The Best Of 2016 – Hard Rock

THE BEST OF 2016

THE HARD ROCK RELEASES THAT PROOVE

THAT ROCK IS FAR FROM DEAD

Black Stone Cherry

After a great 2015 especially for those inclined towards Melodic Rock, 2016 seemingly had it all: more of the same quality in Melodic releases, some great new records by big names of the past, plenty of Metal with bite and Classic Rock that managed to capture the essence of the genre. This year though, with so many great releases so early in the year and the music coming at pace it has been one of the hardest years to compile a list… but here goes…

BEST ALBUMS OF 2016

 

1. BLACK STONE CHERRY – KENTUCKY Release Date: April 1st 2016

There’s so much soul and groove and power and passion that Kentucky just explodes. (and) It’s that soul and groove together with the hard rock and southern stylings that make BLACK STONE CHERRY so essential.

2. TYKETTO – REACH Release Date: October 14th 2016

In my humble opinion Tyketto was one of the best Hard Rock bands of the eighties no question about it, and their debut album ‘Don’t Come Easy’ has always sat comfortably in my all-time Top 10. It’s been 25 years since that release this year and Tyketto has just released an album that almost equals it.

Tyketto

3. KYNG – BREATHE IN THE WATER Release Date: October 7th 2016

This is an album that you don’t want to end and one that manages that oh so tricky feat these days of keeping you listening to the end. It’s Kyng’s best so far and one of the very best of the year.

Kyng Breathe In The Water

4. CROBOT – WELCOME TO FAT CITY Release Date: September 2nd 2016

This is a great album by a band that won’t have disappointed fans of ‘Something Supernatural’ one little bit & who are sure to only get bigger and bolder as more people get to hear the good word from the denizens of ‘Fat City’. 

5. SCORPION CHILD – ACID ROULETTE Release Date: June 10th 2016

With not a weak track in sight ‘Acid Roulette’ is a real contender for album of the year.

Scorpion Child

6. DARE – SACRED GROUND Release Date: July 15th 2016

Albums like this don’t come round too often and when they do you need to savor them. This may be on the lighter side of melodic Rock for some, but to me it’s like a fine meal full of subtlety, comfort and surprise and at the end it leaves you more than satisfied.

Dare

7. THE DEAD DAISIES – MAKE SOME NOISE Release Date: August 5th 2016

There are few Hard Rock bands out there today making music this good and the fact that The Dead Daisies have managed to up the ante with each release is something rock fans throughout the world should really relish. 2016 might just surpass previous years and take these guys to the very top. This might be the album Aerosmith could have made instead of ‘Done With Mirrors’.

8. TOXIC ROSE – TOTAL TRANQUILITY Release Date: May 16th 2016

If you love a modern take on Sunset Strip legends like W.A.S.P. ; Crue and their Hair Metal brethren then you’ll love this. Best of all the songs here really are a cut above the pack: Toxic Rose really could go a long way. 

9. THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT – WHITE BEAR Release Date: January 15 2016.

This is the album that underlines that The Temperance Movement isn’t going to fall at the ‘difficult second album’ hurdle so many others do. Taking the time to make this record has more than paid off; these guys have what so few bands in the last twenty years have even caught a splinter of real soul…  

10. HARDLINE – HUMAN NATURE Release Date: October 14th 2016

This is the Hardline album fans had been longing for.

11. TYGERS OF PAN TANG – TYGERS OF PAN TANG Release Date: October 21st 2016

If you loved Tygers back in the day, love your NWOBHM, or just love fine Hard Rock then you’ll find a lot to love here.

12. ALTER BRIDGE – THE LAST HERO Release Date: October 7th 2016

No modern band manages the balancing act that Alter Bridge does quite so well – melding the modern, the Metal and Hard Rock into a package that resonates with so many, making them the American Rock band that sticks out from the pack when all of their peers seem to be so unsure.

13. FEMME FATALE – ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD Release Date: May 10th 2016

This is a decent Hard Rock album perfect for the day it was recorded and still strong enough to hold up all these years later. Sonically I actually prefer its grit than the sheen of the debut. If it had been released back in the day and then who knows? Femme Fatale might have been more than just a footnote in Hard Rock history.

14. BUFFALO SUMMER – SECOND SUN Release Date: May 20th 2016

If you love your British Rock, love hard rock with a Blues edge but love a little variety in the mix then this could be the best thing to invade your ears in years.

15. BLUES PILLS – LADY IN GOLD Release Date: August 5th 2016

It’s hard to believe that this is only the second full length album by these Swedish rockers..

16. THE DEFIANTS – THE DEFIANTS Release Date: April 15th 2016

This is an an album full on great production, song writing and great performances all round. An album to be played all summer, and all year, round. My favourite album of the year so far.

17. BLACKRAIN – RELEASED Release Date: March 25th 2016

This is different, it’s not straight Sleaze anymore and the more I listen to it the more I want. This is the album that elevates these Frenchmen to another level entirely.

18. RIVAL SONS – HOLLOW BONES Release Date: June 10th 2016

What has to be one of the best guitar-driven rock albums of the year.

19. DOOMSDAY OUTLAW – SUFFER MORE Release Date: May 27th 2016

Sometimes you get to hear the very best before everyone else catches up.  ‘Doomsday Outlaw’ could well be the best independent rock band in the UK at the moment.

20. FIRST SIGNAL – ONE STEP OVER THE LINE Release Date: June 3rd 2016

If you loved the debut, you’ll love this even if the sound has shifted slightly the richness and quality still remains.

21. COLOUR OF NOISE – COLOUR OF NOISE Release Date: December 4th 2015

OK so you can tell by the name that this band doesn’t hail from the US, and though there’s a nice vintage rock vibe to the sound there’s enough pop nous and colour to make this more than just a retro release. This is fine, damned fine.

22. A REBEL FEW – AS THE CROW FLIES Release Date: April 22nd 2016

What marks Rebel Few out from the rest of the pack is their ability to take onboard their influences and let it all out again with style and precision. There’s something about the band that just gets to the point, no frills no fancy packaging just great honest working man’s rock that cuts to the chase. There may be a million bands out there plowing this field but few do it this well.

23. IDLEWAR – IMPULSE Release Date: September 30th 2016

Idlewar have definitely made the mark with this album and proved themselves as a rock band worthy of the listener gaining a sweat over.

24. SMOKEY FINGERS – PROMISED LAND (Review Soon) Release Date: September 9th 2016

25. NITERAIN – VENDETTA (Review Soon) Release Date: 2016

26. VEGA – WHO WE ARE Release Date: May 13th 2016

If you love classy Modern Melodic Hard Rock replete with huge harmonies and big hooks, searing guitars and soaring vocals then it will be hard to go past VEGA – one of the new bands currently vying for the crown.

27. SHIRAZ LANE – FOR CRYING OUT LOUD Release Date: April 15th 2016

This isn’t the finished article but it makes me feel as excited as I get to think what these guys might be capable of next time around. 

28. INGLORIOUS – INGLORIOUS Release Date: February 19th 2016

There’s a lot of hype around this band and the big question is to what extent is it deserved? The answer is easy – this album is huge.

29. WORRY BLAST – HIT THE GAS Release Date: January 22nd 2016

Let’s face it at the end of the day AC/DC exist and if you take the same approach as they did then there’s always going to be the opportunity to write you off, but as we all found out over the last twelve months AC/DC won’t be around forever and then what happens? – Worry Blast happens!

30. SHAKRA – HIGH NOON Release Date: February 5th 2016

Longtime fans will love the return of Mark Fox and if you aren’t already familiar with the band this is a great place to start for fans of Harder-edged Melodic Rock.  

31. BIRTH OF JOY – GET WELL Release Date: February 26th 2016

If you loved 2014’s ‘Prisoner’ album like we did you’ll love this just as much, perhaps even more.

32. GRAND REZERVA – HELL AND HIGH WATER Release Date: May 6th 2016

Of course a band named after Tequila is always going to purvey a suitably dirty strain of Rock and GR don’t disappoint. There’s a certain Ramones-like earthiness to the sound and a big dose of The Stooges in the background but on that canvas there’s a more modern vibe and a Mike Monroe-like melodic sensibility.

33. JACKYL – ROWYCO Release Date: August 5th 2016

Jackyl has just made the album of their career. If you thought you knew them or only know the hits from back in the day it’s well worth getting reacquainted with these Georgia boys.

34. TEMPT – RUNAWAY Release Date: June 16th 2016

For a band so young these guys have old melodic rock heads on their shoulders and a sound that although at times hints at something more modern, has its heart and soul clearly in the late eighties when stadium rock ruled.

35. VOODOO HIGHWAY – PERVERT COUNTY Release Date: Out Now 2016

Normally i have a personal gripe about releases of this length but that is impossible when the quality is as high as this. Can`t wait for the album. Do whatever you have to. Catch this, catch them. Don`t let it pass you by. Mightily impressive.

36. THE MISSION – ANOTHER FALL FROM GRACE Release Date: September 30th 2016

If you thought that The Mission was a spent force, or thought they would never manage t recapture the essence of their youth then think again, this is the best in years and sure to fire up the fans for the 30th Anniversary Tour.  

37. NORDIC UNION – NORDIC UNION Release Date: January 29th 2016

These are songs that are immediate and lasting, and ones that are guaranteed to have you playing again and again. Highly recommended.

38. TED POLEY – BEYOND THE FADE Release Date: May 13th 2016

This is a great album, dripping with great songs that do just what the best melodic rock does – takes you away from everything that ails you to a better place.

39. DAN REED NETWORK – FIGHT ANOTHER DAY Release Date: June 3rd 2016

Some bands after such a long hiatus lose the essence of what has come before or try too hard to distance themselves from the past. DRN on the other hand, here embrace their past history beautifully and manage to create an album of great dexterity, poise and no little beauty. This is a fine album, a collection of beautiful songs with plenty of soul and spirit. Some things are just worth waiting for.

40. PHANTOM 5 – PHANTOM 5 Release Date: May 13th 2016

This is a great big album, vintage Bonfire with a slightly harder touch, huge guitars, great vocals and some very fie melodies. It would be one of the best Melodic Hard Rock releases of any year.

41. CHEAP TRICK – BANG ZOOM CRAZY HELLO Release Date: April 18th 2016

This is Cheap Trick’s best Cheap Trick album for years and the one I’ve enjoyed most in quite some time…

42. MONSTER TRUCK – SITTIN’ HEAVY Release Date: February 19th 2016

Listening to Monster Truck makes you realise that the future of rock is all that came before and all that can be, and the music we all love is in very safe hands indeed.

43. HOLY GRAIL – TIMES OF PRIDE AND PERIL Release Date: February 12th 2016

Excellent. Maybe my Metal album of the year already.

44. GINGER WILDHEART – YEAR OF THE FANCLUB Release Date: February 12th 2016

This is as good as fans have come to expect and better with each listen, it just goes to underline the real talent that is Ginger Wildheart.

45. PUNKY MEADOWS – FALLEN ANGEL Release Date: May 20th 2016

Throughout Meadows shows he’s not lost it as a guitarist and the showcase closer – an instrumental ‘Fallen Angel’ says it all. Like Dimino’s album you wonder why oh why with all this real class both men left it so long to remind us why they mattered and still do.

46. CRUZH – CRUZH (Review Soon)

47. THE AMORETTES – WHITE HOT HEAT (Review Soon)

48. RICH RONINSON – FLUX (Review Soon)

49. BONEYARD DOG – BLUESBOUND TRAIN (Review Soon)

50. DOWN AND OUTLAWS – ABOVE SNAKES (Review Soon)

BLUES AND CLASSIC ROCK TOP 10:

1. CLAUDE HAY – ROLLERCOASTER

Release Date: September 9th 2016

Roller Coaster is an album that means something, I’ll leave you to argue whether its Claude’s best but I happen to think it’s his most beautifully constructed and well-rounded release to date. It’s the perfect show case for the guy who really does have something to say, a man who it seems is at a new creative peak and isn’t afraid to let his art have full reign over his output. There’s no safety rail here no barriers, you should jump right in and enjoy.

2. SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE – WEST OF FLUSHING SOUTH OF FRISCO

Release Date: February 26th 2016

Throughout the album there’s a cool 70’s vibe both in the compositions themselves which have funk and rock amongst the Blues, but also in touches like the backing vocals, the Mowtownesque stabs, a dab of Americana here and the scent of Southern Rock via the Allmans there: it’s a heady mix and it all goes together to make one of the albums of the year, and one of the most solid Blues debuts I’ve ever heard. 

3. BETH HART – FIRE ON THE FLOOR

Release Date: October 14th 2016

This isn’t just a good album, it’s the album that puts Beth Hart where she belongs, the voice of her generation, with no need any longer to make comparisons. To have done this so soon after the wonderful ‘better Than Home’ is all the more remarkable.

4. LED ZEPPELIN – THE COMPLETE BBC SESSIONS

Release Date: September 16th 2016

5. JOE BONAMASSA – BLUES OF DESPERATION

Release Date: March 25th 2016

6. THUNDERBIRD – HEAVYWEIGHT

Release Date: 2016

7. BACK IN BLUE – A BLUES TRIBUTE TO AC/DC

Release Date: July 19th 2016

8. MATTY T WALL – BLUE SKIES

Release Date: April 29th 2016

9. AMERICAN MAFIA – ROCK N ROLL HIT MACHINE

Release Date: August 25th 2014

10. DOUG MACLEOD – LIVE IN EUROPE

Release Date: June 14th 2016

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