The 10 best metal albums of 2016
5. Opeth – Sorceress
‘Sorceress’ is the 12th studio album written by Opeth, and they show no slows of slowing any time soon. Hypnotic and enchanting, the album is a testament to what it means to be an iconic heavy metal band. As per usual, Vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt is someone to be in awe of while there are also some of the best guitar solos you’re going to listen to for a long time.
Album highlight: The solo in ‘Chrysalis’ will take you right back to the bands earliest days.
4. Every Time I Die – Low Teens
Each time that Every Time I Die releases an album, I found it truly unbelievable that they’re able to top their last. Low Teens has some of the band’s heaviest and most manic songs in their extensive catalogue. As per usual, Keith Buckley is able to find the perfect blend between heavy screams and classic rock vocals while he writes some of his most personal and poetic lyrics while guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams continue to be the perfect team in writing the perfect thrash solo.
Album highlight: While the introduction track ‘Fear and Trembling’ features one of the most evil sounding guitar tones ever produced, the epic ‘Religion Of Speed’ has one of the catchiest choruses that will be stuck in your head for a long time.
3. Gojira – Magma
French metal outfit Gojira have solidified themselves as the true leaders of modern day progressive metal with Magma. While their signature obscure time signatures and riffs are still present, vocalist Joe Duplantier departed from his primarily heavy screams to lean more towards his hypnotic clean vocals, resulting in the bands most enchanting record in their growing catalogue. It’s this meeting of their Pantera-influenced guitars and tech-metal drumming along with Duplantier’s vocal experimentation that make this one of the best progressive metal albums of the decade so far.
Album highlight: I can guarantee you that you haven’t heard anything like ‘The Cell’.
2. Oathbreaker – ‘Rheia’
If there’s one album that left me completely speechless this year, it would hands down be Oathbreaker’s ‘Rheia’. The albums themes explore the frailty of the human mind and this is perfectly resonated in Frontwoman Caro Tanghe’s devastatingly haunting vocals. Instrumentally, each song completely contrasts with the last, you’ll be banging your head furiously to the fast-paced ‘Being Able To Feel Nothing’ and then the album leaves you desperately isolated in ‘Stay Here/Accroche-Moi’. It’s the way that Oathbreaker are able to play with your own personal emotions in such unique ways that truly make this record one of the most fascinating records of the year.
Album highlight: The transition between the slow and melancholic introduction track ’10:56’ straight into the chaotic and evil ‘Second Son of R.’ is something that needs to be witnessed.
1. Nails – ‘You Will Never Be One Of Us’
I don’t even know where to start with this one. Nails’ third studio album You Will Never Be One Of Us is the embodiment of Heavy music. Feelin’ real pissed off about something? This should be the soundtrack to your day. Consistently fast-paced and never letting go, frontman Todd Jones barks each line of the song with such admirable anger and resentment while absolutely nailing a solo that would make Kirk Hammett weep. The record is Nails’ longest release, clocking in at about 21 minutes, with the final song running for eight minutes. You Will Never Be One Of Us sounds like how I imagine the apocalypse would sound, it’s just that epic.
Album highlight: The albums epic finale ‘They Come Crawling Back’ is a mix of chaotic instrumentation and satanic-like vocals that will stick with you for a long time.