Thursday, January 5, 2017

Best of 2016: Metal and Hard Rock

For me, 2016 was a very hectic year, so I didn’t get the chance to write about as many of these records as I would have liked. Still, it was a strong musical year, and, as you go through my Best Hard Rock and Metal of 2016 list, you’ll see why I’m calling it the year of the classic thrash band.

That said, two notable thrash heavyweights who released albums this year didn’t make the Top 10: Megadeth’s Dystopia grew on me as 2016 went on, and was on the bubble as I made my final decision, but didn’t quite make the cut. The other, I was a bit more disappointed by. Though Metallica’s Hardwired … to Self-Destruct contains a few standout tracks – including the best pure thrash song they’ve recorded in ages – I just found most of the record vanilla and unmemorable. Those songs that I love just weren’t enough to overcome the blah numbers that surround them.

That said, four classic thrash acts did find their way into a pretty strong final field, and one blew all the others away in my opinion. Here’s my Best Hard Rock and Metal of 2016 …

10. METAL CHURCH – XI: Here’s our first classic thrash entry already. The return of Mike Howe on vocals certainly piqued my interest, as 1989’s Blessing in Disguise is one of my favorite Metal Church albums, and the lead single “No Tomorrow” got me amped up. The album followed through on that promise. There’s nothing new or fancy here, but it’s just a great old-school thrash record.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Playlist 2016 Week 5: Dead Daisies, Anthrax, LoG, Death Angel, Testament

We've now reached the point in the program where we start to get into mostly repeated artists, and we've entered the new year, so I think I'll wind it down with this week's selections. That said, there are still a few more songs that make my playlist, but I think these 25 or so cover the high points.

"We All Fall Down," The Dead Daisies. This was just an old-fashioned, good time hard rock record. It's simplicity and fun made it one of my favorites of the year, and "We All Fall Down" was my favorite track. Just a great hook and a great all-around tune.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Best of 2016: Country and Southern Rock

OK, not really a "best of." I didn’t listen to enough country and Southern rock this year to feel comfortable taking my usual approach to this Best Country and Southern Rock of 2016 list. I know there are some great records out there that I just haven’t heard, possibly better than the ones below. But there were a trio of albums that I wanted to call out, so here goes …

3. WHISKEY MYERS – MUD: These Southern rockers, I don’t believe, get the respect that they deserve. Mud isn’t as strong an outing as 2014’s fantastic Early Morning Shakes, but still a top-notch effort with some hell-raising Southern rockers and heartfelt odes to life, and a nice tribute to No. 2 on my Best Country and Southern Rock of 2016 list.