HELLBOUND’S TOP 10 CANADIAN ALBUMS OF 2016

This has gotta be the first time that Hellbound’s top two Canadian albums were even on my list, but I think that speaks to what excellent records Anciients and Blood Ceremony put out in 2016—a few writers had even ranked them as their personal top two. Canadian legends Gorguts, Voivod and Devin Townsend round out the top five, while an airtight race for the remaining spots saw a tie for seventh place, Cauldron edging out Begrime Exemious by one vote for ninth and Striker and Black Wizard just missing out as our two unlucky number 11s.

— Gruesome Greg


1. Anciients – Voice of the Void (Vancouver, BC)

The multi-faceted vocals are spectacular, the solos deliver all the goods and the prog on display is well-crafted and balanced with the crushing sludge. This is only their second full-length, man. You could say they haven’t even hit their stride yet as you know, that’s kind of the point of progression. This is even better than Heart of Oak so I’m really looking forward to loving what’s next even more. – Matt Hinch

 

2. Blood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule (Toronto, ON)

Lord of Misrule is not a metal album… but I prefer this record to its most immediate predecessor (The Eldritch Dark). This is a solid mix of prog/folk/psych rock with a throwback, vintage feel, coming closer to Coven than so many other records within the accursed occult-rock sub-genre. – Gruesome Greg

 

3. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust (Montreal, QC)

It’s almost overwhelming how good this is.  I mean, Colored Sands was good and definitely had its moments, but this churning beast of an EP is so good that I’d want them to play it at every live show forever.  Gorguts was already legendary in my book, but Pleiades’ Dust might be my favorite thing they’ve ever released. – William Seay

 

4. Voivod – Post Society (Jonquière, QC)

My favourite Canadian metal album of 2016 is actually an EP, but wow, what an EP it is! The first VOIVOD release since new bassist Rocky joined the band, it contains a number of songs that came out on vinyl splits with both At The Gates and Napalm Death, as well as a great cover of the Hawkwind classic “Silver Machine”, and a few other new cuts. The band absolutely cooks on this, even more so than they did on Target Earth. I cannot wait until their next record. – Sean Palmerston

 

5. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence (Vancouver, BC)

As one of Canada’s most prolific metal artists, the Devin Townsend collective (including guest appearances by the regular Anneke van Giersbergen and Casualties of Cool alum, Ché Aimee Dorval) return with perhaps their most complete work to date. Bookended by a re-recording of “Truth” (from Infinity) and a cover of Ween’s “Transdermal Celebration” are moments of sheer brilliance (that solo from “Failure” gets me every time), epic choruses and, of course, hooks that stick with you for days (“Offer Your Light”). Another gem in the DT catalogue that will please any new or old fan. – Adam Wills

 

6. Chthe’ilist – Le dernier crépuscule (Longueuil, QC)

Death metal is a pretty common extreme genre nowadays, but it takes guts, dedication and chops to create something unique. And that’s just what these gents from Quebec did here, playing old-school atmospheric death metal that pulls the listener down to those underground abysmal depths found only in the Mines of Moria during the Fellowship of the Rings’ journey. The sounds and feelings bring a cavernous front of darkness to one’s soul, complete with ripping guitar shredding and an homage to themes from the Legend of Zelda… what’s not to like about that!? – Gabe Hugh

 

(TIED) 7. Forteresse – Thèmes pour la rébellion (Quebec City, QC)

I can be pretty picky with my black metal but I like this kind. Depraved vocals, soaring tremolos blazing across dark skies, and jackhammer percussion. It’s relentless and epic if not exactly original. Originality is hard to come by while staying within genre boundaries, but when done this well it doesn’t matter. It’s one of my favourite black metal albums of the year, Canadian or otherwise. – Matt Hinch

 

(TIED) 7. A.M.S.G. – Hostis Universi Generis (Edmonton, AB)

Gargantuan, consciousness-corrupting black metal that is as ambitious as it is all-negating. Swirling, sweeping riffs surrounded by a creeping malevolence constructed to set the listener off-kilter. Discombobulating and wondrous in its ruination. – Kyle Harcott

 

9. Cauldron – In Ruin (Toronto, ON)

If it ain’t broken then you shouldn’t fix it. Toronto trio Cauldron know this and have made another in a long line of 80s tinged metal albums with great riffs, strong choruses and just enough oomph to make any metalhead smile. Always solid, these guys never disappoint. An album that will be at home in any discerning metalhead’s collection. – Sean Palmerston

 

10. Begrime Exemious – The Enslavement Conquest (Edmonton, AB)

On their 3rd full-length, Begrime Exemious churn out a brutal homage to the best apocalyptic death metal of the 1990s, even throwing down a grotty Incantation cover. Claustrophobic, martial, and vicious, The Enslavement Conquest is a violent look back at where death metal came from.  – Kyle Harcott

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.