Gathered here today are accomplished musicians who gave their perspective on great music in 2016. If their choices don't speak to you, try choosing your own Top 5. Perhaps it will give insight into the dark, strange, and beautiful maelstrom that was 2016.
- Vile Ent, January 2017
Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
The title says it all...Baptismal and a summation of all things Leonard.
David Bowie - Black Star
Into the nether dimensions of the places in between, and then you get to dance.
Negura Bunget - ZI
As well as beautifully inscrutable Folk and ambiences, emoting wailing guitars and sophisticated Black Metallisms.
Voi Vod - Post Society (EP)
Voi Vod's post-apocalyptic vision continues, for over 30 years! Wow! (No irony intended)
ROOT - Kärgeräs
Of Russian occultisms expressed with passion and intrinsic bravado, blending effectively with quieter and ambient forays marked by masterful Classical guitar.
Cultes des Ghoules - Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
Poland's Cultes des Ghoules erupts with a deviant delineation of dark desires and disparate densities on a deep level.
Vile Ent's Links :
Nevermen – self title. Yet another Mike Patton project* – this one is different, though. Great vocal collaboration and interesting arrangement/production makes this sound like doowop from the 24th century.
*Check out the Patton/Kaada 2016 collab ‘Bacteria Cult’ for film soundtrack type vibe
Nahko & Medicine for the People – ‘Hoka’. Great inspirational and honest songs about the current state of the world in a musical style that draws heavily from Sublime, hip-hop, and jam bands.
Opeth – ‘Sorceress’. Love this band and while this may not be their most original sounding music (every song is done in the style of older prog bands), it still rocks and the musicianship is as tight as the Devil’s butt cheeks.
Jherek Bischoff – ‘Cistern’. One of the finest recordings of contemporary “classical” music that most people won’t think of being “serious” or “high art”. It is. And what is more important is that it is stirring, full of spirit.
Gord Downie – ‘Secret Path’. This album should be first listened to with the graphic novel it was written to accompany. Sonically powerful and pulsating with waves of sound, Gord’s lyric writing is as succinct and full emotion as ever.
Goodnight Boy – self title. This Ottawa group’s first release is a bold lo-fi concept album which is so creative, both musically and lyrically, it is easy to miss the raw performances given. But pay attention – they tell a moving story.
Brown Sabbath – ‘Vol. 2’. The second Sabbath cover album from this group is just as rockin’ as the first. No one’s imitating the originals here – this is the way covers should be! Add horns and percussion and a variety of vocal styles, you’ll be humming Faeries With Boots all day.
Steven Wilson – ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase.’ Steve Wilson may have topped himself again. An airtight prog album with great songwriting and stunning instrumental performances from all the musicians.
What will 2017 bring?
Well, I am looking forward to the Vile Ent EP release which has been in the works for some time but seems like it is nearly ready to crawl out from the underworld.
And check out my forthcoming double EP – ‘Armchair Revolutionaire/ Making Things in Interesting Times’ – Pre-Sale starting January 6!
Just Mouse's Links :
Another amazing album from this french duo. Straight up its an electro prog rock masterpiece.
This native of Montreal is killing it in the dance and Hip Hop scene. Slinky broken beats with understated synth flavours. Sexy Funk.
David Bowie - Black Star
Uber trippy final album from one of the greatist recording artists of all time.
Eerie vocals from beyond open way to Soulful grooves for the outro. This album builds slowly and leaves you satisfied whilst wondering what would have been next for the White Knight.
The Avalanches - Wild Flower
The highly anticipated album finally arrived after more than ten years in production.
Highly experimental with their usual tongue in cheek sampling. Three words - Lets Get Weird.
Miike Snow - iii
These guys are just amazing. Great song writing paired with clever pop sensibilities create ear worm hooks you won't soon forget. The music videos they create are spectacular and I am still playing "Genghis Khan" every time I DJ.
Mr. Bump's Links :
1. 16 – Lifespan of a Moth (Relapse Records)
Cali’s scumbag saviors returned with another great record chockful of blown-out punk and hardcore played through with plague-stricken lyrics and moldy Sabbath/Flipper riffs. Their tales of drugs, depression and dementia are no joke and this album featured some of their strongest tunes in years.
2. Warcrab – Scars of Aeons (Blackbow Records)
Like the 16 album, these English lunatics were prominently featured on my two best of lists this year and deservedly so I feel. Having three guitars is usually a gimmick, but here every axe is felt with the band taking cues from Autopsy, early Entombed, Crowbar, Winter and Incantation. To compare them to others is futile though. Scars of Aeons is a fully fleshed, original sounding album that impales sad lead guitar melodies on a foundation of doom, death, crust and pure slime.
3. Victims – Sirens (Tankcrimes)
For my money, Sirens is the best punk rock n’ hardcore album released in 2016; it showcases these longtime Stockholm psychos reaching the apex of their dirty, melodic and anthem-informed d-beat with a full-length that stands toe to toe with the influential crust punk classics laid down by Discharge, Amebix and Misery.
4. Monolith Wielder – Self Titled (Self Released)
Though not available as a widespread release just yet, this full-length debut from a who’s who of killer Pittsburgh bands is an excellent mixture of hard-riffing, gruff powerhouse vocals and seriously classic rock (from the doom-y side of the tracks). The songwriting on this record is fantastic but still open enough to hook in folks that cut their teeth being fans of Penance, Maryland doom and heavier than thou 70s hard rock.
5. Lord – Awake (Heavy Hound Records)
This should have been higher in another list I concocted a few weeks back but now it’s going to receive its dues. Lord are one of Virginia’s finest heavy bands and Willy Rivera’s ability to pelt earhole targets with a steady stream of twist riffage makes him one of the most underrated guitarists around. Lord is his baby and they’ve been around a long ass time though seem to never get much credit. Awake is expansive in scope, benefitting from twisted songwriting, insane rhythmic change-ups and the shapeshifting sicko vocals of Steven Kerchner.
Jay's Links :