Dream Theater-The Astonishing ©2016 Roadrunner Records
I spent a lot of time with this album. It could be the bands most ambitious to date as it has a lot of complexity. In nature it would be classified as a rock opera and spans 2 discs. Anyone that listens to this knows that this is Dream Theater in sound, but in my opinion, this is geared a bit more to fans of rock operas in general. It's very melodic overall, but does occasionally pick up tempo in places. My advice would be to go in and absorb into all that is here and try not to compare it to other albums. It's a lot to digest and will probably still take me awhile to completely understand it.
Primal Fear-Rulebreaker ©2016 Frontiers Records
One of the most traditional metal bands out there is without a doubt Primal Fear. I have liked most of what this band has done so it comes down to one of two things. Good album or great album. 'Rulebreaker' to me is a great album. The songs are heavy as expected and don't veer much from what the band normally offers. I do like the feel of 'We Walk Without Fear' as it feels a bit more symphonic and epic. As far as setting a bar for the genre, Primal Fear always sets a high bar and this album does this for albums released in 2016. A very easy power metal recommend. Good consistent album!
The New Black-A Monster's Life ©2016 AFM Records
Good straight forward hard rock record. As I checked this one out it kept reminding me of another band I listen to and it ended up being Theory of a Deadman. Not totally as this band has a slightly different feel, but you get the idea. It's a decent memorable listen with some catchy sounding hard rock sounds. I feel this band has a lot of confidence not only musically, but in their songwriting. Each song tends to deliver and with each subsequent listen the album just gets better and better. From a down to basics rock sensibility, these guys are hitting on all cylinders. Enjoyed this one a lot!
Crossing Rubicon-No Less Than Everything ©2016 Pavement Music
Debut release that features ex-All that Remains bassist Jeanne Sagan. This band is a different animal than All that Remains. In my opinion there are some traditional metal elements on this record such as the vocals and quite a bit of the structure in the way the songs are approached. I'm an old school guy in most ways musically and find quite a bit to appreciate here. Let this band stand on there own and try not to go in thinking that just because Jeanne is now here that it should be All that Remains again. A good record standing on traditional elements. Keep at it guys as there is something growing here!
Prong-X-No Absolutes ©2016 SPV/Steamhammer Records
Prong has quite the catalog at this point. I started with the band back in the days of 'Beg to Differ' and have pretty much liked most of what I have heard. Some of their stuff is stronger than others, but it all seems to be good. This album could be one of my favorites since the earlier days. It's a good Thrash record with some great riffing as usual. Songs are pretty consistent start to finish making this a pretty strong effort by the band. Victor's vocals sound great as well. It's great to have Prong releasing albums in regular fashion and judging by the strength of this album, they still have a lot to say!