Metal fans have plenty to be excited about in 2016. Megadeth and Anthrax are both touring in support of highly anticipated new releases; Between the Buried and Me headlines a guitar virtuoso showcase in the US with August Burns Red and The Faceless and the Summer Slaughter Tour is already asking fans who they want to see this summer. With so many killer developments under way in the metal scene, who are the bands that could define 2016 when we reflect a year from now?
Black Crown Initiate
The Wreckage of Stars is among the most imaginative releases in the last half-decade of metal, so Black Crown Initiate is set to go full supernova with their 2016 follow up. This band has tapped into a seemingly unlimited pool of compelling songwriting, there are probably more unused, amazing Black Crown Initiate riffs than crumbs in Andy Thomas’ beard. Possibilities are wide open for their melodic take on progressive death metal so this release will be one to watch in 2016.
World Be Free
If there’s one writing strategy that works well for hardcore bands, it’s finding a specific sound and then never straying too far from that style. It’s not so much because hardcore is inflexible but because it is rooted in tradition. World Be Free seeks to make their mark in 2016 by combining the voice of post-2000 hardcore with the sound of hardcore in the late 80s. Terror’s Scott Vogel fronts the project with Andrew Kline of Strife and Sammy Siegler from Judge, CIV and Rival Schools. It sounds exactly like a mix of all the above names. Expect to hear more as generations unite for World Be Free.
Considering how much goes into production of a single Fleshgod Apocalypse CD – from the frenetic death metal on their “normal” instruments to lifelike digital orchestration of brass and strings – it’s hard to believe that Fleshgod Apocalypse ever flies under the radar. Still, fans get a new album every few years, each one with a bigger, more immersive sound than the last. If you think hoverboards are the peak of human innovation, consider the Fleshgod Apocalypse orchestra is just two guys, a keyboard and a computer (https://youtu.be/rRGxJnJYffw).
Carnifex established their name at the brief height of the deathcore genre in the mid 2000s and have persisted in spite of that label ever since. People who disregard Carnifex as a deathcore band have missed some truly evil, crushing death metal albums like their 2014 effort Die Without Hope. Yes, there are breakdowns and blast beats. Yes, there are angsty lyrics and yes, you can expect to see Carnifex with angsty teenagers but that should not keep you from banging your head to “Condemned to Decay” nor should it stop full extension of your metal claw during the chorus of “Where the Light Dies.” 2016 might be the year the rest of the metal scene gets over deathcore and embraces Carnifex.
Of all the expected releases in 2016, Gojira seems like an odd choice as a “breakout” artist. They’re certainly not obscure by metal standards, at least not considering news coverage of a short teaser with no official title or date. Gojira has already confirmed appearances on three major European festivals this year, they could be one badass prog metal album away from Meshuggah status or even that of Mastodon.