BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak! Kim Baarda
January 5, 2017, a year ago
BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak!
Top 20 of 2016
1) INQUISITION - Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Alter Beyond The Celestial Zenith (Season Of Mist)
2) ANTHRAX - For All Kings (Nuclear Blast)
3) DARK FUNERAL - Where Shadows Forever Reign (Century Media)
4) METALLICA - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct (Blackened)
5) VEKTOR - Terminal Redux (Earache)
6) GUTTER INSTINCT - The Age Of Fanatics (Prosthetic)
7) TESTAMENT - Brotherhood Of The Snake (Nuclear Blast)
8) SOL SISTERE - Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum (Hammerheart)
9) WORMED - Krighsu (Season Of Mist)
10) DEHUMANIZED - Beyond the Mind (Comatose)
11) NAILS - You Will Never Be One Of Us (Nuclear Blast)
12) ABBATH - S/T (Season of Mist)
13) TOMBS - All Empires Fall (Relapse)
13) DARKTHRONE - Artic Thunder (Peaceville)
15) CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED - Creatures Watching Over The Dead (Metal Blade)
16) SHED THE SKIN - Harrowing Faith (Hells Head Bangers)
17) SUMERLANDS - S/T (Relapse)
18) FLOTSAM & JETSAM - S/T (AFM)
19) SINSAENUM - Echoes Of The Tortured (Peccatum Records - earMusic)
20) DEATH ANGEL – The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast)
Top 3 Concerts
CANNIBAL CORPSE, OBITUARY, CRYPTOPSY – BLOOD, GUTS N’ GORE IN TORONTO! - March 2nd, 2016
ANNIHILATOR, RAZOR - CLASH OF THE CANADIAN TITANS - June 14th, 2016
HEAVY MONTRÉAL 2016 - August 8th, 2016
Top 5 Brave Embarrassments
SERPENTINE DOMINION - S/T (Metal Blade)
Sounds to me like Corpsegrinder needed to scratch some sort of melodic death metal itch that he wasn't getting in his full-time gig. Anyway, this comes across as a Cannibal cover band by a bunch of fifth-graders who crashed a pool party at Killswitch Engage's house. It's not all bad - I could see one blasting this while dungeon-raiding in WoW. For the rest of us, best to stick with Cannibal.
IN FLAMES - Battles (Nuclear Blast)
This band has earned a permanent spot here.
ROTTING CHRIST - Rituals (Season Of Mist)
Rituals isn't a terrible album by any means. There are a few moments of clarity scattered throughout where it all might make sense, yet those moments are fleeting, only to find yourself lost within the soundscape all over again. It's what I imagine the experience of drowning to be like - at first you are content, comfortable in your surroundings. Then, out of nowhere, you are hit with a sense of dread when you realize what's happening. You fight it, to no avail. Occasionally, you catch a glimpse of light overhead, and frantically reach for it, yet the darkness swallows you. With no fight left, you succumb.
ENTOMBED A.D. - Dead Dawn (Century Media)
OK. So, I have a bit of a bone to pick with this one. First off, it kinda sucks that the members that once lived peacefully in the confines of the legendary Entombed could not hash out their differences and continue on. Secondly, why bother continuing on in the shadow of your one-time glory? I mean, Entombed A.D. mainman, Lars Petrov, could have let this beast die a glorious death - allowed the legacy that is the mighty Entombed live on in the memories and experiences of the fans. Yet, they released the inferior Dead Dawn album, which isn't an absolute stinker like others have described it - it's just not that good. There are moments that recall the glory days, but, all in all, it just kind of plods along at an uneven, slightly awkward pace. I'm still not sure why Lars isn't commiting 100% of his time to the phenomenal Firespawn, which literally blows this thing off the face of the earth.
ABORTED - RETROGORE (Century Media)
Aborted. Sure, the name sounds tough. Sure, some of the music chugs along at your typical bro-core pace. Sure, all the imagery and brutal death metal tough guy posturing is there, but is this thing really that brutal? I dunno. I'm not sure. I mean, I enjoy brutality - and I applaud the effort made by Aborted - but the oddly-titled Retrogore is not my kind of brutal. This might sound a little strange, but there is an underlying pop sensibility that pervades this album. Of course, by no means am I saying this is a pop album - that would be absurd. What I am trying to say is that the collection of riffs found on the album seem to have come from a place that the human brain can relate to. There is a lack of challenge to the music - it plays by the rules - never forcing the listener into that discomfort zone where true brutality lives. Where a band like, say, Abominable Putridty lives in the upside down (nod to Stranger Things), Aborted are better suited for the here and now - our safe little existence. Oh, and then there are those vocals.
What/Who Needs To Stop In 2016
I thought we left this shit behind us back in '88 when the not-so-metal Jethro Tull beat out Metallica in the Hard Rock/Metal category of the Grammy Awards? Apparently those who run this stuff learned nothing when they nominated pop artist Beyonce in the Rock category of the same award show mentioned above. If David Bowie does not win this one, then the world as we know it is a complete farce. On a similar note, let 2017 ring in as the year hip hop artists realize how ridiculous they look sporting metal-centric attire. Like any fashion trend in the pop world, it will come to an end on its own. I blame Myrkur.
Thoughts On 2016
2016 - also dubbed 'The Year Of The Thrash' - saw an unbelievable amount of old-school thrashers dropping relevant albums nearing the four decade mark of their storied careers. If you think about it, this is quite the feat. Not only are these guys writing pertinent and refreshing material in a sub-genre that has seemingly exhausted itself of ideas, they are touring this material far and wide - and these guys ain't no spring chickens! Gotta hand it to 'em, stepping up and showing the youngsters there is still room for the old-timers. Here's hoping for another two or three decades of epic thrash odes.
Metal Predictions For 2017
Well, for the third year in a row, I sit here writing my thoughts for the upcoming year, and just like the last one, and the one before it, Dying Fetus is at the top of that list... release your goddamn album already, guys! Seriously, if 2018 comes around without a new DF album, I dunno, I might just give up on three-piece, slamming, brutal death metal altogether (But not really).
On a similar note, it's been a few years since the last Devourment album. If rumors are to be believed, that could soon change. In fact, I think 2017 could be the year of brutal death metal, as it's highly likely that Russian slam gods, Abominable Putridity, might also drop a new platter of disgustingly beautiful brutality.
Read more rants below:
Check out our BravePicks 2016 countdown where Metallica reigned supreme here.