Jake Oni and Brandon White, Oni
In no particular order:
[Jake] Meshuggah, The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast)
The whole band is sick on this album. Show me a better metal album recorded live and I will be very surprised.
[Brandon] Protest The Hero, Pacific Myth (Razor & Tie)
I’ve been a longtime fan and this album really showed how much the band has grown in the last few years. It’s an incredible album with hidden intricacies and insane riffs and is structured beautifully.
[Jake] Periphery, III: Select Difficulty (Sumerian)
This album represents everything I love about the band. Overall, it’s just a great album
[Brandon] Architects (UK) – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (Epitaph)
This album really portrays raw emotion both lyrically and musically. Through every note on this album I can feel how much the band put into their music. It’s so heavy with such great hooks!
[Jake] Lamb of God, The Duke (Epic)
It’s great when a band that’s been around for a while tries something different and it’s really working for them. I really like the direction the band is going.
[Brandon] Babymetal, Metal Resistance (Red)
I have liked this band since the first time I heard “Gimme Chocolat!” Metal Resistance still has the pop hooks and has even heavier riffs. It’s such a cool mix of music.
[Jake] Mammoth, Deviations (self)
– To me, this is the finest example of rock prog fusion out there.
[Brandon] Animals As Leaders, The Madness Of Many (Sumerian)
My favorite thing about AAL is their sense of rhythm. This album portrays the maturity of their music rhythmically and the solos and note choice in the melodies really captured my ear.
[Jake] Carbomb, Meta (Relapse)
I love them dirty chugs.
[Jake] Megadeth, Dystopia (Tradecraft/uME)
You have to appreciate that after all these years, Megadeth is still relevant in the metal world. To be crushing albums at this point in their career is a testament to Dave Mustaine’s badassery.
Chris “OJ” Ojeda, Byzantine
Alphabetical Order as I could NOT rank some of these above each other!
Allegaeon, Proponent For Sentience (Metal Blade)
This album sees Allegaeon take the necessary steps towards establishing themselves as top tier tech kings. The small addition of even more unique guitar styles (flamenco, classical, etc) and ringer vocalist Riley McShane make this my favorite Allegaeon album ever, with ‘Formshifter’ coming in at a close 2nd. Congrats boys, this album makes me proud to know you.
Anthrax, For All Kings (Megaforce)
For a year when my Big 4 (Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament) all release albums, Anthrax are the only band to make the list. Joey Belladonna wins MPV for this album as well. Supremely solid outing. Riffs are hard and songs are well crafted. My only gripe is the mastering house needs fired for getting the song sequencing wrong. How does that happen on such a big album?
Black Crown Initiate, Selves We Cannot Forgive (eOne)
BCI only took two albums before putting a stamp on their brand of brutally emotional heavy metal. This album is push play from start to finish. Fantastic lead work and mesmerizing jazz interplay between the drums and bass anchoring this monster album. This is an album I envy.
Candiria, While They Were Sleeping (Metal Blade)
Coming out of retirement with more swing and swagger than ever before. They groove differently than any other band on earth and with Carly Coma singing more than ever before, Candiria now crushes with even more soul.
Devin Townsend Project, Transcendence (InsideOut)
Brilliant production. Huge expansive song structures and majestic vocals. DTP delivers once again. Can we all agree now that Devin is an alien sent to save us from ourselves?!
Despite one or two missteps on this album, Gojira crush it again, but this time around their anger is spiked with more melancholy. This album is an awesome yet depressing ride and I can’t stop listening to it.
Katatonia, The Fall of Hearts (Peaceville)
My top album of 2016! Katatonia is once again absolutely brilliant. The production is perfect and they are breathtaking in their heavy solemness.
Opeth, Sorceress (Nuclear Blast)
Continuing their path of time warp, this album is the final knockout blow for a band morphing from one of the best death metal bands in history to one of the best prog rock bands in history. Most people don’t like the change but change is good, and ‘Sorceress’ is damn good.
Prong, X No Absolutes (Steamhammer/SPV)
The production is dry and in your face. Tommy Victor bangs out killer riff after killer riff. This album fits perfectly alongside the ‘Beg To Differ’/’Prove You Wrong’/’Cleansing’ era of Prong. Prong fucking rules!
The Pineapple Thief, Your Wilderness (KScope)
Thanks to Kris Combs from Iris Divine for turning me onto Pineapple Thief. I have segued my undying love for Porcupine Tree perfectly into Pineapple Thief. The songs, the feelings, the stellar musicianship. It’s all there. This album makes me smile, a lot!
Runner – Ups:
Meshuggah, The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast)
Killswitch Engage, Incarnate (Roadrunner)
Soilwork, Death Resonance (Nuclear Blast)
Anciients, Voice of the Void (Season of Mist)
Oceans of Slumber, Winter (Century Media)
Aaron Harris (Palms/ISIS)
Doug Sherman, Gozu
10) Discharge, End of Days (Nuclear Blast)
Discharge has paved the way for thrash, HC and metal since ’77. And in 2016, they deliver an album that kicks your teeth down your throat and rips your spinal column out. All bands should follow in their path.
9) Megadeth, Dystopia (Tradecraft/UME)
This is the most focused I’ve seen Megadeth since ‘Holy Wars’. They appear to finally gel on vinyl after endless personnel changes. ‘Dystopia’ is chock full of classic Mustaine snarls, riffs and grunts….not to mention the fluid shredding of Kiko Lourieo.
8) Candiria, While They Were Sleeping (Metal Blade)
The legendary Candiria are back with their strongest album to date. They continuously challenge their fans with complex arrangements and continue to push boundaries of metal and hardcore. One of my faves for sure.
7) Kvelertak, Nattesferd (Roadrunner)
The Norwegian juggernaut Kvelertak dropped another ear-worm of an album with Nattesferd. A mixture of punk, rock and pop….these guys are the AC/DC of Norway and always deliver the goods. Nattesferd is volcanic, blistering and bombastic. After listening to this album, you’re left feeling as if you’ve just finished up a power yoga class in Park Slope only to be jumped outside the subway by The Baseball Furies.
6) Anthrax, For All Kings (Megaforce)
This album came as a surprise for me. Jam packed with super melodic choruses, great riffs and tasty arrangements. It’s more of a mid tempo Anthrax which quite honestly I dig a bunch. Plus that “Blood Eagle Wings” video is pure grime. Heavy indeed.
5) Death Grips, Bottomless Pit (Harvest)
Death Grips doesn’t like you. Buy this album, and proceed to file a restraining order on it. Thank me later. Zach Hill is God.
4) Meshuggah, The Violent Sleep of Reason (Nuclear Blast)
You like your riffs crushing with a hint of shifting accents, polyrhythm and a splash of polymetered riff patterns? Yes? Cool well Meshuggah are the reigning kings and this album is face ripping. Git sum!
3) Zeal and Ardor, Devil is Fine (self)
Self proclaimed “American Slave and Black Metal”. What happens when you mix spiritual blues and metal? This. On paper this shouldn’t work but what happens is a refreshing album full of just about everything you thought would never exist. Son House meets Alistair Crowley. File under: “Lucifer has the Blues”
2) Boris/Merzbow, Gensho (Daymare Recordings)
The masters of noise and riffs laden metal are back with another masterpiece consisting over 150 min of music (2cds or 4LPs), both cd’s are designed to be played simultaneously for “total aural annihilation”… it’s worth the trip.
From start to finish this album throws the kitchen sink at your tiny ear holes! Clocking in at 32min this was meant to be heard in one sitting. As Luc Lemay states “As our EP ‘Pleiades’ Dust’ consists out of a single long narrative composition, it was not written with the intention of being edited in segments. As the storyline proceeds in chapters though, I was able to isolate this part called ‘Wandering Times’ which will give the listener a good idea of the composition aesthetics which are present throughout the whole piece.” A must have. Just outstanding.