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.
2 – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – Incarnate
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.
5 – TWELVE FOOT NINJA – Outlier
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).
10 – SUICIDAL TENDENCIES – World Gone Mad
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.