’s just after a while it’s just like I needed something different. Bill’s new album, Aftersun, is such a fun and laid-back record to listen to.
- Megadeth – Dystopia
With the two new members on board – Kiko and Chris, respectively – I wasn’t sure exactly how to judge this record at first: was it good or was it bad? Time would pass. I would begin to listen to this album more and more, “Post American World” becoming a favourite. Slowly, this record got more spins than I thought it ever would.
- Abbath – Abbath
This is one those albums that I instantly knew I would be buying, even before I heard the single. Of course I love Immortal, that goes without saying, and I was slightly disheartened at how Abbath leaving threw the band into turmoil, but despite that they assured fans something new will be coming from Immortal in 2016. I breathed a sigh of relief. Despite that, this album is still fantastic and really has many influences going into, not just your standard black metal — it’s groovy, it’s melodic, it has blast beats (obviously), and just about everything you’d want. Revisiting the album again, I was sure that this will be among my top 5 come December.
- Killswitch Engage – Incarnate
- Deftones – Gore
- Anthrax – For All Kings
- Jim Rotondi – Dark Blue
- Conan – Revengeance
- Rotting Christ – Rituals
- Bury Tomorrow – Earthbound
- Haken – Affinity
- Dream Theater – The Astonishing
Now, I never feel the need to call any Dream Theater album ‘bad’, but I feel this one is a hit-and-miss album: you’ll either get it or you won’t. 2 hours and a bit of music a lot to digest in one sitting. I’ve done it a few times already and, believe me, it isn’t easy. I place this last because, as I’ve said, I’ve given it a few listens but apart from that it’s been the one song here and there. Quite honestly, there are better albums I have in this list I can listen to.