Heavy Blog Staff’s Top Ten Albums of 2016

With our general list for 2016 out of the way, we can now shift the focus from our aggregate opinion to individual ones. Both outlooks have their own merit; the former provides us with an overview of our year in music. However, the latter shines a light on something we’re extremely proud of and that’s the varied and eclectic nature of our staff these days. We used to have a very certain type of music associated with Heavy Blog and while we still have a long way to go, we feel like we’ve done a good job at expanding our palettes and the representation of different kinds of music and metal in our staff. The lists below reflect that; you’ll find black metal, avant-garde, technical thrash metal, hip hop, rap, noise, ambiance, post metal and rock, melodic death metal and much more throughout these lists.

Heavy Blog’s Top 50 Albums Of 2016

We wrote a pretty big check to ourselves when we closed off 2015. Publishing not only a list which proclaimed the triumph of 2015 but also a whole editorial dedicated to the idea of “The Golden Age of Metal”, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Like the rest of the music establishment which, in numerous places implicit and explicit, was apparently ready to join in the social lynching of 2016, we were well positioned to find it a sobering, dreadful, faith shattering year for music in general and metal specifically. Except it was nothing of the sort and we cannot stress our amazement at metal/music journalism’s reaction so far. 2016 was an absolutely fantastic year, building on the trend of solid and often groundbreaking releases from established acts and simply astounding, out of left field releases from virtually nameless bands. Sure, it had its disappointments for us from huge bands we had expected more from (although signs of their demise were certainly forthcoming) but, overall, it was a year which will surely be remembered in our circles as one of the best years for music in general.

60 – AOTY 2016 Deliberations, Part 2: Vape Out

I’m lazy so I’ll copy paste this from last week:

So we’re doing a two-part series on picking the podcast’s official albums of the year 2016. We start with the blog’s list of 400+ albums that are worth consideration this year, whittle it down to 86 albums we care about, and then start cutting them. The objective is to get to a ranked list of 10 items and an overall list of 20 albums. We got down to about 45 last week until the cuts really start to hurt. This week we go down to 20, then to 10. This was real fun to do, so I hope you all enjoy too! The lists will be posted below.

59 – AOTY 2016 Deliberations, Part 1: Vape In

So we’re doing a two-part series on picking the podcast’s official albums of the year 2016. We start with the blog’s list of 400+ albums that are worth consideration this year, whittle it down to 86 albums we care about, and then start cutting them. The objective is to get to a ranked list of 10 items and an overall list of 20 albums. We get down to about 45 this week until the cuts really start to hurt. This was real fun to do, so I hope you all enjoy too! The lists will be posted below.

Hollow Earth – Dead Planet

It seems as if 2016 is a fantastic year for science fiction themed metal. From the gnarly, twisted tales of Vektor to the bombastic space opera of Khonsu, metal about science fiction is seemingly everywhere. Well, the time to draw up the data-tablet and add one more name before the year is done has arrived; Hollow Earth are set to release their Dead Planet on the 2nd of December and boy is it science fiction. It’s also a damn good album, offering a strange mix between metalcore and sludge, of all things. This seemingly paradoxical mix yields a uniquely aggressive album, channeling the different and often opposite timbers of the two genres into an impossible, astral beast.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To: Playlist Swap // 11/11/16

Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last week’s update here) will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between playlist updates. We randomly select two of the participants from each update, have them pick their favorite track from each of the nine albums in their grid and then send the list over to the other person to listen to and comment on. Within these commentaries occurs praise, criticism and discovery, and we hope that you experience a few instances of this last point as well. This week’s post has Nick and David going tête-à-tête with some things the two already share their admiration for and some unexpected surprises!

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 11/4/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 10/21/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

Anciients – Voice of the Void

Last week, we ran a less than favorable review of Opeth’s latest album. Our major grievance with the album was the way in which it handled its influences and its relationship to them. Rather than a homage, we felt, Sorceress was closer to a rip-off, and a boring one at that. Nothing was new or interesting and, thus, had little excuse to exist beyond the band pleasing themselves and making the music they like. In case the point we were making about the importance of innovation mixed with admiration for past giants wasn’t clear, Anciients have arrived to exemplify that point. Call of the Void is nothing less than a masterful exercise in reiteration, looking back at years of progressive death metal progress, picking and choosing the influences which it desires to highlight. A huge step up from the already excellent Heart of Oak, Call of the Void refines the Anciients formula and delivers it with ease, expertise and agility.