The Very Best Of 2016 (2-10)

2. Blink-182 - California

This album was almost impossible to break away from. I was worried I'd be caught listening to Blink by neighbors and my fiancé time and time again, but anyone who's heard the record has to agree. California has some of the catchiest songs ever written. "Los Angeles," "San Diego," and "California" round the album concept and the lackluster balled "Home Is Such A Lonely Place" is a true heartbreaker. So we lost Tom. Who the hell cares when Travis is still in the band? Barker has captured what is arguably one of the strongest drum performances of the last five years. Plus, Matt Skiba from Alkaline did an amazing job. Screw nostalgia, this record stands on its own.

3. Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence

If this man isn't the most productive mind in the metal community, I don't know who is. On his millionth release, Townsend creates epic soundscapes of biblical proportions with "Higher" being one of the most mind bending choir vocal productions in history. The band to his aid is also worth noting, with strong skills by all the parties involved and the album not just being a one man show and a Mac to his mercy. Although there's plenty out there for the madman at the wheel, I'd say this is his most holistic work to date.

4. Car Bomb - Meta

This one has to be heard to be believed. The tempos, riffage and multi-dimensional interactions that take place amongst musicians puts this album in the year's top five. While Car Bomb has fallen off the math metal spotlight, with only three LPs in almost ten years, Meta reignites the band and catapults them into glory with capturing the unattainable. The vocal performance here is also worth noting, with a wide variety of personalities coming to fruition from
just a single throat. Don't engage this one on the treadmill. This is one that needs you to sit and wonder.

5. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation

Could it be true that the hardcore titans are calling it a day? If they are, then they certainly aren't bowing down appropriately. Dissociation leaves the band hanging by a thread, as if countless albums came before it and will continue to come after. Whether or not the record was produced with that in mind is anyone's guess, but it's obvious the band didn't skimp out on any of the trimmings. Greg's vocal delivery is truly sensational, while Ben and Billy master the elements that's made the band so great throughout the past two decades. Make sure you go to every show in your vicinity. Even if the band does return to us years down the road, there's no way they'll be able to sustain the physical element of their performance as they get older in life. But pushing the boundaries and defining new limits has always been the band's mantra. Who am I to say what they'll be capable of in the years to come. Farewell for now.

6. Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep Of Reason

It wouldn't be a Top List of anything if Meshuggah's latest wasn't included and the fact that it failed to land on any list this year shows just how disconnected the journalists from these purist publications truly are. Decibel, Kerrang, Metal Hammer, Sputnik, how could this one be so chronically overlooked? Every one is looking for the hottest new thing, but what many fail to realize is where technical modern sound originated from. It's so obvious that the editors are all children. Meshuggah dishes out their strongest since Obzen and instantly create a classic with "Born In Dissonance." While the album failed to reinvent the band, it certainly solidified their seat at the wheel in everything brutal. 

7. Every TimeI Die - Low Teens

For those who have followed the band since their debut, you're probably surprised why this didn't land higher on the list. Keith Buckley is a genius and his group of cohorts dish out a wrath of angst on their latest collection. For a while it was every other album with these guys. Last Night In Town can be overlooked if you're into Hot Damn! and Gutter Phenomenon could be dismissed if you listened to 
The Big Dirty. I personally disengaged after Hot Damn! until New Junk Aesthetic and slowly got back into the band. With Low Teens we have everything we loved about Ex Lives, and it's most certainly a more cohesive effort than the scatterbrained (but excellent nonetheless) From Parts Unknown. It's wild to think that this schtick is still going so strong eight albums in their career, and still so effective at that.

8. Nails - You Will Never Be One Of Us

While being more emotionally discharged and temperamental than a drunk ex-girlfriend, Nails delivered one of the most promising records of the year. Luckily, I was able to attend the super packed Webster Hall show in the Marlin Room with Eternal Sleep and Full Of Hell to watch the band dominate just after the release before they went on their "hiatus" which only seemed to last a few months. For just about an hour, the room was an absolute war zone while Todd Jones and company pummeled ear drums and sound waves. The fact that the band disengaged from their acclaim in the summer was a stupid move, even though Jones had claimed time and time again that his personal and professional life would always come first. This release was special and it should've had the personalities to keep it afloat. Instead the band is heading out in 2017 with Gatecreeper to hopefully reignite a slightly burnt out fused flame. 

9. Basement - Promise Everything

No one writes catchier songs than these English blokes, and after their last release, Promise Everything certainly had tons to live up to. It certainly disappoint with sing along after sing along dished up with glee and even stronger production than their prior outing. Amidst a sea of likeminded acts, Basement is the best of the Citizen, Nothing, Turnover and Superheaven world. The band recently wrapped up an arena tour supporting Bring Me The Horizon, and while that may be a bit much for these alternative coos, the band will always be able to pack large clubs and theaters all over the world if they can somehow keep this up. Let's see what 2017 has in store.

10. Phantogram - Three

This act has been getting more and more impressive with each release and the fact that Starbucks was selling copies of this album in Buffalo, NY is a testament to the quality of music superseding boundaries regardless of genres and retail outlets. Good music will always be good music. Regardless if you're into sombre chant or brutal beatdown, you know a good song when you hear one. Phantogram know how to compose a great record. Album highlight is obviously "Run Run Blood," but it's really the whole thing that needs a spin. Amidst a sea of riff raff in the electronic world and Ladyhawke's piss poor attempts to mimic and Crystal Castles noisy ass efforts at "creativity," Phantogram is ready to take over the world. I'm happy they made the Top 10.

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