We are starting to reach the end of this year's top 100 albums list. Even the most avid music listen usually only checks out the top 40 or so albums from a respected opinion. So with that, this is where I really expect people to start paying attention and I hope you do because all these albums are fantastic. I know tomorrow is where everyone will immediately go to number one and see what's there, but till then, just enjoy these next 20. One of these could be your new favorite discovery!
40.) Nullingroots- Take Care
The first Nullingroots album to feature vocals takes an amazing one man instrumental project and makes it a full fledged band. Combining the best moments of black metal and post rock into a fusion of dark sounds and oddly uplifting messages. A seriously spellbinding display of songwriting from a band that really stands out from the rest of the genre.
39.) Charred Walls Of The Damned- Creatures Watching Over The Dead
FFO- Heavy Metal
Richard Christy's powerhouse supergroup is back after 5 years between album to release their strongest effort to date. It's not too often that you can have an album that features such heavy songs and stadium rock anthems and have it sound completely unforced. Phenomenal musicianship from the entire band. While the band will most likely never get to do a full proper tour that the music deserves (due to everyone's busy schedules), at least we will have the occasional show and the studio albums to enjoy. This is definitely one of the highlights of Richard Christy's musical recorded career.
38.) October Tide- Winged Waltz
FFO- Doom Metal, Death Metal
Starting off as a side project to Katatonia in the mid 90s; October Tide slowly brooded it's way to its 5th album, Winged Waltz. It is an absolutely stellar death/doom album. So dark, so brooding, so evil, so...perfect. Clean production and killer songwriting. There's not much else you could really ask for.
37.) Harakiri For The Sky- III: Trauma
Another one of the best underappreciated bands in the genre! Harakiri For The Sky returns for their 3rd album and it expands upon their already diverse sound. More melodies and harmonies, more tempos and dynamics and excellent songwriting. This band deserves to flourish as much as possible. just listen why.
36.) Evergrey- The Storm Within
FFO- Progressive Power Metal, Dark Metal
Tom Englund is the master of the art of seeing all things dark and emotionally heartbreaking. This path does not change on The Storm Within. It's an emotional cascade of peaks, valleys, inner turmoil, loss, regret, and the power to move forward. Great production, songwriting, and so much power. Might want to buy some Kleenex if this is your first time listening to Evergrey.
35.) Katatonia- The Fall Of Hearts
FFO- Progressive Metal, Gothic Metal
I'm pretty sure this was the album that most Opeth fans would have wanted when they heard Opeth was dropping the growls from their music a few years back.This album tackles everything there is to love about Katatonia: dark moody lyrics, superb musicianship, crystal clear production, and that classic Katatonia sound we all know and love mixed with some more prog dynamics. Easily a true highlight of the band's career.
34.) Prong- X (No Absolutes)
FFO- Industrial Metal, Groove Metal, Thrash Metal
Prong are the unsung heroes of 90s groove metal. Combining industrial music with thrash to help form the idea of bringing catchy grooves to heavy music. Prong continues to do that with their 11th album. Mixed in with their legendary songs are even more grand ideas with some power driven ballads. Such a diverse and killer album. Go support Prong!
33.) Novembre- Ursa
FFO- Doom Metal, Progressive Metal, Gothic Metal
After 9 years between albums, Novembre returned with one of their greatest recorded achievements. While for some reason, this release was largely under the radar, those that have heard it so far hear the absolute dark magic Ursa has to offer. The power this album has is overpowering, hopefully you will agree.
32.) Sonic Syndicate- Confessions
FFO- Alternative Metal, Pop Metal, Hard Rock
Possibly the most jaw dropping change in a band featured in my lists of 2016. The Swedish melodic death metal band dropped the death and almost all the metal from their style and created a pop flavored, positively charged album that honestly needs to be heard. There is so much dark negativity in the world, Sonic Syndicate decided to not follow down that path anymore and create the music they want to create and they didn't disappoint. Superb stuff!
31.) Dark Tranquillity- Atoma
FFO- Swedish Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Funny how the album just before this was so filled with happiness and joy and immediately following it is an album of darkness and despair. Dark Tranquillity is back with a killer album of guitar and keyboard driven mdm. DT helped forged the signature Swedish metal sound and it keeps getting perfected on every album. Atoma explores what the band is best at on all levels. A true gem of a release.
30.) Circus Maximus- Havoc
FFO- Progressive Metal
A polarizing album for many fans; for others, a natural transition. Havoc is anything but an album creating havoc. It is a very melodic and mellow album with some absolute emotional passages that really grab at your heartstrings. While the whole album may not be for everyone, Havoc does contain some of the best songs Circus Maximus has ever written. A prog Metal album for when you don't want so much prog or metal.
29.) Frost*- Falling Satellites
FFO- Progressive Rock
The third album from the extraordinary UK band Frost* lives up to the expectations that their previous two albums laid out. I've heard some complains about the album's production being too hot, which I will agree that the album is loud, but I think this an exception where it works and fits for the overall feel of the album. Just fantastic prog rock that's extremely keyboard driven, poppy, and fun. That's all I need in this style, it should be all you need as well.
28.) Kyng- Breathe In The Water
FFO- Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
The third release from this amazing, hard working band showcases some of the fastest riffs the band has ever written, but with that, also some of the most melodic. The band doesn't subscribe to any particular genre style, they are what they are. They can open for Seether or Megadeth or In Flames or Clutch on the turn of a dime. And the music proves that they fit any and all scenarios. Breath In The Water is the best Kyng album to date. With how inspired the album is, I can tell they are far from finished. Let's make sure we support them to make sure they can say everything they need to say.
27.) Ihsahn- Arktis
FFO- Experimental Metal, oddly poppy Black Metal
Ihsahn has just put out the most mainstream album of his career. What an odd thing to say! There is some songs that just scream that classic Emperor sound and others that channel the inner Ratt spirit dwelling within him. Ihsahn is truly the master of never repeating himself. All you gotta do is look at his solo albums and try to find two albums that are the same, you can't. If the more mainstream, pop sensible style is what he is up to right now, where can he possibly go from here? I can't wait to find out.
26.) Haken- Affinity
FFO- Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock
Haken is one of the best, if not THE best prog band to come out of the 2000s. With the band's 4th album, they explore more of their inner futuristic ideas all while harping back to their 1980s inspirations as well. An odd mix that absolutely works. A completely stellar album from start to finish!
25.) Omnium Gatherum- Grey Heavens
FFO- Super Melodic Death Metal
There is seriously no one who makes mdm more melodic than Omnium Gatherum. Using Dan Swano as an example, imagine taking the heaviness of Edge Of Sanity and combining it with majestic melodic moments of Nightingale and you got Omnium Gatherum. The band's latest release is so damn catchy and perfect. You need this band in your life, trust me!
24.) Denner/Shermann- Masters Of Evil
FFO- Heavy Metal, Classic Metal, Early Day Black Metal
The masterminds of the twin guitar black metal sounds from Mercyful Fate, Hank Shermann and Michael Denner have created their first full length album together with Sean Peck, Snowy White and Marc Grabowski rounding out the supergroup. It has that classic Mercyful Fate sound, just made in 2016. Peck does an incredible job of giving a nod to King Diamond's unrivaled voice, while making sure his own classic voice is what stands out. With this and last year's debut EP, I simply can't wait to see what album two has in store for us.
23.) Necromancing The Stone- Jewel Of The Vile
FFO- Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Classic Metal
An obvious tribute to the Michael Douglas movies; Necromancing The Stone released their debut album and it flat out destroys everything in it's path. It's on that cusp of Thrash/Speed/Classic metal where you can call them any of the three and you wouldn't be wrong. While there is an occasional scream or two, the vocals are powerfully performed clean vocals that totally fit the occult feeling sound.
22.) The Neal Morse Band- The Similitude Of A Dream
FFO- Progressive Rock
The latest double disc concept album from Neal Morse (now using one of his current forms, The Neal Morse Band) is an epic journey somewhat based on the Christian story: The Pilgrim's Progress. The music is layered in so many dynamics of heaviness and melody. While many non-Christians will not be into the story and may even be turned off to his music because of it. I'd advise you to look at this from the perspective of bands like Orphaned Land or even Deicide. Good music is good music, no matter what you believe in. TSOAD is the prime example of that statement.
21.) Lords Of Black- II
FFO- Epic Power Metal
The best....I repeat, THE BEST non-supergroup Power Metal band to exist. the 2nd album from the Spanish Power Metal band continues to show the epic power the band has perfected. Absolute magic songwriting, the greatest raspy power vocals this side of Dio and some of the greatest production on a Power Metal release. This is the definitive Power Metal album. Even those who hate power metal will love what is done here. A personal guarantee!
Next Time: That Drummer Guy's Top 100 Albums of 2016 Part V: The Top 20
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.