20. TestamentBrotherhood of the Snake (Nuclear Blast)

‘Isn’t it time Testament were elevated to Big Four status on a permanent basis?… whether you’re a die hard member of Testament‘s legions or just a curious interloper, there’s sure as hell going to be plenty here to spread a smile across your face. This is a great album’. – Michael Stronge, 11/10/16

Read Michael’s full appraisal of Brotherhood of the Snake HERE

19. Sleep of Monsters II: Poison Garden (Svart Records)

‘Captivating stuff… Sleep of Monsters have stumbled on a near-perfect formula here, and practice their art in irresistible fashion – If you have an inkling for the dark arts, for those things hidden to the mainstream eye, there’s a fair chance you’ll be utterly captivated by the Poison Garden…’ – Scott Adams, 10/05/16

Listen to a track from …Poison Garden whilst reading Scott’s full review HERE

18. Alter BridgeThe Last Hero (Napalm Records)

‘It seems like all the songs have been building up to the albums finale, the title track, and it is well worth the wait. This amazing piece, almost 7 minutes of pure listening pleasure, weaves its way from instrumental magnificence and tempo changes to heavy driving riffs. The epic nature of the song is reminiscent of the magical track that is Blackbird… As the track ends abruptly I find myself putting it on for just one more listen’. – Paul Kerr, 20/09/16

Read Paul’s full review of the album HERE

17. Glenn Hughes Resonate (Frontiers Music)

‘Heavy. Funky. Soulful. Bluesy. Glenn’s got it all… in four words, a hard rock masterclass’. – Gavin Strickmann, 03/11/16

Read Gavin’s full review and hear a track from the album HERE

16. Crippled Black PhoenixBronze (Season of Mist)

‘Splendid exposition of the progressive arts by a band that’s getting better and better… Let’s hope that Bronze becomes the gold standard by which this bands future works are judged’. – Scott Adams, 17/10/16

Read Scott’s full Bronze review HERE

15. Avantasia Ghostlights (Nuclear Blast)

How does he do it? How does Tobias Sammet manage to keep up such a high quality output of grandiose power metal year in year out? It’s probably best not to question things too deeply and just enjoy the fact that he does. This year we got a new Avantasia album, Ghostlights, that signally failed to break that golden run, being another dumbfounding collection of superb songs and stirring performances, courtesy of Sammet and his usual cast of megastar willing associates. Don’t ever change, Tobi! – Ferry Templeton

14. Theocracy Ghost Ship (Ulterium Records)

‘All in all then, a near faultless release from a band who’ve been threatening to be this good for some while; In fact, I’d go so far as to say this is a must-buy release if you are a fan of melody-saturated power metal’. – Scott Adams, 29/11/16

Read Scott’s full review of Ghost Ship and listen to a track from the album HERE

13. EquilibriumArmageddon (Nuclear Blast)

‘Seriously there is so much good music on offer here it would be an absolute travesty if you chose to ignore Armageddon simply because you don’t understand the words. In my world metal is the universal language, and Equilibrium speak it very well’. – Ferry Templeton, 24/08/16

Read Ferry’s review of Armageddon HERE

12. Thirsty Albatross (Thirsty Music)

‘Thirsty, if you didn’t know already, is the latest musical vehicle of former Quireboy Guy BaileyAlbatross, corralled masterfully by Rolling Stones cohort Chris Kimsey is a delight for the ears’. – Scott Adams, 26/10/16

Read the full review of Albatross HERE

11. SolitudeReach for the Sky (Test Your Metal Records)

‘Pure, untainted Japanese Steel… fans of uncomplicated, hard hitting metal will find that every track appeals enough to keep them returning again and again’. – Scott Adams, 08/11/16

Read Scott’s review of Reach for the Sky and hear a track from the album HERE

10. Rage The Devil Strikes Again (Nuclear Blast)

‘Like wrapping yourself in a favourite old power metal blanket… Overall, this is a very solid album’. – Paul Kerr, 09/05/16

Read Paul’s full review and hear a track from the album HERE

9. Striker Stand in the Fire (Own Label)

‘Astounding sounds that’ll test your neck muscles to their very limits… This is as near perfect as it’s possible to get in the world of heavy metal in 2016’. – Scott Adams, 10/03/16

Read Scott’s eulogy to Stand in the Fire HERE

8. EvergreyThe Storm Within (Century Media)

I was unsure of TSW on first contact – so much so that I turned down the chance to review it – but time very quickly showed me the error of my ways.  Quite simply The Storm Within is the sound of an artist – Tom Englund – in full control of his destiny and forging ahead all guns blazing. Crushing metal, heart-rending ballad, radio-friendly unit shifters – the man has mastered them all, and shows anyone who cares to listen on this album. He’s peerless, quite frankly, and this is a masterpiece. – Ferry Templeton

7. ExistanceBreaking the Rock (Black Viper Records)

‘Very impressive indeed… My colleague here at Sentinel Daily, Ferry Templeton is often telling me how good this new wave of French heavy metal is, and on this evidence I’d have to agree with him. Allez le NWoFHM!’ – Gavin Strickmann, 26/09/16

Read Gavin’s full Breaking the Rock review HERE

6. WolverineMachina Viva (Sensory Records)

‘Progressive music at it’s very apogee… Swedes Wolverine have done it again. By which I mean they’ve released another stunning, stunning album packed full with the sort of music that will spark every emotion in you into life – maybe even some you didn’t know you were harbouring – in the process completely reaffirming all the reasons why you loved this band in the first place. And if this album will be your first brush with Wolverine – welcome, you’re surely going to enjoy the ride…’ – Ferry Templeton, 29/06/16

Read the rest of Ferry’s review of Machina Viva HERE

5. Last in LineHeavy Crown (Frontiers Music)

‘Wreathed in tragedy yet shot through with class… a fine epitaph to the life of a man, Jimmy Bain, who gave his life to heavy rock over five decades in the game’. – Scott Adams, 16/03/16

Read Scott’s full review and hear a track from Heavy Crown HERE

4. MeshiaakAlliance of Thieves (Mascot Label Group)

‘I have seen the future of thrash metal… Absolutely tremendous and absolutely recommended if classy, and classic, thrash and metal is something that sets your pulse racing’. – Scott Adams, 07/07/16

Read Scott’s full review of the album HERE then read his interview with guitarist Dean Wells HERE

3. Diamond HeadDiamond Head (Dissonance Records)

‘A breathtaking return to form… if Brian Tatler has got the fire in his belly again there’s no reason why Diamond Head can’t have a successful ‘second’ career ahead of them for many years to come with comparative youngster Rasmus Bom Anderson at the vocal helm. And that’s a very fine prospect indeed’. – Scott Adams, 31/03/16

Read Scott’s full review of the Album HERE then read his interview with metal legend Brian Tatler HERE

2. Metal Church – XI (Nuclear Blast)

‘Mike Howe returns to the fold with tremendous results… this is easily the best record to come out under the Metal Church imprint since 1991’s The Human Factor’. – Scott Adams, 25/02/16

Read Scott’s full review of XI and hear a track from the album HERE

All of which means the winner of Sentinel Daily’s accolade for the best hard rock or heavy metal album of 2016 goes to…

KansasThe Prelude Implicit (InsideOut Music)

‘The return of a true titan of hard rock doesn’t disappoint… The Prelude Implicit is a grand statement, perhaps the grandest Kansas has made in the last thirty five years. It is the sound of a band comfortable with all the facets of it’s past, yet excited about the new possibilities of the future; But above all, it is a triumph’. – Scott Adams, 13/09/16

Read Scott’s full review of our album of the year, The Prelude Implicit, and listen to a couple of tracks from the record HERE