Zach’s Top Albums of 2016

Zach’s Top Albums of 2016

Zach F

December 22nd, 2016

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Looking back on 2016, there were A LOT of metal records released. Picking just 15 of the 2016 releases proved to be an arduous task with some great albums being excluded from the following list. Without further ado, here are my 15 favorite releases of 2016.

15. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking

Top 3 songs: Raise Your Horns, One Against All, At Dawn’s First Light

Telling the story of the legendary order of viking mercenaries known as the Jomsvikings, Amon Amarth’s Jomsviking is a riveting story of love and war told in the style of classic Amon Amarth melodic death metal. Make sure to also check out Neil’s review of the album here.

14. Karybdis – Samsara

Top 3 songs: Rorshach, Mermaids, Summon the Tides

Karybdis is a relatively unknown band I stumbled upon while browsing the top ranked metalcore albums of 2016 a few months ago. Samsara is similar in style to As I Lay Dying‘s Shadows are Security with much more death metal influence. This album is filled with hard-hitting metalcore while also slowing down from time to time with songs such as “Summon the Tides” which contain some very pleasant melodic elements.

13. Earth Moves – The Truth in Our Bodies

Top 3 songs: Pia Mater, Omen, House of Flowers

Particularly surprising to me is this unknown gem, The Truth in Our Bodies by Earth Moves. This album is for fans of bands such as Deafheaven and Ghost Bath, however, Earth Moves takes this post-black metal style, adds doom metal elements, and crafts one of the most emotional albums of the year.

12. Dark Tranquility – Atoma

Top 3 songs: Faithless by Default, Encircled, Neutrality

Atoma is such a wonderfully consistent album that it has a huge replay value. Each song is beautiful melodic death metal, each not skipping a beat. The album flows in a glorious way making me head bang at one moment and giving me goosebumps soon after.

11. Carnifex – Slow Death

Top 3 songs: Dark Heart Ceremony, Necrotoxic, Six Feet Closer to Hell

Carnifex has been getting exponentially better with every release and Slow Death is a prime example of this. Blending elements of black metal, symphonic metal, and deathcore, Slow Death is a very unique offering to the notoriously bland deathcore scene. For further reading, check out my full review I wrote here.

10. Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional

Top 3 songs: A.D., Seven Enemies, Looking Down the Barrel of Today

Jamey Jasta and Company have never disappointed me. The Concrete Confessional is simply a continuation of The Divinity of Purpose in terms of sound and production. All the tracks are instant mosh pit anthems and I can verify this after I saw Hatebreed perform some of the new tracks live a few months ago.

9. Allegaeon – Proponent for Sentience

Top 3 songs: Demons of an Intricate Design, All Hail Science, Gray Matter Mechanics

By far one of the most talented metal bands currently active, Allegaeon are to the death metal scene as Mozart was to classical era musicians. Blending neoclassical and acoustic guitars with brutal death metal, Proponent for Sentience is an absolute joy to listen to from start to finish. As a bonus, Allegaeon even concludes the album with a cover of Rush‘s “Subdivisions”.

8. Aborted – Retrogore

Top 3 songs: Bit by Bit, Retrogore, Termination Redux

If you fancy a prime punishing to your entire body through music, I highly recommend Retrogore by Aborted. I think what really sticks out to me on this album is the overall nostalgic atmosphere layered over incredible instrumentation. This album does not stop and is as close as it comes to an intangible freight train. Check out my full review of the album here.

7. Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion

Top 3 songs: Jagged Cross Legions, This Endless War, The Vengeance in Me

Cannibal CorpseKillswitch Engage, and The Black Dahlia Murder are three of my favorite bands. Now imagine my excitement when I learned a member from each of the aforementioned bands were teaming up to form a band. Serpentine Dominion‘s self-titled album is all the gore and devastation from Cannibal Corpse ameliorated by the flawless guitar work of Adam D from Killswitch Engage. This album is an absolute must for a fan of any metal sub-genre.

6. Skeletonwitch – The Apothic Gloom

Top 3 songs: Red Death – White Light, The Apothic Gloom, Well of Despair

I was worried when founding vocalist Chance Garnette left Skeletonwitch. However, The Apothic Gloom, the first release by the band without Garnette, eliminated all my fears in one swift offering. This EP is blackened thrash metal at its absolute finest and shows a new direction for the band that leaves me craving the band’s next release. Check out my full review of the EP here.

5. Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason

Top 3 songs: Born in Dissonance, Nostrum, Clockworks

Simply put, Meshuggah are undoubtedly the most talented band that is currently releasing music. Every song on The Violent Sleep of Reason is precisely crafted down to every last note, offbeat, and lyric all the while remaining perfectly listenable to a fan of any metal sub-genre. This album also has a huge replay value; every time I give the album a listen I discover a new section to a song I previously missed. To take in this album in one listen is simply impossible and can be studied like a marvelous piece of literature.

4. Car Bomb – Meta

Top 3 songs: Nonagon, Cenotaph, From the Dust of This Planet

This album is the definition of contrast. Each song contains beautiful, clean guitar-driven passages immediately followed by perfect mathcore breakdowns and verses. The instrumentation is astounding; Car Bomb incorporate so many different time signatures and beats into their songs you will NEVER know what to expect next. Meta is a sonic assault from every possible instrument and extremely fun to listen to.

3. Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us

Top 3 songs: Savage Intolerance, Life is a Death Sentence, You Will Never Be One of Us

This album is a pure manifestation of everything evil in this world. To have the mental capacity to create this is incredible.

2. Vredehammer – Violator

Top 3 songs: Spawn Tyrant, Deadfall, Ursus

If you’ve read any of my previous reviews you know I like two things: diversity and excitement. Violator by Vredehammer is a wonderful album composed of basically any metal sub-genre influence you can think of. You have the blinding fast guitars of death metal, breakdowns from deathcore, folk metal aspects, and plenty of death metal influence. I will never tire of listening to this album and when I don’t know what to listen to, I usually start with this album due to vast amount of diversity contained within. Check out my full review of the album here.

1. After the Burial – Dig Deep

Top 3 songs: Deluge, Lost in the Static, Laurentian Ghosts

My favorite album released this year is After the Burial‘s Dig Deep. Being a huge fan of their music, I was personally devastated when I heard founding guitarist Justin Lowe had passed away in the summer of 2015. Dig Deep is the last album to contain material written by Lowe but was recorded without him. You can hear the anger and sadness pouring out of every instrument, each individually charged with unbounded emotion. Each song showcases After the Burial‘s ability to blend djent, deathcore, and melodic elements together into a very exciting, beautiful, and instrumentally impressive album. Check out my full review of the album here.


If you have read any of my articles, thank you very much. QJukeBox has surpassed any expectations I had for a small side-project and writing articles about my favorite music has been a true joy. Thank you, I look forward to writing plenty more in 2017.