The 10 best metal albums of 2016
As 2016 draws to a close, SAMUEL BAUERMEISTER takes a look at the year that completely redefined metal as a genre, naming the 10 heaviest albums of the year that you need to listen to before you say g’day to 2017.
Let me just say it straight away, we’re all going to be looking back on 2016 as the moment that metal made a massive leap forward in evolution. We saw some impressive releases from a few of the godfathers of metal, such as Metallica, Meshuggah and Testament who can still clearly hold their own, but most interestingly, it was the year that the new faces of the genre were given centre stage. These are the 10 best metal albums of the year, the records that will want to make you punch holes in the wall with your head.
10. Graves – Monster
Making some serious splashes in the local scene in 2013 with their EP Pestilence, it was hard to imagine how the Wollongong chiefs of doom, Graves, would be able to top it. Fast forward three years and we have their heaviest release yet. Monster is the living embodiment of all things metal. Through a combination of the guitars sounding like they’re in drop-Z and Vocalist Rhys Benn’s gut-wrenchingly personal lyrics and unique voice, the album serves as a message of what to expect for Australian metal.
Album highlight: While ‘Kyden’ serves as the perfect interlude from the chaos of the album, ‘Decay’ takes you all the way to Riff City.
9. The Amity Affliction – This Could Be Heartbreak
Now in their thirteenth year as a band, The Amity Affliction have become a household name in Australian music. ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ serves as the perfect combination of the old meets the new. Songs on the album such as ‘Note to Self’ and ‘Fight My Regret’ throwback to their heavier ‘Severed Ties’ days while ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ and ‘Tearing Me Apart’ manage to brighten their sounds similar to ‘Chasing Ghosts’. It’s this meeting of the two stages of The Amity Affliction’s career that really make this one memorable.
Album highlight: The blending of both vocalists, Joel Birch and Ahren Stringer, in ‘All Fucked Up’ provides one of their most emotionally powerful songs to date.
8. Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
There’s so much to be said about the year that has passed for Architects. All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us served as the final album to feature founding member of the band Tom Searle after his tragic passing earlier this year. The opening track ‘Nihilist’ serves as the perfect introduction to what listeners were about to experience, a heavy no holds barred study at the state of the world we live in, with the songs refusing to let you go from their grip until the very end. As always, Sam Carter maintains his title as one of the best vocalists in the genre and Searle’s unique songwriting skills are something to be in awe of. With the album being the band’s highest charting release, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us serves as the perfect farewell to a legend that has influenced countless musicians around the world.
Album highlight: ‘A Match Made In Heaven’ finds the band exploring their unique sound even further with it’s violent breakdowns juxtaposed with Carter’s high ranged vocals.
7. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
In their nineteen years together, The Dillinger Escape Plan have always been a band that demand your attention. Their sixth and final record Dissociation is no exception, as they maintain their unique chaotic and experimental and turn it up to 11. Drummer Billy Rymer proves that he’s one of the best in the game in the jazz-infused ‘Low Feels Blvd’ while vocalist Greg Puciato brings out some of his heaviest vocals since Ire Works. The entire records takes you by its firm hands and shakes you violently until the end, making sure that The Dillinger Escape Plan really go out with a bang.
Album highlight: The band going full Dillinger in ‘Manufacturing Discontent’. How they managed to be so in sync will forever remain a mystery to me.
6. Cursed Earth – Enslaved By The Insignificant
Perth’s Cursed Earth have become one of the most unique and exciting acts up-and-coming heavy acts out of Australia. Their debut album Enslaved By The Insignificant features some of the heaviest riffs and breakdowns my ears have had the pleasure of listening to this year. Songs like ‘Degenerate’ and ‘Suffocation’ really highlight the true power behind frontwoman Jazmine Luders’ uniquely chaotic voice. Expect to see a lot more from this band in the near future.
Album highlight: While the beat down in ‘//’ is something to be in awe of, ‘Enslaved’ will have you circle pitting in your living room for months.