I can’t quite believe it, but welcome to day 10 of my annual labour of love, otherwise known as my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown. I’ve hit the one-third mark already and I’m delighted with the response I’ve had so far to this slightly epic endeavour – it makes the effort thoroughly worthwhile that’s for sure.

If you’re new to this blog, please feel free to check out the previous posts in this series. Each of these entries contains a link to the full review of the album that I have written during the year. That full review contains sample tracks and artwork which differs from these posts, which also give you a little aural taster of the album in question.

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: 2016 has been, for me, one hell of a year. I have enough contenders to fill a list of 50 without hesitation so getting it down to 30 has been massively difficult. It has led to a few raised eyebrows and comments like: ‘oh, I thought that would have been higher’ – and you’d be right. Any normal year, some of my choices so far would have been a lot higher but given the competition, it simply wasn’t possible.

This is a list of my own personal tastes, full of honesty and nothing in the way of scoring easy points – if it is featured here, it deserves to be. If it isn’t, it might still be deserving of a place but missed out as 40 does not fit into 30!

With all that in mind, here’s my choice at 21:

Number 21

textures cover


Nuclear Blast


“Textures hold a special place in my heart. I didn’t ‘discover’ them until the release of the outstanding fourth album ‘Dualism’ in 2011 but when I did, they made a huge impact upon me. Until that point, my opinion of djent music was not that favourable;

Admittedly it has taken quite a while, but I have seen the error of my ways and ‘Phenotype’ has well and truly clicked with me. The aggression and mind-blowing technicality is there for all to see and it hits you hard from the opening seconds of the record…

I am delighted that I gave ‘phenotype’ more attention and that I let it breathe and work its magic on me. The melodies may be more subtle and hidden within the apparent aggression but they are there to be discovered. The technicality defies logic at times but it is never at the expense of the song. The same can be said for the potent ferocity and brutality; each track therefore delivers something interesting, exciting and beautiful if you’re prepared and up for the challenge. I adore ‘Dualism’ but sitting here now, I think I love ‘Phenotype’ even more.”

Read the full review here

Photo credit: Tim Kronckoe

Photo credit: Tim Kronckoe

As the quotes from my review above indicate, it wasn’t love at first listen with ‘Phenotype’. However, it is the perfect example of giving an album time, especially one as dense, multilayered, ambitious and complex as this is. ‘Phenotype’ is properly progressive but from a more modern, djent-fuelled perspective.

Once it gets under your skin (and it will), you realise that t is a raging beast of anger and serenity, a truly ‘ying/yang’ listen where the heaviness bludgeons and confounds whilst the melodies sooth and caress your bruised senses. A what is even more intriguing is the fact that it is essentially just part one of a two-part release that will conclude in 2017 (I hope) via ‘Genotype’, a single-track album that presents the music of ‘Phenotype’ in a different manner.

I love bands that create great music whilst overtly trying to push boundaries and attempt new things. As a result, I love Textures and ‘Phenotype’.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UouFnxwJ998]

In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:

Album of the Year 2016 – number 22
Album of the Year 2016 – number 23
Album of the Year 2016 – number 24
Album of the Year 2016 – number 25
Album of the Year 2016 – number 26
Album of the Year 2016 – number 27
Album of the Year 2016 – number 28
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012