So It Begins...
My favorite time of year is back again. Not just the holiday season, not just the fact that snow is coming and unwillingly can't help but listen to the most depressing Black Metal you can find for 5 months. It's the end of the year where I can show off the best music of 2016. I'm going to be doing this differently than other years. Simply due to That Drummer Guy's rise in popularity, I had to scale down the albums I listen to and Make a Top 100 Albums of 2016 list, BUT with that comes many other lists, including this very first one. THE TOP 10 EPICS OF 2016. For an epic to count in my eyes, your track length has to be over 10 minutes in length, and these definitely fit the mold that I've put in place. So let's get started countdown style!
10.) Gorguts- Pleiades Dust (Pleiades Dust)
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Orchestral
This 33 minute lone track is an absolute monster. It can haunt your dreams with morbid visions. The song is based off of House Of Wisdom, a library located in the Middle East that was destroyed in the 13th century, believed to have had all the knowledge of the world inside. Musically, it runs all over the map, from intense brutal death metal or very intricate orchestral movements. For a great history lesson and an intense musical journey, check this one out!
9.) Anderson/Stolt- Know... (The Invention of Knowledge)
FFO- Progressive Rock
While there is only 4 songs on the album, this is the lone song that is made up of just one track. Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt created an amazing album and this final track was a perfect send off to said album. The majority of the song is very casual and laid back. The real high point of the song is Jon's emotional vocals. The second half of the song, things start to pick up speed a bit for a phenomenal ending to the album. This song will make and classic prog rock fan smile with glee.
8.) Perihelion Ship- A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring (A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring)
FFO: Extreme Progressive Metal, Keyboard Driven Progressive Metal
One of my favorite discoveries of the year from a relatively unknown band (only 248 likes on Facebook as of right now). This Finnish debut album is filled with such memorable movements, but the highlight is the 21 minute title track. This song captures everything you could love about progressive Metal. Very Opeth style moments mixed with mellotron, Blind Guardian style cleans and everything that can be explored in the realms of progressive metal and death metal. If these guys catch on, they are going to flourish huge. Give this song, in particular a shot.
7.) Vektor- Recharging The Void (Terminal Redux)
FFO- Hyper-speed Thrash, Progressive Metal, Death Metal
Vektor is really starting to gain momentum this year and Terminal Redux is the perfect album for that to happen. The albums reaches territory it hasn't hit before, but with the final track, Recharging the Void, The band explore the epic side of their sound. From brutal blast beats to some oddly calming clean guitar and clean vocal/choir moments (Very Devin Townsend inspired). This final track showcases everything the band is possible of accomplishing. I can't wait to see where they go from here.
6.) Redemption- At Day's End (The Art Of Loss)
FFO- Progressive Metal
Having yet to ever put out anything but superb albums, Redemption did it again with The Art Of Loss. In particular, the colossal 22 and a half minute song, At Day's end, perfectly captures the band's intensity, emotional, and melodic sides that fans know and love. It has a little bit of everything for everyone. Ray Alder's voice really shines throughout as well. Overall, an amazing piece of music.
5.) Fates Warning- The Ghosts Of Home (Theories of Flight)
FFO- Progressive Metal
Fates Warning is back with arguably their best album ever! The band sounds more inspired than ever, and a great example of that is the ten and half minute song, The Ghosts of Home. From some of the most majestic mellow segments to some of the most crushing riffs laid on a FW's album; The band really showcases their extreme talent and musicianship. This is a perfect lineup, perfect, album, and this song is a perfect epic!
4.) Haken- The Architect (Affinity)
FFO- Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Electronic
Haken continues to be one of the finest prog bands in existence. With all this talk of showing off everything a band is capable of; Haken absolutely does that in the course of this 15 minute epic. The intro alone goes from brooding to brutal to proggy, to happy. While Visions is still considered the best Haken album, The Architect may be the band's finest epic to date.
3.) Witherscape- The Northern Sanctuary (The Northern Sanctuary)
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
Dan Swano can't ever do wrong, ever! A clear example of that is Witherscape's 2nd album, The Northern Sanctuary. The concept album wraps up, story wise, with the title track that explore so much melodic and harmonic moments while giving an amazing nod to Opeth's Deliverance (When you hear it, you'll know what I'm talking about). Capturing everything a person can love about Swano is covered in this nearly 14 minute epic. If you want emotionally powerful progressive death metal, Witherscape is the band for you.
2.) Avantasia- Let The Storm Descend Upon You (Ghostlights)
FFO- Epic Power Metal
Tobias Sammet's crowning achievement is Ghostlights, mark my words. While I'll save my other thoughts for another list you'll all be wondering about, I will say that the second song on the album the little over twelve moment song, Let The Storm Upon You, is a perfect epic. So emotional power that takes you through hell and back. Along with Tobias; Jorn Lande, Ronnie Atkins and Robert Mason add their magnificent vocals to this song. A purely magical power metal journey, you gotta check this out.
1.) Insomnium- Winter's Gate (Winter's Gate)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Black Metal, Progressive Metal
Insomnium is one of the most underappreciated bands in Metal today. While many enjoy some melody in their metal, from the dark point of view, it's hard to find anyone who can do it better than Insomnium. Winter's Gate is the 40 minute epic that explore the story of viking forging their way to new land by going through a treacherous winter. This epic does not feel like it is 40 minutes long (physical album 1 track, digital and streaming broken into 7 pieces), it goes by so quickly and really gets you invested in the story. And if you wonder while it sounds so magnificently mixed and mastered, that is all thanks to Mr. Dan Swano adding his mixing and mastering skills. A grand adventure of a story with amazing music and pure unadulterated power. Seriously, give this one a shot, especially if you have yet to hear of the band.
That's it for That Drummer Guy's Top 10 Epics of 2016. Join me next week as we explore more of what 2016 has to offer!
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.