Thursday, 1 June 2017

TOP 16 ALBUMS: The Sour 16 for May 2017

Yes, it is that time again O ye lover of riffs, “The Sour 16” returneth.  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 the amount of page views the reviews have received and are then 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 the red numbers)

16). Dodecahedron - "Kwintessens” (446)

At 41 minutes, “Kwintessens” is deceptively compact for the multitudes within.  Each track, even the instrumental interludes, displays remarkable prowess while remaining confrontational and almost unbearably anguished.

15). Longhouse - "II: Vanishing" (450)

The tone, mix and mood of the album is one of darkness, menace and depression. “II: Vanishing” will terrify your consciousness and haunt your soul into painful contortions

14). The Ruins of Beverast - "Exuvia" (461)

“Von Meilenwald has created a terrible, tremendous and frightening invocation of blight and the invincible progress of erosion and disintegration. More than its component parts, an album to haunt the dreams of Lovecraft and Ligotti alike. Recommended without reservation.”

13). Lord - "Blacklisted" (476)

In a genre often bogged down by soundalike bands, Lord offer a sharp shot of adrenaline in the form of “Blacklisted”. The band’s distinct blend of gnarly thrash and filthy sludge deserves to see them go far.

12). Space Witch - "Arcanum" (521)

The band still sound like a collaboration between Bongripper, Hawkwind and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to create the ultimate sci-fi B-movie soundtrack, but  this latest release sees them develop their cosmic barrage further out into the void., they showcase a leaner, meaner Space Witch that still push the boundaries of heaviness but with a more streamlined attack.

11). Woodhawk - "Beyond The Sun" (522)

“Beyond The Sun, is overflowing with everything one could want from a great stoner rock record, thick, rumbling bass tones, sizzling guitar fuzz and infectious, mid tempo riffage, making this the kind of album that is very hard to stop listening to

10). Craven Idol - "The Shackles of Mammon" (567)

This new album does not disappoint, and capitalizes on a lot of the germinal promise that was present in spades on “Towards Eschaton”: zero bullshit, zero pretence, zero fucks metal.  Vocally it is  truly, truly spectacular and unique. Riffs are dynamic. Bass is deeply discernible and the leads are crazy, fiery and have a tone that reminds that metal solos can be a deadly weapon in the right hands, like a flail made of scalpels and razor blades.

9). Blaze Bayley - “Infinite Entanglement” and “Endure and Survive” (588)

Both “Infinite Entanglement” and “Endure and Survive” are the best work of his entire career, better than Wolfsbane, better than his tenure with Maiden and better than his past solo work.  Blaze's fire is burning brighter than ever

8). Sjelferd - ‘Fortid’ (619)

7). The Cosmic Dead - "Psych Is Dead" (646)

Somehow the band manage to make relentless repetition sound like a captivating journey into the unknown, packed with more subtle detail than a million prog metal odysseys.

6). Ghost Bath - "Starmourner" (686)

From the gentle piano intro of “Astral” to the vibrant and triumphant radiance of “Seraphic”, the tone of the album is pushed ever outward to match the theme of an infinite dream. It’s a theme that weaves its way through the whole album. There are certainly tracks that dive back into blast beats and hyper tremolo picking such as “Ambrosial” and “Elysian”, but the theme always returns to shimmering and heroic major chords.

5). Mouth of the Architect - "Time and Withering" (703)

Each new Mouth of the Architect release is my new soundtrack to oblivion, but revisiting “Time and Withering” is definitely worth your effort.  It has held up over time and is still as big and bold as it was 13 years ago.

4). Gurt - "Skullossus" (868)

This is some quality music that draws from many influences and I feel any metal fan should be able to enjoy it…. possibly even as the soundtrack to their next doom party.

3). Memoriam - "For The Fallen” (1012)

There is no huge introduction needed here. Bolt Thrower may be over, but Memoriam are very much here and ready to take up where Karl Willett's previous troop left off. You know what to expect from the names involved: crushingly slow grooves, like a tank rolling over piles of bones, bursts of thrash tempos and a sound that is thicker than tar.

2). Mutoid Man - "War Moans" (1113)

“War Moans” is fast, heavy and vocally arresting, it is an album that is certain to leave you breathless. 

1). Nightbringer - "Terra Damnata" (1160)

Remarkably, with Nightbringer approaching two decades of existence, they’re pulling off some of the best black metal the country has to offer, with a rabid intensity that, for all its darkness, remains inspiring.

A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful.  May 2017’s “Sour 16” features reviews by:  Richard Maw, Daniel Jackson, Andre Almaraz, Mark Ambrose, Charlie Butler, Conor O’Dea, Phil Weller, Josh Nichols & Ben Fitts