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Top 10 Metal Albums of 2016


By Andy Cheung


1 – DEATH ANGEL – The Evil Divide

I haven’t stopped listening to this album since it came in May.  The Evil Divide is thrash metal at its finest, and one of the band’s albums since releasing Act III in 1990.  The guitar work is phenomenal, the rhythm section is heavy and grooves, and Rob Cavestany’s vocals soar and growl…providing the emotions portrayed in each song.




The fathers of metalcore impress once again with their release of Incarnate.  Jesse Leach’s passionate lyrical musings and delivery are top-notch, with his clean vocals and death growls throughout the album.  The Killswitch recognizable sound is there with Adam D’s and Joel Stroetzel’s guitar mastery, rounded out with bassist Mike D’Antonio and Justin Foley’s pounding rhythm section.  Incarnate is a great album released by a great band.



3 – ANTHRAX – For All Kings

This member of “The Big Four” released one hell of an album this year.  For All Kings might very well be one of Anthrax’s best releases to date.  The album is heavy and polished, something to be expected from veterans of the thrash metal scene.  Joey Belladonna sounds just as good now as he did back when the band first started 35 years ago, as does Scott Ian, Frank Bello and Charlie Benante.  Jonathon Donais (ex Shadows Fall) is a great addition to the classic lineup of a classic thrash metal band.



4 – GOJIRA – Magma

These environmentalist metallers from France released their 6th album this year.  The band has always made their own rules (as far as sound goes), and Magma is no different.  It’s atmospheric at times, brutally heavy at other times.  One of Gojira’s best releases to date.




Another album that I have not stopped listening to is Twelve Foot Ninja’s Outlier.  This album is so eclectic and unique – heavy with a mixture of djent, folk, and jazz – that dissecting each song would take years to do.  Their musical compositions have impressed me and made me an instant fan.



6 – AMON AMARTH – Jomsviking

Brutal and melodic, two reasons why Jomsviking is one of the best releases of 2016.  Their 10th studio album is the band’s first concept album, and probably one of their strongest to date.  This melodic death metal band takes the Viking/Norse mythology and dials it up a notch.  Raise your horns!



7 – OPETH – Sorceress

Metal fans will always gripe about Opeth’s change in direction from death metal to progressive rock/melodic metal, but at the end of the day, the band’s 12th studio album is a great one.  Sorceress is chock-full of imagery, ranging in sound from folky prog-rock, to bluesy to heavy.  The album is an overall excellent addition for all progressive metal fans.



8 – KATATONIA – The Fall of Hearts

In the realm of emotional metal, there is none better than Sweden’s Katatonia.  Each song on The Fall of Hearts drips with passion and emotion as the band laments on love and loss, while backed with beautiful, haunting melodies and gorgeous music.



9 – LACUNA COIL – Delirium

“The House of Shame” was the first single I listened to when the album was first released in May.  From the eerie intro, to the death metal growl of Andrea Ferro, and the operatic voice of Cristina Scabbia, I knew right away that this was going to be one of their best albums yet.  The rest of the album is just as heavy and dark (even more than their previous releases).




Classic crossover hardcore/metal band from Venice Beach, CA, Suicidal Tendencies released a highly-anticipated album this year.  The addition of Dave Lomabardo on drums is awesome!  The classic Suicidal sound is there, with Mike Muir’s vocals, the funky bass and heavy guitars are all accented with the ex-Slayer’s pounding drumming.

Music Discovery Monday – 6/6/16

Music Discovery Monday - One Less Reason

Music Discovery Monday – 6/6/16

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.

This week’s Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with One Less Reason’s Cris Brown, who discusses the inspiration behind the band’s latest single.

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)

ONE LESS REASON – “Where Were You?”

When you think of Memphis music, the first thoughts that come to mind are probably Elvis and the blues.  If you’re a fan of Iron Maiden, hearing the words “tattooed millionaire” together undoubtedly conjures up memories of Bruce Dickinson’s first solo album.  So, what do these seemingly unrelated things have in common?  Tattooed Millionaire Records is the name of a relatively new label that is positioning itself to be the next major record label out of Memphis.  The company, which also serves as a recording studio, is located in a building that was most recently House of Blues (until 2001).

Music Discovery Monday has never focused on a record label or recording studio before, but it is relevant in this case since One Less Reason and Tattooed Millionaire are both the brainchild of Cris Brown.  

One Less Reason has recorded five independent albums since their inception in 2003, and has racked up impressive digital sales, yet still flies below the radar to some degree.  The band’s upcoming release, The Memories Uninvited, is the result of a painstaking process that was not constrained by budgetary or studio concerns which, according to Brown, allows the listener to “hear exactly what I heard in my head.”

“Where Were You?” – the debut single from the band’s upcoming album – features huge hooks and bright vocal harmonies, which gives the song an upbeat feel (though the lyrics tell a different story).  This track has been gaining some traction on Active Rock radio as of late, but it deserves even more.  If I were programming a station, this song would absolutely be in heavy rotation.
In an exclusive interview with One Less Reason’s Cris Brown, he discussed the meaning and inspiration behind this killer tune…

‘Where Were You?’ is a song about how there are people in your life that share the same blood as you, but they are the first ones to give up on you when things are going wrong.  They’re also the same people to stand next to you and take credit for all of your wins.  At the same time, there are people in your lives that share no blood relation that will back you all the way no matter how crazy or out of reach something seems.  Blood doesn’t make family…. the ones that love you and care about you (no matter what) do.”

JORN – “Hotel California”

Jorn’s latest album, Heavy Rock Radio, features several of the power vocalist’s favorite songs that meant something to him when he was younger.  This interesting mix of covers ranges from pop to heavy metal.  Of course, once Jorn makes it his own, all of the songs become heavy.

One of my all-time favorite songs is “Hotel California” by the Eagles.  I’m always leery about hearing classics re-interpreted, but Jorn does not disappoint.  At its core, this version stays true to the original, albeit with a much heavier vibe, shredding solos and thunderous drums.  Jorn’s perfect vocal blend of melody and dark intensity makes this cover one of the more memorable ones that I’ve heard in recent times.



 ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout

TWELVE FOOT NINJA – “One Hand Killing”

One of the more interesting and new metal/progressive bands to have come out recently is Melbourne Australia’s Twelve Foot Ninja.  “One Hand Killing” is the first single from their sophomore album, which oddly enough, has no release date since they are still currently campaigning to raise funds for the completion of the album.  In the meantime, listen to their first album (Silent Machine) to get a better taste of the band’s wide spectrum of influences.  “One Hand Killing” has elements of metal, hard rock and jazz fusion with a heavy dose of Faith No More-like choruses and musical arrangements.  All in all, this band is chock full of talent and is a fun listen.


KATATONIA – “Old Heart Falls”

Most people do not associate heavy metal music with an adjective like “beautiful”…a word that is rarely used to describe a band or the songs that are written by metal bands.  Then, a band like Katatonia comes along, and writes a beautiful song like “Old Heart Falls” (from their tenth studio album, The Fall of Hearts).  The song is classic Katatonia; strings, soft pianos, melancholy, dark and brooding moods, heavy piercing guitars for sporadic accents and overall gentle (yet powerful) songwriting.  Turn off the lights and give this band a listen.





Trick Or Treat is a power metal band out of Modena, Italy that was founded in 2002 as a Helloween tribute band.  A few years later, they were signed to a label and began releasing their own material.  This newly released single – from their upcoming fourth album, Rabbits’ Hill, Part 2 (due out July 8th) – features guest vocals from Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica.  The album continues the story from Rabbits’ Hill, Part 1, a 2012 concept album based on the novel Watership Down.  Vocalists Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) and Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) will also appear on the new album.


TOXICROSE – “World Of Confusion”

Swedish glam metal band Toxicrose has a hard-hitting new album entitled Total Tranquility.  They have laid down the driving riffs and pounding rhythms for a heavier sound than your typical glam metal, while retaining the melodic elements, and it works gloriously.




MYSTIC PROPHECY – “10,000 Miles Away”

Bavaria’s Mystic Prophecy just released their 9th full-length studio album called War Brigade“10,000 Miles Away” is a deep track that puts the “power” in power ballad.  The emotional and dramatic vocals from Roberto Dimitri Liapakis are perfect for this song of regret.  The heavy rhythm line and excellent lead guitar work from Laki Ragazas completes the song.


LEO MORACCHIOLI – “Eye Of The Tiger”

Here’s a tremendous reboot of the classic Rocky III theme by Survivor, amplified perfectly to bring it into the metal sphere.  Leo Moracchioli, the zany one-man-metal-band, knows just where to apply the horsepower.  Joining Moracchioli on this track is Rob Lundgren (Baroque of Dante, Chronicles Project, Scientic) who captures the right tone, just as Dave Bickler did with the original.



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

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums – 6/11/16

Billboard Top 15 Hard Rock Albums

Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart for the week ending 6/11/16.  Top 15 albums ranked by sales data and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.


      1. ISSUES – Headspace
      2. PIERCE THE VEIL – Misadventures
      3. DISTURBED – Immortalized
      4. SICK PUPPIES – Fury
      5. KATATONIA – The Fall Of Hearts
      6. ROB ZOMBIE – Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
      7. SIXX: A.M. – Prayers For The Damned, Vol. 1
      8. HATEBREED – The Concrete Confessional
      9. SHINEDOWN – Threat To Survival
      10. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – Got Your Six
      11. MEGADETH – Dystopia
      12. DEVILDRIVER – Trust No One
      13. DEFTONES – Gore
      14. ASKING ALEXANDRIA – The Black
      15. GHOST – Meloria


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