Best Rock/Metal Albums 2018

Here we are at the end of another year and my list is still far from complete. I probably have not listened to most albums and got stuck on loops of a few chosen ones which are not necessarily released in 2018. Unlike the past years, this year I have not been able to rank my favorites and wrote them in no particular order.  That may be because no release has thrilled me as much as, say, Eloy (2017) or Metallica (2016). What stands out the most is Judas Priest, though. Last but not least, if I am missing some obvious gems here – which is highly likely, feel free to let me know.
Have an awesome new year and enjoy the read!


Artillery – The Face of Fear

Artillery is one of my all-time fave bands and honestly I am a sucker for their albums. So you may have to opt for a more objective critic. Granted, it is not By Inheritance and granted again we will never get anything close to it. All we can do is to aim for B.A.C.K.. We got pretty close to it with Legions and The Face of Fear, in turn, is close to Legions – so do the math.
Nevertheless, this should not mean that it is a run-of-the-mill album. It’s just that the bar is so high. It still rocks hard and thrashes as hell. If you are a fan of the genre or the band, you wouldn’t want to miss this.


Warrel Dane – Shadow Work

Warrel Dane’s passing was one of the biggest tragedies of the rock scene last year. I have the honor and luck of watching him both in Nevermore and Sanctuary (his very last show). Now, every time I hear or see him I feel real sad. He sadly could not see the release of his second solo album, Shadow Work, for which he had been in studio in Brazil where he had a heart attack. It was released ten months after his death and it made all the fans realize how big a talent he was. Shadow Work album was mostly complete before his death, so it could be released rather quickly. The album is a typical Nevermore/Warrel Dane album which is technical, progressive, aggressive and emotional at the same time. It has eight songs one of which is a cover of The Cure‘s The Hanging Garden.


Behemoth – I loved You at Your Darkest

I am not a big fan of the band although I appreciate their music. But I loved this album at my most unexpected! That thrilling accented chant in the intro and what follows are truly a carefully-woven chaos flowing in a meticulously drawn path. Just put the music on and let the darkness creep in.


Black Magick SS – Spectral Ecstasy

Now, this is a true shocker. I had never heard of the band before this album and it was like love at first listen. It is dark/gothic/retro rock/metal from Australia. Imagine Ghost a tad darker and produced with cheaper equipment in a more affordable studio. This fact does not make you love it any less, if not more. The songs are not complex or anything but each and every one of them will stick in your mind for good. Do not miss this album!


Burial Invocation – Abiogenesis

Fellow metalheads from Turkey (Kadıköy/Istanbul to be exact) nail it with awesome musicianship and top-notch recording quality. They play death metal with doom influences and this is their first full-length studio album. The cover, which looks like old-school Swedish Death Metal album art, blows you away at first sight, and what you have to listen is no less. The songs are quite long by death metal standards but absolutely not boring due to the cool variations they contain.


Craft – White Noise and Black Metal

This was also a surprise for me. I had never heard of them before – let alone listen. They play fast, old-school ? and no-bullshit black metal right in your face. Fans of the genre would not miss this.


The Crown – Cobra Speed Venom


Much like my thoughts on Artillery, it would be naice to expect another Deathrace King from The Crown. They still get under my skin anyway. The new album is fast+aggressive(=The Crown) and dumps the goods like a ton of bricks on your playlist. The album title (and the first song released) is like a tight grip on your head which leads to the scraping of your face on a stone wall. A must listen for new thrash metal sound lovers.


Impellitteri – The Nature of the Beast


The guitar overlord Impellitteri strikes back with another fantastic album which will leave you in shreds. If the first reason for my love of Impellitteri is his classy guitar skills, the second one is definitely the jaw-dropping voice of Rob Rock. This duo is bound to give you what you are looking for and The Nature Of The Beast is in that vein. Throw in the covers of Symptom of the Universe and Phantom of the Opera, and I am salivating already.


Judas Priest – Firepower

This is probably the best release of the year. Firepower is the most up-to-date definition of HEAVY METAL, which is unsurprisingly provided by the creators of the genre. One can only respect Judas Priest’s energy and enthusiasm in 2018. Firepower reminds me of Painkiller in that it opens with a fiery track which slightly overshadows the following ones. But if you dig in (which takes a second listening – tops), you discover the gems like Spectre, Rising from Ruins, Traitor’s Gate, etc. I doubt any metal fan would dislike the album.


Marduk – Viktoria

Marduk’s evolution is on. As you know, their first three albums were primitive black metal with melodic touches here and there. Then came Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered and changed everything. That, followed by Nightwing and Panzer Division Marduk, were, for me, the pinnacle of the band’s career.  Straightforward, merciless black metal with ultimate production. The next level was slower compared to the glory of the band: La Grande Danse Macabre and World Funeral. After those, they rose up again in an attempt to honor their above-mentioned glory with five albums, the latest of which (Frontschwein) was a real hit. And just when you would expect them to continue likewise, bam!, they come up with Viktoria. What is totally different from the bands back catalog is that the album has a crust/punk opener: Werwolf. The rest of the album is not necessarily so, but it overtly displays their new sound and direction. The album is devoted to WWII again and has a duration of a little over thirty minutes. Marduk fans has owned the album already and it is a precious piece that is worthy of your collection.


Nita Strauss – Controlled ChaosMy fascination with Nita starts with her inclusion to Alice Cooper but it certainly peaked when I watched her live at Wacken Open Air 2017. She was the best complement to Alice Cooper’s incredible performance and stage show. Controlled Chaos is Nita Strauss’ first solo album and it really rocks. It is an instrumental album full of shreds. The production is solid and the style is somewhat djent-ish. This is a two-person band featuring Josh Villalta on drums, judging by which all guitars and bass must have been played with Nita.If you close your eyes and focus on the guitar with no idea as to who is playing, you might think it is Marty Friedman! Of course that is not to put her on a par with him tech-wise but the styles are very similar. Emotional tunes combined with razor shreds but all delivered in perfect harmony. Pandemonium 2.0 and Our Most Desperate Hour are great songsThe album closes with a decent cover of The Show Must Go On. The album has been criticized due to the drum sound overshadowing the guitar but I think this is what makes the music sound powerful. Guitar music lovers are gonna love this one.


Pestilence – HadeonPestilence is one of my fave death metal bands. Hearing Mameli’s voice is a true reminder of the good old 1990s. We were lucky this year to have watched them live for the first time in Istanbul. Although the show had an old-school setlist – which was cool – the new album delivers the same old Pestilence that we have loved.


U.D.O. – SteelfactorySteelfactory is the second best HEAVY METAL album of the year after Judas Priest‘s Firepower. Just like Halford, UDO still kicks ass and the album is full of many catchy tunes which are likely to be future classics such as Keeper of My Soul and Hungry and Angry. If you are a fan of the band, you probably have already bought the album.


Onkel Tom – Bier ErnstOnkel Tom has released a rather long album featuring 21 songs. Although the songs are completely in German, you do not have to understand it to like it. It simply cheers you up and gives you energy and fun. The songs are about, bier (no shit), Ruhr area, Schalke 04, etc. as usual. If you like thrash metal fueled up with punk and folk tunes along with Tom Angelripper’s unique vocal, you should try this one.


Sodom – Partisan [EP]This release is off-list since it is not a full-length but one which definitely deserves its place as the best EP of the year. With Bernemann and Makka (2/3) of the band gone, everyone was expecting what would become of Sodom with the return of Frank Blackfire and the addition of two new members (Yorck Segatz on guitars and Husky on drums). Sodom has always suffered/employed member changes since the beginning but this is the first time the band has two guitarists. That being a huge thing, the expectation was higher. The cover in fact gave the signals of an old-school release with the black and white drawing of Knarrenheinz in action. The EP has three songs (four on the digital version) two of which are newly introduced: Partisan and Conflagration. The guitar sound is darker and the music is more old-school but after all, it is still the good old Sodom. I guess this will always be the same as long as we hear the distinctive voice of Mr. Tom Angelripper. The new album being at least a year away from now, all you can do now is to loop the EP and enjoy it down to the faintest note.

 

Best Rock/Metal Albums 2017

Here we are with another list at the end of another year. There have been really nice albums and I have managed to narrow it down to 15 of them. It is a very personal, subjective, and mixed up list and I am sure there are tons of 2017 albums which I have not heard yet. These are just the ones that made my year.

  1. Eloy – The Vision, The Sword and The Pyre Pt. 1

    This is so the best album of the year for me that the gap between Eloy and Avatarium would fit another whole list. Frank Bornemann nails it one more time with an epic tale of Jeanne d’Arc. The choruses, dialogues, crescendos&decrescendos, catchy tunes are crazy. The album is a little over 60 minutes but feels like a couple of minutes. Fortunately, this is only the first part and there will be another one of this fantastic concept album.


  2. Avatarium – Hurricanes and Halos

    Avatarium is my new favourite band. I like their The Girl with a Raven Mask a lot and was actually skeptical about whether they could top it off. Well, they did. Hurricanes and Halos is just as good – or maybe better, I’m not sure. It features amazing compositions with catchy tunes and the vocals are simply amazing.


  3. Cut Up – Wherever They May Rot

    I got into the band with this album it really nailed me to the wall at first listen. It’s pure old-school death metal just like the way it should be. Death metallers cannot miss this.


  4. Kreator – Gods of Violence

    The sheriff’s back in town. The album is fast, angry, melodic, catchy and full of classics-to-be. A first-class Kreator album.


  5. Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry

    Tired of work, angry, looking for some action and fun? Put Crossover Ministry on and get an instant cheer-up. Thrash/punk crossover, à la D.R.I., is what you exactly need and your neighbours don’t.


  6. Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black

    CC is the Iron Maiden of death metal. Red Before Black is worthy of the band and features instant classics such as the killer title track. What makes the album greater is the bonus CD (Blood Covered) where there are covers of great metal classics such as Endless Pain (Kreator), No Remorse (Metallica), Confessions (Possessed), etc.


  7. Obituary – Obituary

    So Cannibal Corpse is the Iron Maiden of death metal; and this makes Obituary Judas Priest. Their new self-titled album is true Obituary with one difference. The drums sound more live compared to other albums. It almost sounds like a live recording. This is of course good but it gives the album a different touch than the other albums.


  8. The Doomsday Kingdom – The Doomsday Kingdom

    This might be surprise for you as it was for me. You know that I love heavy doom and this is a really decent example of this genre. Dig it if you like bands like Candlemass, Saint Vitus, etc.


  9. Marty Friedman – Wall of Sound

    Do you need a lesson in black metal by a guitar virtuoso? Try the track Pussy Ghost. Marty is no doubt a living legend and I admire his solo career as much as in Megadeth. This album, though, is surprisingly harder and faster than his previous work and is truly gigantic.


  10. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

    I don’t like new vibes so much but I guess I am a sucker for Mastodon. These guys know how to get to you – or me rather. Mastodon keeps rising despite their stupid statements against Judas Priest but as far as the music is concerned, they are doing a good job.


  11. The Madcap – Rising

    The Madcap is Turkish glam metal band this is their debut album. You may think it is kind of late for such a venture but hey, look at Steel Panther. The Madcap derives inspiration from Mötley Crüe, Whitesnake, Steel Panther, etc. and, to be honest, they sound pretty cool unlike the copy-cat way you would expect them to be. The band is female fronted and her vocals are damn cool. Their songs are cheesy and fun. My personal faves are Stepped on a Lego (because I have a 3-year-old son and I know the feeling) and 3 2 1.


  12. Sarcasm – Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds

    Who is Sarcasm? Well, most of you may not know them but they mean a lot to me. I discovered them about 20 years ago with their 1994 demo A Touch of the Burning Red Sunset. It was a re-re-re-re-recorded demo tape but it was totally insane. Formed in 1990, the band had never released a full length album until 2016. And their second album came soon after. If you like melodic death/black metal you should give it a listen. If you don’t like it, then go and try A Touch of the Burning Red Sunset (1994) first, and then we’ll talk.


  13. Demir Demirkan – The Glass (OST)

    The Glass (Cam) is a documentary about the making of glass directed by Demir Demirkan (ex-Pentagram [TUR] guitarist). He even composed the songs in the movie which is the part I am mostly interested (I have not watched the documentary yet). It is an instrumental album with a lot of catchy tunes and a good sound. If you like guitar music like Satriani, Vai, Friedman, you may like this one, too.


  14. Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained

    I was really afraid to listen to the album because of the risk of hearing something like Illud Divinum Insanus (a most weird death metal album) but luckily what we got is real Morbid Angel. Granted, it’s not Domination or Covenant or the other goodies that we have been fed by the band, but it is like an attempt to play down that lane, rather. Still, it’s good to hear them play and sound like this.


  15. Skyclad – Forward Into the Past

    One of my all-time faves, Skyclad has recently been idle. They broke the silence with Forward Into the Past, which sounds typical of the band. There are good songs indeed but what’s missing, imo, is that the lyrics are not elaborate as one would expect from the band.

Bonus:

David Gilmour – Live at Pompeii

I do not list live albums but when it comes to Pink Floyd or David Gilmour, I can bend the rules like hell. Live at Pompeii is a 2-CD album full of PF and DG classics. Unlike his former band-mate, Roger Waters’ disappointment called Is This Really the Life We Want?, Gilmour proudly lives up to his Pink Floyd legacy and keeps on shining ever brighter.

Andy Brings: You Touch, You Die

I am a huge Sodom fan and I got into the band in late 90s with their Tapping the Vein album. The album still has a special value for me as it was the kick-starter for my endless fascination for the band.  The album is especially unique because of its wild riffs which were viciously played by Andy Brings, my then guitar idol although I was playing the drums. His short-lived Sodom career (1991-1995) produced two frantic studio albums which I consider the cornerstones of speed and mania for Sodom: Tapping the Vein and Get What You Deserve.

Sodom albums featuring Andy Brings on guitars

Of course he was already out of the band by the time I got to know Sodom. He proceeded to play in a speed metal band called Powergod which has released five albums. Andy Brings appeared on the albums under the pseudonym “Riff Randall” and played the guitars and bass. You gotta be Andy Brings to be called as Riff, after all.  I had a near-meeting experience with him in 2003 at Rock Station Festival – Ankara which unfortunately did not happen since Powergod could not make it to the fest due to some health problems. They were disbanded in 2007 but that made the longest career ever for Andy: 10 years in the same band.

Complete Powergod discography with Andy Brings (Riff Randall) on guitars and bass.

Meanwhile, he had a side project called The Traceelords where he played rock’n roll – apparently his all time dream.  This was his first venture into rock ‘n roll after all his metal background. It was parallel to his Powergod years and he released 3 albums with the band between 2001 and 2006.

The Traceelords discography

Andy  continued under his solo project “Andy Brings” and released Rock n’ Roll  in 2010. It was not long, either, before he put it on hold and he fired up a project called “Slit My Wrists” which actually never saw the light of day.

Andy Brings – Rock’n’Roll (2010)

By the way, I had the awesome chance to meet Andy Brings at Wacken Open Air 2007 Sodom 25th Year All-Star show. He left no part of the stage untrodden and played with such enthusiasm like it was still his band. That show was an awesome experience for Sodom fans and for me, it was even more awesome since I got to meet Andy after all those years. He was probably the most lively, energetic, friendly and cool metal celebrity (yeah, for me he is so).

2007-08-02_WOA2007_151-Sodom

Me with Andy Brings and Toto @ W:O:A 2007

2007-08-02_WOA2007_126-Sodom

Andy Brings on stage with Sodom for the band’s 25th anniversary show at W:O:A 2007

Continuing his career, he formed his latest band Double Crush Syndrome. His career has been full of ups and downs, one-hit bands, unfinished stuff, constant band/member changes but one thing has remained the same: Rock n’ roll. His constant struggle and dedication finally seems to pay off as he was able to cut a deal with Nuclear Blast! Their debut album Die for Rock n’ Roll came out on 17.03.2017 and – Sodom albums aside – it is the best production in his career. The album has 10 songs all of which are catchy, politically-incorrect, critical, full of energy, and most of all, ROCK N’ ROLL!

DCS has five new videos for the debut album.  The band is currently on tour until the end of April 2017.  I asked Andy for an interview among his very tight tour schedule and he kindly accepted. Enjoy the read.

Volkan: Congratulations on the DCS debut album, Die for Rock ‘n Roll! How is the reaction so far?

Andy Brings: Thank you very much. The people love it, we entered the German album charts on #48. Even the press likes it, but that’s not important. The people who bought it are the ones that matter. It’s very cool, very rewarding.

V: You got five new (+1 old) videos out of the 10 songs in the album. How is that even possible?

A.B.: And there will be more, at least two more videos. We could release each song as a single, they’re that good. If other bands can’t do it maybe they should write better songs.

V: Aurora Steffens and Markus Herzog were replaced by Slick Prolidol and Julian Fischer. What was the reason for this massive change?

A.B.: Aurora and Markus left the band because they wanted to. Personal reasons. Especially in Aurora’s case I was very sad, she was the whole package. A great loss for Rock N’ Roll, but I respect her decision of course. And it paved the way for Slick’s return to me, which was a good thing. Pure fate.

V: You are on a very busy European Tour. How’s it going?

A.B.: The tour’s been great so far. We toured through Germany and England with STEVE ‘N’ SEAGULLS which was awesome. Going to England was like coming home for us. The people there totally loved what we did. Now we are playing our own shows, almost two hours every night, which is the best. We love the longer shows a lot.

V: Signing up with Nuclear Blast is massive! How did it happen?

A.B.: They approached me which was very cool. I’ve known some of the people I now work with since like forever, and the negotiations were over pretty fast. Both parties wanted this, so we agreed on the terms within less than an hour or so.

V: How is the DCS fan base? Young or old people? Metallers, rockers, punks…?

A.B.: All of the above and more. The young, the young at heart, all colours, all shapes. We love everybody!

V: What makes the band different from The Traceelords and your Solo project “Andy Brings”?

A.B.: Well, I think all my trademarks are still there, but I think I’m a better singer and songwriter now, and since I’ve always written amazing songs, that’s really saying a lot, haha. I know better how to work the gift these days. That comes with age I guess. I’m still young, but I’ve been doing this forever and always worked hard on my craft. Plus I’ve got the best band I’ve ever had. Slick is awesome, the best sidekick you could ask for, he never ceases to amaze me. And Julian kicks ass, too.

V: Is the “Andy Brings” project still alive?

A.B.: Inactive, but since that’s my name and I’m still alive…..you never know. Nothing planned though.

V: Don’t get me wrong but you playing in a rock’n roll band feels like driving a Ferrari in a parking lot at 10 kmph. Do you have any plans for any metal projects to release your talent and fury?

A.B.: That’s a very nice thing to say, and I totally get where you’re coming from, but me playing Rock N’ Roll is the fiercest assault on your eyes and ears I’m capable of. That’s where I come alive. My tribute song to DORO PESCH “Hail To The Queen” from 2014 was more Metal, and I enjoyed that a lot. I just did a remix for song from German Goth band ERDLING, and it sounds like a Sodom song from 1992, only better. Every once in a while I love playing Metal guitar, but playing in a Metal band? No. I’d rather kill myself.

V: Tell us something very interesting about Sebastian Bach.

A.B.: He’s a very sweet man with a big heart and treated us like a gentleman when we toured with him. The most interesting thing I witnessed on that tour is that he really is EVERYTHING I expected and wanted him to be, and much more. It can be very dangerous to meet your idols, but he was great in every way.

V: What is the distribution of metal and rock in your body in percentages?

A.B.: I will always be an old school metalhead with all the 80s stuff in my blood, but I was never just that. The RAMONES played a huuuge role in my life and still do. And I’ve always loved pop music, so that’s who I am. All of it.

V: Do you receive any heat from your metal fans?

A.B.: Not much. They know I’m the real deal. Every once in a while some asshole who is trapped inside a stupid person’s body and whose life is stuck in 1992 makes a homophobic comment about my makeup or the clothes I wear, but I laugh at that. When they meet me or even better see me on stage that usually stops, because I rock harder than 20 guys half my age, so fuck it. It’s all love.

Andy Brings with Sodom – early nineties


V: Do you have fans who do not know about your Sodom career?

A.B.: Yeah, sure. That can’t be a surprise for you, I left SODOM in 1994 and have made many albums and toured with my own bands a lot since then. I love it when newer fans find out about my evil past and scratch their heads because of it.

V: Do you miss your long hair?

A.B.: No, never. The only thing I regret is not having my hair cut off 10 years earlier. I did it in 2003.

V: What is the next step for you and for DCS?

A.B.: We are touring some more in 2017, and then it’s already time for the next album in 2018, which is very exciting. I love working in the studio, creating new music.

V: Any messages for your fans?

A.B.: Be yourself, be happy, and SUPPORT ROCK N’ ROLL

http://www.doublecrushsyndrome.de/

Get the album here:
http://media.nuclearblast.de/ArisingEmpire/shoplanding/2017/DoubleCrushSyndrome/die-for-rocknroll.html

Best Rock/Metal Albums 2016

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

Vektor - Terminal Redux (2016).jpg

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

Magnum - Sacred Blood 'Divine' Lies (2016).jpg

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

Running Wild - Rapid Foray (2016).jpg

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

Nemrud - Nemrud (2016).jpg

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

Grand Magus - Sword Songs (2016).jpgAnother 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

Asphyx - Incoming Death (2016).jpgAnother 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

Desaster - The Oath of an Iron Ritual (2016).jpgAnother 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

Axel Rudi Pell - Game of Sins (2016).jpgThe 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

Amon Amarth - Jomsviking (2016).jpg

Jomsviking is nothing special for Amon Amarth but a spectacular album, all in all. Vikings are back to kill.

8. The Algorithm – Brute Force

The Algorithm - Brute Force (2016).jpg

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

Flotsam and Jetsam - Flotsam and Jetsam (2016).jpg

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

Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake (2016).jpgStill 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

Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence (2016).jpgSick 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

Artillery - Penalty by Perception (2016).jpgDanish 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

Spiritual Beggars - Sunrise to Sundown (2016).jpgHonestly, 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

Metallica - Hardwired... To Self-Destruct (2016).jpegThe 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

Sodom - Decision Day (Japanese Version) (2016).jpgYou 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.