Teeth of the Divine Staff Picks for 2016

Well, here we are at the start of a fresh new year. And while New Years is usually a time for bright-eyed, wishful optimism and wistful reminiscence, the global political and social climates have the world at unease. Yet despite a near blastbeat-pace of bummers and deaths, 2016 gave us another year of stellar extreme music.

Teethofthedivine soldiered on in 2016 as well, with some new faces on the team (though our distaste for digital promos hasn’t changed a bit). We also experienced a growth spurt on social media, so if you’re not following us yet, why the hell not? ‘Cause while other sites seem content to feed you with celebrity blogs, lists of ‘top 10 albums from 1993 which which had llamas on the cover’ or so-called humor pieces, TOTD just did what we do best: reviews, reviews, and reviews. One review every week day for the whole year. That’s 300+ reviews, folks.

We hope to add more interviews, features, and contests in 2017, and we do it all for you guys – our loyal readers, sharers, likers, and listeners. So keep on keeping it real in 2017, as it might be the last year the earth continues to spin. We’ll do our part to make sure metal stays as relevant in 2017 as it has been in the decades before.

So with much ado, here are the hand-picked releases that the TOTD staff enjoyed in 2016. Given the thousands of releases that assaulted our collective senses last year, hopefully we’ll introduce you to a few new favorites. And as always, stay tuned for our Fillings and Cavities feature, where we’ll shovel even more death, destruction, blackened weirdness, and melodic wonders into your willing ears.

by Staff

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Luke Saunders

There’s a general consensus that in many ways 2016 was a shitty year. Between losing an all too long list of incredible musicians and entertainers and the general fucked up state of the world on a global scale, 2016 gave plenty of reasons to be bummed out and jaded with the world. While personally the year proved challenging it wasn’t without its rewards or high points and thankfully quality metal and other heavy music releases flowed steadily, providing a cathartic antidote to the world’s woes.

Narrowing my end of year list down to the essentials proved challenging and I’m sure I’ll continue uncovering many gems that slipped me by as we enter the New Year. As always, thank you to Erik for running the show here at Teeth of the Divine, along with my fellow writers for their top notch contributions and recommendations. Also, heartfelt thanks to the loyal readership and new visitors for keeping this humble website trucking on.

10. Unfathomable Ruination – Finitude. Sevared Records. I choose my brutal death very carefully as it often leaves me cold. Not so with England’s Unfathomable Ruination. They deftly combined their brutal, technical death metal assault with a refreshingly tight delivery, oodles of infectious riffs, memorable songs and classy solos.

9. Blood Incantation – Starspawn. Dark Descent Records. Old school death metal jettisoned into the murky atmosphere of space, Starspawn is an organic, progressive and wildly adventurous headtrip.

8. Vainaja – Verenvalaja. Svart Records. Massive death-doom from Finland that takes no prisoners. Verenvalaja is built on a foundation of sinewy leads, bulldozing riffs and dread-soaked atmosphere.

7. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation. Party Smasher, Inc. The swansong from these spastic mathcore legends recharged my passion for the band, having lost much contact with them in recent years. Dissociation is full of twists, surprises and great songs. Unpredictable, laden with hooks and showcasing innovative spins on their well established and groundbreaking sound, Dissociation closed the curtain triumphantly on a great career.

6. Mantar – Ode to the Flame. Nuclear Blast Records. German heavyweights injected their blackened sludge meets extreme rock formula with a hearty dose of steroids and an even stronger quantity of hooks than the impressive debut.

5. Départe – Failure, Subside. Independent. An utterly engaging, challenging and gut-wrenching debut, masterfully composed and surprisingly addictive.

4. Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law. Metal Blade. Although Anaal Nathrakh were accused of treading water on Vanitas and Desideratum they were still such destructively powerful and diabolical albums that such criticisms were easily forgiven. The Whole of the Law found the band sounding even hungrier and more invigorated, resulting in their finest album in years.

3. Haken – Affinity. Inside Out Music. I was late to the party with this UK prog metal juggernaut. Thankfully this was rectified by the band’s excellent, ‘80s inspired fourth album Affinity. Ambitious, playful and downright infectious, Affinity showcased Haken’s formidable instrumental chops, though more importantly it demonstrated their knack for writing memorable and carefully crafted songs.

2. Khemmis – Hunted. 20 Buck Spin. Hugely improved sophomore album. These Colorado heavyweights returned in ridiculously quick time and revealed the incredible artistic growth undertaken since 2015’s Absolution debut, firmly cementing themselves as one of modern doom’s finest bands.

1. Vektor – Terminal Redux. Earache Records. What more can be said about this remarkable third album from Pennsylvania’s Vektor? One of metal’s most ambitious concept albums in recent memory, Terminal Redux exceeded my lofty expectations and is a masterpiece of technical, progressive thrash.

The Second Tier of 2016 (Honorable Mentions)

Messa – Belfry (Aural Music)
Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony (Black Lion Productions)
The Reticent – On the Eve of a Goodbye (Heaven & Hell Records)
First Fragment – Dasein (Unique Leader Records)
Revocation – Great is our Sin (Metal Blade)
Wormed – Krighsu (Season of Mist)
Ihsahn – Arktis (Candlelight Records/Spinefarm)
Arcana 13 – Danza Macabra (Aural Music)
Darkher – Realms (Prophecy Productions)
Opeth – Sorceress (Nuclear Blast)
Hammers of Misfortune – Dead Revolution (Metal Blade)

Biggest Disappointment: Bölzer – Hero. A long awaited, though misguided debut LP, Hero balanced some strong moments with bland song-writing and ill-conceived clean vocals. A case of a talented band failing to cash in on their considerable potential.

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  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Jordan, I was literally just listening to that Perturbator record. so good.

  2. Commented by: TowardsTheHum

    Dead Register! Might be my fave album of 2016.

  3. Commented by: speedrider

    Hail Humiliation!!!

  4. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    The Metallica doesn’t have a decent melody or vocal delivery anywhere. It sounds like Hetfield shouting atonally over some mediocre thrash and Hamster sprayed Wah-Wah nonsense. Weak.

  5. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Yeah that Dead Register disc made my list too.

  6. Commented by: bast

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