SPECIAL FEATURE: Best of 2016 – TO STAFF (Combined List)
Yay! We’ve completed yet another revolution around our home star! While we celebrate this cosmically insignificant milestone by resetting our man made Gregorian calendars, the staff here at Trasncending Obscurity wanted to call attention to some of their favorite records from 2016. This combined list is split into Black, Thrash, Death, Doom / Sludge, Post Metal and Grindcore sections to reflect the tastes and preferences of our scribes in a better way. I’m sure even with all of us working together, we will not be accounting for every single standout release. So why don’t you comment below and tell us whether you agree with this list or if you had better albums in mind? ~ Shrivatsan R
Celestial Grave – Burial Ground Trance EP (Iron Bonehead Productions)
SPECIAL FEATURE: Best of 2016 – Shrivatsan R (TO Staff)
Ah 2016, how I wish I could call it as just another year gone by. This year will be remembered as one of the most terrifying and mishap filled years in recent memory. Heck, some even doubted that we will ever see the end of it! But here we are, with only a few more days left on the calendar before we take a step into what hopefully fares to be a better year.
For all it’s fault, this year had one good thing going for it. I’m talking about the music ofcourse, especially on the extreme side of things. Then again, music has always been reactionary to the events of the world. So it’s not all that surprising we got so much good music from a year so shite otherwise. There were so many good releases this year that it is humanly impossible to highlight every single one. Hence I’ve restricted myself to 20 of my personal favorite releases this year, while saving away some for the combined TO STAFF list, which should be coming out very soon. So without further ado, here is my personal year end list.
November 2016 Highlights – TO Staff
We’ve almost made it! One more month and this wretched year of 2016 will finally come to an end (and we hopefully get there as a species, without blowing ourselves up). The last few weeks, whether you’re in Europe, the Americas or like me, in India, have been tumultuous for different reasons. The one consolation during times like these is the endless amount of excellent releases in extreme music. So yet again, we have a highlights list for you, this time coming from the penultimate month of 2016. ~ Shrivatsan R
Aenaon (Greece) – Hypnosophy (Experimental / Progressive Black Metal, Code666)
FULL ALBUM STREAM: Misanthropia – Omerta (Melodic Black Metal Concept Album)
A melodic black metal album focusing on the concept of organized crime (the mafia, specifically) in late 1940’s / 1950’s America? Well color me interested! The music through which Misanthropia channel this concept is equally intriguing. This is not surprising considering that this is not exactly a new band (they’ve been around for since the dawn of the millennium) and that ‘Omerta’ is the band’s third full length effort. A good way to imagine Misanthropia’s music is like old Dimmu Borgir, had they not been overtly obsessed with making their music symphonic and rather focused on guitar based melodies with the assistance of keyboards that are not too overwhelming. Then again, why imagine all that when you can just stream the entire album below?
SONG PREMIERE: Swedish Melodic Black Metal Force – Wormlight
Hailing from Umeå, Sweden, Wormlight have been making melody infused black metal since 2014 (initially starting out under the name Unhallowed). This is a group whose style of furious, yet subtly melodic black metal harks back to the golden age of Swedish melodic black metal i.e. the 90’s. Influences from bands like Sacramentum, Vinterland and Noctes can be heard in Wormlight’s music. Back in 2015, the band released their second EP ‘Bloodfields’ independently. Since then however, the band has undergone a few changes.
Original vocalist Nordlyst parted ways with the band soon after the EP’s recording and in his absence guitarist Tiamat Invictuz has stepped in to offer his vocal talents. Fast forward to 2016, and the band is now gearing up to re-release the ‘Bloodfields’ EP, this time through Black Lion Records. This re-released version contains two re-recorded versions of the original tracks with Invictuz in front of the mic. We have the re-recorded version of the title track, streaming below for you to check out.
SONG PREMIERE: Instrumental Stoner Doom Trio – Spore Lord
To create an instrumental album these days takes a lot of talent. More so than traditional albums, because the artist has to hook the listener’s attention purely by the virtue of the music and hooking the attention of modern humans for more than a few seconds is an incredibly difficult feat to pull off. That has not stopped the Atlanta based power trio Spore Lord from unleashing their debut full length ‘In the Beginning’. If you have not figured it out from the band name and album artwork yet, Spore Lord’s music is psychedelic flavored stoner / doom metal and these guys manage to write music that makes one trip, even without any stimulants in one’s system.
Spore Lord seem to have taken a leaf out of the Karma to Burn book when it comes to numbering their tracks instead of naming them, albeit with proper order. The music is Sabbathian in a way that the riffs tend to resonate with the listeners almost instantaneously. Riffs are the protagonists here as they proceed to seduce with their bluesy charm and thick sludgy tone. The stoner metal groove is sure enough to get you banging your heads and before you know it, the leads and licks will have you reaching for your nearest air guitar. Take a listen to Spore Lord III, streaming below, for example.
2016 Video Round up – Part III
As we draw towards the end of 2016, we have the penultimate round up of the year’s best music videos in extreme music. It took us a while to get this list together (almost 6 months, to be exact), but there are more than enough videos to put together another list before we move on to 2017. Maybe over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll come up with a final round up. For now, enjoy the following 15 videos. ~ Shrivatsan R.
Code Orange – Forever (Roadrunner Records)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Code Orange (previously known as Code Orange Kids) are all set to release their third full length ‘Forever’ early next year. Their music video for the title track hints of great things to come from this band as it gives us a glimpse into their sludgy, hard hitting brand of hardcore. The video cuts between the band playing and weird images of entities clad in red latex suits and women climbing out of buckets of blood. As expected, it is weird, chaotic and downright destructive towards the end as the band continues to rock out in fields of fire and explosions. This is a kick ass way to get fans like me excited for the new album. ~ Shrivatsan R.
The Grindhouse Chronicles – #2 (Feat. Piss Vortex, The Sound That Ends Creation, Japanische Kampfhörspiele, Unyielding Love, Loath)
There was never really a doubt in my mind regarding the number of releases in extreme music these days, but damn! The sheer number of kickass grindcore and other grind related projects lurking in the underground is something I did not anticipate. This second edition of the article kept getting delayed, not because I couldn’t find enough bands to write about. Quite the opposite really. Most of the delay was caused by me trying to figure out which bands to include and which ones to push for later editions.
So without further ado, here are 5 bands playing grind and other grind influenced styles of extreme music that I highly recommend you check out.