HALF WAY POST 2019 – Amanda’s Choices

I’ve got to that stage in life where I find myself constantly saying “where has the time gone?” This is one of those times! It’s June, nearly July, and I don’t know where the time has gone! Luckily, 2019 so far has had a great soundtrack of new releases which I am so psyched about. Let’s start with the obvious;

SLIPKNOT have teased us with two single releases during the run up to their next release. The single released this year was Unsainted that overwhelmed me with happiness. I have adored SLIPKNOT for a lifetime and this song, in my eyes, is beautiful and very in keeping with their iconic sound. This song wouldn’t be out of place on any of their albums. All Hope is Gone springs to mind but it also wouldn’t be out of place on Vol 3: Subliminal Verses either. This song is in my top releases so far this year and I cannot wait for this new album. It’s been 5 years since The Gray Chapter came out, the band has said it’s the longest amount of time they’ve had to work on an album, so I am positive this will be a masterpiece when it’s released.

Now, PERIPHERY are one of my favourite bands and I was counting down for the release of their latest album Periphery IV: Hail Stan. This is their 6th studio album and is now one of my new favourites. It opens with Reptile, an epic 16 minute track with an incredible lyrical journey about politics and government as well as a hint of lizard people. Considering the track is so long, they have written it so beautifully and because of their Djent style, it never gets repetitive or stale.

Their releases from the album are Blood Eagle and Garden in the Bones. Blood Eagle is stunningly brutal and the heaviest song on the album. For anyone with knowledge of Viking torture, you can guess why. The lyrics paint a savage picture of the ritual, if you aren’t faint hearted, look up the lyrics or the origin of the term. One of the reasons I adore PERIPHERY so much is partially because of their stunning originality, but also their incredible skill of storytelling in their lyrics. They’re weird and wonderful and exceptionally talented musicians. This is my favourite album of 2019 by far.

The iconic IN FLAMES released their latest album I, the Mask which once I heard one song; I couldn’t stop listening to the full album for weeks on end. IN FLAMES fans can be difficult to please as their sound has changed so much over the years. Each album has had a different sound and the lovers of their original few albums often dislike the changes they made. I think this new album is stunning, but it does have a lighter tone than some of their previous albums. As their sound has gone from very heavy with purely deep growls to more commercial clean vocals and everything in between, this album is a nice combination of both. It has beautiful melodies with a heavy tone beneath, similar to the 2002 album Reroute to Remain.

Next on the list has to be RAMMSTEIN with their latest untitled full album. They have created such a strong dominant presence in the metal industry; with their industrial sound, the commanding voice of Till Lindermann, their love of Pyrotechnics and all the controversies which surround them. This latest album has had mixed reviews but mostly positive and I have really enjoyed it. There have been 3 single releases so far, the first being Deutschland which was all the hype and is exactly what RAMMSTEIN fans have been waiting for after 10 years of waiting. My personal favourites from the album are Deutschland, Ausländer and Sex.

Taking it down to a more mellow level, I want to talk about the latest album from A TWILIGHT SAD. This band is brand new to me but this album hooked me straight away. With a serious 80’s synth vibe, I was immediately drawn in and I will be listening to their entire discography ASAP. They are a Scottish Indie band and I love how much you can hear the accent through the vocals. So many accents get lost in song but this band is definitely Scottish. The latest album It Won’t Be Like This All The Time is so great to listen to for any fans of synth, Indie Rock, the Scottish or bands like JOY DIVISION.

I was sceptical of BILLIE EILISH at first due to her age, which is such a bad reason to doubt someone’s talent. We can all remember the music we listened to at 13 – 17 years old and with the likes of other teenage stars, I assumed the worst, but I was so taken aback by this album. She really is a talent and this electro pop genre with melancholy lyrics is something I didn’t know I needed but I am so glad it has been put into the universe. Songs like You Should See Me in a Crown really caught my attention and of course Bad Guy has gone viral as well. I really love this record and knowing how many other incredible rock stars love it too shows its worth.

Another band who I have only just been introduced to is ASTRONOID. They are from a genre I’ve never been familiar which they call Dream Thrash, but they have also been labelled Post Metal and Blackgaze.  They have this hauntingly beautiful ambience which can’t quite be boxed into one genre, hence all the random categorising. Their latest self titled album, in my opinion, is gorgeous and a really great listen. I am so excited to be seeing these guys live this year when they support PERIPHERY during the Hail Stan tour.

A few other quick mentions for great albums this year are ILLYRIA who have released their second album The Carpathian Summit and SPIRIT DRIFT with their album Divided by Darkness, a classic heavy metal band with some great twin guitar harmonies and powerful choruses. A nice mix of BLACK SABBATH influences in the Doom Metal sub genre.

To finish this piece I will talk about upcoming releases for the rest of 2019. I will keep this brief as there are only two main albums which I am most excited for. One I have previous mentioned which is SLIPKNOT’s new album We Are Not Your Kind due August 9th and second is the hugely anticipated return of TOOL with their first album in 13 years due out August 30th.

This is one of the biggest metal releases in an extremely long time and as a huge Nu Metal fan, I am dying with anticipation. Most information has been kept extremely under wraps at this time and we don’t even know what the title will be, but what we do know, is TOOL have never failed to produce a musical masterpiece.

Bring on the rest of 2019!

Words: Amanda Nicholls

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