Chimp Spanner – All Roads Lead Here
Chimp Spanner - All Roads Lead Here
Ok so this one isn’t an album as such it’s an EP but it is my favourite release of the year so it gets top honours from me, it has 6 amazing tracks of atmospheric Metal which I personally cannot get enough of. Check out my full review from earlier this year –

Tremonti – All I Was

When I heard that Mark Tremonti was working on a solo project I thought that it would be pretty cool but had no real idea how it would sound without the unmistakeable vocals of Myles Kennedy or Scott Stapp. Well personally I think Mark’s own vocals are brilliant, the songwriting is very reminiscent of Alter Bridge but maybe a little heavier and darker sounding and I have listened to this album almost as much as I have Chimp Spanner since it’s release.

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
Van Halen - A Different Kind Of Truth
This is the one that many of us have been waiting a long, long time for. The reunion of David Lee Roth with Van Halen on record with songs created from resurrected riffs from the VH archive. I don’t care that Michael Anthony is not on this record and actually after seeing Wolfgang play in various YouTube videos of live performances and seeing how he handles himself in interviews I think that he is an absolutely huge asset to the band. Let’s face it if it wasn’t for Wolfgang this album wouldn’t have even happened! Yes the honeymoon period wore off fairly quickly for me and the initial excitement began to fade a little but this is still a great album.

Steve Vai – The Story Of Light
Steve Vai - The Story Of Light
Again, another album many have been waiting a long time for that divided critics, I personally can’t see why there was any negativity because I love this album. Yes, it takes a few listens to fully appreciate but that is usually a sign of a great album to me anyway. It is great that Vai decided to wield the old 7 String again and that cover of John The Revelator? Wow. Read my review here –

Paul Gilbert – Vibrato

I have to admit I don’t own much of Paul Gilbert’s solo back catalogue other than the last few instrumental albums, I knew that he was going to be singing on this release but had no idea what to expect and on first listen wasn’t really sure what I thought but it is one of the most addictive records I’ve heard in years. I was totally drawn into the title song ‘Vibrato’ which has a brilliantly funky main riff that the vocals follow, love it. Also the track ‘Atmosphere On The Moon’ had me hooked from the start, I wish I could conduct all of my conversations in the style of the verses (listen for yourself then try conversing with your partner/kids

Cloudkicker – Fade

I urge each and every one of you to check out this independent artist because the album ‘Fade’ is an absolute belter. You can stream the album on Bandcamp before you decide to buy the album and then when you do buy it you name your price (digital only), but be mindful that there is a lot of hard work that has gone into this album so be generous if you go with the digital download option. I would probably define this is progressive metal, like an instrumental Mastodon album.

Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage

Mais Oui! Another storming album this time from French Metallers Gojira. This is a band that has a defined sound that they manage to maintain throughout the entire album. There are songs that have guitar riffs that I feel are connected such as the intro riffs of ‘The Wild Healer’ and ‘The Gift Of Guilt’, and the chugging rhythms of ‘L’enfant Sauvage’ and ‘Mouth of Kala’. There’s plenty of variation in the songs but they all share some common elements which I think works really well.

Periphery – Periphery II

Can’t really recap on the years releases without mentioning Periphery II can I, this is another epic release from Misha Mansoor et al. Not only more of where the last album left off but also some cool guest appearances from the likes of John Petruccci and Guthrie Govan of all people!

7 Horns 7 Eyes – Throes Of Absolution

If you like your Metal cinematic, your guitar playing virtuosic yet melodic and your vocals gruffer than a 40-a-day smoker you need to check out this album. This is an album that I would totally listen to even if it was completely instrumental, in fact there are instrumental mixes of some songs available from Basick Records.

Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth

If you like classic 80’s Thrash with guitar work from one of the original virtuoso shredders of the Metal scene Testament came back in a very big way with ‘Dark Roots Of Earth’. It has been 4 years between albums and apparently writing began as far back as 2009 but it took a while for everything to come together it seems. Great playing from Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson as always and this is almost the original lineup except for drummer Gene Hoglan, Testament have had their fair share of different drummers over the years for some reason. There’s a cool cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Powerslave’ on this album and also a bonus track featuring Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler called ‘A Day In The Death’.

Lamb Of God – Resolution

Speaking of Chris Adler what a turbulent year they had! Let us not forget that before all of the legal issues surrounding singer Randy Blythe Lamb of God released one of the best albums of the year, ‘Resolution’. Each member of this band is a powerhouse and they seem to have an amazing chemistry to keep on creating such amazing music together. Let’s hope Randy is cleared so that they may continue writing albums together for many years to come.