[Album Reviews] 2016 Albums as I Heard Them

Since 2008, I’ve participated in a game of hearing as many albums released in that year as possible, and I’ve incorporated my own stipulations: no greatest hits albums with an unreleased song, no archival releases by posthumous musicians, and re-releases of albums officially released in another year don’t count. The complete list of the 104 albums I heard is over at my RateYourMusic account.

All albums are rated ★★★★☆ [4/5].

  1. Lindsey Stirling
    Brave Enough
    “Brave Enough” builds from a whisper into an explosive combination of violin and electronic effects. “Mirage” exceeds past potentially cliché Bollywood song with ernest energy.
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  2. Acid Mothers Temple
    Wake to a New Dawn of Another Astro Era
    Follows AMT’s usual template of starting with simple melodies, jamming for a few hours, before returning back home changed. Marginally spoiled by extended noisy outros.
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  3. Aesop Rock
    The Impossible Kid
    Reading along to the lyrics unfolds cryptic, dense word choice that reads like esoteric intellectual poetry. “Lotta Years” vividly describes two stories of experiencing ennui.
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  4. Amon Amarth
    Jomsviking
    Inspirational, motivational lyrics about living your life to the fullest, hidden behind harshly sung vocals. Almost every song on the album is a battle anthem.
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  5. Plaid
    The Digging Remedy
    Abstract audio collage of ideas within spacious electronic music. Plaid’s distinctly spacy light notes punctuate the introduction of gaudy disco banging beats into their sound.
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  6. NOFX
    First Ditch Effort
    The earnest lyrics about being honest with what you’ve done and who you are won me over from my previous favorite NOFX album, Self/Entitled.
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  7. Tengger Cavalry
    Hymn of the Earth
    After taking up the ‘throat singing meets rock music’ mantle from Yat-Kha, successfully integrating heavier music into the mix, and now introducing traditional Chinese folk music?
  1. Wormrot
    Voices
    Grindcore is extreme, intense music. Wormrot expand on this pummelling sound to make this album more accessible yet uncompromising in either sound or lyrics about overcoming being trampled or abused. “Fallen into Disuse” has a driving beat and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Grind” slows down for spacious guitar playing.
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  2. Wardruna
    Runaljod – Ragnarok
    I was awestruck the first time I heard the horns in “Tyr.” Wardruna are historians working to preserve and modernize traditional Nordic culture through their musical sensibilities developed during time in the metal band Gorgoroth and expanded through comprehensive research into history and creative interpretations of the Elder Futhark runes.
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  3. Tanya Tagaq
    Retribution
    Visceral look at a violent undercurrent affecting our global society. Activist Tanya Tagaq uses an Inuit variant of throat singing to deliver messages about struggles facing Native Americans that are ignored or underreported. Her poignant cover of Nirvana’s “Rape Me” makes the message clear that justice is not being served.

 

Hey!

Where’s David Bowie‘s ★ [Blackstar]?

I gave it three stars.

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)