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…………!
- 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.
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 http://www.arfm.co.uk