Wow! What a suck-fest 2016 was, huh? Lemmy goes and dies in the waning moments of 2015 and it’s all gone to hell since then. Bowie, Brexit, Prince, Trump, Mohammad Ali, ISIS, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frye, Harambe, Keith Emerson AND Greg Lake, Standing Rock… the list of death, destruction, and atrocities goes on. Hell, The Cubs even won the World Series, so you know the end must be near! Thankfully though, we metalheads had a treasure-trove of great new music in which to drown our sorrows. There were so many great albums released that it was more difficult than ever for me to work up my year-end best-of list! Who would’ve though that Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Darkthrone would all drop their greatest albums in decades? Perhaps another seal of the apocalypse breaking? I’ll let you decide that one for yourself. And as for the younger bands, there seem to be great ones crawling out of the woodwork everywhere.
So, without further ado, I present to you my favorite metal albums of 2016 from across all of the myriad subgenres. Keep in mind please, that this is exactly that… my favorite albums of the year. Yours are undoubtedly different. You probably even strongly disagree with some or all of my selections. Which is perfectly fine. Go write your own damn column!
If you like traditional, clean-vocal heavy metal like Judas Priest, Queensryche, Dio, and Iron Maiden, have I got a treat for you! I stumbled across a band called Charred Walls of the Damned while downloading the advance copy of another band’s album from Metal Blade Records. I decided to check these guys out based solely on their name and, man I could not be more pleasantly surprised! It turns out that CWOTD is a metal supergroup consisting of drummer Richard Christy (ex-Iced Earth, ex-Death, and The Howard Stern Show), singer Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Iced Earth), bassist Steve DiGiorgio (his list of credits is as long as your arm and includes Iced Earth, Death, Autopsy, Testament, and Obscura), and guitarist (and metal super producer) Jason Seucof.
It also seems that this is their third record. How on Earth I’m just now finding out about this band is beyond me because their new album Creatures Watching Over the Dead (all of their record titles follow the CWOTD motif) is absolutely amazing! It’s out this Friday (September 23, 2016) and you should definitely check it out.