Hellbound’s End of Year Wrap Up: Part 6
Well, hell’s bells – 2016 was a hellride of a year, wasn’t it?! As the New Year comes creeping in with trepidation, the individual members of Team Hellbound take a look back at our favourites of the year, give our personal thoughts on the state of heavy metal in 2016, and take a look forward at what’s to come.
As always, we here at Hellbound thank you all for your continued readership, and we wish you a very headbanging Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Happy Holidays from Hellbound!
— Kyle Harcott
JAY H. GORANIA
Albums of the Year:
- Warfather – The Grey Eminence (Greyhaze Records)
Steve Tucker has returned to the Morbid Angel fold once more. He hasn’t been dormant outside of that scope, though. In the last five years he was involved with the extreme metal supergroup Nader Sadek, and his project Warfather released its debut, Orchestrating the Apocalypse, in 2014. Warfather returned this year with their well-written, ominous sophomore effort that digs deep into the depths of darkness. If timeless, catchy death metal is your kind of thing, look no further than Warfather.
- Superjoint – Caught Up in the Gears of Application (Housecore)
Phil Anselmo’s well-documented inebriated outburst had cluttered metal news headlines earlier this year, and whether or not everyone actually noticed that he apologized, he’s proven his resilience and tenacity once again by releasing a hardcore punk-fueled rager that crashes the party without pretense and with bloody fists. Caught Up in the Gears of Application is a most righteous return for the man and the band, on many levels.
- Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation (Party Smasher)
Genre tags mean nothing to Dillinger Escape Plan and they continue to push boundaries on their final release that finds them as fearless and adventurous as ever. Their end has come too soon, but they’ve left more than enough groundbreaking music for heavy music fans to enjoy for eternity. Dissociation is explosive yet melodic, adventurous yet reliably intense.
- Wargrinder – In Suicidal Triumph (Nykta Records)
The man behind the madness that is Wargrinder has successfully delivered a shattering, primal sonic curb stomp with In Suicidal Triumph. It’s an unapologetic assault that pays tribute to the ghost of Angelcorpse with updated extreme metal aesthetics.
- Crowbar – The Serpent Only Lies (E1 Music)
Fans have been celebrating with the recent return of original bassist Todd Strange following a 17 year hiatus, and the timing couldn’t be more fitting since The Serpent Only Lies reconstructs their earlier form with the expertise they’ve developed since those days. Crushing hardcore and mournful melodic doom meet in that straightforward way that Crowbar is known for. One again, they somehow find beauty in misery.
- Ritual Genocide – Commencement Towards Annihilation (Black Plague Records)
Ritual Genocide’s blackened death is impressive because of their strong songwriting and execution. But the Nevada-based war machine is the cream of the crop because their expression of malevolence is authentic. This is a mandatory listen for those inclined toward hateful, angry music.
- Anthrax – For All Kings (Megaforce/Nuclear Blast)
Anthrax has reclaimed its former glory with the best effort they’ve had with Joey Belladonna since 1990’s Persistence of Time. For All Kings is exponentially better than their previous release Worship Music. It’s a return to form for those craving more traditionally recognizable aspects of thrash metal viewed through the contemporary and unique prism that is Anthrax.
- Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast)
Meshuggah has not rewritten their formula, but the performances are noticeably more organic and human, inevitably so since they recorded the release live in the studio. As a result, The Violent Sleep of Reason sounds like it came from a band jamming together in a room rather than the output of a “Meshuggah’s old files” recycling computer program. The Violent Sleep of Reason is a fresh take on Meshuggah, much needed since their recent releases drifted excessively toward a metronomic and plastic kind of pro-tools monotony.
- Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder (Peaceville)
As enjoyable as Darkthrone’s more recent crust punk filth has been, Arctic Thunder marks the return of the band to the more archetypal black metal style that they helped forge during the onset of the genre’s second wave.
- Gojira – Magma (Roadrunner)
The unfortunate passing of the Duplantier brothers’ mother during Magma’s genesis inevitably affected the release. Their personal suffering has been managed by their artistic impulses, and listeners are rewarded with Gojira’s melodic capabilities which are now more prominent than ever before.
Bestial Raids – Master Satan’s Witchery (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Child Bite – Negative Noise (Housecore)
Favourite Album-Cover Art of 2016:
Superjoint – Caught Up in the Gears of Application (Housecore)
Best gig I attended in 2016:
Napalm Death. I fortunately arrived at the venue in Houston late enough to miss Black Dahlia Murder (and unfortunately late enough to miss Power Trip), making it just in the nick of time for the legends of grindcore. They’ve been around for decades, and they still have the ability to knock you on your ass. Napalm Death’s enduring relevance and power is undeniable and baffling.
Favourite physical-copy album I purchased in 2016:
It wasn’t a purchase, but I really value the Skinless hoodie that Sherwood Webber gave me. They’re a killer band.
Most anticipated albums for 2017:
Death Worship – Extermination Mass (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Immolation – Atonement (Nuclear Blast)
My 2016 in Metal:
Unfortunately there are some extremely vocal, uptight folks who continue to (attempt to) police the metal scene. The growing resistance to such nonsense is almost tangible. Metal is supposed to celebrate the spirit of individuality, not groupthink. The enemy will lose!
On the bright side, there were numerous solid releases in 2016, especially from old-school thrash bands proving they have continued relevance. From my vantage point, it was a great year for metal on many fronts. I was fortunate enough to have toured with great bands like Today is the Day and then later with Dragged Into Sunlight. My blogs about both of those tours will soon be posted here at Hellbound.
Most Looking Forward to in 2017:
The next Housecore festival and the benefit show for Eyehategod’s Mike Williams.
Biggest Loss to Metal in 2016
Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza.
“Metal Person of the Year”