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Articles Home » Best Of » Best Of 2016 - 2017 Dtabachn (Dave)
Best Of 2016 - 2017 Dtabachn (Dave)

CATEGORY: Best Of 2016
AUTHOR: Dtabachn (Dave)
YEAR: 2016


My personal year can be assessed as 'needs development in some areas'. On the one hand, lack of energy and sometimes interest has been a constant. On the other hand, I managed to get two personal trainer certifications, progressed towards obtaining my Human Resources Master's Degree and started writing at GloryDaze. Main goals for 2017 are: improving sleep, energy, physical condition and more satisfying relationships; getting a new job and finalizing my studies.

Regarding the state of the world, the most conservative right wing is increasing its presence in the western world. Seems like the world is seeking stronger leadership even at the expense of going back to past political practices that have not worked before. We should believe more in ourselves and our capabilities to make an impact as citizens. In South America, Brazil and Argentina's economic and political crisis are the sign of the times. I think it is in essence a crisis of values and more emphasis on education is needed. The overall renewed environmental consciousness on the other hand is a good sign.

Even though some very pleasant music was produced in 2016, I have not been completely dazed by any album as in past years. I feel the need for more melodies, more variation from song to song within albums and more shining sounds (current production values seem to privilege compression and volume over brightness, feeling and nuances especially regarding guitars and drums).

There is new music in our beloved genres being produced as a result of young people writing and recording helped by new technologies widely available and social media as well. We need to support them by buying whenever possible or simply spreading the word through our media resources and not only ranting in forums to vent our frustrations. There's also plenty of reissues, some of them remarkable and tons of good music to be discovered or re-discovered.

Top Ten (plus three bonus tracks. Thirteen is funnier than just ten!)

Those who almost made it to the list:
Monument - Hair Of The Dog. NWOBHM a-la Iron Maiden.

Peter Frampton - Acoustic Classics. Old classics given the unplugged treatment plus one new song. Stripped-down guitars and Frampton's voice warmer than ever.

Striker - Stand In The Fire. Quality melodic US power metal from Canada.

13. Graham Bonnet Band - The Book
One disc of new studio recordings plus a second one of re-recordings from Alcatrazz, Rainbow, MSG and Impellitteri. Bonnet can still sing with energy and the material is very good.

12. Blackberry Smoke - Like An Arrow
In a Black Crowes style, this band is a pleasure for fans of southern rock, country/blues-tinged. Very good melodies and singing on this one.

11. Glenn Hughes - Resonance
The voice of rock is back in full throat. This collection is heavy at times and diverse just like Glenn's tastes are.

10. Red Spektor - Red Spektor
A trip back to the late 60s psychedelic hard blues in full Hendrix/Blue Cheer style by this English power trio. Fuzz and wah-wah soaked guitars, warm analog vintage sound, crystal-clear instruments recording and strong songwriting.

9. Santana - IV
The core of Santana's classic lineup from the early 70s (including Neal Schon and Greg Rollie) in a true return to form for those who praise their first recordings. The rhythm section is often times wild. Ronald Isley is featured on lead vocals in two tracks.

8. Ace Frehley - Origins, Vol. 1
I had a great time with Ace's versions of classic rock songs and his updates on some Kiss classics. His renditions are very enjoyable and in full Spaceman style.

7. LeBrock - Action & Romance
Superb synthwave, retro and 80s soundtracks music. Just 5 songs (including 2 instrumentals) only available on cassette as physical format! A real band playing and recording their instruments. Love the keyboard nuances and the guitar sound. Shaun Phillips voice is top notch.

6. Dirkschneider - Live-Back To The Roots
A double Accept-greatest-hits live album spanning Udo's entire career with that band. Backed by highly energetic musicians, the setlist is a wet dream for headbangers. Classic Metal at its best, and Mr. Dirkschneider's vocal chords are in great shape after all these years.

5. Maverick - Big Red
Late 80s influenced hard rock by these Belfast gentlemen. The song 'Asylum' is a Skid Row's 'Youth Gone Wild' brother from another mother while 'Whisky Lover' is a Danger Danger circa 'Screw It' relative. Overall a brilliant album with prominent guitars and a stunning vocalist.

4. BlackRain - Released
For fans of the so-called Hair Metal/Glam Metal, France's BlackRain is a nice surprise. Hooks and melodies in Poison/Pretty Boy Floyd fashion with a touch of Motley Crue. Add Jack Douglas production and you have a winner.

3. Sky Of Forever - Sky Of Forever
Outstanding melodic rock from Finland in the style of fellow countrymen Urban Tale mixing pop, AOR and melodic power metal hints. The vocal melodies recall the work of Norwegian great singer/songwriter Espen Lind. The production is pristine. Bruce Kulick guests on single 'Carry On' and through his involvement I knew about the band.

2. Wild Rose - 4
With original singer George Bitzios back after two albums with the great late David A. Saylor, this is a vintage AOR/melodic rock output filled with hooks, 80s-style keyboard layers, glossy guitars and strong choruses. Bitzios' powerful singing (reminiscent of Harry Hess) is the highlight of '4'.

1. Jace Pawlak - Promise
A gifted songwriter/singer/keyboard player, music freak (as witnessed by his reviews, covers, and even 'how to remove stickers from CDs' Youtube videos..) Jace Pawlak delivered a flawless classic AOR collection. I enjoy the album better playing it in its entirety. It's that good for me. Whether it's up-tempo, mid-tempo or wholehearted ballads, the quality is astounding. Lyrics are also touching. Did you know how much he praises Diane Warren? Well, he's following Diane's path and fulfilling his 'Promise' IMO.

Best Songs:
'Before You Run' - Jace Pawlak
'Asylum' - Maverick
'Carry On' - Sky Of Forever
'Desperate Heart' - Wild Rose
'Run Tiger Run' - BlackRain
'One Night' - LeBrock
'Tonight Is Everything' - Jace Pawlak
'One Of These Days' - Sky Of Forever
'Every Now And Then' - Jace Pawlak
'In The Night' - Maverick
'Cosmonaut' - Red Spektor
'Love Games' - Wild Rose
'Dangerous Dreams' - LeBrock
'Whisky Lover' - Maverick
'Summer Rain' - Sky Of Forever
'Puppet On A String' - BlackRain
'Rock My Funeral' - BlackRain

The Live Report
I attended a handful of concerts en 2016. One of them was Riot V, the current incarnation of the classic Mark Reale (RIP) band. Not only is it the best possible tribute to Mark's vision but one of the best live experiences I've ever witnessed. They can play everything from every era (including songs from 2014's brilliant 'Unleash The Fire') and Todd Michael Hall is a hell of a singer and a very nice person as well. If you are a metal fan and they perform near your place, don't miss them.

Best wishes for 2017 and Rock On!

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#1 | gdazegod on January 13 2017 05:18:00
Good to see Jace Pawlak at the top of the list Dave. I might have to get to that Finnish band Sky of Forever. I do have that one, but due to the sheer overload of releases, this one missed my radar.
#2 | Cimozzen on January 13 2017 05:33:37
So good to see more love for the new Wild Rose album! Easily one of my favorites of the year.
#3 | Murgleis on January 23 2017 03:04:42
Meh. Where the hell is The Midnight's Endless Summer or 'Atlas' by FM-84? Those two records as far as AOR goes beat the living hell out of everything else that came out in 2016.
#4 | gdazegod on January 23 2017 03:47:29
FM-84 was a mostly Bandcamp project, and is not strictly AOR, it's synthwave. Big difference. it's good but hey? Where are the guitars?
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