Anxious Sound

Albums of the Year

2017 / 2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013

The best albums of 2016
The white room / By a window / Where the sun comes / Through

— “Daydreaming” by Radiohead


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11

A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead
10

When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired
Mothers

09

Masterpiece
Big Thief
08

Rheia
Oathbreaker

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07

Sleep Cycle
Deakin
06

Freaks Of Nurture
Holy Wave

05

Too
Klara Lewis
04

The Wink
Tim Presley

03

The 1966 Live Recordings
Bob Dylan
02

Relaxing Death
Useless Eaters

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01

What One Becomes
SUMAC

SUMAC is Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) on drums, Brian Cook (Russian Circles, ex-Botch) on bass, and Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, ex-Isis) on guitar and vocals; three musicians with impressive resumes and who seem perfectly suited for this band, to the point where its very alchemy would dissolve if any one of them was swapped out for someone else. SUMAC may have begun as Turner's singular vision, but the two albums to date, THE DEAL (2015) and WHAT ONE BECOMES, proclaim a brilliant command of atmosphere, mood, and negative space that arguably could only have emerged from the sonic collision of these three specific players. Each contributes something irreplaceable to the band's dynamism.

Like its predecessor, WHAT ONE BECOMES is an exhilirating, no-nonsense collision of opposing forces: darkness and light; catastrophe and grace; creation and destruction. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album's colossal fourth track, “Blackout”, which swells and breaks across a landscape of sky-is-falling doom for 11 minutes, before errupting into a melodic expression of hope for its 6-minute coda.

It's rare to find a metal album that is both fraught and introspective, but WHAT ONE BECOMES is what it sounds like. There is a gravity to this record that is often so forceful escape seems impossible. Its heavy, deliberate pace seems to consume the listener completely. The result is more an experience — tension and release made audible — than a mere collection of songs, and, for me, its unique and prodigious impact was unequaled by any other album in 2016.