Like Graham mentioned in his Top 5 Albums of 2016 post, it was a peculiar year. We had discussed throughout the months that there was plenty of solid rock and metal out there, but not a lot seemed to breach that proverbial "next level" as albums that will be discussed for years and years to come.

As I sifted through hundreds and hundreds of albums this year, I was intrigued by how many well-established acts have continued to churn out respectable efforts and great additions to already historic catalogs. As always, I tend to dig into the underground (those who are familiar with my Rumblings From the Underground column already know this) as I pursue bands trying to break the mold and shatter pre-conceived notions about these narrow genre parameters we seem to corner them into.

Sometimes there's revelatory records, other times there's top-shelf Black Sabbath worship and I just can't help myself! Overall, this year I was mostly enamored with some more throwback styled albums, which leads me to my next point.

This year, the underground came up big and one of the first albums I latched onto in 2016 was Purson's Desire's Magic Theatre. Unfortunately, the band has since broken up (if you're reading this, Rosalie Cunningham, please give us more music), but their inspired take on the psychedelia of the late '60s and early '70s is remarkably genuine.

Using vintage amps from those eras, recording everything in analog on 16 tracks, this record sounds like a lost gem from that brilliant period in rock music. Go ahead, play it for one of your friends and instruct them to guess which year it was released. It'll be like the "Clock Game" on The Price Is Right where contestants start with a dollar amount and increase it by $1 until they've landed on the correct amount.

My biggest obsession this year was Fates Warning's Theories of Flight. There was one week where I must have listened to this thing at least 30 times. You can spend hours dissecting each piece of the music, focusing in on just the guitars and their brilliant counterpoint, Bobby Jarzombek's drumming which has an arresting push and pull, Joey Vera's thick bass grooves or Ray Alder's endless barrage of gleaming hooks. Self-producing this album, guitarist and mastermind Jim Matheos comes across as a master watchmaker on Theories of Flight.

See what else made the list for my personal Top 5 Rock + Metal Albums of 2016 in the video above!

20 Best Metal Albums of 2016

20 Best Rock Albums of 2016