Welcome to day 25 of my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown.
As if the last 24 posts in this series hadn’t already spelled it out, this year has been one of the most insane ever. I’m sure you’ll agree that the quality has been unbelievable so far. If you’re unfamiliar with my choices, just scroll to the bottom of this post where you’ll find links to each of the wonderful albums I’ve chosen thus far.
And now, as we reach the last six albums in my list, it gets even better. These last six albums are some of the best I have heard for a good while and it has been almost impossible to separate them to put them into some kind of order.
Nevertheless, I have persevered and am now able to shine the spotlight on them. Somewhat conventionally, let me start with number 6…
The Laser’s Edge
“The album, Wolverine’s fifth, goes by the name of ‘Machina Viva’ and, if you’d be so kind, I’d like to here and now go on record and say something directly to Messrs Henriksson (keyboards), Jansson (bass), Losbjer (drums), Jonsson (guitars) and Zell (vocals): thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you…You see, for me and many others I’m sure, a world without such beautiful, fragile, challenging and emotional music is unimaginable.
Forget for just a moment all of the intricacies & progressive nuances that litter Wolverine’s music, there are few artists out there that have the unnerving ability to break hearts with just one note. And Wolverine do it with such style that it’s impossible not to get swept up entirely in the emotion of it all…Add to this a level of lyricism that delves deep into the shadows of the human psyche to lay bare all the sorrows, regrets and bleak misery to which we, as humans, are susceptible and all of a sudden, you’re confronted with a body of work that is as draining and intense as it is bleak and stunningly beautiful.
There’s not a lot more I can say to be honest, so I won’t. I’ll just press play again and revel in some properly intelligent and intoxicating music that despite its heart-breaking overtones is a sheer magical delight from start to finish.
listening to Wolverine is more than just listening to music; it is an all-encompassing experience, at its most fulfilling if you give yourself entirely over to it. And yet, somehow, the music also offers a cathartic and highly rewarding journey too.”
The sheer emotion of this record is the magic, intangible ingredient that makes ‘Machina Viva’ one of the very best albums of 2016. And yet, it was because of this depth that it took me a while to get fully immersed in the record.The lyrical density and the overt sadness that it projects is a daunting prospect initially and I had to be in the right mood to listen.
Now though, I embrace it. It comforts me in a strange way, to know that the raw emotions and human feelings brought to life so eloquently on this record, are not just mine to suffer alone. And I can’t be the only one for sure.
Backing this up is a tour-de-force of progressive rock and metal, where the listener is taken on a journey that climbs up high and plummets low in perfect harmony with the words. It’s a rich aural soundscape that uses minimalist ideas alongside more intricate and complex sections. It challenges the listener but, at the same time, contains some melodic refrains both vocally and instrumentally to tug at the heartstrings and lure you in for repeated listens.
And the crowning glory? It’s the honesty that permeates the entire album. You know for sure that the members of Wolverine are not just making such fragile and emotional music for the sake of it, they are living every word, using their own experiences as the fertile seeds for their artistic output.
I adore ‘Machina Viva’ more with every passing listen. It has become an important part of my 2016 musical tapestry and I have taken it to my heart.
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 7
Album of the Year 2016 – number 8
Album of the Year 2016 – number 9
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 10
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 11
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: