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Articles : Samuel Maher’s top albums of 2016

By on January 2, 2017

Metal is dead. Kids these days are too busy with their sweeping and their djenting and their half-speed-guitar-proing to actually write music that lives up to the genre’s beautiful history. In fact, now that Lemmy is dead, it’s not entirely clear how the genre of metal can even continue moving forward. I mean, the metal gods of today are actually more well known for their music than for their astonishing alcoholism. Can you imagine!?

Since everything released this year was a shameless disgrace to the genre, we shall be summarising the 10 most abominable albums of the year rather than the traditional top 10. Let’s just get this over and done with…

a3468650605_1010) Dmitry Demyanenko – Insomnia

Kids these days, don’t they know what a solo guitar album is supposed to sound like? Thrash riffs and shred. That’s it! Nothing more! What’s all this about gunslingin’ Western grooves? Atmosphere, melody, feel?? No no, we cannot be having any of this. Look, just because Mr Demyanenko is from some band called Shokran doesn’t mean he gets to break all the rules of music and write something interesting. I will not stand for it!

Avoid: The Morphinist

eaw1gmjo2pfmfz8ygv5h9) Jason Richardson – I

Ok, so I’m sure we all know the godawful Born of Osiris who released an album that was slightly less terrible than usual featuring this guitarist called Jason Richardson. Well, now that kid has gone and freed himself from his 0-0-0-1-0-1 shackles and gone and released his own solo album. Now, at least this one features a giant pile of shred, so that’s a good start. But seriously, what is it with guitarists and their goddamn country solos!? And why do we need to have all these tech riffs? There is such a thing as too fast, too complex, don’t you know. It’s disgraceful, honestly.

Don’t listen to: Titan

oceanswinter8) Oceans of Slumber – Winter

Excuse me, but since when were we ok with female delta blues-style singers in our metal bands? Do we have no decency any more? I don’t care how powerful she is, that’s just not metal! And no, having your guitarist add growls doesn’t make it any better. And why is the music all slow and dynamic? Just because you have better songwriting, singing, and musicianship than Mastodon doesn’t make your style ok. Seriously people, have some bloody standards.

Keep away from: Winter

akroasis_3647) Obscura – Akroasis

Ok, this nonsense has to stop. Just because Chuck Schuldiner is gone doesn’t mean you can just take his sound and make it more interesting. You’re not supposed to remove the frets from your bass and call it a melodic instrument. Just no. And you most certainly cannot remove the frets from your electric guitar and shred away! Seriously, what was Tom Geldschlager thinking. You know, there is a point at which your playing becomes a little too far above average. Maybe you should sit down and think about that before you release another album. Jerk.

Don’t subject yourself to: Sermon of the Seven Suns

Fallujah - Dreamless6) Fallujah – Dreamless

No, no, no. Death metal is not supposed to be drenched in atmosphere! I don’t care how extremely brutalz you think you are, having ambient guitars and who knows what else throughout just makes you a pansy, ok. Scott
Carstairs can hit one note on that stupid guitar of his and I’ll know it’s him, that’s how bloody annoying this is. It’s all goddamn “exotic” scales and whammy bars being used for something other than dive bombs. Are some simple pentatonics too much to ask for?

Leave this one well alone: The Void Alone

departe-failure-subside-51579-1_15) Départe – Failure, Subside

What on éarth is this fucking shit? Look, you can’t just string togéthér a bunch of nonsénsé notés and call it music. I’m télling you now: it’s ugly. And you aré ugly. You know how bands liké Ulcératé and Déathspéll Oméga sound liké a bunch of twélvé-yéar olds playing random notés on guitars? Wéll this is évén worsé. At léast thosé bands don’t try to includé cléan vocals in théir déath/black/whatévér métal. Look, if I wantéd to bé suffocatéd by atmosphéré and dissonancé I’d jump out of thé néxt SpacéX mission in the middle of the exosphere, which would probably bé moré fun than listéning to this album again.

Keep your distancé from: Ashes in Bloom

hypno5e-shores-of-the-abstract-line-album-art4) Hypno5e – Shores of the Abstract Line

I cannot believe that the world has come to this. You know, once upon a time we had Rein in Blood and Rust in Peace. Now we’ve got assholes who think that you can mix fucking French art cinema with tech metal! As if acoustic guitars, piano and ambient synths were not bad enough, we’ve got excerpts from the main songwriter’s films sprinkled throughout. And no, having heavy sections that are so chopped up and jagged they could decapitate a Meshuggah does not make things better. Next time you feel like doing something prétentieux do us a favour and throw up a white flag and enjoy some cheese instead, ok?

Avoid this 13-minute atrocity: East Shore: In Our Deaf Lands

ulcerate-shrines-cover-700px3) Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis

Alright, I lied. Ulcerate is actually worse than Dépàrté. Memo to Jamie Saint Merat: just because you’re better than every other drummer out there doesn’t mean you can just hit every goddamn piece on your drum kit every bar! Is it really so hard to just play a skank beat? And as for the rest of it, you know you can’t just play whatever made-up chord you feel like, right? Ever tried a power chord? Maybe you should, then your music wouldn’t sound like the sonic equivalent of being locked in a washing machine while trying to swallow an angle grinder.

Don’t touch this with a ten-foot pole: Yield to Naught

affinity2) Haken – Affinity

You know ho
w Dream Theater is arguably the worst thing to ever happen to metal? Well, it turns out that adding a guy who can actually sing and a bunch of guys who actually know how to write songs still gives you a pile of ostentatious nonsense! Who would have thought!? I mean, is it still really necessary to write songs over 15 minutes? Especially if you’re just going to change genres 15 times throughout? And, honestly, what in the world did 4/4 ever do to you for you to abandon it with such aplomb? Why can’t we have more James Hetfields and fewer Steven Wilsons?

15 minutes of your life you’ll never get back: The Architect

Epica - The Holographic Principle - Artwork1) Epica –
The Holographic Principle

Here it is, the crème-de-la-crème of everything that is wrong with metal—nay, all music—today. Why exactly did a band that is so clearly influenced by Death decide to employ a female mezzo-soprano? And if you are going to have such an impressive singer, why is she trading off with some massive choir the whole time? And why am I being bombarded by the soundtrack to Star Wars Episode 12 while all this is going on? AND there’s shredding and blast beats? Wait, and there’s growls as well? God, are you a choir, a symphony, a film score, or a metal band? Actually, scrub that last one, you are clearly not that. I give up.

Burn all of this to the ground: Ascension ~ Dream State Armageddon


Sam Maher is Metal Obsession's resident prog reviewer. He only likes songs that are at least 15 minutes long, contain 4 guitar solos and can only be described with a genre that is at least six words long. He also plays guitar for Sydney-based groovy melodic progressive technical death metal band Apparitions of Null.