2016 was a killer year for music and it took quite a bit of culling to produce this list. In the interests of actually publishing this before the end of 2017 I’ve just provided a brief review of Blood Incantation. Enjoy.

Blood Incantation
1. Blood Incantation: Starspawn (Dark Descent)

Undoubtedly my favourite release of the year was Starspawn from Colorado death metallers Blood Incantation. It’s the perfect mix of catchy and slighty-technical death metal with killer riffs up the wazoo! There really are a LOT of different riffs throughout however they are perfectly woven together and the constant changing really satisfies my short attention span. Plus they have an amazing groove in parts especially at the start of Hidden Species. The lead guitar work is lovely too with plenty of slowish orgasmic sort of solos and melodies throughout. The death doom influence from their other band Spectral Voice comes through nicely too with plenty of slower moments that work really well in managing to keep your interest. About the only things I can complain about is that at 35 minutes it’s not long enough and also the cover art is nowhere near as cool as their Interdimensional Extinction cover. One of the things I love the most is that this sounds like it could have come out in the early 90s but it doesn’t have a slavish retro feel to it. The tech death side of it reminds me of Atheist’s masterpiece Unquestionable Presence which was tech as hell but not at the expense of being metal as hell too. Basically this album has everything a good death metal album needs and that’s why I’ve listened to on a nearly daily basis since I first received a promo from Dark Descent.

Katatonia
2. Katatonia: The Fall Of Hearts (Peaceville)

Chthe'ilist
3. Chthe’ilist: Le Dernier Cr√©puscule (Profound Lore)

Cultes Des Ghoules
4. Cultes Des Ghoules: Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love (Under The Sign Of Garazel Productions)

Perfume
5. Perfume: Cosmic Explorer (Universal)

Inverloch
6. Inverloch: Distance | Collapsed (Relapse)

Perturbator
7. Perturbator: The Uncanny Valley (Blood Music)

Wadge
8. Wadge: The End Of Ethnology (Mortville)

Spire
9. Spire: Entropy (Iron Bonehead)

The Ruiner
10. The Ruiner: The Ruiner (Goatsound)

Temple Nightside
11. Temple Nightside: The Hecatomb (Iron Bonehead)

Bolzer
12. Bolzer: Hero (Iron Bonehead)

Looking Glass
13. Looking Glass: Volume 4 (Goatsound)

Krypts
14. Krypts: Remnants Of Expansion (Dark Descent)

Gost
15. Gost: Non Paradisi (Blood Music)

Neurosis
16. Neurosis: Fires Within Fires (Neurot)

Pulmonary Fibrosis
17. Pulmonary Fibrosis: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (Rotten Roll Rex)

Horrisonous
18. Horrisonous: The Plague Doctors (self released)

Ride
19. Patisserie / Meatal Ulcer / Organs Tortured: Ride The Wings Of Tomorrow’s Universal Gore Friendship (Soondoongi Records)

Hellbringer
20. Hellbringer: Awakened From The Abyss (High Roller)

 

Gigs

1. Katatonia (Corner Hotel, Melbourne)

2. The Kill / Internal Rot / Christ Crusher (Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne)

3. Immolation (Manning Bar, Sydney)

4. Mournful Congregation (Bald Faced Stag, Sydney)

5. Magrudergrind / Shackles (someone’s lounge room, Canberra)

6. Enslaved (Manning Bar, Sydney)

7. Destroyer 666 / Denouncement Pyre (Basement, Canberra)

8. Acid King / Witchskull (Transit Bar, Canberra)

9. The Levitation Hex (Transit Bar, Canberra)

10. Xibalba (Basement, Canberra)

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