2016 Metal Newcomers Explored Part 1
The end of the year means our annual staff awards have arrived! Every year we make a point of searching out new, unknown, and freshly formed groups to bring the best of the best in the metal underground to you.
Ultimately Abbath ended up taking our Best Debut Album / Newcomer award with his self-titled album after splitting off from Immortal, but there were a whole lot of other bands nominated in that category. To give you a look back at what new material came out in 2016 you may have missed, the staff will all be covering our individual band nominations for Best Newcomer.
This was a first for me personally in my time at Metalunderground: unlike nearly all years past, most of my best debut album nominations didn't come from legitimate "newcomers" in 2016, but rather were from new bands consisting of established members of the scene. That's not to say there weren't truly new outfits born this year that are worth hearing, but rather that none of those I heard blew me away and made my top list like these bands did.
Trees Of Eternity
Featuring members of Swallow The Sun, Wintersun, and October Tide, this ill-fated band showed up with a stunning debut album that will also most likely be its last ever release.
Recording on "Hour Of The Nightingale" (reviewed here) was nearing completion when tragedy struck and vocalist Aleah Starbridge unexpectedly passed away.
This highly atmospheric release is made all the more haunting (and lyrically compelling) knowing that Aleah is speaking beyond the grave to the audience. It's a shame the band is likely over just as it was getting going, but it offered some truly stellar music on this debut release, easily beating out all the competition for me.
There's something linguistically amusing about the fact that Phil Anselmo went from shouting "white power!" to joining a black metal band, but that whole fiasco aside, Scour is some legitimately awesome black metal from a musician who is not known for this style at all.
Also featuring Derek Engemann of Cattle Decapitation and John Jarvis from Pig Destroyer, there's a pedigree here that can't be matched and some serious musical chops on display. This self-titled album is no-holds-barred and very to-the-point extreme metal.
While Trees Of Eternity offered up ethereal and ambient doom-soaked metal, and Scour was blistering extreme metal, Eternal Idol picks up the symphonic power metal end of the spectrum.
Italian power metal might not particularly be anything new in the music world, but Eternal Idol does this style to perfection, featuring none other than Fabio Lione on vocals for first album "The Unrevealed Secret."
Sons of Balaur
A very "meta" band, Sons of Balaur is intimately tied to an animated persona with the "Realms Of The Damned" graphic novel and movie.
A little more fun than the typical corpse paint black metal band, Sons Of Balaur's initial musical offering "Tenebris Deos" (reviewed here) will be a perfect fit for fans of anything from Behemoth to Belphegor.
These are just four of a whopping 19 metallic newcomers who were nominated by our staff this year for the Best Debut Album award! What did you think of these picks, and who is your favorite new metal band to arrive on the scene in 2016?
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