6 Jan 2017

Top 5 Missed Albums from 2016

Well it would seem I've already botched the top lists from 2016. In retrospect there are always releases you forgot about or simply didn't know of before long after the year is over. Here are a few examples which are sure to stick around for a while!

This was supposed to be a Top 5, but I couldn't/didn't want to stop there!

Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crépuscule
Chthe'ilist belong to a very special part of the modern death metal scene where esoteric riffs swell into existence to the sound of cavernous, alien roars and drum beats that sound like volleys of gun fire from interstellar star ships. The bass is unusually aggressive, setting in motion the existential turmoil in weird reverberating time signatures reminiscent of Timeghoul or Demilich. They belong to the same styling that spawned groups like Blood Incantation, Nucleus and Voidspawn, as well as Portal or Abyssal before them - Albeit in a much more easily approachable manner. Though their music is inherently claustrophobic, they manage to turn their compositions into grandiose offerings

Ripper - Experiment of Existence
While everyone was going on about Vektor's Terminal Redux (which I liked moderately, but not nearly enough to be included on any list), Ripper was out there tearing us all a new one. Experiment of Existence is blisteringly fast and tight thrash metal with more than a little old school death metal sentiments mixed in. Spiritually they're the progeny of bands such as Kreator and Death, and they took the relentlessness of those bands and put it in a more modern format on what could, in my book, be classified as thrash album of the year. You know how sometimes you're just completely floored by an album? Ripper does that to you.

Gruesome - Dimensions of Horror
A legendary band like Death surely hasn't existed in vain - After all they're probably one of the most influential bands in metal to this day. They say that immitation is the highest form of flattery, and if this is indeed the case then Gruesome are the prime flatterers. Forgive the clumsy phrasing, but Gruesome does that to you - They're anything but high art, but their brand of Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy-styled death metal hits home every time. For someone who enjoyed those two Death albums the most, Gruesome is truly a gift, and Gruesome - dare I say - do it just as well as Evil Chuck did back in the day.

Alcest - Kodama
Though having witnessed Alcest in concert twice, it wasn't until the release of Kodama that they finally hit home with me. Most semblances of their black metal roots have withered away to nurture the rise of shoegazing post rock notes in its place, and through songs like Untouched and Je suis d'ailleurs the French band found a place in my tastes. They are the textbook example of how to best take the ugliness of black metal and make it into something profoundly beautiful and tasteful. Now it is time for me to explore their back catalogue.

OGRE Sound - Calico Noir
Though OGRE has been around for quite a while, he has never really broken through in the synthwave scene the same way heavier artists like Dynatron or Perturbator have. Arguably his style is vastly different, subscribing more to a soundtrack-ish feel in the vein of Power Glove. Calico Noir is OGRE's latest effort, and it features several sprawling nocturnes comprised of every burley synth and reverbed beat in the book. Even with an impressive back catalogue of music behind him, Calico Noir impresses with new and old ideas presented in a seamless neon weave with punch and atmosphere aplenty.

Battery - Martial Law
Since their early days in 2008 Battery from Denmark have been steadily delivering thrashing thriller after thriller with a few demos and now their second album. Martial Law was a late addition to 2016's thrash metal albums, but this one kills it with plenty of gang shouts, precision riffing and high speed drumming. The bass tone alone is to die for - Battery have always been good for a slew of dirty tracks, and Martial Law is no different. It's like a leather-clad tornado of death.

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