Welcome to the latest post in my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown series. We’re getting to the point where I had to start really thinking hard about the albums left and the effect that each of them had on me over the year, so as to place them correctly within this list.
I must have written and re-written the running order about 100 times in search of the perfect representation of my year in music. If I thought 2015 was a good year, 2016 has been even better in terms of the sheer number of great albums released. It gives people like me a real headache at this time of year but it hopefully makes for interesting reading and gets discussions going along the lines of ‘how is this band so low?’ or ‘why have you not included this band?’
At the end of the day, music is subjective and this countdown is simply my own personal opinion on what I have heard during 2016. And, to a certain extent, the numbering is a little arbitrary anyway – if it is featured in this list, you can guarantee that it is of a very high quality and worthy of being included.
On with the show…
Theories Of Flight
“…in 2016, we are presented with studio album number twelve entitled ‘Theories Of Flight’ and boy, oh boy, have they finally and unequivocally delivered the record that I have wanted them to deliver for so long. ‘Theories Of Flight’ literally has just about everything that the ardent progressive metal fan could possibly want. And the result is rather spectacular, as you might imagine.
Fates Warning sound like a band rejuvenated. The music comes across to me at least, as sounding hungry, vital and passionate, like the guys have well and truly rediscovered their mojo. Some might argue that Fates Warning never really ever lost it, but the vibe just feels different on ‘Theories Of Flight’, permeating the entire disc from beginning to end in such a positive way.
In this kind of form, Fates Warning are thoroughly irresistible and with ‘Theories Of Flight’ they remind us all, if a reminder was necessary, that they are rightfully considered to be one of the most important and best progressive metal bands on the planet.”
Hasn’t Mr Alder been a busy boy this year? Not content with being the vocalist for one band who find themselves in my list this year, he has taken a second spot too. His exploits with fellow American progressive metal band Redemption bagged the number 18 spot and now, with Fates Warning, he takes the 16 placement too. It isn’t hard to see why though, because Ray Alder genuinely has one of the most iconic and recognisable voices in the prog metal genre. And then he surrounds himself with superlative musicians who are able to deliver exhilarating compositions to compliment his singing.
In terms of high-octane, dynamic and progressive metal at the slightly heavier, thrashier end of the spectrum, you’d be hard pressed to find a better album than ‘Theories Of Flight’ in 2016. The aggression, speed and dexterity of the music is tempered by a well-developed sense of melody and drama so each track on this highly impressive album offers something to snare fans in for repeated listens.
And even after a few months, ‘Theories of Flight’ maintains its allure, slowly maturing into something quite special. Had I had the luxury of another year with it, it may well have ended up being even higher on my list.
In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:
Album of the Year 2016 – number 17
Album of the Year 2016 – number 18
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2016 – number 20
Album of the Year 2016 – number 21
Album of the Year 2016 – number 22
Album of the Year 2016 – number 23
Album of the Year 2016 – number 24
Album of the Year 2016 – number 25
Album of the Year 2016 – number 26
Album of the Year 2016 – number 27
Album of the Year 2016 – number 28
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30
And from previous years: