20 Best Metal Albums of 2016

Vintage thrashers, modern mathletes and more: The year in heavy

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Sumac, 'What One Becomes'

3. Sumac, 'What One Becomes'

Indie tastemaker Aaron Turner has been casually exploring noisier and more ambient paths since the dissolution of famed post-metal hypnotists Isis; but the second album from Sumac, his collaboration with powerhouse hardcore drummer Nick Yacyshyn, delivers his most pummeling art-metal in more than half a decade. There's some familiarity to his previous work, with some traces of Turner's hoarse growl and penchant for repetition; but What One Becomes is defiantly experimental and exploratory, full of dissonant bursts of sludge, quick punches of math, desert-wandering Morricone metal, throbbing Swans-ian slamming and sections opened up for improvisation. Their scope seems limitless, and even extends into the excellent companion EP, Before You Appear, featuring demented electronic treatments from Emptyset's James Ginzburg, American noise veteran Kevin Drumm and more. C.W.

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