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SPECIAL FEATURE: Best of 2016 – Chris Dahlberg (TO Staff)

2016 has been a year of ups and downs, but one thing that has been consistent is the amount of incredible music available.  Last year I did a top 15 list, but this time around I had to expand it to 25 because of how much material I was able to listen to.  And even then I’m leaving out a number of noteworthy releases in a variety of different genres.  Having recently celebrated my one year anniversary of writing for Transcending Obscurity, I’ve had the chance to write about and be exposed to more metal and related genres than ever before.  Anyone who says there isn’t a lot of good new music out there in 2016 either isn’t looking hard enough or isn’t open minded enough to try new things, as I could have easily made a top 50.

As with most personal lists, I’m sure you’ll find some picks to disagree with or albums you think should have been included, and I’d love to hear your comments so we can debate.  Look for more best of material from the rest of the TO staff, which is sure to include a lot of different bands from my list and give you some exposure to some other worthy efforts.  –Chris Dahlberg

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SONG PREMIERE: Polish Death Metal Band Throneum

Throneum- Morbid Death Tales

Poland’s Throneum has been a regular contributor to the country’s death metal output, having formed as Throne in 1996 before changing their name in 2000.  Since that time the band’s been releasing material at a frantic pace, with EP’s and splits regularly filling the gaps between full lengths.  Since 2011’s ‘Death Throne Entities’ they’ve put out eight shorter releases, and now it’s finally time for another long player with ‘Morbid Death Tales’.  Due out October 14th via Hells Headbangers, who previously did a vinyl reissue of 2007’s ‘Deathmass of the Gravedancer’, this is thirty two and a half minute onslaught of blasting death metal and slower, mysterious riffing.  Today we’re bringing you an exclusive premiere of the song Cacus, which is one of the slower, lengthier pieces the album has to offer.  It’s a style that Throneum has experimented with before, but here it seems more fully realized and foreboding.

One of the things that this group has always excelled at is their ability to utilize a raw, analog recording without it sounding like complete garbage.  It probably helps that Throneum has been around since this type of sound was common for death metal, and they’ve retained that feeling throughout the course of ‘Morbid Death Tales’.  When they’re not blasting away with a blitzkrieg style attack, the drums have this warmer feel to them that serves as a base for the rest of the instrumentals to expand over.  Cacus is a perfect example, as the drums plod along slowly while the guitars weave ominous sounding patterns together that sound like fog drawing you into a mysterious crypt.  There are equal parts black and death metal to this track, and the way that the atmosphere expands and the guitar leads send chills down your spine are quite enticing.  The band brought in Mark of the Devil from Cultes des Ghoules on this track and the album’s closer, letting the raspier screams from The Great Executor give way to chanted passages that have a ritualistic feel.  It’s a bit of a reprieve from the fast paced attack that Throneum offers on the majority of ‘Morbid Death Tales’ but it’s just as foreboding and capable of getting under your skin.

Throneum

Throneum may be known for their blasting attack and raw production values, but their ability to slow things down and capture that truly occult, ominous feel gives their material some versatility.  Turn the lights off and let Cacus suck you into a foggy crypt as you step closer to death.  ‘Morbid Death Tales’ is out October 14th on Hells Headbangers.

Hells Headbangers