WARNING: Some of the following albums did not have the pleasure to be reviewed by us, but they were certainly doted on.
We have finally crossed the finish line in to 2017! 2016 will go down in history and infamy (depending on how you see it) but not all was bleak and surreal because the devil sent us a lot of fine albums down our chimney… Here’s our top 5 best albums.
5. Death Angel- The Evil Divide AND Testament- Brotherhood of The Snake
Bare with the Klown a bit, he had a tough time truly pinpointing what the best was. After all, yours truly is the primary judge of the album reviews for Ugh Metal. But the number five spot kicks off with the underrated Bay Area Thrash legends, Testament. This album has been out for a month and immediately had the Klown blasting this mother a little too much. It was great and it proved that Chuck Billy and Alex Skolnick have no plans of slowing down.
Death Angel, on the other hand, had this permanent two legged New Year’s party really high. The Klown loves Death Angel and for some reason still remain underrated, the best thing about this album was the fact that Death Angel explored something they’re not entirely known for. What the Klown speaks of is speed, nothing wrong with Death Angel’s usual M.O. but this time they really wanted everyone to know of their return with a vengeance. This album was angry but therapeutic.
Favorite Song(s): Death Angel: The Moth, Father of Lies and Lost
Testament: The Brotherhood of the Snake, The Pale King and Stronghold
4. Nails- You Will Never Be One Of Us
What can the Klown say? This album was an adrenaline junkies’ dream! From beginning to end it was pure testosterone and mayhem… and it was fucking awesome. This album was highly anticipated before its release and it delivered! 1000%! Todd Jones showed the world that whether the tracks are seconds long or up to 8-plus minutes, the results are all about quality not so much quantity. But most importantly, when “You Will Never Be One Of Us” was set as the first single, you knew you were in for a treat and know that Nails were beginning to set the bar high!
Favorite Song(s): The whole album
3. Avatar- Feathers And Flesh
Before you judge, this judge, the Klown is well aware that he didn’t give a verdict to this album. To be fair, Ugh Metal wasn’t born yet at the time of this release. With that said, allow the Klown to tell you peeps that he loved this album. My clown-like mentor, Johannes Eckerström, did a great job showing off his mastery of his vocals and eccentricity to us Americans! When the Klown first heard “The Eagle Has Landed” he was entranced and wondered who they were when his YouTube Music randomly played it… then of course, the radio soon followed. Unfortunately, Avatar have been given the Rammstein treatment here in our humble abode. “Du Hast” isn’t the only song Rammstein has, just like Avatar has more songs to offer than “The Eagle…” Rock 105.3! So when yours truly invested on the album, he was blown away!
Favorite Song(s): New Land, Tooth, Beak & Claw, For the Swarm, Fiddler’s Farewell and Black Waters
2. Fleshgod Apocalypse- King AND Vader- The Empire
Alright… the Klown won’t invest too much time on Vader. Don’t get the Klown wrong, he loved the album but not enough to take the number one spot. That’s due to the fact that it’s been out for a little over a month! Still, he loved the shit out of this highly anticipated album! It definitely made him believe that Welcome to the Morbid Reich had found an equal. But most importantly, he also rated this album.
With that said, the Klown will talk about another album of the pre-Ugh-Metal existence, Fleshgod Apocalypse’s King. Since he heard about the album’s development last year, he was stoked and giddy like a children’s party clown! Of course, when “The Fool” came out, the Klown knew that he was going to be in for a treat of epic proportions. It was incredibly imminent once their intro track “Marche Royale” began and finished. This Italian powerhouse, proving that you can take the Italians out of Italy but not the Italy from the Italians, give you class without having to sacrifice your headbanging, moshing and horn-raising tendencies. Fleshgod Apocalypse brought some elegance with their Soprano opera singing beauty, Veronica Bordacchini, and gave her and their pianist, Francesco Ferrini, a platform on their seventh track “Paramour (Die Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden).”
Favorite Song(s): Fleshgod Apocalypse: In Aeternum, The Fool, Mitra, And The Vulture Beholds, A Million Deaths and Syphilis
Vader: Angels of Steel, Genocidius, The Army-geddon, Feel My Pain, Parabellum
- Abbath (Self Titled Album) AND Dark Funeral- Where Shadows Forever Reign
Just like the previous, the Klown will not invest too much time on Dark Funeral because its an album he rated. Since his verdict, the Klown hasn’t really stopped playing this dark masterpiece. Just to give you peeps an idea, the Klown unchained his ears and speaker volume, when he heard “Unchain My Soul.”
On that note, allow the Klown to place the shared crown on this black metal legend’s head. Abbath released his self titled debut album on a pre-Ugh-Metal album era, which was January and since then, I haven’t stopped playing it. Thankfully, one of the masters of Bergen, Norway released this masterpiece in 2016 and gave us a much needed touch of epicness for what already began to look like a gloomy year. Abbath gave us some Immortal and the short lived supergroup I, followed by some more original material. Most importantly, he unleashed his inner Rob Halford and gave it a touch of kvlt. Just to conclude this coronation, whether or not you are “kvlt” this album spoke volumes and demonstrated why Abbath is a legendary king, even if his departure from Immortal wasn’t.
Favorite Song(s): Dark Funeral and Abbath,The whole album.
Honorable Mentions: *Rotting Christ- Rituals, Anthrax- For All Kings, Hatebreed- Concrete Confessionals, Darkthrone- Tundra Leech, Soulfly- Archangel, Nephilim – Disciplined and Witchery – In His Infernal Majesty’s Service
*Chuggo’s Note: A mea culpa is in order for the underrated and legendary Rotting Christ. Before the list was finalized, he thought Rotting Christ’s Ritual was a 2015 release. Boy… does the Klown need a new hobby; it should have been a top 5, because he loved that album! Nevertheless, they deserve a mention because it was a superb album and shows that these Greeks’ gifts need no precaution!
Jenny Oh’s Pick
- Lordi- Monsteroephonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy)
Regardless of how you feel about bands that have a specific gimmick, you will love these guys if you enjoy a good dose of keyboards with a dash of some old school heavy metal… but not too old school! In Monsterophonic these Finnish monsters return back to the nostalgia along with their recurring theme of b-horror movies making it a scary, good ride!
Favorite Song(s): Hug You Hardcore, The Night The Monsters Died, Mary Is Dead, Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man.
- Avatar- Feathers and Flesh
These guys have been quietly bubbling beneath the surface and have finally made their grand entrance in to American airwaves (I’m looking at you “The Eagle Has Landed”). These Swedes have been at it for almost 16 years and grabbed everyone’s attention with Feathers and Flesh because it’s as eccentric and entertaining like their vocalist Johannes Eckerström. Avatar adds a much needed lightheartedness and fun in to metal and fearlessly play with different musical styles in this album.
Favorite Song(s): The whole album!
- Abbath (Self Titled Album)
ABBAAAAAAATH! He blew me away much like the rabid arctic winds with his debut self titled album. The moment you hear the distinct and orgasmic riffs of “To War” followed by “Winter Bane” you know its game over. Whatever your feelings are about Abbath’s new solo endeavors, you gotta give credit to where credit is due. Abbath is seething with raw pent up energy and oozes kvlt. It was an exciting and mind blowing start for this Norwegian Black Metal legend and let me just say, I can’t wait to see what Mr.Abbath will craft next.
Favorite Song(s): Winter Bane, Ashes Of The Damned, Nebular Ravens Winter.
- Pain- Coming Home
This album had the ability to take you on a journey of debauchery and growth. Coming Home had all the good stuff we can all relate to and tapped in to the most common and primal desires. For those that have explored the world and have gone through hell and heaven and back, “Coming Home” will tug at your heart strings and voices that yearning we all have to return to where we came from. Mastermind and vocalist, Peter Tägtgren, has been a very busy man and after five years, he still managed to create an album that will slowly creep into your brain and voice your most basic wants. It was a fun, dirty and wide-eyed little album with a heart of gold. Peter Tägtgren is bae!
Favorite Song(s): Coming Home, Call Me, Black Light Satellite, A Wannabe… THE WHOLE DAMN ALBUM!
- Rotting Christ- Rituals
There’s so many things to say about this particular album and not enough syllables, intonations and words in the English language to express my feelings about Rituals. This is why I will state it in Greek. Jk! I’m not that talented or cultured but I will say this, listening to this album felt otherworldly and casted some serious magic. These Greek extreme metal vets have been creating dark, theatrical and heavily underrated masterpieces for 30 years and have yet to get the praise they deserve. Rituals will change your life and will make you dust off your ceremonial robe or prepare for battle!
Favorite Song(s): In Nomine Dei Nostri, The Four Horsemen, Konx Om Pax.
Honorable Mentions: Vader-The Empire, Serpentine Dominion, Okilly Dokilly, Thrown Into Exile-Safe Inside, Sonata Arctica- The Ninth Hour, Ghost- Popestar (EP), Death Angel- The Evil Divide, Opeth- Sorceress