Top 10 Albums of 2016
Key Songs: “Silvera”, “Stranded”, and “Low Lands”
Key Songs: “The Threat is Real”, “Dystopia”, and “Poisonous Shadows”
8. Mechanisms of Omniscience– Abnormality
Key Songs: “Swarm”, “Mechanisms of Omniscience”, and “Assimilation”
Key Songs: “Adrenaline”, “Abandon”, and “Scar Queen”
6. Brotherhood of the Snake– Testament
Key Songs: “Brotherhood of the Snake”, “The Pale King”, and “Seven Seals”
5. The Serenity of Suffering– Korn
Key Songs: “Rotting in Vain”, “A Different World” (features Corey Taylor), and “Everything Falls Apart”
4. Trust No One– DevilDriver
Key Songs: “My Night Sky”, “Daybreak”, and “Retribution”
3. The Madness of Many– Animals As Leaders
Key Songs: “Arithmophobia”, “Inner Assassins”, and “The Brain Dance”
2. The Violent Sleep of Reason– Meshuggah
Key Songs: “Born in Dissonance”, “Violent Sleep of Reason”, “Our Rage Won’t Die”, and “MonstroCity”
1. Hardwired . . . To Self-Destruct– Metallica
Key Songs: “Hardwired”, “Moth into Flame”, “Atlas, Rise!”, and “Spit out the Bone”
Top 10 Songs of 2016
10. “The Surgeon”-Dead By Wednesday (featuring Rob Roy and Marc Rizzo)
9. “The Getaway”-Red Hot Chili Peppers
8. “Strength of the Mind”-Killswitch Engage
6. “Culling”-Lamb of God
5. “Bring Me Home”-Whitechapel
3. “Everything You Love Will Someday Die”- Cage9
2. “Spit Out the Bone”-Metallica
1. “Limerent Death”-Dillinger Escape Plan
Best Surprise Album of 2016
Trust No One- DevilDriver
I had a handful of choices with this category, but in the end, DevilDriver made more sense. A band that is killer live and always puts out a heavy album. However, many fans were not sold on the last release, Winter Kills. I personally didn’t mind it, but fans wondered if the band was losing their touch. The announcement of the addition of former Chimaira and current Solus Deus drummer, Austin D’Amond, was huge for the band. Once I heard that, I knew DevilDriver was going to groove harder than ever before. I encouraged fans via social media to keep the faith in this band. I knew something special was coming. Dez returned from the Coal Chamber reunion and wrote some of his best lyrics. Trust No one brings the aggression that old school DevilDriver provided and then some. In my opinion, this is their best album. No fillers! Every track just in your face metal! I was surprised with a lot of albums this year, including Metallica. When I bought this disc, I expected a good album. I bought a fantastic album that day. The future is bright for DevilDriver!
This year was not really the year of many comebacks. Despised Icon was the only one that really stuck out to me. The band released their first album since 2009 on July 22nd. They participated on half the Suicide Silence and Whitechapel fall tour. I attended the Cleveland date of that tour, and enjoyed every moment of it. Lineup was stacked! Despised Icon pumped up the crowd and put on a great show. It will be exciting to see what else the Canadian metallers have in store for the future.
Best New Band
In 2015, it was announced that Megadeth bassist David Ellefson launched his own record label. Doll Skin was the first band signed to EMP Records at the time of the announcement. Fast forwarding to 2016, I got a small part with that label. Nothing special, just helping to spread the bands’ name and material in my area. I started researching and getting familiar with the bands on the label. Doll Skin was one of the few bands that didn’t get their start until 2016. I remember sitting in my car, listening to their debut album, and being beyond impressed. This wasn’t a wanna be pop band trying to get on the Disney channel. These ladies play rock and fuck’in roll!!! Their sound was old school like the hard rock we enjoyed in the 1970’s and parts of the 90’s. I encourage everyone to check them out. The did a few tours throughout 2016 and some dates with Otep. The Arizona rockers are already making their sophomore album as we speak. Ellefson hit a homerun signing this band.
Best Live Band of 2016
While many will say that 2016 has been a horrific year for many reasons, there is one reason I will never forget this crazy year. It was the most concerts I’ve been to in my life. I saw some great local, small venue, and pavilion shows. I saw bands such as Black Dahlia Murder, Mushroomhead, Rob Zombie, Saint Asonia, and Carnifex more than once. Slayer, Korn, Napalm Death, Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Alice in Chains just to name a few more. I finally had to sit down and ask myself, “Which one really stuck out the most?”. When the dust settled, there was one. Opeth started their fall tour in my hometown of Akron, Ohio. It was one of those live performances where you fall more in love with the band. I always enjoyed Opeth, but since that show they’re now one of my all time favorites. It wasn’t just a performance. It was an experience. It made it better having The Sword open the show. That duo should tour together more often. Metal heads and rockers, I highly recommend that you go to an Opeth show. Not many bands work as hard as they do. Opeth will give you more than your moneys worth.
Best Song Live 2016
Nutshell-Alice in Chains
I had the privilege to see some of my favorite songs live this year. There was only one song out of the thousands I saw live that I recorded in its entirety on my phone. When I saw William Duvall pick up his acoustic guitar during the Alice in Chains concert, I quickly pressed record. Nutshell is song that I have adored for many years. This might be the song that really connected Layne Staley with the fans more than any track Chains had. Easily the most hard hitting song I’ve heard live. A mini emotional roller coaster for me. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was something I’ve wanted to witness for a long time. It was like Layne was in the room with us. I appreciate what this new era of Alice in Chains has done, but they can’t write songs like Layne could. Not at least like this one.
Rock Heaven 2016
David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Nick Menza
The end of 2015 left fans some serious hurt after the deaths of Scott Weiland and Lemmy Kilmister. It didn’t get any better kicking off 2016. The legendary David Bowie left us ten days into the new year and Eagles’ Glenn Frey followed a week later. Tragedy struck in May when former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza had a massive heart attack on stage with his new band. Menza was better known for his contribution to Megadeth classics Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction. Glenn Frey’s guitar skills were a huge influence on some of the rock acts we have received over the past 30 years. David Bowie opened our eyes to worlds beyond this one and pushed the idea that anything was possible. Three unique artists that are gone but never forgotten. Make them a jack and coke up there, Lemmy!
Best Album Remasters
Terra Incognita-Gojira and Ember to Inferno-Trivium
Remasters is something I never mention in my year reviews, but this is different. We had great remasters come out by bands such as Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, and Pantera this year. But you could also find the regular versions of those albums almost anywhere. Terra Incognita and Ember to Inferno you could not. There were limited copies of the two albums still out there, and the average online price around $100. Yeah, some people know metal heads will spend some serious money to get collectible items. Those sellers worst nightmare happened when both Gojira and Trivium re-released their debut albums. Not only did they remaster the tracks, but gave fans their money’s worth with bonus material. Gojira had some killer live tracks on their release and Trivium gave fans 13 extra songs, including original recordings of a few tracks from Acendancys. Both bands spoiled their fans.
Top 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017
10. Body Count
Ice T is at it again! A killer album is already made and ready for an early 2017 release. It has come out that Body Count will spend most of the new year touring with Megadeth. The Manslaughter album left the fans wanting more. Prepare for more pissed off lyrics and heavy riffs! Body Count motherfucker!
9. Queens of the Stoneage
In a year with plenty of death and doom, we could have used a new Queens of the Stoneage album for 2016. Well it didn’t happen, but Josh Homme assured that it was on the way. The last album, …Like Clockwork, won my best album of 2013. That being said, I’m eager to hear what the follow up will sound like.
8. High on Fire
Good news everyone! We don’t have to wait 3 years for a new High on Fire album! Matt Pike announced in November that a new album is already made and ready to be released in 2017. High on Fire continues to be one of the most consistent bands in the metal scene. Every release is fantastic in its own way.
Name one bad Clutch album right now. I’ll wait . . .. . . . don’t waste your time because there isn’t one! Clutch is preparing to release another great balls to the wall rock album for 2017. Whenever its ready, they can have my money.
The love metallers have been planning something special for a while now, and its believed that 2017 is the year it happens. The band has been quiet for quite sometime and has done very few shows the past year. I would be surprised if we didn’t hear anything new from them soon.
Silence in the Snow was being recorded between the band’s last couple albums believe it or not. They gave the fans something different than what they’ve done in the past. Now the band is moving forward with a new drummer . . . again. It will be interesting which direction they go from here.
4. Marilyn Manson
Manson will release Say10 on Valentines Day this year. He promised an aggressive album this time around. The one song clip that was released sounding like something off of Antichrist Superstar. Yeah, stating the obvious, I’m excited.
Soundgarden will their first album since King Animal from 2012. The band has big plans for 2017. A lot of tour dates are being announced to help support the new album. Soundgarden is back for the long haul! Make sure you catch these guys in 2017. With Chris Cornell’s solo work, Pearl Jam, and possible Audioslave reunion, you may not get a chance to see them again for a while after 2017 or 18.
2. System of a Down
You read that right. No speculation, they actually confirmed they’re in the studio and showed photo prove. Its been almost 10 years but the wait is over! New System of Down album and tour are in the cards for 2017. That being said you better WAKE UP! GET YOUR MONEY AND PAY UP!
Its happening. All you Tool fans laugh hysterically every year when someone brings it up. But 2017 is the year of the Tool. The band’s lawsuit, which kept them from making the new record, is over. They have a ton of material already ready. Maynard even hinted at new A Perfect Circle, but that has yet to be made official. Seriously. What would you do if you got new Tool AND A Perfect Circle in the same year? We’ll see. But the drought will be over in 2017. Prepare for new Tool.