The Top 3 Releases of the Year at the QuirkCore Homestead

#1 Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid

It’s entirely an epic and rare feat for a musician to release an album nearly 20 years into his career and it be so damn good. Not just good, but the best album since the one that got him famous, the legendary, game-changing, I-will-listen-to-it-until-I die Labor album. And would it be impossible kid, for it to the best album of them all, topping even Labor? Maybe.

The beats haven’t been this good since Labor Days in awhile. Lyrically his game is so on point with The Impossible Kid, trading a bit of the abstract word salad he’s known for with more pointed stories that are relatable and fun as hell to sing along to.

Seriously, I didn’t think their would ever be an Aesop Rock record that could be so fun. At the Cats Cradle show, I smiled as the whole crowd gleefully sang along to “Party is over here, I’ll be over there” , a group confessional celebrating that the years are going by and shit, we all have anxiety at this point, don’t we? But fuck it, let’s still have fun.

Protip: The die cut, double glow in the dark, lyrics-turn-into-a-giant-poster vinyl packaging is super dope.

#2: Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
This was the year I discovered Fleshgod Apocalypse, playing 2009’s Oracles on repeat like it was the best thing since sliced bread, and then slowly coming to love their newest release, King, an album so thoroughly classical in its composition you could describe it as classical music with death metal added to it, instead of the other way around.

There’s something about this record that for me ties back to the fact that the first heavy music I got into as a teenager outside of the hardcore scene – the first straight forward metal I got into that wasn’t connected to vegan straight edge – was early era Cradle of Filth, who at the time had put out epic releases mixing goth, black metal, and classical. It’s funny because while that’s a big part of my metal origin story, I hardly got into anything else from that genre in the nearly 20 years that have passed since I first heard Cradle of Fitlh.

Hence, Fleshgod Apocalypse, while decidedly less gothic and black metal sounding and thus quite different than those early Cradle of Filth albums, is hitting on something I’ve been looking to find for nearly 2 decades, a band that weaves dark haunting tales through classical music, opera, and metal riffs.

2017 New Years Resolution: secure a copy of this bad boy on vinyl.

#3: Wormed – Krigsu (March 2016)
This album is an unstoppable wall of sound that somehow still manages to keep the tracks unique and engaging. Good for listening to while running or slaying your enemies. In this case, those enemies are probably extraterrestial demons of some sort, as the lyrics here trade the standard bullshit misogynistic gore the genre is known for with far more interesting conceptual lyrics about space, quantum physics, and wacky sci-fi.

My Other Favorite 7 Releases of 2016

In no real order

Infant Annihilator – The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch
The vocal work is insane, the production is great, and the sheer ferocity IA are able to summon is astonishing. That being said, I wanted to like this more – half the album kinda sounds the same and that damn “silence all other instruments and then climatically give the snare a lot of reverb and hit it one time” effect is getting super old. But hiding throughout are a few killer tracks that only a band like IA can do.

Sinistro – Semente
Imagine throwing some sultry Portishead vibes into a gloomy, doomy metal band, removing the techno but keeping the hauntingly beautiful vocals. Now have her sing in Portuguese and you’ve got some approximation of what Sinistro are doing. A really interesting album.

The Contortionist – Language Rediscovered
I’m kind of cheating with this one, since Language was released in 2014, but the Rediscovered version came out in 2016, taking several songs from the album, stripping them down of their metal elements and lying them bare. I freaking love these versions and it’s particularly fun to hear them and watch them at the same time as they released the whole set as a group of live videos.

Fallujah – Dreamless
Airy, atmospheric progressive death metal with some really rad goth-esque dimensions to it. I have to admit at first I thought this was really only as good as their previous album, but now I’ve come to like it more.

Animals as Leaders – The Madness of Many
I’m still waiting for my vinyl to come in the mail on this one, so I’ve not listened to it a ton yet, but pretty much anything Tosin Abasi touches is worth my time and attention.

Zenith Passage -Solipsist
The newest face of The Faceless, if you will, is the Zenith Passage. If that’s your thing, you need to hear the Zenith Passage.

Humanitys Last Breath – Detestor
HLB take their chugga-chugga deathcore sound into some dark places on this release. For sheer long term chill potential, go with the instrumental version.

Honorable Mentions:
Aborted – Retrogore
Second to Sun – Blackbound
Shokran – Praise the Stench
Koronal – Flicker Away