After the astounding year for music that was 2016, at least in my humble opinion, it seems hard to imagine anything in the coming year topping the best of what I heard last year. Yet already there are numerous albums teased that signal another great time for music ahead of us. Keep your 2016 favorites (and your 2015 favorites, and 2014, and 2013…) spinning, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the horizon. If you need some guidance, below are five albums that are coming out in the new year that I am excited for.
The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy
French post/atmospheric black metallers The Great Old Ones are a band that I have loved for a long time. I fell in love with their blend of aggressive and soaring Lovecraft inspired black metal upon my first listen of Al Azif, and 2014’s Lekeli-Li only cemented their place ahead of the curve for me. Now almost three years later, EOD stands poised to top even those albums. Advanced tracks like “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” show the band still pushing themselves, tipping the balance of their sound into more aggressive territory without sacrificing the sprawling atmosphere they are known for. I have exceedingly high hopes the rest of the album will follow suit.
Cavernlight – As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache
I have written before on my love of Cavernlight’s music, and I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the band’s full length debut for some time. Adding in aspects of black metal and harsh noise into a thick base of doom metal, Cavernlight’s music is the sonic equivalent of being crushed by the pressure of the deep parts of the ocean. If studio updates are to be believed, then the amount of work and time spent on this full length will make this debut absolutely mind-shattering.
Panopticon – The Scars of Man and the Once Nameless Wild
It boggles my mind that I have ever used words like “overrated” to describe the music of Austin Lunn. Panopticon are a band that took a great deal of time for me to get into, but once it clicked, my entire attitude toward them completely changed. Being able to witness the band’s first ever public live performance at Migration Fest is an hour and a half of my life that I will never forget, and hot on the heels of the decision to begin playing live, we have a title and a new track from an upcoming album set to be released this year announced via Decibel Magazine. “Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing” hearkens back to the band’s earlier, more aggressive sound rather than the atmospheric majesty of 2015’s Autumn Eternal. Whether the rest of The Scars of Man follows this pattern or not is yet to be seen, but whatever the end product is, I am wholeheartedly excited for the next part of the journey Panopticon lead us on.
Bell Witch – TBA
Bell Witch have been my favorite doom band since my very first listen. Their ability to do so much aurally using only bass, drums, and vocals is mesmerizing, and the haunting grandeur of their music remains unmatched for me. Four Phantoms was my favorite album of 2015, so I am absolutely thrilled at the announcement that we are expected to receive more music from this duo in the fall. The band has even teased the inclusion of organ in their sound, which intrigues me to no end. I sincerely hope this time frame is met, because I cannot wait to get my hands on this already.
Y***** **** – RELIC93
I cannot say much about this album, because I am including it on this list based solely on a hunch. But if it is what I think it is (and I am almost certain it is what I think it is), then Gilead Media is about to come through for me in a big way.
If this is only a small taste of what’s in store for us in the coming year, then we have much to get excited about. I have already heard several albums that have blown me away, which will be detailed in coming writings, but these are but a few other gems I am actively looking forward to. Keep your ears pealed folks.