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2016 Top 10 releases

Unfortunately, 2016 has demonstrated what seems to be the ongoing decline in interest for new music (at least, anything carrying a "rock and roll" tag attached to it).  In the past year, there were a slew of great releases, which, for the most part, seemed to fly under the radar, not getting the recognition they deserve.  Even long-standing "rock" stalwarts like the Rolling Stones and the Heavy Metal juggernauts, Metallica - while both having great initial release week sales - in the end, appear to have only received lukewarm responses from their fan bases, and the music community in general.
Nevertheless, we, here at Rock Music Star, love and appreciate new music, and like every year, we've compiled our Top 10 releases of the year.  Take a minute, to look back with us, at our favorite releases of 2016:
1. Metallica - 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct' - The pioneers of Thrash-metal released a back-to-vintage-form double record that sent their fans back to records stores in droves.  This release was one of a handful this year, that sold over one million.  Band leader, vocalist, rhythm guitarist, James Hetfield, is as zoned-in as ever, and delivers an epic metal masterpiece. 
2. Anthrax - 'For All Kings' - It's hard to believe that the 'underdogs' of Thrash-metal's "Big 4" can deliver such an amazing opus of new music, like they did in 2016.  As good as their last CD (2011's 'Worship Music') was, having the songs written with classic era singer Joey Belladonna's involvement made all the difference, as 'For All Kings' is a home run, without a doubt.  The stand out track, "Breathing Lightning," simply leaves the hair standing up on the back of your neck.  
3. Goo Goo Dolls - 'Boxes' - The pride and joy of Buffalo, NY, The Goo Goo Dolls, released their 11th studio album.  Band members John Rzeznik (vocals, guitar) and Robby Takac (bass, vocals on two tracks) really raised the bar - musically - with this release.  That, coupled with Rzeznik's catchy, clever and introspective lyrics, makes this one of the band's best of their career.  In addition to the monster hit, "So Alive," there are many other incredible tracks, including: "Over and Over," "The Pin," and, "Souls in the Machine."  You can check out the Goo Goo Dolls live this summer, when they play amphitheaters all across North America. 
4. Sixx Am - 'Prayers for the Damned' - The first of two volumes of music released by Nikki Sixx's 'side project turned main project,' kicks all kinds of ass, as Sixx and co. went back to the formula that made them the deformed tarantula of a band they were in the first place.  This time around, you won't find any Michael Jackson influenced tunes or disco numbers, just straight ahead, balls out: guitars, drums, vocals, with just enough eeriness and sleaze to keep it interesting.
5. Cheap Trick - 'Bang, Zoom, Crazy...Hello' - Classic rock icons, Cheap Trick, released their 17th studio album, and show that they are still a band with something to prove.  Unfortunately, this release was criminally ignored, with the exception of Little Steven, who gave it the praise it desevered on his Underground Garage radio show. Check out the David Bowie influenced single, "When I Wake Up Tomorrow," and the toe-tapping rocker, "No Direction Home." 
6. Megadeth - 'Dystopia' - Megadeth megalomaniac Dave Mustaine can continually smash his band into a million pieces and put it back together, somehow creating something better with each recreation. 'Dystopia' features the talents of guitarist Kiko Loureiro and drummer Chris Adler and does nothing short of assaulting your senses for three quarters of an hour, as Dave and 'deth take you through their 11 song journey.  
7. The Dead Daisies - 'Make Some Noise' - While current Dead Daisie's vocalist John Corabi made his debut with the band on 2015's 'Revolucion,' it wasn't until their 2016 release, where Corabi really made his mark with the group.  Between the great songwriting by the band and the amazing production by Marti Frederiksen, the end result will have you smiling from beginning to end.
8. Michael Sweet - 'One Sided War' - Stryper's leader, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter releases what could possibly be the best release of his career.  This hard-hitting recording is jam packed with intense, over-the-top guitar riffs and leads, with heartfelt and profound lyrics.  Michael Sweet is on top of his game, and one of the very best at his craft. 
9. Last In Line - 'Heavy Crown' - Def Leppard's guitarist, Vivian Campbell, reunites for the first time in decades with his DIO band mates, Vinny Appice (drums) and Jimmy Bain (bass).  What results, is an impressive, guitar-driven, DIO-sounding release that proves that Campbell still has game in the riff and shred department.  Vocalist, Andrew Freeman, has a noteworthy performance on this release, and proves that he is more than capable of playing tribute to the legacy of the great Ronnie James Dio. 
10. The Rolling Stones - 'Blue & Lonesome' -  Although this release is a cover record of old blues standards that were highly influential to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during their formative years -honing their musical skills, it still ranks as one of this year's best.  After all, it is the Rolling Stones, and even after 50 plus years, noboby does it better. 

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