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.




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).


  1. Wanhope says:

    It was painful cutting out my other top albums of 2016, but a good amount has already been listed. These are Great Albums that should not be missed by aficionados of this genre.

    Listed alphabetically:

    Alastor- Waldmark
    Antmateria- Valo Aikojen Takaa
    Astral Path- An Oath to the Void
    Coldworld- Autumn
    Darklaid- Modus
    Ellende- Todbringer
    Fiave- Dall Alto Di Una Roccia
    Fimbultyr- Niddikter
    Frostbite- Etching Obscurity
    Gra- Ending (late 2015)
    Krigsgrav- Waves of Degradation
    Lathspell- Torn Cold Void
    Mesarthim- -.- -… … .-.-. .
    Nullingroots- take care
    Oak Pantheon- In Pieces
    Sektemtum- Panacea
    Skyforest- Unity
    Srogosc- Umbra Mortis
    Stworz- Zagony Bogow (late 2015)
    Svarta- Lethargie
    Svirnath- II Regno della natura
    Tardigrada- Emotionale Odnis
    Thokkian Vortex- Into the Nagual
    Unreqvited- Disquiet
    Utzalu- Drowning in Sanguine Screams/Germinal
    Vallum- Insight
    Veldes- Ember Breather
    Vermine- Vermine
    Vow of Thorns- Farewell to the Sun
    We’d Be- Beyond the Line of Sanity

  2. Bloodshotlint says:

    Stuff I really liked this year:

    Vektor – Terminal Redux
    Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony
    Khemmis – Hunted
    Alcest – Kodama
    Dark Tranquility – Atoma
    Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
    Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika
    Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
    Saor – Guardians
    Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
    Russian Circles – Guidance
    Wode – Wode (This one really surprised me, but I was immediately drawn in by the album art, which for some reason made me think of Dark Souls.)

    Honorable Mentions that I didn’t spend enough time with:

    Mithras – On Strange Loops
    Thy Catafalque – Meta
    Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
    Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence (I’ve probably listened to Stormbending a ton though.)
    Blood Incantation – Starspawn
    Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crepuscule

    My biggest disappointment this year would be Vessels. It’s not that it’s a bad album. I don’t think Be’lakor is capable of that. It’s just not as good as Stone’s Reach. And the honor didn’t go to Opeth because my wife enjoyed Sorceress. I think she has a crush on Mikael Akerfeldt, and I’m okay with this.

  3. Blair says:

    No-one seems to like Brujeria as much as I do…

    – Brujeria
    – Ravencult
    – Ghoul
    – Metallica :p

  4. Ben West says:

    Love the site, check it daily (at least). Thought I’d share:

  5. Fork Tongue says:

    1. Blood Incantation – Starspawn
    2. Cultes des Ghoules – Cove, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
    3. Howls of Ebb – Curses Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
    4. Nucleus – Sentient
    5. Predatory Light – Predatory Light
    6. Eternal Champion – The Armor of Ire
    7. Ripper – Experiment of Existence
    8. Demon Bitch – Hellfriends
    9. Black Tomb – Black Tomb
    10. Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder
    11. Eternal Khan – Lost in the Night of Ages
    12. Mavradoxa – Sojourners
    13. Wretch – S/T
    14. Sumerlands -S/T
    15. Ritual Chamber – Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim)
    16. Infant Death – Violent Rites
    17. Iron Spell – Electronic Conjuring
    18. Reptilian – Perennial Void Traverse
    19. Crimson Moon – Oneironaut
    20. Ustalost – The Spoor of Vipers
    21. Skáphe – Skáphe2
    22. Black Fucking Cancer – S/T
    23. Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crépuscule
    24. Grave Miasma – Endless Pilgrimage
    25. Raptore – Rage n’ Fever

  6. Apostolis says:

    Ok..there is the thing..this post is pure nerdgasm..Here we go:
    My absolute favorite top 55 albums
    54.Lord Vicar
    50.Spiritus Mortis
    38.Oranssi Pauu
    35.In the Woods
    33.Inter Arma
    32.Temple Nightside
    28.Howls of Ebb
    27.Cultes des Ghoules
    25.Anaal Nathrakh
    23.Destroyer 666
    19.Terra Tenebrosa
    15.Hail Spirit Noir
    14.Plebean Grandstand
    11.Book of Sand
    9.Eternal Champion
    7.Thy Catafalque
    5.Zeal and Ardor
    1.Deathspell Omega
    0.CELTIC FROST – MONOTHEIST 10 YEARS ANNIVERSARY(this disc got me into extreme metal)

    Top Eps: 10.Qrixkuor
    7.Auroch/Mitochondrion split
    6.Grave Miasma
    5.Agoraphobic Nosebleed

    Top 15 hardcore/crust fused with metal(i think you got the point)
    12.Slaves B.c.
    11.Hesitation Wounds
    10.Our place of worship is silence
    8.Trap Them
    2.Dillinger Esc. Plan

    Sorry for the long post and spelling mistakes in some bands’ names

  7. shoggoth0331 says:

    Best of 2016
    Void Meditation Cult – Utter the Tongue of the Dead
    Slegest – Vidsyn
    Grave Miasma -Endless Pilgrimage
    Altarage – Nihil
    Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
    Ultha – Converging Sins/ Dismal Ruins/ In Memorian of Quorthon
    Batushka – Litourgiya
    Uada – Devoid of Light
    Death Fortress – Deathless March of the Unyielding
    Seven Sisters of Sleep
    Murg – Gudatall
    Darkestrah – Turan
    Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
    Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas
    Coffin Lust -Manifestation of Inner Darkness
    Ggu:ll – Dwaling
    Recitations – The First of the Listeners
    Sheidim – Shrines of the Void
    Gateway – Scriptures of Grief
    Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation
    Nevoa – Re Un
    Départe – Failure, Subside
    Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Nachthexen
    Urzeit – Anmoksha
    Goatpsalm – Downstream

    SPLITS/ E.P.
    Verwoed – Bodemloos
    Circle of Salt/Taggarik Split
    Coffins/Ilsa split
    Gateway – Unhallowed Ruins / Rites
    Nocturnal Graves
    Eucharist – Endarkenment
    Shrine of Insanabilis – Tombs Opened by Fervent Tongues
    Leather Glove – Skin on Glass
    Deus Mortem – Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead

    Enucleator – Demo
    Ceremented – Unbound Horror Demo
    Utzalu – Drowning in Sanguine Screams

  8. Daniel says:

    No love for Imperium Dekadenz?? Y’all are broken.

  9. DaNasher says:

    MY TOP 40 RELEASES OF 2016

    1. CULTES DES GHOULES – Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
    2. ASH BORER – The Irrepassable Gate
    3. WILDERNESSKING – Mystical Future
    4. COBALT – Slow Forever
    5. ANAGNORISIS – Peripeteia
    7. KRALLICE – Prelapsarian
    9. OATHBREAKER – Rheia
    10.HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY – Trauma
    12.MORPHINIST – Doomcraft,Giants,Terraforming and Nihil (Everything this guy does is golden)
    13.MITHRAS – On Strange Loops
    14.ORANNSI PAZUZU – Varahtelija
    15.DEATHSPELL OMEGA – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
    16.MESARTHIM – Suffocate , Spire , Pillars , .- -… … . -. -.-. . ,The Great Filter
    17.ULCERATE – Shrines of Paralysis
    18.BLOOD INCANTATION – Starspawn
    19.VEKTOR – Terminal Redux
    20.DEPARTE – Failure,Subside
    21.UADA – Devoid of Light
    22.ENEFERENS – The Hours Beneath
    23.INTER ARMA – Paradise Gallows
    24.DIN – Rain Follows The Plow
    25.CONVULSING – Errata
    26.COLDWORLD – Autumn
    27.TARDIGRADA – Emotionale Odnis
    27.THUNDERWAR – Black Storm
    28.PLEBEIAN GRANDSTAND – False Highs,True Lows
    29.MARSH DWELLER – The Weight Of Sunlight
    30.THRAWSUNBLAT – Metachthonia
    31.WODE – Wode
    32.ALCEST – Kodama
    33.KATATONIA – The Fall of Hearts
    34.JUTE GYTE – Perdurance
    35.FUATH – I
    36.MIZMOR – Yodh
    37.SCHAMMASCH – Triangle
    38.IHSAHN – Arktis
    39.HOWLS OF EBB – Cursus Impasse The Pendlomic Vows
    40.TAKE OVER AND DETROY – Take Over and Destroy

  10. Matt says:

    Proudly joining the much-mocked laters, here’s my belatedly formulated list.

    1. Vektor – Terminal Redux
    2. Unfathomable Ruination – Finitude
    3. Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika
    4. Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
    5. Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
    6. Kvelertak – Nattesferd
    7. Astronoid – Air
    8. Inquisition – Bloodshed…
    9. Vainaja – Verenvalaja
    10. Mistur – In Memoriam

  11. kingben says:

    now that it is 2017 i can post my list (with apologies to urzeit, uskumgallu, auroch, mizmor, anicon, withered, and uada whose albums i haven’t really listened to)
    1. graves at sea – the curse that is
    2. khemmis – hunted
    3. nails – you will never be one of us
    4. badr vogu – wroth
    5. vektor – terminal redux
    6. blood incantation – starspawn
    7. ash borer – the irrepassable gate
    8. trap them – crown feral
    9. neurosis – fires within fires
    10. body void – ruins
    11. lycus – chasms
    12. black tusk – pillars of ash
    13. ringworm – snake church
    14. chthe’ilist – le dernier crepuscule
    15. wode – s/t

  12. GW says:

    Obscura – Akroasis
    Surgeon – Beast of Light
    Revocation – Great is Our Sin
    Colosso – Obnoxious (#1!)
    Latitudes – Old Sunlight
    Anciients – Voice of the Void
    Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony
    Mithras – On Strange Loops
    Helgamite – Hypnagogia
    Departe – Failure, Subside

    Demo/EP – Ulthar – Demo, Blood Incantation – Starspawn
    Live – All Them Witches – Brussels Belgium
    “Damn if there weren’t a ton of folks could sub on this list on a given day” – The Loom of Time, Russian Circles, Lotus Thief, Cobalt, Megatherium, Sahg, In Mourning, Metal Church, The Wakedead Gathering, Warcrab…

    • GW says:

      I know, replying to myself…i was very ill and broke from bills most of the year, didn’t buy a lot of music. What i have bought is amazing. Being such a phenomenal year for metal, i want to mention Nevoa, which i picked up late and am just loving now and these groups always on my radar and from these lists, would love but haven’t heard at all 🙁 –
      Witchery, Vektor, Thy Catalfalque, Ravencult, Inter Arma, Destroyer 666, Gorguts, Haken, Brutally Deceased, Katatonia, AND FALLUJAH(!?!?).

  13. GraveWisdom says:

    Well, better late than never, and being last will ensure this is easy to find if I care to reference it. Top 25:

    Abbath – Abbath
    A.M.S.G. – Nostis Universi Generis
    Be’lakor – Vessels
    Bethlehem – Bethlehem
    Blood Incantation – Starspawn
    Caina – Christ Clad in White Phosphorus
    Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crepusale
    Cobalt – Slow Forever
    Destroyer 666 – Wildfire
    First Fragment – Dasein
    Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
    Hail Spirit Noir – Mayhem in Blue
    Helcaraxe – The Last Battle
    Howls of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
    Hyperion Seraphical Euphony
    Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
    Master’s Hammer – Formulae
    Mithras – On Strange Loops
    Panopticon – Revisions of the Past
    Schammasch – Triangle
    Sulphur – Omens of Doom
    Uada – Devoid of Light
    Vektor – Terminal Redux
    Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
    Zealotry – The Last Witness


    David Bowie – Blackstar
    Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
    Hexvessel – When We Are Death

    My copy of Blackstar actually says 2015, but it would have felt like a great disservice to both the album and the man behind it to not mention it.

    • GraveWisdom says:

      Oops. Panopticon should have been under “Best Reissue”, so I’ll replace it with Eternity’s End – The Fire Within.

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