Rockers it’s that time of the year. Everyone else crunches a numbers list and tries to kiss label butt or band butt. But not yours truly. It’s time for my list of albums that came out this year that belong in your music library. As always there’s no set number or order and it’s studio albums only, no compilations or live albums.
Let’s face facts, the last two albums from Megadeth were duds. Plus the departure of Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover meant the band was essentially rebooting. And reboot they did. Dystopia introduces us to Kiko Loureiro, an amazing guitarist, and delivered some killer tracks. “Poisonous Shadows” is by far my favorite on this album along with the title track. This album is a strong return to the Megadeth everyone knows and raises the horns high for.
Let’s face fact, Anthrax set the bar high for themselves after Worship Music. Well they definitely reached that bar with this years effort. For All Kings picks up right where Worship Music left off, almost as if they were written together. Now For All Kings isn’t as perfect as its predecessor but with songs like “Breathing Lightning” and “Blood Eagle Wings” getting your blood pumping it’s closer to perfection. Anthrax continues to be at the best of their game.
This was my first introduction to Primal Fear and it was some introduction. Grabbing me from the opening track “Angels Of Mercy” and kept me rockin the whole time through. I even challenge you not to sing along to “In Metal We Trust”. Coming out early this year it got lost in a lot of people’s shuffle but this is a great metal album to crank at anytime.
Usually I’d be very hesitant of a band doing a theme album and doing at complete 180 from their previous album but I was pleasantly surprised by Solas from The Answer. This album is bluesy while still rockin’ and pays homage to their heritage as well. The Answer took a risk and it worked out amazing. Not many bands can claim that.
A few years ago it was unknown if Otep was continuing after Hydra (a great album). Luckily for us it wasn’t unknown for long as this year we got Generation Doom, possibly one of her best albums ever. Once again Otep hit the nail on the head of social, political, and global topics that all can identify with. “In Cold Blood” becoming an instant hit single and bringing new fans to her music and the world of metal. Of course “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts” was almost prophetic of this years election and leads to discussion from all sides. Any album that gets you talking and brings new fans is an automatic own in any audiophiles books.
Everyone knows that Jim Breuer, along with Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine, brings metal to the none metalheads through comedy. All too often I’ve laughed silly at his references in his routine while others looked at me like I had too much to drink (which is occasionally possible). So it was no surprise to me when he finally got a band together and put out this album. There’s nothing funny with Songs from the Garage. This is a legit hard rock and metal album. “Old School” isn’t just for those in its title but anyone who feels rock and metal still reigns despite what regular radio and media thinks. And while it’s not meant as a comedy album I’ll bet you laugh heavily to “Be a Dick 2nite” as well all know someone like that or might even be that guy.
I first saw The Pretty Reckless when they opened for Marilyn Manson on his Born Villain tour. Surprised to see Taylor Momsen singing but impressed enough to be a fan. But each album since has felt like it was missing something. Almost like they didn’t know 100% what type of band they were. With Who You Selling For that identity was found. A pure hard rock band with a front woman whose voice is always recognizable. There’s hints of Led Zeppelin in the single “Take Me Down” and just an overall vibe that says “crank me up for the neighbors to hear”. And definitely check out the epic track “The Devil’s Back”, a song that definitely shows the growth of this band.
I was literally just introduced to Devilskin within the last month or so and was blown away. This female fronted band from Australia rocks in every sense of the word and their latest album Be Like The River solidifies it. “Believe In Me” and “Limbs” are my go to tracks on this one. Intense and inspiring. One listen to this one and you’ll be hooked.
I haven’t been a Alter Bridge fan for years but I’ve known the band’s music. I liked a few singles along the way but nothing that made me want to run out and buy an album. That all changed when I received “Show Me A Leader” for air leading into the release of The Last Hero. That song caught my attention to where I immediately preordered the album. There isn’t a bad song on this album and I’m now a fan.
I’ve been a fan of Lacuna Coil since I discovered their album Comalies when channel hopping one late night years ago when I couldn’t sleep. Like any band around for many years, consistency in albums is rare. I even began to wonder how much was left in after their last two albums. Sure they had solid singles but albums as a whole not so much. Well I can safely say Delirium is the rebirth of Lacuna Coil. First hearing songs from it live at Saint Vitus days before release and then listening to it the next day as those at that live show got to buy the album early gave me the same chills and rush that Comalies did years ago. I can’t pick out specific tracks because this album is practically flawless.
I first saw Voodoo Terror Tribe a few years back when my brother from another mother Derek Soto had them perform at his Pantages II show. They caught my attention from my position as DJ in between sets and I was anxious to hear more from them. But they disappeared not long after that show. Until earlier this year when I saw them out on tour with Shattered Sun and Ill Niño. There I first heard “City Of Sixes” off The Sun Shining Cold. The song stuck in my head so much that when I saw them again at Dingbatz about a month later I made sure to snag a copy of the album. I’ve enjoyed every spin of the album since including their version of the fan favorite “Pussy” by Rammstein which they do exceptionally well. Expect this album to be an album you look back on when Voodoo Terror Tribe blows up to the next level.
Cilver has been rocking around New York City for some time now. Knowing the bands music I knew it was only a matter of time before they broke out to bigger things. That time has come with Not The End Of The World which got the band known and fast as “Afterlife” made the rounds on SiriusXM radio. And that’s just one of the standout tracks. “I’m America” and “Razorblade” have both become fan favorites and quickly. Cilver is just beginning to shine.
The benefit of actually buying a ticket and attending a live show is you sometimes get to hear a new song months before the actual album comes to life. Such was the case when Crobot toured with Anthrax and Motörhead in September of 2015. They played the title track live and I knew their sophomore album was going to beat the proverbial curse. Welcome To Fat City has the same hard rockin’, bluesy, and groove vibes to it that their debut album has. “Not For Sale” and “Easy Money” have become favorites of mine and Crobot proves that the curse of the sophomore album can be beat if you stay true to your sound.
I received a ton of emails about Necromancing The Stone leading up to the release of their debut album that curiosity won over on purchasing the album. Thankfully my curiosity didn’t lead me wrong. Jewel of the Vile is a strange yet totally badass mixture of thrash and power metal (for those who categorize their metal). Heavy and fast but also melodic at times. Best examples are “The Siren’s Call” and “Unfinished Business” but overall it’s an album worth having as it could be leading to a whole new style of metal.
It’s been five years since Seas of Wake gave us new music and just as long since they’d been around. But they didn’t miss a beat as they returned with Depths of the Marrow. They’re heavy riffs along with great play on tempo changes is still there just as good as ever and the vocals still go from haunting to heavy without shocking your auditory senses. “The Sorrow” and “Loners” are key examples of how this band has what it takes to break beyond the local scene.
That’s it. That’s this years must have albums by my ears. Some barely missed my list but overall these are albums and artists that deserve your hard earned money. With word coming that 2017 has new music coming from Marilyn Manson, Overkill, Judas Priest, and more my list next year might be tougher.