It's that time of year again and what a year it has been, and now it's time to start publishing the Best Of 2016s from our key people and on 31st December we'll be announcing the end result, one winner from each category. Here's Ian's Best Of 2016s...
BEST BAND: THE DEAD DAISIES
They drip good old-fashioned hard rock, the line-up card reads like an all-star jam with John Corabi, Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy, Marco Mendoza and David Lowy and 'Make Some Noise' is one of the best records of 2016.
2. METAL CHURCH
Mike Howe reprising his roll behind the microphone instantly rejuvenated the band while Kurdt Vanderhoof still provides the power behind an extensive catalog that came back to life with the pair back on stage together.
3. DEATH ANGEL
Mark Osegueda and Rob Cavestany have been the puppet masters behind the Death Angel machine for decades and the new album, 'Evil Divide', is another slice of uncompromised thrash that continues to define the genre.
BEST GIG: KING'S X
My favorite trio of all time played an unforgettable set. Dug, Ty, and Jerry were amazing as they made there way through a wealth of material.
The mysterious masked men took over the venue from the opening note and the theatrical approach held the crowd spellbound through the set.
The Maryland outfit lived up to the live reputation they are known for. Steve Whiteman is as good as it gets with unlimited energy and still nails every note.
BEST ALBUM: GINGER WILDHEART 'THE YEAR OF THE FANCLUB'
This is a collection of songs Ginger released through his site. The tracks run a gambit of styles that all can be classified under brilliant.
2. PRETTY MAIDS: 'KINGMAKER'
Over three decades of albums and they are still putting out high quality music. Heavy riffs intertwined with hooks and melodies make this album highly addictive.
3. TROPICAL CONTACT: 'XS'
This little nugget seemed to keep creeping back into my playlist. This album packs a lot of different sounds to create power-pop with big hooks and memorable melodies.
BEST FESTIVAL: GRAND ROCKTEMBER IV
This two-day event takes place at the Grand Casino in Hinckley Minnesota and this year's artists included Vince Neil, Night Ranger, Tom Keifer, Loverboy, Queensryche, Stryper, Jackly, Autograph, Dokken, Ratt, Slaughter, Kix, Scrap Metal, Vixen, and Gabbie Rae. This outdoor amphitheater has a great sound and it’s a wonderful venue for two days of rocking.
BEST VIDEO: GHOST: 'SQUARE HAMMER'
I love the Kodak Super8mm Film used.
2. AMON AMARTH: 'RAISE YOUR HORNS'
Lots of big name cameos!
3. TO THE RATS AND WOLVES: 'RIOT'
The helmets with glowing eyes sold me.
BEST NEW BAND: FOUR BY FATE
This band features John Regan and Tod Howarth, both members of Frehley's Comet, who have reunited and released 'Relentless'. It’s a solid record with some great tracks like 'Moonshine' and 'Levee Breach' that really showcases the band's sound.
2. NORDIC UNION
A musical collaboration of Pretty Maids singer Ronnie Atkins and Swedish songwriter and producer Erik Martensson of Eclipse and W.E.T. fame. The self-titled album is a powerhouse of melodic Metal and should not be missed.
3. THE DEFIANTS
Danger Danger alumni, Paul Laine, Bruno Ravel, and Rob Marcello, come together under a new banner and release a melodic gem.
LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2017: HELLOWEEN 'PUMPKINS UNITED' WORLD TOUR
Michael Kiskse and Kai Hansen joining the current line-up for a three hour set celebrating the history of Helloween is a 'must see'.
2. GALACTIC COWBOYS
The original line-up has reformed after playing a couple reunion shows and are working on new material. If you don’t know them, check out 'Space In Your Face' so you can start to gear up for the new record.
3. ROCKTEMBER V
The best two days of the summer will be spent up in Hinckley MN for Rocktember V.
You can read all of Jeff's previous reviews right here.