1. True Moon - s/t
2. This Is Nowhere - Music to Relapse
This phenomenon of a band may theoretically be characterized and categorized under certain genres and labels, but a closer look reveals an abyss for you to explore. Their debut album last year, although still great, I can say it missed the great expectations by half an inch. This one right here... well, it just leaves you speechless. Stepping on Monster Magnet, Kyuss and Velvet Underground at the same time (among many others of course), here we have a collection of tracks that are created only once in a decade or so.
3. Sarabante - Poisonous Legacy
How can an absolutely perfect debut album be topped? Well, Poisonous Legacy is the answer. Sarabante return even more focused, darker, angrier and more dystopic, while melodic at the same time. The overall result is just crushing and the album is consumed every time in one sip.
4. Birthday Kicks - Black Echo Trap
Although I was anticipating their first full-length release (after that great debut 7" single) while Birthday Kicks were taking their sweet time completing it, this one sure took me by surprise. It was just too good; warm and fuzzy rock 'n' roll flowing just naturally and enjoyably. This is an album that appeals to garage rock fans, to stoner fans, to psychedelic rock fans; it simply combines all the best elements of just everything.
5. Καταχνιά - Στη Σκιά Μιας Λαιμητόμου (Katachnia - Sti Skia Mias Lemitomou)
Again, a sophomore release that manages to, not only live up to its predecessor's legacy, but also extend it even further. Katachnia continue to combine the crust punk principles with the greek punk values maintaining an absolutely personal sound and staying true to the tradition they have set.
6. UXO - s/t
Those who know me, even not very much, also know that I'm a sucker for some Unsane-like noise rock. Well, this is my dose for 2016. Today Is the Day's Steve Austin and Unsane's Chris Spencer are teaming up for this project and it just ruled my speakers for weeks. If you know what I'm talking about, you know this rocks.
7. Touché Amoré - Stage Four
What is this? Emo? Screamo? Any other shit the kids nowadays are listening to? Don't care. And when a concidence is repeated, well, it doesn't constitute a concidence anymore. I had loved 2014's Is Survived By but, to be honest, I hadn't really put Touché Amoré really high in my conscience. Stage Four came to change that and to make me a fan. It's surprising how naturally this album flows, how melodic, emotional and powerful it is at the same time. I will keep these guys close from now on.
Avant-garde blackmetal/shoegaze anyone? This could be a dry description of Oathbreaker, but it in no way can contain everything that is encased in this album. Caro Tanghe doesn't only scream anymore (not that we don't absolutely love her when she does), but has developed to a full leading persona. Oathbreaker take things several steps further with Rheia and, while until now you could more or less compare them with other bands, now they just play on a league of their own.
9. Ruined Families - Education
This one just exploded on our faces and it just is beyond words. This is hardcore punk, mathcore, post-hardcore, alternative rock and noise rock at the same time. It grabs you by the neck and doesn't leave room for even a hint of escaping. Kick in the gut, elbow on the teeth, strike between the eyes. That's what it is.
10. Minerva Superduty - Gorod Zero
I'll be honest. I never "understood" mathcore. I have rarely put on such music to listen to at home. And I still don't know what exactly it is that has made me love this album so much. Maybe it's their uncompromised hardcore character, maybe the raw despair that flows through the speakers. All in all, Minerva Superduty confuse me. I don't know how they do what they do, or why. All I know is that Gorod Zero has me hooked.
Sleep of Monsters - II: Poison Garden: I couldn't even begin to tell you how much of a Babylon Whores fanboy I have been and the Sleep of Monsters' debut release in 2013 made me rejoice. Poison Garden takes over where Produces Reason left off, in a more melodic, mellow and choral way.