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Staff Year End Awards for 2016!

By: Maximum Metal Staff
Published: Friday, December 30, 2016
We've gathered up our thoughts on the hard rock/metal releases of 2016! Even if you really don't give a shit what any of our opinions are, there are so many releases put out in this age of do-it-yourself creation that you may see names you missed, older bands you forgot existed or unknowns to look up and sample. It's all about getting the word out and supporting the music!

ERIC COMPTON
1. Metallica - Hardwired...to Self-Destruct
2. Volbeat - Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie
3. Pretty Reckless, The - Who You Selling For?
4. Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
5. Aftershok - Detonate
6. Diamond Head - Diamond Head
7. Megadeth - Dystopia
8. Blayley, Blaze - Infinite Entanglement
9. Primal Fear - Rulebreaker
10. Stuck Mojo - Here Come the Infidels
11. Vicious Rumors - Concussion Protocol
12. Running Wild - Rapid Foray
13. Axel Rudi Pell - Game of Sins
14. Alter Bridge - The Last Hero
15. Rage - The Devil Strikes Again
16. Pain - Coming Home
17. Flotsam and Jetsam - Flotsam and Jetsam
18. Amon Amarth - Jomsviking
19. Metal Church - XI
20. Pretty Maids - Kingmaker

FRANK HILL
TOP HEAVY METAL RELEASE: Testament - Brotherhood Of The Snake
TOP HARD ROCK RELEASE: Monster Truck - Sittin' Heavy

Other Top Releases:
Flotsam and Jetsam - Flotsam and Jetsam
Beartooth - Aggressive
Volbeat - Seal The Deal & Lets Boogie
A Sound of Thunder - Who Do You Think We Are?
Spellcaster - Night Hides the World
Alter Bridge - The Last Hero
Metallica - Hardwired...to Self-Destruct
The Unguided - Lust and Loathing
Final Sign - Hold High the Flame
Witchwood - Handful of Stars

Best Non-Metal: Turnpike Troubadours - The Turnpike Troubadours (late 2015)

Top Surprise: Guns N' Roses reunited for Coachella and tour

Hard Rock MVP: Axl Rose for fronting Guns N' Roses & AC\DC and sounding killer with both.

GREG WATSON
1. Zeal and Ardor - Devil Is Fine
2. Ashbringer - Yugen
3. Sadness - Tundra
4. Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
5. Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus - Madness Incarnate
6. Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
7. Voices of Ruin - Born of the Dark
8. Sorcier Des Glaces - North
9. Bethlehem - Bethlehem
10. The Great Cold - The Great Cold
11. Numenorean - Home
12. Aprilmist - Bleak
13. Church of Disgust - Veneration of Filth
14. Abbath - Abbath
15. Violet Cold - Magic Night
16. Noire - The Tracks of the Hunted
17. Wolfhorde - Towards the Gate of North
18. Evil Drive - Land of the Dead
19. Amon Amarth - Jomsviking
20. Midnight Eternal - Midnight Eternal
21. Dark Funeral - Where Shadows Forever Reign
22. For I Am King - Daemons
23. Genus Ordinis Dei - The Middle
24. Feared - Synder
25. Lamb of God - The Duke EP

Biggest Surprise Album: Zeal and Ardor - Devil Is Fine

Biggest Disappointment: Opeth - Sorceress

In Memoriam: Lenny Haze, Tom Searle (Guitarist for Architects), Jimmy Bain, Aleah Liane Stanbridge, Nick Menza

TROY COLE
TOP 15 ALBUMS of 2016:
Amon Amarth - Jomsviking
Borknagar - Winter Thrice
Cauldron - In Ruin
Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
Diamond Head - Diamond Head
Gojira - Magma
Grand Magus - Sword Songs
Megadeth - Dystopia
Metal Church - XI
Rival Sons - Hallow Bones
Rob Zombie - The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
Spiritual Beggars - Sunrise to Sundown
Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary
Vicious Rumors - Concussion Protocol

Most Disappointing Releases:
Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage
Bloody Hammers - Lovely Sort of Death
Helstar - Vampiro
Six Feet Under - Graveyard Classics IV: The Number of the Priest (covers album)

Most Surprising Releases:
Alter Bridge - The Last Hero
Metallica - Hard Wired..To Self Destruct
Skalmold - Vogguvisur Yggdrasils

Looking Forward To:
Alice Cooper, Dimmu Borgir, King Diamond, Kreator, Ozzy Osbourne, System of a Down

DAVID LOVELESS
1. Car Bomb - Meta
2. Twelve Foot Ninja - Outlier
3. Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
4. Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep of Reason
5. Ion Dissonance - Cast The First Stone
6. Oranssi Pazuzu - Varahtelija
7. Textures - Phenotype
8. Gojira - Magma
9. Katatonia - The Fall Of Hearts
10. Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation
11. Death Angel - The Evil Divide
12. Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
13. Deftones - Gore
14. Aluk Todolo - Voix
15. Vector - Terminal Redux
16. Fates Warning - Theories Of Flight
17. Every Time I Die - Low Teens
18. Schammasch - Triangle
19. Fallujah - Dreamless
20. The Browning - Isolation

Favorite Non-Metal of 2016:
1. John Wesley - A Way You'll Never Be
2. Blueneck- The Outpost
3. Soft Kill - Choke
4. The Black Queen - Fever Daydream
5. Swans - The Glowing Man
6. Dinosaur Jr. - Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not

BRAD CAPLAN
1. Devin Townsend - Transcendence
2. Dream Theater - The Astonishing
3. Metallica - Hardwired... to Self Destruct
4. Volbeat - Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie
5. Avenged Sevenfold - The Stage
6. Killswitch Engage - Incarnate
7. KoRn - The Serenity of Suffering
8. Gojira - Magma
9. Alter Bridge - The Last Stand
10. Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake
11. Megadeth - Dystopia
12. Opeth - Sorceress
13. Asking Alexandria - Black
14. Zakk Wylde - Book of Shadows II
15. Vanden Plas - Chronicles of Immortals:Netherworld II
16. Sonata Arctica - The Ninth Hour
17. Avantasia - Ghostlights
18. Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz
19. OTEP - Generation Doom
20. Sabaton - The Last Stand
21. HellYeah - Undeniable
22. Rival Sons - Hollow Bones

So much great music to listen to in 2016. There never seems to be enough time to take it all in - a good problem to have! Devin Townsend's latest work of art is my number one by a long shot. I love just about everything he does and if you have not at least checked him out, you are missing one of the most innovative rock/metal musicians of this era. Some listeners found the rock opera from Dream Theater to be too much to listen to or over the top. I am blown away by it. These guys are still moving forward and improving after 25 years of recording and touring. Perhaps my expectations were not very high for the new Metallica, but it is an excellent album. I am not one of their fans who still compare everything to Master of Puppets - why do people do that? I was similarly, pleasantly surprised at how good the new KoRn album is. "A return to form" is such an overused term, but for KoRn and Metallica, I really feel that they have returned to the best of who they are and thus have mad outstanding albums that will stand up will over time with the best of their other albums. I did also enjoy the new albums from Gojira and Opeth, but my expectations were so high, that I felt that while these albums are quite good, I was wanting just a bit more.

My surprise of the year: Zakk Wylde's release (15 years later) of Book of Shadows II.

My disappointments of the year: This may seem like a contradiction since I have them at #12 on my list, but Opeth need rediscover their METAL. I am all for evolving and having diverse influences, but I need more metal in my metal.

My favorite singles of the year: Ghost - Square Hammer followed closely by Metallica - Moth Into Flame.

NATE TURPIN
True Widow - Avvolgere
Numenorean - Home
Bethlehem - Bethlehem
Zeal And Ardor - Devil Is Fine
Ulver - Riverhead
Darkher - Realms

Surprise Find Of The Year: Zeal And Ardor - Devil Is Fine and Oskoreien - All Too Human

VINAYA SAKSENA
Best Metal Albums (in VERY rough, ever-changing order of preference, as usual):

SubRosa: For This We Fought The Battle Of The Ages
Second Grave: Blacken The Sky
Eight Bells: Landless
Opeth: Sorceress
Season Of Arrows: Give It To The Mountain
Katatonia: The Fall Of Hearts
Third Ion: Biolith
Moon Tooth: Chromaparagon
Vektor: Terminal Redux
Diamond Head: Diamond Head
Revocation: Great Is Our Sin
Sumerlands: Sumerlands
Khemmis: Hunted
Pictures Of Pain: World Demise
Fates Warning: Theories Of Flight

Best Metal EP's:
Voivod: Post Society
Heavy Temple: Chassit
Candlemass: Death Thy Lover

Best Not-Quite-Metal Albums/EP's:
Worm Ouroboros: What Graceless Dawn
Bent Knee: Say So
Myrkur: Mausoleum
Steven Wilson: 4 1/2
Last Flight To Pluto: See You At The End

Great Shows Seen:
Voivod, Vektor, Eight Bells, Wreak @ Fete Music Hall, Providence, RI
RPM Fest 2016 (incl. Scissorfight, Black Pyramid, Second Grave, Conclave, Faces Of Bayon,etc.), Greenfield, MA
Satan, Cauldron, Magic Circle @ AS220, Providence, RI
Anvil, Lich King, Roadhorse, Ravage @ Ralph's Diner, Worcester, MA
Eight Bells, Second Grave, Concilium, Ice Tomb @ Ralph's Diner, Worcester, MA


Deaths in 2016 (from Wikipedia):
January 14 - Kevin Lawrence, guitarist of Rapidfire, died from multiple heart attacks at the age of 51.
January 23 - Jimmy Bain, bassist of Rainbow and Dio, died from lung cancer at the age of 68.
February 2 - Steve Childers, guitarist of Burning Inside, Black Witchery and Public Assassin, died in a car accident at the age of 49.
February 21 - Piotr GrudziƄski, guitarist of Riverside, died from sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 40.
March 3 - John Thomas, former guitarist of Budgie, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 63.
March 3 - Oskar Karlsson, drummer of Gates of Ishtar, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 39.
March 13 - Nik Green, keyboardist of Blue Murder, died from cancer.
April 5 - John Byrd, former guitarist of King Conquer, died from substance abuse.
April 18 - Aleah Liane Stanbridge, vocalist of Trees of Eternity, died from cancer.
May 21 - Nick Menza, former drummer of Megadeth, died from heart failure at the age of 51.
May 31 - Brandon Ferrell, former drummer of Municipal Waste, died from undisclosed reasons.
June 9 - Adam Young, multi-instrumentalist of Sockweb, died after committing suicide by hanging himself at the age of 28.
August 13 - Jerry Clyde Paradis, former drummer of The Gates of Slumber and Sourvein, died from undisclosed reasons.
August 17 - James Woolley, former keyboardist of Nine Inch Nails, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 49.
August 21 - Tom Searle, guitarist of Architects, died from cancer at the age of 28.
August 25 - Norman Killeen, former drummer of Threat Signal, died from undisclosed reasons at the age of 38.
September 10 - Pecu Cinnari, drummer of Tarot, died from a long-term illness at the age of 50.
September 11 - Leonard Haze, former drummer of Y&T, died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 61.
September 27 - Mike Taylor, former vocalist of Quartz, died from undisclosed reasons.
September 27 - Brodie Wheeler, former guitarist of King Conquer, died from substance abuse.
December 5 - Adam Sagan, former drummer of Circle II Circle and Into Eternity, died from blood cancer at the age of 36.
December 23 - Mick Zane, guitarist of Malice, died from brain cancer.




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RANDOM ACTS OF METAL
. Hate Eternal. Mudvayne
. Poisonblack. Disturbed
. Usurper. Vaginal Carnage
. Advent. Lamb of God
. Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Angel Dust
. Dr. Butcher. Led Zeppelin
. October 31. Conquest
. The Chainsaw. Endless Time
. Supervillain. Runemagick
. Steel Preacher. Sinergy
. Beautiful Creatures. Guardians Of Time
. Savatage. Thunderstone
. Brides of Destruction. Dreamaker
. Three Inches of Blood. TNA
. Scala Mercalli. UFO
. Gamma Ray. Jorn
. U.D.O.. Spiral Madness
. Feinstein. Schenker/ Pattison Summit
. Fireaxe. Joey Belladonna
. Vox Tempus. Unleashed
. Lilitu. Eternal Flight
. Megadeth. Necrodemon
. Jungle Rot. Neurosis
. Dark Ruin. Haunted By Angels
. Negative Creeps. Seventh One
. Tristania. Paradise Lost
. Scenteria. Helgrind
. Belef. Hibria
. Shatterpoint. Diecast
. Cemetary. Argument Soul
. Fire Alley. Kryoburn
. Kinrick. System Of A Down
. Neil Turbin. Gizmachi
. Astarte. Manntis
. Agents Of Man. Sothis
. Amorphis. Slough Feg
. Subterranean Masquerade. Prowler Inc.
. Frameless Scar. Holy Blood
. Scar Symmetry. The Scourger
. Redemption. V:28
. Russell Allen. Blood Thirsty Demons
. Third Degree. Running Wild
. Paths Of Possession. Akercocke
. Skullshifter. Dragonlord
. Detonation. Early Man
. Craft. Pile of Heads
. Second Shadow. Boris
. Degree Absolute. Manngard
. The Smashup. Athanator
. Hate Profile. Dawn of Azazel
. Before Silence. Nachtmystium
. Myon. Eyes of Ligeia
. Extium. Fu Manchu
. Terry Sullivan. Abigail Williams
. Antigama. Tears
. Funeral. Himsa
. Destynation. Diamond Dogs
. Averse Sefira. Bilocate
. Mortiis. Demonic Symphony
. Mar De Grises. Mustasch
. Crown The Lost. Sister Sin