Well it’s that time of year again, time to look back and list my top 10 albums of 2016. Hard to believe the year has blown by so fast. Next weekend my final year end special for my FM syndicated show will be the annual year in review show. All of the music in my top 10 and much more I liked from 2016 will be played in that show. Feel free to post your own lists in comments on this site. Of course there was tons more music I liked, but the top 10 for me (and it was tough to keep it to 10!) for 2016 is:
10: Ace Frehley- “Origins Vol 1”.
I really thought this was a cool idea for Ace who has done so well over the decades doing covers. Cool to see him covering his own music as well as others. And the special guests were killer as well. Ace hit 10 years sober in 2016 and it shows in his playing and singing. The highlight here is the reunion of Paul Stanley and Ace (on the song and video for it) on the Free cover “Fire & Water” It’s the best Paul has sounded in a while vocally and Ace rips on it. The only reason the album wasn’t higher is because it is all covers and I rarely do those, live albums, or EPs on my lists. But this had enough unique stuff to make the exception.
9: Giraffe Tongue Orchestra- “Broken Lines”
A supergroup of sorts that came late in 2016 featuring William Duvall of Alice In Chains, Brent Hinds of Mastodon and Ben Weinman of Dillinger Escape Plan. Cool songs, grooves, production and vocals. “Adapt Or Die” has a ripping guitar solo, and “Blood Moon” should have been huge at modern rock radio. A very cool album and I hope they can make time for this band around their main projects. Always an issue with these types of bands.
8: Soul Asylum- “Change Of Fortune”
I know, not hard rock/metal, but many know I have always loved this band. Dave Pirner may be the sole original member, but he was pretty much SA, writing the songs and singing them, as well as guitar. Still a great band and still great live as well (saw them twice on this tour). To me Pirner is one of our great songwriters. And he’s still got it. “Doomsday” is my favorite track.
7: Glenn Hughes; “Resonate”
The voice of rock with his most rockin solo album to date. Glenn is simply incredible. He sings as well as anyone after more than 40 years, something that sometimes overshadows his great playing as well. Love the production too. As much as I love BCC and am excited they have a future, their albums are a bit dry and flat sounding for my tastes. This album sizzles. Great performances and songs. “My Town”, “Flow” and “Let It Shine” favorites.
6: Last In Line: “Heavy Crown”
The surviving members of the original Dio band making all new original music, and it smokes! Singer Andrew Freeman was the perfect voice for this band, and great to hear Vivian Campbell play heavy rock again. Vinnie Appice remains one of my favorites, and this is a great final statement from the late Jimmy Bain, who was another great loss in 2016. “Devil”, “Starmaker” “Blame It On Me” favorites. And great production from Jeff Pilson!
5: Crobot: “Welcome To Fat City”
I really liked this bands last album, but they took a big step forward with their 2016 release. Big fat grooves and funky riffs. A new young band that rocks like it’s 1973. And great vocals. “Hold On For Dear Life” a favorite. One of the new bands I am so excited for an hope breaks through here. This is what we need to grow rock with the younger generation and show them how it’s done. Real, raw and kick ass!
4: Metallica: “Hard Wired..To Self Destruct”
I loved Death Magnetic. But I hated the overcompressed and at times distorted sound. This album is loud and punchy as hell, but still sounds great. So cool to see them lead with the title track, which was all out thrash, and radio had to deal with it. Get the 3 disc version, the bonus stuff on it is great. Worth the wait and inspiring to see one of the all time greats still so good and back on track. Lars is playing really well and Kirk’s solos are in top form. Favorite tracks are “Hardwired” “Now That We’re Dead”, “Spit Out The Bone”. Their show at Webster Hall for this albums release was one of the best I saw all year.
3: Alter Bridge: “The Last Hero”
Their last album Fortress remains in my top 10 of the last 10 years and still remains my favorite top to bottom in their catalog. But this one is also incredibly good. Everything I love about heavy music. Great playing, songs, melody and the amazing voice of Myles Kennedy. Now that Slash is back with Guns, hopefully AB can work more here in the US and become the arena act they now are in Europe and the UK. Hope to finally see them live for the first time next year. Love their albums! Favorite tracks; “Show Me A Leader”, “My Champion”, “Poison In Your Veins”, “You Will Be Remembered”, “Crows On A Wire”.
2: Anthrax: “For All Kings”
Worship Music was in my top 3 Anthrax albums ever. Could they top it? Pretty darn close! To me Anthrax had an amazing one two punch with Spreading and Among back in the 80’s. They’ve repeated that again with Worship into this album. Again, incredible a band doing it so long is making it’s best music now. Amazing production and mix from Jay Ruston, one of my favorites now in the business. “Breathing Lightning”, “Suzerain”, “Blood Eagle Wings”, the title track and “All Of Them Thieves” among my favorites. Material wise Anthrax are at their peak it seems this late in their career. Insane rock radio didn’t really jump on “Breathing Lightning” in the mainstream. Should have been huge!
1: Rival Sons: “Hallow Bones”
I’ve been talking about this band since their debut album on TV and radio. Their albums keep getting better. And Jay Buchanan may be the best singer currently in rock music. Everything I love about the old school bands, but still very much original sounding to Rival Sons. Big guitars and riffs, phenomenal singing. Every element that makes rock great to me is in this band. 2016 saw them opening every show for Black Sabbath. In Europe they are already hugely popular. The fact that their home turf here in the US is lagging behind bums me out. I really hope that changes. I found myself pulling this up on my Ipod and CD player more than just about any record in 2016, earning it my top spot. Favorites include “Tied Up”, “Baby Boy”, “Fade Out”, “All That I Want”.
Some other I liked outside the Top 10″
Punky Meadows: Fallen Angel
Whitford/St Holmes: Reunion
Scorpion Child: Acid Roulette
Death Angel, Kyng, The Pretty Reckless, Bon Jovi, Avenged Sevenfold