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Album Reviews

Messick’s Top 100 Albums of 2016

Many believe that we’re past the “golden age” of extreme metal.  Many claim we’ll never have death metal as good as the nineties, but I think that’s bullshit.  There’s tons of incredible music coming out each year, but it doesn’t get as much attention as individual albums did in the nineties because we’re in the digital age now.  Anyone can make music, and anyone can hear music for any corner of the globe.  There’s too much to listen to and too little time to listen to it, so it isn’t possible for a handful of albums to be agreed upon as the best in the metal community.

I love music.  But I recognize that music is subjective, so it is worth noting that the most powerful music to me is brooding death metal, caked in atmosphere and dissonance.  That should give some context to my top picks (although I enjoyed a lot of stuff that isn’t death metal too, as you’ll see).  My top list includes demos, EPs, and splits, since I don’t think an album should be excluded based on length.  I wouldn’t get caught up in the order of the list.  What should be taken away, is that all of these are killer albums worth checking out if you’re into extreme metal (and if you’re not, still check out the Plini album).   This is certainly not a complete list, and I’m sure it would change in a few years, as some albums stick with me more than others.

There’s a lot of text here, so I’ll limit my explanation for each of the first twenty albums to five words as to why you should check it out.
Here it is, my top 100 albums from 2016:

  1. Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crépuscule

    Cryptic and with sexy bass.
  2. Blood Incantation – Starspawn

    Death metal from Dark Descent.
  3. Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones

    It met impossibly high expectations.
  4. Ihsahn – Arktis.

    Ihsahn can do no wrong.
  5. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust

    Giant song with Martyr’s drummer.
  6. Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether

    Beautiful one-man atmospheric black metal.
  7. Zhrine – Unortheta

    Sister band to Svartidauði delivers.
  8. Khthoniik Cerviiks – SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex of Dementiia)

    Re-released in 2016. Worth it.
  9. Schammasch – Triangle

    Three discs of avant-garde black.
  10. Memoriam – The Hellfire Demos

    Yeah, Bolt Thrower is back.
  11. Convulsing – Errata

    If Portal went death doom.
  12. Vulture – Victim to the Blade

    No way this is 2016.
  13. Ash Borer – The Irrepassable Gate

    U.S. black metal that’s good.
  14. Voidspawn – Pyrrhic

    Nasty, nasty, nasty death metal.
  15. Defeated Sanity – Dharmata

    Cynic and Death had sex.
  16. Mithras – On Strange Loops

    Are we in outer space?
  17. Wormrot – Voices

    Grindcore good enough for goats.
  18. Dehumanized – Beyond the Mind

    When the slams are good.
  19. Alcest – Kodama

    Post-black (insert pretentious descriptors here)
  20. Plini – Handmade Cities

    Not a death metal album.
  21. Mitochondrion / Auroch – In Cronian Hour
  22. Xenomorphic Contamination – Colonized from the Inside
  23. Sorcier Des Glaces – North
  24. Virvum – Illuminance
  25. Hannes Grossmann – The Crypts of Sleep
  26. Teitanblood – Accursed Skin
  27. Vainaja – Verenvalaja
  28. Inverloch – Distance/Collapsed
  29. Vanhelgd – Temple of Phobos
  30. Clouds – Departe
  31. Grave Miasma – Endless Pilgrimage
  32. Denouncement Pyre – Black Sun Unbound
  33. Swans – The Glowing Man
  34. Nightmarer – Chasm
  35. Behold… The Arctopus – Cognitive Emancipation
  36. Nucleus – Sentient
  37. Svartidauði – Hideous Silhouettes of Lynched Gods
  38. Krypts – Remnants of Expansion
  39. First Fragment – Dasein
  40. Ripper – Experiment of Existence
  41. Phobocosm – Bringer of Drought
  42. Hobbs’ Angel of Death – Heaven Bled
  43. Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us
  44. Black Sabbath – The End
  45. Antaeus – Condemnation
  46. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
  47. Martröð – Transmutation of Wounds
  48. Vektor – Terminal Redux
  49. Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom
  50. Witch Vomit – A Scream from the Tomb Below
  51. Animals as Leaders – The Madness of Many
  52. Nerodia – Vanity Unfair
  53. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
  54. Fetid Zombie – Epicedia
  55. Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
  56. Acherontas / Slidhr – Death of the Ego / Chains of the Fallen
  57. Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign
  58. Mephistopheles – In Reverence of Forever
  59. Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
  60. Warfather – The Grey Eminence
  61. Borknagar – Winter Thrice
  62. Profanal – Supreme Fire
  63. Onirism – The Well of Stars
  64. Interment – Scent of the Buried
  65. Wormed – Krighsu
  66. Desaster – The Oath of an Iron Ritual
  67. Sentient Horror – Ungodly Forms
  68. Watchtower – Concepts of Math: Book One
  69. Malignancy – Malignant Future
  70. Flvx Capacitor / Gnarly Death Split
  71. Neurogenic – Ouroboric Stagnation
  72. Dawn of Dementia – Immolation of Avernis
  73. Sacramental Blood – Ternion Demonarchy
  74. Rhapsody of Fire – Into the Legend
  75. Breeding Filth – Perverse Devolution
  76. Cult of Fire – Life, Sex & Death
  77. Verberis – Vexamen
  78. Panphage – Drengskapr
  79. Embalmer – Emanations from the Crypt
  80. Hellish God – Impure Spiritual Forces
  81. Bölzer – Hero
  82. Eternal Champion – The Armor of Ire
  83. Winterfylleth – The Dark Hereafter
  84. King – Reclaim the Darkness
  85. Inanimated Existence – Calling from a Dream
  86. Katalepsy – Gravenous Hour
  87. Weekend Nachos – Apology
  88. Uškumgallu – Rotten Limbs in Dreams of Blood
  89. Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation
  90. Départe – Failure, Subside
  91. The Zenith Passage – Solipsist
  92. Lycus – Chasms
  93. Draugnim- Vulturine
  94. Martyrdöd – List
  95. Obscura – Akroasis
  96. Abnormality – Mechanisms of Omniscience
  97. Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder
  98. Asphyx – Incoming Death
  99. Kroh – Altars
  100. Nervosa – Agony

Occult Deceiver – Dark Ritual would likely be on the list, but I haven’t heard all of it yet.  I own well over a thousand albums, hundreds of shirts, and I highly encourage all fans to support the bands they enjoy.  Buy merchandise and support live music!

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1 comment

Roger Young January 4, 2017 at 3:45 am

No Wildernessking?

Reply

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