At Metal Mofos we are not all cut out of the same cloth when it comes to how we like our Metal, and that’s a strength not the weakness some claim, especially when it comes to yours truly who doesn’t like the cookie monster stuff (Death, Screamo, Extreme, Black, etc) and sometimes gets criticized for it. But that’s why we have other dudes that do like it, and are definitely encouraged to write about it because a large portion of our readers like the stuff that’s vocally harsher than Classic/Thrash Metal/Progressive Metal, which are the genre/subgenres I like the most.
So there you go, this is all based on my biased opinion and much of it revolves around the vocal performance. I also keep it simple, I simply ask myself what have I been listening to the most on all platforms, I dig a little deeper to understand why, and POOF!!! Like magic my favorites appear out of nowhere! Amazing.
Also, I usually don’t choose obsure Metal bands that nobody’s heard of. Frankly, few ever make the cut, and to be honest in my opinion I think many of the big liberal Metal sites do that to show their Metal cred. But their Metal cred is already near non-existent, so they overcompensate by picking obscure crap that sounds like it was recorded in someones garage on a reel to reel. Dummies.
Alright, without further adieu here are my faves of the year.
7. Volbeat – Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie
Let’s start out with a pop Metal piece of fluffery. Yeah, it’s poser shit, but you know what? I like poser shit when it’s done right, and this is the filet mignon of pop Metal poser shit. I think a few of these songs should have been on the Grease soundtrack album, tell me you can’t envision John Travolta singing this shit in a leather jacket with a cig sticking out of the corner his mouth, case in point the songs Black Rose, Rebound, and Battleship Chains. There are tons of things this band has that so many other Metal bands have forgotten, and it’s what makes them great – Groove, Melody, and most importantly Riffage. Yes, these guys know what’s truly missing from modern Metal, and that’s The Riff. In an era when many bands sound like a machine, having forgotten that even Metallica/Megadeth in their prime had groove riffage, it’s refreshing to hear a band that still gets it in that department. This is a great Metal band.
6. Alter Bridge – The Last Hero
Does this hard rock/Metal hybrid ever make a bad album? Hell, you could argue they rarely make a bad SONG much less a bad album. Their latest release is a masterful work of melodic brilliance that should be owned by every self respecting Metalhead. Myles Kennedy proves himself to once again be one of Metal’s best vocalists, with brilliant phrasing, melody, and emotion, and Mark Tremonti continues to write incredible feely solos. The band, altogether, has a sound, a style, and a passion to what they write, and frankly, the critics just don’t get it sometimes. This is a must have. Just the last song alone The Last Hero is worth the price of the album but it’s not the only great song on it, it’s an album full of epic harmonic brilliance. Buy it.
5. Testament – The Brotherhood Of The Snake
They’re back! And boy are they back in a way that feels like a sledgehammer to the head. Testament needs no introduction, having had a piece of the pie that became the highly influential early Bay Area Crunch that initiated the Thrash era and changed Metal forever, and continue to show that they can still write great Metal. In a time when everyone focuses on a Metallica that has long ago lost everything that made them great (RIP Cliff), and excuses are made for their new “sounds”, it rings hollow because ALL their peers from that era are completely blowing them away, case in point, Testament. The Brotherhood Of The Snake is their best album since, well, their last album, which was great, but Brotherhood is better, and their best since the criminally underrated Low. There are few bands bands that deserve the respect that Testament does (hell,even Slayer has lost it) and that’s because they’ve been consistently good, even during their foray into Deathy stuff it was superior to what their peers were doing at that the time. They are second ballot hall of famers as far as I’m concerned for the upcoming Metal Mofos Hall Of Fame.
4. Flotsam & Jetsam – Flotsam & Jetsam
Will Michael Gilbert ever get the credit he deserves? I mean, this dude has written legendary riffs yet rarely gets the love he deserves in Metal. Their recently self-titled release is just a great Thrash album, with killer riffs and killer vocals this is an album that was overlooked by many Metalheads. But this is one of the best Metal releases of the 2016, and it is chock full of great Metal songs – Taser, Verge Of Tragedy, Time To Go, and on and on, there is not one bad song on this album. Eric AK continues his mastery of the microphone with yet another incredible vocal performance, and with the addition of Jason Bittner on drums the rhythm section hasn’t lost a beat with the lost of the legendary Kelly David-Smith. This is a killer album.
3. Death Angel – The Evil Divide
Rob Cavestany’s evil bastard child continues to show they know Thrash, are Thrash, and exist as a deity that oversees the Thrash Universe. With an excellent follow up to their lackluster The Dream Calls For Blood, The Evil Divide has this band back to what truly makes them great, which is combination of speed, heaviness, and their unique approach to Metal melody. It’s a unique mix of real melody, real catchiness, wrapped in unrelenting Thrash, it’s truly an amazing sound these short fries have (Rob and Mark), along with the white boys in the band, which are regular sized human beings (don’t get mad shorties, I’m a midget too, 5 foot 6 and 170 pounds of Pure Brown Luvvv). Rob Cavestany and Mark Osegueda have a great chemistry that gives them the sound we’ve all come to love. The album even has some cool mixes of punk thrown in, which smoothly transitions to the Thrash sound they’re known for, listen to Cause For Alarm and you’ll hear what I mean. Listen to It Can’t Be This, Lost, and Let The Pieces Fall, and you’ll be hearing Thrash mastery.
2. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
I’m proud of this band, they do things in unexpected ways that both bring out their critics and their supporters, but regardless of whether they are liked or hated, they do what they want, and this year they completely surprised me by releasing not what I expected, another Hail To The King with that commercialized sound that bores critics like yours truly (unless done right of course), but instead they threw me a curve ball and I gladly struck out because The Stage is an epic masterpiece. It is a thought piece in the form of a Metal album that carries its conceptual sonic stage upon the deep thoughts of what the future holds with its soul-less promises, technological advances, and the duality of danger and promise of articial intelligence. But beyond the epic subject matter, there is an exploration of their sound that makes them sound completely different than their last release. The production is raw and live, it truly feels live at times, and they explore rhythm landscapes they’ve never tread before, and it’s all incredibly well done. This is a band in its prime, putting out a masterpiece, but one that might alienate the stupider side of their fanbase, I sure hope not because they will be missing a rare album type that is sorely needed in Metal. I consider A7X one of Metal’s two most intelligent bands, the other taking the #1 spot in my list, and this album only reinforces my assesment. From their epic intro song The Stage, to the rhythmic variance of Sunny Disposition, to the speed and power of God Damn, to the epic outro Exist, this is an album full of small sonic journeys that thread a subject matter forward to canvas the much larger journey that the album maps out. Damn. Just amazing work. Fermi Paradox, what a fucking song…fucking sheer unrelenting epic brilliance. This is A7X in Progressive Metal form. Everything about this band works.
1. Megadeth – Dystopia
Dave Mustaine is a legend. Period. We all know the positives and the negatives, but to deny this man has been integral to the development of Metal is to be a SlothShrek, don’t be a SlothShrek, be a real man and recognize his contributions. But even legends have dry spells, and after the incredible Endgame Megadeth released two unexciting albums that had me scratching my head, one in particular was pure shit, that being of course Supercollider. Then the greatest thing to happen to Megadeth in the last 10 years occurred (other than Junior coming back), Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover left. I used to refer to them as the robots because they had very little soul to their playing. Then Dave did what he does, he inserted new blood into the mix, with sheer brilliance, and POOF! The creativity was back! Dystopia is Megadeth’s greatest album since Endgame, and easily surpasses it in creativity, and the argument could be made that it is their best release since Countdown To Extinction. Dystopia is Megadeth near their incredible highs of the 80’s/90’s, it is really a great album that has grown more and more in stature in my mind as the year has gone by, if I could rerate it it would be a 9/10. With hard Thrash like The Threat Is Real, and Fatal Illusion, to creative monsters like Dystopia, Poisonous Shadows, and Conquer Or Die. This is a spectacular album that overflows creatively, striking that near perfect balance of in your face Metal offset by emotional creative brilliance. Kiko’s and Chris’ work on this album is stellar as well, and Kiko is Dave’s best counter-guitarist since Marty Friedman. This is a work of virtuostic excellence. This is my pick of the year.
Let me explain one and two, I gravitate towards creativity in Metal, and they both displayed it on their respective releases. I listened to both over and over to make sure I was making the right choice. After that I realized both are excellent but Megadeth was just a heavier album, whereas Avenged Sevenfold’s is clearly a progressive Metal album. I went with heavier because I forced myself to choose, but I could change one and two and still find a way to justify it. It was a tie to be honest, but having to choose I went with heavy…cause, well, Metal.
— Carlos the Mexican King Of All Metal
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