2016 Album of the Year: Dark Tranquillity’s Atoma

Wednesday, 4th January 2017

As we begin yet another revolution around the sun, we at DR would like to take a moment to thank all of our supporters for this site, who continue to allow us to grow and expand. May 2017 continue in this regard – we’ve got some great things to come. Continuing the tradition to end our best-of festivities, here’s a recap and link to each of the staff’s personal lists.

David E. Gehlke
Kyle McGinn
Matt Coe
Matt Bower
J. Coleman
Best-of Sifting Through Bandcamp

We have also pooled our data from the individual best-of lists to generate an overall top 5 albums for Dead Rhetoric. The albums listed below had to have appeared on at least two staffers lists to warrant inclusion. We have also listed a few honorable mentions, just to share the wealth a little bit.


1. Dark Tranquillity – Atoma (Century Media)
Embracing a collective appreciation for the slight shifts against the melodic death metal establishment right out of the gates, Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity with Atoma keep things moving along in dynamic fashion. Speedy material such as “Encircled” sits side by side against more mid-tempo, comforting fare like “Forward Momentum” – proving there are many sides to the band’s story. Still heavy and baring the duality gothic/extreme melodies of Mikael Stanne, more artists should follow DT’s lead this deep into their career. – Matt Coe


2. Fates Warning – Theories of Flight (InsideOut)
Hitting it out of the park in terms of progressive metal mastery, Theories of Flight is the album Fates Warning fans have been longing for in terms of substance, adventure, and quality in well over twenty years. Impressive openness and musical interplay puts “The Light and Shade of Things” and “The Ghosts of Home” as two of the best epics the band has done since “The Ivory Gate of Dreams”, plus you can’t get much catchier of a song than “Seven Stars” when you want a focused FW track. Let’s hope this is the start of another impressive run for these veterans. – Matt Coe


3. Fallujah – Dreamless (Nuclear Blast)
With Dreamless, Fallujah have solidified their direction and have started to fine tune it. They weren’t the first band to mix death metal with emotive atmosphere, but it’s clear that they’ve been an inspiration for many of today’s modern death metal scene. Dreamless stays ahead of the pack by the band’s extraordinary knack for flow as well as creating a true sense of wonder and discovery when you hear their music. – Kyle McGinn


4. Be’lakor – Vessels (Napalm)
The future of melodic death metal may rest with these Aussies. Be’lakor made good on their jump to Napalm with Vessels, unleashing a spry display of illustrious melodies and atmospheric guitar work. Their odd name may forever raise eyebrows, but few melo death bands are this formidable. – David E. Gehlke


5. Allegaeon – Proponent for Sentience (Metal Blade)
Simply put, Proponent for Sentience is over 70 minutes of pure melodic death metal bliss. Allegaeon has continued to refine themselves with each album, and still managed to surpass any expectations tossed their way. Musicianship that wows without being pretentious and couples with melodies that you won’t forget. Grabbing new vocalist Riley McShane was an excellent move as well, adding a diversity that lends itself not just to growls, but some clean singing too. If you buy only one (more) album this year, it really should be this one. – Kyle McGinn

Honorable Mentions:
Striker – Stand in the Fire (Record Breaking)
Insomnium – Winter’s Gate (Century Media)
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens (Century Media)
Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake (Nuclear Blast)
Abbath – Abbath (Season of Mist)