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Articles : Mitch Alexander’s Top Albums of 2016

By on December 16, 2016

I think 2016 is going down as the next 1998 – a really good year for me personally, but a shit year politically and sexually for world leaders and poor people in oil-rich countries. Nearly every band who released an album released the best of their career (looking at you Dillinger, ya ball droppers), and on top of that, a lot of bands released albums. I legitimately have 12 AOTY albums, and I haven’t even properly listened to Ion Dissonance or Fit For A King yet. And I just thought, what about all the albums I don’t even know about? Shit.

So instead of having to pick one in particular, I’ll give my AOTY to an important release, and then give out ancillary awards, cause I’m a twat.

Also, every song I list is my favourite, though maybe not the “best” on the album. But like always, if we have differing taste you are in fact wrong.

unnamedAlbum Of The Year: My album of the year is the OST to the 2016 video game DOOM, cause it’s heavy and important. And fun as fuck. It was composed by Mick Gordon, who’s an Australian composer and all round djentleman. A huge part of this years reboot of the DOOM franchise has been the music and sound design; it complements the fast-paced gameplay and the grotesque visual style of the game really well, giving you that adrenaline rush stink that can only happen when you’re involuntarily sweating while sitting perfectly still. It’s the perfect accoutrement to blowing a demon’s head off with a shotgun.

I don’t think the importance of what Mick’s done for Australia, and heavy music in general, can really be overstated. He’s legitimised both. Video games used to have a pretty close connection to heavy music; most people my age found a lot new bands through the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, but in recent years that’s died off. What Mick’s done is show people that the energy and aggression of heavy metal has artistic and commercial merit. If you want a normie to “get” why you love this rahrah noisey music so much, get them to play DOOM, and it will make sense. It’s a visceral response; you can’t NOT want to chainsaw a zombie in half and do some push ups when you’re blasting this music.

There’s also a genuine passion and integrity behind the songs. If you want proof of this, Mick recently performed a few of these tracks live with the drummer of Periphery, Matt Halpern, at the video games awards (otherwise known as the Kealys), where he also won Best Music and Sound Design. Look up the live footage, it’s really quite impressive.

Check out: Rip and Tear but also the whole thing

a3054543695_5The Surprise Of The Year Award: C.B Murdoch – Here Be Dragons
This one came out of nowhere, getting a ringing endorsement from none other than Thomas Haake. It’s a mix of everything I love; super techy, with enough groove and melody scattered about to make it “heavy” and not just self-indulgent. It’s a fabulous release from a rather small band who I really hope I hear more of soon.

Check out: Everything Is Going To Be OK


0008160861_10The “Would’ve Been AOTY If It Wasn’t For C.B. Murdoc” Award: Car Bomb – Meta
I’ve always loved these guys, mainly because they’ve been able to craft a signature sound around some truly fucked technical metal. My guitarist tried explaining that their sound has something to do with a ring modulator harmoniser effect thingy, but I glazed over and started thinking about Titanfall 2. However it’s done, Car Bomb expanded their sound on Meta to be somehow more “accessible”, without changing how inaccessible their rhythms and tone are.

Check out: Gratitude


0045778741168-png-540x540_q90_cropThe Best Lyrics This Year, Every Year, On This Planet And All Others Award: Every Time I Die: Low Teens
This album is fucking harrowing. You can hear it in every screech, bellow, scream, cracked melody and yelled chorus. The music matches it in terms of artistic integrity and pure savagery, but more than any other of their albums, the lyrics are where it’s at. It’s honest, raw, ferocious, poetic, and a continued source of inspiration for me as I slide inexorably into the tar pit of cynical middle age. Just listen to the end of the song Petal. My GOD.

Check out: Petal


periphery-iii-select-difficulty-coverThe Legitimizing Djent Award: Periphery – III: Select Difficulty
I hated Periphery up until their double-album, when they seemed to stop fucking about with their waffling brand of down-tuned prog metal and started writing actual songs. III is the logical follow up to that – a conceptless album full of fucking solid songs, ranging from the cringy pop “hits” that no one really enjoys, to the stupidly heavy tracks that everyone really enjoys. Bonus points for these guys being able to write the shit out of a chorus and a hook.

Check out: Remain Indoors


neurosisfirescdbiggerThe “World’s Best Dad” Mug In Musical Form Award: Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
This is the musical equivalent of your dad answering a question. It’s authoritative and self-assured, and while it might be a subjective subject, the tone leaves no doubt that he is, in fact, correct, and any dissenting opinions are wrong. Also the guys are old lol.

Check out: Broken Ground


retrogorealbumcoverThe Death Metal Album Of The Year: Aborted – Retrogore

This is really fast and good. Just plain good. And fast. Super fast. Oh, it’s aggressive too. But mainly just good.

Check out: In Avernus



norma_jeanpolarThe Inaugural “I Guess This Is Growing Up” Award: Norma Jean – Whatever their album was called I forget.
This album sounded so damn mature, like The Beatles of noisecore. It’s just a shame so much other rad shit came out this year, cause I don’t feel like I really gave it everything I should have. KINDA LIKE MY EXWIFE AM I RIGHT fuck I hate these long lists.

Check out: An Ocean Of War


korn-the-serenity-of-sufferingThe “Fuck Off, No Way” Award:
KoRn – The Serenity Of Suffering
It’s about damn time you bastards released a good album. You were literally the first band I ever liked, you are what got me into metal, and watching you suck for a decade has been like watching my German Shepard Hudson suffer kidney shutdown and slowly die. This album is like the week when Hudon got better for a while and could come down with us to the beach and he was all stoked. He had the energy of his earlier albums with a modern sensibility that endeared him to younger listeners. What a good dog.

Check out: When You’re Not There

9c5fc4f3The Nails Award: Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us

Check out: You Will Never Be One Of Us



The specialist of mentions that I can’t write up because we have a ten album limit.

Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Devilment – The Mephisto Waltz
Totally Unicorn – Dream Life
Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier
Drivetime Commute – Bag Of Snakes
The Schoenberg Automaton – Apus
Ion Dissonance – Cast The First Stone
And like fucking heaps of others. What a silly year.


Mitch is a 26 year old vegan, socialist, atheist, utilitarian, reductionist metalhead, stand up comedian and philosophy major that hates labels. When he isn't being politely ignored at dinner parties he's being politely ignored on comedy nights around the country.