Big Wreck‘s early classics, most particularly The Oaf and That Song, were a huge staple on the radio when I was young. The latter especially stuck in my head as a kid. It’s easily one of the best all around rock songs to have come out in the 90’s. Some years ago, around the time of Big Wreck’s reunion, I decided to get more in to the band, starting from the beginning of course. I was met with a bit of disappointment. Well I wasn’t so disappointed as I was underwhelmed. This kind of cooled down my desire to get more in to the band. That is, until late last year when One Good Piece of Me from their then upcoming (now just over a month old) album Grace Street started playing on the radio.
2016 has proven to be a year to forget in respect to my reviews. The amount of albums I accepted and committed to reviewing completely overwhelmed me to the point of practically hiding myself and only coming out every once in a while. This includes writing reviews for the other two great sites that I love writing for. I’ve accepted considerably less albums to review this year and really just stuck with reviewing what I wanted to review, and for all of those emails that I never responded to and to the one or two reviews that I never wrote, I sincerely apologize and I hope that 2017 will bring me back to my old self.
That being said, 2016 was perhaps the best year in a long time for new albums, and as I so love to do every year, I want to talk about my top ten album picks of 2016. There are surely a lot of great independent albums that I passed up that could deserve mentions, and even a major release or two that could have stood a chance. For instance, had I listened to Kaleo‘s A/B in full I’m sure it would probably be on this list, considering how great everything I’ve heard from it is, but I haven’t heard the full album and thus can’t really assess it. But here are the ten picks that I know are great.
And please check out my past top 10 lists here.
It’s about time I review this album. Avenged Sevenfold‘s The Stage was one of the 2016 releases I anticipated the most, even though nothing much about it, including its name or even its release date was correctly known until the very day it was released. This once pure metalcore band left us with a controversial traditional sounding heavy metal album three years ago, so as per usual I was curious to see what direction Avenged Sevenfold would take on this adventure, thinking they have covered everything possible by this point. Then a few weeks before the album was released, the title track came out.
Alter Bridge is that rare band in the modern day who are such professionals that no matter what they do, you have to respect it. They have a confidence that I don’t think any other band rightfully has and with it they have produced album after album of pure unmatched drive and power. With their fourth album Fortress released in 2013, they went back to a familiar formula after experimenting in fine form on AB III (an album which I openly gushed about in my Fortress review) and this time around on their new album The Last Hero they continue with that formula that made their first two albums such great fan favourites.
It was two years and four days ago that I saw The Pack A.D. open for Alice In Chains, prompting me to buy their then most recent album Do Not Engage after having a pleasant encounter with them between sets. You can read my review of that album here. The rock duo was five full length albums deep at that time and I had in fact heard their name thrown around every now and then before then, but seeing them perform that day was exactly the push I needed, otherwise I wouldn’t be here reviewing their recently released sixth album Positive Thinking.
Trapt is a band that has been around for longer than I realized. I first heard of them when they played at the first Crüe Fest in the summer of 2008, but I didn’t realize they had been around for over a decade before then and were four albums (three major label) deep into their recording careers. Another eight years later and Trapt is set to release their sixth major label studio album DNA.
In 2014, thanks to Metal Nation Radio (one of the two other great sites I write for) I was given Under Satan’s Sun by Bloody Hammers to review. I had no prior knowledge of the band before that, even though they had previously released a self-titled album, but I was immediately struck by their very intelligent doom metal sound. You can read my opinions of the album here. Ever since then I’ve been keeping close tabs on Bloody Hammers, heavily anticipating their follow up. That follow up, entitled Lovely Sort of Death, has arrived, and thanks to Decibel Geek, the other great site I work for, I received the album early for review.