Friday 7 July 2017

TOP 16 ALBUMS: The Sour 16 June 2017

Vokonis (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 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)

16). Coltsblood - "Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness" (324)

Coltsblood refine their unique brand of bleak, bludgeoning doom to punishing effect on “Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness”. This is a mighty collection that marks out the band as one of the most underrated heavy acts in the world.

15). blyh - "Transparent to the World" (358)

Short, to the point, but excelling in both subtlety and savagery, blyh is a band to watch out for.

14). Iced Earth - "Incorruptible" (361)

This is the kind of album that Judas Priest should be making- and used to make. “Incorruptible” is a great metal album, it delivers on every level, with every band member excelling in their field. Time for me to get hold of the back catalogue as well, as “Incorruptible” has converted me to being a fan of the band. After nearly thirty years of albums, Iced Earth are deadlier than ever.

13). Avatarium - "Hurricanes And Halos" (395)

This is another great record from Avatarium and one which places the band firmly in the upper echelons of doom outfits operating today. There is nothing to fault here. If you enjoyed the band's previous work, don't hesitate. If you have never heard the band, then this is as good a place as any to start. Great record.

12). In Human Form - "Opening of the Eye by Death of the I" (467)

The complexity of the songwriting on all of the tracks leaves the listener discovering many layers over multiple listens. This band has some serious talent, and absolutely deserves your time. A massively unique release weaving together so many influences it’s difficult to quantify them all. This is excellent music, and I can’t wait for future releases from this band.

11). Schammasch - “The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite” (EP) (471)

Schammasch have created something remarkable with this most recent artistic expression, sophisticated, complex and yet somehow, eminently accessible.  Get lost. It is worth your time to find a way out.

10). USA/MEXICO - "Laredo" (472)

This is the kind of garage rock where the car is still parked inside with the engine running, warping the bands minds with fumes.   “Laredo” is an awesome offering from USA/MEXICO, a perfect blend of dumb headbanging heaviness and tripped-out weirdness.

9). Bereft - "Lands" (490)

There are other bands creating doom in a similar style to Bereft but few do it on such a grand scale. The Wisconsin quartet’s latest release comprises  of four epic journeys into the abyss with a massive production that matches their towering ambition.  “Lands” is a fine album that is sure to win Bereft a legion of new followers.

8). Vallenfyre - "Fear Those Who Fear Him" (511)

All in all it’s another good album that sees the band dishing out shorter and faster songs than we’re used to getting from them, while not losing the razor sharp edge of that classic Vallenfyre musical mastery and might.

7). Pyreship - "The Liars Bend Low" (579)

The Houston quartet deal in a captivating brand of complex sludge with a perfect balance of melody and grit. “The Liars Bend Low” is a debut brimming with potential for a glowing future.

6). Mantar - "The Spell" (EP) (669)

Mantar’s strength lies in their ability to maintain a perfect balance of dirty, underground grit and catchy stadium-bothering rock’n’roll ambition. Opening track “Pest Crusade” demonstrates this in style. It is a complex track composed of shifting tempos and styles, encompassing shards of raging black metal, stop/start riffage and blasts of no-nonsense stoner punk.  The three flawless tracks that make up “The Spell” demonstrate that Mantar’s unique brand of heaviness is growing ever more potent.

5). Bison - “You Are Not The Ocean, You Are the Patient” (707)

“You Are Not The Ocean, You Are the Patient” is an amalgamation of everything that Bison does well. If you love anything in the realm of sludge or stoner metal, this is a must for you.

4). Beastmaker - "Inside The Skull" (762)

It's impressive that, only a year and a bit after their debut, Beastmaker have taken their sound and improved upon it with sharper song writing and an impressive grasp of what makes music of the trad doom genre tick.

3). Paganizer - "Land of Weeping Souls" (787)

Rogga Johansson shows no sign of letting up at all; another album, another line up, another master class in Swedish death metal. This is absolutely business as usual for Paganizer, possibly the finest and purest exponents of this type of metal around. Highly recommended.

2). Elder - "Reflections of a Floating World" (822)

Reflections of a Floating World’ is both a glance back and a stride forward. The direct nature of some of the riffs and the weight of their execution sit it comfortably between ‘Spires Burn/Release’ and ‘Lore.’ The expansion of ambition and variety in musical approach however, keep Elder’s eyes firmly fixed on the horizon

1). Vokonis - "The Sunken Djinn" (964)

Whilst being undoubtedly heavy what makes this sophomore effort stand out is the variation employed in the bludgeon. By embracing less traditional doom landscapes ‘The Sunken Djinn’ has allowed Vokonis room to demonstrate the full raft of their audio-weaponry, and in doing so propelled them to the forefront of the heavy underground.

A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful.  June 2017’s “SOUR 16” features reviews byRichard Maw, Andre Almaraz, Charlie Butler, Conor O’Dea, Brandon Green, David Jupp & Mark Tremblay