Heavy Metal Rundown: Best of 2016

2016-metal-rundown

Every few years I hear talk that there is a revival of traditional heavy metal. This cycle of going in and out of fashion has churned it’s gears since it became a genre that more bands than just Judas Priest self-identified as a heavy metal band 40 years ago. I’ve been guilty of using unwieldy terms such as the NOWOTHM (New Old Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal) or NRWOTHM. And to hell with calling to “trve metal,” that’s just fascist. I appreciate many varieties and subgenres. This is just what I enjoy seeing performed live and listening to the most often, and I think it’s okay now just to call it heavy metal.  There’s no point to call it a revival or wave when it never went away. Yes, metal had been spliced into dozens of subgenres by the late 80s, adding to the early variations like NWOBHM, doom and power metal. But every year there’s always at least a handful of very good to great heavy metal albums. This year was no exception, although for a while it was unclear if 2016 could come up with something to rival last year’s epic Magic Circle and Christian Mistress albums, until the second Khemmis album was released.

That it topped the Decibel year-end list is encouraging, but at the moment, attention is drawn toward the elephant in the room, or perhaps the dinosaur squashing the house — Metallica. It’s amusing to read the reactions to the band’s eleventh album. To a vast number of mainstream listeners, Metallica might be the only metal band they still listen to, while hardcore metal fans dismiss it as garbage. Both extremes are wrong. It’s a very good album, and I’ll get to it soon. But there’s a bunch of albums that deserve attention first.

1. Khemmis – Hunted (20 Buck Spin)

Khemmis - Hunted (20 Buck Spin, 2016)

Only a year ago, this Denver doom metal band came out with their promising debut, Absolution. Now with their second album they’ve ascended from an underground traditional heavy metal band to one of the best bands of any of metal’s infinite subgenres. It’s refreshing to see a band not participating in the extremity wars get some attention. While both Zach and Ben have experience playing death and black metal, they bonded over their love of Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, and worked to create their own signature rock ‘n’ doom sound.

“The first time it really started to click in that way was when we were writing “Antediluvian.” We got to that middle section, and were just calling it the Iron Maiden section, and we thought, Hey, this rules. So by the time we were writing “Ash, Cinder, Smoke”, it was all Iron Maiden section, and we thought, Hey, yeah, always this!” — Ben Hutcherson, Metal Sucks

With Phil (Criminology) and Ben (Cultural Sociology) working on their Ph.D.s, Zach a head brewer and Dan an engineer who builds bridges, Khemmis are unable to be road warriors. Which makes their January stop at Reggies in Chicago in January all the more a special event. | Full Review


2. Spirit Adrift – Chained To Oblivion

Spirit Adrift - Chained To Oblivion
Spirit Adrift is Arizona based Nate Garrett’s one-man doom band. Like Khemmis, he has a background in sludge, black and death metal (Gatecreeper and Take Over and Destroy). His shift to doom may be surprising to some, as it was part of his healing process to overcome alcoholism. So with a name that invokes uplifting transcendence, Garrett proceeds to dive deep into terror and dread in most of his songs, battling his demons with guitars, possibly atop a desert mountain. While there is a base in the traditional epic doom of the likes of Candlemass, Garrett is also a fan of Waylon Jennings, Neil Young and Thin Lizzy. The result is some really unique chord structures and sounds that even Garrett can’t explain exactly where they came from. The music is just flowing out of him, and we’re lucky to hear it. While his vocals have a soaring, emotional quality that can be compared to Pallbearer’s Brett Campbell (especially when tracked into harmonies), they’re also imperfectly original. On “Form And Force” and “Psychic Tide,” Garrett shows how putting every ounce of his ability into getting a great vocal performance makes a huge difference in setting Spirit Adrift apart from a massive sea of doom bands. The album peaks with the last and longest track, “The Hum Of Our Existence,” packed with attention-grabbing drum and bass parts and memorable riffs. The one thing that could make Spirit Adrift even greater is if Garrett could get a full band together and on the road, and translate it into a more dynamic recording. Whatever Garrett does though, I’m on it.

3. Wytch Hazel – Prelude (Bad Omen)

Wytch Hazel - Prelude (Bad Omen, 2016)

The band wear medieval tunics, delve into Christian biblical themes and cite late 70s folk era Jethro Tull as an influence. It’s understandable to assume this Lancaster band is a local group of renaissance fair geeks, and not the blazing new hot shots of British heavy metal. Well, they’re not exactly well known enough to be considered that just yet, but that will hopefully change. While Wytch Hazel work in similar territory as San Francisco’s The Lord Weird Slough Feg did twenty years ago — Celtic folk melodies mixed with Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy inspired dual guitars, Slough Feg featured a more hectic early Iron Maiden/NWOBHM gallop, while Wytch Hazel dig deeper into folk and ancient music and the Aolean and Dorian scales which vocalist/guitarist Colin Hendra studied in school. Add obscure early 80s bands like Dark Star, Ashbury and Virtue into the mix, and the result is an alluringly unusual blend of exciting, triumphant anthems and mesmerizing musicianship. Recorded at Foel Studio in Wales and produced by former Purson Ed Turner, Prelude has a thick, warm sound that pays homage to 70s recordings. The album kicks off with their hardest hitting track, the warrior cry of “Freedom Battle,” while “Fight” is slightly more midtempo with uplifting vocal harmonies and melodic solos. “Mighty King” and “More Than Conquerers” sustain this high level, and “Psalm” shifts into acoustic mode, with proggy keyboards and a gorgeous melody in the chorus. There’s not a single dud in the bunch, though “Dark Ages” stands out, perhaps for it’s timeliness. The band even have their own theme song (of course, how could they not?) that summarizes their definitive sound. This is a hugely successful debut in that it convincingly establishes the band’s signature sound, and displays their talent without getting too indulgent and show-offy. The next step will be to diversify the songwriting a bit next time. I’m sure Wytch Hazel is up to the challenge.

4. Hammers Of Misfortune – Dead Revolution (Metal Blade)

Hammers Of Misfortune - Dead Revolution (Metal Blade, 2016)

Five years ago San Francisco’s Hammers Of Misfortune seemed to be on an upward trajectory with their fifth album, 17th Street (2011). Instead of capitalize on it, they disappeared. Or rather, John Cobbett and partner Sigrid Sheie formed supergroup VHOL with YOB’s Mike Scheidt, releasing two albums and also having a baby. Vocalist Joe Hutton needed to recover from a serious motorcycle crash, so the other members split for projects with Vastum, Death Angel and The Worship Of Silence. You could hardly call them lazy. While most of the side projects dealt with more extreme facets of black and death metal, the sixth Hammers album digs back into their prog roots more than ever before. While there’s 70s elements, it’s not quite like Yes and ELP, nor Dream Theater or even Opeth. More like if King Crimson got together with Ritchie Blackmore and Uli Jon Roth.  Priest and Maiden of course are still essential building blocks, such as on the galloping “The Velvet Inquisition.” The longest 8+ minute track “The Precipice (Waiting For the Crash…)” serves as a nice centerpiece and a highlight, chock full of changes, fast riffing, complex interplay between organ, vocals and guitar, and dueling guitar solos. There’s a loose, downhearted theme about the woes of gentrification in the Bay Area throughout the album. Whether you care about that or not, it’s a compelling showcase, and one of the band’s most consistent efforts.

5. Brimstone Coven – Black Magic (Metal Blade)

Brimstone Coven - Black Magic (Metal Blade, 2016)

Formed in West Virginia in 2011, Brimstone Coven showed they were something special early on with their debut album in 2012. Their old-school Sabbath and Pentagram inspired doom was fully formed with ornate three part vocal harmonies, occult lyrics and eerie, psychedelic atmospherics. They were the highlight of both the Days of the Doomed fest in 2014 and the Doomed & Stoned fest I attended just last weekend in Indianapolis. Lead vocalist Big John Williams dominates the stage like a charismatic eight foot tall Sasquatch of doom, and it’s clear why Metal Blade saw something special in them and reissued their first two albums. Black Magic is the charmed third album, which features their strongest performance yet. The new songs are less indebted to various obscure proto-metal influences, and see the band solidifying their signature doom psych sound with those haunting harmonies. The first half of the album goes from strength to strength, from the rifftastic title track and rollicking “Black Unicorn” to the more ethereal, hypnotic grooves of “Beyond The Astral” and “As We Fall.” “Slow Death” is another catchy, rocking highlight. The album would be nearly perfect if not for “The Plague” and “Forsaken,” where the energy level drops to sub-dirge. Something more explosive and epic would have really been great, but the band seem to have a clear vision of what they want to do. I look forward to hearing what they come up with next.

6. Sumerlands – Sumerlands (Relapse)

Sumerlands - Sumerlands (Relapse, 2016)Despite the huge raves and buzz Sumerlands has gotten, it took a while for them to grow on me. I’m a fan of vocalist Phil Swanson (Atlantean Kodex, Vestal Claret, Hour Of 13, Seamount, Briton Rites), but while this may be some of his best work (check out his high-pitched wails 1:50 into “The Guardian”), it’s kind of hard to tell because it’s a bit buried in the mix. Strange, since bandleader/guitarist Arthur Rizk is an experienced producer. Nevertheless, from the glorious riff that fires off the beginning of “The Seventh Seal,” this is clearly a special album. Their flavor of power metal with a touch of prog is rooted in early Fates Warning (“Blind”), Queensrÿche (“Haunted Forever”) and Manilla Road, but without the shitty 80s drum sound. This is partly thanks to the special, explosive talents of Magic Circle’s bassist Justin DeTore (he’s played drums in a bunch of other bands). Rizk also pays tribute to Jake E. Lee’s work on Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark At The Moon (1983) on “The Guardian.” Despite running out of gas on the last, self-titled cut, the short 32 minute album leaves you craving more. Rizk and guitarist John Powers were also in War Hungry and currently Eternal Champion, which is a quite different epic fantasy beast. While the band did play a couple live shows, it’s hard to say that you’ll ever get to catch them on tour, given the number of other projects the members are involved in, and the fact that Swanson is kind of a misanthropic recluse. Let’s just hope this isn’t a one-off.

7. Troll – Troll

Troll - Troll (Troll, 2016)Considering how many doom bands are influenced by Saint Vitus and Trouble, it’s quite an achievement to be able to stand out from the crowd. Portland’s Troll does just that on their debut by achieving a balanced stylistic sweet spot between those early influences, some blues, fuzzed out psych, a creepy horror vibe and mournful clean vocals. The album’s centerpiece is the haunting, 8:34 long “An Eternal Haunting,” a perfect encapsulation of the band’s strengths, shifting dynamics clean guitar solos and fuzzy riffs, and a real downtrodden emotional core. “Infinite Death” perks up with a more uptempo blues swagger. I wouldn’t mind hearing the vocals more up front, but it’s a delicate balance of what makes their sound so appealing, and the band will hopefully best know how to progress. I look forward to hearing more.

8. Goatess – Purgatory Under New Management (Svart)

Goatess - Purgatory Under New Management (Svart, 2016)This is the second Goatess album fronted by Swedish doom legend Chritus Linderson (Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Terra Firma, Lord Vicar), taking doom deeper into psychedelic territory than most of their contemporaries. Still influenced by Hawkwind, Sleep, Kyuss and Monster Magnet as they were on their excellent 2013 self-titled debut, they have diversified their sound. The fuzz is not always as thick and hairy as it was, and the arrangements are slightly more complex. A hypnotic psychedelic vibe runs through most of the first half of the album which can be perfect for some occasions, or get a bit samey. The best riffs, vocal performances and arrangements are saved for the final three tracks, “Silent War,” “Wrath Of God” and “Good Moaning.” As a result, the debut is a better, more immediate introduction to the band, while the follow-up will mostly satisfy those still craving more.

9. Lord Vicar – Gates Of Flesh (The Church Within)

Yet another album featuring Chritus, Lord Vicar are based in Finland and have been active since 2007, fo Lord Vicar - Gates Of Flesh (The Church Within, 2016)cusing on traditional doom on their three solid albums. They deserve the supergroup pedigree, as Kimi Kärki also served as guitarist for the highly regarded Reverend Bizarre. For some reason, their latest album hasn’t gotten much attention. This is perhaps due to the fact that it has not particularly progressed from Fear No Pain (2008) and Signs Of Osiris (2011). But it’s hardly boring, and there almost no missteps, depending on what kind of patience you have for the plodding 10+ minute closer “Leper, Leper,” which does features some fine understated vocals from Chritus. “A Woman Out Of Snow” has some pretty unique solos and an eerie atmosphere that gets under your skin. The highlight is the opener “Birth Of Wine,” which unleashes Kimi into some really tasty improvisational jamming. The band should consider doing more of that, as people love the shit out of that kind of stuff. While it’s no classic, Lord Vicar are legends and essential for all hardcore doomsters.

10. Cardinals Folly – Holocaust Of Ecstacy And Freedom (Shadow Kingdom)

Cardinals Folly - Holocaust Of Ecstacy And Freedom (Shadow Kingdom, 2016)Like Lord Vicar, Finland’s Cardinals Folly also formed in 2007, though they operated as The Coven for a few years before that. While Reverend Bizarre is an influence, it’s only a starting point. Bassist Mikko Kääriäinen’s vocals are like a cartoonish version of Andrew Eldritch from Sisters Of Mercy, referencing the writings of Lovecraft, Howard and Wheatley, and also occult horror B-movies that also inspire bands like Electric Wizard, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats and Serpent Venom. Never accused of being a tight band of virtuoso musicians the loose garage garbage doom style suits them well. The looseness can be deceptive, as the band has been at it for a while and clearly have their chops down. It’s simply an aesthetic choice that, in a world crowded with extremely polished and/or dense metal albums, serves as a gleefully fun palate cleanser.

11. Dunbarrow – Dunbarrow (Heksekunst)

Dunbarrow - Dunbarrow (Heksekunst, 2016)This Trondheim, Norway band has been honing their proto-metal and doom sound for a few years, switching out the vocalist before their debut album. While this is clearly Pentagram (and by extension, the first Witchcraft album) worship, they do it really, really well. It’s understandable that Witchcraft wanted to progress from that initial style, and Dunbarrow should satisfy those who miss that sound. “Lucifer’s Child” is a perfect example of their impressive songcraft and hooks, while “You Knew I Was A Snake” is a promising window into how the band may start to evolve.

12. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake (Nuclear Blast)

Testament - Brotherhood Of The Snake (Nuclear Blast, 2016)It’s pretty amazing that over 30 years since the Thrash metal scene formed, all eight of the major players are all active. Exodus had Blood In Blood Out and Overkill released White Devil Armory in 2014 and The Grinding Wheel is due next year. Slayer released the solid Repentless last year. Of the albums this year by Megadeth, Anthrax, Death Angel, Testament and the mighty Metallica, Testament’s Brotherhood Of The Snake makes a strong case as the best of the batch. Testament co-existed with the “big four” as Legacy in 1983-86, they’ve been excluded from that group, perhaps because they never matched the commercial heights of the big four. I’ve always preferred Testament’s albums over Anthrax. And for the last nine albums since Souls Of Black (1990), they’ve arguably surpassed Metallica ever since. And perhaps to rub salt in the wound, on “Seven Seals” they do Metallica better than Metallica does Metallica this year. While “The Pale King,” “Centuries Of Suffering” and “Neptune’s Spear” are also highlights, the entire album is packed with high energy riffage that just never relents. You’d think at this age a band would be fat, lumbering and bloaty, but Testament have maintained an impressively lean fighting weight. Long may they thrash.

13. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self Destruct (Elektra)

Metallica - Hardwired...To Self Destruct (Elektra, 2016)As great as the Testament album is, they did not easily beat Metallica. After all, Metallica will always be the top dog as the band that released four classics in a row, and then simplified their sound to sell more albums than every other thrash band combined. That’s both a blessing and a curse, as since then they have had problems with managing expectations both internal and external. Their effort to progress musically in the 90s generally considered a massive fail. Death Magnetic (2007) was a pretty good return to their roots, but got a lot of criticism for not being able to match their 80s glory days. And then there were the complaints about the compression — which in a metal album is not really that big a deal. It’s true that they’re all multi-millionaires and in no way can they possibly be the same band that were living on ramen and playing for their lives. But taking that into account, Hardwired…To Self Destruct is very successful. It contains five of their best songs they’ve written in 25 years, no small accomplishment. These include the piledriving “Hardwired,” the Iron Maiden worshipping “Atlas, Rise!,” the tight, aggressive “Moth Into Flame,” the sprawling epic ballad “Halo On Fire,” and last but not least, the band unleashes even more bonkers energy and ideas on “Spit Out The Bone,” a brutal sci-fi apocalyptic tale worthy of classic 80s Metallica. There is some decline in quality on the second disc, but I still prefer “ManUNkind” and “Am I Savage?” over “Dream No More,” despite the fact that it revisits the Lovecraft Cthulhu themes. “Now That We’re Dead” and “Confusion” are also decent. Some complain about the 78 minute length, but there’s only two tracks I could completely do without. One is the heart-in-the right place tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, “Murder One,” which only draws attention their lyrical shortcomings compared to the witty master, and “Here Comes Revenge.” I’d prefer they used “Lords Of Summer” instead, which starts off the bonus third disc (there’s also a fun Dio tribute medley, and a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Remember Tomorrow”). Load is just as long, but impossible to get through. Just imagine if Kirk Hammett hadn’t lost all his riffs and contributed to the songwriting. Hopefully we’ll hear from them again before 2024.

  1. Ravensire  – The Cycle Never Ends (Cruz Del Sur) | Bandcamp
  2. Castle – Welcome To The Graveyard (Van/Prophecy) | Bandcamp
  3. Year Of The Cobra – …In The Shadows Below (STB) | Bandcamp
  4. Eternal Champion – The Armor Of Ire (No Remorse) | Bandcamp
  5. High Spirits – Motivator (HR) | Bandcamp
  6. Dawnbringer – XX EP (Dawnbringer) | Bandcamp
  7. Striker – Stand In The Fire (Record Breaking Records) | Buy
  8. Grand Magus – Sword Songs (Nuclear Blast) | Buy
  9. Vokonis – Olde One Ascending (Ozium) | Bandcamp
  10. Black Sabbath – The End EP (Black Sabbath) | Buy
  11. Beastmaker – Lusus Naturae (Rise Above)
  12. Gygax – Critical Hits (Creator-Destructor) | Bandcamp
  13. Helstar – Vampiro (EMP)
  14. Mountain Witch – Burning Village (This Charming Man) | Bandcamp
  15. Spiritus Mortis – The Year Is One (Svart) | Bandcamp
  16. Wretch – Wretch (Bad Omen) | Bandcamp
  17. Tarot – Reflections (Heavy Chains) | Bandcamp
  18. The Order Of Israfel – Red Robes (Napalm)
  19. Holy Grail – Times Of Pride And Peril (Prosthetic) | Bandcamp
  20. Spell – For None And All (Bad Omen) | Bandcamp
  21. Spellcaster – Night Hides The World (RidingEasy) | Bandcamp
  22. Sinister Haze – Laid Low In The Dust Of Death (STB) | Bandcamp
  23. Denner/Shermann – Masters Of Evil (Metal Blade) | Bandcamp
  24. Dark Forest – Beyond The Veil (Cruz Del Sur) | Bandcamp
  25. Cauldron – In Ruin (The End)
  26. Lizzies – Good Luck (The Sign) | Bandcamp
  27. Death Angel – The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast)
  28. Sahg – Memento Mori (Indie) | Bandcamp
  29. Demon Bitch – Hellfriends (Skol) | Bandcamp
  30. Distant Sun – Into The Nebula (Metalism) | Bandcamp
  31. HammerFall – Built To Last (Napalm, 2016)
  32. Elephant Tree – Elephant Tree (Magnetic Eye, 2016) | Bandcamp
  33. Haunted – Haunted (Twin Earth, 2016) | Bandcamp
  34. Voivod – Post Society EP (Century Media, 2016)
  35. Pallbearer – Fear & Fury EP (Profound Lore, 2016)
  36. Sabaton – The Last Stand (Nuclear Blast, 2016)
  37. Mammothwing – Morning Light (Kozmik Artifactz, 2016)

Floating just below are albums by Curse The Son, Dunsmuir, Altar Of Oblivion, Diamond Head, Stone Animals, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Lord.

Probably even more remarkable than the fact that all the major thrash metal bands are active, is that many NWOBHM bands also released albums this year. In addition to Diamond Head, which amazingly made the top 20 of the Decibel list, there were albums by Tygers Of Pan Tang, Grim Reaper, Quartz, Demon, Riot, Raven and Saxon.

Black/Death/Sludge/Doom/Technical/Speed/Prog/Avant Metal

Why is doom in both the heavy metal list and this list? Simple, some doom is more old school with elements of rock ‘n’ roll or traditional metal, and some is more modern, and mixed with more extreme metal elements. For more doom than you can shake a goblet at, see the monthly Doom Charts that I participate in. Madder Mortem, Anciients, 40 Watt Sun (who progressed from doom to really just alternative rock, but I didn’t want to exclude it), SubRosa, Hail Spirit Noir and Gojira are linked to their reviews. Vektor are an extremely popular (their fourth album currently tops the RYM metal chart)  progressive/technical thrash band formed in Arizona, and currently based in Philadelphia. While I was a fan of Coroner, Voivod and Annihilator, it’s not the kind of stuff I listen to often anymore, but I recommend them if you don’t get easily fatigued by complicated, relentlessly fast sci-fi themed metal. I would have caught them live but they played the same night of Horisont’s stop in Chicago on their first ever U.S. tour.

  1. Madder Mortem – Red In Tooth And Claw (Dark Essence/Karisma) | Bandcamp
  2. Anciients – Voice Of The Void (Season Of Mist) | Bandcamp
  3. 40 Watt Sun – Wider Than The Sky (Radiance) | Buy
  4. SubRosa – For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages (Profound Lore) | Bandcamp
  5. Virus – Memento Collider (Karisma) | Bandcamp
  6. Gojira – Magma (Roadrunner) | Buy
  7. Slabdragger – Rise Of The Dawncrusher (Holy Roar) | Bandcamp
  8. Boss Keloid – Herb Your Enthusiam (Black Bow) | Bandcamp
  9. Alcest – Kodama (Prophecy) | Bandcamp
  10. Hail Spirit Noir – Mayhem In Blue (Dark Essence) | Bandcamp
  11. Vektor – Terminal Redux (Earache) | Bandcamp
  12. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä (20 Buck Spin) | Bandcamp
  13. Furia – Księżyc milczy luty (Pagan) | Bandcamp
  14. Cough – Still They Pray (Relapse) | Bandcamp
  15. Horseburner – Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (Horseburner) | Bandcamp
  16. Neurosis – Fires Within Fires (Neurot) | Bandcamp
  17. Colonel Petrov’s Good Judgement – Moral Machine (Moral Machine) | Bandcamp
  18. 11Paranoias – Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World (Ritual) | Bandcamp
  19. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Y Proffwyd Dwyll (New Heavy Sounds) | Bandcamp
  20. Spider Kitten – Ark Of Octofelis (Undergroove) | Bandcamp
  21. Eight Bells – Landless Battleground | Bandcamp
  22. Mizmor – Yodh (Gilead) | Bandcamp
  23. Zeal And Ardor – Devil Is Fine (Zeal And Ardor) | Bandcamp
  24. Droids Attack – Sci-Fi Or Die (Riff Reaper) | Bandcamp
  25. Ghoul – Dungeon Bastards (Tankcrimes) | Bandcamp
  26. Conan – Revengeance (Napalm)
  27. RLYR – Delayer (Magic Bullet) | Bandcamp
  28. Whores. – Gold (eOne) | Buy
  29. Messa – Belfry (Aural) | Bandcamp
  30. Crowbar – The Serpent Only Lies (Steamhajmmer)
  31. Kvelertak – Nattesferd (Roadrunner) | Buy
  32. Thy Catafalque – Meta (Season Of Mist) | Bandcamp
  33. Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows (Relapse) | Bandcamp
  34. Ashbringer – Yūgen (Avantgarde) | Bandcamp
  35. Haast’s Eagled – II: For Mankind (Holy Roar) | Bandcamp
  36. Death Angel – The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast)
  37. Inverloch – Distance | Collapsed (Relapse) | Bandcamp
  38. Crowbar – The Serpent Only Lies (Steamhajmmer)
  39. Atomikylä – Keräily (Svart) | Bandcamp
  40. ARRIVER – Emeritus (Arriver) | Bandcamp
  41. Jute Gyte – Perdurance (Jeshimoth) | Bandcamp
  42. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking (Metal Blade)
  43. Blood Incantation – Starspawn (Dark Descent) | Bandcamp
  44. Trees Of Eternity – Hour Of The Nightingale (Svart) | Bandcamp
  45. Bloodiest – Bloodiest (Relapse) | Bandcamp
  46. Myrath – Legacy (Nightmare)
  47. Revocation – Great Is Our Sin (Metal Blade) | Bandcamp
  48. Ihsahn – Arktis. (Candlelight)
  49. The Body – No One Deserves Happiness (Thrill Jockey) | Bandcamp
  50. Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight (InsideOut) | Buy
  51. Cobalt – Slow Forever (Profound Lore) | Bandcamp
  52. Black Shape Of Nexus – Carrier (Exile on Mainstream) | Bandcamp
  53. Trap Them – Crown Feral (Prosthetic) | Bandcamp
  54. Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us (Nuclear Blast)
  55. Zao – The Well-Intentioned Virus (Observed/Observer) | Bandcamp
  56. Wormrot – Voices (Earache) | Bandcamp
  57. Red Fang – Only Ghosts (Relapse) | Bandcamp
  58. Bossk – Audio Noir (Deathwish) | Bandcamp
  59. Bloody Hammers – Lovely Sort Of Death (Napalm) | Bandcamp

Just missing the top 50, Jambinai, Deströyer 666, Sumac, Draugnim, Cobalt, Wormed, Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Oceans OF Slumber, Harikari For The Sky, Black Shape Of Nexus, Sinistro, Trap Them, Nails, Zao, Malevich, Wormrot, Red Fang, Mantar, Bossk, Bloody Hammers, Car Bomb, Oathbreaker and Ulcerate.

Looking forward to in 2017: The Obsessed, Alunah, Argus, Pallbearer, Witch Mountain, Enforcer, Pale Divine, The Skull, Spirits Of The Dead, Troubled Horse.

Not announced but hoping: Slough Feg, Serpent Venom, Jex Thoth, Om, Orchid, Age Of Taurus.

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