I’ll never forget 2016. It was my and my wife’s first full year of living in Los Angles after staying abroad for the past five; we’ve made and must make some transitions.

The year started with the hope and fear of being an expectant parent. When my wife delivered our daughter in March, I rode out the worry of complications and took in the bliss of being a new father. I guess I’ve been on that wave for the past 9 months.at natural history museum

As parents, my wife and I find new joys and pains around every corner. Becoming a parent is the biggest push in the back for me to make the most of myself and of my spousal relationship. There’s simply no time to feel pathetic about the lack of time for self-improvement or romance or FUN. Because at any given moment, our daughter will have us excitedly scrambling for her attention because she’s just so fucking adorable and interesting. When you start to lament anything you’ve lost due to becoming a parent, you’re fucked because you’ve instead lost the opportunity to put that time to better use. So I become more strict with myself and embrace the changes fully and happily.

There have been other highlights this year. A very good friend of mine married his longtime girlfriend in a beautiful ceremony and festival in Joshua Tree. I’ve never attended a more joyful wedding. I loved watching the Rio Olympics with my grandmother and great aunt, who visited us from Colombia. I’m not really into sports, but the NBA finals and MLB post-season were also thrilling and spectacular. I spent Thanksgiving weekend in beautiful Ensenada, Mexico with my wife and daughter, my two siblings, and both my parents. It’s the first time my family has been all together in the past 8 years and it was my father’s first time meeting his first grandchild. I spent two days interviewing bands and listening to heavy music at an awesome downtown music festival. I’m very thankful for these events and others that made me very happy to be who and where I am.

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To be sure, this has also been a year of job-searching, which is both a blessing and a curse. How many infants have the benefit of full-time care from both parents for their first nine months of life? Even Scandinavians would see that as a luxury. The downsides of being jobless go without saying though. Besides some writing or web design gigs here and there, it’s been difficult to find my desired landing space here. My wife, too, is still looking for the good things about living in California besides great tacos and less social stigma against weight gain.

Lastly, as incensed as presidential politics has made me this year, it doesn’t overtake pleasure in my life either. Actually, my pride swells in calling myself Californiano, Angeleno, rather than American, as my roots are firmly planted in the life and culture of these mountains and deserts. Heavy music also sounds much better when you have something to be angry about.

That finally brings me to 25 albums which I rocked out to in happiness, in daily labor, in frustration, and in relaxation. This year has been full of incredible highs and depressing lows, but filling those times with great music has always been a surefire way for me to improve or make the best of either. If you enjoy heavy music, you will probably discover something you like or will like here. And if you really love an album here, BUY IT. Clicking the bandalbum link will take you to that group’s Bandcamp page. I love you, Bandcamp. I’ve written about some of these albums before, so clicking the +++ link will take you to my words about that band.

Thanks for reading. Goodbye forever, 2016. I’m looking forward to a 2017 filled with health and success, killer music, and great punctuation.  Happy new year!

TOP 10 ALBUMS, WHICH I LISTENED TO THE MOSTchtheilist

Mindkult – Witch’s Oath

Elephant Tree – Elephant Tree +++

Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation (link incoming)

Necrot – The Labyrinth (link incoming)

Blood Incantation – Starspawn

Orannsi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä +++

Spirit Adrift – Chained to Oblivion +++

Vektor – Terminal Redux +++

Mizmor – Yodh +++

Chthe’ilist – Le Dernier Crépuscule +++

10 ALBUMS I LOVED BUT DIDN’T LISTEN TO AS MUCHhunted

Départe – Failure, Subside

Aluk Todolo – Voix

Psalm Zero – Stranger to Violence +++

Graves at Sea – The Curse That Is

Oathbreaker – Rheia

SubRosa – For This We Fought the Battle of Ages

40 Watt Sun – Wider than the Sun

Grave Miasma – Endless Pilgrimage +++

Khemmis – Hunted

Abbath – Abbath

5 FAVORITE NON-METAL ALBUMSpsychictempleiii.jpg

Jon Everist – Necropolis Original Soundtrack

Kikagaku Moyo – House in the Tall Grass

Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow

Psychic Temple – III

Brownout presents Brown Sabbath – Brown Sabbath Volume II