This is a first for me, showing off the best EPs of the year. Usually I make such a fuss about LPs that you lose sight that for the crowds who want something 40 minutes or less; (yes, a debatable number, but I'm sticking with it) there is so many good releases to check out. I narrowed it down to 20 EPs that are not just one song (as some of those are already covered in my last article). So let's get crackin'!
20.) No Funeral- Misanthrope
FFO- Doom Metal, Sludge Metal
The Minneapolis based band released their first EP and it is a stunning piece of work. Not meandering nor dull, there is a lot of variation in the band's sound that makes this release something to keep your eye out for if you want something brooding and heavy.
19.) Agoraphobic Nosebleed- Arc
FFO- Sludge Metal, Doom Metal
The first of 4 EPs showing off the other sides to the band's original sound, this explores the doomy and gloomy side of Katherine Katz. all three songs showcase a grand array heaviness without any feelings of boredom or wanting to skip to the next track. It's what you want in a doom album.
18.) Tombs- All Empires Fall
FFO- Black Metal, Post Metal
Continuing to explore more of the Black Metal elements of the band's sound, Tombs created an epic 5 track display of horror that fills the senses with despair. The music is a great mix of Black and Post Metal, not done in the way of the likes of Deafheaven.
17.) Voivod- Post Society
FFO- Thrash Metal, Punk, Progressive Metal
The legendary Canadian metal band is back with a brand new EP filled with a couple songs released in the last couple years and some new tunes. The classic Voivod sound people know and love is fully intact.
16.) Krallice- Hyperion
FFO- Black Metal, Progressive Metal, Post Metal
The underground legends of experimental black metal returns with 3 new tracks of mind-bending epics that explore everything the band is capable of doing. A raw production, but magnificent songwriting.
15.) Grailknights- Dead Or Alive
FFO- Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Superheroes
Showcasing everything that we know and love about superheroes, this legendary band of misfits in masks and costumes are back with a new nice collection of new songs and an AMAZING cover of all your favorite Cartoon Hero themes. Just super fun music.
14.) Affiance- Gaia
FFO- Progressive Metalcore, Mostly clean vocals
Affiance is one of the most underrated bands that are currently active. Their latest EP continues to show why they deserve to be one of the best known bands in the genre. Great musicianship, soaring vocals, and a great display of power & aggression.
13.) A Blue Fire- A Blue Fire
FFO- Steven Wilson inspired Alternative Rock, Gothic Rock, Dream Pop
This Danish duo's second release is spellbinding in it's ethereal sound. All 4 tracks take you on a dark and lonely journey with a bleak and mesmerizing soundtrack along the way.
12.) Gus McAuthur- Chapter 1: Hysterics
FFO- Progressive Metal, Experimental
This amazing debut release from these California natives is an innovative sonic blast of genres that creatives an epic adventure for the listener. Sensational vocals, killer songwriting and a new way to look at genre bending. With many more chapters to come, the history of Gus McAuthur is only being introduced and he's got quite a story to tell.
11.) Skeletonwitch- The Apothic Gloom
FFO- Blackened Thrash Metal
A watershed release for the band, many have given up on the band after vocalist, Chance Garnette, left the band, but when you give the former Iron Thrones frontman Adam Clemans a chance to take the stage, he absolutely delivers! The music is absolutely fantastic and the production is top notch. The next release from the band will blow people away, this definitely proves what the band is capable of.
10.) Protest The Hero- Pacific Myth
FFO- Progressive Metal
One of the very first bands to take successful advantage of Crowd Sourcing campaigns; Protest the Hero came up with the first, well known, idea to have fans pay a monthly fee to hear brand new material first as the songs were being written. Now that the EP is complete, it is available for all of us to enjoy. The songs sound so natural and refreshing. A great spin on their already innovative style.
9.) Seven Kingdoms- In The Walls
FFO- Power Metal
This Florida Power Metal band has been a part of the metal scene for quite some time and have been usually under the radar, that is starting to change with their brand new EP. The lead track is all the example you need of how to write a phenomenal Power Metal song. Beyond magnificent!
8.) Watchtower- Concepts Of Math: Book One
FFO- Progressive Metal, Math Metal
The band's first release of new material since 1989, the band returned this year with a jaw dropping display of songwriting. This release just melts your mind trying to comprehend everything going on as you hear. If you are a musician and you think you've mastered everything you can do on your choice of instrument, put this album and prepare to eat humble pie.
7.) Ghost- Popestar
FFO- Occult Rock
Ghost has exploded since their humble beginnings. Since the release of their latest album, Meliora, the band went from small venues to headlining many stages on huge festivals. While the band begins worth on their 4th release, they've released a new EP, Popestar to keep us satisfied. One new track and 4 covers makes this fun, dark, and evil EP a radio sensation! It still feels very weird saying Ghost is on Top 40 Rock Radio.
6.) Celestial Ruin- Pandora
FFO- Symphonic Power Metal
This Canadian quartet came up on my radar this year and from the instant I hit play, I was floored. This is how you make Symphonic Power Metal with real emotional power. Magnificent doesn't even begin to describe it, just check it out if it's up your alley.
5.) Scour- Scour
FFO- Black Metal
The all-star Black Metal group fronted by Phil Anselmo blows everyone away with their 13:49 length apocalyptic debut. Some of the finest work Phil has ever done and the music is exactly how Black Metal with ethereal overtones is meant to be.
4.) Candlemass- Death Thy Lover
FFO- Classic Doom Metal
The foundation of what we know as Doom Metal (well, besides Sabbath) returned from the depths to bring us a brand new 4 track EP with new frontman, Mats Leven. The classic Candlemass sound you know and love is in top form. While many have their own favorite frontman of the band and with that, makes fans picky of which eras they can enjoy; when you look at this EP with a new perspective, it will rock you to the core.
3.) Steven Wilson- 4 1/2
FFO- Steven Wilson
This collection of material that didn't make Steven's latest albums, Hand. Cannot.Erase., is a prime example of how the man can do no wrong. There is a live version of Porcupine Tree's Don't Hate Me thrown in for good Measure. The world can't wait to see what is in store for album five. This will help ease the pain of waiting.
2.) Gruesome- Dimensions of Horror
FFO- Death's debut album Scream Bloody Gore
The welcomed original tribute to the legendary Death Metal band, Death, Gruesome is back with their second release (technically a mini album, but let's call it an EP for record's sake). The band perfectly captures Scream Bloody Gore with their own original songs. Death worshipers like myself will be floored with this release and all the upcoming material Gruesome has to offer.
1.) Wings Denied- Voyager
FFO- Progressive Metal
Having received this album MONTHS before the initial release, I had a very long time to be able to digest this album track by track. This is some of the most well written modern progressive metal tracks laid down to record. I said in the past that the band's first album, Mirrors For A Prince was the band's Images and Words. If that's the case, this is the band's A Change Of Seasons (If that was split into different tracks and not related lyrically). The band is busy working on new material for their net release. I have a feeling we will be stunned by what they have to offer.
Next Time On: That Drummer Guy's Best Of 2016 Lists: The Top 5 Live Albums of 2016
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.