2016, The Ultimate Playlist: Heavy Hitters

The Answer
The Answer: rock hard!

The Answer Solas

If reports of The Answer’s new Celtic direction raised eyebrows, this stalking track proved they could broaden their horizons without losing their balls. “I think that song is a summary of everything that’s new on this record,” said guitarist Paul Mahon.

Alter Bridge My Champion

From Myles Kennedy’s memories of being “a small, underdeveloped kid” grew this stadium-sized anthem, bolstered by a guitar intro with a healthy hint of For Those About To Rock, and a chorus that practically cattle-prodded you out of despondency.

Ghost Square Hammer

“This is a short, to-the-point little gem, aimed right at the jugular,” said a Nameless Ghoul when the Swedish occultists Ghost released this pounding yet melodic single. Further proof – as if it were needed – that the Devil has all the best tunes.

Raveneye Madeline

Blues cub Oli Brown’s reinvention as a fright-haired hard rocker might have seemed risible, but nobody was sneering after Madeline, a seismic, tempo-shifting, supremely confident belter that addressed “the relationship we have with love, what we do for it, what we sacrifice for it”.

Volbeat Seal The Deal

Frontman Michael Poulsen promised “huge melodies and hook lines” with sixth album Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie, and the Danes didn’t disappoint with this relentless title track. Jack-hammer rhythms meet shred licks like they used to write ’em – and don’t miss the mid-point Darkness-style grunt (“Uh!”).

Beware Of Darkness Muthafucka

A seething, two-fingered salute, the Californians’ comeback was described by BOD guitarist/vocalist Kyle Nicolaides as “about ending a particularly harrowing season of your life and vowing that you’ll never, ever go back”. It’s a song to blast out of the car window as you burn away from your dead-end job.