We’re finally done! After powering through Part One, Part Two and Part Three, we’re closing out our series on the 20 best metal tracks of 2016. But while these came last, they most definitely are not the least.
You know what you’re going to get with Dark Tranquility. When it works, as it does on Atoma, it’s one of the most unique sounds in metal. Atoma combines the classic DT power-gloom formula with nods to early 80s British rock (a la The Smiths and The Cure). One of the few bands capable of creating a mournful beauty that will never be found in the playlist of suburban goths.
Circle Of Dust – Machines Of Our Disgrace
Machines Of Our Disgrace by Circle Of Dust ticks a lot of boxes that don’t get checked off near enough in metal. Homage to vintage sci-fi? Check. Legitimately high-quality riffing set against an industrial backdrop? Check. Powerful vocals featuring equal parts pitch and bark? Too often, the marriage of metal and electronics is either too subtle or too hamfisted. Circle Of Dust strikes a perfect balance few are able to achieve.
Pain Of Salvation – Meaningless
A dark, brooding treat for fans of Anathema and Katatonia. Meaningless by Pain Of Salvation oozes melancholy from every pore while avoiding the faux woe common to late 90s arena rock. A towering chorus with hair-raising dual vocals complements the minimalist composition and mournful lyrics. Not music I’d recommend firing up after a breakup, funeral or existential crisis, but staggeringly beautiful nonetheless.
The Algorithm – boot
My criticism for people who turn their nose up at The Algorithm? You write something like this by yourself. The level of detail in boot is absolutely insane, perhaps moreso when you consider The Algorithm is a one-man project. Composer Rémi Gallego frequently cites the Dillinger Escape Plan as a primary influence in interviews, and it shows. The Algorithm’s ability to harness sequencer-infused chaos and craft it into art truly represents the next frontier in metal.
Gojira – Magma
This fearsome French foursome has been among metal’s best for a long time, culminating in Grammy nominations for best rock album and metal performance. And while singles Silvera and The Shooting Star have received the lion’s share of attention (not undeservedly), it’s the title track from 2016’s Magma that’s the true hidden treasure. Listening to the six-minute Magma is like gently paragliding over Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland complete with psychedelic verses, driving 16th note jackhammers and mutated versions of Jerry Cantrell’s leads from Alice In Chains Nutshell.