(For the sixth year in a row, I invited my friend Johan Huldtgren of the Swedish black metal band Obitus — whose new album Slaves of the Vast Machine will be released in early 2017 by Black Plague Records and Hypnotic Dirge Records — to share with us his year-end list. Once again, he agreed. This list previously appeared on Johan’s own blog.)
As Listmania season is upon us I can only once again conclude that there are many, many albums that I’ve missed. However, this is why series such as these are helpful; without all the other lists I’d never have known what I’d missed. Luckily I didn’t see too many of my picks in the other main lists, so hopefully this list will give you something new to check out.
10: Forlet Sires – Journey Towards Ruin
Straddling raw and post black metal with a hint of doom, this is an intriguing debut.There are moments when I’m thrown back and reminded of Shroud of Despondency’s debut For Eternity Brings No Hope, and that is an excellent thing.
9: LVTHN – Eradication of Nescience
Fairly raw black metal trying to do some blending of new and old sounds. Whenever I’m lulled into thinking I’ve heard this all before, they change it up on you to get you hooked again.
8: Ash Borer – The Irrepassable Gate
A band which hasn’t previously caught my attention, this album makes me question if I should have given them more of a chance. The raw black metal mixed with atmospheric passages is enough to make me reach for another spin.
7: Behexen – The Poisonous Path
Yet another consistent quality album from Behexen. You know what you’ll get and if you’ve enjoyed their past ones, chances are you’ll like this one.
6: L’Homme Absurde – Monsters
Mostly a mid-paced album, but they do venture out on occasion with some blasting passages that keep things interesting and give this a black metal edge on the otherwise post black metal album. Sometimes the small things make all the difference.
5: מזמור – Yodh
This is an album of woe and despair, perhaps one of the best ones I’ve heard in many years. This has quickly become my go-to album for those dark nights when you won’t go gently…
4: Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
A quality album with which I can have few quibbles; it just doesn’t reach all the way. It feels very much like the clear and obvious successor to 2013’s Obscure Verses for the Multiverse but breaks little new ground. That said, Inquisition treading water is still better than 60% of everything else out there.
3: Spektr – The Art To Disappear
With The Art To Disappear Spektr have made their most accessible album to date (not that this necessarily means much in the given context). My main complaint is that it’s a bit too polished and clean feeling; a nice dirty dose of chaos would probably have put this album over the top.
2: Antaeus – Condemnation
With eight real songs clocking in at about 40 minutes there is no filler to speak of here; this just rips from the moment you hit play until the end. Session drummer Menthor’s unrelenting blasts add an order of magnitude to the existing chaos. This is nothing short of a spectacular album.
1: Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Announcing out of the blue a new album late in the year, expectations were immediately dialed up to 11 on this one. Luckily The Synarchy of Molten Bones lives up to the hype. With the pace picked up since 2013’s Drought and with moments reminiscent of 2007’s Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum, this is nothing short of a spectacular release.