Sunday, January 1, 2017

Mike Jacques's 2016 Album Picks

2016: The year of the new Metallica record. Let's just get that out of the way...
I like the record. Grownman's review was pretty spot on. There's not much more to say about that.

These will be in no particular order as I'm just typing on a whim and then going back to check for grammar and spelling mistakes. It's how I do things. You wanna fight about it?

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Zao - The Well-Intentioned Virus
Their first record since 2009's Awake but they haven't lost their touch. Chunky, slow guitar riffs and dissonant lead guitars make this a metal record you could mosh to but just as easily put on the background to chill out with.

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Norma Jean - Polar Similar
The "Almighty" Norma Jean follow-up 2013's Wrongdoers with a powerhouse of a record. Loud and chaotic, then Cory Brendan comes in with super catchy, Deftones-style choruses. This might be my second favorite Norma Jean record, topped only by Oh God, the Aftermath.

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Despised Icon - Beast

After splitting up in 2010, the band decided to play reunion shows for the 10 year anniversary of their record The Healing Process. While on tour, the band apparently got the itch to write new material because they re-signed with Nuclear Blast Records and dropped Beast in July 2016. The name describes the record perfectly. Fast, heavy, groovy, and brutal. The band hasn't lost their touch, keeping their original sound intact. On a side note, Alex Grind is one of the best drummers in metal.

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Death I Am - Self-titled

Hopefully you read about these guys in my previous post "Jacques on Japanese Metal".
A couple of line-up changes and 6 years since their last record, Death I Am deliver another dark and moody metal record while remaining heavy and melodic. They make singing about science and psychadelia sound so brutal.

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Carbomb - Meta

One of my favorite bands released a record that was produced by a member of one of my favorite bands?! That's right, Joseph Duplantier, the guitarist and voice of the band Gojira produced this record. I was grinning ear-to-ear the first time I listened to this record. I don't want to spoil anything so I suggest that you take the time and listen for yourself.

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After the Burial - Dig Deep

Another solid release from After the Burial. I've been a fan since 2008's Rareform. A djent record with fast, bouncy riffs and solid breakdowns. This is not their best record but even their worst record is better than most djent records out today. This record is an evolution of their sound while still retaining some of the original aspects of their earlier work.

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Revocation - Great is Our Sin

"F**king hell" is all I can say while listening to these guys. Technical Death Metal fused with thrash. These guys are absolutely phenomenal. This record finds ex-3 Inches of Blood drummer, Ash Pearson, joining the band and fitting in seamlessly. This record doesn't let up. Switching between fast and heavy, then slow and groovy effortlessly and choruses that sound like Mastodon being played at double speed makes this record an absolute joy to listen to.

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Gojira - Magma

A dark and atmospheric record that you can sit back and enjoy. This record was written after the passing of the Duplantier brother's mom. The brother's have said that this greatly affected the lyrics and the mood of the record. This is by far their most unique record to date with the songs being shorter and more straight forward. "Silvera" is the only song on the record that resembles their older material.

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Ion Dissonance - Cast the First Stone

Just like Despised Icon, these fellow Quebec-ians took 6 years to release another record but for completely different reasons. This record shows the band moving back towards their original, more chaotic sound from 2005's Solace while continuing to pull elements from their more recent Minus the Herd and Cursed.

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Nightmarer - Chasm EP

When ex-members of Gigan and War From a Harlots Mouth form a band, you better hold on to your pants kids. This album is a whirlwind brutal riffs and blast beats but manages to stay groovy, and then, like someone flipped a switch, you're listening to someone playing guitar chords slowed down and in reverse. Definitely a unique listen and a hidden gem in the genre.

Honorable Mentions
Everytime I Die - Low Teens
Allegaeon - Proponent For Sentience
Babymetal - Metal Resistance (don't judge me)
Doom - Official Game Soundtrack
Dance With the Dead - The Shape
The Levitated - Blame EP
Destroy the Runner - Void EP
Wintersun - Time II (just kidding, this will never happen)

"Bree Bree"

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