Best of 2016
Dear readers of my blog!
Today is the day where I would like to share a list of my twenty favourite records of the year 2016 with you. I will also talk about recommendable songs, live albums and compilations that were released this year. I will end this post with a list of upcoming releases I'm looking forward to next year.
1. Unbeing - Ceres
The Canadian instrumental progressive metal quintet takes the crown with an absolutely mindblowing narrative track that tells a gripping science-fiction story over twenty-nine stunning minutes that should please to those who like movies such as ''Alien'', ''The Martian'' and ''Passengers''. Instrumentally, the group manages to take us on a journey through space thanks to a numbing rhythm section, atmospheric and majestic keyboard passages and a technically impressive guitar play. Listening to this masterpiece is an absolutely unique experience.
2. Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage
Avenged Sevenfold deliver an outstanding progressive metal record that varies from sinister metalcore over traditional heavy metal with classic progressive rock influences to intellectual masterpieces that fusion a multitude of genres and styles in a surprisingly coherent and fluid way. The musicians aren't only outstanding from a technical point of view but manage to write a whole album of cinematic grandeur that proves all the naysayers wrong.
3. Arkan - Kelem
This album is an absolutely stunning progressive gothic metal release with vivid Middle Eastern folk passages and profound lyrics about contemporary conflicts. New singer Manuel Munoz adds many new dimensions to the band sound with his sorrowful vocals and collaborates with his former bandmate Foued Moukid nine years after the last The Old Dead Tree record. Welcome back to the metal scene, Manuel Munoz!
4. Screaming Savior - Semblances of the Void
Originally titled ''千面无容'', Screaming Savior's ''Semblances of the Void'' mixes majestic symphonic black metal with inspired Asian neofolk sounds. The Chinese sextet finds the right balance between atmospheric and calm songs with exotic instrumentation, melodic symphonic gothic metal and unchained black metal parts with cold riffs and pitiless blastbeats. The groups sucks you into a liberating yet sinister atmosphere right from the start and never lets you go until the very end after a majestic journey of almost forty-five minutes.
5. Babymetal - Metal Resistance
The revolutionary Japanese idol band release a superb sophomore studio album that focuses mainly on the band's liberating metal style with a handful of carefully chosen and perfectly integrated soundscapes. The band delivers this year's best power metal song with ''The One'' and this year's best folk metal tune with ''Meta Taro'' on one single output. The three singers sound much more mature and skilled than on the predecessor and prove all the naysayers wrong who were expecting this group to be an artificial one-hit wonder. If the future of metal music sounds like this, I'm all in!
6. Black Crown Initiate - Selves We Cannot Forgive
Progressive extreme metal band Black Crown Initiate releases a strong sophomore studio record that focuses much more on the group's atmospheric, calm and intellectual soundscapes where the group unfolds its true magic. This album is an impressive and surprising step forward after a strong but much more extreme debut record.
7. Myrath - Legacy / ميراث
Myrath offer a series of memorable anthems that are much easier to digest than anything the band has released before without losing its charismatic mixture of thoughtful power metal, impressive progressive metal and vivid folk influences.
8. Anthrax - For All Kings
Anthrax proves that its stunning comeback effort ''Worship Music'' was more than an exceptional effort because ''For All Kings'' keeps the impressive level of the liberating predecessor. The band comes around with sorrowful and mellow anthems like ''Breathing Lightning'', more complex and progressive tunes like ''Suzerain'' and pitiless thrash metal as in the youthful ''Zero Tolerance''. This is a perfect record for metal parties that only features killers and no fillers.
9. Voivod - Post Society
Voivod offers this impressive EP consisting of four new songs and a brilliant cover version of Hawkwind's ''Silver Machine'' to introduce its new line-up featuring bassist Rocky whose performance is technically appealing and refreshingly powerful. The new songs are dystopian progressive metal masterpieces that need some time to grow but turn out to be among the band's very best songs since the new millennium.
10. In Extremo - Quid pro Quo
In Extremo manages to release one of its heaviest and yet one of its most folk-influenced records in recent memory. The melancholic and progressive epic ''Lieb Vaterland, magst ruhig sein'' is among the very best songs the band has ever written while the metalcore tune ''Flaschengeist'' and the traditional folk rock anthem ''Piske Palve'' represent the band's enormous creativity and diversity on this highly entertaining best German album of the year 2016.
11. Megadeth - Dystopia
Megadeth delivers its best album in more than two decades with this sinister and slightly progressive conceptual thrash metal record that tells sorrowful tales of a dystopian world. Especially the more experimental middle section around tracks like ''Post American World'' and ''Poisonous Shadows'' hits really hard but the album also has a few catchier tracks like ''The Threat Is Real'' and ''Dystopia'' that can really convince. While this output doesn't beat Anthrax's new record due to a few fillers, Megadeth easily beats its other colleagues from the Big Four who released weaker efforts this and last year.
12. Master's Hammer - Formulæ
Master's Hammer's new output is my greatest new discovery this year since I wasn't familiar with this band before. The Czech experimental extreme metal trio offers extremely creative tracks that only have their mysterious and sinister atmosphere in common. Some tracks use danceable darkwave sounds, other tunes use exotic instruments such as dobros and xylophones while other songs are supported by choirs or a female guest vocalist. This highly entertaining and inspired extreme metal release offers a myriad of unusual soundscapes and should be experienced over and over again to discover its plentiful potential.
Other great studio albums that didn't make it into my personal top twelve are: 13. Trees of Eternity - Hour of the Nightingale, 14. Masquerader - Vortex Day Zero, 15. Equilibrium - Armageddon, 16. Mercy Isle - Undying Fire, 17. The Vision Bleak - The Unknown, 18. Rob Zombie - The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, 19. David Bowie - Blackstar, 20. Ewigheim - Schlaflieder.
Here are my favourite live albums, DVDs and Blu-rays of the year: 1. Babymetal - Live at Wembley, 2. In Extremo - Quid pro Quo Live, 3. In Flames - Sounds from the Heart of Gothenburg, 4. Metallica - Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, Metallica!, 5. Disturbed - Live at Red Rocks.
My favourite compilation album of the year 2016 was: The Vision Bleak - Timeline - An Introduction to The Vision Bleak
These are my favorite songs of 2016:
1. Unbeing - Ceres
2. Vektor - Recharging the Void
3. Arkan - Just a Lie
4. Myrath - Believer
5. In Extremo - Lieb Vaterland, magst ruhig sein
6. Anthrax - Breathing Lightning
7. Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage
8. Equilibrium - Eternal Destination
9. Babymetal - Meta Taro
10. Anvil - Daggers and Rum
11. Avantasia - Draconian Love
12. Metallica - Moth Into Flame
13. The Vision Bleak - The Kindred of the Sunset
14. In Flames - The Truth
15. Gojira - Stranded
16. Trick or Treat - United
17. Megadeth - Poisonous Shadows
18. Black Sabbath - Isolated Man
19. Blind Guardian - Children of the Smith
20. The 69 Eyes - Miss Pastis
Best video clip: Tainted DickMen - Don't Be Afraid
These are the records I'm looking forward to in 2017:
Edenbridge - The Great Momentum / Grave Digger - Healed by Metal / Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry / Kreator - Gods of Violence / Over Kill - The Grinding Wheel / Seven Kingdoms - Decennium / Trollwar - The Traveler's Path / Xandria - Theater of Dimensions« Welcome back, Manuel Munoz! - A review of Arkan's ''Kelem''Promoting Lord Symphony's "The End of Time" »
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