15. Megadeth – Dystopia: Metal titans Megadeth redeemed themselves in full after the indisputably subpar 2013 album ‘Super Collider’, with their 2016 release ‘Dystopia’ serving as an excellent representation of the fact that they still retain the musical creativity that garnered them their fan-base in the first place. New guitarist Kiko Loureiro makes a strong debut, and Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler also stamps his authority in his one-off in-studio contribution to Megadeth. ‘Dystopia’ is everything Megadeth circa 2016 should be, and rises far above and beyond the latest efforts of the band’s so-called “big four” contemporaries.
14. Hammers Of Misfortune – Dead Revolution: Songwriter John Cobbett expresses himself as well as he’s ever done on his brainchild Hammers Of Misfortune’s latest effort ‘Dead Revolution’. This is a smoothly flowing 7-track journey of richly layered tunes blending traditional metal, stoner doom, classic prog and ’70s hard rock, complete with an amazing doom metal cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Days Of ’49’. This band is one of San Francisco’s best gifts to the world of music, and this album re-establishes as much.
13. Red Fang – Only Ghosts: Portland, Oregon stoner metal group Red Fang has been speedily traversing the path to greatness with everything they’ve done in their career thus far, and as they move into their second decade as a band, they do so on the strength of their stellar fourth LP called ‘Only Ghosts’. As with their previous albums, this set of songs maintains their signature sound but exudes freshness and variety, and expands the band’s musical repertoire. If you love heavy music, you love Red Fang’s ‘Only Ghosts’.
12. Bloody Hammers – Lovely Sort Of Death: Charlotte, North Carolina group Bloody Hammers has been rather prolific in their short four-year existence thus far, releasing as many as four full-length albums already, but really marking their arrival with the latest LP ‘Lovely Sort Of Death’, a unique blend of stoner doom and gothic rock. Dominated by an identifiable singing voice and well-crafted guitar, keyboard, bass and synth arrangements, this set of ten songs creates a vibe of its own and leaves an indelible impression. A truly one-of-a-kind album in comparison to everything else that has graced the ear in 2016.
11. High Spirits – Motivator: One of metal’s greatest songwriters, Chris Black has done it again with his newest High Spirits album, delivering nine righteous anthems of full-on traditional heavy metal glory. This is the most upbeat, inspirational, high-energy metal album to have come out this year, and for anyone that loves clean-sung vocals, NWOBHM-style guitar harmonies and galloping rhythms, this one is a winner from the first note to the last, and not a single dull or filler moment whatsoever. ‘Motivator’ is pure gold, and proves that as long as Chris Black continues making High Spirits albums, this sub-genre is in absolutely no danger of fading away.
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