My top 25 of 2016

The Heart of the Prog/Power Movement

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My top 25 of 2016

Postby BumZen » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:16 am

Overall, I've been pretty happy with 2016. Some huge dissapointments, and not a large amount of debuts that impressed me. But some oldies made some solid releases. Flotsam, Megadeth, Metallica, Watchtower, to name a few. And maybe it is just me not looking the right places, but I didn't find much power/melodic/prog metal to enjoy this year, hence the lack of the same on the list. Anyways, here it is, with some very short comments and links to songs, that are not necessarily my favorites.

25: Myrath - Legacy (TUN) / Melodic Metal
Great melodic metal with arabic touches and awesome vocals. Still prefer their earlier more proggy outputs.
Believer -

24: Inanimate Existence - Calling from a Dream (US) / Technical Death Metal
Actually, this album was big letdown for me to begin with. I LOVE Never Ending Cycle of Atonement, and this is not on par. Some of the female vox parts sound forced, but their varied trademark sound and technical provess still makes for a great experience.
Pulse of the Mountains Hear -

23: Flotsam & Jetsam - s/t (US) / Thrash Metal
Flotsam & Jetsam is one of the few "comeback" thrash bands, that are actually moving forward and doing fantastic things. This isn't the same thing as the fantastic "The Cold" as it has a more classic sound, but I really love what they've done here. More so than I expected.
Iron Maiden -

22: Iotunn - The Wizard Falls EP (DK) / Progressive Power/viking/death/black metal?
Think Agalloch, Borknagar mixed with progressive metal and Warrel Dane'ish vocals, and you have Iotunn. Awesome potential.
Frost -

21: Gojira - Magma (FRA) / Avantgarde Death Metal
Started out having a strong dislike for this album. But most of it grew on me quite a lot. It has a few songs that are as bland as they come, but the highlights more than make up for that.
Stranded -

20: Megadeth - Dystopia (US/BRA) / Speed Metal
I don't understand the hate. This album slays. Maybe even their best since the fantastic The System Has Failed. Certainly a lot better than the new Metallica (which I do like, btw.)
Dystopia -

19: Dream Theater - The Astonishing (US) / Prog Metal
I'll admit that the album is too long. Too many fillers with skippable moments. But who cares when there are still so much good music on here? Haters gonna hate, but Dream Theater has done something they haven't done before.
The Gift of Music -

18: Haken - Affinity (UK) / Prog/Djent Metal
Never been a fan of Haken. Always found them to be as uninteresting as they come, even though I should love everything about them on paper. With Affinity it finally worked. While the album didn't grow on me as much as I expected, I still find it very enjoyable this late in the year.
Initiate -

17: Them - Sweet Hollow (US/GER) / Heavy Metal
The best King Diamond album I've heard in a long time. Of course, it isn't King Diamond himself, but the inspiration is so obvious that there's no reason to pretend it's anything else.
Forever Burns - ...

16: Votum - :Ktonik: (POL) / Progressive Rock
Musically speaking Poland does a lot of things well, but they are on top of the world when it comes to modern progressive rock. Votum is a band that helps cement that position.

15: Defecto - Excluded (DK) / Power/prog/melodic metal
Very varied album that has classic metal anthems along with early era Fates Warning tunes. Just a great album.
Sovereign -
Bonus for the giggles: Let It Go cover (Frozen) -

14: Obscura - Akroasis (GER) Technical Death Metal
For me, Obscura has always been a bit different on the death metal scene. It has more in common with Nile than it does with Death or Psycroptic, and they remind me a bit of Spawn of Possession. Anyways, who cares? It's just great brutal atmospheric techy death metal.
Ten Sepiroth -

13: Insomnium - Winter's Gate (FIN)
A melodic death metal album with just 1 song? Sounds cheesy and overdone? Who the fuck in their right mind thinks they can outdo Edge of Sanity in that category anyways? Insomnium doesn't outdo the masters, but Winter's Gate is pretty fucking solid. Beautiful cold sound and great musicianship makes for a wonderful sonic experience
Pt. 1 cover -

12: Borknagar - Winter Thrice (NO/SWE) Melodic black metal
No surprises here. Trademark later Borknagar with their majestic sound and tons of clean vocals by Vintersorg and ICS Vortex an
The Rhymes of the Mountain -

11: Khemmis - Hunted (US) / Doom metal
Just a great classic doom metal album with great vocals for the genre. They remind me a tiny bit of Warning in regards to raw emotion.
Candlelight -

10: Avatar - Feathers and Flesh (SWE) Avantgarde
I shouldn't like this. But I do. Never been a fan of Avatar in the past, but Feathers and Flesh has been stuck in my player for so long during the year, and I keep coming back to it. Is it the story about some lame owl? Nah. Is it the insane variety without ever losing their sound? Maybe. Is it the craziness that is attached to everything on this album without ever sounding like it's forced? Maybe? Is it because the songs are just great? Maybe. All I know is, that I like it.
The Eagle has Landed -

9: Destroyer 666 - Wildfire (AUS/NL) / Speed metal
They might be the biggest misogynistic douchebags in the underground with alleged ties to nazism, racism and whatnot. I don't know if they do it for the publicity, or are just stupid assholes. Who cares when you release an album filled to the brim with evil fucking riffs and a "who-gives-a-shit-if-this-isn't-1985" attitude. I love it.
Die you fucking pig! -

8: Brutai - Born (UK) Progressive djent
Biggest surprise of the year as well as debut album of the year. Great musicianship, great songwriting and great vocals
Never Change -

7: Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary (SWE) / Progressive melodic death metal
Can Dan Swanö do no wrong? It doesn't seem to matter what it is, but whatever he touches turns in to musical gold. I love Nightingale and Edge of Sanity, and Witherscape is the beautiful lovechild of those. Dan for president.
In the Eyes of Idols -

6: Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts (SWE) Gothic Doom Metal
It took me a long time to warm up to this. Maybe because I was a bit tired of Katatonia for a long time. But once I really got into it, this is just stellar Katatonia, that keeps perfecting the sound they started on Viva Emptiness.
Serein -

5: Dark Tranquillity - Atoma (SWE) Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal
For me, DT has always been the best of the Gothenburg originators. If nothing else, they've been the most consistent, having not released a single bad album. At times I might even think they've gotten better over the years, as they've increased the role of the keyboards. Atoma adds to that sentiment.

4: Fallujah - Dreamless (US) / Ambient semi-techy death metal
The Flesh Prevails is one of the best albums of the decade. This is not on par, but it's damn close. Fallujah just cemented that you can still have a unique sound and reinvent death metal in this millenium. Beautiful brutal soundscapes!
The Void Alone -

3: Watchtower - Concepts of Math: Book One EP (US) Technical Progressive Metal
I was starting to think we might never hear from the masters of tech ever again. But we have, and they are better than ever. The only reason this isn't the best album of the year, is that it's not an album, but just an EP, so the ones I rated higher wins on pure content. This is technical goodness!
Arguments Against Design -

2: Vektor - Terminal Redux (US) / Spacey technical blackened thrash?
What is Vektor? It's awesome is what it is. Unrelenting and unrepenting this is a phenomenal sonic slap in your face. And all you want is for them to smack you up, like momma used to do.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Disease) -

1: Ihsahn - Arktis (NO) / avantgarde progressive metal
Ihsahn is ever evolving. I think we are at a point where it no longer does him justice to call it black metal, or put him into any category. Ihsahn is one of those musicians that is simply just his own, much like King Diamond has managed to do in heavy metal. I shared two songs for this, just to showcase a little of the variety on this album. And yes, it is Einar from Leprous on one of the songs.
South Winds -
Celestial Violencee -

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