Rock and Roll Fables Presents: Top 16 of ’16 (AKA: Why Do I Do This To Myself Every Year?)

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! A time of reflection, a time of remembrance, and a time of scrolling through my Itunes to see what was released, and most importantly, what got the most repeated listens in 2016. So here goes…somethin’:

16) Metallica: Hardwired…To Self-Destruct/Testament: Brotherhood of the Snake/Anthrax: For All Kings/Megadeth: Dystopia

Yep, I’m cheating because this year we got a plethora of old school thrashers releasing new school shit that was awesome. Testament got heavier, Megadeth got on point, Metallica got their shit together, and Anthrax got their groove on. Honestly, each album had a few skippers but as a thrash whole they were amazing.

15) Childish Gambino: “Awaken, My Love!”

If you went into this one expecting more of what you’d heard then you were sadly mistaken. Childish Gambino yet again keeps his audience on its’ toes dropping an album that’s more suited in the bins next to D’Angelo and R. Kelly than with the latest Kanye West (“Bins” being those things that hold “CD’s” in “stores”). It’s glorious and unexpected and demands repeated listens to be fully appreciated.

14) Neurosis: Fires Within Fires

What band in today’s age goes into a studio to record an album then comes out of said studio seven days later with an album in hand. Neurosis, that’s who. And the result is the Steve Albini-produced Fires Within Fires which is the purest five tracks of Neurosis goodness to ever hit your earholes.

13) Vanishing Life: Surveillance

Walter Schreifels is akin to a post-punk god….a dudley do-no-wrong, if you will. And that status stands with the debut release from a veritable underground supergroup featuring former/current members of Quicksand, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Bad Religion, and Rise Against.

12) Youth Code: Commitment to Complications

Like a goddamn neutron bomb going off when “Transitions” starts, Youth Code’s sophomore opus (Produced by the mighty Rhys Fulber) will remind you of Skinny Puppy, The Downward Spiral, and Front Line Assembly at times but thanks to Sara Taylor and Ryan George’s unique style they are truly incomparable.

11) All Tvvins: IIVV

Why didn’t we review this one again??? Teased since last year with irresistible singles like “Darkest Ocean” and “Thank You”, the All Tvvins full-length was definitely worth the wait filled with even more memorable jams meshing Oingo Boingo (Think New Wave OB and less ska OB) and The Police at times with a slick, modern sheen attached throughout.

10) Goes Cube: Shadows Swallowed the Flood

If you’re gonna go out, then go out with a bang and on your own terms. Like Kyuss’ …And The Circus Leaves Town, Shadows Swallowed the Flood just lets it all hang out and the results are sonically beautiful and bludgeoning.

9) Massive Attack: Ritual Spirit

This guy makes the list not just because it’s been too long since new Massive Attack has hit but also because it’s excellent. If you needed more reason, the EP also features the RETURN OF TRICKY!

8) Tombs: All Empires Fall

Holy sweet jeebus what a 5-track EP this was! From the blistering instrumental opener through to the beyond epic “V”, Tombs brought black metal, goth, and darkwave to new heights. And knowing that this is just the precursor to what’s coming in 2017 is even more icing on the cake.

7) Diiv: Is the is Are

I don’t think we even reviewed this one but going back through our favorites this year, this early 2016 release kept popping up. Alt-rock? Rawk? New Wave? Diiv manage to encapsulate a variety of sounds yet transcend them at the same time.

6) Miss Lava: Sonic Debris

I said it in the review and I’ll say it again, Miss Lava’s Sonic Debris is like the second coming of Kyuss and if this is just the beginning then can you imagine what’s coming down that desert road?

5) Rotting Christ: Rituals

Another one of those “Where the hell have I been” bands that I “discovered” this year, Rotting Christ put out one of the most brutal sleeper hits. While songs like “Elthe Kyrie” and “In Nomine Dei Nostri” undeniably brought the heavy, it was songs like “Ze Nigmar” with its gothic dirge-like overtones and the melody of “For A Voice Like Thunder” that truly made this a masterpiece.

4) Dubioza kolektiv: Happy Machine

Who says the best things in life aren’t free? Continually going against the grain while also delivering some of the best music you’re probably not hearing, Dubioza kolektiv has a sound like no other with influences as diverse as their sound.

3) Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence

Man, this last batch of album sure shines on modern prog, eh? Anyway, DTP’s latest was a grower for sure but damn if it isn’t worth repeated listens (Especially if you shell out for the deluxe edition).

2) David Bowie: Blackstar

Never mind what happened following the album’s release, Blackstar will still stand out as one of The Thin White Duke’s defining moments and the perfect coda/”fuck you” to an iconic career.

1) Gojira: Magma

Not only our favorite heavy record of 2016 but also our favorite overall. In our opinion, it’s the most focused, diverse, and consistent Gojira album to date and, much like Mastodon’s Once More Round The Sun, sees the band continually evolving out of pre-conceived notions of what they “should” sound like.

 

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