Since we’ll be taking a break this week from the normal podcast format, I figured I’d post my top 5 most anticipated metal albums for the remainder of 2016.   It’s been a pretty good year so far but I think the best is yet to come.   Let’s dive in shall we?

5. Opeth – Sorceress
Release Date – 09.30.2016

While they’re more of a full-on progressive rock band now, I am still looking forward to the latest effort for Opeth.   I thought that ‘Pale Communion’ was slightly worse than ‘Heritage’, so why the excitement you ask?  Well, with the title track, linked below, it appears that they’ve finally found the sweet spot between Progressive Rock and the Opeth riffs you might have found on something like ‘Ghost Reveries’.

4. Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
Release Date – 10.7.2016

I’ve had a weird relationship with Meshuggah.   I was first gifted a copy of ‘Chaosphere’ back in 1998 and while I found it extremely heavy, I just didn’t “get it” at the time.   I’ve revisited the album many times over the years and with each spin, I “get it” a little more. They’ve been actively putting out new albums every few years but I haven’t given them much attention aside from the occasional song or two that might come up in a playlist.

Then I heard “Born in Dissonance”…..Wow.  The riffs in this song are just so damn good.  Check it out for yourself.   Let us know what you think.   Are you a fan of “djent” or whatever they call this genre?

3.  In Flames – Battles
Release Date – 11.11.2016

I may be one of the few In Flames fans that really likes 2014’s ‘Siren Charms’.  First off, I’m impressed that they’ve already been able to squeak out a new album so quickly.  ‘Siren Charms’ basically void of Anders’ signature vocal style and the songs didn’t have the heavy melodic harmonies but it’s okay to try something new right?  I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago when I was a 17 year old metal head, but nowadays I like it when bands experiment a bit and change it up.

It looks like they’ve somewhat abandoned the ‘Siren Charms’ sound on ‘Battles’.  The two songs released so far, “The End” & “The Truth” (am I sensing a theme here?) are much heavier in comparison but still doesn’t sound like they’re ready to hop back in the time machine and re-write ‘Whoracle’.   Both songs are somewhat heavy and catchy, with “The End” being the better of the two tracks.    There’s also a chance they’ve employed a group of child backing vocalists but I’ll wait until I hear the rest of the album before confirming.   Check out the two singles below:

2. Hammerfall – Built to Last
Release Date – 11.04.2016

My hopes may be too high to have this at #2 but I just love me some Power Metal.  Hammerfall have kind of fallen off the radar for me since ‘Renegade’ & ‘Crimson Thunder’ mostly due to a string of unforgettable albums that personally are hard to decipher one from the other.   They also tried to hop on the Zombie bandwagon with 2011’s ‘Infected’.  It was uhm…..different.

They returned to form a bit with 2014’s ‘(r)Evolution’ and i’m hoping the trend continues with ‘Built to Last’.  There’s not enough quality Power Metal and I’d love to see these guys live again.   Oddly enough, I saw them open for “Death” on the ‘Sounds of Perseverance’ tour and at the Sweden Rock Festival in 1999.

Check out “The Sacred Vow” from the upcoming album, their first on Napalm Records.   Thoughts?  Let us know in the comments section.

1. Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake
Release Date – 10.28.2016

Looks like Nuclear Blast is cleaning up here with all these killer releases.   I just saw them at Maryland Deathfest in May and they were so good.

What I didn’t realize, was that both Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan were on the record.  They are by far my favorite Metal rhythm section.   Gene’s drums on ‘Demonic’ are amazing and the reason why it’s one of my favorite Testament albums.

The single and title track off the album just pummels you from start to finish.  It sounds like Chuck was going for a heavier vocal sound to compliment the blast beats and chugging riffage.   This is going to battle with Megadeth for my album of the year, that’s for sure.


Honorable Mention
Metallica – Hardwired…To Self Destruct
Release Date – 11.18.2016

Had to throw an honorable mention in there.   Metallica?  Finally a new album.  Their first since 2008’s ‘Death Magnetic’.   I liked that album quite a bit more than I thought I was going to.   Then again, it was up against ‘Load’, ‘Reload’ and ‘St. Anger’ so there wasn’t much competition.

I remember leaving school early to buy ‘Load’.  Sadly, I’d have rather stayed and learned something.  20 years later, I don’t hate it as much as I did when I was 17.   If you listen to the album and pretend it’s some alt-country rock band, it’s even somewhat decent!

Either way, the new single “Hardwired” is thankfully closer to ‘Death Magnetic’ than any of the other albums mentioned above and I’m okay with that.   I did happen to stumble on to a YouTube video where someone took the main riff and played it as if it had been released on the first five albums.   It made me look at the song in a new light.   It actually sounds decent with the “Ride the Lightning” guitar tones.   I’d actually like to see if someone could do the opposite.   Take “Creeping Death” and throw a St. Anger mix on it.  Does it suck now?  Which albums guitar tone is your favorite?

Alright, guys.   That’s it.   Check out the latest podcast episode and please rate us on iTunes if you haven’t.