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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.

Music Discovery Monday – 7/18/16

Music Discovery Monday - Joe Lynn Turner - Sunstorm

Music Discovery Monday – 7/18/16

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)

JOE LYNN TURNER – “Stargazer” (Live from Wacken 2015)

Ritchie Blackmore’s version of “Rainbow” has been in the news as of late, but the reality is that it isn’t Rainbow at all.  When rumors started swirling that Blackmore wanted to play rock music again (Rainbow and Deep Purple), there was only one vocalist that came to mind…JOE LYNN TURNER!  He is the only singer to have fronted both bands, and his voice is as strong today as it ever was. Not many singers who have been around for decades can make the same claim.

Technology can make many singers sound good in the studio these days, but truly great singers are just as impressive in a live setting.  Recorded at the Wacken Open Air Festival in 2015, JLT absolutely nails “Stargazer” (a song that was made famous by his predecessor, Ronnie James Dio).  RJD would have turned 74 last week if cancer hadn’t taken him from us so soon. More often than not, replacement singers are competitive to some degree, but JLT and RJD were friends, something that comes through loud and clear as JLT pays tribute to his departed friend before launching into the song.

As you listen to JLT perform “Stargazer” to an enthusiastic stadium crowd, you can’t help but think how incredible a true Rainbow reunion would have been, rather than the current incarnation, which is more like a Blackmore solo project.
 

 
SUNSTORM (f. JOE LYNN TURNER) – “Edge Of Tomorrow”

Joe Lynn Turner may not have gotten the respect that he deserves from Ritchie Blackmore when it came to the “Rainbow reunion,” but he is still making outstanding music.  JLT’s most recent release is Sunstorm’s Edge Of Tomorrow, the fourth studio album that he has done with a band that also features members of Pink Cream 69. The title track off of the band’s latest release is the epitome of feel-good AOR rock, highlighted by JLT’s brilliant, melodic vocals and guitar work of Simone Mularoni.  If you long for the days of passionate, message-driven melodic rock, make sure to check out “Edge Of Tomorrow” (the song and the entire album).
 

 

 

 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

VOIVOD “Post Society”

Voivod, the founders of futuristic progressive metal, are back with a new EP, Post Society, and I could not be any more impressed.  Being a Voivod fan since back in the ‘80s – way before even Jason Newsted played bass for them and the death of Piggy – I have always loved their heavy, progressive sound.  “Post Society” is a reflection of how the band has stayed true to their roots all these years…progressive, thrashy and heavy, with clean vocals reminiscent of Testament.

 

TOOTHGRINDER “Blue”

A relatively new band from New Jersey, Toothgrinder’s first single, “Blue,” from their first full-length album, Nocturnal Masquerade, is a thrash metal fan’s dream.  Both the song and album as are well written.  The vocals are typically screams, with melodic intervals reminiscent of metalcore, but there are so many vocal styles on this album, it is difficult to categorize them overall.  The guitars and rhythm section are typical progressive thrash, with elements of hard rock (and even jazz), but their talent allows them to play beyond the boundaries of the genre.  As far as new bands go, this is one band to watch out for.
 

 

 

ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout

EDEN’S CURSE – “Sell Your Soul”

Eden’s Curse returns with this upbeat melodic metal release, a first and very promising glimpse into their upcoming fifth album, Cardinal.  The band is multi-national, but based out of the UK (where they will kick off their next tour in November).

 

THROUGH FIRE – “Breathe”

This Omaha band came together only last year (at least under this moniker.  The band was formerly known as Emphatic).  They just released their debut album, Breathe.  The title track nicely showcases the new direction and great sound of the band.
 

 

 

   CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout

NAUFRAGANT – “The Black Corsair”

“The Black Corsair” is a recent release from Naugragant – an Argentinian power metal band who engages in “Metal Swashbuckling Storytelling.”  This epic track is based on a classic pirate novel by Emilio Salgari.  The music and vocals (led by Franco Tempesta) are both top-notch and well produced.  A forceful intro gives way to a terrific rhythm and main theme, accentuated by Alan Puyol’s orchestrations – which creates the dramatic backdrop for the song.  Excellent guitar work from Tomás Vega and thunderous, precise percussion from Fërin on the drums. Some may snicker at the niche, but this is really well done.

 

INNERWISH – “Modern Babylon”

Innerwish hails from Athens, Greece.  “Modern Babylon” is from their recent, self-titled album (which is their 5th full-length release).  This track is powered by great locomotion, which takes the lead along with George Eikosipentakis’ vocals.  Manolis Tsigos and Thimios Krikos display their talents on guitars with licks throughout and a dueling solo.  A hard and heavy beat keeps time by Antonis Mazarakis on drums.

 

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