It’s the thing most publications struggle with compiling every year yet we remain eager to do so. A task for some that results in lack of sleep, the listening of records again for the X hundredth time just to try and find something that sets itself apart from the next record which is just as good. The struggle is real folks, but we tried.
Over the course we grew our revivalmusic.co.uk team slightly and so this may not represent everyone’s lists for this year. As time goes on, we will have the team state their lists, but for now we will go with some of the obvious ones for this year, a year that has been so good for music that a top 10 list will never be agreed upon.
The only questions we now ask ourselves as we move ahead is, how will 2017 pan out given the sheer amount of good stuff that came out this year? Only time will tell. For now, here’s the editors top choices!
10 - Sodom - Decision Day
One that feels as if it was overlooked by many outside of the die hard thrash metal community, Sodom returned this year with their blistering fifteenth (you read that right) studio album ‘Decision Day’ whose tracks stormed confidently from start to finish. The German thrash metal masters showed absolutely no sign of letting up all these years later with a sound as punishing as ever showing that Thrash metal can still be done right even in todays world that has many bands still trying but failing. If you haven’t listened to this one yet, or didn’t even know that Sodom were still putting out new music, you should check this out. Thrash fans rejoice. Sodom are keeping the scene alive and true just like they always have and always will.
9 - Sibiir - Sibiir
A latecomer to our records of the year. We only just discovered Sibiir in the final weeks of 2016 and are we glad we did. The band managers to do an absolutely stunning job of fusing a whole heap of genres without sounding horribly disjointed like a lot of bands do. Fans of modern metal, black metal, death metal, hardcore and just generally good aggressive crusty sounding music will enjoy this a lot. As far as debuts go, this is as solid as they come and is firmly set right at the very top of our ones to watch in 2017 list if ever we actually had one!
8 - Testament - Brotherhood of The Snake
As if we wouldn’t have included this record from thrash legends Testament. Most people walked into this record with a little anxiety. Would Testament, our favorite godfathers of thrash deliver all these years later? Luckily right from the get go this hit us hard and did not let up once. From the moment the self title track kicks in you know this album was appraoched with the "go hard or go home". The world needs more good modern thrash and this might just be the start of a revival the scene needs badly.
7 - Mono - Requiem for Hell
Mono did it all in 2016 and by god did they blow us away in the making. One of the highlights of the year was their Brutal Assault 2016 headlining set in the dead of night in front of an incredibly packed crowd all trying to get their view of them. It was only right that after all the successes of the year the band gave us new music. ‘Requiem For Hell’ builds upon that momentum the band have been riding on for the past few years and is a continuation of the signature mono sound we have all grown to know and love. Its exactly what you expect it to be as a Mono fan. For those walking into it having never heard them before, we couldn’t recommend a better place to start!
6 - Darkher –Realms
One of the hardest working bands of 2016 saw the release of ‘realms’ which is darkness personified. There is something so haunting and almost ghostly about these songs. At times it’s a whirlwind of guitars that are as heavy as heavy gets, yet other times there is something so fragile about it all. The live experience of these songs is also something truly special. The band played show after show last year including a support slot with SubRosa where we were blown away (go check out our review and photos) The moment we heard the album, we knew that it would make it to this list.
5 - The Infernal Sea - The Great Mortality
UK Black metal at its absolute finest. This plague infested quartet hailing from the depths of East Anglia (who’d have thought it!) stormed their way to a recent signing with legendary label Cacophonous Records who have bene home to some even more legendary acts within the Black Metal scene and its all thanks to their debut full length album ‘The Great Mortality’ which is made up of eight of the most vicious and pissed off sounding 8 tracks you’ve probably heard from that particular scene in quite some time. If you’re not convinced, just check out the mammoth that is ‘The Bearer’ on Spotify right now, if you’re not convinced after that, there is no hope for you.
4 - Downfall Of Gaia - Atrophy
Metal Blade records play host to yet another stellar Black Metal album that lands within our top ten. This time Downfall Of Gaia who returned in 2016 with their second album ‘Atrophy’ which brings some dark and gritty sounds through our speakers. It’s the type of black metal that isn’t so polished production wise. The atmospheric darkness and moments of melody really gets the heart beating fast at times and its hard to put down. Its definitely one of those records that has you wanting more.
3 - Deftones – Gore
It was one of those albums that divided opinions massively. The Marmite of 2016 metal music. Deftones made their return with ‘Gore’. Some people loved it, some people really did not. Regardless, it became fairly high up on our list as a modern masterpiece from a band not afraid to push their own creative boundaries and give in to the pressures of those wanting another ‘Around The Fur’ or ‘Diamond Eyes’. The thing we love about this album is its ability to go from raw, energetic and aggressive to dark, beautiful and perfectly written music ‘Prayers/Triangles’ and ‘Phantom Bride’ are both up there as some of the best songs in the vast back catalogue of Deftones.
2- Oathbreaker – Rheia
One of the hardest decisions for us was deciding the number 1 & 2 spot on this very list. Two albums in particular have grabbed metal fans around the world by the balls and have refused to let go to the bitter end. Its now 2017 and we still haven’t finished listening to them. One of those albums is ‘Rheia’ from Belgian metal masters Oathbreaker who have released their finest work to this day. Its an album that sounds as if it has come straight from the depths of hell with their music that ranges from vicious to dark and despair all while maintaining its musicality which all things considered is of immense beauty. Music in our opinion does not get any better than this in 2016 which is quite a statement. If you don’t believe us, watch this video from start to finish.
1 - Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner
In what can only be described as a religious experience, this album hits it out of the park every time and continues to every day. Most UK folks were lucky to catch an exclusive live play through of this album in full at the 2016 edition of Damnation Festival where pretty much all in attendance were mesmerized and left speechless after witnessing such a special event. Cult Of Luna nail their crushing sound while Julie Christmas add her own tantalizing vocal flair to the mix and it just works so well. This musical masterpiece is heavy, melodic and emotional and will continue to be played for many years, no doubt about It.