My top ten albums of 2006.
Front Line Assembly
They’ve been promising another classic album for a few years now, and every time has been a frustrating let-down – until now. An intense, relentless album that at points hits some of the highest heights of their career.
My Dying Bride
A Line of Deathless Kings
Something of a triumphant return for one of the most unique metal bands – MDB’s peerless romantic doom metal is as glorious as ever. How many other bands could make make a song about drowning (Deeper Down) sound so alluring?
An unexpected throwback to mid-nineties US industrial, but married with much more up-to-date hardware. Entirely unexpected, and really rather rewarding.
A contender for one of the oddest releases of the year, never mind the best, but then, do we really expect much else from Laibach? Their take on various national anthems, and it really does work rather well. Rather more subdued than might be expected, it takes a few listens to get under your skin but persevere and it is well worth the wait.
Quite possibly the only “demo” I have ever included in my best-of-the-year roundups, but it fully deserves its place here. Dancefloor-orientated industrial of the highest order, with clever blurring of genres across the eleven tracks, and with a bona fide dancefloor smash in Skullfuck. Hopefully 2007 will result in a proper release in one form or another to allow to it reach the audience it deserves.
Seabound have not made a bad album yet, but in heading in a slightly different direction than before they have provided an entire album based around the idea of betrayal – and the whole thing simply bristles with wonderfully understated rage.
Key tracks: Scorch The Ground, Castaway
A schizophrenic trip through the mind of one man – and it is kinda amazing he can ever sit still, judging on this. There is just about everything here – industrial, metal, punk, dub, noise…and a handy line in twisted and fucked up pop songs. Technicolour genius.
Key tracks: In Your Head No One Can Hear You Scream, The Big Push
As We Fall
This band finally deliver a great album, taking in influences from right across the industrial spectrum. There are undisputed highlights here, but the whole album stands head and shoulders above all their previous output.
Key tracks: Collapse, Hang From Your Own Rope
Devotion, Discipline and Denial
It’s a noise album, but not as we know it. Showing a depth rarely seen in this genre, this is a multi-faceted rollercoaster ride that slowly sucks you in before leaving you breathless at the other side. It even manages to be based around a concept and actually work…
Key tracks: We All Know The World Is Wrong, CutSlut
ISC continue their rise towards another plane entirely, with an extraordinary album that manages to combine darkwave-electronics, ambient soundscapes and dancefloor EBM into a seamless whole, as always with an all-encompassing theme that takes in the lyrics, music, packaging and image. No other electronic band comes close in almost any way – this truly is a band at the very peak of their powers.
Key tracks: all of it.