Wall of Sound presents “2016 YEAR IN REVIEW” – by Wall of Sound’s Editor/Writer James ‘Plugga’ Birkin

What a massive year for WALL OF SOUND. The site has gone from strength to strength, catapulting through almost 30,000 views in September alone. We’ve taken on over 20 writers and photographers this year to go with our small group of 2015, filling the website with some great articles, interviews, reviews and some stunning photo galleries.  Unfortunately my time has come to an end with the site, alas the show must go on, so good luck to all the staff at Wall of Sound in the future and a massive thankyou to Browny for letting me basically do what I want! Haha!

For me, 2016 was a comeback era for the band’s I loved throughout the ’90s. Testament, Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica all returned with great albums but I’m not one to get stuck on particular genre’s so my choices for my Top 20 albums of the year are a mixed bunch to say the least. Enjoy….

TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2016

1. GOJIRA ‘Magma
More melodic, more grandeur. My most played album of 2016, so a clear winner in the end.

2. CHEVELLE ‘The North Corridor’
This 3 peice simply nailed this album. Heavy metallic bass riffs abound.

3. BE’LAKOR ‘Vessels
Emotive, complex and powerful. The band’s best album to date.
4. MESHIAAK – ‘The Alliance of Thieves
I love my ’90s metal, so this debut album was on point for me. Thrash, heavy, melodic when needed and Dette’s drum work, phenomenal.
5. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – ‘Incarnate
Metalcore at it’s best. Jesse Leach continues to shine.
6. METALLICA – ‘Hardwired…To Self Destruct
Haters gonna hate, but I think Metallica get marked too harshly. This album is the best since the Black album….deal with it.
7. TWELVE FOOT NINJA – ‘Outlier
The unknown, the schizo, the melodic, TFN deliver in spades. A great follow up to Silent Machine.
8. KYNG – ‘Breathe in the Water
Eddie Veliz’s vocals are sublime. The best ‘hard rock’ album of 2016 without doubt.

9. KORN – ‘The Serenity of Suffering
Some very mixed responses on this album but personally I felt the band’s best since their debut. Am I missing something?
10. TESTAMENT – ‘Brotherhood of the Snake
A killer thrash album. Every bit as good as their last two albums.
11. HATEBREED – ‘The Concrete Confessional
Hatebreed doing what Hatebreed does best, simple enjoyable head banging chaos. Push ups and coffee….repeat.
12. MEGADETH – ‘Dystopia
The best ‘Deth album since 1994’s Youthanasia in my humble opinion, so that was 22 years ago. Where you been Dave?
13. NAILS – ‘You Will Never Be One of Us
The most intense, heavy and hard hitting album of 2016. Intense.
14. TRAP THEM – ‘Crown Feral
Is it grindcore, hardcore or thrash? Maybe a mix of all, but it’s a good mix either way.

15. LACUNA COIL – ‘Delirium
A return to form for these guys with Cristina Scabbia as awesome as always.
16. NOFX – ‘First Ditch Effort
The band’s best album since 2000’s Pump Up the Valuum in my eyes. Witty punk rock with some funny bits. Fat Mike back to his best.
17. THE CASUALTIES – ‘Chaos Sound
If you like your punk, in your face, frenetic, explosive, get onto The Casualties.
18. IGNITE – ‘A War Against You
It was 10 years between albums for these guys but this one slays just as much. Think Rise Against meets Good Riddance….just all the good bits.
19. DESTROYER 666 – ‘Wildfire’
Bludgeoning thrash metal from these overseas Aussies. Brutal.
20. FALLUJAH – ‘Dreamless
Atmospheric death metal rounds out my Top 20 an no band do it better. Scott Carstairs, the guitar magician behind the band is just incredible.

TOP 10 SONGS OF 2016
1. METALLICA – ‘Spit Out the Bone’

2. GOJIRA ‘Pray’

3. NAILS – ‘You Will Never Be One of Us’
4. THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN – ‘Symptom Of Terminal Illness’
5. CLOWNS – ‘Destroy the Evidence’
6. MESHIAAK – ‘Drowning, Fading, Falling’
7. FILTER – ‘Mother E’
8. THE CULT – ‘G.O.A.T’
9. IGNITE – ‘This Is a War’
10. WOVENWAR – ‘Confession’

TOP 5 MUSIC VIDEOS of 2016
1. CLOWNS – ‘Destroy the Evidence’

2. TWELVE FOOT NINJA – ‘Sick’

3. NAILS – ‘You Will Never Be One of Us’

4. SLAYER – ‘You Against You’

5. SLAYER – ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Top 5 GIGS of 2016
1. DISTURBED, November 9 @ HBF Stadium, Perth

Photo courtesy Emanuel Rudnicki

Photo courtesy Emanuel Rudnicki

2. FEAR FACTORY, June 8 @ Fremantle Metropolis

At the Fear Factory, 'Meet n Greet', pre-show, Metropolis Fremantle

At the Fear Factory, ‘Meet n Greet’, pre-show, Metropolis Fremantle

3. IRON MAIDEN, May 14 @ Perth Arena

4. TRIVIUM, April 11, Fremantle Metropolis

Photo courtesy Jerika Faithfull

Photo courtesy Jerika Faithfull

5. THE SWORD, April 19th @ Rosemount Hotel, Perth
sword banner
WHAT AM I MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2017?
Well I wanted Soulfly to tour this year and that bombed out so I’m hoping Metallica can get back down under for 2017. Rumours abound, so fingers crossed.

NEXT BIG BAND IN AUSTRALIA?
I tipped Sanzu this year to have an impact and the guys supported a host of international bands this year. For 2017 I’m tipping big things for Osaka Punch. Having released their EP, Death Monster Super Squad earlier this year, I’m hoping maybe a full album may eventuate 2017 or at the very least the band lock into some killer support roles for touring bands.

FAVOURITE WALL OF SOUND PHOTO FROM 2016
coheed-cambria-13-may-2016-perth
The quality of photogs we have at Wall of Sound has been incredible so it was hard narrowing it to just the one pic from 2016. In the end I’ve settled on this killer pic from Denis Radacic in Perth at the Coheed & Cambria show. Den was running late to this show for some reason but managed to talk his way into the show to shoot the last few songs from balcony. His light capture on this image is just killer.

Cheers…..

About Plugga73 (328 Articles)
Writing, reviewing, interviewing, exploring new and old heavy music. From punk to grunge to hardcore to death metal to thrash and everything in between. I've been writing in the music industry now for several years including the websites LOUD, SF Media, Tone Deaf, The Metal Review and AMNplify. I'll be the one talking about bands from the 90s all the time..... Hit me up on twitter @Plugga73

4 Comments on Wall of Sound presents “2016 YEAR IN REVIEW” – by Wall of Sound’s Editor/Writer James ‘Plugga’ Birkin

  1. Paul Connolly // December 4, 2016 at 11:00 am // Reply

    Awesome swansong article Plugga. You introduced me to this site. The reviews and lists here are the best. Good luck with what comes next (family ;)). Will still see you voting at @7SongsCup I am sure. I enjoy your choices and range of bands you like. Cheers mate. (I now have some homework to do, as I actually don’t know a lot of these albums yet ;)).

  2. Cheers Paul, glad you enjoyed – always nice knowing someone actually read my dribble lol.

  3. Paul Connolly // December 8, 2016 at 10:24 pm // Reply

    I always read end of year lists. Problem is, I just start listening to some of these (and therefore won’t be into for some time ;)). My Checking Out Playlist on Google Play still has several albums I put in there from 2015 lists I found around the net 😉

  4. Anonymous // June 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm // Reply

    Top stuff Hotdogs.
    Good bye 2016

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