I guess everybody agrees on the point that 1986 was crucial year for the developement of metal music, especially when thrash and death metal are in question. And here we are, 30 years later... Chernobyl is still radioactive and metal is alive and well! Since there are so many great albums that were released this year, it was a tough task to list the 20 best releases. According to the Chinese calendar, 2016 is the year of the Monkey, but I’ll definitely call it The year of Dissonance, and there’s plenty of reasons for that. I mean, even Korn is back to their noisy roots. So check out our list of haiku reviews down below!
25) Venomous Concept Kick Me Silly – VC III
This supergroup consisting of legendary names such as Shane Embury and Danny Herrera of Napalm Death & Kevin Sharp and Danny Lilker of Brutal Truth deliver more than a good release of grinding madness with a few unecessary songs. If these names mean nothing to you, you’re either lame or you are simply not a fan of grindcore music. However, check it out!
24) Anal Trump – Make America say Merry Christmas Again
This 47 seconds EP is wicked. For more information, read #21.
23) Vektor – Terminal Redux
Space thrash is in the house! Vektor have released their 3rd album, Terminal Redux which is more experimental and more of a lenghty record (more than 1 hour of music) when compared with their previous, more in-your-face album Outer Isolation. The former reminds me of Death Angel’s Act III because of some cheesy clean vocals that kinda kill the thrashing madness vibe for a moment.
22) Anal Trump – That makes me smart!
Anal Trump is a side project of Cattle Decapitaiton’s vocalist, Travis Ryan. Driven by their spiritual leaders, Anal Cunt, these guys have decided to get all political and bash Donald Trump. But the problem is simple, everyone was feeding a troll instead of ignoring it. Suffer the consequences. The whole lesser than two evils thing is as stupid as chosing between AIDS and cancer. When politics and metal are in question, everyone should follow Lemmy’s path. But Lemmy is killed by death and the whole world has turned upside down.
21) Bolzer – Hero Finally
Bolzer have released their first full lenght album. The music is surrounded with a very profound, and yet chilling atmosphere. Vocals may be a bit more melodic than usual and kinda Mastodon-like but that is not neccesarily a bad thing at all. Many of the fans might be surprised by the direction where Bolzer ‘s music is going. It definitely incorporates more pagan, Helvetic influences, and a lot of vocal chants. How well have fans accepted this album, only time will tell!
20) Tumbleweed Dealer – TD III – Tokes, Hatred and Caffeine
The only stoner album on our list is Tumbleweed’s latest one. This is the band’s third full lenght album. Even though the music itself is fully instrumental, the name of the album and songs show that these guys are smoking a lot of sweet leaf! Their bass player live is no one else than legendary Miguel Valede who played in one of the best death metal bands period – Negativa. Highly recommended for all you stoners out there!
19) D.R.I. But wait...there’s more!
What a lie! I was expecting a full lenght release after seein the title of D.R.I.’s latest EP, but that won’t happen this year. Anyway, Kurt Brecht sounds as if he’s in his 20s again. The quality of D.R.I.’s music is never in question. Both fans of thrash metal and hardcore will be highly pleased with But wait...there’s more! And it’s really good to see that guys are back in the game after a long time hiatus. So... D.R.I. did one of those comeback records that put a smile on everyone’s face!
18) Sacramental Blood Ternion Demonarchy
After a long wait, Serbian death metallers Sacramental Blood have finally relesed their debut album – Ternion Demonarchy. If you’re fond of Tampa Florida death metal oriented sound, or perhaps a fan of Pestilence or Nile, definitely give these guys a listen. The moment you press PLAY button, you’ll be blown to shreads!
17) Sodom – Decision Day
Legedary German thrashers have released their 15th studio album, Decision Day. It’s kinda disappointing that the lyrics on the album aren’t as political as the album cover itself. But in the end, the final product is a great thrash metal album with a little bit of experimental deviations, uncommon for Sodom’s legacy.
16) Pyrrhon – Running out of Skin
Pyrrhon’s latest 16-minute-long EP came like a bit of a surprise. The band’s latest release, Running out of Skin is definitely more avant-garde than its predecessor, Mother of Virtues (and some might find that statement hard to believe). The Music itself is nastier, and the production dirtier than usual. The songs have more of a live feel, and you might think that the whole thing is dissonant death metal free jazz jam, executed in one take. Plus, the cover of Death’s Crystal Mountain is damn awesome!
15) Brujeria – Potcho Aztlan
Madre de dios! After 16 long years Brujeria has finally released a brand new album, Potcho Aztlan! These riffs are damn catchy! The band’s lyrics are highly controversial as always. This time, their invective is aimed at Donald Trump. Well, Brujeria mastermind stated that he’ll leave USA if Trump becomes a president, while Phil Anselmo stated exact the opposite . One of the biggest problems in metal music nowadays is that metalheads in the 80s hated ALL politicians equally, but nowadays these legalized criminals have managed to perform divide et impera tactics even among the metalheads.
14) Suicidal Tendencies – World Gone Mad
If there is an award for the best funk metal album of the year, Suicidal Tendencies deserve it. World Gone Mad is a perfect mixture of funky, punky and thrashy riffs. Dean Pleasants’ crushing solos and Ra Diaz’s outstanding slapping bass lines will melt your face! Our conclusion is simple: this album is awesome, The world’s going insane and it will always be SxTx!
13) Meshuggah – Violent Sleep of Reason
Is probably the only album from this list that was recorded live in a studio without any assistance of present day digital technology that turns metal into plastic. Meshuggah’s latest release is an absolutely fantastic piece of art! The solos on the record are as wicked as if you were listening to their songs like Neurotica or Corridors of Chameleons . Nuff said... The guys have proven to be Born in Dissonance.
12) Death Angel – The Evil Divide
Bay Area masters are still in the game! It seems like Mark Osegueda’s vocals haven’t suffered a tiny bit throughout the years. The Evil Divide is an album filled with catchy riffs and melodic vocals that leave none indifferent. In short, a piece of art that every thrash metal fan has to hear! The more you listen to it, the more you’ll like it!
11) Megadeth – Dystopia
The moment I’ve heard Dystopia I knew that the rest of the Big Four couldn’t get anywhere near it. Even the line up changes didn’t affect the overall awesomeness of their latest album! Dystopia could easily end up as #1 on this list, but we’ll give that pleasure to some less popular band. After two mediocre albums, Dave Mustaine decided that thrashing is his business, and business is good!
10) Watchtower Concepts of Math – Book One
Watchtower is back! Even though they were inactive for a long time, it is clear as day that the legendary progressive/technical thrash metal masters haven’t abandoned their traditional music formula. Their latest EP is a dose of technical noise that deserves everyone’s attention. This band shows how absurd present day tetris-nintendo core bands sound like. Hopefully, this geeky release is under name Book one, so we are more than excited to hear Watchtower’s full lenght album in the future! P.S. Watchtower’s song Mayday in Kiev is as relevant today as it was back in 1989.
9) Thoren – Brennenburg
The underground of the underground has these essential gems that only a few can discover. Thoren, dissonant death metal band coming from USA is one of them. Thoren’s music may be instrumental, but these guys have a lot to say! It seems like as if they were smoking Steeve Hurdle’s ashes! They’re that good! Fans of Gorguts, Deathspell Omega, Negativa or anything dissonant will clearly dig this stuff!
8) Coma Cluster Void – Mind Cemeteries
Com Cluster Void is an international death metal/noise/math band. The intensity of their music is unmatched! Mind Cemeteries is an excellent debut album, which would be likable to those who worship chaotic and dissonant bands such as Meshuggah, Gorguts, Thoren (haha) and others. In their own words, these guys' music can be described as anti-groove. Gotta love that term! Give this album a chance, ‘cause you surely won’t be disappointed!
7) Teramobil – Magnitude of Thoughts
Damn... I thought Teramobil’s debut album was crazy! This highly dissonant band comes from Montreal, Quebec. The fact that Magnitude of Thoughts was recorded in Luc Lemay’s Windy Hills home studio is wicked enough. Besides, Teramobil has pushed the boundaries of dissonant death metal music by incorporating Hammond keyboards in one of their songs. I bet you’ve never heard anything like that before! Their music is kinda like instrumental version of Hawkwind + Gigan on steroids. And it’s perfect.
6) Voivod – Post Society
It may not be a full lenght album, but Voivod’s Post Society is probably the finest thrash metal release of 2016. The band is still shining even with the loss of their mastermind, Piggy. Voivod’s new guitarist, Dan Mongrain has mannaged to step into Piggy’s shoes without violation of representative and classic Voivod elements for the second time. It’s a pitty that Jean Pierre Tiuervault is not in the band anymore, but hell, the Earth keeps on turning!
5) Ulcerate – Shrine of Paralysis
After 3 year of waiting, New Zealand-based death metal legends, Ulcerate, have released a new album – Shrine of Paralysis. The easily recognisable style of chaotic, dissonant riffs and atmospheric “clean” parts is what makes Ulcerate’s overall sound truely unique. Production-wise, Shrine of Paralysis is ten times better than its predecessor, Vermis.Their latest album is probably one of their finest, standing shoulder to shoulder with Everything is Fire and by far, it’s one of the most brutal albums of this year!
4) Dysrhythmia – The Veil of Control
With every album they make, this powerful trio brings noise to a new level. Their new material sounds even better live. Their instrumental music really has a voice and this time, the accent is put on the ambiental feeling that surrounds The Veil of Control. And as always, non-repetetive Bach-like patterns and progressions will blow you away! Highly recommended to those who aren’t familiar with their music!
3) Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
In the avant-garde black metal circles, Deathspell Omega is absolutely one of the most influental bands around that everyone is talking about. Since 2004, they’ve repetiately stretched the boundaries of their music over and over again. The Synarchy of Molten Bones is a brilliant record! It is more straight forward and less melodic than its predecessor, Drought. The Residents of black metal bring forth some of the most intricating riffing madness in 2016. Our dissonant cries have been pleased.
2) The Claypool Lenon Delirium – The Monolith of Phobos
After a few mediocre side projects, Les Claypool had finally released something worthy of Sausage or Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel. Collaboration with Sean Lennon is fantastic! These two extraordinary avant-garde musicians are a perfect match, both vocally and musically. The Monolith of Phobos is miles away from latest Primus album, Green Naughahyde. And I totally believe that Les Claypool is a patron saint of prescription drugs!This album rules!
1) Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
The best release of 2016 in our opinion is Gorguts’ Pleiades’ Dust. This 33 minute long EP is by far the finest fusion of dissonance, contrapunctal riffs, intricate drumming followed by Luc Lemay’s brutal voice. The virtuosity of Gorguts’ current line up is scary at least. Lyrical topic of Pleiades’ Dust is an exact opposite of S.O.D.’s song Fuck the Middle East. And for the one of the finest metal albums of this year (including the best release) you have to blame Canada!