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Top 10 2016 by Yannick

It’s that time of the year again, where people recap everything and in the case of 2016, I think we can all agree that it’s been one of the shittiest ones in recent memory. Countless deaths of famous people, a plethora of social and ethical injustices and numerous acts of terrorism that shook the world. But at least 2016 has granted music lovers like myself a wide array of safe places to disappear to, which is why I’ve decided to make sure to share my top 10 with you in order to maybe get you away from the shitfest that has been 2016.

#10 Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion
Serpentine Dominion - Serpentine Dominion
Let’s start this off with a little nugget that surprised me toward the end of the year: Serpentine Dominion is a side-project with Killswitch Engage‘s Adam D on guitar, Cannibal Corpse‘s George Fisher on vocals and ex-The Black Dahlia Murder‘s Shannon Lucas on drums. It’s a really interesting take on classical death metal with a somewhat modern feel to it. So much fun to listen to!

#9 Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”
Childish Gambino - Awaken My Love
Gambino is without a doubt my favorite rapper, and I spent hours on end listening to Because The Internet. When it was announced that his next record would be drastically different I was both worried and excited to hear what he had come up with. At first I felt that he had strayed too far from the path with this funk-groove-soul sauce that is AML, but it turns out that the record is quite the grower!

#8 The Majestic Unicorns From Hell – A Matter Of Less In More (review)
The Majestic Unicorns From Hell - A Matter Of Less In More
Since 2015 didn’t have a local spot, I figured I’d honor my favorite instruMENTALists, The Majestic Unicorns From Hell, with a spot on my list. Not out of courtesy or pity, but simply because their latest release rocked the socks of me every time I listened to it. Feel free to read my review for more infos.

#7 Emarosa – 131
Emarosa - 131
I’m a huge Jonny Craig fan, and have ended up seeing him twice this year, so naturally I love the two records he did with Emarosa. Which is why the first record with the new singer in 2014 was so-so for me, but with 131 the band has proven that they’re far from being dead!

#6 Every Time I Die – Low Teens
Every Time I Die - Low Teens
Does this band need a reason for being in this list? I sure hope not. ETID continuously improves and delivers ferocious quality time and time again. Low Teens is no exception and could even be considered the band’s strongest record. Listen to it!

#5 Artifex Pereo – Passengers
Artifex Pereo - Passengers
A band that I checked out a couple of yours ago, enjoyed, but quickly forgot about, Artifex Pereo caught my attention again this year with the release of their second full-length. The record is pure genius in terms of pretty much everything there is when it comes to complex post-hardcore.

#4 A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations
A Day To Remember - Bad Vibrations
Can’t have a new ADTR record and not include it in my top 10. While some people didn’t enjoy this one very much, in my humble opinion Bad Vibrations is the band’s most solid record, with barely any weak songs. Without a doubt it includes the catchiest song of their career in the form of Justified.

#3 The Fall Of Troy – OK
The Fall Of Troy - OK
Aside from the reunion gigs of At The Drive-In, the release of a new The Fall Of Troy album and a subsequent world tour (where I got to see them absolutely kill it!) was probably the biggest musical surprise of the year for me! OK is a record that I’ve listened to way too often and still enjoy every bit as much as the first time.

#2 Hail The Sun – Culture Scars
Issues – Headspace
Pierce The Veil – Misadventures
Sianvar – Stay Lost
Top 5 2016 - Top 2
What is this? A four-way tie and it’s not for the first place?! Well, what can I say? This year simply had a clear winner for me, but more on that in just a second. These four records have been on heavy repeat when they were released and should be checked out by everyone. Ironically, both Hail The Sun and Sianvar feature the same singer and are (or were) Blue Swan Records bands, while Pierce The Veil has managed to build on the success of its previous record (not quite surpassing it though) and Issues simply putting their debut record to shame with their newest masterpiece.

#1 Dance Gavin Dance – Mothership
Dance Gavin Dance - Mothership
There is nothing as clear as the fact that 2016 has been the year of Dance Gavin Dance for me. First the release of their live record Tree City Sessions, which blew me away; then the release of the milestone Mothership, and last but definitely not least: getting to see them live! I’m still baffled how a band can manage to release such a strong record barely a year after a nearly perfect record, but the guys did it and deserve to be heard by more people, so get on it!

Despite 2016 was a truly lazy year on my behalf, with only eleven reviews written, I’ve decided to continue El Gore, with my focus remaining on the local metal and rock releases. 2017 can come!

Top 10 2014 by Yannick, Part 2

#5 Secret Band – Secret Band

Starting part two off with another major surprise album. The band basically features all the members of Dance Gavin Dance, except the clean vocals, and holy shit does it rock! Utter craziness from start to finish…just the way I like it.

#4 Stolas – Allomaternal (review)

Continuing in the same spirit: Stolas managed to convince me as soon as I heard the first single of their new album. And the end product is just as amazing. A must for post-hardcore fans!

#3 Miss Fortune – A Spark To Believe (review)

Hands down my newcomer of the year, Miss Fortune have released an absolutely fascinating debut record. Here’s hoping that the band will go on, despite recent band-internal drama.

#2 Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter (review)

Must I say anything? How could this not be very high up on the list? However, it didn’t take the cake for me this year, despite awaiting this moment for six years.

#1 Issues – Issues (review)
Chiodos – Devil (review)
Slaves – Through Art We Are All Equals (review)
Hail The Sun – Wake (review)

Déjà-vu? I couldn’t decide last year, and it’s no different this year either…that’s why I don’t add scores or percentages to my reviews. I would consider all four of these records to be masterpieces in their own way. And I can strongly recommend them to anyone who might have some spare cash, each one of these is well worth your money. Trust me. If I did have to pick an absolute winner, it would probably be Slaves though; I can’t even count the number of times I’ve gone through that one.

That’s all I’m going to bore you with for this year. I hope to welcome back many of you, dear readers, next year! Until then: get drunk, stay safe and get laid! My personal highlights on the horizon are new albums by Lamb Of God, Devildriver, Pierce The Veil, Jonny Craig and Bring Me The Horizon! On the local level, the year starts with Lost In Pain‘s second album, for which I have high hopes as well! Well, read you soon!

Issues – Issues


When Issues released their debut EP in late 2012, I was severely impressed by it and I was amply stoked when they announced that they would be recording a full-length in 2013. At the same time I had some minor doubts as to whether they could keep up the high level of the EP…luckily the self-titled album not only lives up to it but, in my opinion, exceeds it by miles. But let’s dive in, shall we?

For those of you who don’t know, the sextet from Atlanta plays very modern post-hardcore with heavy R&B influences in the vocal department and some rapped vocals…while it seems weird on paper, it works surprisingly well. Especially since the instrumental parts are quite groove-orientated and yet maintain a great deal of heaviness to them. One gripe that people might have is that the twelve songs are quite over-produced, but to be frank, I couldn’t imagine their thing to work for them without it.

The main factor that differentiates the band from the flock however, is without a doubt that they manage to incorporate pop melodies into their songs, without it sounding incredibly stupid. A good example is the song, Late, which you can find below: in my opinion the song could be played on the radio and, except for the screamed parts, nobody would think about it twice.

Another focal and selling point of these forty-four minutes for me are the dual vocals, which feature on the one hand the amazingly soulful vocals of Tyler Carter and on the other hand the aggressive screams of Michael Bohn, the original Woe, Is Me vocalists. Mostly the clean vocal melodies coupled with the vocal effects in some songs still blow my mind…mainly because I’m not a huge fan of vocal effects in general, but it just works for me in this ensemble. The female guest vocals by Nylo on the song Tears On The Runaway, Pt. 2 are also a nice addition, even though I have to admit that I would have loved a heavier guest vocalist on one of the songs as well.

To sum things up, Issues managed to improve on the one negative aspect of their EP, that being the length, and deliver a solid record where every song, even the DJ interlude, has a right of existence. I can strongly recommend giving the song below a spin and if you like what you hear, visit the band’s Facebook page for more info and buy the album!

Issues – Black Diamonds


Today’s review will constitute the first part of a comparison of two different records. The reason I’m doing this is because today’s record features several ex-members of the band I’m going to review next week, mainly the two former lead singers. So, let’s start, shall we?

Issues was formed in mid 2012 and quickly decided to release an EP called Black Diamonds in order to show their fans that they’re still alive and full of inspiration. An endeavor that, in my opinion, definitely succeeded.

After an electronic-dubsteppy intro, which they could have left aside, you are treated to the absolutely phenomenal King Of Amarillo: a song that has managed to cause quite a stir in the metalcore community because it’s an open diss of the main member from the singers’ former band. It starts off heavy and switches into a chorus that is dominated by very soulful clean vocals followed by a hip-hop influenced part that, oddly enough, fits perfectly into the ensemble.

The rest of the six songs follows a similar formula but each song has its own recognition value, which is something I appreciate a lot since it is virtually impossible to get bored even after the umpteenth listening session. But the, hands-down, best song among these twenty-two minutes is the fifth one: Love. Sex. Riot.. Not only does it have a catchy as hell melody but is also enhanced by guest vocals of the Attila singer, Chris Fronzack, who adds a special flavor with his fast and brutal vocals.

On an instrumental level the album has a very modern sound to it with a couple of “aha” moments such as sporadic use of turntables. Guitar- and drumwork are rather groove orientated and complement the two singers perfectly. To round things off there is a hidden track which is as close to hip-hop as the EP gets, with guest vocals of Snow Tha Product.

All in all, I can only say that this first release by Issues is a great start and I’m excited for what they can bring to the table in the future, because the only thing that’s “bad” about Black Diamonds is the length. Be sure to check back next weekend for part two of my comparison and in the meantime, check out the band’s Facebook page and the video below.