Time has passed quickly as the world has spun almost its allotted 365 times around the sun and rock music has developed and changed and records have been produced that have made my heart race a bit faster.
2016 has been a bumper year for all sorts of rock genres. The Big Three of thrash released powerful new albums and new bands brought their debuts and wore their snotty hearts on their sleeves. The year gave us many treasures and it was a bit of a bind to corral these into a Top Ten, but I will give it a go!
#10. PRONG – X – No Absolutes
I was able to interview one of my musical heroes, Tommy Victor, earlier in the year and got to review their tenth release. It is a blindingly great record, full of fire and melody. The greatest tracks are the title tune and “Ice Runs Through My Veins”. Hard, heavy and very thoughtful. That man Victor is a genius and a great guy.
These German metal gods brought out their debut in early 2016. My reaction on first hearing it was WTF? However, what a killer grower this record turned out to be. I could only describe it as “a jukebox of all your favorite bands, but being played by some mad scientists.” There is a Metallica vibe to it, but it is better than Hardwired! Think …And Justice mixed with prime time Accept – it even includes a cameo from Udo himself. Highly recommended.
#8. RIZON – Power Plant
Another European metal band, with a low profile but with huge songs. I summed up Rizon as being a band that knows “how to bellow out catchy pop metal with all the swagger of a grifter taking your hard earned cash.”
The fan-funded EP was amazing from these Ohio metalcore heroes. To show how great this record is, my review said, “the seven tracks here demonstrate their ability to bring tunefulness and aggression together with a measure of theatre and soulfulness that no other current band can match.”
All I want now is to get them to finally be interviewed by me! C’mon guys – I am not scary in any way!
This album is brutal and beautiful at the same time. The French metal masters delivered a record that was mature and crushing. I described it in these terms, as being a “smoother beast than previous releases, but the more sleek metallic soundscape is still heavier than a pregnant rhino!” Listen to the squealing guitar on “Silvera” and tell me that is not a work of genius.
#5. KILLER BEE – Eye In The Sky
When the Meister asked me to review this album, little did I think it would end up in my top ten of 2016 – how wrong I was! The record kills it, with the classic rock love child of Deep Purple and WASP…How could it not be brilliant? It is and it slays!
Mighty, stomping and tuneful. This album from Canadian metalcore band is fantastic. It reels you in and hooks you with its mix of light and shade. Vicky Psarakis‘s singing is a joy from first to last and their cover of “Take Me To The Church” is the best cover of the year!
#3. RED SUN RISING – Polyester Zeal
Bakko made me want to check out these guys with his live review, saying that ” I’m pretty sure seeing them live made me better looking.” This record is rock and roll at its finest. Anyway, any band who have a singer that looks like Russell Brand is OK in my book!
#2. BEARTOOTH – Aggressive
This album became my playlist favorite of the summer. It is a slab of growls, scowls and howls, which you will feel in your bowels. However, it has so many hooks and great melodies too that will instantly become earworms that never let go. Grab yourself a copy and see if you can resist great songs such as “Loser“, “Hatred” or “Aggressive“.
#1. SONATA ARCTICA – The Ninth Hour
Talking of earworms, this cracker has more hooks than a tackle shop! The greatest ever band ever to come out of Finland released their best album this year. My review of this classic ends with, “Great album – case closed! Buy, listen and enjoy one of the best rock albums you’ll hear this year.” ‘Nuff said!
There were other notable releases, including some strong albums from Evarose, Manimal, A Day To Remember, A Rebel Few, Bury Tomorrow, Apocalyptic Lovers, Toothgrinder, and Architects. Great year for music…Great times!