Here are my lists for 2018. Another great year for music. The first section features un-ranked albums followed by my top 50 and then thrash and death metal lists.
Black Veil Brides - Vale
Ammunition - st
Frozen In Time - The Edge of Nothing (EP)
Lechery - We Are Born All Evil
Orphaned Land - Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
Panorama - Around the World
Shezoo - Agony of Doubt
Spiral Key - An Error of Judgement
Tonight Alive - Underworld
Victorius - Dinosaur Warfare - Legend of the Power Saurus
White Wizzard - Infernal Overdrive
Animal Drive - Bite!
New Horizons - Inner Dislocation
Rivals - Damned Soul
Saxon - Thunderbolt
Thaurorod - Coast of Gold
Trick or Treat - Re-Animated
Visions of Atlantis - The Deep and The Dark
Voodoo Circle - Raised on Rock
Arida Vortex - Small Toy Soldier EP
Blaze Bayley - The Redemption of William Black (Infinite Entanglement Part III)
Borealis - The Offering
Collibus - Trusting the Illusion
Grand Design - Viva La Paradise
Jaded Heart - Devil's Gift
Rick Parfitt - Over and Out
Stone Broken - Ain't Always Easy
Stormzone - Lucifer's Factory
Three Days Grace - Outsider
Black Rose - A Light in the Dark
Bonfire - Temple of Lies
Breaking Benjamin - Ember
Captain Black Beard - Struck By Lightning
Gus G - Fearless
Hekz - Invicta
Kamelot - The Shadow Theory
Melodius Deite - Episode III The Archangels and the Olympians
Mustasch - Silent Killer
Runelord - A Message From the Past
Seven Sisters - The Cauldron and The Cross
Stonelake - Thunder and Rain
Volster - Perfect Storm
Arena - Double Vision
Dyecrest - Are You Not Entertained
Follow The Cipher - Follow The Cipher
Grailknights - Knightfall
Heartwind - Higher and Higher
Lordi - Sexorcism
Lords Of Black - Icons Of The New Days
Subsignal - La Muerta
Vega - Only Human
Big City - Big City Life
Exlibris - Innertia
Sunstorm - The Road To Hell
Triddana - Rising From Within
Walls of Babylon - A Portrait of Memories
Zero Theorem - Ataraxis (EP)
Dream Troll - Witche's Curse 3 track ep
Every Hour Kills - Fragile Machine EP
Graham Bonnet Band - Meanwhile, Back In The Garage
King Company - Queen Of hearts
Ravage - The Derelict City EP
Snakebite - Rise of the Snake
Ted Poley - Modern Art
Lords Of The Trident - Shadows from the Past
Ethernity - The Human Race Extinction
Grave Digger - The Living Dead
Hardcore Superstar - You Can't Kill Mr Rock n Roll
Leverage - The Devil's Turn EP
Massive Wagons - Full Nelson
Outloud - Virtual Hero Society
Soulhealer - Up From The Ashes
Hammer King - Poseidon Will Carry Us Home
A Light Divided - Choose Your Own Adventure
Dragony - Masters of the Multiverse
Fifth Angel - The Third Secret
Hank Erix - Nothing But Trouble
Leah - The Quest
Orion's Reign - Scores of War
Sacral Rage - Beyond Celestial Echoes
Smash Into Pieces - Evolver
Dire Peril - The Extraterrestrial Compendium
Flashback of Anger - Shades
Heidra - The Blackening Tide
Kalidia - The Frozen Throne
Kambrium - Dawn of the Five SUns
Normandie - White Flag
Seventh Dimension - The Corrupted Lullaby
Sirenia - Arcane Astral Aeons
Ten - Illuminati
Them - Manor of the Se7en Gables
BillyBio - Feed the Fire
Magic Dance - New Eyes
SkyEye - Digital God
Frozen Land - st
Last Union - Twelve
Top 50 melodic styles
50. Kissin' Dynamite - Ecstasy
Very catchy melodic rock with a modern slant. Just a nice set of songs basically.
49. State of Salazar - Superhero
Slick 80s fixated AOR. Great singer.
48. Holter - Vlad the Impaler
Solid second effort but not as good as the debut but I've warmed to it with repeated plays.
47. Sinbreed - IV
They lost their best singer but made their best album. Vocals take time to get used to and some may never do that but I did and I found a really nice power metal album.
46. Perfect Plan - All Rise
Slick as hell AOR. Brilliant new singer.
45. Satan - Cruel Magic
Their best album in recent times IMO. One of the best old timer NWOBHM bands going these days.
44. Leaves' Eyes - Sign Of The Dragonhead
Losing Liv or sacking her rather was a bold move but they've triumphed over all. New gal is great and the songs are at the top catchy level. Probably their best album though I'm not their biggest fan in the first place.
43. Nils Patrik Johansson - Evil Deluxe
A really solid and catchy solo effort. NPJ's vocals have become quite an acquired taste these days. Some can't stand him but he sounds pretty good to me. The songs are really cool for the most part too.
42. Nozomu Wakai's Destinia - Metal Souls
The best recent project of the many that feature Ronnie Romero. The Japanese fellow can shred and has a knack for a memorable song melody.
41. Riot V - Armor of Light
Plenty are saying this is shit but to me it's really good so there! Great melodic singing and rapid fire riffing helps me tap my toe and enjoy what I'm hearing.
40. Against Evil - All Hail the King
A massive surprise from India. All hail Against Evil for a fun slab of true heavy metal.
39. Groundbreaker - st
Slick as hell project with Steve Overland and Robert Sall from Work of Art. This is seriously lush and soothing for the ears.
38. Maverick - Cold Star Dancer
Northern Ireland's best melodic hard rock band. Great singing and cool as hell tunes. The band has improved beyond measure since when I heard their last album and saw their average live performance. I could hardly believe the change.
37. Lost In Thought - Renascence
English prog metallers return after a long absence with a superb effort. Lot of melody and epic tunage here with solid instrumental skills.
36. Temperance - Of Jupiter and Moons
Italian power metallers return with easily their best album. They got a new gal singer and she turns in a great performance. The songs are very cool and catchy to boot. Their best by a mile.
35. Treat - Tunguska
Treat stands for quality in melodic rock. Since Coup De Grace they've been kicking ass. This album is better than their last effort Ghost of Graceland but not as good as "Coup". Which makes it a bloody great melodic rock record if you ask me.
34. Amorphis - Queen Of Time
Amorphis albums almost never make any list of mine but this I found engaging from the moment I heard the first single. There are a lot of catchy moments in these dense songs. There's a lot of heaviness and growling but I can handle that as a big death metal fan and the music calls for it anyway. A proud effort for the Finns no doubt.
33. Kobra and The Lotus - prevail II
I would expect this to chart much higher than it's current position as I loved Prevail I. Alas it's just not as good. It is however very good given more plays and Kobra herself soudns as amazing as ever. Probably a too big of a challenge to make so many great songs over a double album released just a year apart.
32. Warkings - Reborn
The gimmick band featuring Georg from Serenity. Much heavier and harder hitting than his day job. The songs and riffs rock hard. So heavy and pounding, like the best of Dream Evil!
31. Lione Conti - st
An album from way way back in January. Seems like an eternity away but this album had so much class that its presence in my list was guaranteed. Great stuff, heavy, melodic and epic.
30. Divine Ascension - The Uncovering
The Aussie progpower merchants came out of nowhere with this fantastic release. Very catchy female vocals and heavy melodic music kept me entertained for many hours.
29. Michael Romeo - War Of The Worlds Pt. 1
So yes this one came out of the blue at the time and but I think it kept almost all of the Symphony X fans happy. Sure it had some departures and it should do since it's a solo disk but there were some amazing songs here and a fantastic singing find to boot.
28. Creye - st
A recent AOR release from Frontiers really delivered the goods. These youngsters are slick as hell. I love this kind of AOR with it's super pumped crisp sound. Lovely!
27. Monument - Hellhound
England's latest answer to classic Maiden worship. Easily their best album. If you want a trip down memory lane to 1985 then what are you waiting for - go get some Monument!
26. Juducator - The Last Emperor
Mix up Blind GUardian and Iced Earth and you have Judicator. Probably even better than both band's recent output. Epic melodies all over the shop and great music too. This band deserves a much higher profile.
25. Care of Night - Love Equals War
Not quite as good as the debut but I just love this band. Wonderful AOR for those who like it melodic with a superb singer to boot. Could be higher possibly but it's very tight this year.
24. Impellitteri - The Nature Of The Beast
I am huge fan of the Imp man and Rob Rock and they shredded like beasts on this release. The production was huge and Rob Rock is still a monster on the mic.
23. The unity - Rise
German melodic rock/metal super group of sorts really delivered on their sophomore album. Their first was good but this was even better and more memorable even. If you enjoy Helloween/Gamma Ray/Edguy or any Germanic teutonic power metal act then you'll love The Unity.
22. Nordic Union - Second Coming
So my lord and master Erik 'melodic rock master" Martensson made
an album that didn't immediately wow me. Not to say that it was bad at all. It took it's time but it finaly made an impact in thrash/death metal infested listening time and I got to release it was a classy piece of work. Still a disappointment when you look at it next to WET but far better than Amunition the other album he was involved in this year. Next year Eclipse returns to action and I'll tighten my seat belt for a serious fun ride. No doubt he'll be involved in something else also. Anyway, NU very good but not as good as the debut.
21. Mob Rules - Beast Reborn
Possibly not as good as the last album but I really enjoyed this follow up album. It's just more of the same and that same was good to begin with.
20. Brainstorm - Midnight Ghost
German vets returned with their best effort in a long long time. They've been going through the motions for years but it all finally clicked for Andy and co. Good to have the vets of the scene back on form. Welcome back lads!
19. Guardians of Time - Tearing up the World
These guys returned after a long absence with easily their best album ever. A pretty crushing and enjoyable power metal album. Should be enjoyed by all pm fans the world over.
18. Ghost - Prequelle
So Ghost finally ditched being heavy metal and embraced classic melodic rock. It's ok people. Not every one will like this band but damn I can't deny Tobias Forge's ability to pen a monster hook. Having said that the album isn't perfect. It has faults, but damn it, it has some addictive tunes. Love to see where they go from here.
17. Angra - ØMNI
OK so Fabio has his detractors and I can see he won't be a fave for everybody but he does a really good job on this release. The backing music is utterly world class and the songs are majestic and emotion packed, yet typically progressive in the Angra style. A very enjoyable release.
16. Manimal - Purgatorio
Swedes Manimal return with their best album. It's your regular good old power metal album done with extra zest and a psychotic power metal front man. Great effort that should please regular power metal fans the world over.
15. Primitai - The Calling
The UK's best trad band period with a really great effort. Still not sure if it's as good as Rise Again but the production is way better and the songs are lean mean and precise. I just love these guys and have met then a coupld of times and catch them regular at gigs too. The Calling is a brilliant effort from this underrated and under appreciated band. Hopefully their profile can increase with future albums.
14. Judas Priest - Firepower
So who'da thunk it? The Priest is back! Ok so they got a massive helping hand from top producer Andy Sneap who's now even in the band but I'm not a stuck in the mud traditionalist who wants only classic Priest. This was Priest finally setting foot into the 21st century. Purists will hate but Halford was back and how. The metal God turned in a sterling performance himself. Having said all that I don't love every song on this disk. It's not faultless musically but sonically it IS faultless and when was the last time you could say that about a Priest record. Not sure if this is their last album but if it is then it's a great way to bow out. I'm hoping that Halford makes a solo album next actually, hopefully with Sneap again but who knows. For now we get the best Priest album since the legendary
Painkiller. Be happy Priest fans.
13. The Night Flight Orchestra - Sometimes The World Ain't Enough
Speed Strid's troops deliver their best album yet. That's happened a few times this year with bands delivering their best album of their careers. This one was a classic retro AOR disk delivered with pure panache and class. Very cool and classy effort.
12. Artillery - The Face of Fear
Some would say this is classic thrash but I place it in my melodic list because it is just that - very melodic and catchy. I love the power of the songs and the singer delivers it all with a mighty more load of power lolol!
11. Striker - Play To Win
Probably Canada's best trad metal throwback or retrad band. This is easily their best album. I don't know the fellow's name on the mic but boy can he sing. He's one of the few who can hold a candle to Nils Molin in my book. The song writing is also really excellent on this release. Top notch band if you ask me.
10. Shiraz Lane - Carnival Days
These young chaps knocked it out of the park with this edgy guitar driven piece of scandi rock earlier in the year. Not every song bowled me over but the ones that did were jaw droppingly good. This band is going places if they can hone it even further on their next release.
09. Seventh Wonder - Tiara
The melodic prog kings returned after a hell of a long time away with a really epic album. They still kept melody at the forefront in their songs whilst still showcasing their amazing chops. All in all, a wonderful package of music, vocals and melody.
08. Primal Fear - Apocalypse
You use to able to rely on Judas Priest to "deliver the goods" and now you can rely on their famous modern day equivalents to do the very same. PF albums are always something trad power metallers can look forward to without trepidation. They don't re-invent the metallic wheel of course just keept it turning. Horns up for da 'Fear!
07. Light the Torch - Revival
An emotionally draining and difficult listen but in the end the rewards are immense with this latest musical incarnation of Howard Jones. The man just sounds like a pained monster, leaving every ounce of pain and suffering for the listener to digest. Dark stuff but still melodically very pleasing. Blistering heavy music too. This is the closest any metalcore related album got near my lists but this album is undeniable. Epic!
06. Veonity - Legend of the Starborn
This band is just a fave of mine and seem to pass most people by. Their knack for epic, choir laden choruses is almost second to none in the power metal scene. Just love these guys on their last record and this latest offering. It's criminal how they're pretty much ignored by the power metal community. Hails to Veonity! You have a massive fan here if nothing else!
05. Visigoth - Conqueror's Oath
Easily the best album from these American fellows. This is all held together by the fantastic chest beating vocals on offer and epic and anthemic songs. Like the best of Manowar and Grand Magus mixed together to bellow along with in Valhalla. Hails!
04. Dynazty - Firesign
What can I say about Nils Molin? This boy is hands down the singer of the year. The lad can sing his ass off. He's the guy who's gonna take the mantle of classic melodic singing from the old guard. The songs in the album were just more of the same but with a finer sheen on them which is more than good enough for me. Nils sings and magic happens - that's it basically.
03. Tremonti - A Dying Machine
I have enjoyed all Tremonti albums released previously and he's an amazing songwriter/guitarist but the lad has outdone himself this time. This is the best Tremonti record by far. It's a deep conceptual piece but you can still listen to each song as a stand alone piece, that's how good the song writing is. Amazing stuff. Even saw his show twice this year that's how much of a fan I am. Can't wait for the next Tremonti album but goddamn it's gonna be very tough to get anywhere near ADM. Next year will be the return of Alter Bridge which should be good and hopefully better than their last CD. But they've got a hell of a job living up to Tremonti's solo efforts.
02. W.E.T. - Earthrage
So yes the return of the melodic rock super group with Erik, Jeff and Robert. Could anything possibly go wrong? Not a cat in hell's chance. Just a wonderful album to listen to. So melodic, catchy and this is the kind of music that I like to hear Jeff sing over not his SOTO heavy modern band. Easily the best WET album yet and the competition was pretty stiff.
01. Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin
What can I say about these guys huh? You already knew it was my numero uno right? They just blew it out of the park with this release. I've loved all their albums and they've all been bloody great to me but TSOS is by far their best album. It's just so damn catchy! Just a riotous joy to listen to and they bring it live too. Not sure how they are going to top this album in the future as this could be the pinnacle for Powerwolf. Easily my album of the year and it's not even close. Brings me no end of happiness peeps. Hails to the mighty wolfy ones! \m/
This was a fallow year for thrash metal. I found plenty of albums that I liked but none of the mainstays or vets were in action this year so you had to dig deep for the rethrashers. However if you look deep deep underground like I do. there's a lot of great pit inducing music to be found. There's some real gems in here that most people won't give the time of day to.
Damn Youth - Breathing Insanity
Bomber - Sommation
Strikeback - The Plague
Godslave - Reborn Again
Hostil - Infernal Rites
Traitor - Knee-Deep In The Dead
Distillator & Space Chaser - split ep
Ultra-Violence - Operation Misdirection
Wulfpäck - War Ain't over!
Cultural Warfare - Warmageddon
Processor - Heliopolis
Tonic Breed - Install Memory
Trioxine - Rise From The Grave ep
Final Breath - Of Death and Sin
HateSphere - Reduced to Flesh
Tyrant Disciple - Weight Of Oblivion
Thrashback - Sinister Force
Razgate - Welcome Mass Hysteria
Solace in Murder - Homicidal
Wreck-Defy - Fragments of Anger
10. Black Reaper - Birth of Extinction - recent discovery of heavy raging thrash.
09. Gama Bomb - Speed Between The Lines - Northern Ireland speed mechants
08. Nightbreed - Beyond Inferno - heavy groovy thrash.
07. Thrashquatch - Axe to Inherit - recent raw discovery. Energetic riffs
06. Atomic Death Squad - Brain Dead - another recent discovery. Pure raging crossover thrash. Mental!
05. Thrashist Regime - Carnival of Monsters - One of the UK's best rethrashers.
04. Injury - Wreckage EP - just a five track but full of amazing riffage to chew bricks to
03. Hatchet - Dying To Exist - classic bay area thrash
02. Defiatory - Hades Rising - heavy and catchy Swedish thrash if I recall correct. Very catchy riffs.
01. Crimson Slaughter - Surveillance States - A recent discovery goes in staright at No 1. Just mental rage with these guys. Riffs to cut through ice with!
This was a real solid year for death metal. Lots of really good releases. Heavy if you like it heavy, tech if you like it cerebral and catchy if you like it old school. Creating a top 10 was somewhat difficult as I could easily change some albums for the unranked albums on any given day. I keep thinking that I may reduce my love for death metal since its glory days but then it seems to re-energise itself again when I hear something heavy or technical that I like. Anyway here's the list.
Revolting - Monolith Of Madness
Xenosis - Devour and Birth
Halo Creation - Altered Behaviour
Öblivïon - Resilience
Asenblut - Legenden (EP)
Unreal Overflows - Latent
Desdemonia - ANguish
Night In Gales - The Last Sunsets
Inferi - Revenant
Frosttide - Decedents (EP)
Micawber - Beyond the Reach of Flame
Ahtme - Sewer Born
Unbirth - Fleshforged Columns Of Deceit
Jungle Rot - st
Hateful Agony - Plastic Culture Pestilence
Maligner - Attraction To Annihilation
Svavelvinter - Mörkrets Tid
Human Remains - Depths of Hades
Omnium Gatherum - The Burning Cold
Where Deprivation Lies - Psalms to the Synthetic Divine (Ep)
Infected Mind - Far from Reality
Resumed - Year Zero
Crowheart - Plague King EP
Dysmorphic - An Illusive Progress
Unleashed - The Hunt for White Christ
Inexistence - Infinite Forms (EP)
Deadborn - Dogma Anti God
Mephostophilis - Craft Of Rotten Flesh
Unplexiety - Anomalies Of Consciousness (EP)
Spectral - Neural Correlates of Hate
Obscenity - Summoning the Circle
10. Euphoreon - Ends of The Earth - very clean melodic death
09. Exile - Unveiling Insanity - Death worship from Jordan
08. Slugdge - Esoteric Malcology - heavy as hell crunchy death
07. Monstrosity - The Passage of Existence - classic death
06. Lik - Carnage -absolutely filty old school death, love it!
05. Carnation - Chapel of Abhorrence - classic old school death with modern sheen
04. Obscura - Diluvium - back to form tech death
03. Soreption - Monument of the End - insaly intricate tech death
02. Pestilence - Hadeon - classic catchy death
01. Skeletal Remains - Devouring Mortality - covering all angles in classic groovy semi technical death metal. Catchy as fuck!