As the year draws to a close, every fan, magazine and blog starts to compile their ‘best of’ list for the year that has passed. 2016, much like 2015, has been an amazing year for music right across the board – from Pop right through to Metal music. I have up to my eyeballs in music this year, and having recently seen Soil & Pimp Sessions at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London my mind has been turned towards Jazz music. Whilst it is easy for me to compile a list for metal music, I would perhaps like to try my hand at a Jazz one, but I might settle on doing an overall one when it’s closer to the year (when the actual year’s end is literally a few days away). For metal music, however, with the release of Metallica’s new album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct that, for me, was the last big release that I had to look forward…and it’s starting to grow on me. But take a gander at my list for this year.
**PLEASE NOTE, ALBUMS FEATURED ARE ONLY THOSE I HAVE BOUGHT, NOT EVERY ALBUM I’VE LISTENED TO AND/OR CHECKED OUT**
1. Gojira – Magma
There was quite a fight for the top spot this year, and ultimately Gojira’s latest album, Magma, came out on top.It honestly comes down the question of how many times you listen to the record again and again with the same amount of enjoyment as the first time. Gojira answered that question, even more so with a family member passing away and the music helping me deal with that grief.
2. Deftones – Gore
Compared to their previous album, 2012’s Koi No Yokan, Gore felt like a massive disappointment and I was dismayed at how I didn’t love a ‘Tones record for once. I gave it time, I knew that it would turn into gold eventually…and, as you’d expect, it did. Still, after a while it became a great record for me.
3. Abbath – Abbath
When Abbath broke rank from Immortal, like everyone else I thought that Immortal themselves would break-up but they aren’t and they are currently writing new material for a brand new record. Just thought I’d throw that in there. But Abbath’s new solo record is a great record and one, much like many on this list, and there was a hugely justified hype surrounding this record.
4. Kvelertak – NATTESFERD
I was really excited when this album was announced having listened to their previous records and being excited for what they will bring next. This album didn’t have an immediate impact — like many of the others on this list — and over time it really grew on me so much that, for a time, it was the only album I listened to.
5. Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
Out of all my choices on this list, I feel that Meshuggah’s album was the easiest to make. However I feel that isn’t an instant Meshuggah record. I suppose because of this whole ‘djent’ movement over the past few years, Meshuggah have been lumped into that category, whereas I feel there is definitely more to Meshuggah than meets the eye, if you’re prepared to really give any of their records time. The Violent Sleep of Reason, despite it’s ease of choice in this list, it isn’t an album like ObZen or Koloss, yet I feel the band return to their formulaic approach to songwriting.
6. Rotting Christ – Rituals
I meant to check out the band’s last album Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy but I never got around to it, so when the chance came to checking out Rotting Christ’s newest album, I bought it without a second’s thought. Despite my little knowledge of the Greek language, I still massively enjoyed this record. Definitely left a big impression on me and earned a new fan.
7. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
Call me a sucker for concept records, but this was my first album I ever listened from Amon Amarth. I really like the record back to front, and the music is awesome (as you’d expect), and the lyrics are written in a clear way so you can understand the concept — win win!
8. Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional
So imagine this: you go away, all your books packed, clothes packed, and the last piece of puzzle: your iPod. For some weird and odd reason, I put some music on my phone, but not all of it. This happened on my recent trip to Ireland, I put Hatebreed’s new album on there, but all my others. And oh, my iPod ran out of charge…dammit. This became my album of that short trip, and some others too that are on this list, but I noticed how you apply the ‘If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It’ motto to this band and album. Furthermore, it does exactly what it says on the tin. I’m happy.
9. Red Fang – Only Ghosts
Definitely one of the newer albums I’ve checked out recently, Red Fang’s caught my attention when I came across a video on YouTube one day (my new music television…) and I watched it. Buying the record, I was able to sit down and read the lyrics, stare at the artwork and really fall in love with the whole thing.
10. Opeth – Sorceress
Perhaps more than ever, knowing that we’ll never Mikael growl on record again, I feel that Opeth are in the ascendancy. For me, the band can do no wrong and Sorceress offers up very much in terms of music and song-writing. A notable presence of heaviness (well, in the guitars at least) in the title-track and on some other songs, I think this is a great album but perhaps overshadowed by the albums that came above this. Still, a great record and definitely deserving of a place in this list.
Past top spots:
2016: Gojira – Magma
2015: Fear Factory – Genexus
2014: Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds