Blog Archives

Top 10 Power Metal Albums of 2016

top-10-power-metal-albums-of-2016

By Rob Dell’Aquila

1 – INNERWISH – Innerwish

It had been six long years since their last album, during which they lost their lead singer and their drummer, but Innerwish returned stronger than ever in 2016 with this self-titled album. Clocking in at nearly two hours, it’s filled with powerful and often deep songs with staggering vocal harmonies. They hail from Athens, Greece.

 

2 – THEOCRACY – Ghost Ship

This band is out of a different Athens – Athens, Georgia – and they put their mark on 2016 with another album filled with their trademark layered harmonies and monster riffs.  This is Christian power metal with strong progressive and symphonic influences.

 

3 – CIVIL WAR – The Last Full Measure

For 2016, Sweden’s Civil War wrapped up a trilogy of amazing albums dedicated to historic battles and famous final stands. The collaboration of vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson with ex-Sabaton members works wonderfully, yet again, for another compelling romp through history.

 

4 – SABATON – Last Stand

Sweden’s Sabaton continued to marry power metal to military themes with a knockout album dedicated to famous last stands in battle.  No song ends well for the heroes here, but the listener is in for a treat on every single one.

 

5 – AVANTASIA – Ghostlight

Tobias Sammet returned in 2016 with another symphonic, power metal masterpiece from his supergroup, Avantasia.  This one clocks in at nearly two hours, with appearances from Dee Snider, Geoff Tate, Michael Kiske, Jorn Lande, Bob Catley, Sharon den Adel, Ronnie Atkins, Robert Mason and Marco Hietala.

 

6 – EVERGREY – The Storm Within

Heavy riffs, complex compositions, deep yearning.  These are the three elements that Sweden’s Evergrey deliver in their best work, and all three were in strong supply on this veteran band’s latest release.

 

7 – PRIMAL FEAR – Rulebreaker

Primal Fear returned in 2016 with another hard-hitting entry into the genre.  Ralf Scheepers, Matt Sinner and the rest of the band nailed it again with a mix of straight-up power metal and epic masterpieces like the ten-plus-minute “We Walk Without Fear.”

 

8 – LORDS OF BLACK – II

Lead singer Ronnie Romero was tapped by Ritchie Blackmore to front the long-awaited reunion of classic rock legends Rainbow, but that didn’t stop him from putting out another album with his bandmates in Lords of Black.  Hailing from Madrid, Spain, the band debuted with a powerful album in 2014, and deliver again in 2016 on their sophomore effort.

 

9 – THUNDERSTONE – Apocalypse Again

After a seven-year absence, Finland’s Thunderstone returned in 2016 with their sixth album.  Reunited on this one with former lead singer Pasi Ranaten, the chemistry is still there.  This one was worth the wait!

 

10 – SERIOUS BLACK – Mirrorworld

Serious Black delivered one of the best power metal albums of 2015 with their debut, and return strong again just a year later. Urban Breed and the band pour it on heavy again with some impressive writing and musical performances.

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 10/1/16

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 10/1/16.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

THIS WEEK’S TOP 15:

      1. OF MICE & MEN – Cold War
      2. A DAY TO REMEMBER – Bad Vibrations
      3. NORMA JEAN – Polar Similar
      4. THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT – Transcendence
      5. ZZ TOP – LIVE: Greatest Hits From Around The World
      6. SKILLET – Unleashed
      7. DISTURBED – Immortalized
      8. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
      9. ARTIFEX PEREO – Passengers
      10. PROPHETS OF RAGE – The Party’s Over (EP)
      11. VOLBEAT -Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie
      12. REV THEORY – The Revolution
      13. EVERGREY – The Storm Within
      14. DEFTONES – Gore
      15. CHEVELLE – The North Corridor

RELATED ARTICLES:

Top 135 Hard Rock Songs of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2015

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2014

Billboard Top 50 Hard Rock Albums of 2013

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums Archives

Music Discovery Monday – 8/15/16

Music Discovery Monday - Bumblefoot - Devil On My Shoulder

Music Discovery Monday – 8/15/16

Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.

In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
 

 

 

 ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)

BUMBLEFOOT – “Devil On My Shoulder”

From 2006 to 2014, Bumblefoot was one of the guitarists in Guns N’ Roses.  The lineup received much less fanfare than the current reunited lineup, but it certainly wasn’t due to lack of talent.  Long before joining GNR, Bumblefoot was a prolific solo artist.  His time in the band just helped to raise his profile, a position that he is using to benefit others.

“Devil On My Shoulder” is a single that was released earlier this year.  All proceeds from the song are being donated to Road Recovery (a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping young people battle addiction and other adversities).  They do this by harnessing the influence of entertainment industry professionals who have confronted similar crises, and now wish to share their experience, knowledge and resources.

For “Devil On My Shoulder,” Bumblefoot joined forces with vocalist/guitarist Milan Polak,  Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and drummer Thomas Lang.

According to Polak…“the song is about battling your daily demons that could be anything from procrastination to depression to drug abuse, and everything in between.”

At the onset, the pacing of “Devil On My Shoulder” creates a palpable tension, like that of a racing heart.  Polak delivers the meaningful lyrics as if he is singing the story of his life.  The musical framework and the storytelling give the song a classic Queensryche feel, with a hint of Kansas in the vocal harmonies.  From the riffs to the leads, Bumblefoot’s outstanding guitar work shines throughout (as does Polak’s).

It is highly recommended that you watch the lyric video when listening to “Devil On My Shoulder.”
 

 
WHITFORD / ST. HOLMES – “Shapes”

While Joe Perry has gotten plenty of ink about his work with Hollywood Vampires, and Steven Tyler the same for his solo country album, one Aerosmith side project has flown well beneath the radar of many.  As the rhythm guitarist in a band with two larger-than-life figures, Brad Whitford is used to having the spotlight shining brighter on his bandmates.  The same is true for Derek St. Holmes, who has spent his career living in the shadow of Ted Nugent.  This duo, who recorded their first album together 35 years ago, both embrace their “role player” labels.

Whitford explains…“We love the idea of being in a rock band that’s really about the music, not about personalities.  We don’t have to worry about a Steven Tyler or Ted Nugent or anybody else.  We’ve all been guys in a more supporting role in big bands, so an opportunity like this is really rare.”

From the first note of “Shapes,” you can tell that this project is all about delivering the type of blues rock that defined hard rock in the ‘70s.  There is a distinctly raw factor to the song that is both nostalgic and refreshing at the same time.  Straight-forward rock and roll with supremely talented musicians never goes out of style.  What is most amazing about this project is that there was a 35-year gap between their two albums, and only the two named members remain, and yet, there is a cohesive chemistry to their sound that feels like they’ve been playing together all along.
 

 

 

 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

INTRONAUT “Fast Worms”

In the realm of progressive metal, there are few bands that can make it interesting enough for the average listener to not get bored.  Los Angeles’s Intronaut makes things interesting by incorporating elements of metalcore, progressive rock and jazz, combining it all into their own unique sound.  From their album The Direction of Last Things, “Fast Worms” is a heavy eclectic tune with weird time signatures and melodic choruses.  Even though their compositions are technical in nature, the song is still musical, with the groove being in the right place at the right time.

 

OPETH – “Sorceress”

Opeth’s album, Sorceress, isn’t due out until September, but being a huge fan of the band, I was excited to hear the title track.  Opeth’s music is progressive, technical and atmospheric.  Every album from this great band has been a different journey, and this song is no exception.  From their death metal beginnings, Opeth has evolved into a progressive metal band over the years.  “Sorceress” is everything that I expected from them.  Unfortunately, the wait to hear the entire album is still two months away.
 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

EVERGREY – “Distance”

Sweden’s Evergrey returns next month with a new album, The Storm Within.  These veterans of progressive metal have been delivering quality material for over 20 years now, yet still manage to sound fresh and inspired with every new release.  They have perfected a balance of heavy riffs with deep yearning.

 

SERIOUS BLACK – “As Long As I’m Alive”

An all-star lineup of musicians combined forces to bring us one of last year’s best power metal albums, As Daylight Breaks.  They are back with “As Long As I’m Alive,” the first single from their upcoming sophomore album.  The guitars are blazing and Urban Breed (Tad Morose, Bloodbound) is all over those melodic vocals.
 

 

 

   CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout

OSION  “All In Vain”

Finland’s Osion is a relatively new band (formed by in 2014).  They fall squarely in the melodic metal genre, with excellent musicianship and a refined production sound.  Bright and energetic, “All in Vain” has plenty of licks and tons of drive generated by the guitar work of Perttu Anttonen and Erkko Joronen.  Rob Lundgren, who seems to be everywhere these days, lends his awesome vocals to the tune.  Looking forward to hearing a lot from this group.

 

SAILING TO NOWHERE – “Sailing To Nowhere”

Italy’s Sailing to Nowhere’s debut album, To The Unknown, was released in October of 2015.  With a Scandinavian metal flavor, you’ll hear terrific driving rhythms, plenty of power, good musicianship and excellent vocals.  Marco Palazzi’s voice reminds me of Robin McCauley; it plays off well against Veronica Bultrini’s vocal accompaniment.  The guitar work of Andrea Lanzillo and Luca Giuliani is first-rate, especially the solos.

 

SUBMISSIONS

To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com