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

annisokay – Devil May Care

Label: Long Branch Records. Release Date: 11th Nov 2016.

You might remember ANNISOKAY were Metalmance’s band to watch back in Weekly Roundup #5 and for good reason! Third album, Devil May Care sounds like a throwback to the glory days of post-hardcore, but with an additional modern crunch. 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. You’re probably wondering what this German five-piece bring to the table in terms of originality. Well, if you listen to the album you can hear a young, enthusiastic group playing music they believe in and really care about. They don’t go through the motions here, every piece played and note sung is conveyed with passion and a love for the genre of music they play.

Opening with single Loud, the band get underway with their dynamic approach to screaming and clean singing. You wouldn’t have heard dual vocals this tight and well executed since the heyday of UNDEROATH. This track demonstrates the sense of urgency ANNISOKAY exude, thanks to the high energy which is present until the end of the album. Third track Smile has a killer combination of an infectious groove, a soaring chorus and a guest spot from Marcus Bridge of NORTHLANE to boot! A few songs into the album and you’re well and truly hooked.

Latest single Blind Lane is a mature and laidback effort, but still maintains the band’s intense delivery. It is followed by Thumbs Up Thumbs Down which is a song which has it all; brutality, intensity, melody and a guest appearance from Christoph Von Freydorf from fellow German metallers EMIL BULLS. It packs a punch then blisters you with its highly charged chorus.

Eighth track Photographs is probably the most typically ‘post-hardcore’ song of the album. The guitar tone and raw vocals hark back to the aforementioned bands of SAOSIN and UNDEROATH. It is another example of the melodic intensity ANNISOKAY offer. You don’t get this quality of post-hardcore very often these days, so when a band like ANNISOKAY come along, it is something special.

Last track The Last Planet wraps up proceedings and brings the album to a heart wrenching close. ANNISOKAY have really stepped up their game since 2015’s album Enigmatic Smile as Devil May Care is a solid effort by the band. With such promise as this, ANNISOKAY are definitely more than okay!

 

Weekly Roundup #5

5 weeks, 5 bands to check out…

5 weeks, 5 bands to check out…

Band to watch: ANNISOKAY. German metal bands. You either have your CALIBANs or your RAMMSTEINs, but now you have your ANNISOKAYs (Annisokies?). Their second album Devil May Care is out 11th November and last week they released their second single Loud from the forthcoming album, along with a new video to boot. Sounding more intense than ever, they’re a cross between PARKWAY DRIVE and MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, with nods to other metalcore influences. But don’t let that tag put you off (if that ain’t your bag) because ANNISOKAY pack a fresh punch, pulling a modern melodic metal sound kicking and screaming into what is left of 2016. They have youth on their side and a UK tour already under their belt, things can only get bigger and better for this lot. So make sure you catch them when they next roll into town!

Video to watch: WARDRUNA. You’re probably already familiar with WARDRUNA’s warblings (series 2 of Vikings anyone?) but they released a new video last week and it will probably be the most majestic thing you’ll see for a while. New album Runaljod – Ragnarok is due to be released October 21st and this new video for the track Raido should keep you going until then. These pagan pioneers still know how to treat the senses with a truly spectacular video to accompany the haunting, spine-tingling song which erupts into such a rich texture of sound you will want to grab your sticks, rope and the nearest horse and make your way to Bergen…

Still in the stereo: PORT NOIR. Second album Any Way The Wind Carries by PORT NOIR was released way back in April can you believe, but the Swedes’ songs are so ridiculously delicious and catchy it is hard not to return to them. A lot of influences are thrown into the mix. If you listen to Black From The Ink you hear a bit of CULT OF LUNA, if you listen to Earth you might think you accidently tuned into the radio, but chill, you haven’t. 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. It is hard to avoid comparing them to LEPROUS, with the clean vocals high in the mix here, but it is hard to pigeonhole this exciting band as they bring so much to the table. They are on the rise in the melodic scene so give the album a listen before you get left behind!

Band to rediscover: JUROJIN. With this current influx of forward thinking neo-prog bombarding our senses (am not complaining!) it seems JUROJIN were ahead of their time! Poetic lyrics, powerfully charged vocals, polished production with a fiercely independent work ethic – and to top it all off – a tabla player… Yes, you read that correctly. It really brought something fresh and unique to the scene, but it was done in a way it was not suffocating. It was subtly used in their first and only release The Living Measure of Time (2010), but it stole the show during some tracks especially Proem. The band disappeared into obscurity which is such a shame as they were compared to bands such as KARNIVOOLand TOOL, and if your band is considered to be similar to the greats then you know you’re onto a good thing! Before disappearing into the void, they were known to play frequent acoustic shows around London which garnered as much praise as their album did. If you listen to one song, let it be The Winter and thank me later.

https://www.facebook.com/jurojinband/

Band yet to listen to: CARIGULA’S HORSE. I keep hearing snippets of this Australian band, yet to delve into a complete album.