Todd Richardson

Anxious Sound

The best albums of:  2016 2015 2014 2013

 
The white room / By a window / Where the sun comes / Through

Radiohead, Daydreaming


2016.19

The Hanging Valley
Cold Pumas
2016.18

S/T LP
Preoccupations
2016.17

A Hand Through The Cellar Door
Luke Temple
 
2016.16

Always
Hidden Ritual
2016.15

Schmilco
Wilco
2016.14

January Tape
Cut/Copy
 
2016.13

Crown Feral
Trap Them
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2016.12

A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead
2016.11

A New Wave Of Violence
Head Wound City
 
2016.10

When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired
Mothers
2016.09

Masterpiece
Big Thief
2016.08

Rheia
Oathbreaker
 
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2016.07

Sleep Cycle
Deakin
2016.06

Freaks Of Nurture
Holy Wave
2016.05

Too
Klara Lewis
 
2016.04

The Wink
Tim Presley
2016.03

The 1966 Live Recordings
Bob Dylan
2016.02

Relaxing Death
Useless Eaters
 

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2016.01

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.