Metalmance Top 20 Albums of 2016

A great year for metal! Who took the top spot?

Welcome to the first Metalmance Top 20 Albums! 2016 has been a hell of a year for metal this year, with lots of reunions and surprise releases. Not all entries will have a blog link due to Metalmance only being a third of a year old. So let’s get straight to it…

 

sleeping  No. 20  CANDIRIA – While They Were Sleeping                     

It’s good to have CANDIRIA back isn’t it? While They Were Sleeping is the band’s eighth album and their first on Metal Blade and it’s a reminder of the band’s refreshing metal mix of hardcore, prog, hip hop and jazz. If you’re new to CANDIRIA, then this album is a good start. Check out the link below to see what Metalmance said about the band’s video for the title track.

Weekly Roundup #4

 

a3458996965_10  No. 19  INCITE – Oppression

You can always rely on INCITE to provide some straight-up, relentless metal, and with their fourth album Oppression, the band continue to carve their own niche in the scene. This isn’t easy when you’re the stepson of metal god Max Cavelera, like frontman Richie Cavalera is, but INCITE are more than capable of thriving on their own. With an intense live show to match, INCITE should be one of your bands to watch.

 

kvelertaknattesferd  No. 18  KVELERTAK – Nattesferd

Every KVELERTAK release is an exciting bag of rock n roll, black metal and punk. This, being the Norwegian’s third album is no different but includes a glorious classic rock tinge to proceedings without losing any the original ferociousness the band are known for. Still raw, fast and exciting, KVELERTAK are still on the rise.

 

mortiis_cover  No. 17  MORTIIS – The Great Deceiver

Another welcome return in 2016 was MORTIIS with their new album The Great Deceiver. After a hiatus of almost five years, the new material was like reuniting with an old, industrial friend. The album has the timbre of Downward Spiral era NIN, but with a contemporary twist, all resulting in a pretty impressive album for the revival of industrial metal.

 

14040057_10154510824634759_8534743349618738043_n  No. 16  NOCETM – Haeresis

Stumbling upon Spanish extreme metallers NOCTEM was an excellent discovery this year. Their album Haersis is still bludgeoning the ears of Metalmance. Read a snippet of the review below and follow the link to the full review.

“Introducing NOCTEM, a black metal band that have more tricks up their sleeve than you might first perceive. They sound like all of your favourite extreme bands rolled into one delicious, morbid package, each track offering a new twist to proceedings.”

NOCTEM – Haeresis Review

 

nails_-_you_will_never_be_one_of_us  No. 15  NAILS – You Will Never Be One of Us

Probably the most unforgivingly brutal release of the year, NAILS winded metal fans around the world with the absolutely punishing You Will Never Be One of Us. Twenty minutes of sheer face-ripping, ear-pummelling metal, it never gives up for a second. This is how metallic hardcore punk should be done.

 

annisokay  No. 14  ANNISOKAY – Devil May Cry

One of Germany’s most promising metal exports, ANNISOKAY makes metalcore exciting again with their pure passion for their craft. Not afraid to include massive choruses, this young band can only get bigger with their irresistible melodies and crushing riffs.

“With the aggression of newer PARKWAY DRIVE and the melodic sensibilities of bands like SAOSIN and SILVERSTEIN, ANNISOKAY will appeal to fans across the melodic metal spectrum.”

ANNISOKAY – Devil May Care Review

 

lacunacoildeliriumcd  No. 13  LACUNA COIL – Delirium

Italy’s finest never disappoint. Still churning out masterpiece after masterpiece, LACUNA COIL have set their own bar high in the form of Delirium, their eighth album and heaviest to date. Based on narratives surrounding the abandoned asylum near to where the band live, the album is full of intensity and emotion. It still packs a punch over half a year later.

“The subject matter helps to shape the band’s most intense album to date with opener House of Shame bursting in kicking and screaming with the heaviest riff and vocals we’ve heard from LACUNA COIL in a long, long time.”

Weekly Roundup #2

 

textures-phenotype-artwork  No. 12  TEXTURES – Phenotype

Four long years since their last release, TEXTURES finally dropped fifth album Phenotype back in February and it’s still a rewarding progressive metal album. Vocalist Daniël de Jongh is proving his worth with the absolute belters of New Horizons and opener Oceans Collide. Recorded simultaneously with the album Genotype which will be released next year, don’t be surprised if TEXTURES also feature on the list next year.

 

wallsofjerichonoonecd  No. 11  WALLS OF JERICHO – No One Can Save You From Yourself

Yet another band returning from a hiatus, Detroit’s WALLS OF JERICHO released No One Can Save You From Yourself and it is a perfect return to form. The hardcore greats are as ferocious and as angry as ever and could easily show younger bands how it’s done. Welcome back.

“Candice Kucsulain, along with the rest of the band WALLS OF HERICHO, delivers such straight up, no nonsense hardcore punk, it’s mind boggling this hardcore troupe from Detroit do not receive more credit and recognition.”

Weekly Roundup #3

 

brutai  No. 10  BRUTAI – Born

2016 finally saw the release of the debut album by London’s BRUTAI. It was well worth the wait, with its refreshing approach to the melodic metal genre making the band one to watch. With big riffs, big ideas and big choruses, BRUTAI pulls it all off with aplomb and passion. One of the UK’s brightest metal hopes.

“The future of British metal has indeed been born.”

BRUTAI – Born Review

 

a0651344947_10  No. 9  ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law

A band who never disappoint, ANAAL NATHRAKH returned this year with ninth album The Whole of the Law, which is quite possibly the band’s most punishing album to date (if that’s even possible). The brutality ramps up with each song, making The Whole of the Law an intense listen which rewards you with mutilated ears.

“A new ANAAL NATHRAKH album is always a joyous occasion – if joyous means the same as the sensation of having your face battered off by a shovel.”

ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law Review

 

dreamshade  No. 8  DREAMSHADE – Vibrant

A late treat in the year, DREAMSHADE’s third album Vibrant is a gloriously melodic affair with a whole lot of heart. Their passion for their music overspills in each song, ensuring you get wrapped up in their infectious metal and melodies. A great discovery for Metalmance this year.

“An album which shimmers with melodic metal perfection, this third offering from Swiss band DREAMSHADE is indeed a vibrant effort.”

DREAMSHADE – Vibrant Review

 

evergreythestormwithincd  No. 7  EVERGREY – The Storm Within

EVERGREY…dark, emotional, intelligent, melodic, heavy, progressive…and catchy too. Is this an album with everything?? Guest appearances from Floor Jansen? Check. Songs with a big heart? Check. Dark and moody atmosphere? Check. Intense and beautiful video accompaniments? Check!

“If you want some progressive metal which you can belt out around the house, then look no further than EVERGREY.”

Weekly Roundup #9

 

vola-inmazes-album-art  No. 6  VOLA – Inmazes

Technically a reissue through Mascot Label Group, it’s such a treat of an album it would have been rude not to have featured it in this year’s list. VOLA’s Inmazes features most of the year’s catchiest melodies and big choruses, with Stray The Skies still owning the most memorable keyboard hook in recent memory. A young band full of promise and potential, VOLA are ones to watch for sure.

“The young band from Copenhagen have already fine tuned their sound which incorporates chugging guitars giving way to soaring vocals and catchy keyboard hooks.”

VOLA – Inmazes Review

 

animalsasleadersmadnesscd  No. 5  ANIMALS AS LEADERS – The Madness of Many

Modern metal legends ANIMALS AS LEADERS dropped The Madness of Many a month ago and it is captivating and mesmerising audiences worldwide. Just listening to a few seconds of opener Arithmophobia will make you understand why. An album bursting with a stupid amount of musical talent, ANIMALS AS LEADERS have outdone themselves again. How will they ever be able to top this?

“The diversity of sounds on this album demonstrates how far the band push the boundaries of progressive music and composition itself, as far as utterly breaking free of limitations and creating the most mesmerising music which doesn’t seem possible by man.”

Weekly Roundup #11

 

0045778746064_png_1200x1200_q90_crop  No. 4  SAOSIN – Along The Shadow

Another band who ended their hiatus and released an album this year. With Along The Shadow, SAOSIN have created a modern, post-hardcore classic. There was always a risk of sounding run-of-the-mill or sounding too similar to CIRCA SURVIVE, but the band thankfully pulled out all the stops and released one of the year’s most surprising highlights. Heart wrenching songs, big riffs and even bigger choruses, they’re the kings of the new post-hardcore generation.

“The album is one hot nostalgic trip to the glory days of post-hardcore, but somehow they sound timeless.”

Weekly Roundup #13

 

ihsahn-arktis-e1450461123634  No. 3  IHSAHN – Arktis

Ihsahn needs no introduction. This year he almost reached perfection with Arktis, an album so full of twists and turns in extreme styles it is spectacular from start to finish. There are plenty of unexpected elements which feature in the album, including SHINING’s Jørgen Munkeby providing a cheeky bit of saxophone on Crooked Red Line and LEPROUS’ Einar Solberg providing the stunning vocals on closer, Celestial Violence. A modern classic, Arktis will astound listeners for many years to come.

 

635902518368165120  No. 2  PORT NOIR – Any Way The Wind Carries

Possibly the most exciting discovery for Metalmance this year, PORT NOIR is a band which is almost impossible to pigeonhole. With songs bordering on pop, then others edging towards CULT OF LUNA-esque riffs (see Black From the Ink) each song is a different melodic beast. Elements of funk, jazz and metal complete with the distinct vocals of frontman Love Andersson, make Any Way The Wind Carries a rewarding listen each time. For a trio, PORT NOIR have such a rich and deep sound you wonder at how they haven’t already cracked the mainstream. An album so diverse and well executed, Any Way The Wind Carries deserves its high ranking in this list.

“The level of melodic goodness doesn’t detract from the heaviness on the album, instead you feel like you’re listening to all of your favourite genres as they are all sprinkled into one tasty package.”

Weekly Roundup #5

 

blackcrowninitiateselves

No. 1  BLACK CROWN INITIATE – Selves We Cannot Forgive 

And here we have it! Metalmance’s album of the year! BLACK CROWN INITIATE’s Selves We Cannot Forgive has been on frequent rotation since its release. A truly spellbinding example of progressive death metal and its very best. An absolute beast of an album, it pummels you with its devastating riffs and ferocious drumming, then revives you through the utterly compelling clean vocals. The band mix slow and brooding, with fast and aggressive with such zeal the album is a seamless triumph of modern metal. Standout track Belie the Machine pulls you in with its entrancing introduction, you think you’re safe for a few minutes, then the band absolutely crush you with a catastrophic riff GOJIRA would be proud of. The title track shows the more melodic side of BLACK CROWN INITIATE, with its soaring vocals and piano accompaniment. A diverse and ambitious album, it deservedly owns its place at the top spot.

“This, being the band’s second album released through eOne Music, is such a varied beast with  each track harnessing its own surprising little nugget.”

Weekly Roundup #4

Weekly Roundup #11

Turn it up to 11

Band to watch: KARMANJAKAH. With instant TESSERACT vibes, Color is the first song released by Swedish progressive metal band KARMANJAKAH (the name is a location in the Swedish children’s book The Brothers Lionheart). However, unlike most groups who aim to rip off the whole djent/Daniel Tompkins thing with little to no originality, KARMANJAKAH thankfully offer their own spin on things with their intelligent approach and the impressive vocals of Jonas Lundquist. Once the song absorbs you, you feel confident that the band can carve their own niche in an oversaturated scene, because as the song progresses, the sheer melodic power paves the way to the realisation that KARMANJAKAH do in fact have something new to bring to the table. Drumming up anticipation for their debut EP through this track alone, music fans are more than curious to hear what the remainder of the record will have in store when it is released 3rd December. If the blissful melodies and crushing riffs of Color are anything to go by then the EP may certainly be something very special.

 

Video to watch: THE KING IS BLIND. Made in collaboration with Kieran Wakeman of Divine Chaos Art, this video for East Anglia’s THE KING IS BLIND is a hellish yet a captivating visual accompaniment to the band’s bruising track Throne of Skulls. Echoes of films such as Eraserhead and Surrealist art house, hint at the disturbing and twisted content of the video. The jarring shots layer atop each other creating an unsettling array of images which make for intense viewing. The track itself is a lethal assault and will be available on the Speed Kills 7 compilation due 2nd December. If you’re after some unnerving artsy visuals and sounds then give Throne of Skulls a try.

 

In the stereo: ANIMALS AS LEADERS released fourth album, The Madness of Many earlier this month, and it’s safe to say, it is still on repeat ever since. A bit heavier and darker than 2014’s album The Joy of Motion, it is still unbelievable how ANIMALS AS LEADERS constantly up their own game and release masterpiece after masterpiece. The diversity of sounds on this album demonstrates how far the band push the boundaries of progressive music and composition itself, as far as utterly breaking free of limitations and creating the most mesmerising music which doesn’t seem possible by man. Stand out tracks being Arithmophobia, Backpfeifengesicht and The Brain Dance, each song has its own flare and signature motif, which is a departure from the songs on The Joy of Motion which seemed to melt into one another. ANIMALS AS LEADERS are already contemporary legends, how on earth are they going to top this?

 

Band to rediscover: THE HURT PROCESS. With all these emo/scremo/post-hardcore-o bands reforming and touring (i.e. SAOSIN, UNDEROATH etc) it got me thinking about similar bands I would like to hear again. This reintroduced me to THE HURT PROCESS, a melodic hardcore band from Tunbridge Wells, England, who proved that the British could play the genre just as well as their American counterparts. Releasing two albums, Drive By Monologue (2003) and A Heartbeat Behind (2005) the band were destined for big things especially after touring America on the Warped Tour in 2004. Then suddenly in 2006, the band disbanded, leaving a gaping hole in the British metalcore scene. A Heartbeat Behind is an album I often return to, due to its plentiful hooks, melodies, screams and dual vocals. It probably doesn’t sound like an original mix of components nowadays, but back in 2005 it was exciting that a home-grown ‘screamo’ band were rivalling the masters of the genre from the US. THE HURT PROCESS remain one of the most underrated underground heroes of our time.

Weekly Roundup #4

More metal and alternative goodness for you

Wow, four weeks is like a month right? So a month of metal madness to celebrate then! Feats your eyes (and ears) on the bands featured below!

Band to watch: ANIMALS AS LEADERS. Last week the band unveiled new track The Brain Dance from their forthcoming album The Madness of Many. If you haven’t heard of this band already (where have you been mate?!) then expect to hear more from this impeccably talented trio. Their instrumental material shimmers with  variety of metal styles and jazz elements, and if this song is anything to go by then their new album could have less djent which may be a sign the band are comfortable progressing into their own distinct sound. The Brain Dance then, does what it says on the tin. Its intricate melodies and delicate guitar notes create a sonic soundscape so delicious it makes your brain all tingly while it comprehends how humans can create such beautiful music. If you like your prog music on the guitar-y side of things i.e. PLINI and INTERVALS, then make sure you delve into ANIMALS AS LEADERS.

Video to watch: CANDIRIA.

Normally if a band’s music video is filmed in a recording studio you might feel a little disappointed. But not this time. CANDIRIA’s play through for While They Were Sleeping, directed by Steve Perlmutter and filmed in Spaceman Sound studios,  premiered last week and shows a new take on the humble play through video. A visually interesting video, it is made up of a variety of shots from different angles and sides of each member of the band playing through the song. Because the shots keep changing, the audience’s interest is held. The brutality of the song isn’t lost at all, in fact the viewer can appreciate it more as all the small details are captured on camera, especially during the progressive interlude. But don’t let me ruin the video for you. Go on, have a watch below.

Still in the stereo: BLACK CROWN INITATE. Released back in July, Selves We Cannot Forgive by BLACK CROWN INITIATE is still demolishing the stereo with its breath-taking progressive death metal. This, being the band’s second album released through eOne Music, is such a varied beast with  each track harnessing its own surprising little nugget. Opener For Red Cloud blasts the album into your consciousness with its gloriously heavy composition of pummelling riffs and devastating growls, but there are small rays of sunshine through the clean vocals which propel the songs even further into awesomeness. The calmer moments of the album such as the title track demonstrate the band’s more progressive side, but other parts of the album have a lot of European influences from OPETH to GOJIRA, it is sometimes hard to believe BLACK  CROWN INITIATE hail from Pennsylvania! You’ve just missed them play in the UK supporting BORN OF OSIRIS and VEIL OF MAYA, but let’s hope they’ll play our shores again soon.

Band to rediscover: MY AWESOME COMPILATION. A song which never fails to lift me out of a bad mood is Put Up A Fight which was released way back in 2005 by MY AWESOME COMPILATION. This ridiculously optimistic song could thaw even the coldest of hearts. The band from Leicester are currently still on hiatus (BOO!) but leave two albums and two EPs (and a split single with FALL OUT BOY go figure) for our listening pleasure(hurrah!). The happy band is something we miss in these uncertain times, every now and then you just want someone to say to you “All these small chances will one day add up to everything” and somehow, everything will seem OK. MY AWESOME COMPILAION we need you! Come back!

Band yet to listen to: NORDIC GIANTS. After a successful tour with TESSERACT earlier this year, NORDIC GIANTS have been attracting more attention and fans, but they might not be what you think they’d be…