Top 30 Albums of 2016: 15-1

We are finally here, we are done.

15. Love Sex Machine – Asexual Anger

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Love Sex Machine’s debut self-titled almost always gets at least one listen-through every week, even after all the years since it came out, so you can guess how excited I was for this. Although the cleaner production takes away from their nightmarish sound, this is still a bludgeoning experience.

Favourite tracks: Aujeszky, Drone Syndrome, Devolution.

14. Illum Sphere – Glass

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This was my introduction to Illum Sphere and what a way for that to happen with this release. It switches between ambience and soft, trance-like electronica constantly through the whole thing. For the most part, imagine Selected Ambient Works Aphex Twin meets Sd Laika and you’re not far off.

Favourite tracks: Paradise, Fall Into Water, Fuel The Fire.

13. The Body – No One Deserves Happiness

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The Body. A growing favourite for many sludge fans and this album only proves further why they’re constantly gaining momentum in the scene. This one features more electronic influences (even trap music on Two Snakes) and they make the sound genuine and fluid, but still keeping it heavy.

Favourite tracks: Two Snakes, Hallow / Hollow, The Fall and the Guilt.

12. Venom Prison – Animus

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This lot from South Wales finally released their debut in the form of “Animus”, dropping a lot of their hardcore moments in favour of more death metal… and it’s beast. Vicious, fast and unforgiving. It’s also refreshing to have an album in the genre fighting against violence towards women.

This is the second album Joe (also of Haast’s Eagled) appears on.

Favourite tracks: Devoid, Celestial Patricide, Corrode the Black Sun.

11. The Avalanches – Wildflower

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Just thinking of ways to describe this album gives me a headache. You really just need to listen to it considering it borrows the sounds of so many different genres. Sixteen years after their first album and they didn’t lose their step at all, the perfect summer album for 2016 (and probably of all time).

Favourite tracks: If I Was A Folkstar, Because I’m Me, Frankie Sinatra.

10. Terra Tenebrosa – The Reverses

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How can this band – even after all these years – be so consistently horrible (in the best way) and make each track in their discography stand out on their own? If you want a mixture of death/black/doom metal with a little of that rock’n’roll vibe to soundtrack your greatest horrors, this is it.

Favourite tracks: Ghost at the End of the Rope, The End Is Mine To Ride, Where Shadows Have Teeth.

9. Oathbreaker – Rheia

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“Rheia” was unexpected for me, I didn’t expect them to go in the direction they did on this and I absolutely LOVE it. They still hit hard but experiment with much more different (and again, unexpected) influences, especially Caro Tanghe with her vocals – sometimes reminding me of Daisy Chainsaw’s Katie Jane Garside with her cleans. Just an incredible effort.

Favourite tracks: Immortals, Second Son of R., Where I Live.

8. PUP – The Dream Is Over

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I got into these guys from the singles that came out before its release, DVP and If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will (with the added bonus of having brilliant music videos for ’em). So I went back to their self-titled debut and fell in love. “The Dream Is Over” then reinforced that further. Catchy indie-punk with both raging and soft moments.

Favourite tracks: DVP, If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will, Old Wounds.

7. Urfaust – Empty Space Meditation

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I mean… it’s Urfaust, ain’t it. It’s just Urfaust.

Urfaust, Urfaust, Urfaust.

Favourite tracks: Meditatum IV, Meditatum VI, Meditatum III.

6. Lorn – VESSEL

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Although “VESSEL” conveys a sense of melancholy for the most part, it is definitely a step towards a lighter sound for Lorn (don’t mistake me though: the oppressive darkness of “The Maze To Nowhere” and “Ask The Dust” is why they’re my favourite releases of his). You can still expect the same booming or growling bass, clicking mechanical beats and warped synths. Lorn is still unstoppable.

Favourite tracks: Anvil, Conduit, Dipped Into Poison.

5. Palehorse – Looking Wet In Public

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You know what fucking sucked about 2016 (or one of the many things that did)? Palehorse splitting up, absolute shit news. I genuinely had a cry when I found out and I don’t care about admitting it, it felt like an important part of my teen years had died and I’d never get to see them again. I could never get bored of them live.

Despite that, the five horsemen of noisey-sludge ended it releasing what I now consider my favourite album of theirs. Just do yourself a favour: check it out.

Favourite tracks: Half Lizard, Half Lizard, The Shower, Lambs to Laughter, Miserable Heroin Addict vs. Jehovah’s Witness Guy.

4. Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”

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When Gambino released Me and Your Mama and Redbone shortly before the album, I knew we weren’t getting a hip-hop album (believe me, I told anyone who’d listen), but I had no idea just how left-field he would go. “Awaken, My Love!” breeds soul, funk, jazz, avant-garde and experimental music together into a beautiful yet haunting specimen. The subtle suggestions lyrically are great to, one track about sex/love and the next about police brutality/racism, and never loses momentum.

Glover just killed 2016 with this album and his show Atlanta.

Favourite tracks: Redbone, Me and Your Mama, Terrified.

3. Every Time I Die – Low Teens

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Easily the sassy n’ sleazy band’s darkest and most emotional release; especially with Keith Buckley’s wife’s pregnancy complication, which threatened both Lindsay and their child. While the instrumentation is on-point as always, it’s Buckley’s turmoil bleeding into the lyrics and everything else that makes “Low Teens” especially gripping, and genuinely heartbreaking. There’s very little relief to be found here.

Favourite tracks: Petals, Glitches, The Coin Has A Say, Map Change.

2. Death Grips – The Bottomless Pit

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I was starting to doubt if the trio would blow me away again since their numerous releases after “No Love Deep Web” but thankfully I was proven wrong. This could arguably be their most accessible album but it still has that classic aggression we all affiliate with Death Grips. The only time it lets go of your throat is when the album ends.

Favourite tracks: Spikes, Ring A Bell, Trash, Warping.

1. Car Bomb – Meta

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I mean, if you open an album with From The Dust Of This Planet and Secrets Within as the first two consecutive tracks, you’re not gonna get stopped being played on my iPod/laptop for a long, long time. This still feels so fresh since the first time I heard it. The guitar tone sounds especially insane now, almost like the strings are actually pylon wires super-charged with electricity; the drums being savage yet technically intricate as always and the vocals twine with so many different personalities.

This has become my favourite Car Bomb album, easily. It’s just perfect.

Favourite tracks: Secrets Within, Sets, From The Dust Of This Planet, The Oppressor.

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