12/22/2016

The 20 Best Hard Rock & Metal Albums of 2016 part 1, 20-11

Another great year for heavy rock music draws to an end. This year marked a return of many thrash metal legends, including releases from the 3 of the big 4. The other band from The Big 4, Slayer, released an album last year, marking this the first time in many, many years since all four bands had released an album within a one year period. In fact in many ways, 2016 is the year of thrash metal.

As the music section of this site has grown exponentially, I have expanded my annual list from 10 to 20. This gives more bands and albums a chance to shine and considering how many I got my hands on, this year, it was the only right thing to do.

Anyway, let's not waste anymore time and get to it!

But, first let's start with some:

Honorable Mentions:
Witchery- In His Infernal Majesty’s Service
Vektor- Terminal Redux
Brujeria- Pocho Aztlan
Walls of Jericho- No One Can Save You from Yourself
Metal Church- XI
Epica- The Holographic Principle


20. Whitechapel- Mark of the Blade- While, I think this is definitely not as great an album as the one that proceeded it, Our Endless War, it's a very solid and crunching release, nonetheless. Pummeling with breakdowns and filled with anger, the album stands as a strong example of what deathcore done right sounds like. Songs like "The Elitist Ones" and the powerful "Bring Me Home", which showcases a new level of maturity and change for the band, rank among my favorite tracks of the year.





19. Death Angel- The Evil Divide- I've like Death Angel for many, many years, however, I never loved them. The Evil Divide, though, ranks not only as their best album in the last couple of years, but one of their best overall. It might, in fact, be their actual best album. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. Mark Osegueda is one of the best vocalists in all of thrash metal, and his vocals really shine this blistering ass kicker.


18. Aborted- Retrogore- This brutal and unrelenting release from Aborted serves as splatter worshiping death metal at it's most awesome. With songs like the title the track and "Whoremaggedon", it's really hard to stop listening to Retrogore. As the title implies the lyrics are filled with love for old-school gore flicks. This is accompanied by blastbeats and head smashing crunch, delivering a must own album for fans of blood drenched genre movies and extreme metal. Extra points for having one of my favorite album covers of the year!

17. Korn- The Serenity of Suffering- I haven't cared or particularly liked a Korn since probably See You on the Other Side. Enough so that I had mostly written the band off. So call me beyond pleasantly surprised when I heard this album. It really captures the classic Korn sound and reminds why I used to be obsessed with the band, and their music when I was in college. Filled with catchy hooks and the dark, introspective lyrics that define their best output, this album truly brings back the popular late 90s metal sound.


16. Periphery- III: Select Difficulty- Definitely one of the most talented mainstream metal bands out there, Periphery sum up the best elements of the more popular sounds in heavy rock today. The instruments are played to perfection, while their signer Spencer Sotelo ranks as one of my personal favorite vocalists in modern metal. III: Select Difficulty captures a lot of this with a variety of sounds including really heavy tunes, longer more progressive songs, and softer more emotional tracks. "Marigold" and "Catch Fire" ranks among my most listened to songs of the year. 

15. Darkthrone- Arctic Thunder- Another band, I had long written off, black metal legends, Darkthrone returned with not only their finest release in many years, but one of their finest ever. It's a true  return to old school black metal with lo-fi production and a distant, cold sound throughout. The title is perfect to describe the album as the feel right the right thing to listen to during these cold winter days. Here then is another album that really brings back the 90s, only in a more underground aspect and does it awesomely.
 

14. Entheos- The Infinite Nothing- Entheos are the best new band of the year, and this is one of the finest debuts I have heard in ages. My full review of this amazing female-fronted progressive death metal album can be found here: http://themastergio.blogspot.com/2016/05/entheos-inifinite-nothing-album-review.html


13. Dark Funeral- Where Shadows Forever Reign- Unholy fuck, what a fuckin' album!! One of my most played black metal releases of this year, this dark, heavy, and deliciously evil album is one of the finest and outright listenable recordings Dark Funeral have ever put out. My full review: http://themastergio.blogspot.com/2016/07/dark-funeral-where-shadows-forever.html






12. The Agonist- Five- I've been a fan of The Agonist since their debut album, however, as much I love their old signer, they have really hit their stride with their current signer, Vicky Psarakis, and the last two albums that they recorded with her. A great mix of the driving and pounding, with more melodic elements, and very catchy hooks, Five is an infinitely playable album that gets me pumped up each and every time that I listen to it.






11. Carnifex- Slow Death- Slow Death is unarguably THE best deathcore album of the year. It showcases a band, Carinfex, that is willing to grow and mature as time passes. Incorporating more death metal elements than many of their counterparts, as well as other influences, like black metal in the amazing track "Drown Me in Blood", this album is a heavy and pissed off blast of pure fury. Carnifex are truly leaving many of their peers in this style of metal in the dust.





To be concluded...

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