Well, it’s that time of year. All the other online personalities and magazines have put together or began to put together their “Top Insert-Number-Here List” which they usually fill with obvious picks or pick albums to try to get favor with bands or labels. Of course yours truly speaks openly and honestly to put together a list each year of albums that should be in your collection with no set number and no inclusion based on trying to get on someone’s good side.
Each year it’s getting tougher because there’s more and more solid rock and metal coming at us but I’m happy with this years group. So here you go rockers:
With Twisted Sister calling in quits we all knew it would only be a matter of time before frontman Dee Snider hit us with some solo material. What none of us expected was an album that’s just mind blowing. With writing by Jasta that feels like Dee wrote it made them the perfect duo. This is pure energy in audio form. Not a single bad song on this album and I’m surprised it’s not getting more love on the year end lists. Twisted Sister may have ended but this album proves there is still tons of years coming to rock with Dee Snider.
You either love Ghost or you hate them but Prequelle is an album not to be ignored. This is the old school meets the new school in purest form especially when to remember their from Europe where the current thing in rock and metal are bands with the borderline sound between rock and metal as well as Top 40. This isn’t Ghost at its heaviest but just the latest progression as they touch on each aspect of the history of rock and metal.
It’s been 3 LONG years since Immortalized and four years prior since Indestructible, leading many to debate where Disturbed would be when we got Evolution this year. That debate ended quickly as Disturbed proved to be just as strong as ever if not stronger than last time around. A mix of heavy adrenaline pumping songs with some heavy thinking ballads makes this album exactly what fans have been longing for.
Another band that I thought was all but gone quickly changed my tune when Snew returned with this gem. Snew could have easily experimented with a new sound and direction considering it’s been 6 years since What’s It To Ya. But no, they stayed true to the sound their fans known and love to deliver a pure hard rock album that’s perfect to cranking anytime of the day.
This band was practically ignored all year and I’m still scratching my head as to why. Terror Universal fits that heavy but melodic with aggressive and clean vocals that make sense. You won’t flinch at any point during this album due to poorly placed aggressive vocals because everything is just perfectly placed. If you’re a fan of Slipknot and Mushroomhead this is a must for you. Feel like Slipknot went to commercial than this is a must for you. Notice the theme. Don’t sleep on an album and band the industry is oblivious to when they shouldn’t be.
The last taste of old school New York rock lives on Long Island with Jackpipe. This album is heavy with some killer grooves along with some fun lyrical play. How often do you get a song about farts and it be as rocking as it is funny? Not very often I can promise you that. Plus a rock version of the hip-hop kit “Milkshake” will remind you how NYC still belongs to the world of rock and metal.
With the current trend of new bands sounding like the bands of the past there’s confusion of whose legit and whose a glorified cover band. The East Side Gamblers are the real deal without doubt. Do you sense influence from bands like Thin Lizzy? Sure but that’s all you get. They’ve taken a sound that they love from rock and metal’s early days, made it their own, and mixed it with today’s technology to deliver some killer songs that’ll be ringing in your ears long after the album ends.
This is classic Judas Priest in a new shiny modern day wrapper. The album rockers and metal heads alike have demanded for years. The energy of when metal reigned supreme on every radio is hidden on this album for us die hard fans. It’s also most likely the last true Judas Priest album we’re going to get. With K.K. Downing gone and Glen Tipton now battling Parkinson’s it’s safe the say only Halford and Ian Hill are the mainstays making any future studio albums highly questionable in quality. Firepower is the big hitting album we needed considering Judas Priest is getting closer to ending their reign.
Fear not oh fans of NWOBHM because that sound lives and strangely enough within the US. Visigoth hit with this album early in 2018 and had we not gotten Firepower from Judas Priest they probably would have been the talk of every scene. These guys have captured that NWOBHM sound that many thought would die with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and the likes. Conqueror’s Oath will get your blood pumping again like it’s the late 1980s, whether you were alive for it or not.
These guys have done what other newer thrash metal bands haven’t in recent years, made it connect to who they are. Just like everyone feels San Francisco from Testament and New Jersey from Overkill you feel New Zealand from Alien Weaponry. Mixing Māori language into their songs brings it around even further. These guys are easily setting up to be at the forefront of the next wave of great thrash bands.
Heavy and bluesy is literally all you need to know. This debut album from Gozu sounds like anything but debut. It’s beyond obvious these guys knew they wanted to capture the roots of metal and turn it up a notch. Plus there’s solos. Sure some hate those but to me it adds depth and identity to each song. Toss in song titles that will have your friends thinking you’re talking wrestling or 1980s television and you can’t help but dig into Gozu.
This album almost never happened. Thankfully Sunflower Dead gathered themselves together and used some bad experiences from the industry and turned it into some serious tunes. If you’re anxiously awaiting new music from Korn you’ll forget that anxiety the moment to start playing this album.
Well, that’s it rockers. This years “Must Have Albums” according to yours truly. Sure I might’ve missed a few but there’s only so many hours in a day and sometimes some albums just don’t make the cut. And next year won’t be any easier as we already know 2019 is bringing us new Dream Theater, Overkill, Killswitch Engage, and who knows what else will shine next year.