Here are the 17 best rock/metal albums released in 2016. The answer to “why 17?” is because that was as many as I could put in the list. I did not want to remove two deserving albums out just make it 15 or add three more just for the sake of reaching twenty. Of course, there are other other nice albums most of which I probably have not been able to listen to but the following 17 were the real highlights of the 2016 for me.
17. Vektor – Terminal Redux
Will I be bullshitting if I call them Space Thrash? That velocity nearing the speed of light, sheer aggression, that inorganic sound coming out of the thrash riffs, weird choruses – let alone the band’s space-themed cover artwork – gotta mean something different. It’s hard to keep track of the ever-changing riffs especially in an album this long (73 minutes). Not an easy listen but an interesting and fantastic one.
16. Magnum – Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies
Another surprise album to make its way into my list. Very melodic, symphonic and catchy prog rock. A good listen to chill out.
15. Running Wild – Rapid Foray
To be honest, it is an average album but my love and respect for RW is so high that I just could not leave the album behind. The album clearly reflects the age of the band. Their heyday is over but they can still do tricks like “Black Bart”. The punchline is the last song, though: Last of the Mohicans. It takes you all the way back to the good old Pile of Skulls. Die-hard fans won’t miss this out.
14. Nemrud – Nemrud
Superb Turkish prog rock band releases their self titled album. Shame on me, I have just discovered them although they have three albums, the first of which came out in 2010. They sound like Eloy with touches of Turkish melodies here and there giving it a tint of Barış Manço. There you have your keywords. Dig it if you are interested.
13. Grand Magus – Sword Songs
Another one of my discoveries. Epic album from an epic metal band. If you are fond of Metal but not sure how to praise it, just listen to this album and try to sing along.
12. Asphyx – Incoming Death
Another long awaited album. Rather different from traditional Asphyx in that the vocals are dirtier and the sound is not as down-tuned as it used to be. Old school death metal fans love this one already.
11. Desaster – The Oath of an Iron Ritual
Another noteworthy band come out of the woodwork after a long silence. They keep their signature sound and the album is so retro and pure that it brings sweet tears of 90s (or even 80s) to your eyes. Thrash and Black Metal in awesome harmony!
10. Axel Rudi Pell – Game of Sins
The usual ARP but I like the usual ARP so no problem there. You already know the band. Expect no less and no more. Nice melodies, polished sound, beautiful-as-ever vocals… ARP rules!
9. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
Jomsviking is nothing special for Amon Amarth but a spectacular album, all in all. Vikings are back to kill.
8. The Algorithm – Brute Force
Electronic meets metal most of the time. But not as good as The Algorithm. The album is full of speed, heaviness, variations and effects and it keeps you wondering constantly about what will come next. You may be picky about your metal and choose to keep a distance with electronic stuff but The Algorithm is definitely worth giving a shot.
7. Flotsam and Jetsam – Flotsam and Jetsam
I am so glad to see F&J in action. They should really focus on making new songs like the ones in this album rather than re-recording No Place for Disgrace and making a mess out of it. The album is real solid and the bass sound is awesome. Iron Maiden is a magnificent song dedicated to guess which band. You gotta dig it if you are into melodic thrash metal.
6. Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake
Still not a “The Gathering” (see: bir Alex değil) – and cannot any album ever be – but still Testament as fuck. It’s as right-in-your-face as you would expect from Testament. The album boasts a heavy sound and occasional death metal passages à la Demonic interwoven with catchy melodies. What it lacks (for me) is speed, though. I’d prefer a faster Testament.
5. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
Sick genius Townsend, among his fluctuations, popped out an amazing album – finally. Even though it falls short of the über Ziltoid, this one kicks serious ass. I was blown by “Offer Your Light”. Don’t miss it out!
4. Artillery – Penalty by Perception
Danish Thrash veterans keep on delivering the goods. You’re not expecting By Inheritance, are you? No? Good. But they are still there and doing good stuff. Thrashers beware!
3. Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise to Sundown
Honestly, I had not listened to the band ever before their 2016 album. But what an album! I never thought I could place a stoner rock band right after Sodom and Metallica but it just happened. No matter how many times I have listened to this album, I simply can’t get enough of it. Each song is so catchy that you start singing along after a few listens – or even after the first with some songs. You can hear Dio touches and retro Doors-like keyboards which give the album a breathtaking atmosphere. If you like Dio, Black Sabbath and Doors mixed into stoner sound, you’ll love this one.
PS: I had put the album to the second place initially but on second thought, Metallica seemed to deserve it. I am still not sure enough, though.
2. Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct
The sheriff’s back in town. I agree with most of the critics and think that Metallica did an awesome job with Hardwired. I like Death Magnetic, too, but this one is absolutely superior by far. And the best surprise was the video of ManUNkind. Simply a killer idea!
1. Sodom – Decision Day
You already knew who is the best for me – and you won. When Sodom releases an album, it books the first place straightaway. Yet, subjectivity aside, Sodom nails it again with a fantastic album. I guess nobody will blame me for my choice for the best album as most metalheads agree on the awesomeness of Decision Day. In Retribution, Rolling Thunder, Caligula, Decision Day, Blood Lions are such amazing songs that they prove who the boss is in Germany.
Cherry on top: Sodom is going to play in Istanbul in March 2017.