Dec 012016

NCS The Best of 2016 graphic

 

We’re now beginning the final month of 2016, and you know what that means: Now begins the final countdown to the end of the year (and the strengthening onslaught of the annual holiday season). In the world of metal, this month we’ll also start seeing more and more lists of the year’s best releases.

Back in 2009, when this site was just a few days old, I wrote a post about year-end lists and why people bother with them. The best reason still seems to be this: Reading someone else’s list of the albums they thought were best is a good way to discover music you missed and might like.

We don’t do an “official” NCS year-end “best albums” list. However, we publish the picks of each of our regular staff writers as well as a large group of guest writers (which we’ll start doing later this month). Every year we also invite our readers to share their lists and we’re doing that again right here, right now.

 

gustave-dore-satan

 

If you’ve been pondering what you’ve heard this year and have made your own list of the albums, EPs, or splits released in 2016 that you think are the best of what you’ve heard, we invite you to share it with us in the Comments section to this post. And if you haven’t made a list yet but want to, there’s still plenty of time (read below).

 

We don’t have any hard-and-fast rules about year-end lists. Your list doesn’t have to be a specific number — it doesn’t have to be a “Top 10″ or “Top 20″ list, it could be a Top 2 list or a Top 15, or any other number.

And it doesn’t have to be a cross-genre list, i.e., the best of all metal you’ve heard this year. It could be the best hardcore albums you heard, or the best death metal, or the best black metal, or the best grind, or the best folk metal, and on and on — pretty much whatever you want to do and feel comfortable doing, as long as it fits your definition of metal.

Don’t be shy, and don’t worry about being judged — if you haven’t figured it out already, it ain’t our style or the style of our commenters to ridicule what someone else thinks is great metal.

And if you don’t have a list ready yet, no sweat, because you can come back to this post whenever you like and add your list later — or comment on the lists others have posted. I’ll put a link to this post at the top right side of every page so people can find it quickly — look for the link to 2016 NCS READERS’ YEAR-END LISTS. That will make the comments to this post a collection point for “Best of” readers’ lists. And that link will stay on our page throughout 2017.

So start thinking and start commenting (please, and thank you).

264 Responses to “LISTMANIA 2016: AN INVITATION FOR READERS’ LISTS OF THE YEAR’S BEST METAL”

  1. RagE says:

    Zeal and Ardor – Devil is Fine
    Aenaon – Hypnosophy
    Anagnorisis – Peripeteia
    Hannes Grossmann – The Crypts of Sleep
    Cloat – S/T
    Ghoul – Dungeon Bastard

    Some others were pretty good, but not really worth mentioning. Will see how i feel in 6 months tho. need to listen more to a ton of releases.

    • RagE says:

      Ok, Bölzer also gets a spot on the list

      • Gorger says:

        I was actually a little bit disappointed by them, and a mere “good” just don’t do it in this rat race competition, I’m afraid. I was even more disappointed with Aenaon. Their previous album was amazing, but Hypnosophy became a bit to splayed and far to big-band jazz for my liking. Just getting it of my chest.
        By June, you’ll be buried alive, only halfway through the first tonn, you’ll already have another metric tonn to listen to.
        Never heard of Anagnorisis, but it sure sounds good.

        • Islander says:

          i have no inside info, but I’m willing to bet that Aenaon is the one that will be on Andy’s “Disappointing” list this year (see below). And one reason I’m willing to bet is that I’m betting with your money.

        • Kishor says:

          Bolzer failed to connect with me as well, aside from a couple of tracks.

          • SurgicalBrute says:

            It didnt click for me either on my first couple listens, but everyone Ive heard who seems to like it says it takes awhile to actually grow on you. I plan to give it a bit more time before making a final judgement on it

            • Kishor says:

              For sure. I can’t tell how much of my reaction was just being put off by some of the vocals, and there were some standout parts. I’ll give it a chance when I’m in the right mood.

        • Booker says:

          Wait, metal that strays into big band jazz territory? that is my fucking favourite kind of big band music. I have to listen to this right now!

    • Andy Synn says:

      So, ONE of those is probably going to end up on my “Disappointing” list. I am prepared for the flame-war.

    • Manticore says:

      That Zeal and Ardor record was an odd listen. I certainly approve of the melding of styles on display—they certainly suit the lyrical themes and overall mood—but I don’t think they’ve quite perfected the combination yet. I eagerly anticipate what they’ll do next, however. Even if it’s not perfect, it should be fascinating.

  2. Michael Dunn says:

    Devin Townsend Project- Transcendence
    Gorguts- Pleiades Dust
    Dark Funeral- Where Shadows Forever Reign
    Insomnium- Winter’s Gate
    Agoraphobic Nosebleed- ARC
    Ghoul- Dungeon Bastards

    Didn’t get to hear as much metal this year as I would have liked, but there you go.

    • Islander says:

      Judging by how often I’m seeing that Ghoul name in this comment thread, I’m thinking I made a mistake in not making time for it. They played here in Seattle last night, and I probably made a mistake not being there too.

  3. BMF says:

    All three of the releases Phillipe Tougas was involved in this year – Chthe’ilist, Zealotry and First Fragment.
    Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
    Vektor – Outer Isolation
    King Goat – Conduit
    Khemmis – Hunted
    Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
    Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
    Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony

    That’s my current Top 10, with Meshuggah, Gorguts, Textures, Ravensire and Inter Arma just missing out.

    Ulcerate is next up in my listening queue – and, based on past experience, they are likely to jump this lineup within minutes of pressing play.

    • Proteus says:

      You mean “Terminal Redux”, right?

      • BMF says:

        Whoops – brain fart. Yes, I meant “Teminal Redux.” I’ve been listening to all of their albums a lot this year…

    • Kyle says:

      I really like everything on your list. Hyperion is my #1 and a lot of your others are in my top ten. Only one I’ve never heard of is King Goat so I’m listening to that now and I really like it. Thanks!

      • BMF says:

        Thanks! That King Goat album was possibly the year’s biggest surprise – you can thank Angry Metal Guy for bringing it to a wider audience. He called it “Candlemass-core,” which is a genre the evolution of which I fully support.

    • Manticore says:

      Funny, I got into the strangest argument with an acquaintance about Chthe’ilist when I suggested half-jokingly that the Le Dernier Crépuscule did the whole Old World black-sabbaths-and-tarantelles kitsch vibe really well. Totally flew off the handle about Satanic imagery and Finnish death metal and… I was quite bemused, to tell you the truth. Regardless, it’s a fun album. Great production, really solid songwriting.

      I’ve heard good things about the new Fleshgod, but not a lot of things, so I’m a little curious about it.

  4. Sopadeloro says:

    Khemmis-Hunted
    Obscure Sphinx-Epitaphs
    Allegeaon-Proponent For Sentience
    Inter Arma-Paradise Gallows

  5. Muddy Ravine says:

    Woman is the Earth – Torch of our Final Night
    stoic. – Fall below
    Stam1na – Elokuutio
    Reproacher – Nature’s Bastard
    Ondt Blod – Finnmark
    Nordjevel – Nordjevel
    Kvelertak – Nattesferd
    The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
    Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

    • Muddy Ravine says:

      Others I suspect will eventually make it on to the 2016 list, but haven’t gotten around to really spending time with them due to bedgetary constraints:
      Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
      Oranssi Pazuzu – Varahtelija
      Thy Catafalque – Meta
      Car Bomb – Meta
      Alcest – Kodama
      Ulver – ATGCLVLSSCAP
      Wardruna – Ragnarok

      and since I’m including Ulver and Wardruna, a couple of non-metal albums that I did buy and love this year:
      Jóhann Jóhannsson – Arrival OST
      O’Brother – Endless Light

      • Booker says:

        Just checked out O’Brother. Interesting stuff, definitely some leanings towards metal going on there. And I loves me some sci-fi soundtrack so I’ll give Arrival a crack too. Thanks for the recommendations!

      • Islander says:

        I loved Arrival, and thought the score brilliantly meshed with the mysterious, almost dreamlike ambience and pacing of the movie. I didn’t realize the soundtrack had been released, so many thanks for your mention of it.

        • Muddy Ravine says:

          Yeah O’Brother is really close to metal, could almost be included in a metal list, I guess I get just enough of a Jane’s Addiction alternative type feeling (not saying they sound like Jane’s, but Jane is also just not metal) to put it in a non-metal list. And the Arrival soundtrack, yeah it just oozes atmosphere. I noticed on the second watching of the movie that there is a lot of water in the movie: clouds, fog, car washes, lakes and the soundtrack works perfectly with that, especially the fog

    • Muddy Ravine says:

      OK so the six albums I actually ended up buying were:
      Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
      Harakiri for the Sky – III: Trauma
      Khonsu – The Xun Protectorate
      Kilner – Walk Type
      Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
      Ion Dissonance – Cast the First Stone

      and have also been enjoying:
      Setentia – Darkness Transcend
      Frontierer – Orange Mathematics
      Autolux – Pussy’s Dead

  6. MgM says:

    Battle Dagorath – I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos
    Furia – Księżyc Milczy Luty
    Glass Shrine – Lapidary
    Cult of Fire – Life, Sex & Death
    Wędrujący Wiatr – O turniach, jeziorach i nocnych szlakach
    Terra Tenebrosa – The Reverses
    Mentor – Guts, Graves and Blasphemy
    Martyrdöd – List
    Entropia – Ufonaut
    Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law
    Thy Worshipper – Klechdy
    Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
    Saor – Guardians
    Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles
    Wardruna – Runaljod: Ragnarok
    Zaum – Eidolon

  7. gknw says:

    Not in particular order:

    DeathSpell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
    Dark Tranquillity – Atoma
    Sumerlands – Sumerlands
    Urfaust – Empty Space Meditation
    Glorio Belli – Sundown
    Hammers of Misfortune – Dead Revolution
    Oathbreaker – Rheia
    Setentia – Darkness Transcend
    Be’Lakor – Vessels
    Cult Of Luna – Mariner

    • gknw says:

      I forgot probably the absolute best, the new Coultes Des Ghoules of course.

      • DaNasher says:

        The new Cultes Des Ghoules – Coven, Or Evil Ways Instead Of Love has only been leaked and is a February 2017 release so technically not a this year contender.

        • Islander says:

          Not true. My copy of the digi-book double CD, which I had pre-ordered, arrived at my home last week. I know that the Hells Headbangers Bandcamp page for the album shows a release date of Feb 17, but that’s for the digital edition. They’ve been shipping the CDs since late November, and even the Bandcamp page says that CD orders will ship out within 2 days.

        • SurgicalBrute says:

          Double digi-book was released October 31…standard digi-book was released November 25th

        • gknw says:

          They really messed up with the release date, It’s misleading.

      • Gorger says:

        I’ve failed finding time for this megalithic piece. I’ve been considering awaiting the digital release date, but that’s unfortunate if it’s good enough to squeeze in on the year-end list.

    • gknw says:

      Sorry I mistyped *Glorior Belli and *Cultes des Ghoules writing from phone.

  8. A Field Has No Name says:

    Inter Arma “Paradise Gallows”

    Mizmor “Yodh”

    Altarage “Nihl”

    Slaves BC “All Is Dust and I Am Nothing”

    Vermin Womb “Decline”

    Blood Incantation “Starspawn”

    Ulcerate “Shrines of Paralysis”

    Anaal Nathrakh “The Whole of the Law”

    CHTHE’ILIST “Le Dernier Crépuscule”

    Denouncement Pyre “Black Sun Unbound”

    Gevurah “Hallelujah!”

    Graves at Sea “The Curse That Is”

  9. No Refugee says:

    Oranssi Pazuzu – – Värähtelijä
    Ovaryrot – – Suicide Ideation
    Enthean – – Priests of Annihilation
    Panopticon / Waldgeflüster – – Split
    Unfathomable Ruination – – Finitude
    Khemmis – – Absolution
    Mephistopheles – – In Remembrance of Forever
    Radian – – On Dark Silent Off
    Ossuary Anex – – Mutilation Through Prayer
    Deviant Process – – Paroxysm
    Svmerlands – – S/T

    • No Refugee says:

      FVCK I forgot about that Inter Arma!

    • Warphine says:

      Finally, someone else with Unfathomable Ruination! Kudos!!!

    • Warphine says:

      Some of my top albums so far (in no particular order):

      Ripper – Experiment of Existence
      Unfathomable Ruination – Finitude
      Harm – October Fire
      Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
      Protector – Cursed and Coronated
      Profanal – Supreme Fire
      Funeral Whore – Phantasm
      First Fragment – Dasein
      Deviant Process – Paroxysm
      Defeated Sanity – Disposal of the Dead / Dharmata
      Bewitcher – Bewitcher
      Escarnium – Interitus
      Hellbringer – Awakened from the Abyss
      Interment – Scent of the Buried
      Reptilian – Perennial Void Traverse
      Ruinous – Graves of Ceaseless Death
      Scorched – Echoes of Dismemberment
      Spirit Adrift – Chained to Oblivion
      Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
      Aenaon – Hypnosophy
      Fifth to Infinity – Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire

      Most disappointing albums of the year:
      Blues Pills – Lady in Gold
      Cult of Fire – Life, Sex & Death

    • Bill Flo says:

      I checked the Unfathomable Ruination based on its inclusion here (and the comments below). Holy shit. Great call, great record.

  10. slamtastic says:

    Mortalized-complete mortality
    Deathspell Omega-the synarchy of molten bones
    Ulcerate-shrines of paralysis
    Behexen -the poisonous path
    Martyrdod -list

  11. ExPhile says:

    Yanked from a list so albums aren’t mention but you get the idea.

    Hexvessel
    Arizmenda
    Crowhurst
    Ommadon
    Haikai No Ku
    Zeal and Ardor
    Aluk Todolo
    Sorciers De Glace
    Ustalost
    Ayahuasca
    Hands of Thieves
    Boss Keloid
    Tim Hecker
    Neroche
    Metá Metá
    Skaphe
    Intervals
    Nox Formulae
    Sus Scrofa
    The Spacelords
    MASTER BOOT RECORD
    Gnipahålan
    Caverne
    Minneriket
    Pylah
    Profanal
    Nebrus

    • ExPhile says:

      *mentioned

      Also no real order but the new Arizmenda (the good digital version that’s now vanished) and that Ayahuasca one are probably my faves.

    • Islander says:

      Some very deep cuts on here. Makes me realize that despite how much metal I listened to this year, there’s still a vast underground trove that I never made time for.

      • ExPhile says:

        Same here really; this has been my least exploratory year so far. So much I’ve missed out on and I think I was just lucky to find the ones I did.

  12. Tragon says:

    In no particular order, the albums on my EoY are:

    Be’lakor – Vessels
    Ravencult – Force of Profanation
    UR – R’lyeh
    Paganland – From Carpathian Land
    Ossuary Anex – Mutilation Through Prayer
    Borknagar – Winter Thrice
    Urgehal – Aeons in Sodom
    Novembre – Ursa
    Belenos – Kornôg
    In the Woods… – Pure
    Urfaust – Empty Space Meditation
    Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
    Battle Dagorath – I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos
    Deathkin – Kohti Kotiani Kaaosta

    We have a full month ahead of us, things might still change…

    • Islander says:

      They may indeed. There are still some potential gems headed our way in December.

      • Booker says:

        After Batushka sneaked that one on us, I don’t think we’ll be overlooking December again…

        • Kishor says:

          I like the Batushka album, love those baritone vocals, but I don’t understand the amount of praise they get. Like some other recent black metal albums, I thought “Litourgiya” played it too safe in terms of songwriting and melody. Seems like those songs could have been written any time over the past twenty years, you know? Not to crap on your taste here, just talking.

          • Booker says:

            Yeah granted that any album that receives copious praise does tend to make you think it’s overblown. And song-wise, I don’t regard them as particularly breaking new ground; for me, it’s more there’s a raw passion in it that just gets me fired up. Throw in some religious chants in a language I don’t understand, and it ticks the right boxes – each to their own 🙂

            • Kishor says:

              Don’t get me wrong, I dig the album. The chanting is awesome. I just have a fondness for more quirky and/or distinctive melodies, and songs that go more places, if that makes sense. If the chanting was any less cool, the whole thing would come off as a gimmick.

    • Islander says:

      Deathkin! Just discovered that one yesterday and hoping to make room for it on some future post…. I also completely forgot about that Novembre album.

  13. Horsecow says:

    My metal picks, in no particular order…

    Car Bomb – Meta
    Entheos – The Infinite Nothing
    Gatecreeper – Sonoran Deprivation
    Infecting the Swarm – Abyss
    Defeated Sanity – Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata
    Astronoid – Air
    Seven Sisters of Sleep – Ezekiel’s Hags
    Wormed – Krighsu
    I Declare War – Songs for the Sick

    Adding in non-metal (grind, hardcore, etc.) I’d add:
    Knocked Loose
    Trap Them
    Every Time I Die
    Magrudergrind
    Wormrot
    Rotten Sound
    True Love
    NAILS
    Bent Life
    Animals as Leaders
    Russian Circles
    Brain Tentacles
    Candiria
    SECT
    Weekend Nachos

  14. Thraeg says:

    Top Tier:
    Dark Forest – Beyond the Veil
    Thrawsunblat – Metacthonia
    Saor – Guardians

    Second Tier:
    Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crepuscule
    Mithras – On Strange Loops
    Anciients – Voice of the Void
    Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
    Seax – Speed Metal Mania

    Third Tier:
    Khemmis – Hunted
    Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
    Dunedain – Pandemonium
    Sojourner – Empires of Ash
    Myrath – Legacy
    Netherbird – The Grander Voyage
    Dark Tranquility – Atoma
    Wo Fat – Midnight Cometh
    Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
    Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
    Sabaton – The Last Stand
    XII Boar – Beyond the Valley of the Triclops
    Inquisition – Bloodshed Across…
    In the Woods… – Pure
    Blood Incantation – Starspawn
    Helion Prime – s/t
    Sumerlands – s/t
    SubRosa – For This We Fought the Battle of Ages
    Thy Catafalque – Meta
    Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony
    Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
    Haken – Affinity
    Theocracy – Ghost Ship
    Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake

    • BMF says:

      I’m happy to see I’m not the only power metal fan around these parts. Dark Forest, Helion Prime and Sumerlands would have all made my list if this was All Clean Singing.com

  15. SurgicalBrute says:

    Shit…I guess I need to actually get writing at some point if I want to have an actual list to post here

  16. Vektor – Terminal Redux
    Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
    Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
    Krallice – Hyperion
    Thrawsunblat – Metachthonia
    Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner
    Sun Worship – Pale Dawn
    Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
    Arizmenda – Beneath This Reality of Flesh
    Wederganger / Laster – Split
    Verwoed – Bodemloos
    Cobalt – Slow Forever
    Khemmis – Hunted
    Fluisteraars – Gelderland
    Neurosis – Fires within Fires
    Zhrine – Unortheta
    Sinistro – Semente
    Opeth – Sorceress
    Torrid Husk / The End – Swallow Matewan
    Gilded Lily – Mongrel’s Light
    Oathbreaker – Rheia

    I’ve only heard the new Ash Borer twice, but I bet it’s going to be up there as well.

  17. Kishor says:

    I’m bad at lists, but this year I’ve enjoyed:

    Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
    Ulcerate – Shrines Of Paralysis
    Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows
    Wormed – Krighsu
    Vektor – Terminal Redux
    Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
    Grave Miasma – Endless Pilgrimage
    Ritual Chamber – Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)
    Mortichnia – Heir To Scoria And Ash
    Setentia – Darkness Transcend
    Virvum – Illuminance
    Unfathomable Ruination – Finitude
    Skuggsja – A Piece For Mind And Mirror

    and lately I’ve been spending some time with the Dead Congregation and Sunless EPs, Khonsu, Voidthrone, and Zhrine, and was favorably struck by Inverloch and Australis.

  18. Brian says:

    Best Albums:
    Cobalt – Slow Forever
    Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation
    Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony
    Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
    Khemmis – Hunted
    Mithras – On Strange Loops
    Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika
    Saor – Gaurdian
    Thrawsunblat – Metachthonia
    Vredehammer – Violator

    Best EPs:
    Cloak – s/t
    No Trust – Heavy Hand
    Homewrecker – Extinction by Design
    Flom – Elders
    Oarfish – Oarfish
    High Command – The Secartha Demos

    • Lenny says:

      Looks like a lot of people are gonna pick that Hyperion. Wasn’t aware so many people were hip to it.
      Damn good huh? And I just downloaded that High Command, it kicks ass!
      I so thought Cobalt would be my #1 for months but Hunted was just so mammoth that it bludgeoned it way to the top.

      • Islander says:

        I overlooked that Hyperion album until I went through the comments on our post soliciting “most infectious song” candidates for this year, and that Hyperion album turned out to be one of the most frequently appearing sources of recommendations.

    • HighZoolander says:

      How did I miss a Moonsorrow album this year? I just heard one song after seeing your list, and it sounds like this is quite good.

  19. Lord_Farin says:

    Vinterblot – Realms of the Untold
    Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony
    Vredehammer – Violator
    Vektor – Terminal Redux
    Acyl – Aftermath
    Brymir – Slayer of Gods
    Thrawsunblat – Metachthonia
    Be’lakor – Vessels
    Oracles – Miserycorde
    ADE – Carthago Delenda Est
    Harakiri For The Sky – III: Trauma
    Altar of Oblivion – Barren Grounds
    From the Vastland – Chamrosh
    Anciients – Voice from the Void
    Netherbird – The Grander Voyage

    … plus probably a good handful of albums from October, November and December that I haven’t had time to listen to enough to justify placing them on par with the above. I’m slow, I know.

  20. Willick says:

    1. Schammasch- Triangle
    2. Obscura- Akraosis
    3. Vektor- Terminal Redux
    4. Ihsahn- Arktis
    5. The Deer Hunter- Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional
    6. Haken- Affinity
    7. A Sense of Gravity- Atrament
    8. Car Bomb- Meta
    9. Fleshgod Apocalypse- King
    10. Katatonia- The Fall of Hearts
    11. Khonsu- The Xun Protectorate
    12. Shokran- Exodus
    13. Dillinger Escape Plan- Dissociation
    14. Anaal Nathrakh- The Whole of the Law
    15. Textures- Phenotype
    16. First Fragment- Dasein
    17. Wormed- Krighsu
    18. Mithras- On Strange Loops
    19. Oracles- Miserycorde
    20. Aborted- Retrogore
    21. Allegaeon- Proponent for Sentience
    22. Animals as Leaders- The Madness of Many
    23. Fallujah- Dreamless
    24. Meshuggah- The Violent Sleep of Reason
    25. Cyborg Octopus- Learning to Breath
    26. Alcest- Kodama
    27. Virvum- Illuminance
    28. Rotting Christ- Rituals
    29. Abbath- Abbath
    30. Moonsorrow- Jumalten Aika

  21. sircurl says:

    I still have year end lists to comb through, but based on what I’ve been listening to this year:

    (in no particular order)
    Anicon – Exegeses
    Mizmor – Yodh
    Howls of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
    Lotus Thief – Gramarye
    Sun Worship – Pale Dawn
    Qrixkuor – Three Devils Dance
    Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
    Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
    Eight Bells – Landless

  22. kazz says:

    Snap. At this point my list of albums that I’m still really looking forward to hearing might end up being almost as good as a “best of”. I haven’t matched the sheer number of albums I listened to in years past and haven’t spent as much time with some of these as I’d like, but here’s what I’ve got at this point:

    1. Howls of Ebb
    2. Vektor
    3. Thy Catafalque
    4. Waxen
    5. Spektr
    6. Borknagar
    7. Sacrilegium
    8. Castle
    9. Abbath
    10. Hammers of Misfortune
    11. Todtgelichter
    12. Graves at Sea
    13. High Spirits
    14. Inquisition
    15. Mare Cognitum
    16. Hail Spirit Noir
    17. Mithras
    18. Seremonia
    19. Megadeth
    20. Darkend
    21. Mizery
    22. Subrosa
    23. Hobbs’ Angel of Death
    24. Albez Duz
    24. Stone Magnum
    25. Necromancing the Stone
    26. Blood Incantation
    27. Thrawsunblat
    28. Ningen Isu
    29. Destroyer 666
    30. Bolzer (just listened to it yesterday, but my initial impression is good)

  23. ZackCrownInitiate says:

    In alphabetical order because I’m cool like that

    Anicon – Exegeses
    Asphyx – Incoming Death
    Blood Incantation – Starspawn
    Brutally Deceased – Satanic Corpse
    Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crépuscule
    Destroyer 666 – Wildfire
    Gatecreeper – Sonaran Depravation
    Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
    Khemmis – Hunted
    Marsh Dweller – The Weight of Sunlight
    Nordjevel – S/T
    Uada – Devoid of Light
    Unfathomable Ruination – Finitude
    Wormed – Krighsu
    Zhrine – Unortheta

  24. brklyner says:

    I’m a dork, so I started to keep a running list in May or June and it turned out to be a never-ending exercise in revisiting records and revising my opinions. My main criterium was how much enjoyment I got out of each record (plus I tend to be biased by live performances). I could keep doing this for another six months, but might as well call it now. I’m pretty set on the order in the top half of this list and feel very strongly about the top 4, each of which I think I will be listening to for many years to come.

    1 – Vektor: Terminal Redux
    2 – A.M.S.G.: Hostis Universi Generis
    3 – Messa: Belfry
    4 – Blood Incantation: Starspawn
    5 – Ulcerate: Shrines of Paralysis
    6 – Inter Arma: Paradise Gallows
    7 – Khemmis: Hunted
    8 – Anicon: Exegeses
    9 – Thy Catafalque: Meta
    10 – Revocation: Great is our Sin
    11 – Hammers of Misfortune: Dead Revolution
    12 – Wormed: Krighsu
    13 – Bethlehem: Bethlehem
    14 – Cobalt: Slow Forever
    15 – Death Fortress: Deathless March of the Unyielding
    16 – Thrawsunblat: Metachthonia
    17 – Neurosis: Fires Within Fires
    18 – Inquisition: Bloodshed
    19 – Gojira: Magma
    20 – Mizmor: Yodh
    21 – Inverloch: Distance | Collapsed
    22 – Plebeian Grandstand: False Highs, True Lows
    23 – Ripper: Experiment of Existence
    24 – Marsh Dweller: The Weight of Sunlight
    25 – Profanatica: The Curling Flame of Blasphemy
    26 – Antaeus: Condemnation
    27 – Oranssi Pazuzu: Värähtelijä
    28 – Ash Borer: The Irrepassable Gate
    29 – Kvelertak: Nattesferd
    30 – Reptilian: Perennial Void Traverse
    31 – Schammasch: Triangle
    32 – Withered: Grief Relic
    33 – Hail Spirit Noir: Mayhem in Blue
    34 – Eschatos: The Grand Noir
    35 – Terra Tenebrosa: The Reverses
    36 – Phobocosm: Bringer of Drought
    37 – Krypts: Remnants of Expansion
    38 – Ultha: Converging Sins
    39 – Oathbreaker: Rheia
    40 – Urfaust: Empty Space Meditation
    41 – Zhrine: Unortheta
    42 – Unfathomable Ruination: Finitude
    43 – Glorior Belli: The Flock that Welcomes Sundown
    44 – Black Table: Obelisk
    45 – Bölzer: Hero
    46 – Void Omnia: Dying Light
    47 – Draugnim: Vulturine
    48 – Gevurah: Hallelujah!
    49 – Nadra: Allir Vegir til Glotunar
    50 – Wode: Wode

    Honorable mentions:
    Stilla: Skuggsflock
    Anagnorisis: Peripeteia
    Skaphe: Skaphe2
    LVTHN: Eradication of Nescience
    Oozing Wound: Whatever Forever
    Forteresse: Themes Pour la Rebellion
    Mare Cognitum: Luminiferous Aether
    Tarnkappe: Winterwaker
    Graves at Sea: The Curse that is
    Auroch: Mute Books

    • Andy Synn says:

      That Eschatos album is really good (should have a Synn Report for them next year sometime), but it was originally released at the tail-end of 2015… so I don’t feel right including it in this year’s list(s).

      Same with The Infernal Sea.

      • brklyner says:

        Dang, didn’t realize that. Eschatos caught me by surprise, really solid record.

      • Gorger says:

        Serpents Lair, Gorrch, Khthoniik Cerviiks, Zørormr, Grey Heaven Fall, Serpent Seed, The Shiva Hypothesis and Blot suffer the same destiny as The Infernal Sea on my part. Did I discover the latter thanks to you? Very possible.
        I almost find it legit to add second-half-of-December releases to next year’s list. Almost.

    • ZackCrownInitiate says:

      It’s not a competition buddy, hahaha

    • Gorger says:

      A.M.S.G. and Eschatos sounds like awesome gems.
      Islander claims these list are a great way of discovering such.
      I say it’s a great way of inducing a guilt-trip for all the gems I’ve lost out on, dammit.

      • brklyner says:

        I’m kinda surprised not to see A.M.S.G. on more lists. I could listen to that record all day and night. So vile, dense and dark, yet containing great hooks and fantastic songwriting. Very close to being my number one for the year if it wasn’t for Vektor’s excellence in absolutely every department.

    • Lenny says:

      That Black Table is greatness. It just missed my list as I cut off at 20. Oh and that Eschatos was super close to making it too. Just too many insane records this year and I felt 20 was enough.

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