Thursday, December 15, 2016

The 10 Best Albums of 2016

We are at that time of the year again, when we do our best to go through all the releases that have come across our desk in the past 12 months and highlight ten of them. Not an easy task in any circumstances. However, there are a few helps. They have to be a Perfect 5 Emerald release. That is only a bit of a help since I had over 50 of those. But I did it. Not surprisingly, we are a bit Rock Centric. Personally we all love a countdown, so let's do it. From the Bottom:
  • #10 - Life Screams, Lacey Sturm - While not the news that a lot of people wanted to hear (We All Want Lacey Back in Flyleaf, a DC Talk Reunion and Peace On Earth), we have to face the fact that Lacey is not going back. Not after a solo debut like this. The Pain oozes from each song. Never before could you get such free therapy this side of an Evanescence album.
  • #9 - Exhale, Thousand Foot Krutch - Trevor and Company are Back. Not that they ever went away, but they somehow mellowed out. They found the 11 on the amplifier this time, as this is a RAWKFEST from beginning to end.
  • #8 - American Prodigal, Crowder - We very briefly touch the Modern Worship genre, though this is firmly in the Rock section. If you are going to have a breakup, this is the way to do it (see #7 below). Here the namesake of the former David Crowder Band.
  • #7 - Galaxies, The Digital Age - The Crowder Band, minus Crowder. While David went Rock, the band went Electronic, an inspired choice. This time the songs are interspersed with some of the Apollo Space Program conversations, which seem quite timely in light of John Glenn's death.
  • #6 - Types and Shadows, Wolves at The Gate - I Prophecy Big Success for this album (sorry, inside lingo on the title, which refers to the Symbols of The Old Testament (Passover or The Tabernacle, for example) which found their substance in Christ.
  • #5 - Long Live The Rebels, Disciple - My second favorite Southern Rockers (Third Day is #1) return with their hardest ever. That's not to say that there aren't some great ballads on this album, Just listen to God Is With Us.
  • #4 - Worship Journal (Live), Fred Hammond - Let The Church Say YEAH. Fred Hammond has always been a favorite of mine, and this time he decides to explore the Modern Worship genre and to inject a bit of Gospel Funk into it. And believe me, it needs it.
  • #3 - Therapy Session, NF - Remember what I said about Evanescence and Lacey being a Musical Therapy Session, well everyone has their favorite therapist I guess. However, in this case it almost feels like anger management. NF has grown with each release, and this is perfect.
  • #2 - Ghost Ship, Theocracy - Matt Smith and company are quickly becoming my second favorite metal act next to Stryper, and that is High Praise. Smith can scream up there with Sweet, the lyrics are full of message, and best of all this is a band that isn't afraid of long instrumental sections. Who said a theocracy was a bad thing?
  • #1 - One Sided War, Michael Sweet - Personally, I think Michael wants to see our heads explode as we split hairs between this and Fallen by Stryper, the band he leads in Headbanging Excellence. Our only salvation is that Stryper and One Sided War fall in different calendar years. Borrowing players from Evanescence, Whitesnake, and others he has crafted a much harder sound than with Stryper. Don't ever go Country, Michael, it's a step down.
That gets out my Top 10 of 2016. Now I will look on the competition and see who they liked, and if we agree. I had over 50 to pick from, so I will give them some leeway. If they were on that list, I'll give them a pass. Until next time, order from the links and support The Night Beat. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.