WORDS FROM THE TEAM: Martin’s Half-Way Choices – Albums

Following on from the first part of my post, here are albums that have made my year so far.

Saxon – Carpe Diem

Is an incredibly strong offering from the Barnsley Battalion that laid down the gauntlet for this years releases. There was a mix of historical accolades referenced along with modern-day affairs and even a touch of symphonic included. Easily one of the contenders for album of the year. This was one of the first albums I got to review this year and it was an absolute delight from start to finish, you can read the full review here.

Check out the song: Age Of Steam

Find SAXON on Facebook.


MagnumThe Monster Roars

I really enjoyed this album and they are one band I really need to properly dive into. They certainly paved the way for epic metal opera themed bands such as AVANTASIA, AYREON, AVALAND and MAGIC OPERA. This is totally worth checking out and to say the band are well into their fifth decade there are certainly no signs of slowing down here!

Check out the track: I Won’t Let You Down

Find MAGNUM on Facebook.


VICTORIUS – Dinosaur Warfare Pt.2 – The Great Ninja War

Whilst this has an incredibly recent release, I just love it. It doesn’t take itself seriously and is a whole lot of fun! You can read my review of the album here.

Check out the Track: Mighty Magic Mammoth

Find VICTORIUS on Facebook.


Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Featured a whole plethora of songs based on the concept of time travel which were inspired by both film and tv. The veil of time was pierced and as I said when I reviewed the album: “There is no TARDIS required for the journeys in time featured throughout

Check out the track Lost Children of the Universe featuring the mighty Roy Khan on vocals.
You can read the full review here.

Find ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN’S STAR ONE on Facebook.


KISS – Off The Soundboard

We have been blessed with not just one but two KISS Off The Soundboard releases this year. The most recent features the bands legendary Monster of Rock performance from Donington 1996 with the original line-up, ironically this was released on the same day that KISS graced the renowned location for their final performance in the UK as part of the End of the Road Tour.  The other release from earlier in this year was taken straight from 2004’s Rock The Nation World Tour and features the current KISS line-up performing in Venice Beach. This release had a very different layout of setlist from the times I have seen the band from 2008 up to their most recent UK Tour dates. It is always good to get a different dynamic in live albums rather than just the same set time and time again. I believe that even though we have now had three Off The Soundboard releases from KISS that we still have many more classic concerts to revisit.

You can read my review of the Virginia Beach release here.

Find KISS on Facebook.


Fallen Sanctuary – Terranova

What happens when you get Georg of SERENITY and Marco from TEMPERANCE together? The answer is this masterpiece! This utilises the name of a former SERENITY album for the band name and is fantastic melodic power metal offering. I luckily got my copy of this through earlier than its release date due to participating in the crowdfunder and suffice to say I have not stopped playing it!

Check out the track: Broken Dreams

Find FALLEN SANCTUARY on Facebook.


SHEWOLF – Shewolf
This is another one I had the pleasure of reviewing earlier this year, there is lots of primal imagery and naturalisation used throughout the album. It does give you a sense of belonging as you feel part of the wolfpack across all of the songs on offer here. There is an eclectic mix of styles showcased across all ten tracks, from symphonic touches, folk, and the melodic power metal riffs that we all enjoy.

Check out the track The Thrill Of The Chase

You can read the full review here.

Find SHEWOLF on Facebook.


FuryBorn To Sin

I had the pleasure of reviewing this album earlier in the year and I feel my overall summary still stands true:

Situated somewhere between Alice Coopers Welcome to my Nightmare album and the best tracks that Jim Steinman composed, this album is enjoyable throughout and I love it. Whilst there were mixed feelings about the bands last offering (no issues from me for the record being an F1 fan!) what FURY have done with this release is returned to the genre’s origins, mythos, and legend, spinning a tale that is recognisable but refreshing at the same time.

Check out the Track: Shadows And Dust

You can read the full review here.

Find FURY on Facebook.


Shield Of WingsUnfinished

This was an album that I had initially crowdfunded and suffice to say with a title of Unfinished this is a complete opposite of the truth. This album is an incredibly complete debut album. There are certainly touches throughout that indicate that there are multiple genre influences at work here. It is enthralling and has a good mix of soprano female vocals amidst aggressive guttural vocals and a epic symphonic setting.

Check out the track: Mind Of Myth

Find SHIELD OF WINGS on Facebook.


Heavens Guard – Pathfinder

HEAVENS GUARD are a German Symphonic Metal band of which I participated in the crowdfunder for their debut album Pathfinder which features touches of neoclassical, power and progressive traits with operatic vocals. If you like early Nightwish you will most likely enjoy this band.

Check out the track: Pathfinder

Find HEAVENS GUARD on Facebook.


Confidential  – Devil Inside

Again, this is another album that I participated in the crowdfunding campaign for and is another fantastic debut offering. CONFIDENTIAL are a Norwegian Symphonic metal band founded by lead vocalist Astrid K Mjøen and features 12 tracks which includes guest vocals from Jake E (CYHRA, Ex-AMARANTHE), and Madeleine Liljestam and Rikard Ekberg from ELEINE. All of the lyrics are of an incredibly personal level from Astrid and they work incredibly well.

Check out the track: Salvation

Find CONFIDENTIAL on Facebook.


What albums have made your year so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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