The Unchained Rock Show Top Ten Essential Albums Of 2016

We know that opinions are like,…… well you know? Everybody has them and the Unchained Rock Show is no exception. With so many amazing albums released in 2016 it makes it very difficult to choose my top 10 and the best, so I won’t….sort of!!

I look at these as more of essential listening, so if you’ve heard these bands before and liked them, great, if you haven’t then I hope you check them out and don’t forget, this eclectic mix of musical choices are just mine!

So cutting to the chase here is my top 10 essential albums of 2016…… okay so I have chosen one that I feel is, certainly to me, the most essential album to listen to of 2016.

So here goes…………!

  1. AVANTASIA – Ghostlights

Released in January of 2016, Tobbias Sammet’s Avantasia, for me set the standard for the rest of the years releases. The seventh studio album of the Avantasia project, again demonstrating Tobi’s song writing skills to its maximum, ably accompanied once more by Sascha Paeth. Pat two of the concept following on from The Mystery of Time with guest appearances from some of the best rock and metal voices of current times including Geoff Tate (formerly of Queensryche) Bob Catley of Magnum and Jorn Lande. This was a sure fire contender from the start, and whilst some releases came close to that top spot, this still remained firmly in first place for the whole of 2016. The absolute essential release of 2016.

2. SYMPHONY X – Underworld

Yet another epic concept album released in July and the ninth studio album from Symphony X. Influenced by Dante’s Inferno and Orpheus In The Underworld, this album showcasing once more their phenomenal musicianship, but still with the musical balance of Michael Romeo’s crafted songs and soaring fretboard skills, finely attuned to singer Russell Allen, who, in my opinion, is one of the finest vocalists of today. You need this!

3. GOJIRA– Magma

This sixth studio release from the French metallers, nominated for a Grammy  no less, delivers on all fronts musically without the need for blistering technical solo’s etc (which I also like!) and provides a range of heavy laden songs with an almost hypnotic and rhythmic drive that keeps me playing it over and over again. A must have in this years collection!

4. THE DEFIANTS – The Defiants

Released in April, you would be forgiven for thinking this was Danger Danger under a different name, after all 3/4 of the band made up D2 in its various stages, with ex D2 front man Paul Laine and current members of D2, Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello measuring up to form The Defiants.

However, this is very much The Defiants and I’ve got to say this absolute gem of an album, takes me right back to the late 80’s, hook laden, full of anthemic sing-along choruses and up beat melodies with some mighty fine guitar work from one of my favourite guitarists Rob Marcello. Its right up my street. This easily deserves a rightful place in this years essential Top 10.

5. EDEN’S CURSE – Cardinal

Released in October, the fifth studio album from Eden’s Curse was a clear triumph and, as far as I’m concerned, their strongest album to date. Paul Logue (Bass) and Thorsten Koehne (guitar), the mainstays of the band with Nikola on vocals help to deliver a wonderful mix of Symphonic, power metal with progressive influences that moulds together perfectly. With the latest line up addition of Christian Pulkinnen providing a significant presence on the keyboards, and John Clelland laying down some powerhouse drums, ‘The Curse’  have secured their well deserved place in my Top 10.

6. BURY TOMORROW – Earthbound

Still going strong after 10 years as a fine British exponent of ‘melodic metalcore’, Bury Tomorrow released their fourth studio album in January. ‘Earthbound’ an album that knows where it belongs. Giving those fans of Bury Tomorrow exactly what they want to hear, including me! The bands musical style developing organically and not forced down the road of change because other people think they should do.

An album that deserves to be played loud and often, just the way I like it. Without a doubt in this years Top 10!

7. INGLORIOUS – Inglorious

The debut album from Inglorious was released in February and had already generated massive interest, which is not surprising really with front man Nathan James vocal prowess known a ‘bajillion’ fans as part of the entourage of Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Hailed as the future of rock n roll. This retro tinged album hosts a plethora of tracks brought right up to date with a modern edge to them such as ‘Until I Die’.  A paradox between an album of raw energy and refined production. My personal favourite ‘Bleed For You’ is an absolute blinder. Take a bow. Your in my Top 10.

8. COP UK– No Place For Heaven

COP UK (formerly Crimes Of Passion) Released No Place For Heaven in January. A band that go continue to grow and gain serious interest. Firm favourites at Wacken and invited to write a song to be put forward as the Wacken theme tune for 2017.

Garnering a following across Europe on their recent tours with Helloween and previously Saxon, as the interest in them grows so does their ability to produce an album of great songs that will have you singing along at the top of your voice. Working with none other than Sascha Paeth on this and future releases, No Place For Heaven serves up an essential dose of hard rock classics that has you reaching for the repeat button time after time. Without a doubt in my Top 10.

9. FALLUJAH – Dreamless

In terms of ‘atmospheric death metal’ there is not an extensive list of bands that would fit into this genre! With Fallujah’s latest album ‘Dreamless’ released in April, the album provides an intensity not felt in most albums you have listened to before (unless you happen to have their previous album ‘The Flesh Prevails’). Progressive and extreme, ambient and heavy in your face, all at the same time. Had me hooked from the first seconds. Most welcome in my Top 10.

And finally….

10. SHAKRA – High Noon

With Shakra’s tenth album released in January, High Noon saw the return of original vocalist Mark Fox and a fantastic follow up to their previous No.1 release ‘Poweplay’.

Ripping its way through a veritable feast of hard rock tracks. This little beauty provides all the rock you need to get you through. Packing a hefty 12 gauge of music to crank up to ten and introduce to the neighbours!

As far as I’m concerned ‘High Noon’ is another album that has it all, great heavy riffs, catchy as hell songs with big choruses and  worthy of a place in my Top 10.


As always there’s a whole host of almost made it in, killer albums from bands like Delain, Protest The Hero, but for now my work here is done

And there you have it, my Top 10 essentials for 2016.

You can tune in to The Unchained Rock Show every Monday from 9pm on



UK TECH-FEST returns in 2017 announcing THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER (UK Exclusive), OBSCURA (UK Exclusive), plus another 20 bands

UK TECH-FEST is back with a bang in 2017 with a huge band announcement, delivering another wave of exciting cutting-edge metal from around the world.

Taking over the Newark Showground once again, UK Tech-Fest will be held from 6 to 10 July 2017.

Melodic death metal titans THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER (UK 2017 Exclusive) and German technical death metal legends OBSCURA (UK 2017 Exclusive) attend the festival and are joined by ABORTED, THE ARUSHA ACCORD, HACKTIVIST, THE ALGORITHM.

The full announcement is as follows:

The Black Dahlia Murder
The Arusha Accord
The Algorithm
Oceans Ate Alaska
Carcer City
Exist Immortal
Sarah Longfield
The Fine Constant
Within Destruction
The Royal

Also announced are sponsors Gigantic Tickets, Zilla, Carillion Guitars, Double Slit, Strandberg, Moomin Merchandise, Hands On Printing, Rawas, OHMZ, Stay Close Clothing, Bandit Banners, Tired Moon.

Metal Hammer magazine also return as media partner.

UK Tech-Fest 2017 is starting off with their heaviest line-up to date, and with another 40 bands to be announced this looks set to be the festival’s best year.

Weekend tickets currently available at an early bird price of £69.99 + £20 Camping.

Purchase tickets here: 

Magnum set to release new album ‘The Valley Of Tears – The Ballads’ on Jan 6th 2017

Renowned not only for their powerful rock songs, but also for countless moving ballads, British melodic hard rock icons Magnum have lined up a very special release for the beginning of 2017. ‘The Valley Of Tears – The Ballads’, featuring remixed, remastered and / or re-recorded versions of ten of their most accomplished ballads, will be released as a digipak CD, download and stream on January 6th on Steamhammer / SPV.

Guitarist / composer / producer Tony Clarkin reveals that “The release of this album was originally inspired by my daughter. A few months ago she asked me: ‘Magnum have so many beautiful quiet numbers, why don’t you put together a compilation highlighting some of the most powerful tracks?’ Olly Hahn of Steamhammer/SPV was immediately taken by the concept, so I set down to work on it.”

Clarkin, along with Magnum vocalist Bob Catley, then spent months painstakingly tearing apart, remixing, remastering, and in some cases re-recording ten poignant songs drawn from their extensive 19 studio album strong back catalogue.

Along with remastered versions of more recent ballads on albums such as ‘Into The Valley Of The Moon King’ (2009), ‘The Visitation’ (2011) and 2016’s ‘Sacred Blood – Divine Lies’, included are a new acoustic rendering of their ‘Lonely Night’ classic, plus a new haunting live recording of ‘When The World Comes Down’, both taken from 1986’s cult ‘Vigilante’ Long Player.



Reading & Leeds Festivals announce Muse as the first headliners for next year’s festival, taking place 25-27 August 2017. Stadium rock royalty, Muse are one of the most influential and revered live bands of modern times. Led by the commanding presence of frontman Matt Bellamy, the trio have taken to the biggest stages around the world with their interstellar anthems for over 22 years, and their return to Reading & Leeds promises to be yet another landmark moment in their storied career. commented: “We’re very excited to be playing Reading and Leeds again. More news about our plans for 2017 coming in the new year.”

Melvin Benn commented: “I’m thrilled to be able to announce Muse as the first headliner for Reading and Leeds 2017. Their incredible live show promises to be an unforgettable performance – we have so much more to announce and I can’t wait to reveal the rest of the line up.”

Also confirmed for Reading & Leeds 2017 in a UK Festival Exclusive, are dancehall-rejuvenators Major Lazer. Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire have become the soundtrack of modern dance, claiming No.1 records, chart-dominating tracks such as ‘Lean On’ and ‘Cold Water’ as well as live shows packed with genre-mashing moments promising an unrivalled party atmosphere. With a worldwide legion of fans and a catalogue of defining pop anthems, Bastille stand as one of the biggest acts on the planet. Their storming breakout album Bad Blood saw the band catapulted onto playlists, sell out venues,  scooping BRIT Awards and selling over 7 million albums. With latest LP Wild World once again dominating the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, expect to witness a crowning moment as true modern titans return to Reading & Leeds. At The Drive-In are set to bring their high-octane and powerful live show to Reading & Leeds this year, returning to the festival after their sold out world tour in 2016. Establishing an entire genre with their seminal 2000 LP Relationship Of Command, their unpredictable live shows bring a timely reminder as to why they remain such an influential powerhouse in alternative music. Having released one of the most critically revered hip hop records of the year, Danny Brown will be bringing his world renowned individuality to the stage at Reading & Leeds Festival. Throughout his musical career he’s remained daring and distinctive when delivering his personal message, resulting in an atmospheric and emotional performance that’s not to be missed. In terms of celebrated post-hardcore British bands, none may be as vital and influential as Architects. Through a career with numerous defiant moments, Brighton’s very own have forged a path of their own such as recently headlining a mammoth evening at London’s Brixton Academy fresh from the release of acclaimed album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us. Expect an emotionally charged return to Reading & Leeds for a UK Festival Exclusive performance of immeasurable significance.

Glass Animals continue to demonstrate why they are set to be one of the true global breakthrough artists of 2016. How To Be A Human Being was released at the end of August via Caroline International / Wolf Tone to rave album reviews, and Radio 1 and 6 music A-listed singles ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Youth’. The band have had a phenomenal live year, selling out their entire UK, EU and US tours and amassing well over 200 million Spotify streams. 2017 will see the band continue their anomalous rise, starting with Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in January, followed by the band’s biggest UK tour to date, including Brixton Academy on March 16th.

One of the most recognisable voices of the past 12 months, Tory Lanez will be making an appearance at Reading & Leeds 2017. With standout single ‘LUV’ heralded as an indisputable late-night party anthem, the Canadian breakout star is on the cusp of world domination. Powered by catchy, upbeat melodies and the strong voice of frontwoman Chrissy Costanza, Against The Current will dominate their first ever Reading & Leeds performance with tracks from this year’s debut album In Our Bones.

They’ll be joined on the bill by drum and bass icon Andy C. His incredible career has seen him headline some of the biggest stages and moments in the genre’s history, most recently including his sell out shows at Brixton Academy and Alexandra Palace. Equally as momentous will be the return of While She Sleeps, British metalcore’s undeniable DIY heroes who’ll be back in 2017 with their anticipated third album You Are We. With hundreds of acts set to play across eight stages, Reading & Leeds is once again the unmissable festival weekend of the summer – defining and celebrating the who’s who of modern ground breaking music.

CONFIRMED TODAY Against The Current | Andy C | Architects (UK Festival Exclusive) | At The Drive-In | Bastille | Danny Brown | Glass Animals | Major Lazer (UK Festival Exclusive) | Muse | Tory Lanez | While She Sleeps

Tickets for Reading & Leeds Festivals 2017 are on sale now

Instalment plan available now with an initial payment of £50 (Plus booking fee) Weekend tickets – £205 (Plus booking fee) Early entry permits – £20 (No booking fee) Campervan permits – £75 (No booking fee) Seat of Luxury – £35 (No booking fee) Lockers – £20 (No booking fee) Reading car park – £10 (No booking fee)

BLOODSTOCK wish you a Metal Christmas!

As we pelt into December, BLOODSTOCK HQ is getting some Christmas treats ready!  As well as preparing the on-sale dates of VIP upgrades, the remainder of the VIP ticket allocation and this year’s deposit scheme, we’ve three more bands to announce for 2017!

Joining the BOA fray for the first time are SKINDRED. The boisterous Welsh crew mix a unique blend of reggae, punk and metal and are renowned for their live shows. If you’ve ever taken part in Evil Scarecrow’s epic ‘Crabulon’ before, get ready to join in with the Newport helicopter!  Check out the video for ‘Sound The Siren’ from their current album ‘Volume’, out now via Napalm Records –

Also landing a main stage slot are Canadian thrash icons, ANNIHILATOR.  Last year’s ‘Suicide Society’ album – the band’s fifteenth! – spawned tour dates around the globe, but rumour has it they’re heading back to the studio this month!  Check out Jeff Waters and his cohorts slaying through their classic track ‘Alison Hell’ at Wacken 2015 and get a taster of what’s in store at BLOODSTOCK via!  Minus the mud, of course!

Rounding out today’s announcement are our crossover thrash buddies, MUNICIPAL WASTE!  With last album ‘The Fatal Feast’ coming out four years ago, maybe BLOODSTOCK will get treated to a new tune or two?!  Frontman Tony Foresta tells us “We are very excited to be finally returning to one of our favourite metal festivals – BLOODSTOCK!  We’re looking forward to getting greasy with all of our UK fans!”  Meanwhile, check out the space-gore-tastic video to the title track here:

Already announced for 2017 are Friday’s headliners AMON AMARTH, plus BLIND GUARDIAN, HATEBREED, TESTAMENT, OBITUARY, BRUJERIA, WHITECHAPEL, POSSESSED, HELL and DECAPITATED.  Many more are still to be announced!

Early bird weekend camping tix are on sale at a discounted £120 and due to exceptional demand, a limited number of VIP packages were put on sale last month on a first come, first served basis.  This allocation quickly SOLD OUT!  The remaining VIP allocation and a number of VIP upgrades (to accompany previously purchased early bird tickets) and will be available from 16th December, but don’t hang around if you want these, as VIP is set to sell out even earlier in 2017.  Also stay tuned for details of 2017’s ticket deposit scheme (payable over 5 instalments) in just a few weeks time!

BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 10th-13th August 2017.  Early bird weekend tickets with camping are available now, priced from £120 (+ booking fee) at  Children’s weekend tickets are also available, priced £35 (+ booking fee).  Camper van pitches have now SOLD OUT.


Slam Dunk Festival have announced artists to join headliners Enter Shikari!

Having firmly established itself as the best alternative festival for pop-punk and rock revellers alike, Slam Dunk Festival 2017 has announced the second-wave of fantastic acts for its biggest year yet.

Headlined by the searing electronic masterminds Enter Shikari as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of their monumental debut album ‘Take To The Skies’, the festival welcomes alt-rock men of the moment Don Broco, pop-punk pros Bowling For Soup, ska punk outfit Less Than Jake, and Californian ska mob Reel Big Fish.

American east coast pop-rock powerhouses We The Kings will join the festival playing their eponymous first album and Cute Is What We Aim For will be playing debut album ‘The same old blood rush with a new touch’ in full.

A nationwide invitation to party in the name of the alternative, Slam Dunk Festival is a rite of passage for lovers of pop-punk and rock music and is a key date in the festival calendar. Kicking off in Birmingham on Saturday 27th May, the festival will travel to Leeds on Sunday 28th May before finishing up in Hatfield on Monday 29th May, once again ensuring the Slam Dunk Festival Bank Holiday Weekend is the only place to be to catch all your favourite bands.

27th May – NEC, Birmingham
28th May – Leeds
29th May – The Forum, Hatfield

Tickets on sale now!










Download Festival,
the world’s premier rock and metal event has announced more than twenty
of the world’s most electrifying bands in rock, pop punk, hardcore and metal. Also unveiled is the newly named third stage –
The Avalanche Stage – with a punk, emo and post-hardcore edge, including headline performance from the previously announced Simple Plan and Sleeping With Sirens. The three day festival takes place on
9 – 11 June 2017 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire. Tickets are on sale now at

 Joining headliners System of a Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith for the ultimate rock event of the year are hard rock juggernauts Alter Bridge. Fresh from packing out London’s O2 Arena, and back with new album
The Last Hero, Myles Kennedy and his crew will ensure the crowds are in for an unforgettable experience. The most ferocious live force to come out of Australia since AC/DC; Airbourne, will be delivering no frills rock ‘n’ roll with an intensity and energy that will tear up the Main Stage.

 Treasured names in progressive metal and Download Festival favourites Opeth, will deliver a set laden with classics and tracks from this years’ anticipated album Sorceress. Clutch will be coming to Donington with riffs and impassioned lyrics aplenty, ready to deliver with intensity to the Download Festival crowd. Special guests and six-time Grammy nominated Ministry are bringing near to forty years of industrial metal wisdom, whilst heavy metal titans Mastodon return to Donington to prove why they’re the all-time greats of their genre. Joining them with new members and new album Trust No One will be kings of the circle pit DevilDriver.

 It’ll be a warm welcome back to the hallowed grounds for Coheed and Cambria who are set to perform a prog-rock experience to remember, whilst rock ‘n’ roll super group The Dead Daisies bring some of the biggest rock veterans including members of Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe together for a mighty performance.

 Legendary pop punkers Sum 41 have been making crowds go wild with their infectious sound since the 90s. They’ll be taking Download by storm with anthems Fat Lip, In Too Deep and more. The Maryland rockers behind bonafide anthems including Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Girls and Boys and I Just Wanna Live;
Good Charlotte, will deliver a pop punk packed performance including tracks from this year’s long awaited album Youth Authority.

 Making an exciting Download debut in 2017 are San Diego outfit
Pierce The Veil who continue to bend the rules by blending punk beats and post hardcore riffs with screams, theatrics and huge choruses. Joining them on the Main Stage in another Download Festival first are the nu metal, djent rhythms of Issues.


With third stage headliners Sleeping With Sirens and Simple Plan already announced, the newly named
Avalanche Stage will be the one-stop destination for the biggest and best names in pop punk, post hardcore and more. Celebrating 10 years since their game changing album Rise or Die Trying, Four Year Strong are set to leave their energetic mark on The Avalanche Stage, as will old-school Chicago based pop punk rockers
Knuckle Puck.


Alt-punk influenced trio WAKRAT, led by Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave’s Tim Commerford will be making their Download Festival debut and are ready to unleash their brand new sound on Donington. UK cult band Basement are expected to lead The Avalanche Stage into grunge influenced harmonies with loved tracks from latest album Promise Everything.


The One Hundred are set to bring the noise and provide a meltdown set with their modern take on
nu-metal, whilst Dallas heroes Crown The Empire will mesmerise the Download crowd with their unmistakable live noise. The haunting and atmospheric sounds of the up and coming
Greywind and the exciting high-energy punk, hardcore and grime fuse of  Astroid Boys makes The Avalanche Stage truly unmissable at Download 2017.


Coming to The Dogtooth Stage are thrash metal legends Exodus who will make an unforgettable impact as they hit British soil once again. Expect head-banging, moshing and fist-pumping aplenty. Joining them are Finnish metal sensations Lost Society as they lead the way for modern thrash and prepare to deliver a storming set. Wolverhampton two-piece God Damn have established themselves as forerunners of the UK’s hard rock scene and will join the stellar line up alongside hard rock US riff-wielders Red Fang.


Download Festival is the home of rock music and takes place on the sacred grounds of Donington Park, which have been associated with rock since the 80s. The festival attracts icons of rock and metal, plus some of the best and hottest new acts in the world. AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, Rage Against The Machine, Slipknot, Linkin Park and many more have all headlined its main stage.

 For further information, please visit

 Download Festival 2017 Line Up