Best of 2016
1. Savage Master – With Whips and Chains
I knew this was going to be my album of the year after only a few repeated spins. This album instantly sinks its hooks in you. The lyrics are superb, the vocals delivered powerfully and with conviction, the musicianship top notch. Love the imagery, the savagery and the mastery of the seventies inspired heavy metal contained within. This album is very pure and of the highest caliber of supreme ass-kickery. I strongly recommend With “Whips And Chains” to all fans of heavy metal.
2. Salvacion – Way More Unstoppable: Redux
Really, really enjoyed this album from start to finish. I killed so many beers in 2016 spinning this CD. A constant companion on the road or at home. Looking forward to what these guys do next now that they have a steady lineup in place featuring Reid Rogers on guitar, also of Knightmare.
3. Ranger – Speed and Violence
The album cover for “Speed and Violence” instantly garnered my immediate attention. The speed metal these guys play is both aggressive and yet hypnotic, entrancing you into another dimension of eighties speed metal madness while also reminding me a lot of a young Exciter. These guys need to tour the U.S. pronto! What a killer album of unrelenting metal fury!
4. UADA – Devoid of Light
5. Toby Knapp – The Architect of Paradox
6. Seax – Speed Metal Mania
7. Attacker – Sins Of The World
8. Waxen – Weihung auf Satan
9. Primal Fear – Rulebreaker
10. Sacred Steel – Heavy Metal Sacrifice
11. Running Wild – Rapid Foray
12. Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper – Walking In The Shadows
13. Spellcaster – Night Hides The World
14. Abbath – Abbath
15. Destroyer 666 – Wildfire
16. Helstar – Vampiro
17. The Great Electric Quest – Chapter I
18. Metal Church – XI
19. Hammerfall – Built To Last
20. Iron Curtain – Guilty As Charged
Brute Forcz – Brute Forcz
It’s like these guys can do no wrong. With a gasoline chugging’ Motorhead inspired delivery and a song title like “Phat Ass Girls”? Count me in. Love this band.
Glacier – Glacier EP
Cult Metal Classics spared no expense on the fine job they did on the Glacier reissue. This EP is chock full of extensive liner notes and archival photos. I’ve never seen such deluxe packaging for an EP and this timeless metal classic definitely warranted such meticulous treatment. A must have for all fans of traditional heavy metal.
The Dictators NYC (San Antonio, Texas)
Ross The Boss and company always deliver an amazing performance. I was lucky enough earlier this year to catch The Dictators on a Friday night in Austin and then a Sunday night in San Antonio. Both shows were fucking incredible but the energy level of the San Antonio show was through the roof. The band was on! The crowd was getting loud and rowdy and The Dictators NYC delivered all of the hits, all night long.
Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse (Chicago, Illinois)
I could probably write a book about my two trips to the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse festival in 2014 and 2016 (I performed on the mainstage in 2014 with my band WITCHES MARK and with IGNITOR in 2016) but I’ll try and keep things brief. We started making friends as soon as we caught a train from the airport to the hotel. There is a medium sized contingent of headbangers from all over the U.S. and Canada that descend upon Chicago each Spring to pay tribute to a handful of eighties overlords and a smattering of obscure American and Canadian traditional metal groups, many of which have only released a debut album or demo. This makes for a weekend jam packed full of headbanging and partying at the South Loop hotel. I was approached in the hotel lobby by a group of headbangers that had taken a liking to my Riot “Thundersteel” t-shirt. The next thing I know we’re smoking and drinking in their beyond trashed hotel room where a beer is firmly planted through the wall and empty cases lay strewn about the floor. I felt like I had come home. The people, the bands, the weekend as a whole was an unforgettable experience. As I purchased my final beer, I stumbled bleary eyed over to the merch table and bought a one dollar raffle ticket. After Medieval Steel’s thunderous set had concluded, I won an Ibanez guitar signed by all of the band’s. Score! Sadly, 2017’s fest was cancelled but a few of the Ragnarokkr’s promoters have booked the Legions of Metal Fest and already added many of the acts set to appear at Ragnarokkr 2017. Keep an eye on that fest for sure!
Best Chest In The West
You know what? I usually prefer brunettes but with tit’s like Jesse Jane’s she could have purple hair for all I care!
The older I get the less I care about quality and drink-ability and the more I gravitate towards quantity. Now, I’m not ready to gargle Steel Reserve or anything, but when I found out that you could get a twelve pack of Rolling Rock cans for under ten bucks it became my default beer of the year. It’s really not that bad. (Yes, it is) The aftertaste reminds me of Krispy Kreme glazed donuts.
Greatest Hopes For 2017
There have been rumors of a new Angel Witch album coming together. I am anxiously awaiting this. The Ross The Boss band have just debuted a new line-up, the last line-up being so stellar that I can’t even imagine how over the top this incarnation must sound. I’m also hoping Death Dealer releases their third album and you know what? I’m still holding out hope for a Lost Horizon reunion. I think they’re all still alive and well? Also, I’d like to see Accept make it back to Texas since they only did like four shows in the U.S. for their last album and none of them were in the Lonestar state. And as always… if anyone at Fender USA is reading this I’d like an Yngwie J. Malmsteen custom Fender Stratocaster with scalloped frets. Please send me one as soon as you can. Thank You.