Trying to come up with a top ten for this year has been a nigh on impossible task, let alone trying to rank some of the best music we’ve been exposed to in years. There have been some heavy hitters flying in left, right and centre and as much as I would love to mention all them, this is my top ten list of the best albums and EPs of 2016:
1. Black Peaks – Statues
We’ve been waiting for a band like Black Peaks for a long, long time. 'Statues' stands out as one of the most important albums not only of this year, but of the last decade. Mind blowing post-progressive-rock equivalent to putting your brain in a blender. Managing to cross Mastodon-era Crack The Skye, with Tool and Every Time I Die, there is just no way this album can be pigeonholed. Their studio performance is unqualified, but only when you see the true potential of Black Peaks live does it all become clear why this Brighton four-piece is all anyone is talking about. Ahead of the game on all levels, no debut album should even come close to being this magnificent.
Songs: Saviour/Drones/Glass Built Castles
2. Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
There are bands, and then there are Architects. 2016 has been their most defining year since starting up twelve years ago. The tragic passing of guitarist and founding member Tom Searle this year has pushed the band to it’s very limits. Our gods may have abandoned us, but vocalist Sam Carter and the rest of Architects remain strong for their fallen comrade. This album is a testament to one of the greatest British bands in recent times that will live on for years to come. Tom, you will be forever missed.
Songs: Nihilist/ Phantom Fear/Memento Mori
3. Gojira – Magma
Known for their treks into deep prog territory, the French quartet decided to take a step back for this album. Sacrificing none of their potency, 'Magma' is certainly a more commercially appealing record, but once you are lost in their world there’s simply no turning back. If you are looking to get into Gojira, this album will open a door that you will not regret stepping through.
Songs: Silvera/The Cell/Stranded
4. Letlive. – If I’m The Devil…
No one quite touches on social and racial injustice like Letlive. Leading off their superb 2013 record, The Blackest Beautiful, the Inglewood four-piece have conjured an album that is crafted to perfection that mixes pop with post-hardcore hooks that will drill into your soul. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler gives the performance of his life that will have your fists punching the air.
Songs: Reluctantly Dead/ Good Mourning, America/ Another Offensive Song
5. Puppy – Vol. II
From out of nowhere are we treated to the wonderfully infectious tunes of Puppy. Though they label themselves as an all-round heavy metal band, Puppy have something to offer to everyone. 'Vol. II' may only be their second EP, but blimey, from start to finish there’s nothing but unfiltered bangers for days. A full album soon? We have our fingers crossed.
Songs: Arabella/ Here At Home/ Entombed
6. Venom Prison – Animus
Death metal just shit its pants. Though the genre has been under fire for its general misogynistic tendencies, Venom Prison have listened to these accusations turning the genre on its head. A complete role reversal, the album artwork alone for 'Animus' should answer all your questions about this quintet. Just don’t blame us for any nightmares you may have after you’ve pounded your ears to this album. Not for the timid or loose bowled.
Songs: Desecration Of Human Privilege/ Abysmal Agony/ Devoid
7. Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Texan prog-metal that will leave your jaw wide the fuck open. Simply one listen to this grand design of sonic architecture is not an option. There’re so many layers to this record that can only be truly understood over time. Get your thinking caps on, this is one hell of a ride.
Songs: Suffer The Last Bridge/ Apologue/ Nights In White Satin
8. Heck – Instructions
Not ones to be put in the corner, this Nottingham based mathcore outfit are a force to be reckoned with. Jam packed with skull splitting tunes that will have you blaming the dog for all the furniture you’ve destroyed in the living room.
Songs: Good As Dead/ The Great Hardcore Swindle/White Devil
9. Creeper – The Stranger
Creeper have become a true gem on the pop-punk circuit. Shooting new life into off stage theatrics that make this band larger than life. Having recently announced their full length album 'Eternity, In Your Arms', 2017 looks to be quite the promising year. If 'The Stanger' served as an appetiser, we can’t wait to stuff our face with the mains.
Songs: Black Mass/ Misery/ Astral Projection
10. Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us
Released last June, six months later I’m still picking up pieces of my faces from the carpet. Grindcore has never sounded this ugly, disgusting or vile… Simply beautiful.
Songs: Life Is A Death Sentence/ They Come Crawling Back/ Violence Is Forever