Wow! What a year for music! It was my privilege to become a part of the Decibel Geek family in 2016 and I have enjoyed every moment of it. From major label releases to independent and crowd funded projects, hard rock and heavy metal bands had a variety to share with us. There were so many outstanding albums this year, in fact, that choosing a top ten list was a monumental task. There were several that I loved and others that I was interested in but just didn’t get a chance to explore. In the end, I chose my list by studying the albums that I have gone back to over and over this year. The finalists include established artists, up and coming bands and possibly a few acts that may not have yet crossed your radar. I urge you to check them all out and decide for yourself but they are all worth a listen. Without further ado, Metal Mama’s top ten for 2016:
There’s just something about a good cover song. Even better when the cover is heavier than the original. Better yet, when the artist chooses unexpected songs to cover such as Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill” and then makes you forget anyone else ever recorded it. I know, I know….cover songs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this entire album is so well done and the music is so heavy that you have fun listening to it.
This German unit has been doing melodic metal for over 20 years but their latest offering takes it to a new level. This album has the requisite guitar riffs but also has real depth and fullness provided by the bass and percussion. Of course, the vocals are spot on as well!
Sometimes it’s just great to listen to some fun music and, oh boy, is this album fun! I love the attitude and energy of this all-female trio as well as the cheeky lyrics. I find myself humming the songs from this release for days after I listen to it. You cannot go wrong with this one!
Having been a staple on the music festival circuit for a few years, this band has garnered quite a bit of buzz. I had not myself had a chance to see them live, but after listening to this album, I will make a point of finding them near me soon. The bluesy, hard rock music coupled with Dorothy‘s smoky, husky vocals are a potent combination. I think they have a promising future ahead of them!
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a fan of this band for quite some time and have seen them in concert on quite a few occasions, so it is possible that I am a bit biased here. I think their latest album has several great songs and shows they are continuing to grow stronger as a unit. Also, it’s tough to go wrong with the vocals of Myles Kennedy and the guitar chops of Mark Tremonti.
I had seen tons of critical acclaim for this album but I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was blown away by how heavy the songs are and the unmistakable vocals of Michael Sweet! This album is so well-crafted and smooth with one song flowing into another that you are easily able to lose yourself, as well as all sense of time, in the music.
Although not a household name here in the United States, I have been a fan of this band for many years. I was very excited to see this release and it definitely did not disappoint! The album grabs you by the throat from the first note and doesn’t let you go until they are done with you. I cannot reiterate enough – check out this album, explore their awesome back catalog, and then tell all your friends about them!
From the very first time I listened to this album, I have loved it. The music is relentless and powerful with expert musicianship and top notch production. The lyrics as delivered by Piet Sielck evoke many emotions on a deeper level. Please do not overlook this album! It is an absolute necessity for any metal fan!
So, the Decibel Geek staff was all abuzz about this release but I didn’t understand why. As I understand it, the band had a couple of great albums in the ’80’s and then broke up. I missed them in that decade but thought I better look into this release and see what all the hubbub was about. This album melts your face off from beginning to end! No ballads, only straight ahead metal at its finest. If you do not follow the Amazon link to this one, you are missing out on a tremendous piece of work!
I debated quite a while about what album I would choose for number 1. In the end, it was simple for me. I find myself going to this one time and time again. I never skip any of the songs on it and I enjoy it each time just as much as the first moment I heard it. With several other albums in their catalog, this Christian metal band has outdone themselves on this one. Long Live the Rebels is killer with no filler in my opinion. Considering it was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the production and arrangements are fabulous. I’m sure many of our readers are not acquainted with Disciple but I hope you will give them a chance. This album is a great place to start!
There it is – my top ten albums for 2016! I hope you will take the opportunity to check them all out as they are all worthy of your attention. To be honest, I would accept the argument that any of my top 5 could be in the number 1 spot. If I had written this on another day, who knows, any of them could have landed atop the list. I am excited to see what albums we will have in the new year!
~~ Metal Mama