Editor’s Note: Welcome, one and all, young and old, to our Album of the Year 2016 week! We have SO MUCH content lined up for you! Some of that content includes guest lists from artists that either released music in 2016 or of which we’re just huge, dorky fans. To kick us off, we have Maeth‘s…interesting list. In case you’ve forgotten, Maeth released the exceptional “Shrouded Mountain” this year, putting us to shame for ignoring them so far. They’ve also submitted the list below of their Top 10 Albums from 2016 , which we’ve left u-ranked and also unedited, making them the first contributors to our brand new Heavy Blog Guest List feature.
The list itself is a curious, amusing and often bewildering look into the band’s mind. In their own words: “There are five of us in Maeth, so we each picked two albums and barely even made fun of each other for our dorky choices. Democracy!“. Make sure to check out Maeth’s Bandcamp if you liked this list or if you like excellent, psychedelic, progressive, post metal.
Democracy, indeed good friends. Democracy indeed.
SNOW GHOSTS – HUSK
Portishead, Björk, and Slowdive pack into the family car for a barbecue at John Carpenter’s house. When they arrive, everyone sits down and quietly suffocates in true British despair.
JESE / SUN KIL MOON – Self-titled
Justin Broadrick’s riffs and atmospheres and Mark Kozelek’s increasingly autobiographical, stream-of-consciousness material complement one another for an album that’s stripped down and focused, yet more cohesive than either of their previous releases. Extremely satisfying for old fans, touring musicians, and anyone who likes to hear a middle-aged man rambling and yelling about Charlie Sheen.
EORDESLAJYR – HÄXAN
Maybe if I Dark Side of Oz’d this album with the film to which it pays tribute I’d find it less inspiring, but I think it’d remain the heaviest record of 2016. It’s psychedelically linear, it constantly arrives at surprising planes, and it’s quasi-omnichromatic in the styles of Chagall and Bosch. If you’re still reading this please give it an active listen from front to back.
BURIAL – YOUNG DEATH/NIGHTMARKET
Most of the vaporous computer music I’ve liked recently has followed a similar trajectory: flirting with the danceable then collapsing into abrasion and found sound. This release does it best, and in fewer than 15 minutes. Kind of like a grindcore album that makes you cry.
OOZING WOUND – WHATEVER FOREVER
Chicago’s favorite wiseass stoners got misanthropic this year – Whatever Forever houses a palpable, evil force seething at the surface of a brew that’s one part black metal dissonance, two parts Geezer Butler night terrors, and a heaping spoonful of primal midtempo drumbeats reminiscent of Dale Crover on beta-blockers.
Touché Amoré – STAGE FOUR
With this album, Touché Amoré deftly added post-punk gloss to their potent feelscore palette. They were already an effective loud-quiet-louder band, but as their peaks and valleys have become more unpredictable the payoffs have become that much more compelling. Touché Amoré have graduated from a flagbearing genre tribute into best-of-year territory.
TEXTURES – PHENOTYPE
I’m not much of a lyric-listener, but the lyrical themes I did manage to pick up on this record are a bit sci-fi (a la The Contortionist) for my tastes. That said, the theme-appropriate synth leads on this album are for me a welcome addition to the punchy, mathematical riffs, ear-worm melodies, and trademark “pitched screaming” that hooked me on 2008’s Silhouettes. Those features, by the way, are amply present on Phenotype.
MORALITY CRISIS- MASH
As usual, Morality Crisis deliver impressive technical and compositional proficiency, but with the delicacy and civility of a drunk grizzly bear. I can’t tell if the epic 22-minute title track is a sincere tribute to the prog tradition, or if they’re just having a laugh at nerds like me. All I know is these guys make me feel like I’m in a mosh pit even when I’m sitting alone in my room with headphones.
HAND EYE – EIGHTH BLACKBIRD
An album of compositions by composers of unrelenting curiosity performed by an ensemble whose stunning virtuosity is only matched by their dedication to sensitivity and emotional nuance. Flurries of chaos and beauty make the few moments of quiet inertia all the more haunting. An unpredictable but convincingly natural energy fills every note on this album and it is a joy to listen to.
SUMAC – WHAT JUAN BECOMES
Sumac’s new record, “Who Once Became”, is an exercise in sheer sonic power. A continual barrage of striking moments, “When We Become” gets directly under your skin. The writing feels so wonderfully unsettled and every sonic twist and turn in “Where The Becoming Things Are” leaves you grinning and excited while also sick to your stomach. This album is a fucking masterpiece even if I can’t remember for the life of me what it’s actually called.