2016 has been an insane year for the fringe metal fan, those of us with an open mind and an ear for well written music have been spoilt for choice with the depth of talent releasing albums and EPs which has made this years release roundup incredibly difficult. However, we at Prog.Metal.Madness! have put our heads together with the help of our listeners and compiled what we believe to be the 24 best releases of the year…we hope you agree!
24: Awooga – Alpha
Sheffield’s finest Stoner/Doom/Space Rockers released their debut EP ‘Alpha’ in October upon our lucky ears, four perfectly formulated tunes which form as a precursor to next years forthcoming album! Check this out:
23: Car Bomb – Meta
Amazing Mathcore band Car Bomb gave us a musical sledge-hammer in their 3rd album Meta this October. Oozing with variety and more twists and turns then you could shake a twisty turny stick at!
22: Candiria – While They Were Sleeping
Hitting back with their first album in seven years Candiria prove they still have more then most bands could ever offer. A perfect blend of post hardcore with jazz and even ambient moments this album is as approachable as it is insane!
21: Lucid Fly – Building Castles In The Air
Progressive rock outfit Lucid Fly gifted us with their debut album this year showcasing their melodic and haunting performances. A long time in the making this is definitely an album to check out!
20: Moon Tooth – Chromaparagon
Hailing from Long Island, New York, Moon Tooth have a sound which is impossible to define, an eclectic mix of brash rhythms with soulful and powerful melodies Chromaparagon is an album you will return to again and again and discover more.
19: Possessor – Dead By Dawn
Possessors second full album sees them hitting their stride, blending old school thrash with industrial elements, hammer horror soundtracks and elements of grundge to carve out their own individual and unique sound…great live too!
18: Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – Broken Lines
The super-group of the year, formed of members of The Mars Volta, Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan and Alice in Chains, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra managed to blend their talents and have the songs to boot, check out Broken Lines!
17: Despite – Synergi
The long awaited first full studio album from Despite proved they have what it takes to take the music world by storm. Blending post-hardcore with melodic elements to be heavy as hell one moment and beautifully anthemic the next!
16: Tardive Dyskinesia – Harmonic Confusion
On their forth album, Tardive Dyskinesia have hit the jackpot! The perfect blend of progressive metal with a swirling range of sounds and the tunes to back it up. Great harmonies, great aggression…great sax!
15: Destrage – A Means To No End
Another genre defying band with unending talent. Endless listens will still unlock infinite inflections of ideas you missed upon the last this is an album which you will continue to return to again and again.
14: Shokran – Exodus
Following the 2014 release ‘Supreme Truth’, Exodus manages to condense the best elements which made the band one of technical metals greatest assets whilst still managing to explore and push beyond the boundaries of the scene!
13: Ideology – Ideology
Coming out of nowhere Ideology released their self-titled album this year and blew us out of the water. With an almost perfect blend of progressive and technical metal, amazing musicianship and tunes to back it up this is one new band to watch!
12: Fraktions – Anguish
Having previously fired a couple of warning shots in the form of their previous singles Fraktions demanded our attention this year by releasing one of the most complex, well written yet accessible and coherent concept EPs I have ever heard, I urge you to check it out!
11: Aliases – Derangeable
Every moment of this album feels like someone trying to keep from slipping over the edge of sanity in both its musicianship, melody and lyrics yet it does it in such a perfectly defined and controlled way it feels like genius…which it is!
10: Gojira – Magma
For their sixth full album Gojira pulled back on the full intensity and honed down the pure essence of their sound, folks were divided at first but it didn’t take long for the immense complexity yet relaxed execution dug into our brains to stay forever!
9: Opeth – Sorceress
Continuing with their progressive metal dominance after already claiming the same in the death metal scene, Opeth’s 3rd fully clean and fully 70’s prog influenced sounding album has them finding their feet and using them to stomp over the competition!
8: The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
Unfortunately this could be the last album we hear from the band yet fortunately they have left us with a blinder! Combining almost everything they have done in their almost 20 years together, the band have outdone themselves…again!
7: Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
On their 8th studio album Messhugah have yet again given us another slab heavy vision of the metal future! Continually complex in its arrangements and rhythms this band seem to have no end!
6: The Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
The amazingly prolific Devin Townsend continues to provide us the soundtrack to our lives we never even knew we required. Ever expanding on sound and song, Transcendence is a beautiful and spacious progressive metal soundtrack which you need to own!
5: Haken – Affinity
Haken have been growing in popularity exponentially with every release and Affinity seems to be the breakthrough they so deserve! Ambitiously huge, complex yet accessible and melodic, for a band who have explored more than most could dream of they continue to find ways and means to expand!
4: Black Peaks – Statues
The Black Peaks are a band to watch for the future. This debut album is one you will return to again and again with some amazing ideas and musicianship which sickeningly they manage to uphold live too! Catch them before you can’t afford the ticket price!
3: Hieroglyph – Ouroborus
After the ‘Freefall’ EP in 2014 I was expecting big things…but not this big! Hieroglyphs debut album Ouroborus is an amazing listen which you will continually revisit with variety of sounds bridging the tech and progressive metal scenes, female melodic with male melodic and brutal vocals over a variety of haunting and heavy as hell riffs…you’d be a fool to miss it!
2: Cyborg Octopus – Learning To Breathe
An insane album which blends almost every musical style into a post-hardcore base. Like a heavy Mr Bungle mixed with a more modern and technical scene this band have more ideas in a single song then most bands have within their lifetime!
IHSAHN – ARKTIS
This is Ihsahn’s 6th solo album and one which I cannot stop from playing. Released in April it is still my most played album of the year. Post-Death metal mixed with prog, industrial and thrash there truly is something for every self-respecting metal-head on this release. Its the perfect blend of heavy, melody and variety.