It was a rough year for metal and extreme music which constitutes most of my listening. I don’t think much of anything stood out. I’ve been digging through old 90s bands to satisfy the cravings for new material I haven’t yet heard.
Jesus Piece - Only Self
Lying somewhere between metalcore and metal in delivery, a Philadelphia act with guitarists who are clearly well-versed in the older riffing styles of bands like Dismembered and Entombed. A few corny breakdowns are present, but this band is very angry, very focused, and with proper development of songwriting and riffcraft could become the heavyweights of their metalcore space. I want them to focus more on riffs, but given their hardcore roots their songwriting makes sense. I listened to this a bunch for two weeks and will likely never turn it back on again outside of the gym.
Portal - Ion
This is a band I want to see succeed based on their terrifying aesthetics but they get trapped in appealing to that contingency of people who were/still are metalheads and go to school for jazz or classical music. You can only get so lost in the theory mix before you churn out nonsense, so they are a great example of metal that goes nowhere, has not much of anything to say, and is appreciated only for their superficialities by people who want to seem different for having an eccentric artist in their rotation (i.e., hipsters). I should also add this sort of music is the metal equivalent to people who earnestly claim to like and listen to free jazz; it doesn’t matter how sincere they seem, you know at their core they think its utter nonsensical crap but will never admit otherwise.
Replace with Deicide - Legion for your technical fix.
Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
Wouldn’t call this band metal and as @aliendough more or less stated it’s music for people who don’t like black metal and would prefer screamo music in its place with a veneer of black metal over the surface, complete with blast beasts and black metal-style vocals. Airy, neutered, cliched are all adjectives that come to mind. I will give this band massive credit for finally dropping the act, appealing to the Pitchfork crowd, and embracing the fact that they were/are about as metal as the bowl of cereal I ate for breakfast. Anthony Fantano’s review of this album was dead-on accurate and the fact that it pissed off so many people just goes to show he hit a nerve with his delivery of the unfortunate truth.
Replace with Burzum’s Filosofem or Hvis lyset tar oss for music that will take you far away.