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.