The Kerrang! Staff’s Top 10 Songs Of The Year 2016

And the awards go to…

The Kerrang! Staff’s Top 10 Songs Of The Year 2016

Warning: some awesome music ahead…

We’ve told you about the albums that have rocked Kerrang!’s stereo this year in the new issue of the magazine, but the staff of K! have now revealed their personal favourite songs of 2016. So, without further ado…

James McMahon

10. Louise Distras – Aileen
9. Hellions – He Without Sin i) Halation
8. Vodun – Divinity
7. Muncie Girls – Learn In School
6. Bad Cop / Bad Cop – Get Rad
5. Russian Circles – Mota
4. The Black Queen – Ice To Never
3. Architects – From The Wilderness
2. Doe – Sincere

1. Ghost – Square Hammer

“This was the year I properly got beneath the gimmick and got Ghost. In truth, there probably wasn’t a record I battered quite like Ghost’s third album (and 2015 release) Meliora all year, and if it had been released just four months later, it would have been my album of 2016 by a gazillion miles. This stopgap track – sort of like heavy metal Satanic Motown, if there is such a thing – makes me insanely excited about what they’re going to offer next.”

George Garner
Deputy Editor

10. Milk Teeth – Crows Feet
9. Brian Fallon – Painkillers
8. Thrawsunblat – She Who Names The Stars
7. Weezer – Jacked Up
6. Skating Polly – Perfume For Now
5. Dinosaur Jr. – Be A Part
4. Against Me! – Norse Truth
3. Architects – Nihilist
2. Deftones – Phantom Bride

1. Zack De La Rocha – Digging For Windows

“Eight years ago, Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha blew my tiny little mind with his One Day As A Lion project. And I’ve been waiting for new music from him – with a combination of patience and OH-GOD-JUST-RELEASE-SOMETHING-agony – ever since. He finally returned this September with his debut solo single, Digging For Windows, and it did not disappoint. At all. In fact, this actually exceeded my lofty expectations. Over a bouncing beat by El-P, the irrepressible voice of Rage Against The Machine proved he’d lost none of his ability to make words hit like a bullets. We needed more songs like this in 2016. My gut tells me we’ll need them even more in 2017.”

Nick Ruskell
Associate Editor (Reviews)

10. Okily Dokily – White Wine Spritzer
9. Descendents – On Paper
8. Winterfylleth – I Troldskog Faren Vild (Ulver Cover)
7. Grave Miasma – Yama Transforms To Afterlife
6. Diamond Head – Shout At The Devil
5. Metallica – Spit Out The Bone
4. Every Time I Die – Awful Lot
3. Deströyer 666 – Live And Burn
2. Purson – Electric Landlady

1. Conan – Revengeance

“Nobody released anything with as much speaker-busting, hernia-causing, fabric-of-time-tearing weight in 2016 as Brit doomsters Conan did. But where the North West’s most down-tuned truly succeeded was in the instances when their war-wagon rolled at a faster pace that they became truly devastating. No wonder they need so many bloody amps onstage.”

Matt Dykzeul
Deputy Art Editor

‪10. The Dirty Nil – Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü
9. Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me
8. Green Day – Too Dumb To Die
7. Code Orange – Forever
6. Balance And Composure – Afterparty
5. Metallica – Spit Out The Bone
4. PUP – DVP
3. Modern Baseball – Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind
2. Nails – Life Is A Death Sentence

1. Architects – Gone With The Wind

“How something so bleak be so uplifting at the same time? Rest in peace, Tom.”

Emily Carter
Sub Editor/Editorial Assistant

10. Architects – Nihilist
9. Panic! At The Disco – Crazy=Genius
8. Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties – Green Like The G Train, Green Like Sea Foam
7. Every Time I Die – The Coin Has A Say
6. Avenged Sevenfold – Creating God
5. Green Day – Forever Now
4. Weezer – King Of The World
3. Metallica – Moth Into Flame
2. Brian Fallon – Rosemary

1. The Menzingers – Lookers

“Two-thirds of the way through 2016, I was 99 per cent certain that Brian Fallon would top my end-of-year list. And then, out of nowhere, the best punk-rock band in the world returned with Lookers and made my heart want to burst. The beautiful lyrics, Greg Barnett’s always-heartfelt vocals and that life-affirming chorus has me wondering about ‘Julie from the Wonder Bar’ with every single listen. It’s one of those wonderfully rare songs that makes you feel as though it was specifically written for you, and I’m forever grateful to The Menzingers for filling the Gaslight Anthem-shaped void in my life. (Side note: please ignore Ryan De Freitas’ below comments regarding Menzingers/Gaslight comparisons.)

Sophie Bland

10. Biffy Clyro – Wolves Of Winter
9. Every Time I Die – It Remembers
8. The Hunna – Bonfire
7. Nothing – Fever Queen
6. Panic! At The Disco – Crazy=Genius
5. Balance And Composure – Midnight Zone
4. Architects – Gone With The Wind
3. Lonely The Brave – Wait In The Car
2. Highly Suspect – My Name Is Human

1. twenty one pilots – Heathens

“I liked the film, but I LOVED this song from it a lot more!”

James Hingle
Listings Editor

10. Bad Sign – Closure
9. Don Broco – Everybody
8. Panic! At The Disco – Death Of A Bachelor
7. Metallica – Moth Into Flame
6. Descendents – On Paper
5. SWMRS – Palm Trees
4. Napoleon – Afterlife
3. Deftones – Prayers/Triangles
2. Ghost – Square Hammer

1. Architects – Gone With The Wind

“If you’re looking for the most powerful song of 2016, then Gone With The Wind is just that. ‘A sickness with no remedy, except the ones inside of me’ – when you first hear those lyrics, you don’t look into them too much, but after the tragic passing of guitarist Tom Searle, they take on a whole new meaning and understanding to become a truly spine-tingling set of prose. RIP Tom, you’ve been immortalised with your incredible talents.”

Jennyfer J. Walker
Freelance Writer

10. letlive. – Good Mourning, America
9. A Day To Remember – Bullfight
8. Every Time I Die – It Remembers
7. Sainte – Technicolour
6. With Confidence – Voldemort
5. Set It Off – Diamond Girl
4. blink-182 – Sober
3. Panic! At The Disco – The Good, The Bad And The Dirty
2. Green Day – Still Breathing

1. Architects – Deathwish

“Deathwish is my favourite track from All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us – a stunning and inspiring body of work, and one of my most-adored albums of 2016. It embodies everything I love about Architects; it’s heavy and beautifully dark, whilst still being incredibly catchy (whenever I hear the ‘Yeah I know you know that we’ve been living a lie’ line it ends up in my head for daaaaaaaays). Lyrically, Deathwish is massively important, with Sam Carter vocalising the fact we’re all slowly destroying the planet. Yeah, we should probably get on and sort that…”

Jess Bridgeman
Freelance Writer

10. Luca Brasi – Count Me Out
9. letlive. – Good Mourning, America
8. Black Foxxes – I’m Not Well
7. Deftones – Prayers/Triangles
6. Happy Accidents – Leaving Parties Early
5. The Smith Street Band – Death To The Lads
4. Creeper – Suzanne
3. Camp Cope – Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams
2. The Hard Aches – I Freak Out

1. The Menzingers – Bad Catholics

“Considering the dire state of 2016, new music from The Menzingers was as good a silver lining as we could’ve hoped for. Sort of. Then in came Bad Catholics, bounding towards us with a chorus that temporarily washed away the awfulness of the real world and reassured us that we don’t have to grow up just yet.”

Ryan De Freitas
Freelance Writer

10. Black Peaks – Say You Will
9. Pinegrove – Old Friends
8. AJJ – White Worms
7. PUP – DVP
6. letlive. – A Weak Ago
5. G.L.O.S.S. – Give Violence A Chance
4. Jeff Rosenstock – Festival Song
3. Joyce Manor – Reversing Machine
2. Weezer – Summer Elaine And Drunk Dori

1. The Menzingers – Lookers

“The best punk band on the planet continue to be the best punk band on the planet. Nostalgic and beautiful, this song makes me pine for their new album the same way their music has me pining for a life spent making small talk in smoky American diners. This is the song you all pretended The Gaslight Anthem could write *wink emoji*.”

Hannah Ewens
Freelance Writer

10. PWR BTTM – Dairy Queen
9. letlive. – Good Mourning, America
8. Modern Baseball – Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind
7. PUP – DVP
6. Frank Iero And The Patience – Dear Percocet, I Don’t Think We Should See Each Other Anymore
5. Architects – Nihilist
4. PWR BTTM – Dairy Queen
3. Modern Baseball – Wedding Singer
2. BABYMETAL – Karate

1. Against Me! – Crash

“As well as bringing out her painful, honest and brilliant book, Tranny, and one of the best punk albums of 2016, Shape Shift With Me, Laura Jane Grace has written Crash, my favourite song of the year. Playful, upbeat and nostalgic; as soon as the fuzzy power-pop riff hits it’s like a classic rock song you’ve always known. Happy and sad in equal measure, it’s the perfect break-up song, simple enough to let you project. Ultimately it feels like coming out the other side wiser, harder but not closed off. I’ve listened to this getting ready most dark miserable mornings this year and it hasn’t lost the magic. Someone needs to give LJG a gold star for 2016.”

James Hickie
Freelance Writer

10. Creeper – Suzanne
9. Anthrax – Breathing Lightning
8. Hellions – Quality Of Life
7. Ghost – I Believe
6. The Word Alive – Trapped
5. Night Riots – Nothing Personal
4. Lonely The Brave – Comfortably Numb
3. Biffy Clyro – Wolves Of Winter
2. Vukovi – Animal

1. Every Time I Die – Religion Of Speed

“Writing his debut novel, Scale, certainly seemed to gift Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley – already a lyrical dab hand – with an even greater economy with words. In an album riddled with potent sentiments, Religion of Speed features my personal favourite in the line: ‘When all I am is a stone that says the name I had and the years that I had been‘. Witness the concise way Keith conveys that universal notion of wanting to live a life that’ll be immortalised in something more than words and a number on a piece of rock. A morbid thought, admittedly, but a powerful one.”

Sam Law
Freelance Writer

10. Gojira – Silvera
9. Death Angel – The Moth
8. Amon Amarth – First Kill
7. Enter Shikari – Hoodwinker
6. Testament – The Pale King
5. Ghost – Square Hammer
4. Skating Polly – Perfume For Now
3. Letlive. – Good Mourning, America
2. Biffy Clyro – Animal Style

1. Jimmy Eat World – Get Right

“Three minutes of pop-rock perfection, the lead single to JEW’s emotionally airy ninth album might’ve promised more foot-on-the-pedal thrust than Integrity Blues eventually delivered. But as both propulsive centrepiece and standalone throwback to the band’s dancefloor-swaying glory days, there was little question that this was the sound of a recharged Jimmy getting right.”

Alistair Lawrence
Freelance Writer

10. Night Verses – A Dialogue In Cataplexy
9. Deftones – Hearts/Wires
8. World Be Free – I’m Done
7. HECK – Good As Dead
6. Future of the Left – Back When I Was Brilliant
5. The Falcon – Sailor’s Grave
4. letlive. – Good Mourning, America
3. Trap Them – Hellionaires
2. PUP – Old Wounds

1. Grieving – My Friend, The Ghost

“A quartet of thirtysomething post-hardcore ‘kids’ from Cambridge probably weren’t meant to record one of the most rousing rock songs of 2016, but the lead-off track from Grieving’s debut Demonstrations EP is just that. Vocalist and guitarist James Parrish previously fronted former K! favourites The Tupolev Ghost, and while he appears to have mellowed with age, he’s lost none of his ability to write stirring and evocative short stories and set them to music.”

James Mackinnon
Freelance Writer

10. Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties – Green Like The G Train, Green Like Sea Foam
9. Doe – Corin
8. HECK – I. See The Old Lady Decently II. Buried Although III. Amongst Those Left Are You
7. Taking Back Sunday – You Can’t Look Back
6. Beach Slang – Spin The Dial
5. The Xcerts – Gone With The Wind
4. Hellions – Quality of Life
3. Twin Atlantic – No Sleep
2. Creeper – Misery

1. The Menzingers – Lookers

“I’m a sucker for nostalgia and jubilant choruses hollered at the top of your lungs. It’s something The Menzingers (AKA America’s Greatest Punk-Rock Bar Band) have always done well, but Lookers is the rose-tinted essence of what they do. It’s a deep drink of long summer nights fading into memory, with all the effusive spark of a roman candle as the bar calls time. Plus, The Menzingers are the only bar band who can rip off Tom Waits and get away with it. Sha la la la!”

Amit Sharma
Freelance Writer

10. Anthrax – Defend Avenge
9. The Pineapple Thief – The Final Thing On My Mind
8. Purson – Desire’s Magic Theatre
7. Ihsahn – South Winds
6. Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – Blood Moon
5. Ghost – Square Hammer
4. The Black Queen – Secret Scream
3. Deftones – Hearts/Wires
2. Opeth – Strange Brew

1. Metallica – Spit Out The Bone

“The kings have returned! I can’t say I held much hope for Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, having barely revisited their last few efforts since initial release, but this time it was love at first listen. With some ridiculously good production work courtesy of Greg Fidelman and James Hetfield rediscovering much of that snarl and bark he lost along the years, it’s a pure return to form. Welcome back.”

Dan Slessor
Freelance Writer

10. Brain Drill – Steadfast Horror
9. Rob Zombie – In The Age Of The Consecrated Vampire We All Get High
8. Aborted – Forged For Decrepitude
7. Gutter Instinct – Death Cult
6. Ulcerate – There Are No Saviours
5. The Algorithm – userspace
4. Seven Sisters Of Sleep – Third Season
3. Metallica – Hardwired
2. Norma Jean – I. The Planet

1. Serpentine Dominion – The Vengeance In Me

“While Cannibal Corpse fans were denied new music from the death metal titans in 2016, George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher teamed up with Killswitch’s Adam Dutkiewicz and vomited this glorious nugget of brutish violence into existence. Though the album it’s taken from is a little patchy, The Vengeance In Me is 151 seconds of belligerent, unrepentant sonic savagery: ugly riffs, thunderous drums and Corpsegrinder snarling, bellowing and grunting as only he can. What more could you ask for?”

Olly Thomas
Freelance Writer

10. Architects – A Match Made In Heaven
9. Cough – Haunter Of The Dark
8. Swans – Cloud Of Unknowing
7. Child Bite – Born A Hog
6. Ghold – Despert Thrang
5. Touché Amoré – Palm Dreams
4. Neurosis – Broken Ground
3. Oranssi Pazuzu – Saturaatio
2. Dinosaur Jr. – Goin Down

1. Muncie Girls – Respect

“This year, it’s become increasingly clear that hard-won rights mustn’t be taken for granted. Under the circumstances, this broadside against misogyny took on ever more significance as 2016 went on. When it was first released, it was already a great song, a stand-out on the excellent Muncie Girls debut full-length. By year end, it felt like an incredibly necessary corrective to the hateful bile being flung around the atmosphere by everyone from dickhead internet trolls to the president-elect. In these troubled times, we need songs, and bands, like this.”

Paul Travers
Freelance Writer

10. Green Day – Bang Bang
9. NOFX – Oxy Moronic
8. Against Me! – Norse Truth
7. Evil Scarecrow – Hurricanado
6. Billy Talent – Louder Than The DJ
5. Metallica – Atlas, Rise!
4. Prophets Of Rage – Prophets Of Rage
3. Death Angel – The Moth
2. Creeper – Black Mass

1. Bowling For Soup – Don’t Be A Dick

“In a year when the country divided, legends dropped like flies and a mutant cockwomble with vagina eyes got his tiny hands on the Armageddon button, we needed bands like Bowling For Soup. This might not – technically – be the best song released this year, but it’s one to live your life by and if everyone else followed suit that would be half the world’s problems sorted in a stroke.”

Ian Winwood
Freelance Writer

10. Plague Vendor – Saturday Night Shakes
9. Alter Bridge – Cradle To The Grave
8. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Manafacturing Discontent
7. Feeder – Infrared Ultraviolet
6. Avenged Sevenfold – Exist
5. NOFX – Oxy Moronic
4. Architects – The Empty Hourglass
3. Metallica – Spit Out The Bone
2. Green Day – Forever Now

1. Biffy Clyro – Re-arrange

“On this most shape-shifting track, Biffy Clyro split Re-arrange into three different styles: rock, pop and the kind of dance-beat soul that will work in clubs where the DJs do not play music made by milk-white guitar bands. It is a thing of sophistication. And anyone who says that parent album Ellipsis is the group’s least interesting album in a decade is an idiot.”

Be sure to pick up the latest issue of Kerrang! for our full report on the 50 Best Records Of 2016 + our amazing Green Day Tribute CD!

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