The Sludgelord’s ‘Sour 16’ is back to present another selection of the finest riffs around. You know the deal, each month, you the reader are unwittingly compiling a list of the top 16 records of the month, covering all genres of metal. Is it not a chart, in which reviewers or contributors extol their opinion about their favourite music. To put it simply, the ‘Sour 16’ are the records that have been trending the most at Sludgelord Headquarters.
The results are compiled based on page views alone and calibrated into the list below. So roll up, kick back, chug a beer and Hail the riff! All reviews can be viewed by clicking the artwork and we have included album streams wherever possible. (Total views since their publication are highlighted in red)
The band draws from the excitement of (early) QOTSA, mixing it with a shot of CKY and Turbonegro’s go-get-‘em attitude, making for a highly intoxicating party cocktail. They channel Clutch by way of Puny Human – lots of groove but the swing is calculated – and throw in some southern touches for good measure. “Me and the Devil” is a fine example of forward thinking stoner rock without being self-absorbed or dipping into prog territory. Dig in and enjoy it.
15). The Body & Full of Hell - "One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache" (246)
One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache” is a nightmarish journey to the outer limits of sound; a cold, dark creation of cathartic noise almost entirely devoid of standard structure. Covering so much ground over the course of a single album could easily make for a messy, disjointed experience. Somehow The Body and Full of Hell manage to pull these disparate styles and approaches together to make a coherent and consistently unsettling record. “One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache” is every bit as terrifying as you would expect from these two trailblazing acts.
14). Hatespirit – “Blood & Poetry” (293)
This year is already a strong one for black metal, but ‘Blood & Poetry’ is good enough to be in the top tier of black metal albums released so far this year.
13). Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas - "Mariner" (300)
While both artist’s individual talents are showcased this effort never feels like the two artists were unfamiliar with each other. Rather, this album can trick you into thinking this is one artist rather than two. There is an utter lack of competing sounds, styles, or egos. The spotlight is entirely shared and makes “Mariner” a highlight of a how a seamless collaboration record can sound.
12). Rorcal – “Creon” (313)
'Πολυνείκης' leads the way with its jagged, maelstrom of a riff, 'Ἀντιγόνη' washes over you with its 'Criminally Insane' like drum intro. Blast beats are plentiful as the hellfire riffs spew lava in every direction. The intro of 'Αἵμων' draws you in with its brooding, darkness before it rages violently into oblivion with nods to the older gods and 'Εὐρυδίκη' phlegmatic in its delivery, is a chunk of pure bludgeoning darkness. This record is that good, I'm willing to go out on a limb and call it an album of the year contender. Much like the Hivelords last year; Rorcal have pushed their own envelope further and further into the realms of possibility and although they may dwell in darkness, the future is bright
11). Fister & Teeth – “Fister / Teeth” Split (319)
Fister have a knack for finding excellent bands to do spilt releases with and this is no exception. Their brilliant track 'We All Die Tonight' is a thumping, gnarly affair, grinning with vehemence and contempt. Teeth weigh in with 2 tracks, the latter of which 'To Lay Upon Blistered Thorns' is a downright horrible piece of music in the best possible way! Both bands know how to make the most of a limited amount of time and manage to fill it with devastatingly heavy music. A brilliant release worthy of anyone's interest or indeed money.
10). October Tide – “Winged Waltz” (320)
The music is more rhythmically and tonally diverse than an album of this style would have been all those years ago, but the band’s ability to craft compelling songs that alternate between being sorrowful, bleak and, beautiful as the song requires it, remains completely unchanged. October Tide do a great job of sounding like they’re of the here and now while keeping true to what people loved about them in the first place. The warmth of nostalgia and the desire to keep up with the times can both be harsh mistresses, but October Tide serve them both well, and the result is an abundantly satisfying album.
09). Boudain – “Way of the Hoof” (348)
Heavy Blues bolstered with some low tuning and fuzzed up crunch allow Boudain to cruise through their new album, “Way of the Hoof”, like the biggest gator in the bayou.
08). Aborted – “Retrogore” (366)
The story of ‘Retrogore’ is that of an album that creates memorable moments, rather than relying on pure heaviness and technicality. There is plenty of variety from song to song, with Aborted showing that they’ve found a way to come up with new ideas without throwing their standard strengths as a band out the window in the name of progress. On that basis, Aborted are undeniably at their best on this album.
7). Joy - "Ride Along" (414)
Joy is an honest to goodness, blown-out blues band. They’re like a ZZ Top tribute band sucked through a time warp vacuum and then played at warp speed.
6). Grave Miasma - "Endless Pilgrimage" EP (424)
“Endless Pilgrimage” puts them streets ahead of many of their deathly peers and frankly If you enjoyed Cruciamentum's debut album and are looking for a different take on death metal from the British Isles, this should be your next stop. Deliciously dark and very good.
5). Rising – “Oceans into their Graves” (465)
Armed with fat, sledgehammer riffs, crafty harmonies and glorious vocal melodies bigger than any giant David and his pesky slingshot could handle, with ‘Oceans Into Their Graves’, Rising have created a monster.
4).Ihsahn - ‘Arktis’ (479)
By and large, this album doesn’t have enough of what made Ihsahn different to keep it from blending into a number of other prog metal albums you might have heard over the last five years , but to get to the heart of the matter, if you’re already a fan of Ihsahn’s more recent output you should enjoy this as well, the songs fit in nicely within that style, and with more concise songwriting to boot. However If you’re like me, and you tend to favor the man’s earlier work, it’s worth hearing for the sake of appreciating the musical talent on offer, but you may be left cold by the overall direction of what you hear.
3). Valley of the Sun – “Volume Rock” (494)
Now left to their own devices, Ryan and Aaron have managed to sail their ship to areas previously unexplored, refining their sound in the process. They are no longer a band that just plugs in and blasts; there’s a sense consciousness here like they took their time. And though they still blast speakers open, they do so not only with purpose but also tact.
2). Surgical Meth Machine – “Surgical Meth Machine” (533)
1). Moonsorrow –“Jumalten Aika” (653)
Moonsorrow has long been one of the more diverse, dynamic, and powerful bands associated with the black metal genre, and ‘Jumalten Aika’ will only build upon that reputation. While it’s certainly a mix of the band’s past and present, it’s also often at times catchy in a way that the band hasn’t always been before. You won’t find an ounce of filler on this album, and for a band predisposed to songs of fifteen-plus minutes, it’s always a remarkable achievement. ‘Jumalten Aika’ eclipses its predecessor, sitting comfortably beside the best albums they’ve ever created.
A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful. April’s “Sour 16” features reviews by, Chris Bull, Philip Weller, Richard Maw, Daniel Jackson, Victor Van Ommen, Charlie Butler, TJ Kliebhan, Mike Wilcox and Hunter Young