Victor Augusto’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Victor Augusto’s Top Ten Albums of 2019
By Victor Augusto

Before I let you loose on Victor’s Top Ten Albums of 2019 I would just like to thank him for all of his hard work this year. It’s been great to have you onboard!

Definitely 2019 was not an easy year for me. After a couple of years of intense dedication to my local Heavy Metal scene, I realized I was walking in circles and wasting energies in the middle of many egocentrical people. I also lost time with bands that don’t appreciate my support.

Before I changed my focus to professional bands, I spent a few months trying to recover myself from my mental exhaustion and I wasn’t able to follow all the good releases, but the few I heard were enough for me. So here are my impressions of what were the best this year.

10 – Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement

10 – Acid Reign - The Age of Entitlement

The UK band Acid Reign appeared at the end of the eighties and quit in the early nineties, but they returned in this decade and let clear to the world that they still can record a killer album. “The Age Of Entitlement” just shows their creativity to play incredible riffs, as a good Thrash Metal band does. The band also explored the melodies of classic British Heavy Metal bands. All of it together with an incredible recording/production was enough to show to the world that Acid Reign is really back.

https://www.facebook.com/acid.reign.thrash/


09 – Kamala – Live in France

09 – Kamala – Live in France

Since their first years, Kamala wasn’t just a one more awesome band among all other great Brazilian bands. They put some mantras and oriental music to complement their heavy music and built a great name in their country. In this decade they changed their sonority to a straight Thrash Metal and also started to tour in Europe. From all the countries that they played, France was the one that really embraced this trio with the same passion that the band put forward when playing for French Metalheads. “Live in France” is one more brick in this great career in Europe and a great way to show that Kamala is getting bigger, even after almost 17 years on road.

https://www.facebook.com/kamalaofficial/


08 – Acero Nacional – Trueno

08 - Acero Nacional – Trueno

If you think South American Metalheads are insane, you have probably never seen the Chilean ones. Bands from there also have this spirit and you just have to analyze the name Acero Nacional to understand it. The band’s name means “National Steel” and the steel is a reference to the people who works with this metal in metallurgy industries. The band represents the workers in their country and “Trueno” (Thunder in Spanish) sounds like the title; Strong, fast and devastator.

https://www.facebook.com/aceronacional/


07 – Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno

07 – Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno

As a fan of extreme Metal I have always loved Fleshgod Apocalypse since the first time I saw the video of ‘The Violation’ in 2012. For me, they are the great new mainstream band that appeared in this decade. Instead the same old stuff from all Death/Black Metal bands; they just put opera and al Italian influence. For my surprise, the band drastically changed their line-up for this album, but I still feel the same spirit in their music. Actually, they are better in my opinion. The songs are not extremely fast all the time as before and the production chose a more organic recording. For me, those changes helped to digest easier all the complexity of their arrangements. I loved as always.

https://www.facebook.com/fleshgodapocalypse


06 – Legacy Of Kain – Paralelo XI

06 - Legacy Of Kain – Paralelo XI

The first time I heard and reviewed Legacy of Kain in 2017, they were just a new band in Brazil, with old musicians that were playing Metalcore/Thrash Metal. I liked them, but the band was not so far my favorite of the year. Now they have changed their lyrics from Portuguese to English and decided to play a strong and furious Thrash Metal with a few elements of Metalcore. All the anger you hear in this new album is from the main theme that is about the slaughter of an Indian tribe in Brazil, which happened in 1963. For sure this record will make you angry too.

https://www.facebook.com/legacyofkainbrazil/


05 – Woslom – Paranoia

05 - Woslom – Paranoia

Woslom is a very famous Thrash Metal band in Brazil. In this decade they released three great full albums and toured a lot, not only in their country but also in Europe. Again, the band brought a great theme well represented in the cover art. “Paranoia” has a dizzy stairway and the opening riffs of the title track reproduce it too. Despite it is just a four track EP, this record can show what we can expect from the next full album. A technical and crazy Thrash Metal that always surprises the listener.

https://www.facebook.com/woslom/


04 – Hatefulmurder – Reborn

04 - Hatefulmurder - Reborn

One detail that makes me admire a specific band is when I have difficulty to find their band’s style. Hatefulmurder in an incredible Heavy Metal band that offers something similar to Thrash Metal, but they sounds as heavy as a Death Metal band. Sometimes the band flees to funky bass lines structure or other styles and is not repetitive with the songs structure. This is the third band’s album and the second with Angelica Burns on vocal. She brought all heaviness with her strong vocal, sometimes similar to Tomas Lindberg voice (At The Gates singer), but the band goes further to any kind of Death Metal. I suggest you listen to “Reborn” and make your own conclusions about it.

https://www.facebook.com/hatefulbook/


03 – Destruction – Born to Perish

03 - Destruction-Born-To-Perish

Destruction is a band that doesn’t need to be introduced to anyone. I was lucky to see them live twice (in 2016 and 2018) and I even met them backstage for few minutes last year. Schmier, Mike and Andy Black were very polite and I took a pic with them to save this moment in my memory. It was few months before they announced the Damir Eskić and returned to have two guitar players. Probably any Destruction album can easily perform in a top 10 list, but “Born to Perish” has this stronger sonority due the addition of the second guitar and this album sounds even more aggressive than the others.

https://www.facebook.com/destruction/


02 – Death Angel – Humanicide

02 - Death Angel – Humanicide

It is very hard to not love anything that Death Angel release since I showed their concert in my hometown in 2010. That day I was lucky to stand in front of Rob Cavestany and he gave his guitar pick on my hands. He is as gentleman as a great riff composer. Actually he could be considered one of the best riff makers in the Thrash Metal history, but maybe the long time that the band was stopped disrupted the band’s trajectory. What really matters here is the fact that Death Angel released another insane album and I dare any Thrash lover doesn’t bang his head while listening such amazing album.

https://www.facebook.com/deathangel/


01 – DarkTower – Obedientia

01 – DarkTower – Obedientia

Before I put this record in the first place of my top 10 albums of 2019, I was really afraid to be unfair with the famous bands that have a great history in Heavy Metal, but DarkTower really touched me with this album. It is not just a matter of how they play Black/Death Metal, but how they put all anger and feeling to illustrate all chaos we live in Brazil. Since the political fights that our people have been doing to how we are losing our culture and our identity as a nation; everything was brilliantly described without attack directly at any side of this war. They just advise how people are stopping to think by themselves and how they have been manipulated by false heroes. Embark on this epical and realistic journey listening to “Obedientia”.

https://www.facebook.com/darktowermetal/


Special mention also has to go out to the following bands:

Miasthenia – Sinfonia Ritual

Here is a great Pagan Black Metal band that is the opposite of bands from this style. “Sinfonia Ritual” is not specifically an album because it shows a symphonic version of five songs from the last three band’s album. It is a great way to enter into the Miasthenia soul and discover how amazing they are.

https://www.facebook.com/miasthenia/


Endust – All ends in Dust

My special mention goes to The Brazilian Thrashers of Endust that released their first album “All Ends in Dust” even though they have never played any concert ever. Their music is a kind of Thrash with Nevermore influences, which increased melodies and changed the dynamic of this great record.

https://www.facebook.com/official.endust/


Infrared – Back To The Warehouse

Another special mention goes for the Canadian band Infrared. They also quit in the eighties and returned this decade. The album “Back To The Warehouse” rescued old compositions that received all aggression of their Thrash Metal.

https://www.facebook.com/infraredmetal/


 

 

 

Disclaimer: This Top Ten is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

When Dark Juan Attempts A Top Ten List…

When Dark Juan Attempts A Top Ten List…

Just a quick interjection from me as I thank Dark Juan for all his hard work and the somewhat “different” reviews he has submitted this year. Thank you kind sir!

Especially when he’s sober. Let’s try and keep this brief and at least moderately entertaining, eh?

10. Stahlmann – Kinder Der Sehnsucht.

Stahlmann

Nth Generation Neue Deutsche Harte. Causes goth girls to lose their frilly knickers. If you like baritone German vocals, das ist gut!

www.facebook.com/stahlmann-138756019513864


9. Kill All The Gentlemen – The Loss And The Rapture.

Kill All The Gentlemen

Spectactularly deranged British bruisers defy expectations with corking album of magnificently spiky metal.

www.facebook.com/killallthegentlemen


8. Hecate Enthroned – Embrace Of The Godless Aeon.

Hecate Dethroned

More Brits, bringing back the good time when British avant-garde black metal had romance and melody instead of a production job not unlike a wasp in an echo chamber and a problem with unburnt churches.

www.facebook.com/HecateEnthroned


7. Dirge – Lost Empyrean.

Dirge

The greatest French metal band I have experienced apart from P.H.O.B.O.S. Did the most amazing thing ever for the release of this album. Released it, then split up just when I discovered how awesome they are. Merci pour rien, mes amis!

www.facebook.com/dirge.fr


6. Blame Zeus – Seethe.

Blame Zeus

Portugal normally means port, the Algarve and occasional naval ally against Spain to this hellpriest. It doesn’t normally mean absolutely slamming female fronted heavy fucking metal. Splendid stuff from the sun-kissed slammers.

www.facebook.com/BlameZeus


5. Woven Man – Revelry (in Our Arms).

Woven Man

When Wales stops bothering about rugby, cawl and Felinfoel Double Dragon (a fine Llanelli brew as Woven Man will of course know!) they do this. A supremely crushing and powerful heavy metal record enhanced with the delightful form of Natalie Purchase on the cover. It almost makes me forget the Church. Amen.

www.facebook.com/wovenisms


4. Quantum Pig – Songs Of Industry And Sunshine.

Quantum Pig

Hitherto unknown prog delights from a technically expert band. Also, they are wonderful gentlemen and fine conversationalists. You heard it here first. And I’ve still not given away the secret they told me about the next record…

www.facebook.com/QuantumPig


3. Sacred Reich – Awakening.

Sacred Reich

Oh god. Oh my fucking god. The BEST of the American thrash metal bands return to the fray with an album that took off my face, stamped all over it with hobnailed boots on and then threw it in the bin. Savage.

www.facebook.com/sacredreichofficial


2. Graham Bonnet – Live In Tokyo 2017.

Graham Bonnet

The perfect heavy metal live album from a fucking bona fide heavy fucking metal legend, a gentleman of the first order, and also Beth-Ami Heavenstone. If you know me, you know about Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Sigh.

www.facebook.com/grahambonnetmusic


1. Damim/ King Satan – A Fine Game Of Nil/ I Want You To Worship Satan.

I couldn’t choose between these two records so they can share the spoils and the dubious honour of now being on my somewhat depraved radar.

Damim – British blackened death metal of the very highest calibre. Faster than the firing rate of a gatling gun, and more complex than an Italian fuel pump design, but infinitely more reliable and pleasing. A truly monumental record.

www.facebook.com/dam.nation.uk

King Satan – Incredibly insane industrial metal from Finland. Cacophonous, dribblingly mental and inventive and a shining example of what joy can happen when musical genres like what they see and make violent, unpredictable love together. Aggrotech meets industrial metal, checks out its arse and then tears its clothes off in a paroxysm of sexual frenzy. King Satan is the offspring of that unholy union. Utterly magnificent.

www.facebook.com/kingsatan616

So there you have it. Dark Juan attempts a top ten of the many fine records and some stinkers (hear that, Warrior Soul?) I have had the pleasure to review. Here’s to 2020. Happy Yule, you beautiful bitches and bastards! If you see me out out, buy me beer and lock up your daughters. Peace and good fortune.

 

 

Disclaimer: This Top Ten is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Alun’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

Alun’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

We have already posted a few of our reviewers’ Top Tens of 2019 and now it’s Alun’s turn. We would like to thank him for all the work he has done for us over the past year. He certainly knows what he is talking about music-wise so go check out the albums on his list and see what you think.

1. Crobot – Motherbrain

crobotwww.facebook.com/crobotband


2. Monolord – No Comfort

monolordwww.facebook.com/monolordsweden


3. Giant Dwarf – Giant Dwarf

giant dwarfwww.facebook.com/giantdwarfmusic


4. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovel – Very Uncertain Times

sir admiralwww.facebook.com/theshovell


5. Earth – Full Upon Her Burning Lips

Earth_FullUponHerBurningLipswww.facebook.com/thronesanddominions


6. Sunn O))) – Life Metal

sunn300-Sunn_Life_Metalwww.facebook.com/sunnthebandofficial


7. Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement

acid reignwww.facebook.com/acid.reign.thrash


8. Obey – Swallow The Sun

obeywww.facebook.com/obeyuk


9. Speedealer – Blue Days Black Nights

speedealerwww.facebook.com/speedealerband


10. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annwn

mammoth weedwww.facebook.com/mammothweedwizardbastard


 

With honourable mentions for Firebreather, L7, Sacred Reich, Wizard Rifle, Duel and Helligators

 

 

Disclaimer: This Top Ten is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lotty’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Lotty’s Top Ten Albums of 2019
By Lotty Whittingham

Hi Everyone – Rick Here. Before I pass you over to Lotty we would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her continued hard work in 2019. As well as writing for us she also runs her own great Blog/Site (https://www.facebook.com/rockoutstandout/) but she continues to send us great album reviews, live reviews and interviews. Once again, she has not only given us a very interesting top ten but she has also written mini reviews for each entry as well as a good list of honourable mentions. Thanks Lotty

The end of the year is upon us and I must say there have been some brilliant releases this year. I have been particularly impressed with the amount of new bands that have released albums. This is reassuring as it means the metal/rock scene is still alive and well. From listening pleasures to albums I enjoyed reviewing; here are my top ten albums of the year.

01 Number #10 Sabaton10. Sabaton – The Great War

Kicking off my top ten is Sabaton’s latest historical account of “The Great War”. It’s no secret that Sabaton write songs based around historical battles and events whilst donning the camo trousers. “The Great War” looks at the different aspects from The First World War. The Swedish icons tend to produce sterling albums and this is no exception. I’ll admit I didn’t take to this album right away but after listening to it a few more times, it grew on me. From the booming opener ‘The Future Of Warfare’ to the touching ‘In Flanders Field’, the album takes you on a historical journey told through bombastic melodies. My personal favourites on the album are ‘Seven Pillars Of Wisdom’, ‘82nd All The Way’, ‘Devil Dogs’, ‘Red Baron’ and ‘Great War’. I look forward to experiencing these songs live next year.

https://www.facebook.com/sabaton/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LS0Z8fgiII


02 Number #09 Aephanemer9. Aephanemer – Prokopton

At the beginning of the year, I got an email from a guitarist to ask if I could help promote his band via a review and interview. After listening to their music, I was very keen to do so. Melodic Death Metallers Aephanemer are now signed to Napalm Records and they are gathering new fans by the second. I had the pleasure of reviewing their latest album “Prokopton” before they were signed and given the strong content from the record, I knew they would go far. The thing that sticks out on this album is the strong mix of Melodic Black and Melodic Death Metal; you can hear this within Marion Bascoul’s varied vocal style. The strongest examples of this can be heard in ‘Snowblind’ and single ‘Bloodline’. Amongst the prevailing growls and brutal musicianship, there is a poignant message in their sound. Prokopton means making progress. It’s a Greek word describing someone who practices stoicism in their day to day lives. You can see this within their powerful lyrics. I highly recommend this band to fans of Moonsorrow and Ensiferum.

https://www.facebook.com/Aephanemer/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggncUCeWVZo


03 Number #08 Eclipse8. Eclipse – Paradigm

I was happy to see the return of Swedish Hard Rockers Eclipse this year via their latest release “Paradigm”. There were some strong single releases leading up to the release and from hearing those, I knew I needed to hear the rest of the album. I had the pleasure of reviewing it this year. In tough times, we need something to lift our spirits and “Paradigm” does exactly that. There is an eclectic selection of songs on this record; it wouldn’t surprise me if songs such as ‘Viva La Victoria’, ‘The Masquerade’ and ‘United’ were live show anthems already. It’s albums like this that prove rock is still alive and kicking.

https://www.facebook.com/EclipseSweden/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXBi0g9joC0


04 Number #07 Massive7. Massive – Rebuild Destroy

A few years ago, I witnessed Massive open up for The Treatment at The Joiners, Southampton. I remember being taken with their high energy and passionate music. Fast forward to the present and I can say I watched them headline the same venue with that same energy and passion. Talking to lead vocalist Brad Marr earlier this year, he mentioned the influences for the writing. “Rebuild Destroy” came from hard times they have had as a band. They used all this frustration and energy to create this no nonsense, straight up Hard Rock album and there is a fantastic collection of songs included. You have the party sounds on ‘Gettin’ Heavy’, the punchiness of ‘Bullet’, the rebellious ‘What You Gonna Do’ and the ballads ‘Face In The Crowd’ and ‘A Mile In My Shoes’. This is a Hard Rock gem that should be treasured and given your undivided attention.

https://www.facebook.com/MassiveOz/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSr-CjZh1nM


05 Number #06 Coronatus6. Coronatus – The Eminence Of Nature

I first came across Coronatus when I was sixteen years old, particularly, when I was starting to discover Symphonic Metal. I was attracted to the fact there were two different vocal styles taking the lead. Fast forward and in 2019 they released “The Eminence Of Nature”. Once I pressed play on this album, I was taken instantly by the striking vocals and grand musical arrangements.

Their important message is told through a great selection of bombastic melodies that encompass both folk and symphonic metal elements. It’s no secret that we need to work together and make drastic changes to ensure the future of our planet changes for the better. You hear this instantly in the lyrical content in the opening track ‘Planet B’! It doesn’t take much explanation what the lyric “no planet B, no more earth, only one chance” is referring to.

Other favourites on the album include the fun folk sounds of ‘Midsommar’, the haunting sounds of ‘Echo Of Souls’ and the gallant ‘Set Sail To North’. Highly recommended for fans of Symphonic and Folk Metal!

https://www.facebook.com/CoronatusOfficial/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmick4TQ0g0


06 Number #05 Bloodbound5. Bloodbound – Rise Of The Dragon Empire

Ever since I caught them on tour supporting Sabaton a few years back, I have been hooked on Bloodbound. Their latest tale “Rise Of The Dragon Empire” only reinforces my love for the Swedish Dragon Slayers. The album contains gallant melodies that will make you want to unleash your inner warrior and join the band on their noble quest. Those who have been fans of the band for a while may have noticed the development in their sound.

My personal favourites on the album are the title track, ‘Blackwater Bay’, ‘Giants Of Heaven’ and ‘Reign Of Fire’. The title track shows us Patrik Selleby’s brilliant vocal range, ‘Blackwater Bay’ is majestic, ‘Giants Of Heaven’ is a standard Bloodbound track that contains the elements I love about the band and the uplifting sounds in ‘Reign Of Fire’ give me hope when times are tough.

Unleash your inner dragon slayer and join them on their quest, you know you want to!

https://www.facebook.com/bloodboundmetal/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngOiPQvBGf4


07 Number #04 Beast In Black4. Beast In Black – From Hell With Love

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual listener, the name BEAST IN BLACK has been hard to miss. I was initially attracted to their straight to the point and no-frills Heavy Metal sounds through the strong content they produced. After hearing their latest release “From Hell With Love”, I knew instantly it was going to be at least top five material.
Like their previous album, it is no frills and no fuss; just solid sounding Heavy Metal. The record contains a great array of songs that will get you pumping and ready to go. Great examples of this get up and go energy can be found in ‘Repentless’, ‘Heart Of Steel’ and ‘True Believer’. I also like the eighties-esque sounds in ‘Sweet True Lies’ and ‘Die By The Blade’. It’s nice to have a break through the track ‘Oceandeep’ that shows us a different side to vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos, especially when it comes to his vast vocal range.

Like your Heavy Metal straight to the point whilst needing a get up and go? Give “From Hell With Love a whirl”.

https://www.facebook.com/beastinblackofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCJooj3hdzQ


08 Number #03 Control The Storm3. Control The Storm – Forevermore

Control The Storm have been favourites since I caught them at a local show a few years ago, I likened them to Britain’s answer to Nightwish and after their hiatus and a few line-up changes, their sound is stronger than ever before and I still say they are the British Nightwish. The concrete content in their anticipated second album Forevermore is solid evidence of this.

Even though I could hear influences from Nightwish, I can hear instantly that they have their own sound. For the duration of this album, I am taken with the beautiful melodies that have a sense of empowerment. I know that some of the band members have been open about their struggles regarding mental health and there is strong lyrical content in the album describing perfectly what it’s like; “I’m trapped in my mind” from ‘In The Night’, “Feeling defeated, life will take its toll” from ‘Follow Me’ and “Now I’m at war with my inner peace” from ‘Chaotic Mind’.

The song ‘Chaotic Mind’ is a perfect embodiment of struggling with ill mental health and to keep on fighting through it all. This particular song is another that helped me through some difficult times this year.

With all these reasons in mind, this was the ideal album to open my top three.

https://www.facebook.com/ControlTheStorm/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SzIq8yc0T4


09 Number #02 Skillet2. Skillet – Victorious

I had heard of Skillet in passing, but it was only this year I managed to sit and listen to them. This came on the off chance when listening to a radio show and the song ‘Legendary’ came on. I was instantly taken with the power and passion in the song, so much so that I eagerly waited to give the album a try.

From start to finish, I was taken with the pumping, strong and empowering content that this album gave. When you listen to it, you realise the title is more than appropriate. There is a great variety of tracks that suit every mood under the sun. I know it is a cliché but it rings true in this case.

Highlights for me include the first pumping notes of ‘Legendary’, the sweeping title track, the bouncy rhythm in ‘Rise Up’, the poignant message about having someone there for you in ‘Anchor’ and the straight to the point sounds of ‘Never Going Back’.

Music fans looking for something different then give this album a spin and feel Victorious.

https://www.facebook.com/skillet/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DApP8dCZOdU


10 Number #01 Leah1. Leah – Ancient Winter

It’s very different to the rest of my list but when I listened to the relaxing sounds of this record, I knew instantly that this would be my number one pick. For “Ancient Winter”, Leah strips back her usual Symphonic Metal sounds for a earthier ambience. It’s within this album you can hear why she is referred to as Metal Enya from her fans.

‘The Whole World Summons’ and ‘Light Of The World’ begin the album and I was taken away to a far-off land instantly and it genuinely helped me forget my troubles for hours. This album highly encourages the phrase “dance as if no-one is watching”, which is what I found myself doing whilst listening!

Speaking of being taken to a far-off land, I thought of Dark Crystal and Lord Of The Rings when listening to the record. The earthy sounds are given to us through Leah’s haunting vocal work and some of the international names featured on the album. These include the stunning Pipes from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley, the quirky Hurdy Gurdy sounds from Cellar Darling’s Anna Murphy, and a few others. My personal favourites on this album are the hypnotic sounds in ‘Redemption’, the stunning rendition of traditional song ‘Gaudete’ and the merry arrangements in ‘Puer Natus’.

In today’s fast paced world, it’s more important than ever to step back and slow down. “Ancient Winter” helped me to do this; it made me to relax and take a breath. If slowing down is something you need to do, take yourself away with “Ancient Winter”.

https://www.facebook.com/LEAHthemusic/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do5LvwfqzSw


I would also like to give honourable mentions to the following albums:

A New Tomorrow – Universe

I really enjoyed the vast sounds of this album. I caught their live show a year ago and was really taken with them. Imagine Alter Bridge meets Foo Fighters and throw in Queens of The Stone Age and you get the sounds of A New Tomorrow. Their music matches the positivity and hope behind their band name. It’s albums like this that prove the rock scene is alive and kicking. I personally really liked the tracks ‘Golden Sands’, ‘A Million Stars’ and ‘Step Into The Wild’. The future for these guys is looking bright.

https://www.facebook.com/anewtomorrowmusic/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvBMWARpHH8


Obsidian Tide – Pillars Of Creation

A few years ago, I reviewed Obsidian Tide’s debut EP and really took to the hazy sounds. Fast forward to the present and I got to review their debut album “Pillars Of Creation”. This isn’t just an album; it’s an experience that requires your undivided attention. It’s a journey full of unexpected twists and turns that I won’t reveal here, it’s recommended you buy the album to find out what those are. If this album doesn’t get the band swooped up by a big record label, I don’t know what will.

https://www.facebook.com/obsidiantide/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGk9Ad6bGbw


Crazy Lixx – Forever Wild

I am a huge fan of the bold and exciting sounds of eighties rock, I also have a huge admiration for modern bands bringing those sounds back. The appropriately titled “Forever Wild” by Crazy Lixx is the key to feeling free and wild. The songs contain sounds that make you feel like you are free and invincible; this is evident in my personal favourite tracks ‘Wicked’, ‘Eagle’ and ‘Terminal Velocity’. I also love the fun antics in ‘(She’s Wearing) Yesterday’s Face’. Feel free and Forever Wild with this album.

https://www.facebook.com/crazylixx/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXekI0LiBLA


Crystal Viper – Tales Of Fire And Ice

Crystal Viper are a new discovery for me this year and after hearing the strong sounds from “Tales Of Fire And Ice” I hope to see more of them. It’s a straight up, no nonsense album that delivers top class heavy metal sounds. Powerful vocals, finger blistering guitar work and thunderous rhythms; You can place a big tick by all of these items on this list of essential elements to create a Heavy Metal gem. There are some fierce tracks here such as ‘Bright Lights’, ‘Under Ice’ and ‘Tears Of Arizona’. They are definitely ones to keep your eyes out for.

https://www.facebook.com/crystalviperofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydVRuJdHgMg


Rotting Christ – The Heretics

As most of you know, Rotting Christ have been personal favourites of mine since I caught them headline the Sophie Stage at Bloodstock a few years ago. Their latest release “The Heretics” only upholds my admiration for their mesmerising music. The album doesn’t mess around as it opens with ‘In The Name Of God’ and the album keeps up the strong music from there. Highlights include ‘Vetry Zlye’, ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, ‘Dies Irae’ and ‘Fire God And Fear’. What I like about this album is that it proves beauty can be found in the darkest places if you look hard enough. This was one of the things that drew me to the band in the first place.

https://www.facebook.com/rottingchristofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Bt38pbvlo

 

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lotty’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

Lotty’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

Hi Everyone – It’s Rick. Before I let you loose on Lotty’s top 10 of 2018 I just wanted to thank her. Not only has she has been an excellent addition to our team but this isn’t just a list, it’s an incredibly detailed mini review of each album and I know how busy she is. Thanks Lotty!

It is more than safe to say that this year has just been full of fantastic releases. Ones I had the pleasure to review and listen to months before release yet feeling the frustration of not being able to share it with my nearest and dearest until release date. Some that I came across for pleasure, whether that be on Spotify, in the shop or YouTube. It was very difficult to pick a top ten so here they are.

01 (No 10) Powerwolf - The Sacrement Of Sin10. Powerwolf – “The Sacrament Of Sin”

I don’t think I have ever seen so many single releases for one album. To be fair, if I had a strong collection of songs on my album then I would be very keen to show them off too. It’s the very reason why POWERWOLF’s “The Sacrament Of Sin” is the perfect way to open up the top ten. When reviewing this album before it’s official release date, I was able to hear some brilliant belters that have now become anthems. We have the pumping ‘Incense & Iron’, the sexy ‘Demons Are A Girls Best Friend’ and even their first ballad ‘Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone’. POWERWOLF have a sterling reputation for delivering solid material and their latest collection of metal psalms is no exception. A must have for fans of the band and genre.


02 (No 9) Kobra _ The Lotus - Prevail II9. Kobra And The Lotus – “Prevail II”

Over the past few years, Canadian Hard Rockers KOBRA & THE LOTUS have gained a large following of fans. Judging from their ballsy sound and charismatic stage presence it’s easy to see why. “Prevail II” doesn’t beat around the bush when you press play, it gets straight down to business with the track ‘Losing My Humanity’. This belter along with other anthems such as ‘My Immortal’, ‘Modern Day Hero’ and ‘Velvet Roses’ make up a top-quality Hard Rock record. Their stunning cover of FLEETWOOD MAC’s ‘The Chain’ is the icing on the cake.


03 (No 8) Handsome Jack - Everything_s Gonna Be Alright8. Handsome Jack – “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”

They aren’t quite as heavy as CLUTCH yet they are too raw to sound like BLACK STONE CHERRY. I suppose that is the beautiful power HANDSOME JACK possess, it’s hard to pinpoint who they sound like. During anxiety ridden and dark times, we need to feel great again and the album “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” does just that. The album contains songs that encourage rejoicing and empowerment. I had a great time listening to this record. Particularly the tracks ‘Hey Mama (Put Your Red Dress On)’ and ‘Baby Be Cool’. I just want to belt out the chorus of ‘Hey Mama (Put Your Dress On)’ at the top of my lungs. It’s a simple but powerful chorus that will have you singing loud before you know it. The soulful tones of ‘Baby Be Cool’ won’t just go down with Hard Rock fans, it will be a treat for music lovers in general.


04 (No 7) Visions Of Atlantis - The Deep And The Dark7. Visions Of Atlantis – “The Deep And The Dark”

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS were one of the bands to help shape my music taste into what it is today. Their tales of sailing the seas containing strong vocals and fantastic symphonic melodies had me hooked. It had been a while since I heard anything from them and was very pleased to come across “The Deep And The Dark”. It provides a strong reminder of the sound that introduced me to them and their lyrical content linking to self-doubt is more than relatable today. This album is truly uplifting with some great content. From the impactful ‘The Grand Illusion’ to the soft ballad tones of ‘Prayer To The Lost’, this album is a mighty voyage with many twists and turns. A metaphor for life you might say.


05 (No 6) Sirenia - Arcane Astral Aeons6. Sirenia – “Arcane Astral Aeons”

SIRENIA are another band to help shape my music taste so their latest album came as a grand surprise. If you were to look up Symphonic Metal in the dictionary, a picture of this album could certainly be a definition. It starts off with the booming ‘In Styx Embrace’, along with the track ‘Into The Night’ it shows off the vocals of Emmanuelle Zoldan. Her versatile vocal range works wonders across the album from the opening track to the burning ashes of ‘Glowing Embers’. Other notable tracks include ‘Desire’, ‘Queen Of Lies’ and ‘The Twilight Hour’. For fans of the band and genre this is a must have for the collection.


06 (No 5) Arion - Life Is Not Beautiful5. Arion – “Life Is Not Beautiful”

This was a surprise this year. I had heard of ARION but never listened to them until now. The opening notes of ‘No One Stands In My Way’ had me intrigued immediately. The uplifting sounds of the track had me smiling within minutes and this applied for the rest of the album. In a world of uncertainty and doubt, we need empowerment in our lives. Appropriately starting with ‘No One Stands In My Way’, it leaves you feeling ready to overcome struggles. This feeling continues with songs such as ‘Unforgiveable’, ‘Punish You’ and ‘At The Break Of Dawn’ featuring AMARANTHE siren Elize Ryd. ‘Through Your Falling Tears’ is a beautiful ballad that calms the tones before getting heavy again. This album was a fantastic listen from start to finish.


07 (No 4) Kissin_ Dynamite - Ecstasy4. Kissin’ Dynamite – “Ecstasy”

German Hard Rockers KISSIN’ DYNAMITE have been on my radar for a little while now. They have produced solid albums over the past few years and their 2018 release “Ecstasy” is no exception. The first notes of the opening tracks ‘I’ve Got The Fire’ and ‘You’re Not Alone’ instantly uplift the mood and give you hope. Each track shows a different side of the band, you have the revolutionary ‘Break The Silence’, the sexy ‘Somebody’s Gotta Do It’ and the rapid beats of ‘Superhuman’. Even the ballads ‘Still Around’ and ‘Heart Of Stone’ show power and sass. “Ecstasy” is a more than appropriate title for this energy fuelled portfolio of tracks.


08 (No 3) Kamelot - The Shadow Theory3. Kamelot – “The Shadow Theory”

For the past ten years, KAMELOT have been personal favourites of mine and their latest album “The Shadow Theory” reinforces my love for the American/Swedish Progressive Power Metal 5 piece. “The Shadow Theory” contains an array of music that will make your hair stand on end and blow you away. One of the things I admire about KAMELOT is their inclusion of upcoming musicians in their albums. This time round we had versatile vocals from ONCE HUMAN singer Lauren Hart in ‘The Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)’ and ‘MindFall Remedy’. There were also the beautiful tones of BEYOND THE BLACK’s Jennifer Haben in the stunning ‘In Twilight Hours’. Other fantastic tracks included ‘Burns To Embrace’, ‘Amnesiac’ and ‘Stories Unheard’ particularly for their thought-provoking lyrical content and beautiful music.


09 (No 2) Brothers Of Metal - Prophecy Of Ragnarok2. Brothers Of Metal – “Prophecy Of Ragnarök”

The original release of this, from the Swedish warriors, was in 2017 and when I first heard the album, I had it on loop for days. I was excited when they announced the re-release of the album as I could include it in my top ten this year. “Prophecy Of Ragnarök” is a mighty quest of power and sheer determination. Songs like ‘Son Of Odin’, ‘The Mead Song’ and even the sweeping ballad ‘Yggdrasil’ makes you want to sing out loud and run into battle. The excellent song writing, heroic melodies and flawless vocal work between the three different singers will ensure great things for BROTHERS OF METAL. Once you experience the mighty sounds of the Swedish Warriors, there will be no going back. You’ll be shouting AXE TIME SWORD TIME before you know it!


10 (No 1) Dark Sarah - The Golden Moth1. Dark Sarah – “The Golden Moth”

Usually picking a number one record of the year is a tricky feat. It is a task that often takes days, weeks, even months to decide. From the moment I listened to DARK SARAH’s “The Golden Moth”, I knew this was my number one choice. There are many reasons why I came to this conclusion.

Firstly; the vocal power between Heidi Parviainen (Dark Sarah) and JP Leppäluoto (The Dragon). You don’t have to see the videos to hear the soul and passion in their voices, particularly for the story that is told within the record. You can really hear the emotion behind their voices for particular moments in the songs.

That leads me onto the second point why I admire this album. The storytelling. For those who don’t know, DARK SARAH have released concept albums and this is the third one. The third part of the story. “The Golden Moth” is a story of adventure, betrayal and strength. Knowing the story makes the album all that more powerful as you are completely involved and not just scratching the surface. Feelings and emotions are delved into.

Third point. The songs; there is a fantastic variety from the sweeping notes of ‘My Beautiful Enemy’ to the thunderous notes of ‘Gods Speak’. These are also emphasised by the number of guest musicians they used. Netta Skog’s skills on the accordion gave ‘I Once Had Wings’ a fun and bouncy flavour. The vocal powers of Marco Hietala and Zuberoa Aznárez in ‘Gods Speak’ provide that appropriately godly tone the track gives away.

I could explain more reasons why I love this record but there wouldn’t be enough space. The sheer vocal power, storytelling, cinematic musical arrangements and the potential cliff hanger at the end are the reasons why DARK SARAH’s “The Golden Moth” is my number one album of 2018.

So this is my top ten, do you agree with my choices?

I would also like to give an honourable mention to the following albums.

Firstly to the complex yet catchy “The Living Dead” from Heavy Metal veterans GRAVE DIGGER, the thought provoking lyrics and messages in ORPHANED LAND’s “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”, the stunning live album “Symphonized” from the talented Anneke Van Giersbergen and finally STORMCAST’s triumphant return with “The Ghost Eater”.

Lotty