Saturday, 15 April 2017

TOP 16 ALBUMS: The Sour 16 for March 2017

Yes, it is that time again O ye lover of riffs, “The Sour 16” returns.  You know the drill by now, 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 The Sludgelord Headquarters.

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). Deadwound - "Identity Shapes" (533)

The South-West London quintet deal in a compellingly nasty blend of filthy sludge riffs, jarring discordance and searing bursts of d-beat fury. Tracks like “Crucifixed” and the crushing dirge of “Witch” come out of the blocks like “Remission” era Mastodon locked in a sweaty basement with His Hero Is Gone.  The band deliver twenty minutes of exhilarating noise that is equal parts barbed complexity and raw simplicity.

15). Benighted - "Necrobreed" (556)

Benighted are the equivalent of a gargantuan, hyperactive monstrosity, hybridizing the manic-spastic energy of a joyous slasher rampage with the gurgling insanity of some cthonic abomination. 

14). Power Trip - "Nightmare Logic" (557)

All in all, you would be pressed to find a weak link in “Nightmare Logic”'s sound or mix. It's a pinnacle album for those who need their metal fast, violent, and up in their face like a full scale riot.

13).Stinking Lizaveta - "Journey to the Underworld" (558)

Stinking Lizaveta’s new album “Journey to the Underworld” finds the band in deadly form, crafting music that is seriously weird and complex yet still delivers an addictive riff high.

12). Hey Satan! - "Hey Satan!" (617)

Overall this is a very impressive debut by very talented musicians.  Superb songwriting and extremely catchy rock and roll filled with dueling fuzzed out guitars, loud drums and a dynamic singer.

11). Rezn - "Let It Burn" (630)

REZN relies on hefty passages of music but the key to the band’s sound is how they combine this heft with a droning melody. Imagine Velvet Underground wrapped up in a Mars Red Sky jacket and you’ll understand why these Chicago boys are worth your attention.  This is a gem of a debut and albums of this quality don’t come around very often

10). Ghastly Sound - "Ghastly Sound" (EP) (646)

The Worst” sounds like Torche playing Truckfighters with the ghost of Dio on vocals while “Where The Ghosts Hide” and “Cape Buffalo” bring to mind Big Business indulging in secret stadium rock fantasies with hints of the Deftones in the melodic choruses given free reign with vocalist Tyler Gurwicz doing his best Chino Moreno impression over foundation-shaking riffs.  This EP is a tantalising glimpse of what Ghastly Sound has to offer. Hopefully it won’t be long before they return to show what fist-pumping destruction they are capable of over the course of an LP.

09). Thorr-Axe / Archarus - "The Hobbit" (Split) (678)

From deep within the fires of Mt. Doom comes one of the best releases of 2017 – a Tolkien-themed split from Indiana riff-smiths Archarus and Thorr-Axe.  It spans the whole spectrum that stoner/doom metal has to offer, with each track bringing a fresh sound to the table.

08). Telepathy - "Tempest" (704)

A monsoon of riffs, from slow, knuckle-dragging doom moments to the calculated chaos of Mastodon, spinning on a huge axis with their long, winding loops, this album it hits you like a drug, freewheeling into your body.

07). In The Company of Serpents - “Ain-Soph Aur” (714)

“Ain-Soph Aur” is a heavy experience on all levels. The band have dialled back the volume and slowed the tempo from previous releases which has unexpectedly resulted in increased impact. This album is  towering achievement from In The Company Of Serpents. It is a fine addition to an already distinguished discography and an inspiring work that sets the standard for heavy music in 2017.

06). Hyenas - "Deadweights" (768)

Deadweights” is an exciting opening salvo from Hyenas, it is an exhilarating hit of chaotic hardcore, metal fury and punk’n’roll that takes me back to the early to mid-2000s

05).Obituary - "Obituary" (971)

Obituary haven't sounded this deadly and taut for a long, long time, this is even better than “Inked In Blood”- itself an impressive record, A unique band in the genre.  Obituary have always stood apart from other death metal bands. They now stand above them again, too, because this is a death metal tour de force

04). Fen - "Winter" (987)

When this album is on fire, which is often, it’s absolutely some of the best atmospheric black metal you’ll hear this year. While the build to those big moments can be over-stretched, the payoff is absolutely worth the wait.  But even when accounting for its biggest flaw, I believe that ‘Winter’ will end up as one of the year's best albums. There’s simply too much fantastic material here to be denied.  

03). Dopelord - "Children of the Haze" (1329)

“Children of the Haze” is defined by loose grooves, ghoulish riffing and a very vintage sense of wickedness. Dopelord prove that, unlike many other stoner metal bands, they are not content to just create the same song several times over and call it an album.

02). Hour Of Penance - "Cast the First Stone" (1399)

01). Pallbearer - "Heartless" (1642)

“Heartless” is an incredible achievement from Pallbearer, a set of huge songs that consolidate the best elements of their previous releases while moving into fresh sonic territory. This is the album that should see the band make the transition into stadium-bothering all-time greats, and deservedly so.

A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful.  March’s Sour 16 features reviews byRichard Maw, Theron Moore, Charlie Butler,  Phil Weller, Victor Van Ommen, Jay Keche, Ben Fitts, Daniel Jackson, Michael Pagos,  Hunter Young & Conor O’Dea