When you consume, buy and enjoy as much Metal as I do there has never been a bad year. 2019 was no different with hundreds of enjoyable albums released in all genres. No matter what your style or preferences there was something good to hear. This is what caught my ears in 2019.
1. MAJESTICA-Above The Sky (Nuclear Blast)
Not really a new band, but a reinvention of the veteran Swedish Power/Speed Metal band, ReinXeed. Tommy J (who is pulling double duty by playing guitar in Sabaton) for various reasons had to reboot Reinxeed. Overall I think it worked. While the name Majestica isn’t the best name for a band there is a connection because the third ReinXeed album from 2010 was called MAJESTIC. I think some people struggle with the word ‘ReinXeed’ as a band name so Majestica is a bit easier for people to grasp. The band has made the jump to the big leagues signing with Nuclear Blast. Tommy has added Uli Kusch (ex-Helloween) on drums for some extra kick. Fast fun and a comedy cover, this album has it all.
2. PRETTY MAIDS-Undress Your Madness (Frontiers)
Ever since the bands comeback in 2010 with PANDEMONIUM the band has been on a pretty indestructible career resurgence with no less than four nearly flawless albums in a row. It is getting hard to pick which is the best but UNDRESS YOUR MADNESS takes top spot for now. It was a dark day in late 2019 when I read that Ronnie Atkins had been diagnosed with cancer. If this is the last thing the band ever does they went out on an incredible high note with album # 16.
3. CRYSTAL EYES-Starbourne Traveller (Massacre)
Bought the first five Crystal Eyes religiously, then for whatever misguided reason I lost track of them for a bit. It has been five years since their last album (the longest period between albums in the bands career) and the time-off seems to have reinvigorated the band because the new album is killer. No, not KILLER, the name of eighth Crystal Eyes album from 2014… killer as in , it’s just that good. Perhaps the new drummer and guitarist added the new fire, but this is their strongest album in years.
4. DRAGONFORCE-Extreme Power Metal (EarMusic)
5. NORTHTALE-WElcome To Paradise (Nuclear Blast)
6. EDENBRIDGE-Dynamind (SPV)
7. TWILIGHT FORCE-Dawn Of The DragonStar (Nuclear Blast)
8. RHAPSODY OF FIRE-The Eighth Mountain (AFM)
9. RHAPSODY-Zero Gravity: Rebirth and Evolution (Nuclear Blast)
10. GLORYHAMMER-Legends From The Galactic TerrorVortex (Napalm)
11. IVORY TOWER-Stronger (Massacre)
12. SILVER BULLET-Mooncult (Reaper Entertainment)
13. ELVENKING-Reader Of The Runes:Divination (AFM)
14. THORNBRIDGE-Theatrical Masterpiece (Massacre)
15. MYRATH-Shehili (EarMusic)
16. SAINT DEAMON-Ghost (Ram It Down Records)
17. ATLAS PAIN-Tales Of A Pathfinder (Scarlet Records)
18. WIND ROSE-WinterSaga (Napalm)
19. LEMURIA-The Hysterical Hunt (Massacre)
20. TYR-Hel (Metal Blade)
Best Metal DVD/Blu-Ray
Best Remake Album
Best Live Album
Best Covers Album
Best Metal Book
Michael Schenker Fest April 24th, 2019 @ The Palace Theater , Calgary, Alberta
Best New Band (debut full length 2019)
My Favorite Discovery of 2019 was…
Best Comeback of 2019
Best Local Band
Disappointments of 2019
The band has drifted way too far from their Death/Thrash/folk roots and added too many industrial and pop elements into their sound for my tastes.
Hopes/Predictions for 2020:
- Blackie Lawless decides to release the mountain of archived W.A.S.P. footage (and the long-lost Japanese only video collection) in a cool, historical 3+ DVD box-set. Blackie also finishes his autobiography he has been rumored to have working on for years. (Carried over from 2010, again nine years running).
- New Manowar album.
- New Yngwie J. Malmsteen album.
Other Metal related things that still pissed me off in 2019.
- Metalocalypse is still in limbo with the conclusion to the series Metalocalypse: The Army of the Doomstar – The Final Chapter still incomplete.
- After five years Metalhead (the Icelandic movie) still has no release on DVD.
- Holliston Season Two is still not available on DVD.
- SJW’s, hippie’s, snowflakes, hipsters, feminists and other assorted liberal scum trying impose their personal politics on the music and art that others create. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Don’t watch it, read it or listen to it. We don’t need you trying to remake Metal to be more palatable for your personal world-view.