Thursday, 3 March 2016


Yep. Took me a while. Lets get right down to it:


Ghost - Meliora

Ghost have done the same thing Daft Punk did with Random Acess Memories - created an album that is both homage, an evolution of their own sound and, ultimately, an exercise in pure dedication to sound. You’ll behard-pressedd to find a better produced metal/rock album in recent memory, and the songwriting is stellar - little to no filler, catchy but not shallow. What more to say?

Chvrches - Every Open Eye

I wasn't quite sure what was wrong with the previous Chvrches record, The Bones of What You Beleive, but listening to this one made that clear - for a synthpop album it wasn't that catchy; a fatal flaw for the genre. Every Open Eye remedies that, and in the process, creates an immersive, complete and above all addictive experience that will have you bobbing your head if you're subtle, and 80’s dance montage/jumping and singing to an invisible mic if you’re not. I dare you to find a bad song. I double dare you.

Check out: Clearest Blue


Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful

By now all that needs to be said of Nightwish has already been said - the band is on their third vocalist, they've changed from a power metal gamechanger (Operatic vocals!) to something far more cinematic and, disputedly, bloated, featuring pop vocals. Whatever the case, and whatever album they put out, they have an uncanny ability to grow on me even if I didn’t originally find the album very interesting. This is the case with Endless Forms Most Beautiful;  theme, the music, the orchestration - it all grew on me. While it's not quite the best album of the year, it's certainly the most replayed (for me).

Check out: Edema Ruh

Soilwork - The Ride Majestic

Soliwork keeps churning out good-to-great albums at a regular basis, yet somehow I always lose them in the fray - not this time. Could be because I decided they finally deserve credit but this time they really mean business! Soilwork came out with an absolute zinger of an album;they'vee honed their art to create both crushing metal passages and slick, catchy choruses. And the production? Just listen to the dynamics of the piano-blast beat section at the end of Enemies in Fidelity. Sublime.

Check out: Enemies in Fidelity


KAMELOT came out with a new album - Haven - its hard to top the amazing comeback album that was Silverthorn, but here they’ve attempted to please both Silverthorn fans and also experiment with adding more heavy songs and different song structuring. Ok, the experiment failed, but it was worth the effort, and there is more than enough ‘flesh’ on this to be enjoyable. Plus, Fallen Star is their best opening track since Center of the Universe.

Check out: Fallen Star

MUSE came back into the game with DRONES - sure, I don’t think they will ever go back to the angst-riddenn, innovative and classic era of Origin of Symmetry, but this is a step in the right direction. Lots of filler and some awful, awful tracks are here too - but if we get a song like The Handler once in a while again, its worth it

Check out: The Handler.

BARONESS’s new album Purple is already littering the best-of lists - it sure is pretty great but,for some reason, I didn’t find it as compelling as my friends and colleagues. Still, it's a fusion of various Baroness sounds that is bound to please nigh every listener - I just don’t find myself coming back to it that often.

Check out: Shock me


Boy, there sure were some!!! Trivium continued their painful descent into generic forgettable-ness in the guise of ‘moar singing and totally better songwriting lawl!!” with Silence in the Snow. Symphony X put out an album that is so forgettable it's one distinguishing feature is ‘Yay, Rusell Alan is doing less of his growly-singy and more of his clean singy!’. Speaking of forgettable - Children of Bodom. Need I say more? Only slightly less forgettable was the new Blind Guardian - I fear they will never again scale the heights of Nightfall in Middle Earth. Apocalyptica have a singer now, finally completing their transition from cello metal cover band and innovative auteurs to just another band; before when you play Apocalyptica people would go ‘wow, what is that?’, now they just go ‘wait, there are cellos in this band? Didn’t know’’- sad. The Tesseract follow-up to Altered State was surprisingly bland, even with the charismatic and personable vox of newly returned Dan Tompkins.

By far my biggest disappointment was the new HURTS record -Surrender. Like I remarked in my review of their previous record, they stood on a precipice between club-dance-pop and their early 80’s influence, depeche mode sound - and they needed to pick a side...and pick a side they did, unfortunately the wrong one. They’ve now devolved from the refreshing retro synth ladden pop of their debut record to an uninteresting, unoriginal and dreadfully lackluster pop band churning out dance tracks for Ukranian clubs.  


Kay, so its not all about albums, some of the singles were...interesting. Hotline Bling because...well, do I even need to tell you why? Panic at The Disco came out with a cool video and a fun single that got lost in the cluttered mess that was the album. Finally, Marlyn Mansons new album is a snoozefest, but had a couple of noteworthy singles such as Third day of a seven day binge and Deep Six.


Oh yeah, about that - sorry. I never got to posting the list. I’ll just say the finest albums of the year were a brazen, bold and unapologetic power metal album and a prog metal underdog. There.

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