Best of 2016, Q1: Literati Overlord’s List

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I can’t really decide how I feel about 2016 in terms of new metal just yet. The albums that have impressed me — and I mean really impressed me — are among some of the best works I’ve heard in years. But then on the other hand, those were rather limited in number and much of the rest was ‘good-not-great’. Regardless, quarterly recap time is always a blast, so I’m excited about the end of Q1 either way.

The one thing I will note before getting into my list is the diversity in quality metal from the past few months. While 2015 saw black metal rise to the top for the majority of the year, I have already been more impressed by various death, doom, and folk metal outfits, making 2016’s Q1 list far more diverse than last year’s. And that’s just good fun for everyone. Anyway, I don’t want to ramble anymore than I already have. Let’s get on with it.

The Top 3

Naðra – Allir vegir til glötunar

Naðra_-_Allir_Vegir_Til_Glötunar_(album_cover)

Out of all the impressive black metal that has emerged from Iceland in recent years, this may be the best, if not at least among the best. Absolutely chaotic in its pummeling cadences and percussion, like much of the black metal out of this region, Allir vegir til glötunar still manages to offer impressive diversity; an element that sets it apart from the rest. Distinct time changes and melody allow this album to absolutely soar.

[Full Review]

Skuggsjá – A Piece for Mind & Mirror

SOM377-Skuggsja-1500X1500px-300dpi-CMYK

I’m not convinced a more inventive piece has dropped so far in 2016. Conceived from the mind of Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Einar Selvik (Wardruna), this brilliant composition tells of Norway’s history through sound. Utilizing a number of regional instruments, A Piece for Mind & Mirror is absolutely experimental, but the duo nails their target with ease and have created an album that gets better as you work through it… and with each future listen going forward.

[Full Review]

Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä

oranssi pazuzu Värähtelijä

I guess the closest option would be to consider this a black metal album. But the psychedelic elements of the latest from Oranssi Pazuzu are unlike anything I have ever heard. I don’t think a sound has left me more entranced while simultaneously managing to challenge the very essence of my being in a long time. It is incredibly complex, and just continues to evolve into new structures the more you go through it.

[Full Review]

The Honorable Mentions

Fuath – I

From the mind of Andy Marshall (Saor) comes yet another atmospheric black metal masterpiece. Perhaps not as melodic as some of his previous works, Fuath feels a bit sharper overall. However, it still maintains the impressiveness and uplifting spirit that has defined his compositions.

Inverloch – Distance | Collapse

“The Australian quintet of Inverloch ascends to the summit of funeral doom with ease. Alongside bands like Evoken, Inverloch will remain as influential as they come.”

[Full Review]

Rotting Christ – Rituals

“Rituals is unquestionably an impressive release from Rotting Christ, and one of my favorites in 2016 so far. With everything the album is aspiring to be, and all the varying extreme metal styles working together to create this sound, it delivers.”

[Full Review]

Latitudes – Old Sunlight

“Old Sunlight might fall into a label of some post-progressive metal musically, but the album provides plenty of emotion, surprise and excitement. Throughout the album, ideas constantly develop, carryover from track to track and eventually resolve into melting beauty.”

[Full Review]

Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crépuscule

“The last three years have seen advancements, alterations and growth to death metal that have book-ended a sort of fifteen year dead period in the genre. We are now living in a revival of the old school days of brilliant death metal.”

[Full Review]

Borknagar – Winter Thrice

“Those who have never been introduced to Borknagar will find a good starting point in Winter Thrice, but for long-time fans, Winter Thrice is a stellar entry to their extensive discography.”

[Full Review]

See ya in three months! Or like… in an hour.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

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