BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak! Carl Begai

January 4, 2017, 2 years ago

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BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak! Carl Begai

BravePicks 2016 - The Scribes Speak!
Carl Begai

Top 20 of 2016
1) DEATH ANGEL - The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast) 
2) DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT - Transcendence (InsideOut)
3) EPICA - The Holographic Principle (Nuclear Blast)
4) METAL CHURCH - XI (Rat Pak Records)
5) WITCHERY - In His Infernal Majesty's Service (Cnetury Media)
6) MOONSORROW – Jumalten Aika (Century Media)    
7) MEGADETH - Dystopia (Universal)
8) IHSAHN - Arktis (Candlelight)
9) METALLICA - Hardwired... To Self Destruct (Blackened)
10) PAIN - Coming Home (Nuclear Blast)
11) TESTAMENT - The Brotherhood Of The Snake (Nuclear Blast)
12) EVERGREY - The Storm Within (AFM)
13) LACUNA COIL - Delirium (Century Media)
14) ZAKK WYLDE - Book of Shadows II (eOne)
15) SUIDAKRA - Realms Of Odoric (AFM)
16) THE AGONIST - Five (Napalm)
17) DELAIN - Moonbathers (Napalm)
18) HANSEN & FRIENDS - XXX - Three Decades In Metal (earMusic)
19) DEVILMENT - Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes (Nuclear Blast)
20) AMARANTHE - Maximalism (Spinefarm)

Top 3 Concerts
ARCH ENEMY – Colos-Saal - Aschaffenburg, Germany
THE NEW BLACK – Umsonst & Draußen Festival - Würzburg, Germany
Y&T – Hirsch - Nuremberg, Germany

Top 5 Brave Embarrassments 
ANTHRAX - For All Kings (Nuclear Blast) 
Not a terrible album, but it leaves me with a State Of Euphoria sense of "meh." Blame it on overblown expectations thanks to the Worship Music Hype Machine.

BABYMETAL - Metal Resistance (Toy's Factory) 
No matter how many cool riffs or layers of distortion you dump into a formula, it's still a formula concocted in a boardroom. Lolita Metal dreamed up by dirty old suit and tie guys....

Axel Rudi Pell is a wonderful guy and he has a great band, but he's been putting out the same album for the past 20 years. Black Moon Pyramid ('96) and Magic ('97) are all we need for the true, fresh kick-ass ARP experience...

OPERATION: MINDCRIME - Resurrection (Frontiers)
Is it me, or is Geoff Tate's music really so humdrum boring that I seem to carve him every year? Some great moments, but few and far between.

BON JOVI - This House Is Not For Sale (Island)
How this even warrants being classified as "rock" is a mystery. Uninspired cookie-cutter tripe that only a deaf Bon Jovi fan could love. Mr. Sambora, please come home...

Thoughts On 2016
On the music front, it's nice to see / hear that two of the three Big 4 bands releasing material in 2016 - Metallica and Megadeth - managed to deliver some of the strongest/er work of their respective careers (Anthrax kinda falling off that stage for me). I initially questioned Metallica's Hardwired...To Self Destruct earning the #1 spot in this year's Best Of 2016 rundown, but given that the new songs managed to bring back the buzz of their first three records, the overall excitement amongst the fans is understandable. And while I think it's a bit long in the tooth, I haven't spent this much time listening to a Metallica album since ...And Justice For All. Well done.

In fact, the quality of the music released by the old guard was downright staggering at times. Death Angel, Sodom, Vicious Rumors and Metal Church top the pile of personal mayhem as you read this and will get a lot of airplay in the office well into 2017. Hats off to Blaze Bayley for continuing to hammer away in the trenches even though his more recent albums, like Infinite Entanglement, seem to fall well below the radar. And call me blown away by Epica's best album to date, The Holographic Principle, which breathed new life into a career that was far from flagging but becoming increasingly less interesting. They've set the bar pretty damn high for other symphonic metal bands trying to impress and entertain the masses.

I'll conclude with an apology to German rockers The New Black, who released their fourth album A Monster's Life at the beginning of 2016. I was shocked to realize they weren't in my Top 20 list when they should, in fact, be sitting in the Top 3. I suppose there's something special about a record that has become such a regular listen that I can't remember when it first landed on my desk. Call it essential listening that made 2016 somewhat easier to bear when things got tough and ugly.   

Metal Predictions For 2017
There will be at least one Skid Row reunion show with Sebastian Bach (and drummer Rob Affuso) when the current band realizes they really only had one singer. How long it will last is anybody's guess, but with luck, wisdom that comes with age, and separate tour buses, the original five-piece might be able to unite for a tour of Slave To The Grind greatness. Yes, I said something similar last year; the push is still on.

Check out our BravePicks 2016 countdown where Metallica reigned supreme here.

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