Even with the hundreds of albums we come across every year, let’s face it, we still sleep on things. Especially with a large group such as ours, even if most of us on staff have listened to and obsessed over a particular album, it’s inevitable that at least a few of us won’t have jumped on the hype train. For a variety of reasons, we either dismiss certain albums when they come out, can’t properly give the time to them at first, or were simply unaware of them until someone recommends them. With that in mind, we’ve decided to make a fun new addition to our annual end-of-year lists, which is one comprised entirely of our favorite albums we heard for the first time this year or learned to love that weren’t released in 2016. Though most of these have been released in the past 5 years, there are a few that are far older, all the way to the most classic of thrash. Being a music enthusiast means constant discovery, and that includes digging back through the annals of music history. We encourage you to share your own favorite non-2016 “discoveries” this year, but in the meantime check out some of our staff’s top picks below.
Everybody loves talking about their year-end lists, but no one talks about perhaps the most important part: How they arrived at said lists! The bigger a staff group gets for a site, the harder it gets to aggregate their year-end lists. One possible way is to just get people together and have them argue it out, have editors yell louder than everyone else and end up with some sort of list, but that gets complicated and frustrating way too fast, no one ends up happy, and it wastes way too much time. We did something like that for our two-part year-end list for the podcast, but since our staff roster has 27 people, it’s quite intractable. As such, I resorted to science. No, seriously. Let me tell you how I computed our AOTY list.
Happy Holidays, and welcome to Heavy Vanguard, where the music is as weird and awesome as you can get. We’ve sort of been on the jazzier side of the avant-garde as of late, what with focuses on Captain Beefheart, and our last episode on Soft Machine, but Scott managed to even it out…
Welcome back to Endless Sacrifice, our ongoing look at the role which the ideal of suffering plays within metal. Our opening article focused on content analysis, taking a look at the ideal of suffering as it comes across from the content which metal is concerned with. Lyrics provided a fertile ground for exploration because they are the standard which music raises in order to convey its meaning (although we saw that a grain of salt is indeed needed when considering them). Today we discuss the instrumental side of things. Approaching this topic was not the easiest thing to do at first; after all, how does one relate strictly musical content to the concept of suffering within metal? Where to even begin, when what one gleans from a certain musical moment is nowhere near objective? What this apparent divide necessitates instead is a re-framing of the question itself.