It's that time of year again. It felt like it was a light year for new music for me, especially following on from a killer 2016. A few great albums came out near the end of the year, but I still needed to go digging around a bit. Thankfully that meant I found some new cool stuff that I've really been enjoying.
The list is particularly metal-heavy this year; next year I'll have to put some effort in to find other stuff.
Aside: the world's a weird place when a proper NIN release doesn't make my AOTY list.
VUUR - In This Moment We Are Free
I first heard, and fell in love with, Anneke van Giersbergen through her work with the Devin Townsend Project. Her new band, VUUR, released their first album this year and I love it. Annie's voice is incredible, especially against a heavier backdrop.
Mastodon - Emperor of Sand
This is the first Mastodon album that I've really gotten into since Blood Mountain (which I loved). They have a sound and a groove all of their own, and although there's nothing revolutionary about it these days, it's still a great listen.
Ne Obliviscaris - Urn
I've seen NeO live more times than any other band. In part because I love them, in part because they still come to Canberra on their Aus tours. I haven't listened to Urn enough to know if it's topped Citadel, but it's a damn fine album.
Converge - The Dusk In Us
You know how some authors write in a way that just seems to sync with your brain effortlessly? Converge are kind of like that for me. The Dusk In Us, like 2012's AWLWLB, has more melodic and not so screamy parts, but it's still a ball of tension and emotion for the most part.
Code Orange - Forever
This album made a lot of 'metal album of the year' lists. I've only listened to it a couple of times, but I can see why.
Mutoid Man - War Moans
This is Converge drummer Ben Koller's other band. I've been meaning to check them out for a couple of years, but never go around to it. It's a fun album and more rock-y than metal-y.
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
I know next to nothing about rap, but I know this is brilliant. I listened to it on loop for days.
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
I can't remember how Chelsea Wolfe came onto my radar, but earlier on the year I started listening to her 2015 albums Abyss. Creepy goth-folk-metal is apparently sometihng I'm really into.
King Woman - Created in the Image of Suffering
Another one that cropped up while I was looking around for albums that came out this year, King Woman are doomy and haunting and pretty kick-ass.
Caligula's Horse - In Contact
A bit more radio-friendly than NeO, Caligula's Horse are another Aus prog band who are doing great things. They're also fantastic live.
Persefone - Aathma
Persefone do 'spiritual prog' so well. Their last album, Spiritual Migration, had some of the most uplifting metal I've heard, and Aathma follows in the same vein.
With Our Arms to the Sun - Orenda
With Our Arms to the Sun were completely new to me a week or so ago, but I liked them immediately and that like keeps growing.