Now that 2016 is close to being in everyone’s rear view mirror it is time to revisit some of my must have music of the year. Although this year has not been the kindest globally, it did give us some amazing music to help us through all the dark times. My musical tastes are as vast and varied as are the genres of metal, but I do tend to land on metals more melodic side, so here is my take on the top albums of 2016. My list is in no particular order.
Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
The Stage is a leaps and bounds improvement over A7X’s last CD Hail to the King and introduced the band’s new drummer Brooks Wackerman. Shadows, Syn, Zacky and Johnny have again found their stride with The Stage and yes, I will foREVer remain a Deathbat. Check out my CD review here.
VAMPS – Inside of Me
Sure this was only a 2-song Mini-EP release (which features a guest vocal appearance by Motionless In White’s Chris Motionless), but it was enough to make me look further into this Japanese band. I loved them so much that I also bought their last two albums Sex Blood Rock N’ Roll and Bloodsuckers. These guys are already a HUGE deal in Japan and they are now making their mark in the U.S.
American Monster – Make It Hurt
Make it Hurt is one fantastic debut EP from these underrated Las Vegas bad boys with its straight forward, kick-you-in-the-balls hard rock. They are just as infectious as they are raucous and the four tracks here (plus the intro) are packed with attitude and swagger. American Monster is one of the best bands you have never heard of and this CD is seriously good, so try it, you just might like it.
Make Them Suffer – Old Souls & Lord of Woe
This is my sleeper band of the year. They just seemed to come out of nowhere and forced me to pay attention. So you haven’t heard of this Australian band yet? You should, they are complete metalcore yumminess. Old Souls & Lord of Woe is America’s introduction, and combines the Perth-based band’s 2010 EP Lord of Woe and 2015’s Old Souls.
Highly Suspect – The Boy Who Died Wolf
This Brooklyn band has been all the buzz this year. They blew me away with their 2015 debut album release, Mister Asylum, which garnered them two Grammy nominations. Their sophomore CD, The Boy Who Died Wolf, did not disappoint and maintains the band’s addictive energy. These guys are not afraid to speak their minds, so go get lost in their groove.
Killswitch Engage – Incarnate
I cannot express my happiness at the return of Jesse Leach to Killswitch. It is not that I disliked Howard Jones, who stepped in as vocalist when Jesse left the band in 2002, but Killswitch to me will always be fronted by Leach. The band’s second album with Leach back in the line-up, Incarnate, is an explosive reminder of how powerful this band is. Incarnate is like a reincarnation of that signature Killswitch sound and I’m taken back to the Alive or Just Breathing days and the greatness that is “My Last Serenade.” Incarnate showcases that having a consistent signature sound can sometimes be a very good thing.
Of Mice & Men – Cold World
This band just keeps putting out good music. They have had a trying year with singer Austin Carlile’s health issues (he suffers from Marfan syndrome), but even with obstacles they just keep on keeping on to the best of their abilities. Carlile has poured his anger into his music and you have to respect him for being honest about his daily struggles. That passion and determination resonates on Cold World, the band’s fourth album.
The Word Alive – Dark Matter
Admittedly, Dark Matter is not as hard as their older material, but that is okay, roll with the changes. It can’t be easy having so much member turn around, The Word Alive was founded by Craig Mabbit (Escape the Fate), Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti. Mabbit only had a short run as vocalist for the band before Telle Smith took over as frontman and the only remaining original member is Zack Hansen. They are a testament that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
Korn – The Serenity of Suffering
The Serenity of Suffering had me at “Rotting In Vain.” Seriously, it was all over the first time I heard that song. They have had their ups and downs musically, but I am digging this album. Angry music is my happy place, and Korn knows how to make me happy. The band’s sound has been reinvigorated and reawakened with this record.
Last but certainly not least…
Deftones – Gore
Deftones, what more needs to be said? The Deftones are not afraid to do things their way and Chino’s vocal delivery gives me all kinds of feels. Deftones is not just a band, it is an experience in its own atmosphere, and Gore delivers on every level. In conclusion, Chi will always be missed and I will always love the Deftones.
Bad Omens – Bad Omens
Through Fire – Breathe
What am I looking forward to in 2017? New CDs from:
Falling In Reverse
FIR has kept mum with details about their upcoming 2017 CD but recently released the song “Coming Home,” to wet their fans appetites. Vocalist Ronnie Radke in interviews about the direction of the new album has said that “it’s a huge left turn” and that “it sounds like nothing we’ve ever done.”
Motionless In White
Frontman Chris Motionless recently posted an update and announced their new CD will be titled Graveyard Shift and it is scheduled to be released early 2017. The band released a video for the single “570” as a thank you to the fans for being so patient in waiting for the new album. This will be the first release since the band signed with their new label Roadrunner Records.
Both Falling In Reverse and Motionless In White are about to hit the round together in January for The End Is Here tour.