Thursday 5 October 2017

TOP 16 ALBUMS: The Sour 16 (September 2017)

Allow yourself to indulge in a hefty dose of riffs, because it is time to present 16 of the best albums from September, it is time for your SOUR 16

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 SLUDGELORD HQ.

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). Boris - "Dear" (623)

From the opening track, “D.O.W.N. –Domination of Waiting Noise–“, Boris conveys punishing volume so effectively that your ears will ache at practically any level.  Every note and every layered vocal has been obsessed over, placed perfectly in the mix, and acts as a distillation of twenty-five years of intense collaborative synthesis.

15). Order - "Lex Amentiae" (637)

This is harsh, in-your-face, old-school black metal. From the opener "Winter" onward, Order stakes a claim to the thorny crown with its barbarous shrieks, lumbering bass and unyielding guitars.

14). Biblical - "The City That Always Sleeps" (679)

“Mature Themes,” the opening track and lead-off single, certainly showcases a barrage of noise that hits like a barbed-wire baseball bat, but rather than making miles doing this sludgy-psych thing, Biblical branches out far and wide, traversing sonic landscapes that are as vast as the country the band calls home.

13). Major Kong - "Brace for Impact" (713)

Poland's Major Kong tests the limits of music with its new recording, "Brace for Impact." The eight-song release is entirely instrumental and rooted in a science fiction theme. Heady indeed, but Major Kong give you a dense, impressive album regardless.

12). Made Of Teeth - "Made Of Teeth" (721)

Made Of Teeth have produced a confident, punchy, and savage debut that provides the listener with labyrinthine levels of surprises around each corner.

11). Monarch - "Never Forever" (784)

Monarch orchestrates layers upon layers of sound that roil gently like a dirty bayou. Bresson's vocals – from plaintive wisps to growls and beyond – make Monarch unlike anything else you hear in doom or drone. Such innovation is why the outfit has cultivated a devoted following throughout their extensive career. Never Forever" gives you a side of Monarch that is rarely seen, and is indicative of a fearless performance. Drone is seldom this accessible, or distinguished.

10). Usnea - "Portals Into Futility" (815)

The guitars are thoroughly dissonant and murky, the bass is husky and drums voluminous. Then there are the vocals, which feel like they're being delivered with the sort of urgency of someone trapped at the bottom of a deep well. The whole composition of the record is just magnificent for doom fans.

9). Queens of the Stone Age - "Villains" (1040)

The musicianship is some of the best out there, and QOTSA knows its lane and sticks with it. Suffice to say, if you are already a QOTSA fan, chances are this recording will not disappoint, or may just a little. For others, there is an entirely different dialogue.

8). Ufomammut - "8" (1078)

The time signatures will still have you scratching your head and the chugging rhythms are no less heady as they are pummeling. The choice to structure songs rather than to orchestrate them means that the ideas unfold quicker than what we’re used to. A totally different listening experience, sure, but it’s one that offers yet another opportunity to throw some quality, heavy psychedelic doom on the turntable.

7). Spirit Adrift - "Curse of Conception" (1119)

“Curse of Conception” is a glorious success and a dazzling evolution of an already excellent band. 

6). Dyscarnate - "With All Their Might" (1181)

For those death metal fans expecting endless blasting, look elsewhere. For those who want a pit destroying festival of riffs: look no further. This is Dyscarnate’s best album so far and a real beast of modern death metal.

5). With The Dead - "Love From With The Dead" (1401)

The opening quartet of tracks here offers up a relentless onslaught of earth-shaking doom. Tim Bagshaw is on fine form, unleashing an endless stream of mammoth riffs and lead guitar that channel the hazy evil of his finest moments in Ramesses.  Lee Dorrian’s half spoken, half roared vocals work well in amongst the carnage and are a breath of fresh air in the modern doom landscape.

4). Belphegor - "Totenritual" (1802)

Once again, as they have over the vast majority of their discography, Belphegor has produced an excellent album of the best blackened death metal. This is every bit as good as anything else the band has put out from one of the best extreme bands in the world, no question.

3). Satyricon - "Deep Calleth Upon Deep" (1914)

 ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’ is something of a spiritual successor to ‘Rebel Extravaganza’ in that the goal appears to have been to take an established sound and create the weirdest, artsiest version of it they could and there is evidence of a sweeping creative resurgence throughout the album as a whole.

2). Monolord - "Rust" (2105)

Monolord hits all the superlative notes when it comes to doom and the album's closing tracks, "Forgotten Lands" and "At Niceae," are as close to perfect as you can get.

1). Paradise Lost - "Medusa" (5226)

Depthless despair, thick production with pounding drums accentuating the force of the material and those classic melodic leads are all encompassing, making this their heaviest album  in years and amongst their best. “Medusa” can and will turn you to stone- as you will be shocked and stilled by just how good it is.

A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful.  September 2017’s SOUR 16 features reviews by:  Richard Maw, Daniel Jackson, Charlie Butler, Mark Ambrose, Victor Van Ommen, Conor O’Dea, Jay Hampshire & Ernesto Aguilar