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Scream at a Wall: The Best of 2016

Scream at a Wall: The Best of 2016

Wipe the blood from your teeth and get in the pit: it’s time for a recap of this year’s best hardcore, metal, and punk rock. We dug through 2016’s records and put together a list of all our favorite jams. From debut albums to the return of long dormant hardcore heroes, this year unleashed an awesome lineup of hard, heavy, and fast tunes. In fact, picking the twenty five albums you see below was no easy task. There was simply too much good stuff and narrowing it down to a “Best of” list is a fool’s errand.

Lucky for you, we’re goddamn fools.  Strap in, kiddies; it’s time to rock.

Oathbreaker: Rheia (aka Album of the Year)

Oathbreaker Rheia

There’s no contest, Oathbreaker’s Rheia is the best album of 2016. Startling, dark, and complex, it’s an album you have to unpack or multiple listens. The band shows massive growth with this record, pushing genres and themes to their limits. They’ve always been awesome, but Rheia truly takes them to the next level. Viciously brilliant and caustically intense, this album is unlike anything you have experienced, without a doubt. 2016 belongs to Oathbreaker. 

Neurosis: Fires Within Fires

Neurosis Fires Within Fires

With their latest album, Neurosis again proves they are an unstoppable force. They’ve thirty years’ experience and still going strong, as Fires within Fires is the band’s best record in decades. Rich and riffy, this is Neurosis at their heaviest. Absolutely amazing.

Descendents: Hypercaffium Spazzinate

Descendents Hypercaffium Spazzinate

The kings of punk rock have returned with another pop-infused masterpiece. Catchy, heartfelt, and funny, the Descendents prove that you can’t keep a good band down. “Shameless Halo” is not just great Descendents song, it’s probably the best song of 2016. Welcome back, Milo. We missed you.

White Lung: Paradise


Paradise is White Lung’s catchiest, most danceable album to date. It’s upbeat, but still has that punk rock edge. The guitars are spacier and the sound of the whole thing is bigger than anything the band has ever done. It’s also their best album and unabashedly bitter. You really can’t  help but love this thing.

Meek is Murder: Was


What’s that? You’ve never heard of Meek is Murder? You’re missing out, buddy. Was is a freaking mean record. It hits hard and leaves you blistered and bruised. The Kurt Ballou production perfectly captures their raw, brutal riffage and invokes hardcore gods like Converge and Every Time I Die. Meek is Murder are downright amazing, so get familiar with them right now.

Red Fang: Only Ghosts


Red Fang might be the best hard rock band on the planet. You want a band that you and your dad can both enjoy? A band you can guys can slam a couple beers to while playing some killer air guitar? Then Red Fang is your band. Only Ghosts is everything we love about them; it’s heavy, catchy, and rockin’. They get bonus points for that hypnotic, sexual cover art, too.

Every Time I Die: Low Teens


No matter where you place Low Teens on the rankings of Every Time I Die albums, there is no denying that “Map Change” is one of best songs the band has ever produced. Epic, earnest, and heavy, it’s the embodiment of everything Every Time I Die does so damn well. This isn’t to say that Low Teens isn’t packed full of awesome songs, because it is, but “Map Change” will go down as one of the greats. It’s utterly perfect.

The Dillinger Escape Plan: Dissociation


With their final album, The Dillinger Escape Plan continue to push boundaries and challenge listeners. There is no “business as usual” for these guys. Dissociation is the band as chaotic and crushing as ever, but there are also moments of grace and calm layered throughout. It’s unlike anything they’ve ever done, but still instantly recognizable as a Dillinger record. More than anything, it reminds us just how much we’re gonna miss these guys.

Whores. Gold


Noisy, riotous, and drenched in feedback, Gold is an album that never lets you catch your breath. It just pummels you with track after track of heavy jams. Whores are a band we’ve enjoyed for a while, but Gold  has turned them into a band we love.

Planes Mistaken for Stars: Prey


First came the news that Planes Mistaken for Stars were playing shows again. Then we found out they were recording new music. When we finally got our hands on Prey, we lost our freaking minds. It’s incredibly good and absolutely worth the long wait. Right from the album’s first song, the band makes it clear that they came to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And they’re all out of bubblegum.

Bossk: Audio Noir


Haunting and beautiful, Bossk’s latest effort gets into your soul and stays there. This album is the perfect soundtrack to a late night drive towards an uncertain future. It’ll make your spirit swoon and your head bob.

Super Unison: Auto


There’s more angry energy in a single track on this album than most punk bands muster in an entire career. Passionate and raw, Auto is a record you can’t ignore. Super Unison wear their heart on their sleeve, and it’s a bloody, beating organ that is equal parts ugly and magnificent.

Magrudergrind: II


Magrudergrind is savage. They’re sinister and relentless. In 14 years, they’ve only released two full-length albums, but it’s clearly a case of quality over quantity. Magrudergrind grinds hard, plays fasters, and thrashes more than any other band out there. Listening to this record will make your blood boil, in a good way. You might punch the person closest to you in the face, but they’ll understand once they hear the crushing terror of Magrudergrind.

Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves: The Cross and The Switchblade


There’s nothing quite like an earnest, authentic punk rock. Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves (or Wolves4x) play punk you can believe in. There’s no bullshit on The Cross and The Switchblade, only hooks and rock. They’re gruff and they’re honest; exactly how a good punk band should be.

Seven Sisters of Sleep: Ezekiel’s Hags


This album slipped past too many people. It’s a stunning mixture of grind, post-metal, and death. Seven Sisters of Sleep are always heavy, but they aren’t afraid to shift and flow. Listening to them is a journey; something you don’t just hear. You feel this album. It gets under your skin and stays there, leaving you infected with its metallic virus. This is just a crazy good band.

Wrong: Wrong


If you grew up loving noise rock bands like Helmet and Unsane, Wrong’s self-titled debut is required listening. It dances between rough and pretty. At times, it’s melodic and catchy. Other times it’s ugly and barbaric. Even with all this dancing between tones, it manages to be ruthlessly heavy all throughout. Wrong is a band born in the wrong era; they would have filled arenas in the early ’90s. Hell, they deserve to fill arenas now, because they’re freaking rad.

Sumac: What One Becomes


If there were an award for Heaviest Album, it’d go to Sumac for What One Becomes. Listening to this record is like being slowly run over by a semi truck. It squeezes the air from your lungs. It takes three people to lift the vinyl onto a turntable. It’s so goddamn heavy, man.

Muscle & Marrow: Love


Scary and wholly original, Muscle & Marrow’s Love is impossible to sum up. It’s thick and rich, like your grandma’s chocolate cake. It’s also the sort of album that gives you goosebumps and, at times, leaves you feeling uncomfortable. It’s like a monstrous ghost that comes crashing into your home and haunts you by squeezing the life out of your beloved pet. It’s frightening and cool all at once.

Bloodiest: Bloodiest


This one was a close contender for Album of the Year. It’s a meaty record that sonically demands your attention. Bloodiest make a righteous and violent mixture of noise and grooves. Since releasing in early January, we’ve had this thing in constant rotation. It’s an inescapable album that will leave you stunned and begging for more. As of this writing, iTunes says I have listened to this album 52 times. That’s pretty intense.

Dust Moth: Scale


Edgy and atmospheric, Dust Moth is a band that invokes visions of darkness. Their sound is bleak and gorgeous. Scale is like a transmission from another plane of existence; a radical and distinct experience that no one else comes close to replicating. Fantastic stuff.

Dethbeds: Dungeon Scum


Dungeon Scum clocks in at right around 18 minutes, which all the time Dethbeds need to smash your damn face in. This the audio equivalent of having being stabbed in the ribs. It’s cruel and vile; a rip-roaring experience that’ll leave you bloodied and gasping.

Youth Funeral: Heavenward


Wallowing in feedback and relishing in thrashing riffs, Youth Funeral has delivered one of the boldest albums of the year. Call it noise, call it punk, call sonic chaos, it doesn’t matter. It defies labels. Heavenward just good, and that’s all you need to know.

Zeal and Ardor: Devil is Fine


Soulful and spiritual, Zeal and Ardor’s Devil is Fine is an album that you have to hear to believe. It’s black metal and soul blended together in a way that shouldn’t work, but does. It sounds like a collection of dark, southern hymns mixed with frantic and sinister metal. It’s nightmare inducing, utterly moving and powerful. And it’s dark. So very, very dark. Just listen to “Blood In the River.” Listen to it and be prepared for the sinister things it summons.

Dangers: The Bend in The Break

009 001

The third Dangers LP took nearly six years to get to us, but man oh man was it worth it. These guys play a special brand of hardcore that is artsy, angsty, and angular. There’s a jagged edge to everything they play, even when they are busting out a song that is borderline straight up rock and roll. Six years was along time to wait, but Dangers didn’t disappoint. The Bend in the Break is the future of hardcore.

Nails: You’ll Never Be One of Us


Oh, Nails. Good ol’s Nails. You thrash, you rip, and you grind. You deliver 10 songs in 22 minutes, many of them not even clocking in at a full minute. We love you, Nails. We love your tireless fury. We love your acidic bitterness. We love You Will Never be One of Us.

Thanks for thrashing with us in 2016. We’re taking the last few weeks of the year off, so we’ll catch you again in January. In the meantime, sound off in the comments with your favorite albums of the year. Let us know what you’ve been spinning all year.

Images: Relapse Records, Deathwish Inc., Meek is Murder, Neurot REcordings, Dethbeds, Epitaph Records, Domino Recording Company, Entertainment One Music, Reflection Records, Party Smasher Inc., Wiretap Records, The Mylene Sheath, The Flenser, Thrill Jockey, and Topshelf Records

Benjamin Bailey writes for the Nerdist and can be found on Twitter talking about Godzilla, comic books, and hardcore music.


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