The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

The unexpected death of the most badass musician in history, Motörhead’s heart and soul Lemmy Kilmister, on December 28, 2015 was a harbinger of all the bad, shocking and revolting things that would turn the year of 2016 a true nightmare for mankind. That dark prophecy was confirmed less than two weeks later, more specifically on January 10 when we lost another true star in rock music to cancer, the unparalleled chameleon David Bowie, just two days after the release of his final masterpiece Blackstar. If that was not enough to make 2016 a miserable year, we also had to endure the passing of other icons who, despite not being metal, have always inspired countless bands and artists in heavy music. We lost Prince, Leonard Cohen and Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), to name a few, all irreplaceable losses to music in general. In addition, important names in the history of Heavy Metal also left us in 2016, such as Nick Menza (Megadeth) and Jimmy Bain (Rainbow, Dio), not to mention the disbandment of amazing groups like Eths (who are by the way part of our top 10 this year), Crucified Barbara and Bolt Thrower. And I’m not even going to talk about all other types of disasters and tragedies that happened all over the world, as the list is too macabre and grievous to be remembered in full.

Fortunately, 2016 was considerably generous for us headbangers in terms of the quantity and quality of albums released throughout the entire year, especially for diehard fans of old school Thrash Metal. Except for Slayer and Exodus, all other prominent names in Thrash Metal blasted the world with their high-speed, thrilling music, led by another superb album by Testament. Even Metallica released a decent album this year, just to give you an idea of how fruitful 2016 was for this rebellious type of music. Having said that, it’s time for The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums. And even if 2017 is as hideous as 2016, let’s never forget the wise words by Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan. Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!

testament_brotherhood-of-the-snake1. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake (REVIEW)
Join the Brotherhood of Thrash Metal spearheaded by one of the heaviest, most technical and most electrifying bands on the entire planet.
Best song of the album: The Number Game

cover2. Charred Walls Of The Damned – Creatures Watching Over the Dead (REVIEW)
A magnificent lecture in Heavy Metal by four electrified beasts.
Best song of the album: As I Catch My Breath

Cover3. Eths – Ankaa (REVIEW)
One of the most prominent and innovative French bands of all time returns with a true masterpiece of complexity, darkness and heaviness.
Best song of the album: Nefas

cover4. Primal Fear – Rulebreaker (REVIEW)
Who said rules must be broken for a metallic eagle to spread its wings and soar high in the skies of heavy music?
Best song of the album: Rulebreaker

megadeth_dystopia5. Megadeth – Dystopia (REVIEW)
And the dystopian world portrayed in the brand new album by the iconic Dave Mustaine and his Thrash Metal army is beyond awesome.
Best song of the album: Lying In State

abbathsoloface_6386. Abbath – Abbath (REVIEW)
The one and only Abbath takes a new step in his career with a brand new band an album.
Best song of the album: Fenrir Hunts

death angel_the evil divide7. Death Angel – The Evil Divide (REVIEW)
Fast and furious anthems, dark mid-tempo songs, austere lyrics and endless stamina. This is how Thrash Metal should always be done.
Best song of the album: Hell To Pay

anthrax_for all kings8. Anthrax – For All Kings (REVIEW)
A classy and electrifying Thrash Metal album especially crafted for all of us, the real kings of heavy music.
Best song of the album: Breathing Lightning

front9. Axel Rudi Pell – Game of Sins (REVIEW)
You might be a sinner, but don’t be a fool and go relish another magnificent album by Mr. Axel Rudi Pell and his loyal henchmen.
Best song of the album: Falling Star

nervosa-agony-201610. Nervosa – Agony (REVIEW)
Brazil’s meanest power trio returns with another marvelous blast of their kick-ass high-octane Thrash Metal.
Best song of the album: Theory of Conspiracy

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Blaze Bayley – Infinite Entanglement (REVIEW)
12. The Silent Rage – The Deadliest Scourge (REVIEW)
13. Neverworld – Dremasnatcher (REVIEW)
14. Ancesttral – Web Of Lies (REVIEW)
15. Front – Iron Overkill (REVIEW)
16. Dö – Tuho (REVIEW)
17. Be Under Arms – Doomed To Life (REVIEW)
18. SystemHouse33 – Regression (REVIEW)
19. Gojira – Magma (REVIEW)
20. False Coda – Secrets and Sins (REVIEW)

As in Heavy Metal the artwork is just as important as the music itself, like what always happens with bands such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, KISS and tons of other metallic titans, we decided to list the Top 10 Cover Artworks of 2016. There are several reasons for an album art to be considered outstanding, such as its strong connection with the music like Iron Maiden’s Powerslave, its visual impact (usually associated with its controversial content) like Slayer’s God Hates Us All, or its perfect minimalism and finesse like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Do you agree with our list?

1. Anthrax – For All Kings [by Alex Ross]
2. Primeval Mass – To Empyrean Thrones [by Karmazid]
3. Witches Of Doom – Deadlights [by Carlo Muselli]
4. Ragehammer – The Hammer Doctrine [by Robert A. von Ritter]
5. Howls Of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows [by Agostino Arrivabene]
6. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake [by Eliran Kantor]
7. Henriette B – Tales of Reality (EP) [by Pierre-Alain D.]
8. Skáphe – Skáphe² [by H.V. Lyngdal]
9. Diabolizer – Apokalypse (MCD) [by Robert A. von Ritter]
10. Hostis – Hostis [by Zvonimir Grabić & Milena Nićić]

Rest assured in 2017 we at The Headbanging Moose will keep providing you the best of the underworld of Death, Thrash, Black, Symphonic, Epic, Power Metal and all other genres and subgenres of heavy music, as well as our view of the biggest names worldwide. There are already brand new albums confirmed for 2017 by Kreator, Sepultura, Grave Digger, Battle Beast and more, which means at least musically the new year promises to be really good. Thank you very much for your precious time, and keep on rockin’! Au revoir!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2017!

Well, before we go, here’s a special gift from Iron Maiden to all metalheads all over the world… A nice festive yule log fireplace to keep our hearts warm during the entire season!

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Album Review – Hostis / Hostis (2016)

Experience all the destruction caused by the first-class fusion of Death and Thrash Metal by this technical band from Montenegro, blasting their austere message against politics, religion and media manipulation.

Rating4

1-cover-artFans of the demolishing sound bred by extreme music giants such as Kreator, Sepultura, Exodus and Cannibal Corpse have a very good reason to turn their eyes to the cities of Budva, a Montenegrin town on the Adriatic Sea, and Tivat, a coastal town in southwest Montenegro located around 40 minutes from Budva. If you truly enjoy breaking your neck headbanging to traditional Death and Thrash Metal, I recommend you take a shot at the self-titled debut album by Montenegrin act Hostis, a 6-track album containing 6 crushing composition by a band whose name has 6 letters. Hence, the final number is 666, which means no further explanation is required regarding the core essence of Hostis and their purpose in our dying world.

Founded in 2010 by Srđan Mišović (vocals and programming), Miloš Klikovac (guitars) and Aleksandar Dragojević (bass guitar), all members of Montenegrin Atmospheric Death Metal band Abhoth, Hostis base their lyrics on social issues, mostly against political and religious dogma and indoctrination and media manipulation. Their debut album also features special guitar solos by Montenegrin musician Stefan Stanišić, as well as solos by Luka Milošević (Deadly Mosh, Istrulity) and Dušan Mlađenović (Alister), both hailing from Serbia. In addition, the stunning old school artwork drawn and initially coloured by Zvonimir Grabić, with the whole graphic design and editing done by Milena Nićić (Myllen), increases the darkness and impact of the music found in Hostis to a point the whole album feels like a classic Death Metal album from the 90’s and not like the debut release from a brand new band.

Tailored for admirers of the cutting and sharp sound of old school Thrash Metal riffs, the opening track Hostis is an instrumental extravaganza containing all elements we love in extreme music such as technical solos, nonstop drums and endless heaviness. In other words, a great display of modern Thrash and Death Metal flawlessly delivered by all band members, getting the listener more-than-ready for the havoc beautifully entitled Beneath The Machinery Of Demise. When Srđan starts growling the song’s lyrics like a demonic beast (“Throne of megalomania / Upon the ashes of scattered lives / Twisting the fragments of reality / Beneath the machinery of demise”), supported by the piercing guitar lines by Miloš, you’ll definitely feel tempted to bang your head like a maniac or slam into the pit to this brutal and dense Death Metal chant.

hostisThe sensational Mutilation Of Truth kicks off as pure Bay Area Thrash the likes of Exodus and Testament, with the vocals by Srđan leaning towards the deepest guttural found in Death Metal. Moreover, it’s amazing how Hostis sound so polished and crude at the same time, with the potent sounds of all instruments being enhanced by the album’s outstanding production, not to mention all the song’s tempo changes that end up increasing its overall quality and potency. Demigods is another bestial fusion of Death and Thrash Metal led by the scorching riffs by Miloš, with the bass guitar by Aleksandar truly adding the world “metal” to the musicality. It’s another song that sounds like two or three in one, showcasing the band’s versatility and dexterity to keep their music interesting all the time.

There isn’t a single song that doesn’t sound brutal and technical in Hostis, which is also the case in the seven minutes of low-tuned progressive and demonic sounds found in In Shadow Of The Crucified, a rhythmic aria of darkness exhibiting awesome guitar lines and solos and the always cavernous growls by Srđan. And how do you think the album ends? Well, obviously with more devastation brought forth by such talented band, this time named Gods Are Dead. We must admit it’s pretty hard for most human beings to reach such demented level of guttural growls, which makes the work done on vocals by Srđan even more impressive. And after a creepy break halfway through the song, Hostis return in full force and keep delivering first-class Extreme Metal until all is said and done.

Do you want to experience all the destruction caused by the infernal and intense music crafted by this high-skilled band from Montenegro? Simply go check their Facebook page for news, tour dates and future projects, and their YouTube channel to listen to their music at top volume just like any good Death and Thrash Metal band deserves. And if you want to buy this excellent album, you can find it on sale at Discogs by clicking HERE or HERE. The extreme aggression of Death and Thrash Metal, together with an acid message against politics and religion, always results in top-notch music, and with Hostis that magic formula will certainly continue to have an amazing impact on fans of extreme music for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Mutilation Of Truth and Demigods.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Miner Recordings

Track listing
1. Hostis 5:44
2. Beneath The Machinery Of Demise 6:35
3. Mutilation Of Truth 6:16
4. Demigods  6:25
5. In Shadow Of The Crucified 7:02
6. Gods Are Dead 7:28

Band members
Srđan Mišović – vocals, programming
Miloš Klikovac – guitars
Aleksandar Dragojević – bass

Guest musicians
Stefan Stanišić – lead guitar
Luka Milošević – lead guitar
Dušan Mlađenović – lead guitar