Hellbound’s End of Year Wrap Up Continues: Part 2
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
Best Metal Albums of 2016:
20. Voivod, Post Society (Century Media)
19. Oceans of Slumber, Winter (Century Media)
18. Gorguts, Pleiades’ Dust (Season of Mist)
17. Vektor, Terminal Redux (Earache)
16. Oranssi Pazuzu, Värähtelijä (20 Buck Spin)
15. Grand Magus, Sword Songs (Nuclear Blast)
14. Amon Amarth, Jomsviking (Metal Blade)
13. Anciients, Voice of the Void (Season of Mist)
12. Aluk Todolo, Voix (The Ajna Offensive)
11. Psalm Zero, Stranger to Violence (Profound Lore)
10. Sabaton, The Last Stand (Nuclear Blast)
9. Katatonia, The Fall of Hearts (Peaceville)
8. Cobalt, Slow Forever (Profound Lore)
7. Khemmis, Hunted (20 Buck Spin)
6. SubRosa, For This We Fought the Battle of Ages (Profound Lore)
5. Gojira, Magma (Roadrunner)
4. Opeth, Sorceress (Nuclear Blast)
3. High Spirits, Motivator (High Roller)
2. Meshuggah, The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast)
1. Metallica, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct (Blackened)
Favourite Album-Cover Art of 2016:
Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley (Blood Music)
Arielle Zucker-Brunn’s artwork for Perturbator’s latest, and completely brilliant, dystopian electro-metal epic is a perfect reflection of the pulsating music therein: sleek, cinematic, futuristic, dark, sexy. The double LP gatefold also adds to its eye-popping appeal, and I also love how the dazzling art is offset brilliantly by the minimalist record sleeves. Add the fact that my copy happens to be pretty, pretty pink vinyl, and you’ve got a shoo-in for my favourite art/packaging of 2016.
Best gigs I attended in 2016:
April 10, Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC
After waiting 21 years between my first Maiden concert and my second, I made a promise to myself never to miss another Canadian tour by my favourite band. Given the choice of Edmonton versus Vancouver, the Vancouver choice was an easy one, and I witnessed probably my favourite Maiden concert of the five I’ve now seen. They were on that night, and not only was it great to hear tracks from The Book of Souls, but “Children of the Damned”, “Powerslave”, and “Wasted Years” made this old guy so very, very happy.
Favourite physical-copy album I purchased in 2016:
I found an original pressing of Jethro Tull’s classic Thick as a Brick LP, the one with the big full-size newspaper fold-out inside, for a steal of a price. So much better than those twits at the local record swap who were demanding $80 for their used Uncle Acid LP. Screw all smug hipster vinyl fetishists and their Discogs pricing methods!
Most anticipated album for 2017:
Tool. Please let this be the year!
My 2016 in metal:
2016 was the year metal was very nearly ruined by the self-righteousness of a lot of idiots. The extreme right looked as stupid as ever, from Anselmo, to Varg, to deathmetal.org, to the seemingly countless racists in this genre. WTF, Myrkur and Bölzer? Worse, though, was the left-wing, folks I often philosophically agree with, who embarrassed itself time and again, from the civil disobedience of Antifa protesters, to such pointless posturing as Metalsucks’ hypocritical “manifesto” and, even worse, Noisey’s “fight like fuck” editorial. If that wasn’t enough, some metal tastemakers were strangely selective when it came to controversy. Any trace of misogyny in metal music was called out, and rightfully so in the worst cases, but if a politically sketchy band happens to play cool music, their racism was quietly swept under the rug.
Too many writers jump at the chance to shill for anything and anyone, reduce a proudly independent website to a clickbait haven, and do anything they can to make any news story, even the death of Lemmy Kilmister, about themselves. “This just happened, here’s how it affects me, and how I can maximize my brand in the process.” Clicks earn ad revenue, plain and simple, so good writing isn’t as important as luring, for lack of a better word, gawkers. As a result it’s more difficult to find metal writing of any integrity.
All fans want to do is learn more about their favourite bands, read an engaging dissection of an album they love, or, simply, find some good new music they might like. When writers let their egos, hurt feelings, or both get in the way of the actual work, it fails the process, and worse, it fails the readers. Music writers will never be as cool as the artists they cover, and once they start thinking that they are, they’ve lost all relevance. It’s sad, absolutely sad, that it’s gotten as dismal as it has. Where have you gone, Jay Gorania, our nation turns its corpsepainted eyes to you. Woo, woo, woo.
What you’re looking forward to in 2017, metal-wise or otherwise
More excuses to write about Rush. A Farewell to Kings does turn 40 in September…
Biggest Loss to Metal in 2016 (as in, a person we lost, in memoriam, kind of thing)
The end of Twisted Sister, Bolt Thrower, and Agalloch. The sad deaths of Jimmy Bain and Nick Menza. The demise of Team Rock (Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Prog) in the UK.
“Metal Person of the Year”
Chris Black. Thank you, Professor, for two albums that made so many of us so happy in a year where a lot of metal fans needed a reason to smile. Let’s keep bringing the fun back to metal.