The Best Industrial / Cyber / Electronic Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2016




Blackened industrial grindcore with epic power metal choruses and symphonic electronics that occasionally djents just a teensy bit - that's The Whole Of The Law. Anaal Nathrakh promised us a "blackened ball of shit" to follow up Desideratum, and they delivered the goods almost too well; it took four people to finish this write-up because the first three died of wounds sustained during the album. If you can find a heavier band out there, please, whatever you do, don't share it with anyone - humanity can't take it.

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Apparently Autokrator didn't acquire enough souls last time they were here, because the infernal drone is upon us once more, crashing through the barriers of our minds and firing metallic riff after metallic riff into our weak, mortal skins. Relentless onslaughts of death metal drill endlessly through caverns of reverb and flesh-ripping mayhem; Obedience To Authority is, just like Autokrator's debut, a landslide of howling, brutal, and terrifying noise that accompanies only the worst sorts of nightmares and accidents involving heavy industrial machinery.

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Circle Of Dust has been silent for almost 20 years, but now that Klayton (most known nowadays for Celldweller) bought back the rights to his first band's back catalogue, he decided to reactivate the dormant industrial beast. And a beast it is! Expect some harsh riffing over heavily-sampled electro-industrial goodness that's as catchy as it is aggressive, all packed with a '90s cyberpunk feel for added awesomeness!

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Dawn Of Ashes hurtles towards the summit of industrial metal with a blackened edge that makes these gargantuan battering rams you mortals call "songs" even more malicious. Ample keyboards and symphonic effects make Theophany sound endlessly vast and work in tandem with potent percussion to hone the crushing assault of noise to a fine point. The touch of the orchestra intertwines with Dawn Of Ashes's aggrotech past and black metal second life to unleash a devastatingly heavy hybrid sound.

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What about an up-and-coming original industrial metal ('n stuff) band from Birmingham? Yeah, Justin Broadrick was bound to take notice... and work with them on some remixes. The result is this frighteningly noisy Needles Into The Ground. Already pretty harsh and abrasive by themselves (check the fourth track, "Deathsset"), the down-tempo and ritualistic Khost songs saw their songs' aggression knocked up quite a bit in these Godflesh remixes. Not for the faint of heart.

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Yeah, you're going to want to check your disk when this album is through. This is almost like a gigantic metal chiptune - one solid block of NES game soundtrack carved up and laid on a slab over some double bass. Master Boot Record's computerized mass feels like some sort of dark, technical, entrancing prog metal album even though its fully digital instrumentation takes it somewhat out of metal's comfort zone. There's no doubt about it, though - the song structures, melodies, and drumming are all 100% metal, but performed in a unique and refreshing manner.

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Like clockwork, Mechina has been releasing albums annually on the 1st of January since 2013. If the trend stops, it probably means the apocalypse or the collapse of the space time continuum. Either way, Mechina's music certainly makes up for the lack of drama with its sci-fi themed cinematic grandeur. Never has the marriage between heavy guitar riffs and ethereal symphonic arrangements been so successful in conveying epic inter-galactic wars, while the harsh and clean vocal interplay takes the listener along an emotional roller coaster ride of anguish, wrath, hope and loss.

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Peter Tägtgren is no stranger when it comes to writing or producing outstanding albums. Hence, it's no surprise that Pain's latest album, Coming Home, once again showcases his talent. The orchestral passages throughout the entire album are grandiose and give the songs that gothic flair, and tracks such as the happy-go-lucky "Designed To Piss You Off" will be a hit during live shows for sure. If you just know Tägtgren due to his Hypocrisy fame and want to see what else the man can do, check out Coming Home.

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You can always tell a Raubtier album from Hulkoff's gruff barking, the guitars distorted into absolute oblivion, and the lock-step rhythm the band stays dug into without deviation. As relentless, dramatic, and percussive as ever, Raubtier's latest bristles with energy that slowly gets unleashed through ice-cold keys and Rammstein riffs compressed almost into swatches of white noise. The rough sound of the Swedish lyrics and entire twisted, menacing delivery make Bärsärkagång yet another success for Raubtier, as consistent a band as we could hope for.
The Algorithm just became a high-level boss with this Brute Force attack. Refined to the point of being a masterpiece of mixing two universes, this (almost-purely) instrumental album has it all: harsh djenty riffs, great guitar solos, danceable melodic lines, and of course electronics of all stripes - from synthwave to Igorrr-infused breakcore to Aphex Twin-esque rythm changes (and so on). Engage Brute Force attack, indeed!

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Write-in votes

Almyrkvi - Pupil Of The Searing Maelstrom
Amaranthe - Maximalism
Khonsu - The Xun Protectorate
Mortiis - The Great Deceiver
Neurotech - Symphonies
Nine Inch Nails - Not the actual events
Skinflick - I'm Pissing On You But The Fire Has Long Since Gone Out
Subliminal Fear - Escape From Leviathan
Surgical Meth Machine - Surgical Meth Machine