Sunday 8 January 2017

THE 16 MOST POPULAR ALBUMS OF 2016: The Sour 16 End of Year List 2016

The Sour 16 End of Year List 2016
Whatever is going on in the world, in our personal lives, at work and at home, music is a constant source of escapism and as one year ends and another begins, the prospect that 2017 will bring another batch of fantastic releases is a mouth watering prospect. 

So, with that in mind, today we present the culmination of our efforts from 2016 and present “The Most Popular Albums of 2016” for your viewing pleasure.  I hope you had as much fun checking out the new music as we did presenting it to you. I’d like to bestow an immeasurable amount of gratitude to the contributors, who made this year so awesome. 

The results are compiled based on page views alone and calibrated into the list below. 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). 

16). Gozu - "Revival” (1753) 

At their core, Gozu is a bad ass American rock band. They’ve got heavy riffs in tow and bang out tunes loud enough to piss off the neighbors. But Gozu is more than this. Gozu is a songwriting machine, one that is able to churn out eight loud, hard hitting compositions without sacrificing the meaning behind the songs or the band.  Gozu’s “Revival” is gruff and dirty when it needs to be just as it’s swift and soulful when the time is right.

15). Slomatics - "Future Echo Returns" (1818)

When a band's guitarist has their own signature fuzz pedal, it's a safe bet that they can cut through solid rock with their riffs; when both guitarists have an alternate version of the same pedal then prepare your eardrums for some serious, rock crushing heaviosity. The towering heaviness of the riffs and the images of the infinite, shimmering darkness of space is executed and captured perfectly. An amazing album worthy of any and all praise it will undoubtedly receives.

14) Rob Zombie - "The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser" (1935)

Rob Zombie hits a home run with each gnarly cut, keeping the fire hot throughout. Pastor Snow was right. Rock n’ roll has a great beat. And that evil feeling you feel when you sing it? It’s a good feeling to feel!

13) Conan – “Revengeance” (1964)

The song 'Every Man Is An Enemy' has one of the most metal sounding titles I've ever heard and the violent intentions inherent in the brooding, bruising riffs put the bands money where its snarling mouth is. 'Earthenguard', the final track of the 6 on offer, is a song so heavy it has its own gravitational pull. Its 12 minutes of neanderthalic doom which also swims and swirls thanks to the phased guitars. It's an odyssey, a massive trek through mountainous chops and pounding beats that are designed to systematically cave your head in.  Have Conan outdone themselves? Quite possibly.

12). Neurosis - “Fire Within Fires” (2056)

As this decade has yet to close, it's difficult to define what Neurosis are...but herein lies their beauty; you define who and what they are to you. After 30 years, these guys know what needs to go into a Neurosis record and will continue to do so until the music is finished with them.

11). Periphery- "Periphery III: Select Difficulty" (2137)

Experimental metal bands like Periphery will (hopefully) never settle for sticking to one particular groove.  Constantly innovating, this adds to “Juggernaut”, jumping off from that platform and diving into dark, unexplored depths.  Music should surprise and inspire, and “Periphery III: Select Difficulty” does both with eye-opening results.  Just watch out for unexpected face-melting, okay?


10). Asteroid - "III" (2159)

It is a hugely diverse record and shows the advanced musicianship between the band, blending all kinds of stoner rock and fuzz. This is a band who are firmly on the rise to the top and know exactly how to get there. One of the best releases of 2016 without a doubt.

 09). Dunsmuir - "Dunsmuir" (2341)

Dunsmuir, manages the uncanny trick of amounting to the sum of its parts. The record's players have some serious pedigree and none if it is wasted. Vinny Appice is as powerful as ever, with a beastly snare sound, while Bone and Davis are a formidable strings team. Fallon puts in a hardworking and uniformly stellar shift as per usual.  Simply put, if you like Clutch and Dio-era Sabbath, you will be right at home here. If you are a fan of Fu Manchu, there are sounds for you here as well. This album rocks, it’s that simple.

08). Wretch – “Wretch” (2673)

This is a fine debut and a much needed shot of trad doom, with actual songs, - in an era of obsession with amps and pedals (but without, you know, actual songs and stuff). It is a triumph for this intrepid trio and surely there are great things to come for the band. Make no mistake, Wretch are here and Wretch will bring you real doom or throw you out of the bar if you don't like it.

07). Subrosa- "For This We Fought the Battle of Ages" (3040)

If you love really emotionally charged hard hitting music, give this record a listen. I had very high expectations of this record, and those expectations were met and then exceeded.

06). Meshuggah - "The Violent Sleep of Reason” (3065)

Trying to describe Meshuggah’s sound is a challenge.  The only way I can put it is that they’re a musical cascade: a never-ending barrage of sound and heaviness pounding down upon you. Don’t expect or ballad or moments of levity here, this is a relentless tide which you will not escape from.  Tracks like ‘MonstoCity’ and ‘Our Rage Won’t Die’ are pummelling tracks of new material which can easily be slotted in to their live setlist and not seem out of place.  In fact, the same could be said for any of those songs on display here: like a chain forged by Vulcan, there’s not a weak link present.  It all hits, and hits hard.

05). Gojira - "Magma” (3156)

‘Magma’ is a record that envelopes you with its overtly dark drama, but within its haze, its crushing catharcism makes it one of the most special metal records to be released in some time.  It may not be the relentless assault many fans wanted from the album – and that’s not to say it is barren of those moments – yet, as a vehicle for emotional cleansing, as a eulogy and an obituary for a woman who shaped the personalities that drive this act, it is staggering.

04). Suicidal Tendencies - "World Gone Mad" (3326)

It flows in a virtually flawless manner and I do believe “World Gone Mad” will be remembered as one of their best records, ever.  This one’s a home run with a bullet. 


03). Blood Ceremony “Lord of Misrule” (4006)

If you are new to Blood Ceremony, this album is as fine a place to start as any. If you have heard any of their previous albums and enjoyed them, your enjoyment of this one is guaranteed. This is as good an example as any of a band looking to the past both in terms of musical and folklore tradition to create fantastical and occult inspired music.

02). Megadeth - "Dystopia" (6616)

This line-up has introduced itself with a battering ram of thrash utopia; the riffs, the fury and the sizzling lead playing present here stands toe-to-toe with the bands best 21st century output.  It’s a record which accentuates the bands relevancy in 2016. Masters of their trade just listen to ‘Lying In State’ and tell me they can’t smash shit up with the best of them. They continue to release music and make the effort to give more content for their fans to consume. Not many other bands their age can say that.

1). Alter Bridge - (20,702)

If you have any interest in the more commercial end of the rock and metal spectrum i.e. Metallica, Maiden, Soundgarden and so on then this album could be a fine intro to the band. If you are a fan already you will enjoy this one immensely. Alter Bridge are leading lights in modern rock and may well be the last of a dying breed.

A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful.  September’s “Sour 16” features reviews by:  Richard Maw, Theron Moore, Dan Brownson, Jake Wallace, Phil Weller, Chris Markwell, Chris Bull & Victor Van Ommen