Best Music Of 2016

author PP date 07/01/17

Looking back at the last five or ten years in music history, it's difficult to find a match for 2016 when it comes to the sheer breadth and variety of huge releases coming out simultaneously. Just about every band and their mom released an album in 2016. Who would've thought we'd see another American Football record, ever? Let alone in the same year as a new Jimmy Eat World Record? There's plenty more out there. Skate punk legends Pulley returned after more than a decade away from full-lengths, the goddamn Descendents released another album, cult technical wizards The Fall Of Troy came back to life, Thrice released an album after a hiatus, The Bouncing Souls put out a new one...there's even an album by Dizzy Mizz Lizzy out! Not to even mention that Blink 182, Green Day, Metallica, In Flames, NOFX, Radiohead, Deftones, and Hatebreed all released new albums in 2016. And that's without naming any of the usual suspects that never really ceased activity in the first place, such as Every Time I Die, Bayside, Architects, Avenged Sevenfold, Against Me!, Red Fang, or Touché Amoré to name but a few... are we spoiled or what?

So how do you wade through such a ridiculous amount of releases as a music enthusiast? After all, it's not just the big releases that matter, but you want to be there when the small bands are happening so you can experience their best shows at intimate surroundings before they play much bigger venues. The answer is, you don't. You let others do it for you and pick the cherries from the top. That's where we come in. With 406 album reviews in 2016, we've explored several multiples more and filtered the result to key bunch of best records this year which you'll find in this article.

Each writer chose as many records as he/she deemed fitting, with the option to include unranked “honorable mentions” as well. The key criteria were to focus on albums that we could return to in three, four, or five years' time and still think, "well that's a pretty god damn good album". Great singles are good to have, and exciting new styles and sounds can impress us too, but to get on the list, consistency is key. Thus whatever you take interest in from below, you can be rest assured that we have listened to it many times over and ultimately found that these records satisfy from the first track to the last. PP

Petteri Pertola (PP)

PP is the Editor In Chief for Rockfreaks.net, primarily covering punk, hardcore, and related genres with occasional ventures into other genres as well. With between to one and two hundred album reviews a year for more than a decade straight, you can be sure that if an album is on this list, it's still worth a listen a few years down the line.

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 120 reviews

Best Danish releases (in no particular order):

Tim Kistrup Larsen (TL)

Having celebrated his 10th year as a reviewer, TL isn’t too fussed over genres but habitually gravitates toward indie, alternative, emo and post-hardcore. He enjoys inventive genre blending, detailed and elaborately structured compositions, highly characteristic vocals, and ear-popping lyrical content. On his list you won’t find much in terms of growers or relaxing listens, rather mainly things that make you lift an eyebrow and pick up some melodies instantly and then offers extra layers of compositional detail if you decide to pay more attention.

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 73 reviews

Honorable mentions:

Aleksi Pertola (AP)

"AP is our connoisseur of ‘the riff’, his tastes often coinciding with doom, prog, stoner and all things ‘post-’. He also has a strong affinity for the more deviant forms of extreme metal, as well as making the occasional foray into punk and alternative rock."

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 47 reviews

Honorable mentions:

Bo Kastaniegaard Vinberg (BV)

BV specializes in all things psychedelic and has done so for as long as he can remember. However, over time he has developed a soft spot for stoner rock, indie, post-punk and country rock. Basically, if the music sounds like you should be on drugs while listening to it, BV is probably all over it.

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 29 reviews

Makky Hall (MAK)

MAK has a strong love for punk and hardcore, though he dabbles into the world of metal, ska and the various subgenres in between. While the majority of his reviews in 2016 have focused on hardcore and punk, this list reflects on his variety of tastes in alternative music.

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 50 reviews

Honorable mentions:

Mikkel Neubert (MIN)

MIN will cover most genres and love it, just as long as it’s genuine, passionate or innovative. More often than not, he’ll enjoy some very, very intense hardcore as well.

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 31 reviews

Albums I need to listen to some more, but probably would’ve ended up on my list:

Lærke Fenger (LF)

LF usually covers bands that fall within the genres of post-rock, pop punk, indie/emo or progressive rock.

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 25 reviews

Hanna Ella Sandvik (HES)

For a record to reach a HES top 10 it must have a narrative, lyrically and/or atmospherically. Her picks end up being somewhat covered by the horrible catch-all “indie”-genre, but almost always in energy or attitude relating to her roots as a teen punk.

Album reviews contributed in 2016: 19 reviews

Honourable mentions:

Your Turn

And with that note, dear readers, we invite you to list your favorite records of the year below in the comments section. Feel free to argue, praise, or defame if you so wish, but please do provide your own 'best of' list that consists primarily of records you know you'll be listening to in years to come as well.

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