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Anton Sanatov's Top 10 Albums For 2016

Added 06 January 2017, 9:16 PM

No. 10:

Band: Korn
Album: The Serenity Of Suffering

General Info:

Year of Formation: 1993
Record Label: Roadrunner Records

My personal relationship with KORN has always been a rather mercurial one; a “hit or miss” affair if you may. However, when the industry veterans do manage to hit that spot, it is always a sweet one, and their latest – and arguably most accessible – record showcases the band at an entirely new level of maturity and consistency. Through a combination of narcotic grooves, unsettling poignancy and near flawless songwriting “The Serenity Of Suffering” proves to be the most pristine amalgamation of all the signature elements that define the seasoned quintet.

No. 9:

Band: Eths
Album: Ankaa

General Info:

Year of Formation: 1999
Label: Season Of Mist

I have been aware of the French group for quite a while now, but none of their records seemed to possess the magnetism to reel me into the band’s fandom. Well, “Ankaa” turned out to be that record; which is sadly ironic given the group’s recently announced break-up. Nevertheless, even with a new vocalist in tow and a perhaps inevitable demise in sight, this album turned out to be a surprisingly lavish demonstration of pure aesthetic carnage. The endearingly creepy allure of its experimental melodic chaos and deep spiritual structure make this ultimate opus a brilliant piece of sinister romanticism that echoes from a divine strain of an archaic nihilistic soul unearthed in the most bone-rattling of ancient catacombs.

No. 8:

Band: Gojira
Album: Magma

General Info:

Year of Formation: 1996
Label: Roadrunner

At number 8 we have yet another French entry, and this one should come as no surprise. GOJIRA have raised the atmospheric pressure of this year’s music scene by exploding into the spotlight with this chart-scaling, Grammy-nominated behemoth of a record. Erupting like a volcanic paroxysm “Magma” stomped its way through 2016 with crushing, enigmatic riffs, ocean-deep substance and transcendental melodic harmonies. Heavy, sludgy and fully self-aware, this album is simply unstoppable – a force of nature.

No. 7:

Band: Deftones
Album: Gore

General Info:

Year of Formation: 1988
Label: Reprise

The DEFTONES are obviously no strangers to “top 10” lists, and with good reason. Over the years the Californian quartet have released some of the most well-crafted and artistic records in the genre, and this year’s “Gore” proved to be another fine addition to their decorated discography. Even amidst creative tensions between frontman Chino Moreno and guitarist Stephen Carpenter, the band managed to compose a record that stings with intimacy whilst remaining sharply aware of its fragility. Every song on this album is a beautiful struggle that seems to slice your skin with razor sharp textures only to lick the wounds clean with gorgeous, gentle melodies - thus demonstrating the subtle elegancy of gore.

No. 6:

Band:  Jinjer
Album: King Of Everything

General Info:

Year of Formation: 2009
Label: Napalm Records

Goliath is a name that gets thrown around. In this genre of musical giants a lot can overwhelm and excite you, but it takes an event of truly biblical proportions to alter a seasoned Metal enthusiast’s perceptions on an astronomical level; and in 2016, the Ukrainian outfit JINJER became the cataclysm that shook the earth while sending Metal fans to the stars. From the first single the band’s breakthrough record proves to be no underdog, no aspirant, but simply a bestial machine with a deific soul and the resolve of a steamroller. Beautifully intricate, rhythmically unparalleled and vocally magnificent “King Of Everything” is the blueprint to JINJER’s future reign in Metal.

No.  5:

Band: Dark Tranquility
Album: Atoma

General Info:

Year of Formation: 1989
Label: Century Media

Sometimes life can dim the lights. Even the most fortunate of us can come to face a period where darkness and dejection seem to crawl behind your back at every step; and DARK TRANQUILITY’s latest release is tailored to those times. “Atoma” is a piece of perfect melancholy in a maelstrom of turbulence. The record’s unique melodic constituents are like drops of blackened balm that lather up a tortured soul and the band’s songwriting genius is the tangy fruit of pure Melodeth poetry. Through harsh honesty and bleak optimism “Atoma” becomes a manifestation of reserved hope and a reaching hand of solace in darkened times.

No. 4:

Band: Vanna
Album: All Hell

General Info:

Year of Formation: 2004
Record Label: Pure Noise

For me this entry was simply ‘love at first song’; and my pulse continues to beat faster every time I put this record on. Emotionally dichotomous and ferociously blunt “All Hell” is without a doubt the band’s most accomplished and accessible effort to date.  This tour de force gyrates from infectious, angst-filled grooves to graceful, plaintive lyrical melodies whilst constantly yanking at the listener’s heart with personal and relatable subject matter. Full of raw beauty in its steel shrubbery of tuneful riffs “All Hell” is a work of pure, unadulterated art; a masterful piece of Post-Hardcore modernism.

No. 3:

Band: Norma Jean
Album: Polar Similar

General Info:

Year of Formation: 1997
Label: Solid State

A lot of bands speak of their new efforts as “the best of their careers” or as “something completely” different from what they’ve done in the past; of course, that is often not the case. Yet when you look back at NORMA JEAN’s kaleidoscopic musical history and contemplate just some of the ground-breaking, genre-bending recordings that the band have put out over the years, you will come to realise that when they say something of the sort, they mean it. Following a stint at Pachyderm Studios – a place of recording for such artists as NIRVANA and PJ HARVEY – the band emerged with the powerhouse that is POLAR SIMILAR. Inspired by former personal turmoil, this record is an emotional supernova on its was to therapeutic annihilation; every track can be used as a definition of catharsis. The album sees the band play harder than ever and commit every singular cell of their being – you can almost hear the sweat dripping through the speakers – to create a compelling, observational and insightful record that is boundless in its reach.

No. 2:

Band: Harakiri For The Sky
Album: III:Trauma

General Info:

Year of Formation:  2011
Label: Art Of Propaganda

There are records that have a special touch - the kind that makes the hairs on your neck stand from the opening bar until the final coda. They are not always adrenaline-fuelled hits in the chest or hammering crescendos of hot-blooded platitudes, for sometimes a cold embrace is the most comforting, and HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY’s third studio effort has proven to be one of those records that managed to immerse me in its chilling, sombre substance from the first note of anguish. At its core “III: Trauma” is a beautiful contradiction of values. Full of dark hope and delicate blackened caress, it is both unforgiving and compassionate, drained of belief but filled with life. Its paradoxical uplifting power lies in its icy albeit gentle melodies that soar with an immortal air and carry you off to an otherworldly state of bliss. “III: Trauma” is a true Post-Black masterpiece and one of the most evocative records that you will hear in a long time.

No. 1:

Band: Architects
Album: All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

General Info:

Year of Formation: 2004
Label: Epitaph

It has been a bittersweet year for ARCHITECTS. On the one hand, here we have, in first place, the monumental sonic achievement that is “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us”, a paragon of musical growth and creative aptitude, and yet on the other stands a band that has endured a devastating loss of one of its founding members and main composers Tom Searle to cancer.  It is always heart-wrenching to see someone taken in their prime and the band are understandably hesitant regarding any plans of future recordings, but if this were indeed to become their final collective effort, they couldn’t have produced a finer one.

Building on the strong foundation of their previous offering “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us” is an endlessly expansive, sombre look into the future of humanity. Fuelled by the pages of Nietzsche and George Orwell’s 1984, this record is a conscientious manifesto of social discord and a chilling testament to the destructive force of mankind’s ignorance. Meticulously arranged and endlessly consistent this album beats with the rhythm of a dystopian heart whilst its intelligence frets with insightful paranoid contemplations and sound recalcitrance. Reaching across a transcending, ambient backdrop of an atmospheric melodic frontier “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us” is a fluid metallic spectre that carries an urgent prophecy of discontent.


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