Top 20 albums of 2019

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Well here we are, another year and another heaping pile of albums by new bands, old bands and everyone else in between. However, lets see what made my top 20 of the year! Now I know this year I have really slacked on getting reviews out which is why a lot of these albums I have not reviewed. That doesn’t mean I have been listening though and boy have I been listening this year. Lets see who made it!

 

                                              20. Fatal Curse: Breaking The Trance

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                                   19. Babylon Shakes: Exile to the Velveteen Lounge

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                                                             18. Enforcer: Zenith

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                                                      17. Tanith: In Another Time

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                                                    16. Crazy Lixx: Forever Wild

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                                                  15. Leathurbitch: Into The Night

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                                                  14. Tora Tora: Bastards of Beale

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                                                               13. Solicitor: S/T e.p

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                                                          12. Paladin: Ascension

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                                            11. Bewitcher: Under The Witching Cross

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                                                       10. Asomvel: World Shaker

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                                                      9. Duel: Valley Of Shadows

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                                                      8. War Cloud: State of Shock

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                                                        7. Spillage: Blood of Angels

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                                                   6. Diamond Head: Coffin Train

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                                                      5. Airbourne: Boneshaker

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                                                 4. The Rods: Brotherhood of Metal

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                                                 3. Toxic Holocaust: Primal Future

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                                                     2. Riot City: Burn The Night

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                                                                    1. Angel: Risen

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The return of Angel has kind of been happening for the past few years. However, with an official album under the name in years this one definitely spent the most time on my stereo the past few months. It also ranks as one of my favorite Angel releases with so many catchy and hook driven tracks.

 

Many notable inclusions this year were also:

Satan: Cruel Magic

Traveler: S/T

Treatment: Power Crazy

Fortune: II

and many many others, here’s to 2020 and a new decade of great music!

Album Review- Leathurbitch: Into The Night

Leathurbitch

Back when I saw these guys at Legions of Metal in Chicago in 2018, I knew they had something special and unique. Their E.P combined some really catchy speed metal with hard driving late 80’s sleaze metal to create a killer release showing how hungry these guys are. Finally now we have a full length release coming out May 31st and I have to say it really is a sleazy metal masterpiece.

Opening with a very 80’s synth piece, the album goes into full blast with “L.U.S.T” showcasing some tight instrumentals led by Joel Stair’s unique vocals. This tune has a very catchy chorus as well and shows virtually the same band I remember seeing live with a slightly polished production working in their favor. Next up is “I Want What You Got” which shows the sleazier hard rocking side of the band but still works with the sound they are going for with some moments that stray into speed metal as well. “Sleaze City” is next up and is another catchy tune that doesn’t let up and features one of my favorite solo’s on the album. “Killing The Silence” goes for more straight forward speed with Joel’s soaring vocals really making this one of the major highlights. I also really love the groove going on with “I’m Insane” and it feels like if early Queensryche stepped off the sunset strip and I really dig it. The final tune “Killer Instinct” may just be my favorite song on the album with how razor sharp the band is.

Overall, Leathurbitch are really coming out swinging with this debut. If you are into Sleazy metal dripping with speed and major attitude then this album is for you. The band essentially take the formula they established on their E.P and refined it time ten. Grab this album May 31st from High Roller Records, its worth it and definitely will be on repeat for my summer playlist.

Album Review- Riot City: Burn The Night

 

 

 

Album releases are definitely coming in hot and heavy within the next month and this album is no exception. I have been waiting inhumanely patient for the official release from Canada’s excellent speed metallers Riot City and the time has finally come. Entitled “Burn The Night”, this album definitely pulls you in with the eye catching and colorful cover that seems to pay homage to some of Priest’s most memorable covers. However, what lays within will make your head uncontrollably bang and endlessly air guitar until the last second.

Opening with “Warrior Of Time”, the intro quickly builds into a pure assault on your ear drums in a great way. The galloping guitars along with the epic and falsetto vocals really get the album off to a great start. This tune shows how catchy the album definitely can be right away. The title track is one of my favorites with the main riff getting stuck in my head as soon as the first listen and the solo is just oozing with magic and intensity! In The Dark is another major highlight with catchy vocals and an awesome acoustic opening before you get hit in the face with brutal double bass drumming. Honestly, there really isn’t a bad track portrayed on this album from the riff heavy Livin’ Fast to the breakneck speeds of Steel Rider to the catchy ender Halloween At Midnight, this album just screams all the way through.

Overall, Riot City have crafted a worthy debut album that lived up to expectations that I have had ever since hearing of the band years ago. They definitely took the time with these songs to give them magic and a spark that will make any fan of old school speed metal feel confident that there is still real gems being produced out there and Burn The Night will be one of those ones I fondly remember looking back! Check it out as soon as it is released on May 17th!

 

Preorder the album: http://swordsandchains.storenvy.com/collections/57505-all-products/products/25992693-riot-city-burn-the-night-preorder

Album Review: Sacred Leather- Ultimate Force

Sacred Leather

This album has been heavily anticipated for me ever since I first saw the band back at Legions of Metal last year. With their brash, very macho and very faithful sounding brand of heavy metal, I was really curious how they would bring that to their first full length record. Simply put, they deliver in spades.

With the blistering and anthemic opening title track, the band brings their A game both i  production and playing. The production is raw but with the right amount of shine to keep the album sounding muddy or unfocused. Next comes the very Mercyful Fate-ish “Watcher” that’s very catchy with a chorus to be reckoned with. One of my favorite tracks on the album “Power Thrust” is a mid tempo, dirty rocker that just screams the mid 80’s in both structure and sound. The lead breaks almost feel like Glenn and KK from Priest in their hey day it is that faithful sounding. It is also another tune that is catchy as well with dirty low backup vocals that further amplify hows badass this song is. Next is the more serious toned ballad “Dream Searcher” which is performed in good taste with a lot of melody throughout. It is a nice change of pace and shows the band exploring some more somber sounds. Although this song is a lot longer, I could have seen it being a tune to rival a lot of Power Ballads in the 80’s. Next up is the incredibly upbeat “Master Is Calling” which has a really nice build to it.  This shows the band firing on all cylinders especially with the blazing guitar soloing throughout. Next up is undoubtedly my biggest highlight on the album “Prowling Sinner” which is the most energetic track on the album easily with its galloping rhythm and huge yet simple chorus. This is the one song that if I had to recommend any from the band, this would be it. Finally, the band caps the album off with “The Lost Destructor/ Priest Of The Undoer” which is definitely the most one of the more complex songs on the album. Being more mid tempo, this track still manages to be catchy and heavy as well as a decent closer with some somber moments toward the end to mix it up a bit.

Overall, this is a solid offering of American forged classic Heavy Metal in the modern day. As simple as the album is, it is hard to deny the charm it has with the band really nailing that very sleek yet raw sound of the early to mid 1980’s especially in the guitar soloing and intense vocals that never let up. The musicianship is spot on and simply put, its Heavy Fucking Metal and if that is your thing, you should have this album in your collection. Sacred Leather is a band I would like to see stick around for a long time as this is easily one of the best of the year, 9/10.