A look back at 2016 with a little help from our friends. Enjoy top lists from Blow The Scene staffers, and lists by artists, promoters, members of Grin And Bear It, Artificial Brain, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sick/Tired, Yautja, His Hero Is Gone, Coke Bust, Backslider, Organ Dealer, Ken Mode, Forest Of Tygers, Catharsis, Putrisect and more!
Joshua Cohen – Editor-In-Chief at Blowthescene.com, drums at Die Choking, Cop Problem
1. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
2. Anderson .Paak – Malibu
3. Trap Them – Crown Feral
4. Weekend Nachos – Apology
5. Shitstorm – Split with Radiation
6. Erykah Badu – Can’t Use My Phone Mixtape LP
7. War Master – MMXVI Japan Tour EP
8. Wormrot – Voices
9. Sick/Tired | Triac Split
10. Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.
11. Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution
12. Gadget – The Great Destroyer
13. HIRS – Every Day Is Trans Day Of Vengeance 4 song for comp
14. Every Time I Die – Low Teens
15. Oathbreaker – Rheia
16. Blood Pressure – Need To Control LP
17. Perturbator – Uncanny Valley
18. Fucking Invincible / Lifespite Split
19, Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
20. Rotten Sound – Abuse To Suffer
21. Old Lines – To Build A Fire EP
22. Chepang – Lathi Charge EP
23. Caveman Cult – Savage War is Destiny
24. Martyrdod – List
25. Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
26. Vermin Womb – Decline
27. Full Of Hell / Nails split
28. Sumac – What One Becomes
29. Multicult – Position Remote
30. Gorguts – Pleiades Dust
31. A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from here…Thank you for your service
32. Backslider – Motherfucker
33. Surgeon – Beast of Light
34. Drones For Queens – Unwavering Servant
35. Funeral Chic – Hatred Swarm
36. Knife Hits – Eris
37. Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows
38. Implore – Thanatos EP
39. Call Of The Void – AYFKM
40. Sentient Horror – Ungodly Forms
Jim and Rachel of Forest Of Tygers
Top 10 Recordings of 2016
Ustalost – Spoor of Vipers
Anicon – Exegeses
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
The Body – No One Deserves Happiness
Pyrolatrous – EP
Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
John Carpenter – Lost Themes II
Sumac – What One Becomes
Tombs – All Empires Fall EP
Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows
Liam Wilson (Bass at The Dillinger Escape Plan)
David Bowie – Black Star
Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows
Deathspell Omega – Bones
Yussef Kamal – Black Focus
Tribulation – Melancholia EP
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth
Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree
Anderson Paak – Malibu
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
KIRK SYREK – SICK/TIRED – Top 10 of 2016
As usual I will not include any reissues in my top 10 list. This year was much better for the new crop of Hardcore as Ive thought the last few years have been unbelievably generic, but Metal once again dominates my list and continues to be much more interesting.
CAVEMAN CULT – “Savage War is Destiny” 12″ – Larval Productions
CC bring us some of the finest War Metal Ive heard in years. An unrelenting pounding barrage of devastation has been unleashed on this new album straight from the fucking grave. A whirlwind of ferocious mass destruction bringing to mind the almighty BLASPHEMY. This is a certified ripper of the highest order. Unfortunately I missed their Chicago gig because SICK/TIRED was playing with TERRORIZER the same night. Hope to see them live in 2017 somehow.
VERMIN WOMB – “Decline” 12″ – Translation Loss Records
Possibly my favorite release of 2016, Ive not heard vocals this tortured and brutal in a very long time. Vermin Womb is absolutely pulverizing in the best way. While mostly brutal grind, there are some sludgy moments in the mix as well. I love how this was recorded as its just polished enough to add clarity but it still remains raw. Outstanding.
TEITANBLOOD – “Accursed Skin” 12″ – Ajna Offensive
While everyone is geeking out about bands like GATECRASHER, these Blacked Death Metal warriors from Spain sneak into 2016 by dropping this new 12″ ep just a few weeks ago. Riff after riff this release stomps along. Simply filthy and soaked in blood this 2 song ep clocks in at just over 26 minutes of horrific Death Metal madness.
GREEN BERET – “Standing at the Mouth of Hell” 12″ – Side Two Records
A perfectly executed example of classic US Hardcore that most bands try to emulate and FAIL at these days. Green Beret brings to mind the best elements of JERRYS KIDS & FUs with some D-beat thrown in the mix as well as a more modern take on what DEATHREAT (the Memphis one) was known for. Flawless album get this at all cost.
THE REPOS – “Poser” 12″ – Youth Attack
Finally a new LP from these long time legends surfaced this year and it did not disappoint. Known for their lo fi recording and straightforward no frills non-metallic Hardcore, this release is a bit more polished then previous material, but in the best way. Ive never really known if The Repos are a “Midwest thing” or if the rest of the world reveres them like we do in these parts, but they continue to be the unrelenting kings of US Hardcore.
SEA OF SHIT – 7″ ep – Nerve Altar
Somehow after constant line up changes this band continues to get better with every single release. This new 7″ is in fact their best material to date and with yet a 4th line up shift. More straightforward, stripped down, and relentless than the previous material on their split 12″ with SICK/TIRED (also released in 2016), this ep is the world heavyweight champion in a virtual ocean of Powerviolence copycats.
INQUISITION – “Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar…” 12″ – Season of Mist
Possibly the best “traditional” Black Metal band playing live right now, Inquisition releases their next chapter of evil upon us carrying the banner that IMMORTAL raised over 20 years ago. I’m still not sure how 2 guys can sound this heavy in a live setting and it is mind blowing really. This new album keeps to their formula and although I would not recommended it to anyone just now discovering Inquisition, long time fans of the band will be beyond stoked with this release.
CHEW – Demo Cassette
Fucking rad Hardcore Punk from Chicago that reminds me of those twisted, damaged, Toxic State bands without copying them and relying on trying to be “weird”or ripping off RUDI PENI. Saw them twice last year and they are even better live. Stoked to see more from Chew in the future.
SHITSTORM/RADIATION – split 7″ – RSR Records
A pounding split of unhinged Grindcore from both bands. Shitstorm continues with their brand of straightforward fast Grind banging out 7 songs in under 3 minutes with stop/start on the dime tempo changes and crucial blasting. Radiation however is really the diamond in the rough here. A still somehow virtually unknown band from Florida hits hard with 5 unhinged noisy blasts they remind me a lot of RUPTURE.
LOWHANGERS – “Ulterior Motives” – Demo Cassette
Self released tape by this new Chicago band I look forward to a proper release from them in the future. Hopefully an LP and not a 7″ as they most certainly could be an LP band if they take their time and do things right. This would fall under the category of noise rock I suppose but there are definitely some elements of raw, mid paced Hardcore Punk thrown in. Tortured vocals round this out to be a top notch demo by an exciting new band. Get this if you can find it.
Runners up that could be on my list but I gotta stop somewhere: Crazy Spirit, Concussive, Wound Man, Deterioration, Pizza Hi Five, Staring Problem, Rash, & Triac
Jackson Wasteland (drums at Putrisect)
Interment – Scent of the Buried
Vermin Womb – Decline
Old Lines – To Build A Fire S/T 7″
Krypts – Remnants Of Expansion
Triage – Power Beat
Scorched – Echoes of Dismemberment
Stranger Things – Vol. 1 Soundtrack
Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom
Grave Miasma – Endless Pilgrimage
Gruesome – Dimensions of Horror
in no particular order:
Conan – Revengance
Harm Done – Abuse / Abused
G.L.O.S.S. – Trans Day of Revenge
Bad Friends – EP
Sect – Sect
HIRS – Every Day is Trans Day of Vengeance
Mar – Trust in Nothing
Soul Glo –Untitled LP
Crematory Stench – Crematory Stench
Fórn – Ambitions Toward Nothingness
Jesse Matthewson of Ken Mode
White Lung – Paradise
Bunuel – A Resting Place For Strangers
Pill – “Convenience”
Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion Side B
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate
Aeges – Weightless
Stickers – Joy
Greys – Outer Heaven
Mint Julep – Broken Devotion
Shearwater – Jet Plane And Oxbow
Anne Spina (Anne Spina Photo & BTS Photographer)
In no particular order..
Angel Du$t/ Rock The Fuck On Forever
Nothing/ Tired of Tomorrow
Year Of The Knife/ Overgrowth
New Harmony/ Demo
Ten Ton Hmnmer/ Always Empty
King Ly Chee/ Be Water
Eaten Alive/ Demo
Cold Cave/ The Idea of Love
Thomas Schlatter (NY in 64, Capacities, Black Kites)
Drei Affen – S/T
Youth Funeral– Heavenward
Gouge Away– Dies
Soul Glo– S/T
Daughter– Not To Disappear
Great Reversals– Mere Mortals
HIRS– You Can’t Kill Us
Coma Reglia– There’s Still Time
Suis La Lune / Shirokuma– split LP
Our Lady– Lure
Au Revoir– Velves
Amygdala– Population Control
Death Vacation– Bones Grow Cold
Massa Nera– No Estamos Separados
Ruined Families– Education
Jonathan Locastro (guitar at Artificial Brain)
1 Bowie– Blackstar
2 Deathspell –Synarchy of molten bones
3 Meshuggah– The Violent sleep of reason
4 Gorguts – Pleiades dust
5 Dysrhythmia– The Veil of control
6 Virus– Memento Collider
7 UlVer– ATGCLVLSSCAP
8 Kayo Dot– Plastic house on base of sky
9 Zhrine– unortheta
10 Revocation– Great is our Sin
11 Aphex Twin– Cheetah
12 Kenmode– Nerve
1. Blood Incantation – Starspawn
2. Krypts – Remnants of Expansion
3. Zhrine – Unortheta
4. Predatory Light – S/T
5. Asphyx – Incoming Death
6. Urzeit – Anmoksha
7. Rotten Sound – Abuse To Suffer
8. Vanhelgd – Temple of Phobos
9. Skaphe – Skaphe2
10. Tombstalker – Black Crusades
Tom Close (drums at Mister Lizard [UK])
Effortless Charm – Nitkowski (London, UK); probably the best band the UK has to offer. This is their third studio offering, and the first with the addition of a keyboard/noise machine. Music made by some of the most miserable people I’ve ever met. Noisey, technical, and dark. Drummers I’d strongly suggest this album!
Si No Olvido Bien – Picore (Aragon, Spain + Brighton, UK); again one for the drummers, super slick music. This is what happens when musicians have a their own technique as individuals but pull it together properly.
Heavenward – Youth Funeral (New Hampshire/Massachusetts, US); This band seem to just do it good everytime. This album reminds me a lot of Jeromes Dream, which is never a bad thing.
ii – Boak (Aberdeen, Scotland); always political, top-quality fast music. The recording sounds particularly HUGE.
A Self-help Tragedy – Doomsday Student (Providence, US); ultimate, dischordant, noise rock. Disgusting linear beats that make everything feel uncomfortable ARE THE BEST.
Cwtch – Molasses (Cambridge, UK); Ultra technical noise rock. Perfectly tips the balance of being noodly and riffy.
Multicult – Position Remote
I will start by saying, I am very under-educated in the world of noise rock, I like a handful of bands and probably need to be exposed to more. But no matter what the fuck you want to call it, this Multicult record is incredible. It’s all about the stellar rhythm section in this band, the bass and drums lock in for a sonic pummeling that makes me feel like the Jesus Lizard and Unsane might have to make their respective comebacks to hold their thrones at the top of the game.
Uranium Club – Human Exploration
When punks of today finally fall in love with Devo it’s often a glorious thing, but then when brought into the fold of the music they make…something is lost and I get fucking bored. Not the case with this band, something about it feels innovative even though it’s nothing new. Somehow refreshing and I can’t really put my finger on why, I think that’s what good songwriting is often all about. I had the pleasure of seeing them live a couple of weeks ago in Chicago and it was nothing short of mind blowing and I couldn’t get the songs out of my head for days.
Davidians – City Trends
Members of Double Negative, doing some weird shit. These punks have been around the block but still give the young bucs a run for their money. Noisy and arty without being pretentious. Catch them live if you get the chance, Knife Hits played with them recently and they were a tough act to follow!
Congenital Death – Fucklove: Prophet of Death
Been watching these fuckers ever since I moved to Philadelphia almost 5 years ago, this band has had the slow burn going for awhile…I feel like I waited forever for this LP to come out. And when it did HOLY SHIT, I couldn’t believe my ears. Self proclaimed “Groove Grind”, these dudes have a unique sound but still grind hard as fuck in a familiar way. The riffs are chaotic yet thoughtful, this isn’t shit grind or that “mince” bullshit, this is the sound of the bar being raised. Take Notes kids.
Solarized – Demo
If source magazine had a hardcore punk section, Solarized would get “rookie of the year”…..I only say that because the band is new, however the folks that make up the band are not new at all. Philadelphia hardcore veterans with some in your face shit, and it’s refreshingly strange. Harkens back to the 90s without the try-hard feeling you get from kids who were BORN IN THE 90s. Excited to see what this band does next!
Warthog – S/T EP
First time I heard this shit, a great friend of mine got me blunted and put it on and I was blown away (held up sober too haha). This is evolution my friends, when I saw this band open for Death Side I thought it was pretty rad….then months later this EP comes out and blows away everything else in New York. Hardcore Punk/D-Beat with a guitarist who’s too hot to handle. It’s refreshing to hear a band take influence from the not-so-slow stylings of Black Sabbath, they keep the energy high the whole time and every member fucking rips. I hope they make an LP soon.
Framtid – Horrific Visions EP
I was as bummed as the rest of the US punk scene when I had to get my tickets for Framtid in NYC and Boston refunded because they couldn’t make it to the states. But atleast we got a new EP out of it! If you don’t fuck with this band you’re failing at punk, and this EP only continues to prove that. All the fucking carbon copy “japanese style raw punk crust dbeat crasher blah blah blah” bands wish they were Framtid and this new output continues to prove that nobody can touch them.
A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from here…Thank you for your service
I’ve always said that Hip Hop music is the only constant in my life, I get tired of music a lot but I can always fall back on good hip hop. That being said, I’ve always respected ATCQ but was never a huge fan. When a friend told me there was a new album and he thought I would dig it, I was hesitant to give it the full listen. But it didn’t take long for me to get hooked right in. A lot of people may not agree with me on this, but I think this is their masterpiece. They left us with their best, Hearing Q-Tip is almost haunting and the subject matters touched in this output make you keep coming back to listen more and listen deeper….I am far from done really digging into this thing, but I know it’s truly special.
Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
Near the top of my 2015 year end list was To Pimp A Butterfly, so naturally when we all heard there was a new record from the same sessions, it was very exciting. But I didn’t expect it to feel like a real record…but once again, he took me hostage and for awhile I didn’t want to hear anything else. Kendrick Lamar hurts my feelings when I listen to him, and I think he means to, I feel like I deserve to be hurt by it and I want to be hurt by it. The production work is obviously stellar with complex arrangements and instrumentation, that alone could leave your jaw on the floor, it could take you away from reality with the grooves and the intricacies..but then Kendrick rudely, beautifully, and concisely takes you back to reality with his words…even closer to it than you were before. It may not be pretty, but it’s fucking beautiful.
Triac – Split with Sick/Tired
I will start by saying, the Sick/Tired half of this split is sick as fuck, really it is. But this is about Triac for me. Jake Cregger has the best blast beat in the biz, you can fucking quote me on that. This is how I like my grindcore, no bullshit. But as there often is with Triac, there’s a little bit of a noise rock vibe in there to break things up and it works perfectly into the darkly nihilistic style that makes this band what it is. The vocals ACTUALLY SOUND PISSED and natural (so fucking tired of growling Dying Fetus-ass vocals in grind). Backslider was lucky enough to go to Europe with them earlier this year and getting to watch them every night is something I’ll never forget. Not to mention they are wonderful dudes.
Vivian K – Verses
I keep calling this band “the best 90s emo of today” and it’s the damn truth. There’s tons of shredding, and tons of simplicity, they know when to go all out and when to reign it in, and don’t forget the out-of-breath cry-vocals that people either fucking love or hate (I love it obviously). These folks take an honest approach to the style, keeps it familiar, and manages to not sound like a bunch of “try hards”. This band has been spending most of their time on the road and blowing away all the bands they play with. They are work horses and are about to record another LP, so look out for them on next years’ list!
Dark Thoughts – S/T LP
Every once in awhile a band comes along and breathes new life into something that’s just about dead. Dark Thoughts’ debut LP does just that. Some people call it “ramones-core” or “Pop-Punk” but they don’t, and they shouldn’t. This is fucking Punk Rock in it’s purest form. It’s catchy, it’s relentless, it’s clever, and it’s hopelessly romantic. Jim Shomo proves himself to be among those in the highest tier of punk song-smiths with nothing to hide and lays it all out for everyone to see in his lyrics. Daniel Cox’s right arm hi-hat work would give Marky Ramone a run for his money even in his prime. A great live band, and their bassist Amy Opsasnick brings an attitude to the rhythm section that completes this puzzle of something so refreshingly punk as fuck.
Vince Staples – Prima Donna
Ugly, grainy, real, and raw. Vince Staples grew as a rapper since Summertime ‘06. He created something before that he could have easily replicated successfully, and I probably would have liked that too. But with this new EP he proved that he is interested in moving forward, not only in how he raps but in how he oversees the production and helped Dahi and No ID move out of their comfort zone to make the music on this record fit his particularly dark and personal vibe. I think Vince Staples will be a huge part of hip hop’s future.
Pollen – EP 7”
I don’t even really know how to describe this shit, it’s more raw than your favorite raw punk, it’s faster than your favorite fast hardcore band, it’s more pummeling than your favorite crust band, and it’s delightfully noisier than your favorite noise punk band. From the school of Mob 47, Frigora, and Crudity this is true mangel in 2016. If you like your punk extreme with no frills, it gets no better than Pollen. Unlike a lot of bands who attempt to do anything even remotely similar, these guys are better musicians than your favorite bands too so they have a leg up when it comes to execution. You literally don’t know any fucking drummers that make you feel as beat up as when you watch this band, and with such precision and attack. Remember when your straight edge hardcore friends got into Framtid but didn’t give a shit where it came from? It was because it didn’t matter, they did it better than all that came before them and people who like extreme music couldn’t deny it’s intensity. It’s about to happen again, mark my words, Pollen is going to take over the world.
John Morrison – Southwest Psychedelphia
This is an instrumental hip-hop album that is beautifully engaging. Philly-centric beats that can be soothing and hypnotizing, but not in an after school special kind of way. John is a true audiophile and lover of all music. You can hear his open mind in his compositions, and it might just make you hungry (can I get a chicken cheesesteak with raw onions AND fried onions?) I listen to this album several times a week as it helps me focus and it makes me feel fuckin’ good.
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
First off, Meshuggah has always been one of those bands to me that you shouldn’t take much influence from. I love them, but hate what they’ve spawned…straight up, every “Djent” band fucking sucks and that’s that. I usually don’t take such a harsh stance on things like this, but I don’t want to hear a fucking prog-Pantera record, ever. Got that out of the way…this record is incredible, I thought I was done with this band as Koloss was very disappointing, but they totally redeemed themselves here. This is the most organic sounding album of theirs in recent history, and it’s because they recorded it live. No drum programming, and the guitar tone doesn’t sound super digital like before. The riffs are equal parts catchy and mind-blowingly complex. And it translates very well live. Saw them at the Trocadero recently and my neck took a few days to recover.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
Most of my friends who don’t full out hate this band are always like “yea, I mean Calculating Infinity is cool, but after that…” to which I always say, they’ve only gotten better with time. This record is no exception. They perfectly deliver everything you want and expect from them when it comes to intensity and complexity….but they also always keep you on your toes by taking unexpected turns and that’s a huge part of what makes this band special. I love the tough breakdowns, I love the shreddy swiss cheese blast beat parts, and then there’s sick jazz moments and the straight up pop and somehow it’s cohesive. This is their last record and it’s a perfect way to go out. A double LP of chaos and beauty. The production on this is my favorite of any of their records also, the bass is more present than ever and it makes it feel meaner than ever before as it’s got a dirtier feel than in the past. I would never try to convince anyone that doesn’t like this band that this record would change their mind….but if you ever cared, give this one a spin. It’s fucked up good.
Against Me – Shapeshift With Me
I grew up in Florida, and few things meant more to me in my late teens than Against Me! And few things hurt more than when it felt like they abandoned everything they had ever been about (ie; I Was a Teenage Anarchist). I could go on about this for a long time, but I’ll spare you. What I will say is, I randomly decided to give this new record a shot for basically no reason….I was blown away. Laura Jane Grace won me over with her songwriting years ago because it’s always felt brutally honest and put in such relatable terms. What I didn’t understand before is that’s also what made me “hate” it later on when she was “Searching for a former clarity”, I realize now she was just being honest and it hurt to see things change while I was still coping with my own idealism. Shapeshift With Me is still brutally honest and the songs are amazing, catchy, dark, poignant, and so real that it hurts. I thought she lost it years ago, but I think it was actually me that lost it. This band deserves every ounce of success they have.
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Okay, I can’t NOT put this on my list. Green Day has been my favorite band in the world since I was like 8 years old, I love every record they’ve made. Even when they went extra soft I loved it just the same. But it’s definitely refreshing to hear them bring it back to the firey pop-punk we fell in love with as kids. Of course more refined and pop-centric than say, Dookie and Insomniac but the snarl is still there and I’ll never get enough of it.
Blink 182 – California
Who would have thought that the departure of Tom Delonge (who I deeply love as a songwriter) and entrance of Matt Skiba would breathe new life into this genius goofball band. The arrangements and diverse style changes from song-to-song keep the record fresh. It’s delightfully catchy, and lots of fun. This band still speaks to my immature side as well as perfecting that sound of feeling nostalgic for something that’s not even real. I’m not going to say the lyrics are good or that this whole fucking record isn’t cheesy as hell, and I know that I’m actually probably too old like it. It’s music for angsty pre-teens, I know that. But the reality is, I’ve listened to it multiple times a week since it came out and I don’t see an end in sight. It’s just really good.
Soul Glo – Untitled
This is one of Philadelphia’s most important records, maybe ever. Musically they dance the line between screamo and hardcore punk which is already my cup of tea (as fuck). But vocalist Pierce Jordan jumps out of this record into your living room with words about blackness that emit true emotions from a very real place. Listen up. This is one of those bands that makes me realize that these voices need to be given the most space right now. Now is not the time for angsty straight white hardcore kids to pick up a mic and act like they have anything to be pissed about (I know, I know I play in these bands) like, do your thing…but also, give space to what’s happening here with bands like Soul Glo.
HIRS – You Can’t Kill Us
This is fucking survival. There are things I want to say here that I will not because it’s not my place to bring the very personal world of the daily struggle of the transgender community to light as if I actually understand, because I am only learning to. What I will say is that HIRS is fucking tough as nails and one of the most important things in the world right now. When you see them play and Jenna tells you to fall the fuck back, you fucking do it because this space isn’t for you, it isn’t for me. It’s a fucking war cry for the marginalized people in our communities and it’s more powerful than anything I’ve ever encountered. When she screams “You Can’t Kill Us” it feels like a call to arms. This EP is like a bomb dropping on the Electric Factory during This is Hardcore.
Tenement – S/T
Tenement only continues to amaze me, this is one the best bands in the world and they prove it time and time again. Amos will go down in history as one of the world’s greatest songwriters, I’m sure of it. This self titled album that came out this year was the follow up to the monolithic and dense double LP Predatory Headlights. This time the approach was different, concise and to the point but still gives you everything you want from them. It opens with a Die Kreuzen-esque ripper but with perfect structure and Amos’ beautifully calm voice. As you move through it there’s moments of straight pop, and even some country. This band can fucking do anything and I eat it up, when I “grow up” I wish to have even a shred of the talent that this band does. Also, they did a string of shows opening for Charles Bradley….can we just think about that for a second? This is the same band that went on tour with Coke Bust a few years back. Like I said, they can do whatever the fuck they want.
NOTE: Special shout to 2 of the best drummers out there who both made this list twice. Daniel Cox (Pollen and Dark Thoughts) and Jake Cregger (Multicult and Triac)
Samuel Smith (Bass at Artificial Brain)
Urfaust– Empty Space Meditation
Ches Smith– The Bell
David Bowie– Blackstar
Psalm Zero– Stranger to Violence
Shirley Collins– Lodestar
Deathspell Omega– The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Eve Risser/White Desert– Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
Cultes Des Ghoules– Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
Jute Gyte– Perdurance
Ljáin– Klofnar Tungur
Eric Schnee Drums at Organ Dealer
Ulcerate– Shrines of Paralysis
Zhrine – Unortheta
Gadget –The Great Destroyer
Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Tycho – Epoch
Alcest – Kodama
Wormrot – Voices
Vermin Womb – Decline
Rotten Sound – Abuse to Suffer
Mortalized – Complete Mortality
Sumac – What One Becomes
Sean Bolton (guitar at Surgeon)
1 Gojira – Magma
2 Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
3 Vektor – Terminal Redux
4 Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
5 Abbath – Abbath
Top 10 (no particular order)
Blood pressure – Need to Control 12″
Rixe – Les Nerf a Vif 7″
Warthog – 7″
Dark Thoughts – 12″
Tenement – S/T 12″
Haram – what do you see 7″
Kombat – Tape
Impalers – Cellar Dweller Tape
Arms Race – NWOBHC 12”
Flasher – 12″
Sheer mag – III 7″
Misled Youth – Excuse for Existence 7″
Pure Disgust – 12″
Earth Girls – Wanderlust 12″
Green Beret – standing at the mouth of hell 12″
Framtid – The Horrific Visions 7″
Crazy Bull – the modern handbook of rock vol. 1 7″
Best shows of 2016:
GISM @ Roadburn
Radioactivity @ Black Cat
Royal Headache @ Williamsburg Music Hall
Tenement @ Black Cat
Pentagram @ Roadburn
Haram @ Don Pedro
Impalers @ Slash Run
Warthog / La Misma @ The Pinch
Blood Pressure @ Damaged City
Sem Hastro @ Damaged City
Diat @ Black Cat
Teenage Fanclub @ 9:30 Club
Descendents @ The Fillmore
Blood Ceremony @ Roadburn
Top Releases of 2016 (in no particular order):
Charles Bradley “Changes”, Daptone Records
Ulcerate “Shrines of Paralysis”, Relapse Records
Gorguts “Pleiades Dust”, Season of Mist
Plebeian Grandstand “False Highs, True Lows”, Throatruiner Records
Ed Gein “Smoked”, Hex Records
Gláss “Accent”, Post Echo
Vermin Womb, “Decline”, Translation Records & Throatruiner Records
Cinemechanica “Cinemechanica”, Arrowhead Records
Weak Wrists “Weak Wrists”, Halo of Flies Records
Trap Them “Crown Feral”, Prosthetic Records
Lenny Janiszewski vox at Falter
No Brainer – Split w/ Eaten
Pryss – I Fear No Man
Northless – Cold Migration
Of Feather and Bone – Promotional Demo 2016
Sunlight’s Bane – Split w/ Geist
Expire – With Regret
Pains – Drown the Earth
Christworm – Suffer No More
Knife Hits – Eris
Full of Hell – Amber Mote in the Black Vault
10.Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us
9. Vermin Womb – Decline
8. Trap Them – Crown Feral
7. Weekend Nachos – Apology
6. Gorguts – Pleiades’ Dust
5. Ulcerate – Shrines Of Paralysis
4. Blood Incantation – Starspawn
3. Dysrhythmia – The Veil Of Control
2. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
1. Gadget – The Great Destroyer
Iron Price/Dissent – split
Drawing Last Breath – Hymns of Suffering 7″
Homewrecker – Extinction By Design EP
Obituary – Ten Thousand Ways to Die (studio tracks)
Purgatory – Beg For Life, Pray For Death 2 song tape
Year of the Knife – Overgrowth EP
The New Harmony – Flower of Flesh and Blood demo
Turnstile – Move Thru Me
ABRAXAS – Feral & Filth 7″
Ten Ton Hammer – Always Empty EP
Ultramantis Black – They Make Plans To Poison Us EP
1. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
2. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
3. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
4. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
5. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
6. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
7. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
8. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
9. Green Beret – Standing at the Mouth of Hell
10. John Carpenter – Lost Themes II
Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley
Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Null – Sleepwalking Days
J. Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only
Various punk and hardcore demos and EPs that helped me smash through shitty shifts at work.
Theo Marting-Herbort (guitar at Mister Lizard [UK])
In no particular order:
1. One day you will ache like I ache by Full of Hell and The Body – Pretty cool play around in new territory for Full of Hell, nice to see the band doing more than they were 3 years ago and a lovely move on from the Merzbow collaboration. Exceedingly pleasant.
2. III by Die Choking – Technically 2015,but I heard it in 2016 so I’ll throw it on this list. Fast, aggressive with intelligence thrown in. Listen to it now.
3. LP2 By Sky:Lark – Big trucker noise riffs played by Dnd fans, great combination of intelligence and grit. I wish Shellac would give these a listen and take some pointers.
4. Husbandry by Screenwives – Talented bastards playing music I like in a way I’ve not heard before. Check them out for some scraggly scramz on toast.
Favorite bands we played with this year
2. Old lines
5. Extended hell
Top 11 Albums 2016
In no order
Sorcier Des Glaces-North
40 Watt Sun-Wider Than The Sky
Neurosis–Fires Within Fires
Seputus–Man Does Not Give
Surgeon–Beast of Light
Call Of The Void–AYFKM
Standout Live Performances 2016
I’ve attended almost 200 live shows this year. I’ve assisted with a bunch, showed up randomly only to have my brain melted at some, and I never take for granted that I have the ability to see live music any night of the week. I am addicted to the live show experience. I’ll spend my last few dollars to see a band play and I will help out my friends if they can’t afford the show because I don’t want them to miss it. For me, the live experience is beautifully overwhelming and allows me to be completely surrounded by the music from all angles. For me, it’s my Point Break style “ultimate ride”.
These are performances that truly stood out and made me say, “what the f*ck”, the performances that were so epic they made my little blackened heart swell.
In no order.
Cemetery Flowers–Secret location
Dragged Into Sunlight/Primitive Man/Cult Leader/Hivelords: Kung Fu Necktie (entire line-up destroyed, the air conditioner broke, amazing)
Grave Miasma–Maryland Deathfest
Sadgiqacea: Shadow Woods Metal Fest
Horrendous: Boot & Saddle
Blood Incantation– Ortlieb’s
Coastal Plain–Kung Fu Necktie
Zhrine– Boot & Saddle
Anicon–Dark Arts Collective Presents: Black Metal-Secret Location
Fight Amp–Last show at Kung Fu Necktie
Esoterica– Darkthrone tribute set at Kung Fu Necktie
Crypt Sermon–Underground Arts
Darsombra– Shadow Woods Metal Fest
Vermin Womb–Kung Fu Necktie
Inter Arma–Boot & Saddle
Absu–Kung Fu Necktie
Abbath–Decibel Magazine Tour-Union Transfer
1349/Tombs/Full Of Hell/Hivelords–Underground Arts (the entire line-up ripped)
Patrick Forrest (Drums at Backslider)
Top 2016 In no particular order:
TRIAC – Live – Had the privilege of seeing these guys every night on tour this year. Always destroy. Best band going right now.
Intensive Care – This is Exactly Who You Are 7” – great mix of noise/noisrock/hc/heaviness
Infest / Voorhees / Ripcord – Live in Leeds, UK – VERY fortunate to have shared the stage and witnessed these bands. Unreal. Killed it like they never stopped.
Multicult – Position Remote LP – Band never disapoints live, or on record. The new LP is no exception.
Drunk Dad – Live in Portland, OR – Was really stoked to play with this band live on tour and they ripped it.
Hex – Live in Leeds, UK / Demo – I don’t listen to that much straight up hardcore on the reg anymore but this band sticks out to me for sure.
Shellac – Live in Philadelphia, PA – Finally got to see Shellac live! Total minimalist rock approach that beats the shit out of everything in its path.
Rash – Live in Chicago. – This band was new to me when we played with them on tour. One of the few bands doing the “weirdo” hardcore thing right if that even makes any sense. Their LP is out now and it rips.
D.S. 13 – Live in Philadelphia, PA – Never thought i’d get to see them live. Been saying that a lot this year I guess though. Totally killed it.
UXO – Self Titled LP
Boss Hog – Brood Star EP / Live in Brooklyn, NY
Tile – Live in Philadelphia, PA
Legendary Divorce – Live in Philadelphia, PA
Holly Hunt – Live in Miami, FL
Reissued in 2016:
Unsane – Scattered, Smothered, and Covered LP
Cows – Cunning Stunts LP
Dante Torrieri (Useless Rebel Imaging & BTS Senior Photographer)
In a year that I have done so much to disassociate myself from current affairs within the US I may have honestly punished myself by not fully investing in a majority of this year’s releases. So much of the year I said I haven’t been feeling what’s been released this year all the while I was just being ignorant to solid releases. So what did I invest my eardrums in this year? A large amount of radio shows from the 90’s that have been turned into podcasts, most notably being Utah Phillips Loafers Glory originally aired on NPR, Joe Strummers London Calling aired on BBC, and a vast amount of Judi Bari interviews and lectures. The few releases that did manage to find their way into my bubble are as follows and in no particular order –
Gojira – Magma – First listen of this was on the greyhound twisted on edibles and I fell in love.
Fyrnask – Forn – It’s a black metal adventure of the highest order.
Muscle & Marrow – Love – I’ve see them live six times in the last 18 months by choice, that says everything you need to know.
Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered – I hope in a few years everyone is trying to be Kendrick it would only be good for the industry.
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason – Let’s pick a riff and then bludgeon it into your ears for eternity and you’ll love every minute of it.
Oathbreaker – Rheia – If you really want to know my favorite release of the year this would be what I picked if I only could pick one.
Anciients – Voice of the Void – It sounds like a little bit of this and a little bit of that but it was what I wanted to hear when I heard it.
Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us – Only complaint is its to short, I can listen five times in a row and still want more.
Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows – These guys deserve to be direct support on a massive tour package just so they can be introduced to new ear drums.
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got This From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service – Why didn’t this come out ten years ago! It’s good but I wonder if it is only here because of nostalgia.
Mantar – Ode to the Flame – Made it a point to see Mantar three times on this years US tour and would of happily went to see them more, great energy on stage that you can feel in the recording.
Sumac – What One Becomes -Maybe it is just me but why aren’t more people talking about this gem? Watch it will be on almost everyone’s Blow The Scene list and I’ll just be proven right that I’ve isolated myself, regardless go treat your eardrums to this.
Top ten 2016
Vomit Fist live at Sit n Spin Records store
Psychotic Norman: Man Meets Fish 7”ep
Agathocles live at Kung Fu Necktie
Curse: II album
Oto Tachihiko: The Sound of OTO album
Ground/Bandit split 7” on Unholy Anarchy records
Bongzilla live at Kung Fu Necktie
The Crosses live at Beaumont Warehouse
The End A.D. 5 song ep
Bastard Noise: Doomed Expedition 2xLP
Krosot/Peacemaker split cassette
Mr Marcaille live videos
The Magnificent ShitHawks Of The Greater Northern Americas demo and video
Dot Wiggin Band: Banana Bike 7”
1. Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
2. Sex Prisoner – Tannhauser Gate
3. Backslider – Motherfucker
4. Sick/Tired//Triac split
5. Wormrot – Voices
6. Shitstorm//Radiation split
7. Pleabiaen Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows
8. Scum Human – S/T 7″
9. Cognizant – S/T
10. Weekend Nachos – Apology
1) Soar – “Guardians”
2) Winterfylleth – “The Dark Hereafter”
3) Drones for Queens – “Unwavering Servant”
4) Surgeon – “Beast of Light”
5) Blood Incantation – “Starspawn”
6) Wayfarer – “Old Souls”
7) Anicon – “Exegeses”
8 Panopticon & Waldgefluster – Split
9) Plebeian grandstand – “False Highs, True Lows”
10) Violet Cold – “Magic Night”
Carl Auge (artist, bass at His Hero Is Gone, Syndr0mes)
My 2016 toplist-
Neurosis, Fires Within Fires
Kicker, Rendered Obsolete
Sumac, What One Becomes
Morrow, Covenant of Teeth
The Body/Full of Hell, One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache
Metallica, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Die Choking – Dead Figurehead video
Charles R. Pauley vox at Grin and Bear It
George Carlin–I Kinda Like It When A Lot Of People Die
Cracked Vessel–No Path
God’s America–Merge with the Infinite
Congenital Death–Fucklove: Prophet of Death
Concussive-tracks from both Decayed Race and Endless Swarm splits
Pavel Chekov–Tour Tape and Endless Swarm split
Animal Lover–Stay Alive
Blood Orange–Freetown Sound
Real Regular–Black Head
Wreck and Reference–Indifferent Rivers Romance End
Sick/Tired & Sea Of Shit split
Larry West (artist, graphics/design)
Top Songs of the Apocalypse (2016)
1. Megadeth “The Threat is Real/Dystopia/Post-America World” – I consider this triptych to be the “Dystopia” trilogy from the album of the same name. “The Threat is Real” opens with a brilliant Middle Eastern-inspired riff that goes into this brutal and melodic song, “Dystopia” is this driving song that almost feels like driving through a Mad Max movie, and “Post-America World” is this terrifying song about what would happen if America lost its place in the world. Dave Mustaine may have been writing about one President, but I think he wound up predicting the other one instead.
2. NOFX “I Don’t Like Me Anymore” – “There’s an old punk rocker acting like a jerk, and that jerk looks a lot like me, I don’t like me anymore.” This song was basically me in 2016. That feeling of self-realization that you’re not the person you want to be anymore. Its a song about psychological self-immolation in the hope of purifying yourself with a hook.
3. BabyMetal “Road of Resistance” – This was the most uplifting song of 2016, and a great way to start it off! The song combines J-Pop with DragonForce, and god damnit, it works! If this song doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what would.
4. Amon Amarth “A Dream that Cannot Be” – Amon Amarth has been crafting some insanely brilliant Melodic Death Metal, but with the inclusion of metal legend Doro Pesch, this song may be their finest moment. A guy has spent years waiting for this woman, but the woman doesn’t want to be around him, so he uses force, and the woman almost kills him and tell him to go. You don’t get that a lot in metal, and its actually works because of all the talent in this song.
5. Lamb of God “Culling” – From the Duke EP, “Culling” has one of the nastiest riff’s I’ve heard from Lamb of God in a while! Breaking out the gate with a snarl, it is a large lumbering beast of brutality seeking the destruction of anything and everything in its way in song form.
6. NAILS “You Will Never Be One of Us” – I gotta thank Josh Cohen for turning me on to NAILS. Their follow-up album opens with this self-titled song, and it is short, brutal, and drips with every last bit of aggression that the band feels and gives it to the listener. Its insane that a band so incredibly brutal actually has some melody to it, and that is what separate NAILS from so many in the Grindcore and Power-violence genre.
7. Metallica “Spit Out the Bone” – Metallica’s latest album closes with a song with some of the complex song structure and riffing I’ve ever heard from the band since “…And Justice For All”. It winds up being this beautiful and brutal song, and it may just be the best song they’ve done in 10 years.
8. Otep “Royals” – While no one was watching, Otep wrote “Generation Doom”, the greatest metal album you absolutely missed! Whatever you thought about Otep was wrong, and this album is just brilliant! The caper, for me, was her cover of “Royals” by Lorde. It adds a more metal and traditional song structure to the song, and it becomes this brilliant song.
9. Hatebreed “A.D.” – Hatebreed was always a sort of an “angry Tony Robins”; Positive lyrics hiding in the most brutal music possible. But this song was about that sad feeling that the American Dream is dead. “It’s time to rethink this dream that they call American/Corrupt system of beliefs, some will call their heritage.”
10. Lost Society “Terror Hungry (California East Listening)” – Lost Society started as a sortof throwback crossover thrash band, but by their third album they started to write longer songs and get more mature. They took a song from their last song and re-did it as a radio hit, and frankly, it was a brilliant move! This song fits comfortably on even Top 40 Radio, but its still brutal and amazing!
Hasan Ali of Ripping Headaches presents
Blood Incantation – Starspawn
Witch Vomit – A Scream From The Tomb Below
Urfaust – Empty Space Meditation
Grave Miasma – Endless Pilgrimage
Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crépuscule
Auroch – Mute Books
Caveman Cult – Savage War Is Destiny
Predatory Light – Predatory Light
Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation
The Body & Full of Hell – One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache
Spectral Voice/Phrenilith split
Eos – Third Demo
Dagger Moon – Citadel
Innumerable Forms – Promo 2016
Kriegshög – Kriegshög
Dagger Lust – Aggramica
Dagger Lust – Dagger Lust
Devil Master – Demo
Halshug – Sort Sind
Piss – Stuck in the Gutter
Ululatum Tollunt – Order of the Morningstars
Irkallian Oracle – Apollyon
Cadaveric Fumes – Dimensions Obscure
Tomb Mold – The Moulting
Blood Pressure – Need to Control
Phrenilith Euro Tour Promo
Sunshine Ward – Order
Odio – Un Mondo Libero Dall’Uomo
Haram – What Do You See?
Extended Hell – Demo 2016
Brainpan – Probe Demo
Ruinous – Graves of Ceaseless Death
Belgrado – Obraz
Necrot – The Labyrinth
Lycus – Chasms
Cultes des Ghoules – Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
Dead Congregation – Somber Doom
A.S.M. – Demo 2016
Bestial Raids – Master Satan’s Witchery
Sumerlands – Sumerlands
Necrosic – Putrid Decimation
Impalers – Cellar Dweller Promo
Left Cross – Hell is Hell
Vorator – Italic Raids
Eternal Champion – The Armor of Ire
Coagula – Vile Sacrament
Ashley Levine guitar at Mary Todd
Knife Hits – Eris
Oathbreaker – Rheia
Russian Circles – Guidance
Every Time I Die – Low Teens
Woodhead – El Imortal
Meek is Murder – Was
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
The Fall of Troy – OK
Head Wound City – A New Wave of Violence
Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us
Full of Hell/Nails – Split
Dyami Bryant of Locked In A Vacancy, ABC NO RIO
Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – “Mariner”
Meshuggah – “The Violent Sleep of Reason”
The Black Queen – “Fever Daydream”
Russian Circles – “Guidance”
After the Burial – “Dig Deep”
Periphery – “III – Select Difficulty”
Ion Dissonance – “Cast The First Stone”
Animals As Leaders – “The Madness of Many”
Despised Icon – “Beast”
Gojira – “Magma”
Jane Pags – Tour Manager / Philly Girl Gang
Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution
Anderson .Paak – Malibu
Solange – A Seat at the Table
Miss Sharon Jones! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”
Trap Them – Crown Feral
Every Time I Die – Low Teens
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
Rotten Sound – Abuse to Suffer
Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.
Warpaint – Heads Up
A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here… Thank you 4 Your service
KING – We Are KING
Dean Sykes of Occult 45, EMB Records
I’ve had a falling out with music this year, and was not very active in checking shit out. Plenty of which I’m sure I’d have loved/will love when I get to it. That said all the stuff below got a lot of play, and will continue to get a lot of play from me. Not ranked or in a specific order because I think that’s a shitty way to quantify enjoyment.
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – Exile
Human Overdose/Street Feet – Split
Freddie Gibbs – Shadow of a Doubt
Denzel Curry – Imperial
Black Urn – The Pangs of Our Covenant
Lugubrius Children – Lugubrius 7 Inch
Ground – Squalor
Axiom Verge – Official OST
Dark Souls III – Official OST
Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
Blood Incantation– Starspawn
Wolves in the Throne Room – Diadem of 12 Stars remaster
Oranssi Pazuzu– Värähtelijä
Inter Arma– Paradise Gallows
Cult Of Luna and Julie Christmas
Ghoul– Dungeon Bastards
Paul Herzog bass/vox at Die Choking, ex-guitar at Total Fucking Destruction
2016 List (other than Esperanza’s album in no particular order)
Esperanza Spalding — Emily’s D+Evolution
Sentient Horror — Ungoldly Forms
Leprous — Live at Rockefeller Music Hall
Julian Lage — Arclight
Cognizant — Cognizant
Vermin Womb — Decline
Tegan and Sara — Love you to Death
Gadget — The Great Destroyer
Asphyx — Incoming Death
Holy Grail — Times of Pride and Peril
Deathspell Omega — The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Strategic Warheads — Split w/ Eskizo
Shitstorm — Split w/ Radiation
Morkobot — GoRgO
Perturbator — The Uncanny Valley
Child Bite — Negative Noise