20. Be’Lakor – Vessels
With album number four the Australian melodic death masters Be’Lakor add some progressive flare to their near flawless sound, giving us sound assurance that the future of the genre is in safe hands.
19. Epica – The Holographic Principle
Epica take us on scientific based journey on their latest album, that “the universe is a digitally generated hologram“, with all the same bombastic and dramatic delivery we’ve come to expect from them.
18. Alcest – Kodama
I feel like I was one of the few who enjoyed Alcest’s more subdued and metal-less music on Shelter but for those who didn’t they could rejoice that the band reintroduced some of their previous black metal sound while retaining the emotional delivery we’ve loved from them.
17. Eths – Ankaa
The bands first album (and sadly now their last) with frontwoman Rachel Aspe, french alternative metallers Eths began to experiment and push their sound even further by incorporating electronic and middle Eastern influences.
16. Avatar – Feathers & Flesh
Still going on strong since the release of their breakthrough album Black Waltz, Avatar continue to present us with weird and wonderful music for all the freaks in the world. Not entirely resting on their laurels, this album takes a more melodic direction for their first concept album.
15. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
Another concept album this time coming from the resident Viking metallers Amon Amarth. Telling the story of the Jomsviking we’re dragged through war anthems, rousing tales and bludgeoning headbanging with a heavy metal edge.
14. Dark Tranquillity – Atoma
One of the most consistent melodic death metal bands, holding the torch for nearly 30 years, Dark Tranquillity’s latest sees them brilliantly mixing their heavier sound with a strong gothic influence harkening back to their Projector days.
13. Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
A single track album is no mean feat particularly in these modern days when many have a limited attention span even for whole albums. Following in the footsteps of Edge of Sanity’s Crimson, Insomnium have put out another masterpiece in their discography with the single 40 minute title track.
12. Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues
I’ll admit that I wasn’t too taken with Jimmy Eat World previous two album Damage and Invented, lacking a certain spark. Integrity Blues takes me back to the band that I fell in love with all those years ago, good honest rock played with heart.
11. Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika
Having tried and failed to get into Moonsorrow a number of times in the past it was finally Jumalten Aika which made it all click into place. A 67 minute runtime in just five tracks, it takes you on a sprawling journey and just so happens to possibly boast the best production of any album on this list.
10. Trees of Eternity – Hour of the Nightingale
It was sad news in early 2016 that Trees of Eternity vocalist Aleah Stanbridge had passed away. With a little luck her vocals had already been completed and the world was able to listen to this deeply emotional and melancholic piece of ambient gothic/doom.
9. Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
Unfortunately there was more sad news later on in the year with the passing of Architects guitarist Tom Searle. While this was already a strong album and worthy follow-up to Lost Forever // Lost Together, that news gave the album a whole new focus and meaning to the lyrics within.
8. Madder Mortem – Red in Tooth and Claw
We’ve waited seven years since Madder Mortem’s last album and while the wait was long the payout was worth it. Red in Tooth and Claw is just as weird and wonderful as their previous albums despite some line-up changes and vocalist Agnete M. Kirkevaag remaining the star of the show.
7. Oceans of Slumber – Winter
Oceans of Slumber has no doubt popped up on everyone’s rader with their second album Winter appearing on practically every metal website with glowing reviews. This is in no small thanks to new vocalist Cammie Gilbert and her beautiful performance.
6. Obscure Sphinx – epitaphs
Void Mother, the second album from post-metal act Obscure Sphinx, firmed planted the band on my one to watch list. After a patient wait we were gifted with epitaphs, rather than trying to emulate past experiences they push the boundaries of their music even further to a more atmospheric direction.
5. Novembre – Ursa
Another waiting game, the latest album from Italians Novembre comes nine years after their last. Ursa modernises the bands albums from the turn of the century with a slightly cleaner and more progressive sound than we’ve heard from them before.
4. Obscura – Akróasis
With mainman Steffen Kummerer the only remaining member of the Omnivium lineup hopes for this album were not high. Luckily he assembled a lineup of talented musicians (including Tom Geldschläger whether Steffen likes to admit it or not) and delivered an album that is different than previous ones but still retains that high quality Obscura sound.
3. Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
It only took four albums but it seems that Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse have finally found that perfect balance between brutal death metal and over the top symphonic music. King sounds as grand and majestic as the title suggests and became a firm favourite since its release early in 2016.
2. Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
The Fall of Hearts see’s Katatonia complete their transformation into a darkened progressive metal band without any of the pitfalls that some of their peers have experienced. Long-time fans shouldn’t worry since beneath the surface changes the band retains that dark and depressing tone that has followed them all through their career.
1. Lacuna Coil – Delirium
Truth be told my opinion of this album changes on a daily basis, while part of me dislikes the constant chugging and modern core elements the band have adopted, another part of me can’t help but fall in love with the continued brilliance of the vocal interplay between Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia, as well as the albums mature handling of the fragile subject of mental health.