So you have seen the first part of my top ten, hope you enjoyed reading that. Here is the second part of my top 10 before I reveal the number one choice.
5. 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 to 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.
4. 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.
3. 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 piece. The Shadow Theory contains an array of music that will make 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.
2. Brothers Of Metal – Prophecy Of Ragnarök
The original release of 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 make 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.
Stay tuned for the number one album, honourable mentions and top ten singles.