It’s December, which means that everyone’s starting to look back at the year that was, even though we’re not quite through it yet. Over the next several weeks, Metal Insider will be bringing you our picks for the best albums of the year, as well as those from some of the artists that made some of it. Below is who made Metal Insider editor Bram Teitelman’s list. Check out the Spotify playlist at the end of the chart. And hey, you can also follow us there too.
10t) Megadeth, Dystopia (TradecraftIuME)/Anthrax, For All Kings (Megaforce)
2016 was a hell of a year for loss but a good year for the so-called “Big 4” of thrash metal. Metallica released their best- reviewed album in 25 years, and both Megadeth and Anthrax put out albums that were amazingly well-received for bands that have been around for over 30 years. The hopes were pretty high for Megadeth’s Dystopia after hearing that Lamb of God’s Chris Adler was on drums and Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro had been recruited as the band’s new guitarist. And many had written off the band after 2013’s lackluster Super Collider, but this delivered on all counts. The title track was basically a nicely updated rewrite of “Hangar 18,” “The Threat is Real” was another banger, and the band are somehow finding themselves in a career revival. Meanwhile, the fresh blood of Shadows Fall guitarist Jonathan Donais continues the roll that Anthrax was on since 2011, when they put out their first album in eight years. Do either of these albums live up to their band’s earlier works in the ’80s and early ’90s that made them the household names they are now? Probably not, but they’re both catchy, heavy returns to form that, at the very least, sit very comfortably alongside their best work .
Key Tracks: “Dystopia,” “Blood Eagle Wings”
9) Whores., Gold (eOne)
So. Much. Fuzz. I’ve been a fan of Whores. since their first EP on Brutal Panda a few years back. They have that Melvins-y Amphetamine Reptile sound that meets somewhere in between metal, noise rock and whiskey, and riffs that bludgeon you. The band signing to eOne was a long-in-the-works move that should bring them the larger audience that they deserve, and seeing them hit the road with Red Fang and Torche is an example of that.
Key Track: “I See You Are Also Wearing a Black T-shirt”
8) Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (Neurot)
There’s really no other band like Neurosis. Essentially making the blueprint for post-metal, their sparse, harsh and sometimes beautiful music has been imitated by countless bands, but none can come close. Their latest album is no different, except at a lean 40 minutes, cuts out the fat of some of their previous releases for a concise five song masterpiece. That being said, the album’s closer, the nearly eleven-minute “Reach” finds the band stretching, adding vocal harmonies and building in intensity until the album ends leaving the listened in stunned silence until they start listening again.
Key Tracks: “Bending Light,” “Reach”