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.
10. 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 are 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.
9. Kobra & 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.
8. Handsome Jack – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
They’re 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) to the top of my lungs. It’s a simple but powerful chorus that will have you singing at the top of your lungs 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.
7. Visions Of Atlantis – The Deep & 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 & 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.
6. Sirenia – Arcane Astral Aeons
SIRENIA are another band to help shape my music taste so their latest album came 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 vocal versatility 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.
So this is the first part of my top ten, stay tuned for next part and other end of year posts. Including top ten singles and bands to watch out for.