In no particular order; changing tastes and all that.
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The title track alone is epic: Ulver, Vintersorg and Lazare on the same song? Nothing truly groundbreaking here, just more solid epic progressive metal.
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Fleshgod have truly come into their own with this release. A more polished production and more refined songwriting and tasteful employment of the orchestral flair really came together to make a solid record.
Textures – Phenotype
It has been said that Textures are part of the original “djent” movement, and I can see where that may be true, but they are so much more than downtuned guitars and intermixed clean/growled vocals. Daniël de Jongh has honed his craft since his time in Cilice and Dualism, and it comes through on this album.
Obscura – Akróasis
Despite lineup changes that perhaps may have been a positive step, considering they acquired Panzerballett drum phenom Sebastian Lanser who flexes his tech death muscles here alongside crisp production and focused songwriting.
Novembre – URSA
After somewhat of a hiatus, these Italian melodic/atmospheric metal masters return with an enjoyable slab of darkness, albeit with only one founding member remaining.
Aborted – Retrogore
These guys just keep getting better. I don’t believe that Ken Bedene is not part robot after listening through his blisteringly technical drum parts.
Fallujah – Dreamless
Thankfully the wall of sound has since been dismantled after the highly divisive The Flesh Prevails. True to form, Fallujah released a floating dream-like mix of tech death and meandering guitar/synth passages, complemented by the requisite gutteral vocal stylings.
Ihsahn – Arktis
The man who needs only one name. With Leprous backing him up, the former Emperor front man once again shines in his diversity and consummate musicianship, even throwing in a goth-synth track which is catchy as hell and not at all embarrassing to enjoy because damnit, it’s Ihsahn.
Stam1na – Elokuutio
Growing to be one of my favorite Stam1na records, the group seems to really be finding their groove, keeping the trademark catchy chorus elements while mixing thrash and progressive metal styling. I don’t even mind that I can’t understand their lyrics, as they are almost entirely in Finnish, but the music and vocal delivery itself transcends the need for lyrical comprehension in this case.
- Megadeth – Dystopia – A return to form of sorts for Mustaine and Ellefson, joined by Angra’s Kiko Loureiro on guitar and Lamb of God’s Chris Adler manning the drums.
- Dream Theater – The Astonishing – Although the musical content really never grabbed me as much as some of their previous offerings, kudos to them for throwing a 34-track conceptual rock opera at us.
- Leprous – The Congregation – Although not a 2016 release, I am still captivated by the band’s progression through incorporating pop sensibilities into their frantic mix of avantgarde prog metal.
-Waiting patiently for Gojira to release Magma-