The Body – No One Deserves Happiness
With the release of I Shall Die Here and their slew of recent collaborations, The Body has somehow gotten even more experimental with their already experimental style of noise/metal/whatever by straying into catchier, even poppier territory. The interesting combination of noisy, yet highly structured songwriting as well as frequent collaborator Chrissy Wolpert’s sung vocals mixing with Chip King’s signature distorted howls in the background reinforces that feeling of genres intermingling, but also creates something new and original.
Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
Neurosis– infused black metal with a tight, progressive edge has been Inter Arma’s calling card for a few years now. Paradise Gallows sees them perfecting that approach. This record is crushing and gorgeous and razor sharp in all the right places.
Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
As far as straightforward black metal goes, Deathspell Omega is one of the few bands doing really interesting things in that space currently. There’s no flourishes of post-whatever bullshit here, just a torrent of churning evil pouring directly into you for the duration.
Oneirogen – Convivium
This one man NYC synth project was maybe the record that surprised me the most this year. Kind of like a halfway point between early NIN and the Stranger Things soundtrack, this record is sometimes eerie, sometimes aggressive, and full of dense and interesting textures.
Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
Nothing followed up their stellar debut full length Guilty of Everything with a more muted, relaxed record that is no less engaging than their previous material. All the 90s nostalgia is there in the layered guitars and shimmering overtones that pervade the album, but the band has become more themselves here than anyone they might have previously name checked – and the result is a mature and beautiful record.
Black Table – Obelisk
I can admit my own bias in adding this record to my list. Some of it was written in my house, and I watched the band’s process unfold from start to finish. What resulted was an incredibly emotional, complex journey through nearly every genre of extreme metal that is blended and integrated seamlessly throughout. Equal parts intellectual, terrifying and cathartic, bands like Black Table are the future of metal. Get to know them.
Car Bomb – Meta
Car Bomb’s previous outings have all been more than competent forays into complicated and technical metal full of off time bending and blasting. However, with Meta, the band has transcended themselves and produced a rough approximation of Meshuggah, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Deftones tossed into a garbage disposal. This record actually shoots you into a wormhole and then reassembles you on the other side. Buckle up.
Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
Neurosis man, 30 years in and this band is still writing a record that blows away your preconceived notions of what a Neurosis record is going to be. Fires Within Fires is the band at their most mature, concise, and as raw as they have been in decades. Fantastic.
Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
Ulcerate returned with a follow up to 2013s Vermis, and it is everything dark, twisty, and viscerally horrifying that you would expect it to be. Dense, challenging, and cloaked in dread, Shrines of Paralysis is probably 2016s darkest offering.
Planes Mistaken for Stars – Prey
PMFS haven’t been too active in about a decade and it’s great to have something new from them. Prey mostly picks up where their last record Mercy left off in 2006 – on a vibe that is some unholy mix of Motorhead and Hot Water Music in a hot tub full of whiskey. No other band scratches this itch, and PMFS scratches it raw.
Burial – Young Death/Nightmarket
Rota – Rota
Lorn – Vessel
Bleak – Songs for Cowards
Hollow Earth – Dead Planet
Gatecreeper – Sonoran Deprivation
Sumac – What One Becomes
Scum Couch – Weak Existence
Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
Throat Culture – Everyone Loves You
Downfall of Gaia – Atrophy
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Rorcal – Creon
Inverloch – Distance | Collapsed
Oathbreaker – Rheia
Muscle and Marrow – Love
Spotlights – Tidals
Clover – Exile
Wormed – Krighsu
Alcest – Kodama
M83 – Junk
Bon Iver – 22, A Million