It’s December, which means that, for the most part, the year in music is over. Almost everything that’s going to come out has already, as the music industry focuses on the holiday shopping rush by pushing everything that’s come out in the first 11 months of the year. It’s also a good time to take stock of what has come out so far this year, and while you’ll be getting our picks in due time, we wanted to first turn things over to some of the people making that music. To that end, here Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum’s Markus Vanhala, Fallujah’s Alex Hoffmann, Dallas Thomas of Pelican and The Swan King, and Alex Sorceron of Lord Mantis and Abigail Williams. Stay tuned throughout the week as we continue to bring you more artists’ picks for the year.
Markus Vanhala of Insomnium/Omnium Gatherum
1) Anathema, Distant Satellites
Anathema does it again, always creating something new but still having the own amazing Anathema trademark and feel included! Always been my favorite band, no matter what style they’ll do. The Anathema style just rules!
2) At The Gates, At War With Reality
19 years of waiting and it really continues where ‘Slaughter…’ left. Wheel isn’t reinvented and that’s only a good thing here! Just saw ’em live, and Tompa Lindberg’s hysteric voice works out still, and the whole band (and definitely the audience) were on fire!
3) Stam1na, SLK
Best kept Finnish secret, and we even tried to break that as we took the booyas to Europe with Insomnium on our latest tour! Awesome band, and with SLK, they do their heaviest run yet! Here’s a band with their really own thing going on too!
4) Opeth, Pale Communion
Opeth continues the hippie prog paths, but this is a whole lot better album as a whole and production-wise than Heritage. It feels like real 70’s, naturally not forced.
5) Arch Enemy, War Eternal
Arch Enemy did their best album and best song-writing since ages. Album full of really great metal anthems and guitar work like they never did before! Alissa White-Gluz rules and raises the band to the next level, both musically and live-ly!
6) Nightingale, Retribution
I love everything Dan Swanö does since I was a kid– the mystery master of melody and the warmest vocal tone ever heard (both clean & growling)! I’m happy sir Swanö is back on track on the writing mode both with Witherscape and Nightingale. Here’s a good ol’ AOR vibe on this album!
7) Haunted, Exit Wounds
Lots of “nice that they’re back on track” -albums on my list, but this Haunted comeback album too really surprised me. Marco’s back, Adrian is back and the good ol’ metal thrashing mad style is back and NO progressive clean vox anymore. Just death thrash like only Haunted can do!
8) Vallenfyre, Splinters
I didn’t expect Greg MacIntosh to do another Vallenfyre album, but this is great! A so brutally violent soundscape, and really good dirty old school death metal coming from the sewers!
9) Ghost Brigade, IV One With The Storm
Finnish masters of melancholy having their touch of originality. A much better album than the lame 3rd one after the classic 2nd one ‘Isolation Songs’ that set the bar to the heavens high!
10) Pink Floyd, Endless River
A lil bit of a weird release, but it is still Pink fucking Floyd so I definitely love everything they do, haha!
Alex Hoffmann of Fallujah
1) Tomas Barfod, Love Me
2) SBTRKT, Wonder Where We Land
3) FKA Twigs, LP 1, “Two Weeks”
4) Submotion Orchestra, Alium
5) Devin Townsend Project, Skyblue
6) Lana del Rey, Ultraviolence
7) Whirr, Sway
8) Flight Facilities, Down to Earth
9) Jon Porras, Light Divide
10) Expire, Pretty Low
Dallas Thomas of Pelican, The Swan King
1) Godflesh, A World Only Lit By Fire
2) Midnight, No Mercy For Mayhem
3) Wovenhand, Refractory Obdurate
4) Sharon Van Etten, Are We There?
5) Lecherous Gaze, Zeta Reticuli Blues
6) Swans, To Be Kind?
7) Scott Walker/Sunn 0))), Soused
8) Goat, Commune
9) Tombs, Savage Gold
10) Mutoid Man, Helium Head
Ken Sorceron of Lord Mantis/Abigail Williams
1) Murmur. Murmur
2) Indian, From All Purity
3) Winterfylleth, The Divination of Antiquity
4) Alraune, The Process of Self-Immolation
5) Thou, Heathen
6) Twilight, Beneath Trident’s Tomb
7) Botanist, VI: Flora
8) Krieg, Transient
9) Yob, Clearing The Path to Ascend
10) Wolvhammer, Clawing into Black Sun