Todd Richardson

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

Radiohead, Daydreaming

19
The Hanging Valley
Cold Pumas
18
S/T LP
Preoccupations
17
A Hand Through The Cellar Door
Luke Temple
16
Always
Hidden Ritual
15
Schmilco
Wilco
14
January Tape
Cut/Copy
13
Crown Feral
Trap Them
12
lightlesswalk.jpg
A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead
11
A New Wave Of Violence
Head Wound City
10
When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired
Mothers
09
Masterpiece
Big Thief
08
Rheia
Oathbreaker
07
a4014619799_10.jpg
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
01
dfhvn-newbermuda-cover-f-rgb.jpg
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 brilliance — and a potent 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 a 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.