Best of 2016: JP

Spread the metal:

JP’s year in review list

Another superb year for Metal.   I’ve noticed that some people break down the year in metal into a European vs. the USA theme.  I don’t think that is very fair because there are about 50 nations in the EU and only one America.  However, if I had to pick a pattern, many kick-ass veteran American bands came out with strong albums this year, (Metal Church, Flotsam & Jetsam, Vicious Rumors, Helstar, Omen, Aftershock etc)  as compared to last year where ‘Europe’ lead the pack with new material from Helloween, Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, Nightwish etc.  I like to use these lists to bring exposure to some of the awesome new, young bands that often get under-represented.  So instead of the somewhat predictable Metallica’s and Megadeth’s etc this is what caught my ear in 2017 with my all time favourite guitarist as #1.

1. Yngwie J. Malmsteen-World On Fire  (King Records)
Yngwie J. Malmsteen-World On Fire

What can I say except my favourite guitarist of all time released his 20th studio album in June (in Japan only unfortunately) and it instantly hit my #1 spot and held it for the year. Blazing and glorious, he continues to lead the pack.

2. Twilight Force-Heroes Of Mighty Magic (Nuclear Blast)

One of the most epic and majestic Power Metal albums I have ever heard, they are living up to all the hype.
3. Titanium-Atomic Number 22  (Avalon)

Totally blown away by this young band from Poland feasting Karol from Pathfinder on guitar.
4. Veonity-Into The Void (Sliptrick)
5. Thornbridge-What Will Prevail (Massacre)
6. Trick Or Treat-Rabbit’s Hill-Part 2 (Frontiers)
7. Helion Prime-Helion Prime  (Indie)
8. Taken-Taken (Indie)
9. Sunrise-Absolute Clarity (Indie)
10. Rising Steel-Return Of The Warlord (Mighty Music)
11. Morning Dwell-Guardian Of Time (Doolittle)
12. Astralion-Outlaw (Limb)
13. Sinbreed-Master Creator (AFM)
14. Wicked Maraya-Lifetime In Hell (Massacre)
15. Psychoprism-Creation (Pure Steel)
16. Damien Black-Dead Of Winter (Arkeyn Steel)
17. Theocracy-Ghost Ship  (Ulterium)
18. Almanac-Tsar (Nuclear Blast)
19. Symphonity-King Of Persia (Limb)
20. Eternity’s End-The Fire Within (Power Prog)

Best Live Album:
Sabaton-Heroes On Tour (Nuclear Blast)

Best EP:
Candlemass-Death Thy Lover (Napalm)

Best Remake: 
Brainstorm-Memorial Roots-Rerooted (AFM)

Best Covers Album:
Jorn-Heavy Rock Radio (Frontiers)

Best Book:
Opeth-Book Of Opeth (Rocket 88)

Best Local band:
Solborn (Edmonton, Alberta)

Best Concert:
This is always a hard category to pick because I always see so many shows..again I saw over 100 bands in 2016.   I finally got to see Suicidal Tendencies, Carach Angren, Thunderstone, Grim Reaper, all for the first time, and after two previously cancelled shows in Calgary I finally got to see Brazil’s Hibria!   I enjoyed some great guitar heroes in relaxed settings in great venues  such as Joe Satriani at the Grey Eagle Casino and Steve Vai at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.  Shredmonton Metal Fest and Calgary Metalfest V with Annihilator, Sacrifice, Razor and Exciter were also both highlights!  A rare Zimmer’s Hole show was also a treat. A great year for live music!

Best New Band: 
Eternal Champion-The Armour Of Ire (No Remorse)

Best Discovery: 
Angeles y Demonios (Mexico)

Best Comeback:
Running Wild-Rapid Foray.  (SPV)  Simply incredible how they pulled it back fro the brink. An amazing return to classic form.

Predictions for 2017:

1. Black Lawless decides to release the mountain of archived W.A.S.P. footage (and the long-lost Japanese only video collection) in a cool, historical 3+ DVD set. Blackie also finishes his autobiography he has been rumored to have working on for years. (Carried over from 2010, again).

2. Helloween’s Pumpkins United Tour takes the world by storm.

3.  Zakk Wylde joins Pantera and they some sort of reunion thing.