It has been a strange and unpredictable year of experimentation for metal, with no one style or genre reigning dominant. A wild level of creativity defines the relevant heavy releases of late. Gojira’s dabbling with djent, The Body went pop, and Kvelertak sound like the Scorpions playing black metal. When you turn on any of these records, you have no idea what to expect — each a sonic adventure of its own, the bands not content with making records just to make records, but instead testing their own limits as composers and musicians.
Metal is convenient and fun to segment and compartmentalize into sub-genres, scenes, and regions, but this is becoming trickier as the bands get weirder and harder to pin down by recognizable tropes. The truly modern metal band is informed by elements of metal’s past, but not constrained by them. The door to complete and limitless freedom has been kicked open. It’s been open for a while. Bands are finally passing through and getting to a place of creative comfort where they can write whatever songs they want. Damn, it’s a good time to be a metalhead.
Senior Staff Writer
10. Wode – Wode
Origin: Manchester, UK
The Gist: 2016 is the year for outstanding debuts, and Manchester’s Wode leads the way with some monolithic black metal.
Why It Rules: Immense, dynamic, and fearlessly melodic, Wode’s self-titled is full of battle-ready energy and addictive riffs that prove you don’t need the prefix ‘post’ in front of your genre in order to be interesting anymore. –Sean Barry