Welcome to day 20 of my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown. I’m exactly two-thirds the way through this mammoth annual undertaking and the quality music just keeps on coming and keeps on getting better and better.
To those of you who have been with me since the beginning, I thank you. To those of you who are new to this, where have you been? Only kidding, it’s great to have you on board – I hope you stick with me for the remainder of the countdown. Links to the previous 19 posts can be found at the bottom of this page, along with links to previous years as well.
But with that, here’s my choice at number 11 in 2016…
The Blackened Heart
Inner Wound Recordings
“2016 has been a strong year for melodic metal as far as I’m concerned but this record is arguably the very best. Yes it is genuinely that good. Addictive, rich-sounding, slick, entertaining, anthemic – it literally has it all.
To put it bluntly, there isn’t a weak second on ‘The Blackened Heart’, let alone a weak song. Each of the ten tracks offers something of real quality and enjoyment, be it a catchy chorus, bombastic riff, killer vocal or a moment of real ostentatiousness in the form of a guitar or bass solo for example. The result, as I alluded to earlier, has to be that with ‘The Blackened Heart’, Enbound have delivered the best melodic metal album of the year.”
This is an album that came from nowhere to seriously floor me. As I’ve said before, 2016 has been a good year for melodic metal but ‘The Blackened Heart’ is the best of the bunch and is a firm favourite of mine. Everything about it is right on point, I can’t really find a weakness with it. I was aware of this Swedish band’s debut, so I knew that they had the raw talent. What I hadn’t expected was something this good if I’m honest.
The biggest compliment I can give ‘The Blackened Heart’ only dawned on me a week or two back. It gives me the same thrill-ride as the early days of the Khan/Kamelot partnership. I can remember being so excited on hearing tracks like ‘Center of the Universe’ or ‘Karma’, both of which remain form favourites. Well, the up-tempo, melodic and bombastic nature of Enbound’s music has exactly the same impact upon me. Enbound are not a Kamelot clone band, far from it in fact as they have their own distinct identity. However, there are a few similarities, albeit mainly around the keys and the more cinematic nature of some of the pieces. What Enbound have done though, is eclipse Kamelot in my eyes. Honestly.
Put this on, turn up the volume and be prepared for what is ultimately a breathless ride that is utterly addictive, intoxicating and criminally addictive. You want music to make you feel good, make you feel alive and happy? Well, I suggest you start right here and start with ‘Feel My Flame’, the best melodic metal song of the year by miles.
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 12
Album of the Year 2016 – number 13
Album of the Year 2016 – number 14
Album of the Year 2016 – number 15
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2016 – number 17
Album of the Year 2016 – number 18
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2016 – number 20
Album of the Year 2016 – number 21
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: