Wow! What a suck-fest 2016 was, huh? Lemmy goes and dies in the waning moments of 2015 and it’s all gone to hell since then. Bowie, Brexit, Prince, Trump, Mohammad Ali, ISIS, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frye, Harambe, Keith Emerson AND Greg Lake, Standing Rock… the list of death, destruction, and atrocities goes on. Hell, The Cubs even won the World Series, so you know the end must be near! Thankfully though, we metalheads had a treasure-trove of great new music in which to drown our sorrows. There were so many great albums released that it was more difficult than ever for me to work up my year-end best-of list! Who would’ve though that Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Darkthrone would all drop their greatest albums in decades? Perhaps another seal of the apocalypse breaking? I’ll let you decide that one for yourself. And as for the younger bands, there seem to be great ones crawling out of the woodwork everywhere.
So, without further ado, I present to you my favorite metal albums of 2016 from across all of the myriad subgenres. Keep in mind please, that this is exactly that… my favorite albums of the year. Yours are undoubtedly different. You probably even strongly disagree with some or all of my selections. Which is perfectly fine. Go write your own damn column!
You know it’s going to be a good week whenever there is a new Darkthrone track. When said track is a return to form that harkens back to the band’s ’90s heyday, you know it’s going to be a great week. And that is where today finds us. The Norwegian gods of black metal have gifted us with the first single from their upcoming sixteenth studio album Arctic Thunder, which will be released on October 14, 2016 via Peaceville Records. After nearly a dozen year diversion, Darktrhone have decided to cast off the black-n-roll and crust punk diversions and get back down to their black metal roots.
February 26, 2016 marked the 24th anniversary of Darkthrone‘s landmark second album A Blaze In The Northern Sky. It is a release that many see as a pivotal moment in the beginning of black metal’s second wave.
Unfortunately, the band’s label Peaceville Records and the band’s bass player did not see it that way at the time. The album marked a sudden stylistic shift to black metal with only traces of the death metal that the band had been previously known for. Bassist Dag Nilsen was not happy with the musical direction the band was taking and quit the band over it. He did agree to record the bass parts for the record though and is credited as a guest musician. The label had a less understanding reaction to the unannounced musical shift. Though the album was recorded early in 1991 it would not see the light of day until 1992 after a prolonged dispute over the mix, which Peaceville wanted to “clean up.” The lo-fi sound of the album would eventually stand and the rest is history.
This week’s Black Metal Friday band needs no introduction. Norwegian legends Darkthrone are amongst a very small handful of bands that kick started the second wave of black metal in the early ’90s. Their “unholy trinity” of albums, A Blaze in the Northern Sky,Under a Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger as well as their fiercely DIY ethic are widely considered to be the template for most of the black metal that followed.
The duo behind Darkthrone, Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have steered away from black metal in recent years in favor of a more crust punk approach but they will always be held in the highest reverence for their contributions to the dark genre. Here, from A Blaze in the Northern Sky, is Darkthrone with the classic anthem “In the Shadow of the Horns.” Crank it up and throw some horns of your own in honor of the masters, Darkthrone.
If you’re a metalhead and into crafts, this one might be right up your alley.
Coming complete with a Flying V guitar, pentagram necklace, and bullet-belt; the only thing missing from this little Black Metal dude is the complete burning church playset. The awesome little figure, pictured right (click for enlarged version), is the result of an amigurumi crochet project created by the folks over at Karabouts.
The detail on this little guy is pretty stunning. The spiked gauntlets are made from tacks, the pentagram is actually an earring, and the bullet-belt is made from silver beads. The coolness of this awesome project just makes me want throw out the metal horns and growl some Satanic lyrics.
The artists behind this remarkable amigurumi are the Mike and Kara Amigurumi Design Team and you can check out more photos of the Black Metal dude (posed in front of a church!) and more of their creations at their website.