IT'S FINALLY HERE, IT'S FINALLY HERE, IT'S FINALLY HERE!!!
The most highly regarded and coveted prize in all of music list making: The Top 5-20 Albums of The Present Year! But in all seriousness, I know that this list will be checked out more than any other just due to the fact that people just wanna check out the best of the best from someone's thoughts on something to see if that person's opinions have any validity. I would like to think all of the releases I've talked about so far deserve your attention if they sound interesting to you. The ranking isn't nearly as important as the album just getting proper recognition. I hope that I've accomplished that so far this year.
But, just because it needs to be done, these are, in my humblest of opinions, The 20 BEST ALBUMS OF 2016!
20.) Bloody Hammers- Lovely Sort Of Death
FFO- Darkwave, Gothic Metal, Hard Rock
The third album from North Carolina's Bloody Hammers features the band at their best; playing evil, poppy, catchy darkwave inspired doom rock. The songs really bring you back to that mid 80s through early 90s European darkwave that swept through the underground, but with that, comes an even darker sense and more metalized material. Hauntingly beautiful music that is indeed worthy of your time.
19.) Fleshgod Apocalypse- King
FFO- Symphonic Death Metal
Without question, the best Fleshgod album to date. While many will be upset that the album is not nearly as fast as Agony (which always seems to be the set standard in many fans' eyes), it's not about speed, it's about songwriting. That's exactly what this album has. An amazing story wrapped up in killer production, excellently produced songs and enough variation and diversity that should make any fan of symphony, death metal or both happy completely satisfied.
18.) Winterfylleth- The Dark Hereafter
FFO- Atmospheric Black Metal, Folk Metal
Easily one of the best black metal bands to ever come out of the UK, Winterfylleth return to the forest with The Dark Hereafter. 5 tracks about the earth, the people, and the nature surrounding us and what we must do to protect it all. While the actual lyrics are dark, the message is one of hope that the world can change for the better. Amazing black metal with an overall positive message? Is this real life? Yes it is.
17.) Obscura- Akroasis
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
For further research, check out my track by track review of the album from the beginning of the year right here: http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/written-material/album-review-obscura-akroasis
16.) Saor- Guardians
FFO- Black Metal, Celtic Metal
Beautifully written black metal mixed with Irish/Celtic influences; it's as sexy as that sounds. A natural blend of the two makes for 5 of the best black metal songs of 2016. While this won't be for everyone who digs black metal, those can appreciate going outside of the satanic world and open up to the ideas of nature and Celtic culture, will LOVE this album one way or the other.
15.) Dynazty- Titanic Mass
FFO- Modern Metal, Power Metal, Progressive Metal
Dynazty continues to follow their prog power nature with Titanic Mass. The album is beyond catchy with so many pop driven hooks over heavy and melodic prog riffs with amazing, soaring, power metal vocals. Don't let the name fool you into thinking anything else; this is a fun band, who creates amazingly powerful music.
14.) Fates Warning- Theories Of Flight
FFO- Progressive Metal
THE BEST FATES WARNING ALBUM EVER MADE! That is no easy thing to say. I equally love the Arch and Alder eras of the band and Parallels was my former favorite album from the band. That's all changed now with Theories Of Flight. For the first time since Parallels, something sparked a fire under Ray Alder's ass and made him sing his best recorded vocals ever. The music is absolutely spellbinding. So many hooks, melodies, harmonies, and jaw dropping musicianship. This is Fates Warning at their absolutely, non-debateable best!
13.) Destroyer 666- Wildfire
FFO- Blackened Thrash Metal, Old School Death Metal
While wrongfully accused of hateful nature towards race and gender earlier this year (which was thankfully detracted), many people may have forgot that the band put out one of the best albums of 2016! Their signature blend of blackened thrash metal of yesteryear and old school 90s death metal; Destroyer 666 has perfectly formulated the two into their finest work. If Bathory, Venom, Entombed, and Scream Bloody Gore era Death formed a band, it would be Destroyer 666. Wildfire is beyond catchy, dark, evil and oddly soothing. This is how you stay innovative, while paying tribute to the past.
12.) Oceans Of Slumber- Winter
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
Featuring Beau and Dobber from Insect Warfare (you heard me right, the underground grindcore masters) Oceans Of Slumber is a phenomenal blend that can blend so many different styles of music into a natural sound. Blues with black metal, folk with grindcore, Progressive metal with....progressive metal. These guys are not afraid to let their inspirations shine into some of the most innovative metal of the 21st century. They are slowly but surely getting the attention they deserve. By the time of their next album, they will be unstoppable. Check them out now!
11.) Pain- Coming Home
FFO- Industrial Metal with elements of Progressive and Power Metal
Peter Tagtgren is one of the most phenomenal people to ever grace metal music. From all of his production, mixing, mastering skills to his death metal band, Hypocrisy and his Industrail project, Pain; Tagtgren is capable of doing no wrong. With all of that said, Tagtgren just release the best Pain album to date, Coming Home. A collection of catchy, quirky, poppy, and fun songs with great grooves, awesome vocals, funny lyrics, and Tagtgren's phenomenal production. Coming Home really has it all for the smartass in all of us.
10.) Black Crown Initiate- Selves We Cannot Forgive
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
Black Crown Initiate is one of the finest bands currently going. While I can't even fathom to understand the hate for the band simply for getting opening slots on tours; the band is filled with 5 incredible guys who write incredible music. Selves We Cannot Forgive is the 2nd album (3rd release) from the band and it really showcases the finest songwriting of the band to date. While 2014's The Wreckage of Stars was filled with hyper-speed, technical progressive death metal; this album showcases more on dynamics, variation, and most importantly, writing the best songs possible. Guitarist and clean vocalist, Andy Thomas took more of an active role with vocals on this album contributing not only his fantastic cleans but his own growls to match James Dorton's already powerful growls. This is the album you need to show what can be done when you focus on the progressive side of progressive death metal. Bravo!
9.) Alcest- Kodama
After vowing to never make music like this again, Neige decided to go back to the Blackgaze roots, and the world is thankful for it. While 2014's Shelter was a great Post Rock album, it really missed the spark previous albums had. Kodama brings it all back, with a bit of a Japanese flavor as well. It combines all the best elements of Alcest into 6 perfectly laid out songs. Not too metal, not too light; it's all....just right!
8.) Borknagar- Winter Thrice
FFO- Progressive Black Metal, Folk Metal
For a detailed track by track review, check out my review here: www.thatdrummerguy.com/written-material/album-review-borknagar-winter-thrice
7.) Anaal Nathrakh- The Whole Of The Law
FFO- The Soundtrack to the Apocalypse
As I say every single time I review an Anaal Nathrakh album, it bears repeating every single time....the best thing the band could ever have done was add melodies, harmonies and clean vocals to their otherwise apocalyptic sound. The extreme mix of industrial, black metal, death metal, and grindcore with oddly soothing moments make this band unbeatable force. This time around, the band continues to expand their sound adding symphonic elements and atmospheric guitars in all the right spots. While the chaos is absolutely not for the faint of heart, those that dare venture into this has to go in with a completely open mind and a droppable jaw. One of the finest AN albums ever!
6.) Candiria- While They Were Sleeping
FFO- Jazz Metal
Candiria has fully returned with While They Were Sleeping. Yes, the band did release 2009's Kiss The Lie, the band didn't feel right and they took a hiatus for a few years until they felt comfortable to start playing shows and writing music once again.. The break was absolutely needed as they have put out arguably the band's most cohesive and best album to date. IF all goes according to plan, this is the first of a trilogy of album following a concept written by frontman Carley Coma. The music is such a great, unique blend of Metal, jazz, fusion, hard rock, soul and so many other genre bending moments that all completely make sense. Candiria is back with full force, fans like myself couldn't possibly be happier.
5.) Long Distance Calling- TRIPS
FFO- Progressive Post Metal
For a full detailed, track by track review, check it out HERE: http://www.thatdrummerguy.com/written-material/album-review-long-distance-calling-trips
4.) Astronoid- Air
Atmospheric Black Metal, Dream Pop, Progressive Metal, 100% Clean Vocals
The most astonishing debut album I've ever heard. The fact that it took this long for it to be accomplished so perfectly is a testament to how much talent these guys have. Combine the black metal of Emperor, the dream pop sensibility of Mew, the prog and guitar tones of Devin Townsend, the atmosphere & post rock of Alcest and you get Astronoid. I simply can't describe it accurately enough to appropriately get the music in written context, you just gotta listen to it yourself. And while you're at it, why don't you download it for free right here from their label's bandcamp page: blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/air
3.) The Devin Townsend Project- Transcendence
FFO- Devin Townsend
For my extensive track by track review. Check it out here: www.thatdrummerguy.com/written-material/album-review-the-devin-townsend-project-transcendence
2.) Avantasia- Ghostlights
FFO- All Star Power Metal
Tobias Sammet has written his finest work ever with Ghostlights. The dark Metal Opera has some of the greatest voices in rock music, from Michael Kiske to Jorn Lande to even Dee Snider and Geoff Tate. Every single song portrays an excellent portrayal of the story being told. Is it cheesy? Of course it is! Is it also one of the great Power Metal albums ever laid to record? You bet your sweet ass it is!
1.) Witherscape- The Northern Sanctuary
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
All I will say is that if I receive a promo from one of my favorite musicians of all time, I hit play, and on the first time it hits my ears, I burst into tears, it is going to be my favorite album of the year!
If you need ore detail than that on why it's the best album of the year, check out my track by track review of the album here: www.thatdrummerguy.com/written-material/album-review-witherscape-the-northern-sanctuary
Alright folks, there you go. the Top 100 Albums of 2016. 100 Phenomenal releases that are worthy of your time if you enjoy Hard Rock, Metal and any subgenre attached to the two. I have a few more lists that I'll be showing off before the end of the year, but for now. Take some time on YouTube, Spotify, or even better, buy any album that may be up your alley and discover some new music. If you couldn't find one album here that you didn't enjoy, Hard Rock and Metal just may not be for you!