Chris Nee’s Albums of the Year 2016: 20 to 11

It’s the moooost wonderful time of the year. Not because of Christmas. Not because of festive food and drink, or a bottomless supply of Quality Street, or Boxing Day football.

Well, a bit because of Boxing Day football. But also because I can finally spaff on about my favourite twenty albums of 2016. I’ve been curating this list all year. I’m still not happy with it, but by God there are twenty wonderful records within.

Here are numbers 20 to 11. By the way, I’ve got a 2016 playlist on Spotify too. And a 2015 playlist, for that matter.

20. Every Time I Die – Low Teens (Epitaph)
I’m actually not an ETID guy. I’ve liked a few songs here and there, and I’ve got nothing respect for a band I recognise as one of the best around. But I wasn’t really bothered about the release of Low Teens, simply because this is a band that’s never blown me away. Now, though, I’ll be going back through what’s come before. [Spotify]

19. A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations (ADTR Records)
Despite being above ETID, the new A Day To Remember album nearly didn’t make the cut. That it did speaks volumes of a record that hits the spot with every listen, most importantly the one that tipped it beyond a 21st album that will remain unnamed. Huge hooks, choruses to die for and an arsenal of bangers. Obviously. [Spotify]

18. Problem Daughter – Fits of Disorganized Boredom (Dying Scene Records)
One from out of left-field, perhaps, but Fits Of Disorganized Boredom by Salt Lake City’s Problem Daughter is a sarcastic, cunning and vituperative little nugget of snarling punk rock, and it’s been on regular rotation around these parts since the day it was released in February. [Spotify]

17. Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us (Nuclear Blast Records)
I don’t want to like Nails. I want the year’s most brilliantly gruesome album to be by a band I can get behind. But it’s not. It’s this. Because from the palpable threat of its opening vocal ugliness, You Will Never Be One Of Us flies through anthem after anthem after gut-destroying anthem. It’s utterly undeniable. [Spotify]

16. Vorvan – Once Love Was Lost (631709 Records DK)
A great many of these albums have been reviewed on That’s Not Metal, but just two of my list are records I simply wouldn’t have heard without them. I owe a debt of gratitude for this one, because it’s a banger. Once Love Was Lost is a wide-ranging album that touches on just about everything that’s great about metal. One for the riff-lovers. [Spotify]

15. Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (Blackened Recordings)
Yes, Metallica. Because when Metallica put out an album with as many bangers as you’ll find on Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, you’ll have to extricate it from my AOTY list with the use of heavy artillery. Metallica have unearthed some of their best stuff for decades and it sounds huge. [Spotify]

14. Black Peaks – Statues (Sony Music Entertainment)
I’ve yet to see Black Peaks live but I’m assured the songs from their excellent debut album, Statues, sound even better than they do on the album. It’s a varied and unpredictable album laced with elements of prog, hardcore, metal and just about every curveball imaginable. As British debut albums go, this is one of the most creative in years. [Spotify]

13. Suicidal Angels – Division Of Blood (NoiseArt Records)
You can keep your bloated, masturbatory progressive thrash. Suicidal Angels are one of the best in the game, and there’s nothing smug or flabby or fun about their records. The latest, Division Of Blood, is fully metal. Sometimes, riffing is just undeniable. [Spotify]

12. Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (Epitaph)
For long-time Architects fans – something I can’t claim to be – it’ll be impossible to separate All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us from its immensely sad context. It’s a tremendous piece of work, full of righteous anger and massive hooks that come together to form the fitting bow of a talent tragically lost. [Spotify]

11. Hesitation Wounds – Awake For Everything (6131 Records)
Musically, Jeremy Bolm has had quite the year. The new Touché Amoré is critically acclaimed but this is the Bolm album that’s clicked with me, and it’s clicked in a big way. ‘New Abuse’ is everything I love about post-hardcore music, and it’s surrounded on Awake For Everything by a bevy of arsey punk ragers. [Spotify]

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