Music Editor Phil Jones witnesses an awe-inspiring performance from Laura MarlingWritten by Phil Jones on 24th March 2017
Review and Preview: Metal
Nicholas Burton looks back on the metal scene's biggest releases of 2016, and tells us what 2017 will bring
It’s no secret that 2016 has been a year of awesome releases for music within and around the metal genre. From Avenged Sevenfold’s surprise album release, to an intriguing new album by Deftones, and the first from Metallica in almost a decade, this year has been extremely rewarding experience for those desiring new material from the genre. Let’s take a brief look at my favourite releases from this year, and examine which revived the artists' career, and which didn’t resonate, both creatively and commercially. In no particular order:
Gojira – Magma
Magma is Gojira’s finest creative achievement. It is an impactful piece of art that will have you screaming along to its epic soundtrack within days. The songs that were created on this album are some the best metal songs of the year. If you haven’t listened to Magma, you owe it to yourself to take some time out, relax and completely unleash your inner demon.
Korn – The Serenity of Suffering
The last couple of Korn albums have been some of the best of their career, and TSOS is no exception. As soon as Jonathan Davis’ roar hits you on the opener ‘Insane’, you’ll wonder why you ever stopped listening to Korn. And the punch-lines don’t stop there. This album is filled with heavy dreadlock metal. The heaviest Korn album in years, its only issue is its unwillingness to explore new ground, choosing instead to stand on familiar territory.
Deftones – Gore
Gore continues Deftones recent streak of creating extremely solid groove metal albums. Gore experiments, while also staying true to Deftones’ roots. I highly recommend you listen to the album in its entirety as it flows effortlessly, much like an SOAD album. My favourite track – ‘Acid Hologram’. Check. It. Out.
Megadeth – Dystopia
Megadeth’s new outing is what you’d expect. More Megadeth. That’s not necessarily a bad thing however. This album contains some solid tracks that stand out from the usual Megadeth back-catalogue. Songs such as ‘Fatal Illusion’, ‘Dystopia’ and ‘The Threat Is Real’ are worth your time. The rest of the album, maybe not. It’s better than your average Megadeth material.
Anthrax – For All Kings
For All Kings is one of Anthrax’s greatest albums. It’s full of splendid, melodic 8-minute epics that cohere awesomely with its fast-paced thrash metal, from which Anthrax originate. The highlight is of course ‘Blood Eagle Wings’, one of the best songs of the year without a doubt. Go and support Anthrax for making such a great album.
BABYMETAL– Metal Resistance
BABYMETAL isn’t just a phase or a trend. They’re a group who create awesome metal music. Their Japanese roots are something quite unique in the European/Amercan metal genre, and I for one welcome the arrival of a different culture in metal. This album demonstrates the potential this group has.
Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
The Stage is a return to A7X’s origins. It has symphonic guitar harmonies, complex drum fills, and M. Shadows’ singing. What more could you want? It has just enough heaviness to keep you intrigued, and its lyrical content will get you thinking beyond just the music. Overlooked by some, this is a great album. Do not miss.
Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Best album of the year. Sure, Metallica is my favourite band. I don’t care. This album is Metallica’s first real success in experimenting with new ideas, while still sounding like Metallica. This double-album will keep you listening for months. Lars’ drums are as addictive as ever, Hetfield’s voice sounds the best it’s been in 10 years, Rob’s bass is distinctive and creative, and Hammett’s solos are ridiculous. They make me want to explode and implode at the same time. It’s more Metallica. After 8 years. Thank you.
What a year it’s been for metal. Fortunately, even more is coming our way in 2017. Here are some upcoming releases which should just about shake the foundations of music as we know it.
We know Tool are busy working on a new album, they’re just trying to get it exactly as they want it. No argument here. That being said, if it arrived in 2017, a huge creative trip would be had.
A band which have been high on the radar from the festival appearances across 2016, but are close to releasing a new record. We know this as they opened with a song off the new album called ‘Ramm4’. And yes, it’s absolutely fantastic. YAH. NEIN. RAMMSTEIN.
Apparently hitting the studio in January 2017, the band should be hitting us with new material around the middle of the year. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Stone Sour, and with a follow-up to the successful House of Gold and Bones Parts 1 & 2 on the way, good things are coming.
System Of A Down
Here’s the big one ladies and gentlemen. One of the most revolutionary, original bands to have appeared over the last 20 years, System will be (I really hope) releasing a new album in 2017, confirmed by drummer John Dolmayan. Well, he confirmed they’re working on an album. Let’s just hope our ears are blessed with new material soon. After all, they are headlining festivals around the world this summer. It’s been over 10 years. Words cannot explain the excitement.