Top 10 Heavy Metal Albums Of 2016

We wrap up another year and it is time for the annual “best of” list for 2016 heavy metal releases. Old school thrash metal acts like Testament and Sodom released stellar albums this year. Symphonic metal band Delain’s newest record was a solid metal record with commercial appeal. 2016 will be remembered as the “Year of Death” due to the passing of so many celebrities this year. However, metal was alive and well this year.

Testament – The Brotherhood of the Snake

This lean and mean release is unapologetic thrash metal. Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson unleash a hailstorm of riffs and Chuck Billy’s vocals are as biting and vitriolic as ever. Brotherhood faced stiff competition from releases by Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica, but this band managed to stand out.

Crowbar – The Serpent Only Lies

The return of original bassist Todd Strange certainly played a factor in Crowbar returning to its roots on Serpent. Frontman Kirk Windstein remarked in interviews the he listened the band’s older records for inspiration and it certainly shows on this album. Songs like the title track and “Surviving The Abyss” would easily fit on Odd Fellows Rest or the self-titled album.

Sodom – Decision Day

The teutontic trio had a stellar year with its 15th album. The band’s raw, ripping sound has not dulled after 35 years and it shows on tracks like “In Retribution,” “Caligula,” and “Blood Lions.” A head banging affair from start to finish.

Nails – You’ll Never Be One Of Us

California grindcore act Nails separate the strong from the weak with this release. Clocking in at 21 minutes, You’ll Never Be One Of Us pulls no punches musically or vocally. Napalm Death and Terrorizer made the path for extreme metal and Nails is laying pavement over it.

Delain – Moonbathers

There is a zeal of commercial appeal on Moonbathers, but the heaviness is still present. This record successfully fuses symphonic metal, pop and electronic and makes for an interesting listen. Charlotte Wessain’s angelic help drive the music, soaring like a bird over a stream of riffs.

Prong – X: No Absolutes

Prong maintains the creative renaissance it’s enjoyed since 2012’s Carved Into Stone. There are elements of hardcore, thrash, industrial and a little avant garde on No Absolutes, which made for a diverse album. Tommy Victor’s guitar playing is second to none on this record with the face ripping “Sense of Ease” and sludgy “Belief System.”

Amon Amarth – Jomsviking

Amon Amarth can do no wrong and it shows on Jomsviking. The tales of viking, raids, blood, and victory never get old and the music complements the subject matter. The band’s sound is consistent and still potent almost 25 years since the band’s formation in 1992.

Witchery – In His Infernal Majesty’s Service

The blackened-thrash supergroup return from a six year absence with this 11 track hellraiser, that puts the dead on the notice. Tracks like “Lavey-athan” “The Burning of Salem” and “Escape From Dunwich Valley” showcase the band’s uncanny ability to thrash and groove without issue.

Entombed A.D. – Dead Dawn

L.G. Petrov and company continue to explore to death n’ roll sound created by his previous band Entombed. The doom of “As The World Fell” neatly parallels the battering hardcore of “Total Death”. The band’s sophomore album is much more cohesive than its debut album and shows a very confident band.

Product of Hate – Buried in Violence

I have said this band is America’s answer to The Haunted. Buried in Violence is modern American thrash sans the retro vibe that saturated the American metal scene for several years. “Blood Coated Concrete” is an aggressive pit-inducing track that will satisfy metalheads old and new.

CD Review: ‘Buried in Violence’ by Product of Hate

Product of Hate bring the brutal groove on its debut album Buried in Violence. The band’s mix of death metal, thrash and hardcore will surely draw unfair comparisons to Lamb of God. However, the Wisconsin quintet has a sound completely distinct from its Virginian peers. The band’s music is no-nonsense metal that gives the listener little breathing room. The first track “Kill.You.Now” opens with a whirlwind riff before the drums smack you to the ground and bash your head in. There is a strong Haunted influence with the band’s modern take on thrash metal. The riffs are complex yet dynamic while frontman Adam Gilley barks like a madman. Things do not relent for most of the record. “Annihilation” has a hardcore groove sprinkled with speed metal riffing that makes for a maniacal contrast. The visceral “Blood Coated Concrete” would make Kerry King and Gary Holt nod their heads in sinister approval. The aggressive percussion and galloping riffs drive this track like a platoon charging towards the enemy. The only time the band shows a modicum of mercy is on the haunting instrumental “Vindicare.” The eerie bassline provides the perfect backdrop for the classical guitar lines which gradually build to a hellish peak before fading out.

Legendary metal guitarist James Murphy produced Buried in Violence. Murphy’s career spans roughly three decades and he has played in Death, Obituary and Testament. Murphy brings his knowledge on all things brutal on this record. The album is somewhat stripped down, but not minimalist. The mix is just right with punchy drums and a sharp guitar sound. It is the perfect sound for the record as it captures the band’s seriousness and no-frills style of playing.

Well, Product of Hate has certainly made its mark with a strong debut album. I can safely say this band is America’s answer to The Haunted and that is not an insult at all. The band does a fine job melding the complexity of thrash with the dynamics of hardcore, something many American metal bands struggle with. Buried in Violence is modern thrash done right and it is refreshing to hear a metal band not emulating metal bands from 1985. Product of Hate bring the violence and the mosh on this one.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website: http://www.therockfather.com/productofhate