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Best Of 2016 - 2017 Explorer (Malcolm)



CATEGORY: Best Of 2016
AUTHOR: Explorer (Malcolm)
YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:


Summary
2016 has been memorable for all the wrong reasons. The rock world has lost so many real talents this last year and unfortunately will seemingly only get worse as our heroes from a certain generation get that much older and slip from this mortal coil. Personally, the passing of David Bowie and Mott the Hoople's Buffin hit me the hardest as they were figures from that glorious period in the early 70's when I was discovering all types of music for the first time.'With that rather depressing start I will endeavour to lighten the mood (or not as the case may be!!) with a look back at my musical highlights (and lowlights) of the past twelve months.

Year in Review'
A classic year? Well, no not for me. Of course there have been some cracking albums released, but generally I've found myself being disappointed in the standard of music being put out. So letís get the lowlights out of the way eh. I know this next statement might be unpopular but I've found the AOR scene at present rather stagnant and pedestrian. Yes, there are plenty of bands out there, but it's all too generic and safe. Releases by Wickman Road, Sunstrike, Miss Behaviour, The Defiants whilst impressing initially very quickly lost their lustre and have been quietly filed away into the collection. Even White Widdow, who I consider the best by far of the current crop are struggling to make an impact on me with their new album, maybe it's just a phase Iím going through, but I've found myself looking elsewhere for some musical excitement and inspiration, and there has been a fair bit of it. If we're talking genres, then Iíve been rather enamoured with Prog and Power Pop this year, strange bed fellows to be sure.

So what has floated my boat? in no particular order although I will leave my top 5 till last comes Steven Wilson's '4 Ĺ' which is essentially a 'left overís' album, but retains a level of quality that would put other artists regular albums to shame. Punky Meadow's 'Fallen Angel' was also a most welcome return from one of the most Iconic figures in Melodic Rock, just a pity that the vocals weren't to my tastes, should have got Frank Dimino in, then that really would have been a return to savour. Imperial State Electric and their 'On through the Night' album was another splendid affair, a really good retro feel to things and a varied set of songs too. One of my all time heroes Ian Hunter returned with his usual high class offering 'Fingers Crossed' and at the grand old age of 77 he can still put these young'uns to shame, and Mr Hunter's old mentor David Bowie left us all with his elegiac 'Black Star' and he has left such a void in the music world that it is unlikely ever to be filled, such was his impact not just on music but popular culture too.'Other notable mentions go out to Marillion with their 'F.E.A.R' album, Heart and 'Beautiful Broken', The Struts(I finally caught up with the hype) and the pure pantomime that is KISS and the 'Rocks Vegas' Blu Ray.

My top 5 goes like this, Maglev's 'Overwrite the Sin' which is a wonderful blend of Prog and Valentine/Valensia styling, the real surprise release of the year for me, New England's 'Live at The Regent, shows all the current pretenders how the bigger boys do AOR and Ken Sharp's power pop opus ĎNew Mourning', on the surface an album of uplifting melodies but on further inspection an album full of lyrics that display, darkness, loss and regret.'Coming second in this yearís list is Dream Theater with 'The Astonishing' which in some quarters came in for some real criticism, but for me a sumptuous affair that is a real career defining piece. A potent mix of power and melody, and a pretty cool story too, and vocalist James LaBrie never sounding better.

So that just leaves my top album of the year and that honour goes to The Last Great Dreamers with 'Transmissions From Oblivion', this is an absolute gem of an album, which immediately transported me back to the early 70's, with its glorious mix of trashy, glammy Power Pop anthems, with not a filler in sight, the most complete release of the year.

So there ya go, for what it's all worth.

Gig wise, I'm still getting out there and this yearís highlights have got to be Robby Valentine's UK debut show, a truly exceptional artiste, and also from early this past 12 months was Martina Edoff's show, and what a delight that was, just a pity there were only about 60 of us to enjoy it.

I've already started to look forward to 2017 and I have had in my possession for a few weeks now the new Schooltree album 'Heterotopia', if you remember she caused some waves here at GDM a few years back with the stunning 'Rise' album, well I can safely say that this new blows that out of the water, it's an expansive 100 minute Rock Opera, yes, a Rock Opera!!, and is truly exceptional. A release date sometime in March is expected, and Iím off to see KISS for what will probably be their last venture to the UK. I'm not one of those purists that think it's got to be the original foursome, but all the same it should be great fun.

2016 also saw the welcome return of UK Glamsters ROX, and I'm hoping for a full album from the guys in 2017, and from what's already been released it should be a stormer,and finally and inevitably I'm still hanging on to the hope that New England will finally make it over here to the UK.

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. It just leaves me to say to everyone at GDM, seasons greetings and I'll raise a glass to you all for a rockin' 2017.




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Tags: Best Of 2016 
 
Comments
#1 | sebakozak on January 14 2017 20:20:28
Thanks for the support Malcolm. Rest assured, ROX rock and roll will continue into 2017. Now where are those reviews of the first two Gary Glitter albums?!?
#2 | Murgleis on January 23 2017 02:58:54
Lol The Astonishing? Really? If you are hurting that much for good albums in 2016 I'll give you a list right here, with astericks next to the ones that emphasize AOR, prog rock / metal, 80's feeling, whatever.

25. Dream The Electric Sleep - Beneath The Dark Wide Sky *
24. Mantra Vega - The Illusion's Reckoning *
23. Bruno Mars - 24K Magic
22. Monkey House - Left * (Westcoast-AOR)
21. Yung Lean - Warlord
20. Purson - Desire's Magic Theatre *
19. Case/Lang/Veirs - Case/Lang/Veirs
18. Inglorious - Inglorious *
17. Davie Bowie - Blackstar
16. Eric Benet - Eric Benet
15. Enigma - The Fall Of A Rebel Angel
14. Incognito - In Search Of Better Days
13. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
12. Drakkar Nowhere - Drakkar Nowhere *
11. Twelve Foot Ninja - Outlier *
10. Jacob Collier - In My Room
9. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation
8. Ed Motta - Perpetual Gateways *
7. Dissona - Paleopneumatic *
6. C Duncan - The Midnight Sun *
5. Frost* - Falling Satellites *
4. Sumerlands - Sumerlands *
3. Hemina - Venus *
2. The Midnight - Endless Summer *
1. Ice Choir - Designs In Rhythm *
#3 | gdazegod on January 23 2017 03:50:56
Each to his own opinions, no need to get cranky Murgleis.
 
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