AOTY 2016, as chosen by Ron Deuce, Simon Phoenix, Mosh Hoff, and Karhu
Our album of the year countdown continues with selections from Ron Deuce, Simon Phoenix, Mosh Hoff, and Nordling Rites of Karhu.
Ron Deuce’s Top 10 of 2016
10. Wormed – Krigshu | Season of Mist
Wormed’s brand of interdimensional death metal is something that must be experienced in order to be fully realized. Krighsu is utterly relentless as it hurls you through a fully loaded asteroid field at the speed of sound. Wormed must’ve highjacked a Delorian and launched themselves out of the atmosphere to come up with some of the stuff on this record. Between the sasquatch gutteral vocals, the hyper blasting drumming and the quasi-tech riffing, everything about this album is just otherworldly.
Listen to “Zeroth-Energy Graviton”
9. Throwers – loss | Golden Antenna
When I looked back on things I listened to the most throughout the year, loss popped up and then it dawned on me that this album came out in January 2016. Turns out I’ve been listening to it quite often over the course of the year. Throwers combine the likes of Breach, Coalesce, Cursed, Converge and Neurosis to produce a volatile cocktail of sludge, crust punk, hardcore and post metal that is as powerful as the influences that make up their sound. Sadly, this will be their last release as Throwers called it quits a few weeks ago. What they’ve left behind is an album I’ll be revisiting quite frequently.
Listen to “Unarmed”
8. Weekend Nachos – Apology | Relapse Records
Power violence – When you think of the genre, one of the first bands that comes to mind is Weekend Nachos. They’ve always been in the upper echelon of the genre and their swan song, Apology is a fitting farewell. The quartet displays unparalleled intensity throughout the album as they conjure punk/hardcore, sludge, grindcore and doom the only way they know how. I was fortunate enough to see these guys on their farewell tour back in May and it was definitely one of the highlights of the year for live shows that I was able to attend. And seeing some of these tracks played live further cemented Weekend Nachos into this cream of the crop I’m compiling here. While I’ll certainly miss the band knowing that this is likely the last record they’ll ever make, I can feel that Apology was made with every intention of leaving a mark and it certainly did just that.
Listen to ” POW MIA”
7. Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid | Rhymesayers Entertainment
This whole top 10 thing should not be limited to just extreme music alone. If it’s a cut above the rest, then it deserves recognition or in the case of hip hop, props or what have you. But for purposes of keeping things within the context of heavy music, Aesop Rock is the tech death of hip hop. His lyrical musings are extremely cerebral, thought provoking and most importantly entertaining. Throughout The Impossible Kid’s runtime, Aesop Rock is hop scotching across the guitar fretboard at a rapid pace and the collection of words that come out of his mouth in rhyme form are as deep, complex and descriptive as it gets. And with each successive listen, you find new meaning and purpose entering your thoughts. That’s only half the story because good lyrics in hip hop are far more effective when you have good beats to accompany them. Put it all together and you have a hip hop record that is extremely captivating from start to finish and invites you to come back again and again. It’s also atypical of a hip hop album to not have any guest appearances by other MC’s, Aesop Rock carries fifteen tracks all by his lonesome.
Listen to “Defender”
6. O’Brother – Endless Light | Triple Crown Records
Endless Light is probably the most chilled out of all the selections on this list and while it’s a calm record, it’s an emotionally heavy record that engulfs you with its soaring vocal melodies, hypnotizing rhythms and all around excellent organic recording. Even if I’m trying to classify O’Brother as a post indie rock sludgegaze band, I feel like I’m coming up short. There’s distorted bass on many tracks which would lead one to come to the conclusion that they fall into the category of a heavier band, but that just one component of what makes up the band’s sound. If you need a breather the usual cacophony, but still require loud noises, O’Brother will be happy to oblige.
Listen to “Deconstruct”
5. Zeal And Ardor – Devil Is Fine | Self Released
Without fail, something from out of left field just happens to sneak up on you every year and smack you upside the head and show you that the impossible is in fact possible. Devil Is Fine swims in uncharted waters by taking Delta blues and effectively combining it with black metal elements. The one man band of Manuel Gagneux asserts himself as someone who has a feel for crafting music in which the concept may be foreign, but the execution is very familiar. The result is an album loaded with spectacular songs that you’ll find nestling themselves deep into your subconscious. At this time, it’s important to note that I believed that the vocal arrangements were sampled and Mr. Gagneux was kind enough to tell us that he performed all the vocals himself in response to a review we ran. Never in my life was I so happy that I was wrong because the sound and arrangement of the vocals is the icing on the cake. Rolling Stone thought the same thing, wonder where they got that idea from……….
Listen to “Devil Is Fine” (Note that I wanted to include the track “Blood In The River” here but most of the album seems to have disappeared from Bandcamp and You Tube.)
4. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation | Party Smasher Inc.
Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by The Dillinger Escape Plan all these years. I was so accustomed to getting an immediate payoff when listening to each new record they put out that Dissociation had me initially thinking that this was the album where they finally ran out of juice. That turned out not to be the case however as this album is a grower. As you listen to it the first couple of times, you clearly recognize that it’s The Dillinger Escape Plan playing the music, but this time around you’re not making the connection. Knowing the band’s pedigree, I gave Dissociation the mandatory twenty spins in order to make a proper assessment and somewhere along the way, I finally got a handle on what’s going on here. On what is their final album, DEP have put together an album full of cathartic tunes that are as chaotic and moody as anything else in their discography. It truly feels like they just let loose on this album by choosing to challenge themselves and their listeners.
Listen to “Honeysuckle”
3. Wormrot – Voices | Earache
A few years back, the future of Wormrot appeared to be in jeopardy when the band was without a drummer and informed fans of the dreaded “hiatus” that could’ve easily turned into the dead body the authorities never find and is forever deemed missing. The stars aligned for these grinders from Singapore. The drummer situation was resolved and the result is Wormrot’s third album, Voices. The hallmarks of the band’s sound displayed on their first two records remain intact, but with the addition of some blackened melody to the guitar work, they have taken their sound to another level entirely. In a year in which we were treated to seemingly endless parade of worthy grindcore albums, Voices stands out from the pack in a crowded field.
Listen to “Compassion Is Dead”
2. Magrudergrind – II | Relapse Records
Six years is a long wait for a mere twenty minutes of material. Thankfully Magrudergrind cranked out fifteen microcosms of pure, unadulterated fury that is chocked full of intense blast beats, crusty riffs and scorching vocals that have as much going on within them as your average three to four minute song. No doubt this is a worthy follow up to their 2009 self titled album which I consider to be essential listening in the realm of modern grindcore; a classic if you will. Don’t look know but Magrudergrind might have just dropped another classic.
Listen to “Black Burner”
1. Every Time I Die – Low Teens | Epitaph Records
Over the course of nearly two decades, Every Time I Die have melded themselves into a band that take their cues from punk, rock, hardcore and metal to harness their sound. On Low Teens, their execution of that formula is downright masterful in the delivery of fifteen tracks where it’s hard to find a weak spot among them. ETID are a total package band – a solid rhythm section, dynamic riffs, great lyrics, catchy melodies and quality songwriting that add up to an album that maybe their best in an already stellar discography. At the end of the day, you should want to hear good songs that are impactful on the first listen and that’s precisely what’s going with Low Teens. The spectrum of emotions on this album make the variety just as much a part of its success. Songs can range from fun to serious, melodic to flat out concussion-inducing heaviness and it doesn’t matter what the feeling is, the result is always a song that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Listen to “Map Change”
Simon Phoenix’s Top 10 of 2016
10.Vultures Vengeance – Where the Time Dwelt In | Cruz Del Sur Music
This one came in unexpectedly, but won me over very easily. An odd and short slab of heavy/power metal reminiscent of Omen or the sadly deceased Borrowed Time, with some of the eeriest production you’ll bear witness to on a metal record this year. The dynamic but somewhat low volume and mix will deter a great many folks here at the Toilet who prefer their metal LOUD AS FUCK. But to this manic it give the whole affair a very mystical vibe, matched well with the singer’s pained screams and the saucy riffs and solos. Don’t miss out on this one, folks. And if anyone can help me find their equally acclaimed demo Rising, or you know any other information on the band, it would be appreciated greatly.
Listen to “A Curse From Obsidian Realm”
9. Deadly Nights – Descend Into Madness | Dead World Media
You know, most of us at the Toilet love our guitar based music to be as dark and nihilistic as possible. But sometimes we just want some happy, upbeat Maiden influenced punk to fill us with good vibes while they sing happily about gruesome mass murders and lovelorn monsters, backed up by smexy bass playing and a sterling production courtesy of Joey DeMaio of Manowar of all people. Well at least I do. Then BAM comes this quintet from Joisey with their debut to serenade my ears. Randall Thor put me on to these guys way back in April and I am eternally grateful. “Slaughter” and “Heart of Mine” are two of the catchiest songs I have heard all year, bar none. If you want some more upbeat riffs and have worn out your vinyl copy of Motivator by High Spirits (which also rules), but don’t mind adding a little darkness to your little repertoire, get this album.
Listen to “Slaughter”
8. Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crépuscule | Profound Lore Records
There was a bunch of great death metal in 2016. But while everyone fellated to the 200 or so Swedeath worship albums or to Blood Incantation, it was this outfit from our syrup chugging neighbors up north that caught my fancy the most. I’m not going to take the easy way out and call Le Dernier Crépuscule a Demilich clone, cause it isn’t. The twisted, gnarled and outright otherworldly riffs and structures here are more informed by classical music and bands like Catacomb than anything related from those odd Finns. And on top of that the majority of the lyrics are about The Legend of fucking Zelda. The closing 13+ minute opus “Tales of Majora Mythos Part 1” is the most crushing tribute to Majoras Mask anyone has ever written or will ever write, period.
Listen to “Voidspawn”
7. Hellbringer – Awakened From The Abyss | Iron Pegasus Records
I guess I’ll be the 800,00th person to say this, but Aussie trio Hellbringer managed to put out a better Slayer record in 2016 than the actual Slayer have put out in over two decades. Seriously, Awakened could sit right alongside that well -worn cassette of Hell Awaits. Once you’re done wearing out the latter, pop it in and initially there would be very little difference. There is a much fuller production than on that classic, most of the songs are much shorter, and that ever present Australian “fuck it” approach to songwriting and riffery replaces a bit of the atmosphere. But otherwise, this is some nifty thrash to down a couple of beers to while looking at Hanneman bust out a solo or two in a super grainy live video one more time.
Listen to “Fall of the Cross”
6. Armagh – Venomous Frost | Third Eye Temple
Man there have been many good black/thrash albums this year. But this and one other stood out. If that other one further down this list didn’t exist, Venomous Frost would take the title of black/thrash ATOY. Try to imagine if Immortal’s classic At the Heart of Winter put even more emphasis on the Sodom/Bathory inspired thrash elements that meshed with its cold wispy take on second wave BM. Does that sound awesome to you, cause it does to me. There is a lot of melody present here for a record in a genre that prides itself on being as raw and raunchy as possible. Even the hoarse shouted vocals of Galin Soulreaper are a tad different from the norm and give the record an even more rancorous surge of unholy power. I dig it a hell of a lot. Even the cover of Bathory’s “Witchcraft” is given a spacious boost thanks to the excellent production. I hope to see more material from these dudes soon.
Listen to Criostail/Exmortis
5. Sojourner – Empires of Ash | Avantgarde Music
As strange as it seems, I have been burnt out on pure black metal for a while now. With the exception of a couple of bands, the whole tremolo and raspy vocal laden odes to all things EVIL hasn’t done it for me like it does for most of the other writers on the Toilet. Am I turning into JAG or something? To be fair, I’ve always preferred my BM with a bit more melody and a much more vast scope. Emperor, Rotting Christ, Summoning, that stuff. Speaking of the latter, enter this trio from New Zealand/ Sweden who came out of nowhere and dropped this huge helping of folk tinged BM on my doorstep. While I don’t really want to make the comparison, this is the closest we will get to a new Caladan Brood record until those guys put out the new album that they just announced. Empires of Ash is every bit as mournful and capable of touching the soul, even a soul as charred and ruined as mine. Pop this in your stereo for a huge dose of feels, and then follow it up with the next entry on this list.
Listen to “Heritage of the Natural Realm”
4. Darkher – Realms | Prophecy Prod
Jayn H. Wissenberg, why do you torture my ruined heartstrings so? This is some harrowing feel-bad music, a melancholy mix of folk and doom. Measured guitar chords give way to tense sad piano keys and that goddamn sirens voice. A couple of reused tracks from the EP sure, but they fit just fine in Wissenberg’s mission to make you feel as hopeless as possible. This shit hits the feels harder than nearly any metal release, and I love it intensely. Realms manages to be every bit as “beautiful” as Empires of Ash, and for nearly the same reason though approaching it from different angles. It conjures an overwhelming sense of loss and the end of something you held dear. Between this and Emma Ruth Rundle’s latest solo effort, I hope this “dark folk” stuff remains a thing forever.
Listen to “Moths”
3. Desaster – The Oath Of An Iron Ritual | Metal Blade Records
I love black/thrash. I love sparse and epic sounding black/thrash even more. Any band can take the tired and true template of “HAILSATANBEERSLUTS” and churn out a few Destruction riffs to go along with it. Few bands in this subgenre can do it so well though and make it sound like the endtimes are truly coming. Desaster have been at this for years and while Armagh mix things up a bit with a chilled adherence to melody, Desaster have become a fine oiled blasphemous machine that crafts some straightfoward but truly headbang worthy cuts for those heshers like me that gobble this shit up as quickly as green banana Jello. While their last couple of efforts were well done, Oath in my opinion signaled a great return to righteous anti-religious fury. And goddamn does it sound good. Many, many hails.
Listen to “Damnatio Ad Bestias”
2. Eternal Champion – The Armor of Ire | No Remorse Records
My sword is in my grip, my armor is fitted on properly, and I am ready for war. And right here is the perfect soundtrack for the upcoming battle. I’m truly glad that this type of epic heavy metal is being noticed again, and that Eternal Champion are leading the pack (along with a couple of others). I went into a bit more detail in my review, but suffice it to say I lap up everything made by this Texan sextet, and this release continues that tradition. Even though this record is more of an EP than a full experience, there is still more than enough glory and triumph to pass around. The dynamic between the upbeat riffs and Jason Tarpey’s haunting vocal performance gives this record an even more epic feel. Do you want the hair on your chest to grow three sizes? Listen to the title track or “I Am The Hammer” and feel as mighty as you wish.
Listen to “I Am the Hammer”
1. Ripper – Experiment of Existence | Unspeakable Axe
Oh come now, citizens. You didn’t really think anything else was going to be Numero Uno on my list, did you? This foursome from Chile are easily my favorite current thrash band, something I don’t say lightly because I favor quite a few of them, and they outpaced pretty much every other thrash band this year in my opinion. Experiment is everything I want in a modern thrash record. I repeat, everything. No other band came close in terms of sheer rage and riffs. I can almost smell the sweat and beer covered denim even as their lyrical journeys take them deep into the frightening recesses of the outer universe and back, taking the blueprints of Beneath the Remains and pushing it to its accursed conclusion. And their bass playing is like the stuff Steve Di’Giorgio’s wet dreams are made of. “The Alpha Orionis” is THE best thrash song I’ve heard in ages, absolute facts. If Max Cavalera weren’t such a damn wiener now, he would listen to this 45 minute thrashterpiece (ugh) and nod his head in approval. Someone NEEDS to get these dudes to tour the states and just decimate venues nationwide. Maybe put Sadistic Ritual on the bill with them. I would attend and fanboy like crazy, then buy up literally every shirt and CD they had on them. I’m only half exaggerating. But until that happens we have this to wreck shit to. Saludos, hombres.
Listen to “Magnetic Solar Storms”
Mosh Hoff’s Top 10 of 2016
10. Aenaon – Hypnosohpy | Code666 Records
There’s always an album that creeps up on me seemingly from out of nowhere and manages to land a punch square on mis cojones; this year, that album has been Aenaon‘s Hypnosophy. I found out it was releasing a few weeks ago and now BAM, it’s made itself a spot on this here list. I absolutely love progressive metal that’s unapologetic about genre bending and melding, and in that regard these seven strangely chopped cuts are satisfying my craving more than anything else has these over the course of these past twelve months. I feel like I still need some time to digest everything on this densely-packed plate of various blackened ingredients, but I truly loved the addictive flavor they left when I tried them the first time.
Listen to — “Earth Tomb”
9. Inverloch – Distance | Collapsed | Relapse Records
Full-length albums with less than six tracks are things I usually approach with caution. I need to be in the right kind of mood for repetitive riffs being hammered into my brain at low tempos, which is why I kept putting off listening to Inverloch‘s debut for longer than I should have. Distance | Collapsed is a masterclass in death/doom, one that I should have attended and taken notes from more frequently this year. Make no mistake, Inverloch may be a “new” band, but its members are far from freshmen of the scene and it shows. The murky, reverb-soaked production only accentuates the filthy quality of the riffs and drumming, with the cavernous vocals enveloping everything around them with a feeling of distant despair.
Listen to — “Distance Collapsed (In Rubble)”
8. Trees of Eternity – Hour of the Nightingale | Svart Records
I wasn’t aware of this project’s existence until 365’s tribute to Aleah Stanbridge after her untimely death last April, and it’s a real shame I didn’t discover her music under better circumstances. Trees of Eternity’s only album, Hour of the Nightingale, is a fitting testament to her beautifully haunting voice, with an amazing full production and mix to accompany it. Few albums have hit me as hard as this one has emotionally; the lyrics and the tone of the music combined with the circumstances surrounding the record’s release are almost too much to bear. This is very high caliber melodic doom performed by an all-star ensemble of musicians, just don’t listen to it if you’re having a particularly good day.
Listen to — “A Million Tears”
7. Wormed – Krighsu | Season of Mist
In space, no one can hear you scream. More specifically, no one can hear you pig squeal, but I’d bet money they’d be able to hear Wormed. Their dissonant, sometimes atmospheric and sometimes almost slam take on tech-death filled my ears again this year with the ten tracks on Krighsu, which is somehow even less straightforward than its predecessor. Neck-destroying grooves entwined with suddenly cut blasts and the occasional latin-sounding beat are the norm here, while the guitars plod along with palm-mute heavy fury and precision. The lyrics are over-the-top for a change; just reading the song titles will give you a sense of the coldly calculated sounds that await you on your trip into the void of space.
Listen to — “Computronium Pulsar Nanarchy”
6. Vektor – Terminal Redux | Earache Records
Ah, Vektor. How do you try to top not one but two modern progressive/techincal thrash classics? By writing a 73-minute space sci-fi concept album, because OF COURSE. I reviewed Terminal Redux back in May, and since then I really didn’t pay it that much attention. This was a mistake. Listening to this album is still an overwhelming experience, probably even more than the first time I heard it. Amazingly tight playing, ear-piercing vocals, tireless drumming, riffs for days, bass solos, even choirs over blast-beats… it all comes together to challenge the listener greatly, but with a handsome reward in exchange for the effort. Musically, Vektor have outdone themselves without a doubt, and I can’t wait to hear where they go next.
Listen to — “Pillars of Sand”
5. Wormrot – Voices | Earache Records
A good comeback album always hits the spot, moreso if the band was actually done for good at one point. I’ve always greatly enjoyed Wormrot and their weightlift-boosting savage grind, but never much as quite as this time around. While their first two albums were quality, they stayed well within the confines of “traditional” grindcore, and this is precisely why Voices shines so brightly in contrast. By incorporating melodic (and I’d even dare say melodic hardcore) elements into their tried-and-tested riff-assault, they’ve managed to switch their sound up just enough for it to be refreshing without completely changing or compromising their relentlessly fast and primal nature. Is this post-grind? I don’t know, but I know I love it.
Listen to — “Fallen into Disuse”
4. Батюшка – Литоургия | Witching Hour Productions
Yes, I am aware that this album came out in mid-December of last year and yes, I think it deserves the spotlight anyway. Batushka have been taking me to Orthodox Church all year with their doomy black metal mass, Litourgiya, and I have never wanted a service to continue on as much as this one. Every riff on this album has been stuck in my head at least once since I first heard it, as well as the ominous chanting and precise drumming that go along with them. The strong point here isn’t so much any individual track or element, but rather the trance-like feeling that the proportionate combination of them create when expertly mixed together. Each psalm flows effortlessly into the next, and you can almost smell the incense burning in the brief respites in between.
Listen to — “Ектения IV: Mилость”
3. Obscura – Akróasis | Relapse Records
When you’ve been hoping against all apparent logic that an album will be great, it’s a wonderful feeling if it ends up shattering each and every possible expectation you had concocted months in advance. After a lineup shift that would render most bands dead in the water, at least in terms of the exiting members’ contributions to the band’s overall sound, Obscura returned this year with the most engaging and rewarding album in their entire catalogue. Simply put, Akróasis is an expansive and immersive experience in progressive technical death metal that beckons repeat attentive listens. It would be worth revisiting just to sit in amazement while Tom Geldschläger‘s guitar wizardry melts your neurons, but each song is so well crafted that you don’t even need that excuse.
Listen to “Akróasis”
2. Black Peaks – Statues | Easy Life Records/Sony Music
If I had to pick the album that’s been the soundtrack to most moments this year, I would be really hard pressed not to pick Black Peaks‘ stunning debut. I’ve been following this UK quartet for some time now, and was eagerly awaiting what they had in store for a first full-length. Drawing almost equally from country-flavored sludge, math rock, post hardcore and even indie rock sensibilities, Statues is an amazing demonstration of what can be accomplished by sheer force of talent and passion. From soft, calm, clean-picked sections to spazzed-out dissonances; from great choruses to punishingly heavy breakdowns, I dare you to find an offering more jam-packed with such a wide array of emotions, textures and nuances.
Listen to — “White Eyes”
1. Thank You Scientist – Stranger Heads Prevail | Evil Ink Records
I’ve learned that the best music is the type that alters one’s perception of time. Thank You Scientist has been a band where, with each new piece of music of theirs I become familiar with, I feel as if I’ve known it for much, much longer than I actually have. Stranger Heads Prevail, the latest from the New Jersey seven-piece, continues the trend with unparalleled results. Just when I thought there was no way that they could come up with even more stunning material, they put out a collection of songs that is simultaneously darker, more complex and unfairly more memorable than just about everything else I can come up with for reference. Top notch instrumentation and composition, introspective, sometimes almost depressingly relatable lyrics and an overall heavier feel (both musically and lyrically) make for a prog/pop/funk/rock/metal masterpiece that I can’t recommend enough to anyone looking for something different, but utterly amazing.
Listen to — “Mr. Invisible”
Karhu’s Top 10 of of 2016
10. David Bowie – Blackstar | Columbia Records
Can’t say I expected to like a David Bowie record half this much in 2016. I’ve liked his music for a long time but can’t remember when’s the last time he put out a masterpiece, an album that would be remembered through the ages. Blackstar is that good. It owes much of it’s greatness to Donny McCaslin’s sax and Mark Guiliana’s drumming but also showcases Bowie’s brilliance as a songwriter. Although Blackstar may not be innovative as his earlier masterpieces were, and it was never given a chance to be appreciated for musical merit only due to the artists unyimely death, after almost a year, it remains one of my favorites from his lengthy catalog. A fitting epitaph, if there ever was one.
Listen to “Blackstar”
9. KYPCK – 3epo | Ranka Kustannus
Bleak. Doomy. Rhytmically playful. Melodic. Depressed. Heavy. Hopeless. Drunken. Despairing. Full review here. A few adjectives most fitting of the Finns’ fourth outing.
Listen to “Russophobe” and “Ya Svoboden”
8. Winterhorde – Maestro | ViciSolum Productions
Maestro is an ambitious album, built on melodic, blast-happy, blackened extreme metal and layered with symphonic extravaganza, theatrical performances and diversely meandering prog. Yet it is a controlled record where the variety of influences stay focused throughout. Never feeling predictable during it’s 65-minute runtime it can trade blast beats for seductive sax in a second, and is all the more better for it.
Listen to “Antipath“, “Worms of Soul” and “Maestro”
7. Sleep of Monsters – II: Poison Garden | Svart Records
Choir, harmony vocals, brass-sections and flamenco guitar with one of the most underappreciated vocalists to crawl out of the death rock scene (that Ike Vil) – what isn’t there to love? Sleep of Monsters isn’t goth though, they’re dynamic, rich, melodically gorgeous music drawing from gothic and occult rock, acidic space pop and even some minor Pink Floyd-like elements. Compared to the debut, Poison Garden takes thing to eleven, then to twelve and beyond. With a smile.
Listen to “Golden Bough” and “Our Dark Mother”
6.Stam1na – Elokuutio | Sakara Records
Taking their rather unique brand of metal to it’s most progressive, diverse and uncommercial peak, but managing to sneak in an endless amount of hooks and memorability. After what many would consider an artistic nadir, Elokuutio returns the group to the forefront with ambition. It’s dark, mature and [insert a sophisticated adjective].
Listen to “Ikoneklasmia”
5.Radiopuhelimet – Saastan Kaipuu | If Society
I almost put Rotör’s speed metal-meets-NWOBHM debut here instead. But when it comes to raucous fun, Radiopuhelimet drew the longer stick, just and just, but still. Also, they’re one of the best bands ever so… Saastan Kaipuu is the bands first electric album in six years and continues on their trail of funky, chaotic and sludgy noise(-y) rock. Over the years they’ve added organs, saxes, free jazz-ish jams and the likes, but have never forgotten what matters the most. Grooving like a madman’s member in a maniac’s arse.
Listen to “Harmaata”
4. Tähtiportti – Eetterimessu | Svart Records
Cosmic madness. An aethermass indeed. Repeating beats ‘neath psychedelia and Sami Hynninen’s mad ravings. I’m not really into electronic music so I don’t know how to tag this but I love it’s weird, experimental, monotonic electronica front to back. Simultaneously a comforting and disheartening album.
Listen to “Ihmeiden Aika Ei Ole Ohi” and “Unohtumaton Ilta”
3. Thrawsunblat – Metachthonia | Ignifera Records
“We find a band that has been steadily honing it’s craft, a band that has shunned standard genre tropes and a band that has developed an erudite awareness of how to take the best elements of both folk and black metal and morph them into a single cohesive unit. Metachthonia — is a concept album revolving around the rejection of the current industrialized epoch, and a longing to return to the simpler times when people were at one with nature and landscape. The manifestation of this message vacillates between ethereal beauty and raging fury.” –Stanley
Listen to the full album
2. Spiritus Mortis – The Year Is One | Svart Records
“From monolithic, crushing riffs, shifting tempos not confined to slow to epic atmosphere and occult lyrics, with some rockier, Cathedral-esque cuts”. Thus spake Beargod in his review, and so ’tis on this very day. Incredibly heavy by way of songwriting, and lacking an unnecessary wall of sound, The Year Is One is one god-tier riff-fest after another. Sami Hynninen (on his second placement on this list) redeems his place among doom’s best vocalist, shedding finally the mantle of Albert Witchfinder.
Listen to “Holiday In The Cemetary” and “Babalon Working”
1. Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika | Century Media
In 2005, Moonsorrow left behind a lot of their most obvious trad. folk influence. Ever since their music has become bigger and more grandiose. Jumalten Aika brings back a lot of said folk, without forgetting to be huge and lengthy. I’d claim it’s their most outright black metal-est album since 2005. And best. Easily. Filled with memorable songwriting, godly riffs, huge choirs, contrasts and all the goodness Moonsorrow has become synonymous with in heaps, Jumalten Aika is also an unpredictably fun album.
Listen to “Jumalten Aika”