Music

The Best Metal of 2016

Adrien Begrand celebrates the best heavy metal of the year in all of its thrilling diversity.

Artist: Voivod

Album: Post Society

Label: Century Media

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/v/voivod-post.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 20

Display Width: 200

Voivod
Post Society

The first release since the departure of original bassist Jean-Yves "Blacky" Therieault, this 30-minute EP by the Canadian progressive metal innovators proves, once again, that they're still full of ideas. Alternately echoing the idiosyncrasy of classic albums Dimension Hatross and Nothingface and the d-beat speed of Discharge and Motörhead, the foursome tear through five blistering tracks, highlighted by the epic "We Are Connected" -- featuring some phenomenal guitar work by Dan "Chewy" Mongrain -- and the unabashedly joyous and creative cover of Hawkwind's "Silver Machine".

 
Artist: Oceans of Slumber

Album: Winter

Label: Century Media

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/o/oceans_of_slumber.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 19

Display Width: 200

Oceans of Slumber
Winter

Featuring powerhouse singer Cammie Gilbert, Houston's Oceans of Slumber delivered a stunning debut album with Century Media Records, one that delves into the more progressive side of extreme metal with astonishing discipline and song craft. Like the Gathering and Witch Mountain, the band puts an original spin on what defines heavy metal singing, as Gilbert creates a wonderful dynamic between strong, forceful vocals and a more sensitive side. The end result is a progressive doom album with heart, whether on the stunning title track or the daring, haunting cover of the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin".

 
Artist: Gorguts

Album: Pleiades' Dust

Label: Season of Mist

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/g/gorgutspleiadesep.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 18

Display Width: 200

Gorguts
Pleiades' Dust

In a year where much of death metal spun its wheels, Canada's great Gorguts continued to show incredible breadth and creativity in 2016. Arriving on the heels of 2013's landmark Colored Sands, the spellbinding 33-minute composition "Pleiades' Dust" continues Luc Lemay's career-long experimentation with melody and atonality within death metal. Again, he has been aided by bassist Colin Marston and guitarist Kevin Hufnagel -- as members of Disrhythmia they are no slouches themselves -- and along with drummer Patrice Hamelin the foursome crate an ebb and flow over half an hour that shows, like so few in the genre have dome as of late, just how much range this harsh form of music can have.

 
Artist: Vektor

Album: Terminal Redux

Label: Earache

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/a/a0144143476_5.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 17

Display Width: 200

Vektor
Terminal Redux

Easily one of the most wildly inventive new bands of the last five years, Arizona's Vektor are evolving at a rate that often seems dizzying, putting a unique spin on thrash metal. At the same time, though, that ambition and boundless energy had led to a pair of very busy albums that would benefit from a little editing. However, just like 2011's Outer Isolation, the 73-minute Terminal Redux is impossible not to admire. Little hints of 1980s thrash are scattered throughout, the virtuosic musicianship echoing the likes of Sacrifice, Voivod, and Annihilator, but coupled with the beauty-in-chaos style of Chuck Schuldiner of Death, the band catapults a rigid sound into the 21st century, sounding vibrant and highly original.

 
Artist: Oranssi Pazuzu

Album: Värähtelijä

Label: 20 Buck Spin

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/o/oranssi_pazuzu1.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 16

Display Width: 200

Oranssi Pazuzu
Värähtelijä

Three years after the revelatory Valonielu, Finnish avant-garde stalwarts Oranssi Pazuzu continue their exploration of spacey, psychedelic, and krautrock-inspired sounds within the confines of heavy metal. What they've always done so well is use black metal as a springboard towards other, less restricting experimental sounds, and that combination of trebly black metal riffs with jazz fusion freakout guitar solos, Hammond organ, and oddball time signatures makes this new album, whose title roughly translates as "resonator", a marvel from start to finish.

Next Page
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Music

Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.

Music

Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.

Music

Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.

Music

Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.

Film

Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.

Books

Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.

Music

Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.

Film

Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Music

Inventions' 'Continuous Portrait' Blurs the Grandiose and the Intimate

Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium side project, Inventions are best when they are navigating the distinction between modes in real-time on Continuous Portrait.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.