Thanks for sticking with us all week for Year-End Chaos. Hopefully you’ve liked a lot of what you’ve heard and maybe even added a couple of new albums to your collection.
This is the point where this list started to get difficult – any of the next ten records (or 11, because Vektor really belongs in the conversation as well) could have very easily ended up as The Listening Chaos’s Album of the Year.
10. Wormrot – Voices
Singapore’s finest export return after a five-year hiatus to release possibly their best album yet. Vocalist Arif sounds as unhinged as ever, and Rasyid continues to write some of the most memorable riffs in all of grind. I really hope they schedule some additional dates around their appearance at next year’s Maryland Deathfest.
9. Drude – Drude
I’ve said it so often that at this point I feel like a broken record: Drude is the shit. They’re my favorite Indy band, and their new record, which came out on CD at the Doomed and Stoned Fest last month, is positively stunning; they take more risks in the songwriting (like the hardcore punk section in the middle of “Drude”), the playing is tighter, the vocals sound much more confident, and the recording sounds fantastic If you’re into bands like Russian Circle, Neurosis, or Cult of Luna, check this out ASAP.
8. Oathbreaker – Rheia
Even though I was into Oathbreaker before this album dropped, I was just not prepared for the skull-fucking awesomeness that is Rheia. The key is in the way the band has mastered the art of shifting dynamics: acoustic sections, ambient noise, clean passages, blastbeats – they’re all here, and they all flow together seamlessly. Vocalist Caro Tanghe also gives one hell of a performance on this record. Her screams were always impressive, but she’s using her cleans much more often and to much greater effect on Rheia, and those screams are all the more effective when they follow a more vulnerable-sounding passage.
7. Cultes Des Ghoules – Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
Polish outfit Cultes Des Ghoules have never really seemed to lack in ambition, but on Coven, that ambition is finally fully realized. This is a full-fledged, 100 minute black metal operetta told in five acts spread out across five epic tracks. Like a traditional play, Coven has a full dramatis personae, and vocalist Mark of the Devil brings a different style to each character so that they each have a distinctive voice of their own, from the traditional black metal rasps and shrieks to more dramatic clean vocals. Musically, pretty much every style of black metal from the last 30 years (except maybe blackgaze) is represented at some point – each act has enough shifts in style and tempo that they almost feel like full albums in and of themselves, but they also coalesce in order to maintain the dramatic tension throughout the entirety of the record. This is like satanic Shakespeare – so fucking good.
6. Magrudergrind – II
It’s been six years since Magrudergrind last released new music, so to say that I was anxiously anticipating this record would be something of an understatement, and it did not disappoint. Once again produced by Kurt Ballou, II is an absolutely furious slab of grind—the aural equivalent of being hit in the face with a shovel for the entirety of its 15 song, 23-minute run time. This is easily the best grind album to come out in 2016.