This year of 2016 was full of some killer releases in the world of Metal! So we at Metal Wani felt that it’s time to count down the Top 10 Metal Releases of 2016 (So Far). The albums below are in no particular order. Do you see your favorite here?
Anaal Nathrakh – ‘The Whole of The Law’
With no bias what so ever, out of all the incredible albums put out this year, my personal favorite has to be Anaal Nathrakh’s ‘The Whole of The Law’. The sheer intensity of the record alone is staggering, brilliantly produced so that it feels like you’re being sandblasted in the face, but at the same time there are layers and complexity to the music that you might not notice the first time around. The vocal range and diversity on this album is borderline inhuman as well. I can think of less than five vocalists off the top of my head with the range of David Hunt. The complexity, range, and diversity of each song on the record kept me hooked the entire way through and I couldn’t be more excited about this record. “We Will Fucking Kill You” is a nonstop whirlwind of groove and screaming terror which gives me chills every time I listen to it.
Ulcerate – ‘Shrines of Paralysis’
One of the most striking features about Ulcerate is how immense they can make their music sound. Between the incredibly complex drums to the wildly unorthodox guitar playing, it builds this dark and chaotic atmosphere that moves forward at a relentless pace. They’re one of those bands that you run across and wish you could find more like because you enjoy so much, but at the same time, you don’t want to find any more because you enjoy how unique they truly are. The drums really set Ulcerate apart with how they build up such a massive, intricate presence. Either way, ‘Shrines of Paralysis’ is a must listen if you consider yourself a metalhead at all.
Gorguts – ‘Pleiades’ Dust’
What list would be complete without Gorguts’ ‘Pleiades Dust’? Even despite the fact they went full blown Iron Butterfly with a massive 32 minute song/EP, the track is so fluid and well constructed that it actually works as a full half-hour masterpiece. Flowing effortlessly off of ‘Colored Sands’ the EP feels like the next natural progression and I can’t wait to see what comes after this. The megalithic walls of chaos they build only to destroy into soft, ebbing breaks is truly reminiscent of a classical era only now used for darker, more intense purposes.
Brain Drill – ‘Boundless Obscenity’
The tech titans have finally returned with another monstrosity of an album! I’ve been a big Brain Drill fan going back to ‘The Parasites’ EP days. The relentless brutality is absolutely intoxicating and I just can’t get enough of it. I think what really sets Brain Drill apart from the rest of the tech death world, is their ability to create an atmosphere in an otherwise frigid and coldly calculated soundscape. “Departed in Decay” is the best example of this, the back and forth from machine gun riffs to wild, open tapping melodic runs. It shows a greater range of dynamics, without detracting from the fact that Brain Drill is still the one of the most fucking relentless, face crushing, viciously brutal bands around and that isn’t going to change any time soon.
Dark Funeral – ‘Where The Shadows Forever Reign’
After 7 painfully long goddamn years Dark Funeral rises again with another incredible record. These guys can do no wrong for me, putting out consistently evil and demonic records that are all still new and unique. One of the most important factors in a record for me is replay value; and I’ll gladly sit and listen to Dark Funeral all day every day. They manage to still have the raw cutting edge that black metal is defined by without having to sacrifice themselves at the altar of shit quality recording. Who says you can’t have your evil in HQ? The presence they create is truly a signature sound and every time blows me away with how dynamic they can be with it without sacrificing the integrity of it.
Unmerciful – ‘Ravenous Impulse’
What could be better than some good ol’ midwest tech-death. Given the fact that Unmerciful is literally ⅗ former and/or current Origin members I had pretty high expectations for this album. Since you’re reading about it, they obviously didn’t disappoint. From start to finish, ‘Ravenous Impulse’ is a raw, unrelenting record that is tech death done as it was done originally and done right. It’s stupid fast with no flash or glamor; but blood and entrails. Lately the tech-death world has started to float into the softer, flashier prog styles which has made for some cool music but those same bands are forgetting why they’re playing this style of music to begin with. This is about being heavier, more technical, and more brutal than fuck all, and that’s exactly what Unmerciful set out to do.
Paul Ozz – ‘Tartarvs’
Every year an unsigned EP or two makes its way into this list and this year it’s Paul Ozz’s ‘Tartarvs’. A sonic combination of Gorguts meets Opeth in the most bizarre fashion that you’d assume would never work and you’d clearly be wrong. There are two big guest solos from Matt Perrin from Threat Signal and Christian Muzner, the man of a dozen faces from Alkaloid, Spawn of Possession, and formerly Obscura and Necrophagist. The vocals are all growls until the last track “Dust” where some really amazing cleans come out of nowhere to finish off the record on a big note.
Burial in The Sky – ‘Persistence of Thought’
Burial In The Sky is a modern, more progressive technical death metal band. Falling along the lines of bands like Fallujah and Rivers of Nihil they certainly pack a punch in a very tight package. They blend the heavy brutal riffs with the lighter, more delicate runs over top to create the unique sound that this newer style of technical metal is becoming. I for one really like it, I think Burial In The Sky put out a record that was airtight all the way around, from the song writing to the production, everything sounds phenomenal.
Cognizance – ‘Illusory’
These guys were on the list last year and they made it back again. With yet another incredibly well structured and executed tech death record. Cognizance is on top of the tech death game right now with wickedly heavy riffs that are more reminiscent of the early days of tech death, through a modern processor. So everything sounds brutal, heavy, and groovy, but also really well polished and tight. Sometimes you need half an hour for one song, sometimes you need 16 minutes for five. ‘Illusory’ is definitely worth those extra 16 minutes of your time.
Fleshgod Apocalypse – ‘King’
If you’ve ever read any of my previous articles you may know I have a big thing for orchestral death metal. Fleshgod Apocalypse are one of the bands that know how to properly incorporate an orchestra into the mix. I love when bands treat the non-traditional metal instruments as part of the band, it builds more of an atmosphere and complex sound. ‘King’ is an absolute rollercoaster then entire way through, rolling from blistering fast paced, wailing guitars, to soft, ebbing breaks. The dynamics make for a real unique listen and add tons of replay value to the album.