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As the music industry slows down, its alternative end hibernating while the pop-enamoured mainstream hungrily ogles Christmas shoppers, the time has come to look back on a seriously strong year for organised soundwaves. For me, it’s been heavy, intense, and a hell of a lot of fun thanks to the releases listed below.
With so many exceptional contenders in the running for the top spot, the thought of ranking them in order of quality is plainly ridiculous. So instead, I’ve picked out three releases that had memorable impacts on me when I first heard them, and assembled the others in alphabetical order.
The Pretty Reckless’s Who You Selling For – along with previous effort Going To Hell – is conclusive proof (if it were honestly needed in 2016) that women belong in rock music, and are fully capable of kicking ass. The sexists of the music world are like Wile E. Coyote; they’ve run off the edge of the cliff, nothing surrounds them but empty air, they’ve looked down, and they’re panicking. Sonic Boom Six’s The F-Bomb picks up where that image leaves off – it’s cheeky, chirpy, happy and hard-hitting (sometimes simultaneously), addressing a wealth of gender-related issues and providing a great ska-fuelled party soundtrack as only Sonic Boom Six can.
Musically, Dissociation is The F-Bomb’s polar opposite. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s swan song is crammed with brutal and ultra-experimental mathcore – but it’s also Dillinger’s most delicate and diverse album. The Dillinger Escape Plan are living proof that you can achieve great things without compromise, by sticking to your guns and just going for it.
Beyond that point, you’re free to dive into an epic range of albums including solidly grooving rock sets, monolithic slabs of military-grade metal, and progressive masterpieces. Since I’ve not reviewed many EPs this year, I’ve also included a pair of extended-playing mind-blowers in the form of Dorje’s Centred And One and Toska’s Ode To The Author. Dorje specialise in utterly idiosyncratic rock tunes with added progressive spice, while to me, Toska (made up of Dorje’s backline, namely guitarist Rabea Massaad, drummer Ben Minal, and bassist Dave Hollingworth) represent the future of instrumental metal.
Both Dorje and Toska are bands on the rise – and they fully deserve to hit the same peaks enjoyed by the biggest names on this list.
There’s little more to say; for me, this list represents the top albums of 2016. Enjoy the full reviews linked below, follow TMMP on Twitter, subscribe to my brand new YouTube channel, and stay tuned for more world-class music next year!
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