Best 16 Rock Songs of 2016

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best-rock-songs-of-2016

The year 2016 has been a bumper one in rock music history. So much so that I had a hard time choosing the Top 16, normally there aren’t so many to choose from. We had releases from major bands, like Metallica, Alter Bridge, Skillet and a few newcomers I Prevail and Kaleo. A few songs made the list as 2016 was nearing its demise. A variety of different sounds can be heard and there is something here every rock fan can appreciate. Rock music is alive and well, if anyone needs proof of that 2016 is the evidence.

16. Kaleo – No Good

The relative newcomers from Iceland, formed in 2012, you just can’t deny the foot-tapping deliciousness of this song. JJ Julius Son’s vocals and the bluesy feel that is pulsing throughout “No Good” is sure to garner the band many new fans.

 

15. I Prevail – Stuck In Your Head

A little punk mixed with metal core is how I would describe “Stuck In Your Head” and it just works. The way Brian Burkheiser (clean vocals) and Eric Vanlerberghe (unclean vocals) feed off one another is captivating. I really enjoyed stumbling across this band this year, what a treat.

 

14. The Pretty Reckless – Take Me Down

The Pretty Reckless doesn’t disappoint, but I was surprised to see a tame release as the leading single from their new album. Taylor’s husky and soulful vocals envelop the song along with some solid drumming from Jamie Perkins. The song is infused with that undeniable Mississippi vibe.

 

13. A Day To Remember – Paranoia

A rock-fuelled injection for the aggressive rock fanatic. “Paranoia” doesn’t let up for one moment and A Day To Remember does not disappoint. This will be the song that concert goers live for. I will let the lyrics speak for itself, “I’m like a time bomb ticking in your head”.

 

12. Beartooth – Hated

I love the message of this song about how you should not allow people to belittle and walk over you. It is one of those songs that you want to hear blasted in a stadium to a massive audience. Beartooth hit this one out of the park.

 

11. Gemini Syndrome – Remember We Die

Aaron Nordstrum’s voice really shines on this track, it creates a sonically pleasing ebb and flow to the song and the guitar work is great. “Remember We Die” serves as a reminder to live each day as if it was your last.

 

10. Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth

“Crooked Teeth” is aggressive and hits you like a hurricane through the first listen. The lyrics describe a person who is reliving a terrifying event. I like how they incorporated the electronic sounds into the song and used it strategically. We can look forward to their new album in 2017!

 

9. Of Mice & Men – Real

This song really surprised me when I first heard it, because it is not what I expected from the band. I find it interesting that this is basically a duet between Austin Carlile and Aaron Pauley and the clean vocals surprised me too. The song deals with someone that’s been hurt by someone they love before and is trying to get through it.

 

8. Art of Anarchy – Madness

Scott Stapp took over the role of lead vocalist when Scott Weiland passed away. I love this song as I feel all the members of the band have combined their talents to create something unique. The song is based on Scott’s personal breakdown he had in 2014, which is why I believe the lyrics are so poignant .

 

7. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage

Avenged Sevenfold surprised us all with the release of their latest album “The Stage” which happened unannounced. The title track is an 8 minute long epic journey describing humanity and the way we have treated one another throughout history. The intro slowly introduces each instrument and then they gradually combine until M.Shadows steps in with the vocals. Synyster Gates’ guitar skills will leave you in awe if it hasn’t already. I decided to post the video of their live performance atop the Capitol Records building, because I enjoyed it so much.

 

6. 3 Doors Down – In The Dark

I love the vibe of this song and the subject matter. A good rock song which you can dance to and it is great to have the band back after 5 years between their latest album and the previous one.

 

5. Twenty One Pilots – Heathens

I understand that there might be some dispute about what genre this song belongs to, but I believe that almost each Twenty One Pilots’ song falls within a different genre. Josh’s performance on the drums are impeccable and the bass guitar glues the whole song together. A hauntingly unique song indeed.

5. Skillet – Undefeated

Although this is not one of the singles off their latest album “Unleashed”, it is the heaviest rock song off the album in my opinion. A motivating song that you can definitely add to your workout playlist. The backing vocals add to the power of the song and the talents of Jen Ledger on the drums is undeniable.

 

3. Alter Bridge – Crows On A Wire

My favourite band is back with their first album in three years “The Last Hero”. “Crows On A Wire” is an epic track and the lyrics serve as a warning for all those who believe fame and fortune is a ticket to happiness. Brian Marshall shines on the bass guitar, but the whole band gels together effortlessly on every track.

 

2. Metallica – Moth Into Flame

Normally a Metallica song has to grow on me before I like it, but not this song. I fell in love with this song from the get-go. They really come out of the gates swinging on this one. James has been quoted as saying that “Moth Into Flame” was inspired by the documentary about Amy Winehouse titled “Amy”. Thrash metal at its best.

 

 

 

 

1. Disturbed – Sound of Silence

I was torn when I was picking the number 1 rock song for 2016, because this song was such an obvious choice, which automatically made me not want to choose it. I thought about it some more and I realised how much this one song on its own has done for the rock music genre this year.  I’m sure it garnered Disturbed some new fans and if it didn’t, more people were at the very least exposed to Disturbed’s music. When I first heard the song on the album, I actually went to check the song credits to see if it was really David Draiman’s voice I was listening to. It is one of the best cover songs I have ever heard and I’m sure I’m not alone when I make that statement. There is something to be said for a song that gives you chills every time you listen to it. A musical masterpiece.

2016 was indeed the year for rock fans to revel in, I mean even Guns ‘n Roses reunited!

Here is to a rocking 2017!

Cheers!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

https://twitter.com/MusicMonkey14

 

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Band of the Month – Seether

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Seether- Shaun Morgan by JaredWingate Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether- Shaun Morgan
by JaredWingate
Source: http://fav.me/d6m9oej

Seether is a post grunge/alternative metal band hailing from my country of birth, South Africa. They were founded in 1999 in Pretoria. Seether consists of Shaun Morgan (lead guitar, vocals), Dale Stewart (bass guitarist) and John Humphrey (drums).

The band got the chance to be a part of Ozzfest and released an EP before unveiling their full-length debut album (“Disclaimer”) in August of  2002. “Disclaimer” featured the single “Fine Again”. A great deal of pre-production took place in South Africa under the supervision of a Wind-Up representative, it continued in New York before the recording sessions took place in Los Angeles. The band began extensive touring in promotion of Disclaimer in July 2002. They performed alongside the likes of Our Lady Peace into the following year.Initially the band emerged with the name Saron Gas (a name taken from the back of a sound effects CD) and they released their debut album called “Fragile” on Musketeer Records. South Africa’s musical tastes are centered around pop, dance and mainstream music. Despite this fact Fragile found impressive chart success, making US-based record label Wind-Up Records sit up and take notice. They signed the South African band mates who changed their name to Seether. Saron Gas was too similar to the lethal nerve agent sarin gas.

A planned follow-up to their first album was delayed by almost a year when Seether was chosen as the support act for Evanescence’s worldwide tour. During this time a romance started to blossom between lead singer of Seether, Shaun Morgan and lead singer of Evanescence, Amy Lee. The tour ensured Seether’s commercial success, but delayed the band’s return to the recording studio. The band reworked their acoustic ballad “Broken” to an electric ballad with guest vocals by Amy Lee. “Broken” along with a new song entitled “Sold Me” featured on the soundtrack of 2004’s movie “The Punisher”.

An alternate version of the original album entitled Disclaimer II was released on the 15th of June 2004, with some songs remixed and reworked, with an extra eight new tracks (in the US).  The major reason for the reworking of Disclaimer was the popularity that the song “Broken” achieved after its release. Seether viewed the album as an opportunity to re-evaluate their debut’s release (whose mix was, according to the band, sub par) and provided fans with material to serve as a holdover until the band’s proper follow-up album.

The band’s follow-up album “Karma and Effect” was released on the 24th of May 2005.  It is certified gold in the US and Canada. Originally titled Catering to Cowards, the name was changed at the record label’s demand. The album debuted at number 8 on the US Billboard 200 album charts. It spawned three singles; “Remedy”, “Truth” and “The Gift”. “Remedy” reached number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock Charts, Seether’s first number 1 hit.

Seether released an acoustic CD/DVD set, “One Cold Night” on the 11th of July 2006. Shaun Morgan had suffered from a stomach ailment and decided to do an acoustic set instead of cancelling the show. The concert was recorded in Grape Street, Philadelphia. The record label wanted to exclude any obscenities from the album and that explains why “Needles” and “Burrito” do not feature on the album.

Lead guitarist Patrick Callahan‘s departure was announced  on the 16th of June 2006, an explanation was not provided. Patrick apparently didn’t enjoy Seether’s new music.

In August of 2006, Shaun Morgan entered a rehab program for alcoholism, which forced the band to cancel their tour with Staind and Three Days Grace.

The day that Evanescence released their single “Call Me When You’re Sober” on radio, it was announced that Shaun Morgan was entering rehab. Amy Lee confirmed that the song was inspired by her ex-boyfriend and that the song had become somewhat of a chick anthem. The track leaked to radio on the 30th of July 2006, causing several radio stations to play it early without it being released as a single.

Shaun didn’t want to “lower” himself to Lee’s level, therefore he didn’t really want to react to the song, but stated that he was upset that she had said “those” things. Upon the release of Seether’s 2007 album release “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”, Shaun knew everyone would be looking for an Amy Lee reference on the album. He was desperate not to have one, but did mention that the song “Breakdown” , he considered a lament and not an angry backlash. He further states that the song isn’t about one person, its more universal, vague and respectful.

“Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces” was originally planned for an August release that was delayed until the 23rd of October 2007 due to the suicide of Shaun’s brother Eugene Welgemoed. The album debuted at number 9 in the Billboard 200 album charts and sold 57,000 copies in its first week. The first single off the album “Fake It” reached number 1 of US Mainstream Rock Charts and Modern Rock Charts,  the song held that spot for at least 9 weeks on both charts. “Rise Above This” was written in memory of Shaun’s brother, Eugene. The last single from the album “Breakdown” won Seether their first South African Music Award in the “Best Rock: English” category. The song won them their first MTV Africa Music Award for “Best Alternative Artist”.

A tour in support of the album lasted for most of the year 2008. Troy McLawhorn previously a member of bands such as Dark New Day, Evanescence, Sevendust and doubleDrive was hired as a touring guitarist on the 15th of February 2008. During the tour Seether shared the stage with bands such as Three Days Grace, 3 Doors Down, Skillet, Breaking Benjamin and Red to name a few. After the tour Troy was named as an official member of the band. A cover of Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” was made available for purchase as a digital or mobile download. The music video for the song was released on the 15th of June 2009 and the song is included as an extra track on the reissue of the album “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces”.

Seether supported Nickelback during March and April of 2009 and it was confirmed by Dale and Shaun that after the Nickelback tour the band would take the rest of the year off from touring to concentrate on recording new content for their upcoming album. Nevertheless the band made their appearances at select shows and festivals.

The band spent several months recording in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Brendan ‘O Brien. Recording was completed in August and the album went into the mixing process. The album was completed in September and “Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray” was released on the 17th of May 2011. Seether reached their highest place on the US Billboard 200 Chart when the album reached the number 2 slot. Billboard named Seether the No. 1 Active and No. 1 Heritage Rock Artist of 2011. Troy McLawhorn left Seether and returned to Evanescence in March 2012.

Seether played the main stage on the Uproar Festival alongside bands, Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Bullet for my Valentine and Escape the Fate. Seether supported 3 Doors Down on their European tour which started in November and lasted till March the following year.

A compilation album titled “Seether 2002-2013” was released on the 23rd of October 2013. It was released as a double-disc album featuring their greatest hits, unreleased demos, soundtrack songs and 3 all-new tracks including a cover of Veruca Salt’s song “Seether” where the band got their name from. Seether carried out a small, semi-acoustic tour of Europe and South Africa. I had the privilege to attend one of these shows and you can read my review of the concert here:

https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/an-intimate-evening-with-seether-kirstenbosch-gardens-parklife-festival-review/

On the 31st of January 2014, Seether posted a video on their YouTube account in which Shaun Morgan stated that the new album is well underway and recording should be completed within a week’s time from the date the video was recorded. In April 2014 the band posted teasers of the album on apps Snapchat and Instagram. Teasers of two of the songs off the new album was posted on YouTube namely; “Words As Weapons” and “My Disaster”. Later on more song clips were teased on the band’s official Instagram account. In late April 2014, it was announced that the new album titled “Isolate and Medicate” was set to be released on the 1st of July 2014. “Words As Weapons” was the first single to be released on the 1st of May 2014. On the 29th of April 2014, the band’s long-time guitar tech, Bryan Wickmann and former Art Director of Schecter Guitar Research was announced as Seether’s new touring guitarist.

Seether has been present in my life, since I can remember. I remember hearing “Fine Again”, mesmerized by the melancholy nature of the song. I really identified with that song at that stage of my life. After having the privilege to see the band perform in November 2013, I was blown away by Shaun Morgan’s vocals. Its like you can hear his whole life story just by listening to his voice. It doesn’t matter how dark the song is, the band delivers the material with a flair which is unmatched. Seether does not like to conform to anyone’s rules, they play by their own. This is a trait which is admirable considering the power that record labels have at their disposal. Seether has proved what determination, ambition, drive and talent can amount to if you make it count.

You can follow the band on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SeetherOfficial

The band recently released their creative video for their latest single “Words As Weapons”. Watch it below:

While promoting their latest album release “Isolate and Medicate” the band stopped by Loudwire’s studios to perform a few songs. Watch them perform the acoustic version of 2004’s hit “Broken”.

Seether by CatCleopatra Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by CatCleopatra
Source: http://fav.me/d7or873

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza

Seether by GIVEthemHORNS
Source: http://fav.me/d4q0lza

Band of the Month – Prime Circle

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As a South African and as a South African rock music blogger I believe that I should feature some local talent. So this month I’m honoured to present to you, Prime Circle. A band that has changed the landscape of the rock music industry in South Africa. When Prime Circle formed in December of the year 2001 in the mining town of Witbank, Mpumulanga the South African rock music industry was very different to what we experience at the moment. Finding talented, dedicated musicians was a challenge to say the very least. Prime Circle is currently based in Johannesburg and was originally signed to The David Gresham Record Company. Since early 2008 Prime Circle has been signed to EMI Music South Africa.

Prime Circle consists of Ross Learmonth (vocals&guitar) , Dirk Bisschoff (Guitars), Marco Gomes (Bass Guitar) , Neil Breytenbach(Keyboards) and Dale Schnettler (Drums & Backing Vocals).

Prime Circle has played at most major concerts and they have opened for US based band Live during the South African leg of their Birds of Pray world tour. In 2005 the band performed at Nelson Mandela‘s 46664 concert. In 2006 the band played alongside Metallica, Seether, Collective Soul and Simple Plan at the Coca-Cola Colab events in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. Prime Circle was invited to join 3 Doors Down on the European leg of their tour and they performed in Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart on the 7th, 8th and 10th of June 2011. Both bands were joined on stage by Alter Bridge.

In 2003 Prime Circle released their debut album Hello Crazy World, which reached Gold Status in South Africa. The singles off of this album “Hello”, “My Inspiration” and “Live This Life” was in heavy rotation on South African radio stations. They started building a solid fanbase that has stood by them for over a decade. I still consider these singles as rock classics, because when I listen to it now, it still makes me feel the same way I did when I first heard it…in awe.

In October 2005 they released their second album “Live This Life” which reached gold status in 12 months solidifying their position as South Africa’s biggest selling rock act of 2003/2004/2005/2006. In July 2006 a DVD of their performance at The Function in Johannesburg was released and it was called Living in a Crazy World. In 2007 David Gresham Records released a CD/DVD Best of… box set which followed the success of the previous two albums. The CD featured 17 tracks including acoustic, live and remixed versions of previously released favourites including a new track called Moments which reached number 1 on numerous local radio charts. I was slightly baffled by the release of the Best of… box set at the time it was released, because the band had only released two albums up until that point. Initially I didn’t know different versions of the tracks were included. My personal suggestion would have been just to give the box set a different name.

After signing with EMI the band released the album All or Nothing in 2008. This album in essence was just a taste of things to come, it was the most important step in the band’s evolution. The album was recorded at Bellville Studios in Cape Town the album changed their musical direction from post grunge to a more anthemic rock sound. The band was nominated at the South African Music Awards for Record of the Year and Best Rock Album for All or Nothing. With the success of All or Nothing the band released a live DVD of the same name in early 2009 which coincided with the international release date of the album. The first single off of the album called “She Always Gets What She Wants” is a really special song and received 810,932 views on Youtube to date. You can view the video below:

It is the most viewed South African rock song on YouTube. Follow-up singles from the album include “Consider Me” and “Out Of This Place” which are listed among my favourites.

In mid 2010 the band started working on their 4th album “Jekyll and Hyde” which had a lot to live up to. The album was mixed in Los Angeles by Kevin Shirley who has worked with the likes of Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Silverchair and Journey. Mastering engineer George Marino who is famous for his work with Guns ‘n Roses and Ozzy Osbourne added some final touches to the album. The first two singles released from Jekyll and Hyde was the power ballad “Breathing” and the thoughtful “Turning In My Sleep”. Both of these songs were nominated for the SAMA MTN Record of the year. In March 2011, Prime Circle won the Best International Breakthrough Act at the MK Awards. Both singles from Jekyll and Hyde still enjoy heavy rotation on South Africa’s regional radio stations.

In July 2012 the band entered the studio once again to tackle their fifth studio album called “Evidence”. Their first single off of their latest album is the title track. On the 11th of January 2013 the Official music video for the track was released and its pretty intense. Check it out!

Here is an alternative link if the video above doesn’t work: http://vimeo.com/57280650

After being part of the music industry for the past 11 years Prime Circle has cemented their brand and they have put their stamp on the South African music industry. I just wish them all the success in the world and I believe they will only grow from strength to strength in the future. Ross Learmonth’s voice has become one of the most recognisable voices in the South African music industry, but the band still remains humble and continues to be dedicated to their fan base.

German fans are in for a treat, because Prime Circle are busy finalising some German tour dates which should be released soon, exciting things to come for Prime Circle fans.

You can follow Prime Circle on the following social media sites:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Prime.Circle (Like)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/prime_circle (Follow)

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102173999209147308575 (+1)

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/primecircleofficial (Subscribe)

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Please note, I do not own any of the photos listed below and these photos were sourced from Prime Circle’s official Facebook page, credits go to the photographer respectively.

Frontman of the Week – Brad Arnold

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3 Doors Down was formed in 1996 and Brad has fronted the band since their formation. Brad has a unique tone to his voice as well as a well-rounded smoothness to his voice which is apparent in 3 Doors Down’s slower songs. Brad Arnold was born on the 27th of September 1978, which means he is currently 34 years old and he was born in Escatawpa MS.

During interviews Brad has said that as a songwriter he likes songs that have some kind message, the song doesn’t have to be philosophical or really deep, but a song has to have a message to carry through to the listener. Brad further mentioned that he tries not to preach too much in his songs, because he wants people to relate to his songs since their songs are about everyday life.

Brad has embraced the internet and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, because it provides a direct line of communication with his fans and you can get immediate feedback from them without any restrictions.

3 Doors Down’s latest album was released on the 19th of November 2012 and its a compilation of their Greatest Hits over the past 10 years. Their song Kryptonite launched their career and Brad recalls that it was an amazing time for the band when it took off, because they wrote the song when they were teenagers and they badgered a local radio station to play the song for two years.

One of the three new songs on their Greatest Hits album was written about a 65 year old man that lived down the road from Brad at his camp by the river in South Mississippi, they would always sit around the fire, drinking beers and throwing wood on the fire. The man had a stroke and was in a coma for a week and it got him thinking about the difficulty of letting a loved one or a friend go. Brad had seen him only four days before he had the stroke and it really got Brad thinking about him and his wife. The man passed away two days after Brad wrote the song “Goodbye”. Brad sent the song to a friend of his down there and asked him to play the song for everyone, since its a really close-knit community. His friend let him know that he will play it for them in about 2 weeks time, because they might not be ready to hear it yet. Brad believes that the saddest songs have the most impact on people’s lives and he is always proud when he hears that one of his songs had an impact on someone’s life.

Brad married horseback rider Jennifer Sanderford on the 12 of September 2009 in a 120 guest ceremony in his hometown of Escatawpa. As childhood friends the couple reconnected after Brad’s divorce from his first wife in 2006. If you would like to read a little more about the couple follow the link here:http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20304129,00.html

Close to Brad’s heart is The Better Life Foundation that was started in 2003, the foundation’s goal being to improve the lives of children. TBLF provided aid and assistance to the Gulf coast region of Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. 3 Doors Down and The Better Life Foundation host an annual concert to raise money for the charity. Along with the concert an auction takes place which includes items from musical friends, sports stars and various supporters of the band and the charity. Past performers at the show include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Staind, Hinder, Switchfoot, Tracy Lawrence and Sara Evans among others.

The most rewarding thing about 3 Doors Down and Brad’s career has been The Better Life Foundation and when they first went Gold it was a pretty proud moment for the band. 3 Doors Down started touring when Brad was just 20 years old and he was still living with his parents at that time. He continued to live with his parents up until he got married a couple of years later, so the first place his gold record ever hung was on his bedroom wall in his parent’s house. He invited all of his friends over so they could come look at it.

3 Doors Down start their tour with Daughtry today in Pikeville, Kentucky and it promises to be a smashing rock show for the whole family to come and see.

3 Doors Down’s latest single “One Light” made its debut at the Republican National Convention where the band performed the song live. Brad states that the song is not politically motivated although it does seem to apply to the election in some way. He further went on to say that the song itself is much bigger than the (then) upcoming elections and that it is meant to be a message to people to give back more to the world than that which they take away. Brad hopes that young people will take inspiration from the song and provide a solution to at least one problem in their community, school or family environment.

I get the impression that Brad Arnold is a very talented songwriter and musician as well as a humble and charming person. I wish him all the best for his future endeavours and I hope to listen to 3 Doors Down for many years to come.

You can follow 3 Doors Down on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/3doorsdown

Greg Upchurch: https://twitter.com/Gregupchurch

Chet Roberts :https://twitter.com/croberdog

Todd Harrell: https://twitter.com/Toddh3dd

Chris Henderson: https://twitter.com/Chris3dd

Brad Arnold: https://twitter.com/Brad3DD

The Better Life Foundation: https://twitter.com/BetterLifeFound

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Brad Arnold

Brad Arnold
Source: http://loudwire.com/3-doors-down-brad-arnold-inspiration-one-light/
Photographer: Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com