2016 has been a historical year for metal music with big guns Metallica, Megadeth, Korn, Opeth and Testament all coming out with solid albums. But which are best metal songs of 2016? As the curtain on the year falls its time to do our countdown. Before I list my rankings, let me emphasize on the methodology. I took a survey within couple of Rock/Metal Facebook groups and all my music mad friends, to get shortlist of songs which individuals feel as their best of the year. Then I Googled and listed through songs which have stayed long in Metal charts. Getting both lists, I combined them into a Spotify list and listened to each of the songs at least thrice before starting the eliminating procedure. This final list contains songs which survived all those rounds of elimination. Each of these numbers I would have heard them at least ten times each. Deftones Prayers/Triangles just misses out from this list, that aside, here’s my Top 10 Best Heavy metal songs of 2016.
10. The Wilde flowers – Opeth
Opeth’s Sorceress album hasn’t impressed me much personally but in The Wilde Flowers they have an extremely humm-able song. With zero use of electronica and jangling of pure instruments in old country backyard garage sound, it comes across as my most liked song of album Sorceress.
9. Spit out the bone – Metallica
Metallica had to make to this list but the question was which one. Readers and reviewers mostly across the world have kept Spit Out the Bone as best track of their Hardwired album.Lars Ulrich is insane in this song.
9. Sanction – Katatonia
Katatonia are good friends with Opeth and the supreme sounds both Swedish bands produce has some similarities. Katatonia though have come up with a monster album ‘Fall of Hearts’, quite likely my best album of the year. Sanction makes to number eight.’Smudged my heart for all to see. But it’s so quiet now, makes it harder to shine’.
7. At dawn’s first light – Amon Amarth
Sweden continue to dominate our rankings and indeed the new age metal scene. Amon Amarth is labelled as melodic metal band in Wikipedia, but there is nothing melodious about ‘At Dawn’s first light’. The song starts like Iron Maiden-ish sound and later is extreme thrash with gory images dominating the video.
6. Dystopia – Megadeth
At number six we have kings of metal Megadeth who have made sort of comeback with Dystopia. The title song of the album is good and probably the best there. Rated highly by critics, Dystopia debuted at no. 3 in Billboard top 200 charts.
5. The Pale King – Testament
When it’s not Sweden, its American bands which dominate the charts. Testament’s 2016 release ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ climbed as high as number 20 in US Billboards Top 200 charts. The Pale King has a fantastic opening and gets your head banging instantly from first beat.
4. Black is the Soul – Korn
Korn also made a big comeback this year with their album Serenity of Suffering debuting at No.4 in The US Billboard Top 200 charts. This album is worth the stuff Jonathan Davis and co used to belt out in the 90s. Black is the Soul is one of the best songs of 2016. ‘As it all falls down, do I walk away? Or do I stand my ground, there’s nothing left to say’
3. Moth Into Flame – Metallica
So it’s Moth Into Flame which finishes in my list as the best song from Metallica’s Hardwired. From an album which is 8/10 and creating history, it was tough to find one song which has right balance of great guitars, extreme drumming and yet a humm-able number. Moth into Flame ticked all boxes and finished third best song of 2016. Fantastic guitars leading the chorus ‘Sold your soul, Built a higher wall, Yesterday, Now you’re thrown away. Same rise and fall, Who cares at all? Seduced by fame. A moth into the flame’.
2. Passer – Katatonia
Passer isn’t the best song from epic ‘Fall of Hearts’ album but surely the best metal song from it. It isn’t as much heavy or thrash as much it is meaningful and matured stuff. Passer starts heavy but then mellows down to extremely strong lyrics about fragile relationships.This isn’t a song to head bang, but one to listen in a dark room, loud and introspect about relationships. ‘But I fear You took the words from My drunken heart And they’re vanishing with you’.
1. Stranded Gojira
Gojira are one of the new generation upcoming bands hell-bent on making a difference to the music scene. There lyrics primarily speak of environmental hazards, but in Stranded, they have spoken about the frustration behind rejection in relationships. The song is hard, heavy and yet so much meaningful. ‘Don’t lock the door on me, You’d kill me, face down, dead, Another point of view gone to waste, Please hear me out! You kill me, face down, dead, Another day in the dark’. Anyone with broken heart would find this the perfect antidote and reaffirm the belief that Music is the best medicine. Stranded would be my best head banging metal song of 2016.
Would you agree?