Best of 2016 – Arash Khosronejad

Arash Khosronejad

Well, another year is gone.

Beside its fine, pleasing moments, which were few, it was awful and most parts of it sucked. There were countless sad moments, unfortunate events, and more important than the others many great artists, many legends left us, gone forever but their memories remain, with us, eternally.

However, at the same time, many tremendous albums came alive, pleased us, left huge traces of joy and eternal pleasures carved in our souls, kept us all alive, gave us power to face difficulties, through all the ass-kicking rough times.

I’m cutting it short. I just want to mention the words of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

40. Take Over and DestroyS/T

39. WitheredGrief Relic

38. Our Place of Worship is SilenceThe Embodiment of Hate

37. GrievedS/T

36. The King Is BlindOur Father

35. Vermin WombDecline

34. AshbringerYūgen

33. NaðraAllir Vegir Til Glötunar

32. Agoraphobic NosebleedArc

31. MagrudergrindII

30. Raging SpeedhornLost Ritual

29. TerraMors Secunda

28. MisturIn Memoriam

27. WrongS/T

26. FleshmeadowUmbra

25. MechinaProgenitor

24. KatatoniaThe Fall of Hearts

23. ANCSTMoloch

22. Mouth of the ArchitectPath of Eight

21. SumerlandsS/T

20. ExumerThe Raging Tides

19. DarkthroneArctic Thunder

18. HelstarVampiro

17. Deströyer 666Wildfire

16. AnciientsVoice of the Void

15. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

Metallica - Hardwired... To Self Desruct album cover

Someone once commented on this as “pure thrash metal!” No mate. This is not thrash metal. You may find it thrashy in some parts, but it is definitely not that “pure.” This is good, I mean really good. Came up with a ripped off stupid album cover, Metallica have put something in there which doesn’t leave you for months, keep spinning it over and over again. Great riffs, great melodies and harmonies, and yeah, one of the best Metallica songs of all time closes the album, “Spit Out the Bone.”

14. Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us

Nails - You Will Never Be One Of Us album cover

Okay, easy there big fellas! Don’t be mad at us. Why so serious?! Your title track is a total winner. What a blasting way to open the album. Ace!

13. Skeletonwitch – The Apothic Gloom (EP)

Skeletonwitch - The Apothic Gloom album cover

Adam Clemans (of Wolvhammer) is a perfect match to Skeletonwitch’s music and a great replacement. Songs got more progressive, more melodic and more diverse than before. The next LP would be as killer as this one. Skeletonwitch have pushed themselves to the next level of magnetic blackened thrash on this EP.

12. Pénitence Onirique – V.I.T.R.I.O.L

Pénitence Onirique - V.I.T.R.I.O.L album cover

Beautiful, dark, atmospheric and melodic. Magnificent songwriting and clever song structures, built by massive reverberant layers, sitting on each other. Superb musical journey from its very beginning to its very end. French [atmospheric] black metal at its finest.

11. Ion Dissonance – Cast the First Stone

Ion Dissonance - Cast the First Stone album cover

This is a great comeback from these Canadian maniacs. I was absolutely waiting for a great surprise, but this one is huge. Chaotic and outrageous, like always. If this happened on their debut or sophomore album I would have called it as a genre definer. It happened on their fifth studio album and this is completes their musical puzzle. A mathcore masterwork it is.

10. Anthrax – For All Kings

Anthrax - For All Kings album cover

Anthrax’s best since, I don’t know. It’s been a long time since Anthrax haven’t put out a perfect, complete record like For All Kings. A terrific blend of heavy and thrash metal, with extraordinary musicianship. It’s always a pleasure to listen to a [new] record featuring Joey Belladonna’s voice.

9. Behexen – The Poisonous Path

Behexen - The Poisonous Path album cover

Behexen experienced a brilliant improvement with each album they put out, and by reaching to this point of their career they are now mature enough to bring their most poisonous record to date, staying strong with their traditional sound yet improving it and sending to the higher stages of blasphemous crushing black metal. Just listen to “Cave of the Dark Dreams.”

8. Downfall of Gaia – Atrophy

Downfall of Gaia - Atrophy album cover

Back in 2014, when Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay came out I told me that this is the end, this is blackened sludge perfection and guys from Downfall of Gaia camp won’t be able to push this record aside and this can’t be topped by any Gaia album. I was wrong, totally. Atrophy is outstanding. Would be a life-changer for some.

7. Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether

Mare Cognitum - Luminiferous Aether album cover

Luminiferous Aether will role on forever through the infinite realm of universe. Stars are shining brighter with this one. Cosmic atmospheric black metal? Anytime, anywhere, I’m all in. And Mare Cognitum is doing it at its finest form. Dig a grave for me Jacob, right between the stars.

6. Wormrot – Voices

Wormrot - Voices album cover

Once I made a joke that “this is the grindcore album of the century”. Then I made it clear that “nope! This is the best grindcore album of the decade,” and it truly is.

5. Winterfylleth – The Dark Hereafter

Winterfylleth – The Dark Hereafter album cover

Simply outstanding. Lamenting yet epic black metal, which brought tears to my eyes when I was listening to it for the first time. The Dark Hereafter is a bit short and way shorter than Winterfylleth’s previous albums, but it completely captures your soul, takes it to the myths the band are willing to tell.

4. Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law

Anaal Nathrakh - The Whole of the Law

It didn’t surprise me, because the fact is Anaal Nathrakh never disappoint. But this vast breathtaking soundscape of insanity, this killer dose of brutality and chaos burn down anything Anaal Nathrakh have done in their career. This is chaotic poetry.

3. Départe – Failure, Subside

Départe - Failure, Subside

Sam Dishington knows what to do. Since he put Separatist on rest (for a while, it seems so) he came up with new visionaries to human inner struggles and agony. Départe’s Failure, Subside is post-technical?/blackened death metal whatever, with heart, emotions and guts.

2. Latitudes – Old Sunlight

Latitudes - Old Sunlight

“Endless corridor / Body within a body / Walled into the night / Remember old sunlight / From other lives.” Most of the record is instrumental but these words are hauntingly beautiful, just like what the whole album is. Sludge/post-metal with a bit of progressive elements and many twisting melodies, Old Sunlight collects some of the most breathtaking and captivating moments in 2016’s music. By the way these guys have Camel’s Andy Latimer in their band, and probably they don’t know it!

1. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis

Ulcerate - Shrines of Paralysis

It’s 1998. Gorguts have released their third album, Obscura. It definitely was the first time in my life I encountered technical / avant-garde death metal. That album was life changing and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing at that time. 18 years later, Ulcerate have released Shrines of Paralysis and the same feelings rushed to my veins. Shrines of Paralysis sounds very Gorguts to my ears, more than any other releases Ulcerate ever recorded. Just pay attention how both albums start. Shrines of Paralysis is a magnificent release and beyond. Ulcerate’s best effort to date and an exceptional in their career. A dark, epic and apocalyptic wanderer through human condition and his struggles, in a world with no light and hope, like the closing track states “End the Hope.” A classic masterpiece happens right here with Shrines of Paralysis, an album which will keep Ulcerate’s name as death metal pioneers eternally.

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