Sentinel Daily’s Top 100 Albums of 2019: Part Four

Sentinel Daily’s Top 100 Albums of 2019: Part Four

In 2016 it was Kansas, in 2017 Paradise Lost, and last year it was Judas Priest... who will take out the title this year?

25. Pendulum of FortuneReturn To Eden (El Puerto Records)
Pendulum

“A spiritedly delivered pile up of sounds that’ll remind you by turns of AC/DC, Alcatrazz, Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath… if you simply enjoy hard rock of the old school played by professionals who just about hit more than they miss then you’ll find Return to Eden an enjoyably noisy ride”. Gavin Strickmann, 12/02/19

Read Gavin’s full PoF appraisal HERE

24. Michael Schenker FestRevelation (Nuclear Blast)
Schenker

“Michael Schenker really sounds in something approaching career-best form solo wise all the way through Revelation. As noted before, you’ll take or leave the other musicians as taste dictates…but there’s certainly enough here to warrant a little more than a cursory inspection. But where is Derek St. Holmes when we need him?” Scott Adams, 18/09/19

Read Scott’s full take on Revelation HERE

23. MagnaboltMagnabolt (Own Label)
Magnabolt

“Heavy metal as it should be played… Don’t Question the Master is classic heavy metal done right, everything in place to guarantee fun times for headbangers everywhere, but the general standard of material here is so uniformly high as to render the picking out of highlights pretty redundant”. GS, 12/03/19

Gavin eulogises in full about Magnabolt HERE

22. The SlursShatter Sessions (Own Label)
The Slurs

“Milwaukee pub punkers The Slurs don’t fuck about, delivering high energy thrills and spills that get straight to the point and leave nothing to the imagination… They’ve made an incredibly enjoyable record in Shatter Sessions – give them a whirl!” – Michael Stronge, 09/01/19

Have a look at Mick’s full-length thoughts on Shatter Sessions HERE

21. KullExile (Black Lion Records)
Kull

“The idea of sturm und drang as evinced in the work of J.C.F. Bach’s Die Auferweckung des Lazarus finds a modern comparative in the album’s meisterwerk, A Summoning to War (Dea Bellorum Invicta), wherein all the devices at the band’s disposal are deployed with primal force… An unmitigated success on every count”. Graham Goodge, 17/04/19

Graham’s thesis on Exile can be found HERE

20. ExhorderMourn The Southern Skies (Nuclear Blast)
Exhorder

“You have to say that this new slab o’wax from Kyle Thomas and Vinnie LaBella is an absolute screamer… the title track moves around nine and a half minutes of serpentine, slithering doom-laden yet strangely, darkly moving metal that’ll have you thinking Cemetery Gates one minute, C.O.C. the next, and, bizarrely, Dio-fronted Rainbow after that! Buy or die!” MS, 03/09/19

Micky expounds at length on MTSS HERE

19. Flotsam and JetsamThe End of Chaos (AFM)
Flotsam and Jetsam

“Where there was merely highly-skilled musicianship and killer tunes on their last record, on new album The End of Chaos there’s a real sense of danger. The band sound hungry and, more importantly, vicious on this album… F & J seem to have found their niche in the modern thrash landscape; angrier than Metal Church, but not as unhinged as Overkill, it’s a territory they’ve stealthily made their own and class material like the furious – and quite marvellous – Snake Eye is only going to bolster their control over this particular fiefdom”. MS, 16/01/19

Read Mick’s full review HERE

18. Snowy White and the White FlamesThe Situation (Snowy White/Soulfood Music)
Snowy White

“He’s like Gary Moore stripped of the bombast, or an even more slowhanded Eric Clapton, his careworn voice rarely rising above a murmur, content to let the six strings do most of the talking… An old pro, surrounded by similarly accomplished chums, doing what he loves and doing it bloody well – that’s not a bad situation to be in, right? What’s not to love?” SA, 19/03/19

Scott waxes lyrical about Snowy further HERE

17. VA RocksI Love VA Rocks (Metalville)
VA Rocks

Rebel Blood is a dirty, low-slung rocker, punky to the max – where punk means dirty thrills rather than po-faced preaching – whilst Romeo & Juliet throws in some swampy rockabilly – seriously, there’s nothing these girls can’t turn their hands to… I’d heard good things about VA Rocks from several trusted sources – but nothing that led me to believe they’d be as good as this. Get out and get hold of this today!” MS, 31/10/19

Read Mick’s fullsome tribute to VA Rocks HERE

16. OverkillThe Wings of War (Nuclear Blast)
Wings War

“New Jersey vets thrash their way close to career-best form… I rarely get excited or worked up about old bands treading the boards these days – but right here on The Wings of War are ten reasons to get very fucking excited indeed. Top stuff, and highly recommended”. MS, 08/02/19

Mick was also in career-best form with his TWoW review – read it HERE

15. TarjaIn The Raw (earMUSIC)
Tarja

“Epic, ambitious, but above all splendid… Where 2016’s The Brightest Void shone only intermittently, In The Raw is a fully formed, fire-and-ice breathing classic from start to finish. It’s the best thing Tarja has put out as a solo artiste, and I love it. And I think you will too”. Ferry Templeton, 04/09/19

Read Terry’s full review HERE

14. FortuneII (Frontiers Music)
Fortune

“A faith-restoring hard rock tour de force… To be honest I’ve been more than a little underwhelmed by most new music that masquerades under the ‘AOR’ banner for a little while now; Fortune have changed all that in just the time it took to listen to this masterful piece of hard rock; These lads have shot a direct line back to the glory days of the genre, and if you’ve ever found yourself listening to one of your fave old albums thinking ‘why can’t they make ‘em like this anymore?’ then this just might be the album for you”.

13. Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading HandWish I Weren’t Here (Own Label)
Der Blutharsch

“The music spurns the temptation to rely on former ‘glories’ and bravely strides ahead on its own terms, forging a new sound that believe it or not has more in common with British progtivists Crippled Black Phoenix than The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud… Der Blutharsch will never be able to shake off their dubious past, but whilst they continue to make interesting and demanding music such as that found on Wish I Weren’t Here they’ll find themselves attracting a whole new fanbase, of that I’m sure. Worth checking out”. MS, 15/03/19

Mick expands his theories in full HERE

12. HelevornAamamata (Solitude Productions)
Helevorn

“I’ve rarely heard such an album; an album where pure riffery can at once spark feelings of real desolation and upset, yet still manages to leave the listener feeling sadly uplifted… Aamamata puts the listener through the wringer, battering the ears with obsidian, adamantine riffs that consume everything they touch, whilst at the same time managing to inject utter melancholy into the unforgiving chug. Penultimate track The Path to Puya is just about as good as it gets in the ever-more cluttered field of doom’death, and this is an album you’ll need to own if you count yourself a fan of the genre”. SA, 17/01/19

Catch Scott in unexpurgated Helevorn-based full flight HERE

11. VoyagerColours in the Sun (Season of Mist)
Voyager Volume X

“Keyboarding vocalist Daniel Estrin has one of the most immediately recognisable voices in Aussie metal; a delicious mix of A-Ha‘s Morten Harket, Duran throat Simon LeBon and Double‘s Kurt Maloo, he brings an unmistakable hit of eighties pop sensibility to the rest of the band’s sometimes unrelenting barrage of clever drum patterns and brutal six string mayhem… with Colours In The Sun Voyager prove once and for all that they have the sort of songwriting ammo to outgun the prog metal opposition – more power to them!” SA, 24/10/19

Read Scott’s full rundown of Colours in the Sun HERE

10. AvantasiaMoonglow (Nuclear Blast)
Top 100

“From the Mike Oldfield-on-steroids euphoria of the title track to the stately majesty of Geoff Tate vehicle Invincible, the assembled material on Moonglow represents some of Tobi Sammet‘s absolute best; that’s a big claim to make on behalf of the diminutive bassist, of course, but throughout Avantasia’s storied life they have been few releases as consistently thrilling as this”. FT, 17/12/19

9. The DarknessEaster Is Cancelled (Cooking Vinyl)
top 100

“Their best in years… Opening track Rock and Roll Deserves to Dies fuses Led Zeppelin and late seventies Judas Priest in bombastic fashion, Deckchair brings Queen and Jeff Beck together in similarly grand style… elsewhere no-holds barred up beat radio rock battles with full-on heavy metal for ear space but everywhere you look there’s class… A triumphant exposition of joyous heavy rock n’roll”. SA, 30/09/19

Read Scott going on and on about Easter is Cancelled HERE

8. The Meads of AsphodelRunning Out Of Time Doing Nothing (Godreah Records)
The Meads of Asphodel

“At the end of the day, The Meads of Asphodel are the proverbial enigma wrapped in a riddle; to try too hard to unravel the whole thing is to take the first steps on the road to madness. It’s better surely to simply wallow in some of the most stridently avant yet purposefully accessible music currently doing the rounds in the UK music scene. You’ll need a certain kind of mindset to get into this – as usual – but for the already initiated this is another fine, fine record” MS, 27/05/19

Read Mick’s full assessment HERE

7. ScreamerHighway of Heroes (The Sign Records)
Screamer

Sweden’s Screamer are the real deal… they make not one allowance for modern sensibilities. There isn’t a single idea here that hasn’t been in use since, ooh, 1984 at the latest, and yet the band never sounds dated, much less forced or horror of horrors, doing this as some sort of post-modern ‘pastiche’. This is a serious business, and business would appear to be good for these denim-toting men of the North! If you love full throttle metal as much as I do, then this album is surely going to be one of your releases of the year. Hail and kill!” FT, 27/09/19

Ferry explains the allure of HoH further HERE

6. Crazy LixxForever Wild (Frontiers Music)
Crazy Lixx

“As good as it gets for hair metal in 2019…In a nutshell, this is the best-sounding record AOR/melodic rock record that wasn’t recorded between 1983 and 1991 I’ve heard in quite some while. Of course, technology has moved on a lot since those days but still, even in an era when it’s technically possible to make an album that sounds like Hysteria in your own living room in a few hours, I’m struggling to think of an album that has quite so successfully captured the sheer euphoric feeling of that period”. SA, 24/05/19

He’s right, you know… find out more HERE

5. MetaliteBiomechanicals (AFM)
Metalite

“Metalite’s debut album, Heroes In Time, only barely hinted at what was possible for this band, and the progress they’ve made in two short years is nothing short of stunning. If they maintain this rate of advance, expect World Domination by 2025…” GS, 01/10/19

Read Gavin’s full explanation of trance metal HERE

4. AnticosmThe Call of the Void (Hell Kill Destroy Records)
Anticosm

“Fusing hoarse, sometimes demonic vocals to a more straightforward blast-furnace metal assault instrumentally is nothing new, for sure, but Anticosm inject a freshness into their sound that sends a jolt through even their most stolid bludgeon riffola… overall Anticosm are all about the primal rather than the cerebral; Somewhere Between The Void is one of the most satisfying death/thrash/black metal bangers I’ve heard all year”. Hideous Destructor, 16/07/19

More on Anticosm HERE

3. PounderUncivilized (Hells Headbangers)

“Like trad metal? Then please, meet your new favourite band… There’s no side to Pounder, no snidey sniggering at how primitive we all were way back when. On Uncivilized they deal out the metal in rousing, inspirational but most importantly sincere style and there is not one second on this album that won’t please the denim-clad faithful who were there at the time. Matt Harvey‘s dual axe work with English compadre Tom Draper is spot on time after time after time. And then it’s spot on again… Hail Pounder, and all you represent!” SA, 18/02/19

Read all about Uncivilized HERE

2. QueensrÿcheThe Verdict (Century Media)
Queensrÿche

“The Todd La Torre-fronted Queensrÿche provide a sort of trad-metal comfort food on this album. They’ve decided – probably quite rightly – that what their fans want is a warm and fuzzy amalgam of their first four albums from the eighties and early nineties, and so that’s what we receive… Each of the ‘new’ Queensrÿche releases have surpassed easily the ‘quirky’ output of their estranged former throatsmith in terms of entertainment value and commitment to metal, and the band are clearly content with their lot as things stand… This is solid, enjoyable metal from a band that owes nothing to any of us, and long may they prosper”. SA, 07/02/19

Read Scott’s full verdict on The Verdict HERE

All of which leads us to this year’s winner… Sentinel Daily’s top album of 2019 is…

1. Devin TownsendEmpath (InsideOut Music)
Empath

“Devin’s Back. Or is it Scott Walker? Or Jacques Brel? Or Vangelis? Or Jean-Michel Jarre… Final tune Singularity once again brings back Castaway and I start to drift into sweet, sweet sleep. But no! It morphs into an epic ballad. But no! It morphs into crazy free-range jazz. But no! It’s all chunky riffage. Thou shalt not label this nor indeed anything that Devin produces. Instead, you should just experience it. A totally fucking brilliant album (did I mention that I love Devin?)” Albert Petersen 04/03/19

Read Albert’s full review of Empath HERE

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