Welcome back for Part II of The Year-End Chaos, where we’re counting down our favorite albums of 2016, five entries at a time.
20. Wake – Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow
In a year full of excellent grindcore albums (spoiler: this is the first of five grind albums on this list), Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow might just be the most feral and pissed-the-fuck-off of the bunch. At only eight tracks and nineteen minutes, part of me wishes it was just a little longer, but that’s a minor complaint – it’s pretty much flawlwss from start to finish. Bonus points for my favorite song title of the year: “Better Living Through Apathy.”
19. Wretch – Wretch
I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that The Gates of Slumber are probably the most iconic and beloved band to ever come out of Indianapolis. It’s not very often that musicians from such iconic bands get to have triumphant second acts, but that’s exactly what Karl Simon is enjoying with Wretch. The album doesn’t stray very far from TGoS’s doomy template, but the execution is as solid as ever. So many killer riffs…
18. Khemmis – Hunted
I wasn’t quite as blown away by this album as most people seem to be—I still think Absolution was stronger overall—but there’s no denying that Khemmis have the chops and the songwriting skills to be the next big thing in melodic doom. I’m an absolute sucker for guitar harmonies, and that’s an area where Khemmis truly excels; the Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy influences might be even more prevalent on Hunted than they were on the band’s debut, but nothing sounds derivative. If only they could tour a little more regularly…
17. Bosque – Beyond
Way back in the February installment of The Listening Chaos, I said that this record might end up being the most depressing album of 2016. I pretty much stand by that statement. Featuring some fantastic riffs and truly haunting vocals, Beyond is a fuzzed-out, lo-fi funeral doom/depressive black metal masterpiece. Throw it on and have a sad.
16. Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles
By far the weirdest record on this list, Brain Tentacles is saxophone-based doom metal featuring the incomparable (and IMS favorite) Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest, Corrections House), Dave Witte (Municipal Waste, ex-Discordance Axis) and Aaron Dallison (Keelhaul). Brain Tentacles comes out of the same tradition as Mr. Bungle and John Zorn’s Naked City, but they’re definitely a metal band. Imagine Rashaan Roland Kirk or Ornette Coleman in his free jazz phase playing doom, and that’s a pretty good starting point. This record is hella weird and not at all listener-friendly, but it’s endlessly fascinating and pretty much essential listening for anyone who likes challenging music.