As the troubled, yet musically impressive, year of 2016 comes to its end. It’s about time I looked back at those albums that have blown me away this year. That’s right it is time for the obligatory top 10 albums of this year!
10) Psychosadaistic Design by Vulvodynia
Opening this top 10 is the best slam metal release of recent times. Vulvodynia have put all their vomit spewing effort into this album and it shows. The South African slammers have brought the full package of hefty breakdowns, gut gurgling vocals and gore riddled lyrics. It is a fine example of what the genre can offer for those who can get past the ludicrously heavy music. This isn’t to mention the sheer number of guest vocalist appearing on the album, Alex Terrible and the very talented Luke Griffin to mention just two. Psychosadaistic Design was goretastic.
9) Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie by Volbeat
I was late to the whole Volbeat party. After hearing The Devil’s Bleeding Crown I knew what I had been missing for all those years. Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie is a hard rock masterpiece. It is crammed full of catchy riffs from For Evgit to Black Rose a true masterful mash up of rock and roll, classic metal and rockabilly attitudes. This is made all the more sweeter by the oddly satisfying vocals of Michael Poulsen whose gruff yet soothing singing voice made it an instant hit for me. Volbeat are now one of my go to bands if I want to listen to something a little less heavy than my usual pallet.
8) With Regret by Expire
This would be the last record Expire would be releasing before they split up. A sad day as With Regret was spot on. No fiddly diddly over the top guitar playing, just straight up, honest hardcore. Short song lengths keep things tight and to the point leading one song into the next with full force. That’s where I think the album excels. Expire know exactly when a song is endanger of dragging on and over staying its welcome. From Fighting the Slip to Medicine, Live or Die to Fear in Control each song chugs its way through several opportunities to two step, singing along and enjoy an all out mosh. With Regret is a well constructed and named album considering the bands impending break up. I am just glad I was able to catch Expire live one last time before then.
(Full Review Here:My Review of With Regret by Expire)
7) Laugh Tracks by Knocked Loose
Knocked Loose are one of those bands that has me hopeful for the future of hardcore. Laugh Tracks will leave any fan of bloody good breakdown in a constant state of awe. I was never once left bored, or feeling unfulfilled after each breakdown hit its mark time and time again. Of course it isn’t all chug chug breakdowns. Knocked Loose also utilise groove like riffs as well as two step rhythms to keep your fist clenched all the way to the end. When a band lays down riffs that blur the lines between hardcore, beatdown and metal alongside pretty raw vocals, then you are going to have a debut album that will capture peoples interest.
(Full Review Here:My Review of Laugh Tracks by Knocked Loose)
6) Peaceless by Lock & Key
Sadly this is another hardcore band calling it a day. Lock & Key announced their break up towards the end of this year but at least they gave us Peaceless as one last huzzah. This album was the bands first and last album which is a real shame as it showcases some of the best that British hardcore has to offer. This is an album pieced together by harsh vocals, huge breakdowns and plenty of opportunities to get hooked on the music. Peaceless is unapologetic in its simple structure but hits the spot every time. Lock & Key also cheekily snuck in their last two singles all the way back from 2014 and 2015. However I am all for these additions as No Acceptance and my all time favourite The Legacy are just mind blowing songs. (Especially that breakdown in The Legacy, oh my it is just so good… excuse me a minute I’ve got to change my trousers.)
5) Your World Won’t Listen by Cruel Hands
Another hardcore band, really? I know you could be mistaken for thinking this list is just descending into my favourite hardcore releases of 2016, but for me this year has been one of the best years for the genre in modern times. New bands releasing cracking debuts and established bands such as Cruel Hands are still producing fantastic material. Your World Won’t Listen continues the bands style from the last album, The Negatives, with its blend of galloping two step riffs, erupting breakdowns and punk driven choruses. The Portland five piece really know how to bring the impact of hardcore, the odd metal inspired riff and raw power of punk. Cruel Hands are the perfect band for anyone who loves their music to hit home, and it hits pretty hard.
4) Dissociation by The Dillinger Escape Plan
The third band on this list to announce their upcoming break up. Mathcore maniacs The Dillinger Escape Plan have certainly gone out with one hell of a big bang. Take ludicrous guitar riffs, an ear for weird time signatures, throw in some bi-polar tempo changes and you have Dissociation. This is one of the bands most chaos riddled albums to date, and that is saying something. Listeners are jerked from song to song never knowing what to expect next. Is it another spasm inducing riff? Is it an acid jazz infused spell? The only answer is of course who knows when it comes to The Dillinger Escape Plan and I for one wouldn’t have it any other way. A fantastic final album that will be remembered by fans as a final outburst from one of metals most obscure bands.
(Full Review Here:My Review of Dissociation by The Dillinger Escape Plan)
3) No Cure, No Saviour by POLAR.
Like a fine wine or whiskey British melodic hardcore/metalcore band POLAR. just keep getting better with age. The veering away from their more chaotic roots to continue to produce fantastic music, No Cure, No Saviour has everything I enjoyed from their previous albums and more. More melodies and addictively catchy choruses lead the way whilst maintaining that heavy hitting backbone that has kept POLAR. constantly a great band to listen to. The band seems to have matured getting more and more of their influences into each offering. I have followed these guys from pretty much their first EP and if they continue down his path, you can be damn sure I will be shouting praises at every given opportunity. Oh did I also mention legendary vocalist Andy Neufeld of Comeback Kid features on the song Deus Ex Machina. Better believe that happened and it was incredible to boot.
(Full Review Here:My Review of No Cure No Saviour by POLAR.)
2) Low Teens by Every Time I Die
There are few bands more raucous than Every Time I Die and Low Teens is the pinnacle of everything the band has worked towards. A raw display of southern metal flavoured hardcore. The likes of I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway and The Coin Has A Say tear up the album showing off what the Buffalo boys can do. Its hectic riffs, outburst of gruff vocals and furious beat blend perfectly with the more hard rock and groove based songs such as It Remembers. Every Time I Die are a band that rarely disappoint with a legacy of epic albums that continues to grow and grow the more material they release.
(Full Review Here:My Review of Low Teens by Every Time I Die)
1) All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us by Architects
First things first, I have to mention the tragic passing of Architects guitarist Tom Searle this year. It was a sad day for the heavy music scene to lose one of the best. I thought it would be impossible for Architects to outshine their previous album Lost Forever // Lost Together as to me it was a flawless effort. However they did it and I have been left picking up my jaw from the floor as I blasted out All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us over and over again. Complexes chugging, well thought out lyrics, pulsating drums and some of the most passionate vocals ever produced by the ever brilliant Sam Carter. For me Architects latest album is the not only the best album of 2016 but one of the best albums to come out this decade.
(Full Review Here:My Review of All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us by Architects)
We have lost countless musicians and bands due to deaths and break ups this year. However this hasn’t made this list from being any easier to make, so here are some honourable mentions:
Mad World by Suicidal Tendencies
Slow Death by Carnifex
Snake Church by Ringworm
This Could Be Heartbreak by Amity Affliction
Animus by Venom Prison
The Serenity in Suffering by Korn
Concrete Confessional by Hatebreed
Transit Blue by The Devil Wears Prada
Sleepless by Adept
Outside the Box by Hacktivist
Incarnate by Killswitch Engage
Magma by Gojira
The Stage by Avenged Sevenfold
Hardwired… To Self-Destruct by Metallica
The Empire by Vader
Retrogore by Aborted