So another year of albums, gigs and news has come to a close, but although it is just ‘another’ year, for you, it is my first writing for Wall of Sound, and I can say I wholeheartedly love doing it and look forward to continuing it in the near future and the years to come.
2016 was a year dominated by good music of the blackened variety. Not just black metal strictly speaking, but you get what I’m saying. I love most of the metal spectrum but this year was probably the poorest showing of the core releases in a long time, but one of the best for disgustingly heavy independents, which is not a bad thing. There were a lot of good death metal albums this year as well but nothing that stood out to me really. Blackened metal and electronic/industrial are the kings of 2016. Anyway, without further ado…
Top 20 Albums of 2016
1. Oathbreaker – Rheia
A truly unexpected development. First listen blew my mind. Second listen blew my mind. It’s still blowing my mind.
2.Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner
Eagerly awaited post metal from the Swedish gods and their American friend. Groovy and dreamy all at the same time.
3.Hypno5e – Shores of the Abstract Line
I’m not normally one to suffer bands with numbers in their names, but this is art. Story snippets, velvety smooth cleans and acidic screeches topped with progressive wonder.
4.Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law
Sounds like Passion and people immolating themselves. What more do you need?
5.The Black Queen – Fever Daydream
Puciato’s softer (but no less weird) side mixed with Josh Eustis. Played it more than was really necessary this entire year but it’s so infectious.
6.Every Time I Die – Low Teens
What else do you need to know? These guys are what parties, moshpits and forced seizures are for.
7.The King is Blind – Our Father
One of those albums that you know nothing about, you check it out and it proceeds to rule your life for the foreseeable future with its black death awesomeness.
8.Obscure Sphinx – epitaphs
Some of the sludgiest post rock I’ve ever heard. Steak Number Eight on acid.
9.Hesitation Wounds – Awake for Everything
Truly a hardcore release to get excited about. Emotional and raw.
10.Panic! At the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
Say what you want about Brandon Urie but he makes fucking good music.
11.Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
I wish I listened to this more so I could move it up the list. Still a Dillinger album through and through. Amazing
12.letlive. – If I’m the Devil…
This album was one of those that didn’t click straight away, but when it did… Even though it’s a vast change, the band still knows how to write great music.
13.Death Spells – Nothing Above, Nothing Below
I get legitimate shivers every time I listen to something from Iero. It’s either super fucked up or average. This is the good, fucked up kind. Also industrial.
14.Explosions in the Sky – The Wilderness
The most underrated instrumental band out there. Eat your heart out Tosin.
15.Todtgelichter – Rooms
Probably the first album of the year that heralded the amazing rise of female vocalists for 2016. Artsy, blackened goodness.
16.Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us
Feels like getting hit in the face with an exploding jet engine. In a good way.
17.Départe – Failure, Subside
Doom laden, drone heavy black metal from the shores of Tasmania. This album is really something else.
18.Fall of Troy – OK
A return to form for these wunderkinds. Sporadically rough and mathematically clean as usual. Not to mention it just makes you want to dance.
19.Bölzer – Hero
I became a convert after seeing them open for Behemoth, this album proves why. Brutal genius on the guitar and a dirge like epic on the vocals.
20.Youth Code – Commitment to Complications
Probably the most immediate album I’ve heard all year. Hardcore influence are brutal and just bury themselves in your mind for weeks to come. It’ll have you wanting to break shit in the middle of the day and you just won’t know why.
Top 10 Songs of 2016
1.Every Time I Die – ‘Just as Real but Not as Brightly Lit’
2.Gojira – ‘Shooting Star’
3.Anaal Nathrakh – ‘On Being a Slave’
4.Cult of Luna – ‘The Wreck of the S.S. Needle’
5.Hesitation Wounds – ‘New Abuse’
6.Bölzer – ‘Hero’
7.NO HAVEN – ‘Colours of Nothing’
8.Filter – ‘Mother E’
9.Twelve Foot Ninja – ‘One Hand Killing’
10.The King is Blind – ‘Mesmeric Furnace’
Top 5 Music Videos of 2016
1.Code Orange – ‘Forever’
2.Faith No More – ‘Cone of Shame’
3.Kvelertak – ‘Svartmesse’
4.Gojira – ‘Shooting Star’
5.Decembre Noir – ‘The Forsaken Earth’
Top 5 Gigs of 2016
1.At the Drive-In, 24th July @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney
It has come to my attention that a lot of things ‘blow my mind’, but this was seriously the most fun I’ve had since I set fire to that *undisclosed*.
2.Départe, 28th November @ Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
Utterly amazing, every band on the bill got better and better until Départe took to the stage and fucking crushed it.
3.The Fall of Troy, 6th July @ Manning Bar, Sydney
One of my favourite bands of all time, played a whole mess of songs from one of my favourite albums of all time. Shit got real.
4.Immolation, 24th September @ Manning Bar, Sydney
First time in Australia in 30 years. That’s brutal. Know what’s more brutal? Robert Vigna.
5.Chronolyth, 24th June @ Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
This is one of those gigs where everything went perfectly. Every band is stellar and new, every drink was one you found for free, and every minute was filled with headbanging.
What am I most looking forward to in 2017?
I know that While She Sleeps are close to releasing an album, so I’m into that. I’d love if Blood Command or Vildhjarta would give out some information on their lives though. The world needs those bands. Maybe even… Behemoth…? You out there?
Next big band in Australia?
As much as I want it to be Meniscus or Rick Dangerous and the Silkie Bantams, I’m putting my money on Gvrlls. I saw the first two earlier in the year and they were so captivating as a live entity that I almost lost all muscle control. However, Gvrlls and their name have been popping up around me non stop for the past few months so I feel something is looming for them, fame wise. It helps that they’re fucking awesome as well as super nice guys, so here’s hoping!