Mercifully, 2016 is nearly over. That being said, it wasn’t a bad year for new music in my opinion. I’m not doing song by song album breakdowns, just the highlights and some honest opinions. Here’s my top ten albums of 2016 in no particular order. \m/
1) Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events
- Wow is a word I would use. Unexpected is another word I would use. I didn’t expect this album to be so good. I mean it’s really fucking good. “Branches / Bones” the title itself reminds me of Deftones “Hearts / Wires” for some reason and I like that. It’s a rocker, immediate, and the riff is LOUD AS FUCK, just the way I like it. The album moves right along into “Dear World,” which is more like what I expected, but a lot better. It’s got a bit of a Daft Punk vibe in the synth I really like. “The Idea of You” might be the best song I’ve heard all year. Fuck this might be album of the year. This is the NIN you’ve been waiting for…\m/
2) Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis
- Biffy is back! A new producer is just what they needed to get out of the stale commercial formula they had started to fall into. As an old school, pre “Puzzle” era Biffy fan, songs like “Animal Style” and “Friends and Enemies” really have that raw old school Biffy style I like. “Re-arrange” and “Howl” are both amazing as well. “Howl” has an awesome Kerbdog reference in the lyrics. Keep it real Si! The best Biffy album since “Puzzle” in my opinion. Mon the Biff!
3) Violent Soho – WACO
- What a great band! One of the only bands I hear and can immediately feel the 90s dragging me back in time. A better time when the riffs were huge, the meanings were genuine, and the songs had hooks. Yeah… I’ve been a fan of these guys for a long time and I have to say this is definitely their finest album to date. “Blanket” is a standout for me, I find myself screaming along to the chorus “yeah yeah yeah” what a tune, what a riff. “Viceroy” is another great song and more of what I’ve come to expect from them in a single. You can’t help but feel the Foo Fighters influence on “Evergreen”. Give this album a listen, you’ll be glad you did.
4) Eric Bachmann – Self Titled
- What a surprise! This album is beautiful, it’s dark, it’s got one of the most amazing vocal hooks on it I’ve heard all year in the chorus on”Dreaming”. The ex Archers of Loaf front man has written some of his best stuff on this one. Don’t expect Archers style rocking but this album definitely gives me the feels.
5) Deftones – Gore
- Their best post Chi album. It has buzzsaw riffs. It has proggy time signatures. It has hooky choruses. I love “Hearts / Wires” the most though, what a chorus, gets me singing along every time. 2016 seemed to be the year of the return to form for a lot of bands but I think in the Deftones case they’re just finally moving on and finding their groove. Good for them, keep em coming guys! \m/
6) Radiohead – Moon Shaped Pool
This is a great album. There’s nothing I can say about it other people haven’t already said ad nauseam. It’s Radiohead, they’re awesome, you already know this. Moving along.
7) Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
- Devin Townsend is one of the best kept secrets in the music world. If you’re not a hardcore metal fan that knows him from the Strapping Young Lad days you may not know who Devin Townsend is. This is definitely the best thing he’s released since “Addicted”. “Higher” is a masterpiece of songwriting and performance. “From the Heart” is a masterful metal ballad, done right. Every person in this band is an amazing musician. Do yourself a favor and BUY a copy of this album. HIGHLY recommended. \m/ \m/
8) Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues
- I love Jim Adkins. I love every thing about this guy. His songwriting, his voice, the dude has it all. The Jimmy songwriting you love is back on this album. Really, really solid tunes. I was really surprised by the riffage on “Pass the Baby” at the end of the song! More of that please! \m/ “Get Right” has the “Futures” vibe you’ve been waiting for. “Sure & Certain” keeps the 2000 feels coming but with a modern edge. A really great album, their best since, well, “Futures”. Don’t overthink it guys, you know what to do. \m/
9) Filter – Crazy Eyes
- Hey this one is easy. If you liked Filter in the 90s, then you’ll love the new Filter album. “Mother E” stomps it’s foot and dares you to cross the line. It’s loud, it’s dark, and it’s industrial. A solid return to form.
10) Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse Of What Yer Not
I thought I’d save a good one for last, like a fine wine. I mean it’s J and Murph and Lou, you know it’s fucking good. Definitely one of their strongest efforts since Lou has returned to the band. “Goin Down” has that “Where You Been” attitude right from the start. There’s nothing not to love about this album. “Be a part” is a great slow melodic rocker reminiscent of something from “Without a Sound” like “Mind Glow”. Really amazing these guys can pump out albums like this so deep in their career. I’m just glad they’re still around. Legends.
Helmet – Dead to the World
Russian Circles – Guidance
Pinegrove – Cardinal
Gojira – Magma
Garbage – Strange Little Birds