Kenn Jensen – Staff Poll 2016

Top Metal Albums of the Year

10 albums that have impressed me the most in 2016:

  1. Fates Warning – The Theories of Flight
    It is always great when one of your favorite prog bands delivers beyond expectations, which is exactly what Fates Warning did.


  1. The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude of a Dream
    If you ask me tomorrow, this album might end up at the top spot! It’s probably the album(s) I’ve listened to the most this year. And I keep discovering new bits and pieces…


  1. Anderson/Stolt – Invention of Knowledge
    Impressive how these two veterans have managed to capture the essence of 70s prog rock on this album; pure magic.


  1. Marillion – F.E.A.R.
    Biggest surprise of the year is without a doubt this impeccable prog rock album from Marillion. To be honest, I had lost faith in their abilities to create another milestone album – shame on me! And thankfully they proved me so wrong with “F.E.A.R.”.


  1. Big Big Train – Folklore
    The ascend Big Big Train has experienced over the last decade is second to none. And “Folklore” is a manifestation of their rise to fame (in the prog rock community).

  1. Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
    40 minutes, one song! This album caught me off guard… once you get this album under your skin it leaves you in awe. Insomnium takes us on a sonic journey tied together by the Viking concept story, and they combine dark and gloomy sounds with gentle passages in death and progressive metal universe like no other band.


  1. Redemption – The Art of Loss
    Second album with the mighty Ray Alder on vocals, and one the first highlights of 2016. Nick van Dyk has once more created a monster progressive metal album.


  1. Karmakanic – DOT
    One of the best representatives of the Swedish prog rock community blessed us with another stellar album. “God The Universe And Everything Else No One Really Cares About Part. 1” alone makes this album an essential purchase for prog rock fans.


  1. Haken – Affinity
    While it’s not my favourite Haken album, it’s still one of the best and most complete prog releases this year.


  1. Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
    No other band manages to capture the essence of sadness and despair the way Katatonia does. And once more they’ve delivered a melancholic masterpieces second to none.

Honourable mention: Dream Theater, Long Distance Calling, Frost*, Alter Bridge, Headspace and Epica.

Best Newcomer of the Year

Not exactly a stellar year for new bright hopefuls… only Southern Empire caught my eye (and ears) and they can’t be called spring chickens either.

Southern Empire – Southern Empire

And does Anderson/Stolt qualify as newcomers?
Kyros – not exactly a newcomer either, they just changed their name…

Best Metal Songs of the Year

The song I keep going back to over and over the most is:

Long Distance Calling – Lines

Another very impressive song is Haken’s The Architect, which marks the highlight in their latest album:

Best Videos of the Year

No other video impressed me more than the very graphical video for the title-track for Avenged Sevenfold’s new album:

A simple and straightforward video, showing 4 artists on top of their game can be as brilliant as any:

Biggest Surprise of the Year

Amazing how many veterans in prog delivered at such a high standard, resulting in a great year for prog fans, but also resulting in almost next to nothing appeared on the new and upcoming front. Same can be said about the many, many cool releases in hard rock – the new bands that raise above the rest were made of veterans working together.

Top Artist of the Year

This year Devin Townsend gets the nod from me; he has to one of the most influential figures in metal these days, yet he manages to stay true to himself and do things like he likes to and do not let anyone tell him what to do or say!

Top Concerts of the Year

Well I did only attend Dream Theater performing their latest album “The Astonishing” in its entirety. Sitting down watching them perform was breathtaking.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year

Albums that didn’t satisfy as much as expected:

Opeth – Sorceress
Have really given this album its fair chance, but we’ve not come to terms, and will most like never.

The Mute Gods – Do Nothing till You Hear from Me
This trio has all the talent in the world, sadly their debut album turned out to be rather bland.

Periphery – 3: Select Difficulty
Had hopes for another step forward after the Juggernaut albums, but they weren’t completely fulfilled. Still better than many albums released this year.

Tiles – Pretending 2 Run
This double-album never convinced me in any way – boring if you ask me.

And we lost so many prominent and important figures in art this year, but none saddened me more than the loss of one the most important singers and lyricists, who has graced us with his talent: Leonard Cohen.

Biggest Wishes for the coming Year

The changing at the guards at goes smoothly.
Hopefully loads of new and exiting music will see the light of day… I am already looking forward for albums by Pain of Salvation, Queensrÿche, Blackfield, Mastodon, 5FDP and dare I dream: Tool.

Kenn Jensen
About Kenn Jensen 288 Articles
When I kicked this site off back in 2003, I had no idea that it would turn into what it has become. I am very proud of what we've done and achieved over the years. Musically I have a soft spot for 80s inspired hard rock, but my favourite music and bands are all to be found in the progressive universe these days.

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