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Has there been a better year than 2016?!

Just in terms of music, I mean…

We saw some new acts make a big splash and many established bands from the old guard released their best works yet. While it is trite to drone on about how difficult it was to narrow down a list to only ten albums out of the couple hundred I checked out (and the 80,000 or so others that were released that I paid figuratively no attention to), it really was more difficult to do this year than in years prior!

Without much further ado, thanks for checking out my subjective opinion on what were objectively the best albums of the year in ranked order.

sianvar-stay-lost-album-art10. Sianvar – Stay Lost

This is the Circa Survive album that I wanted after Violent Waves. If a supergroup made of Blue Swan artists sounds at all appealing to you then give Sianvar a shot!

avenged-sevenfold-the-stage-album-art09. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage

Originally I was saving this space for Vektor, but Avenged Sevenfold‘s follow-up to the forgettable Hail to the King is such an improvement and so much fun that I don’t care. A7X have traditionally been a surprisingly unconventional and experimental group so it’s particularly great to have them back to making songs that are epic and atypical.

first-fragment-dasein-album-art08. First Fragment – Dasein

Of all the tech death that was released this year—and there was plenty—First Fragment stood out as the strongest. It helps that they are extremely ambitious for a young band as seen on the flamenco drenched “L Entite.” This isn’t tech death by numbers; it’s the future of the genre.

car-bomb-meta-album-art07. Car Bomb – Meta

Full Review

In a year of big letdowns by big bands (looking directly at you, Meshuggah and Gojira), Car Bomb saved the day. Meta is confusing at times and soothing at others. It is Car Bomb’s best album yet.

dance-gavin-dance-mothership-album-art06. Dance Gavin Dance – Mothership

The Tillian years are the best era of Dance Gavin Dance by a long shot. How they keep pumping out fantastic albums with only a year or two in between is mind-boggling. Mothership is another collection of tunes with virtuosic musicianship that is catchy and memorable.

The Black Queen - Fever Daydream album art05. The Black Queen – Fever Daydream

Full Review

Everything that Greg Puciato does in music is awesome (see my #2 pick) and the debut album from The Black Queen is no different. Beautiful music for fans of darker synth-based pop music and industrial.

despised-icon-beast-album-art04. Despised Icon – Beast

Full Review

Comeback album of the year for certain. Beast is as good as anything Despised Icon has ever done and I didn’t know how much I missed them until they were back in full swing. Here’s hoping that their accomplishment on Beast resonates with old fans as well as people who missed them the first time around and that they stay with us for a long time to come.

the-dear-hunter-act-v-hymns-with-the-devil-in-confessional-album-art03. The Dear Hunter – Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional

Full Review

While Act V wasn’t the revelation that Act IV was (my AOTY from 2015), The Dear Hunter still made a fantastic impression and the album stuck with me.

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation album art02. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation

Full Review

It fills me with tremendous despair that this is the final album we will probably ever get from The Dillinger Escape Plan, a band who I would consider the greatest of all time. It is unlikely I will ever love anything this much again. This feels like a natural conclusion to a peerless discography. Thanks for everything, gentlemen.


01. BABYMETAL – Metal Resistance

It fills me with great hope that this band exists and is part of metal’s present and future. I can’t count the number of times I let Metal Resistance play all the way through this year in the car, at work, at the gym, with friends, or alone. It is fun, varied, and memorable. There’s nobody else even remotely like Babymetal and they are being rewarded for doing something different and doing it exceptionally.

Stay tuned for further lists from The Monolith staff, including our overall Best of 2016 list!

Tommy writer banner Jan 14