Here’s Part 6 of this evolving list, in which I’m adding two more songs, one that I would guess will be well-known to most readers and one that may have been overlooked by most, or possibly forgotten because it appeared relatively early in 2016. Apart from the fun of running back through lots of good music over the last year, I entertain myself in putting this list together by deciding how to group songs for each of its Parts. I discovered some interesting similarities in these two songs that I thought would make them a good pairing.
To see the other selections for the list so far, as well as an explanation of what criteria were used in making it, go here.
We received hundreds upon hundreds of reader suggestions for this list. I aggregated and alphabetized all of them, and that master list revealed that Gojira’s album Magma was the source of more reader recommendations than anything else released last year (narrowly edging Anaal Nathrakh). But the recommendations were split almost evenly between two songs: “Silvera” and “Stranded”, with one vote cast in favor of combining “Magma” and “Pray” into a single selection.
This list is a function of my own choices rather than a popularity contest, but I do pay attention to all of our readers’ recommendations, and I agree that both “Silvera” and “Stranded” were damned infectious tunes, even if I found Magma as a whole to be a letdown as compared to the best of this wonderful band’s previous releases. Yet I’m sure that reaction is mainly a function of my own tastes. Here’s part of what Andy Synn wrote in his review:
“Make no mistake about it, this is the French foursome’s own Crack The Skye moment, a full-on embracing and shameless expression of their progressive proclivities which also just happens to be their most streamlined, emotional, and, yes, accessible album yet.”
“You needn’t fear that the band have gone soft on you, of course, or “sold out” (though I can already hear those cries of consternation emanating from certain corners of the Metal world), as there are still multiple moments of the quartet’s signature biomechanical bombardment to be found across the length and breadth of the album’s ten tracks.”
Both of the most-recommended songs mentioned above include plenty of those moments of biomechanical bombardment. I found “Silvera” the more infectious of the two, and it’s also unmistakably a Gojira song, one that displays many of the band’s hallmark ingredients, yet it’s also different. I wish had lasted longer. It presents the kind of framework that at an earlier time might have provided the launching point for a much more extended instrumental excursion. But it’s still a damned good song, and a very memorable one, exactly as it is.
When released in advance of Magma’s street date, “Silvera” was presented through a video directed by Drew Cox. I still don’t really understand what’s happening in the video or how it connects to the song, but it’s still a fascinating thing to watch anyway.
I wrote the first of three posts we published about Yliaster in 2016 way back last February, when I discovered the first advance track from Yliaster’s debut album Soliloquy. That led to our premiere of the title track, and then to our premiere of an entire album stream prior to its release in March. Yes, I liked this album very much.
For those who may be new to Yliaster, it’s a project formed by musician/vocalist Marcel Polit in partnership with drummer Dariusz “Daray” Brzozowski (Vesania, Dimmu Borgir, ex-Vader). The album is not easily classifiable in genre terms, but it’s definitely heavy as hell, with a pervasive atmosphere of ominous and unsettling darkness in its bleak melodies. To borrow a few words from my review:
“The music is heavy enough to collapse bridges for other reasons as well. Polit often wields his guitar and bass like demolition tools, alternating between jack-hammering, pile-driving riffs, groaning, sludgy chords, and bursts of tremolo picking that whirr like an industrial-strength drill….
“And of course, Daray‘s drumming is a further key ingredient in the album’s nearly overpowering impact — which is enhanced by an approach to production that makes you feel like you’re a close-up observer at an artillery range.”
The song I’ve picked for this list is the title track. It’s a pile-driver that hits with massive force, yet within the music’s raging storm of savagery lurk melodic guitar motifs that prove to be as memorable as the rhythms are jolting. Maybe you’ll also get why I thought this would make a nice pairing with “Silvera”.