Best of 2018 – Marko Syrjälä

Spread the metal:

Judas Priest - Firepower

Judas Priest: Firepower

I think that it’s never been this easy to pick up the album of the year! “Firepower” is a sovereign winner in all categories: the songs, the production, the cover art, everything. The whole package is just perfect and old school heavy metal at its best.

Dee Snider: For the Love of Metal

Dee Snider is back! After the previous experimental album, the former Twisted Sister frontman finally returned to what he does best, pure metal.

Ace Frehley: Spaceman

I don’t know how many times this slogan has already been said but “Ace is back and told you so!” “Spaceman” offers a good collection of typical Frehley songs. It’s up to you if you like ‘em or not. I do.

Uriah Heep: Living the Dream

“Living the Dream” is easily the best album what the band has released in decades. It’s not only the songs, but now the Heep sound is also updated to this century.

Voivod: The Wake

Voivoid totally surprised me with “the Wake.” With this album, the band goes back to its progressive metal roots, and it works great!

Saxon: Thunderbolt

“Thunderball” doesn’t really offer anything new, but who wants to hear anything new from the mighty Saxon? “Thunderball” continues the strong series of albums what the band has released close to four decades.

Fifth Angel: The Third Secret

Who could have imagined in advance that we received a new studio album from Fifth Angel in 2018? “The Third Secret” continues the same path where the band left off back in 1989, almost 30 years ago!

Metal Church: Damned If You Do

The return of Mike Howe was one of the best things happened in metal for years and it seems that he’s here to stay. “Damned If You Do” is much more dynamic and versatile compared to the bands previous release “XI2”.

U.D.O: Steelfactory

U.D.O finally returns with a new album after a three-year break. Udo recently finished two years“Accept – Back to the Roots”-tour, so it’s not surprising that this album sounds very much like his old band.

Primal Fear: Apocalypse

“Apocalypse” might not be as strong and impressive as it’s predecessor “Rulebreaker” (2016), but it’s still a high-quality German metal at its best.

Red Dragon Cartel: Patina

Jake E. Lee has always been one of my favorite guitarists. With this second RDC album, Jake does what he does best. The bluesy hard rock with excellent melodies, killer riffs and ripping guitar playing. This is the closest thing you can get to the good old Badlands (Jake’s old band in the late 80’s)

 

Alice in Chains: Rainier Fog

Alice in Chains has always been an interesting and original band. Although many still think that the band was over after the loss of the original vocalist Layne Stanley, they should open their minds and give the band a chance it truly deserves. “Rainier Frog” is probably the heaviest but also the best album what the band has released with William DuVall

Amorphis: Queen of time

Amorphis returns with their strongest album in ages. A pleasant and positive surprise on all levels!

Slash: Living the Dream

“Living the Dream” is a continuation of Slash’s previous “Wold of Fire” (2014) album. Everything sounds as expected, but at times there comes a feeling that maybe some of these songs are just leftovers from the past. In other words, it’s another decent album by Slash, but there are many fillers on this album.

Venom: Storm the Gates

It’s been interesting to follow “the battle” of two Venom incarnations during the last few years. Last year Venom Inc. released “Ave Satanas,” and now it’s the turn of “real Venom.” What’s interesting, both versions have been capable of releasing good quality albums, but if you ask me, Cronos and the boys won this round by a mile.

Graham Bonnet: Meanwhile In The Garage

The former Rainbow/MSG/Alcatrazz vocalist Graham Bonnet released brilliant “The Book” album only two years ago, and now he is back with “Meanwhile in the Garage.” Despite the horrible cover art, this album is pure greatness. Bonnet and the band sound amazing, and the songwriting is even better than on its predecessor.

Lizzy Borden: My Midnight Things

Lizzy Borden returns with “My Midnight Things,” their first album in eleven years. The album is maybe the lightest album the band has ever released, and the lack of real band can be heard, Lizzy plays all instruments minus drums himself, but there are still enough good moments which make this album very enjoyable to listen

Nazareth: Tattoo In My Brain

Well, here’s one album with no exceptions. How a legendary band with only remaining original member, who’s a bassist, release anything decent? Nazareth proves that wrong. In fact, “Tattooed in My Brain” is the bands brightest album in decades and the new vocalist Carl Sentence is convincing.

MSG: Resurrection

I really wanted to like this album a lot more than I did, but the fact is that with such a superb line-up, it should have been a lot better than what it is. There are only 3-4 good songs at its best on this album, and without the talent of the vocalist quartet: Bonnet, McAuley, Barden and White, this album would have been a disaster

 

Doro: Forever Warriors, Forever United

There’s a saying that “more is more,” but it doesn’t work on this album. A double album with 28 songs, including a lot of fillers and unnecessary covers, it just doesn’t work. The album production is not the best possible either, so this is a bit disappointing. The Metal Queen deserves better than this.

 

BEST EP


Andy McCoy: Soul Satisfaction

It’s been over twenty years since the former Hanoi rocks guitarist released his previous solo album “Building on Tradition.” There were zero expectations, but this EP surprises positively. The songs remind me, not only Hanoi but also some 70’s stuff like Aerosmith and there are elements of some of the UK punk invasion bands.  Hopefully, the upcoming full-length McCoy album will be at least the same quality as this EP.

BEST RE-RELEASE


Skull: No Bones About It

I know that now too many are not familiar with Skull or its music, but it’s a band formed by former Meat Loaf, Lou Reed, KISS session guitarist Bob Kulick. “No Bones About It” was initially released in 1991 by Music for Nations and it never received the attention deserved. Now, 28 years later, the album has been re-released (and remastered) and it sounds just fantastic.

BEST BOOKS 2018

K.K Downing: Heavy Duty

J.Marshall Graig: Megalife: The Autobiography of Nick Menza

Ari Väntänen: Stone

 

BEST CONCERTS 2018

Iron Maiden: Hartwall Arena, Helsinki

Gene Simmons band: Gröna Lund, Stockholm

Slayer: Ice Hall, Helsinki

Accept: The Circus, Helsinki

Bruce Kulick band: KISS Kruise VIII, Caribbean

 

 

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2018

Many great bands announced retirement. KISS, Slayer, Deep Purple, Ozzy, Krokus, and the list goes on and. This is tough to accept since I’ve been listening to these bands for most of my life. All good things come to an end at some point.

A shocking death of Vinnie Paul. That definitely came out form the blue 🙁

Peter Baltes quit Accept. It’s really difficult to think that the band continues without Peter, but hopefully, I’m wrong and Accept returns stronger than ever…

BIGGEST HOPES FOR 2019

There are new studio albums coming from Megadeth, Anthrax, Hollywood Vampires, Slipknot, Avantasia, Whitesnake, Overkill and much more. It’s going to be a great year for metal music!

KISS farewell tour. It’s been said that the new tour and the stage show will be spectacular. Can’t wait to see that live!

There are several great festivals with strong lineups coming on the summer: Swedenrock, Tuska, Summer Breeze, Copenhell, Hyvinkää Rockfest, Hellfest, Download and much more.

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