Best of 2016 – Sean

So fave releases of 2016? Easy. This was a great year!

10.1 The Sinking Teeth – Songs From the Bottom of the Lake

10.2 IBUILTTHESKY – The Sky Is Not The Limit

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Tied for 10…cos I couldn’t decide between these two sick albums..

Sinking Teeth > Had to wait a while for this album. The first single ‘Pavement’ had me all excited and ready but then…delays. More waiting. Half a dozen other great titles came by my inbox but this was on my watch-list and I was stoked AF when it dropped. The mix is phatter and bigger than expected. Guitars are right up in your face and the attitude, aggression and energy just peaks in every song. This is melodic rock/post-punk with a distinctly aussie delivery. I love it. Huge choruses…gorgeous guitar sounds and just a stack of other rad shit about this album made it a stand out.

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IBUILTTHESKY > Shred, djent, solo’s, ambience, post-rock, prog, metal, power..colour..bam! These are words that describe this standout instrumental album. A soloist behind the screen working tirelessly on material for this album, Rohan has outdone himself. With no shortage of material…many of the b-sides and off cuts can be found on his pages, but this collection of tracks is where it’s at. Yeh I liked Plini’s one too and a few others dropped with some huge tunes but this..this was my favorite.

9 Diploid – Is God up there?

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I can’t even deal with this album. I start to write something and then…nup..

Grind/Screamo/Punk perfection. That’s all I can say.

8 Driven Fear – Freethinker

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An early standout from 2016..this is hardcore/punk done well and the album was so solid and consistent it can’t be ignored as a standout release this year. The energy and urgency behind the bands message needs to be clear: think for yourself. The band don’t mince words and get straight to the point. Things are in a shitty place, something’s gotta change and this music would suit a revolution. Great guitar parts, frantic and memorable drumming add to a diversity that puts this as one of 2016’s best.

7 Hashashin – nihsahshaH

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This record was a trip. Proggy, ambient, psychedelic rock that transported the listener to a desert oasis somewhere in the middle east. The use of traditional and non-traditional instruments meant that the dynamics and variety for each song were incomparable. This truly was an inspired album. Instrumental music done so well you’ll forget where you are. It’s busy and heavy at times but never looses itself in the ‘math’ elements. Well balanced and inventive to say the least.

6 Polaris – The Guilt and the Grief

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Melodic, technical and absolutely nuts! This EP from Melbourne based Polaris never left my iPhone from the moment I bought it and still jam it on the reg. I remember first hearing the lead track ‘Progress’ and was immediately sold on this bands potential for a strong 2016. The 5 other tracks on this EP were of equally high calibre and they’ve gone from strength to strength this year. Total banger. No filler.

5 Fourteen Nights At Sea – Minor Light

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FNAS captured a bleak, hopeless and haunting vibe unlike anything else this year. The waves of noise that washed away to reveal subtle guitar work, synths and minimalist percussion was awesome. As if anything this band does is going to be short of amazing, Minor Light really sharpened the edges and took the gloom to new levels bridging into post metal territory and really dark ambient places. Sonically it’s just devastating, turn it up loud for best results.

4 We Set Sail – Feel Nothing

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Hit me right in the feels. This album is a slow burner for sure, it won’t give up the gems right away. Some tracks are more accessible and immediate than others but repeat listens yield some incredibly haunting and emotive moments. Think mid-west emo from the 2000’s melding with post-rock from today. Soooo good. No low lights, no skippables.

3 Hellions – Opera Oblivia

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Hype hurt this one and I was initially put off by all the froth. I’m seriously kicking myself for not being more open minded though because this album is incredible. It covers such a great range of sounds and styles within the established ‘hadcore/punk’ thing that it’s another genre-bending release which steps way out of it’s comfort zone. This has riffs and ball tearing moments that utterly rock..but the twinkly jangly clean guitars and prettier parts that appear throughout it surprise and highlight just how much musicianship is in there. There is something quite ‘epic’ or ‘theatrical’ about this record and it’s a fantastic spin from start to finish. Brilliant.

2 Luca Brasi – If this is all were going to be

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I slept on this at first. Wasn’t a fan of the bands earlier work. Then I heard it being played at the local record store and my ears pricked up. I asked the guy ‘who’s this playing?’ he said ‘Luca Brasi mate, knocked it out of the park with this one!’ and he was right. I bought it right away and learnt every word, sang along for months in the car and honestly can’t fault this record. It’s energetic, heartfelt and catchy as hell. I never got around to writing about it for the site.. probably should have but it would have just been me gushing over how much I liked it. Boring. This was one of the most listened to albums of my year. I have a memory attached to every song now. Instant classic.

1 Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier

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Bullshit incarnate. TFN are amazing at what they do. If there was any question about the longevity or maturity for this oddball/heavy/jazz/funk/djent band > ‘Outlier’ shut us up. Not only is it an evolution, it’s a step in new directions and incorporated a vast range of style such as latin, jazz, funk and glitch electronic stuff. If the song writing wasn’t so top notch…this would have been a disaster but…instead it is fantastic. I was really looking forward to this release and it didn’t disappoint. The stellar opening track ‘One Hand Killing’ never gets old and all the deeper cuts just get better with each spin. Production is better than most and the deep bass, mammoth guitars and crisp drums all meld together in a masterful way. Nothing topped this for me. It was genius.

AND:…Honorable mentions to Harbours..that EP was straight fire!

There’s my bit for the end of year lists. Fight me.

 

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