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Favorite albums of 2016 thread

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I have to say that 2016 has been an AMAZING year for music. 

My top 5 favorite albums of 2016:

5) TIE: Bangladeafy! "Narcopaloma" and Abnormality "The Mechanisms of Omniscience."  Drum-and-bass duo Bangladeafy! and technical/brutal death metal band Abnormality have been two of my favorites ever since I encountered them years ago during my days in Kryovax.  Both bands produce complex, intelligent, and intense (albeit in different ways) music that always entices me.  Their new releases are on par with the lofty expectations I have of these bands, but while they're not steps backwards, they're not blowing my mind the way they used to. 

4) Dysrhythmia "The Veil of Control."  I've always admired and respected Dysrhythmia, even if I haven't always liked their material.  Their music is very challenging to listen to and even I have found some of their material too cacophonic for my tastes.  That being said, "The Veil of Control" might be my favorite albums of theirs since "Pretest."  "The Veil of Control" features some of the darkest material I've heard from the band and it spoke to me. 

3) Zao "The Well Intentioned Virus."  I haven't listened to Zao since 2004's "Funeral of God" (still one of my all time favorite albums ever), but Zao's new album is a total face-melter.  I know they fall under the dreaded "metalcore" genre, which most people despise, but bands like them and Burnt By The Sun are just incredible bands that are challenging to listen to with complex songwriting, sledgehammer musicianship, and strong lyrics.  Like much of the band's music, this album is definitely one that needs to grow on you, but I like that.  Zao's sonic signature is unique and I like that in the vast sea of heavy music, their voice stands out. 

2) Megadeth "Dystopia."  Forget about Metallica's new album or KoRn's new album.  THIS is the album to listen to if you want the new stuff from an old favorite.  Everything about this album is incredible: the musicianship, the riffs, even the vocals and lyrics.  Megadeth is not a band renowned for their lyrical prowess, but the lyrics on this album are good.  Dave's voice is in good form too.  I normally dislike his vocal style, but he has a nice snarl here.  Is it "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" or "Rust in Peace"?  No, but I might have to put "Dystopia" as one of Megadeth's top 5. 

1) Cyborg Octopus "Learning to Breathe" The album I've been digging the hell out of this year is "Learning to Breathe" by Cyborg Octopus.  That album is like Between the Buried and Me had a baby with Dog Fashion Disco.  It's heavy, epic, experimental, ferociously intelligent, and doesn't give a damn about conforming to some arbitrary genre rulebook.  These guys simply play whatever the hell they want, and I like that.  The songwriting structure is incredible too- it's not just masturbatory noodling.  So GOOD!  It is easily my pick for favorite album of 2016.  I simply cannot stop listening to it.  Not since Ever Forthright and Dog Fashion Disco has a band just exploded my mind like this.  When I posted that "recommend Dincrest some music" thread last year... I found some killer stuff in that thread, but THIS is that "precious" I'd been looking for! 

Here's a sampler of the Cyborg Octopus album:

So what are your favorite albums of 2016?

Normally I struggle to limit it to five, but 2016 was a pretty weak year for new metal in my humble opinion.  Too many breakups (R.I.P. Bolt Thrower and Agalloch) and too many mediocre releases from too many old and tired bands.

All I've got is:

Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake (puts new Megadeth and new Metallica combined to shame)
Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts (but this one took a really long time to grow on me)
Blood Ceremony - Lord of Misrule (good, but each album is more tired sounding that the one before)

Only one of those I would call great.  Eh.  Every year can't be a winner I guess. :P

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say there are a lot of bands I love that have released albums this year that I haven't heard yet.  Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquillity, Deathspell Omega, and the Devin Townsend Project all released stuff that I'm sure is great, but my disposable income has generally been somewhat less than disposable this year. :P

Amon Amarth's new album was pretty much what you'd expect from an Amon Amarth album.  That band is consistent, but I feel like they're consistent to a fault.  And some of the lyrics in the new album are laughable, because other band members tried their hand at writing. 

I had no idea there was a new Testament album.  Love that band.  I'm listening to some samples from that album now, and it's pretty ferocious! 

I only just found out there was a new Fates Warning, a new Dillinger Escape Plan, and a new Car Bomb.  I took quick listens of those and definitely liked what I heard.   

And maybe because I tend to seek out and listen to more underground/obscure bands, I found some gems (like the aforementioned Cyborg Octopus.)  What I've heard of "Voice of the Void" by Anciients, "Atrament" by A Sense of Gravity, and others has been good.  Anciients feels like Mastodon meets Opeth; and A Sense of Gravity is like a more epic sounding Protest the Hero.

Anciients: (@D-Rider: I think this one may be up your alley.)

A Sense of Gravity: (looks like there's a special package deal on their entire discography to date, so maybe I'll splurge.)

Admittedly, I haven't listened to much stuff released this year. Been too busy with work and family stuff. I can say though:

12 Foot Ninja's Outlier is pretty good. Although it's more random, and lighter than Silent Machine (which may very well have been their intention), I still find it more listen-able overall. Couple of throwaway tracks, but most are good, IMO.

I agree about Megadeth's new one being pretty good. Things seemed to start going downhill when Dave got all pretentious about finding Jesus, but Dystopia is a big step up from Super Collider, no doubt.

I also did not know there was a new Testament. I must check it out.

I also have to mention Babymetal's release. Not that I actually love it, but there are some seriously listen-able (and equally terrible) songs on there. If nothing else, I have to give it props for being a fantastic gateway album for kids. It's responsible for getting my son (5 yo) into heavier shit. I've even caught him head banging to the likes of Pantera and (older) Soilwork recently.

...I know this is not the thread for it, but I was VERY disappointed with Gojira's release. Many people seem to love it, but I certainly don't. They went from their usual kick-ass technical/progressive style to some kind of atmospheric lazy groove metal. Not that I have a problem with lazy groove metal, but knowing that Gojira is capable of so much more technically, is what makes it a big letdown... Seems like an enormous waste of Mario's talent, especially. Sure, I know bands have to progress, and change things up, but this feels more like a step back to me. It's like a lethargically bad Pantera tribute album.

That's always a tough thing, when an album isn't bad per se, but doesn't measure up to what a band is capable of.  That's why the new Amon Amarth album is my disappointment of 2016.  It's not a bad album, but it feels like the band is getting complacent.  And some of the songs had truly laughable lyrics.  Twilight of the Thunder God was my introduction to the band and remains my favorite album of theirs.  But, as good and consistent as the band is, I feel like if you've heard one Amon Amarth album you've heard them all.  (It could be argued that the Bangladeafy! and Abnormality albums I mentioned succumb to the same fate, but those bands are still fresh and exciting to me and haven't gotten long in the tooth yet.) 

I just found out there was a new Meshuggah this year too, and it's been getting good reviews. 

...and I still can't stop listening to Cyborg Octopus.  I don't really go to shows any more (I'm getting old), but if Cyborg Octopus ever came to my area, I would make the exception and go see them. 


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