Schedules are not my strong suit, but the talons of procrastination have finally receded as Volume 2 lands. The countdown restarts for the metal albums that I loved in 2019.
10. Enforcer – Zenith
Enforcer‘s Zenith may not be the peak of their career, but this new record still qualifies as a strong highlight for the Swedish metallers. From electric solos on Thunder and Hell to the stunning power ballad Regrets, their usually speed-driven compositions show no fear of venturing beyond familiarity.
Never mind the lyrics that verge on campy, acknowledging eternal life and professing their love for the Devil in both English and Spanish. In the recent resurgence of timeless heavy metal, this is one outstanding entry for one of the best live bands I have ever had the chance to see.
9. Hell Fire – Mania
Joining Enforcer in their return to new wave of heavy metal is Hell Fire, who deserves a legion of fans for hitting the mark on every count. Filling in the void of the genre since 2010, they accomplish the herculean task of following in the footsteps of legends right before the decade closes.
Drawing from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Dio, their influences are clear. Even so, their classic sound never once feels dated. Jake Nunn’s distinctive gravelly vocal soars above mental instrumentation that races with grace, proving the band a creative force to be reckoned with.
8. Savage Messiah – Demons
Thrash meets power metal in Savage Messiah, whose fifth release Demons may just be their best to date. The album wastes not a minute in their niche, bringing rousing standouts such as The Bitter Truth and Under No Illusions to the varied table.
Dave Silver’s clean vocal has made their music more accessible and airwaves-friendly than their genre neighbours, but their melodious sound is far from a weakness. If anything, it elevates their music above the copies of copies, leaving a mark unlike no other.
7. Born of Osiris – The Simulation
Born of Osiris has come a long way from their deathcore roots in The New Reign. Since their debut, they have evolved in massive ways. For one, they have eased on the aggression and allowed their progressive melodies to very much become the centrepiece. The Simulation proves this a significant strength.
Electronic influences seep through in non-lethal doses, working well for both heavy-hitters such as The Accursed and almost sing-alongs like Under the Gun. Boldly clocking in at under 30 minutes, the album’s impact comes through hard with welcome vigour.
6. Sacred Reich – Awakening
Despite regular appearances on stage, it has been decades since Sacred Reich had stepped into the studio. 23 years after Heal, one of the longest hiatuses in metal finally ends in triumph. The arrival of Awakening comes in time for anyone in need for thrash anthems.
The veterans go hard, whether they are ripping into the politically charged (Revolution, Killing Machine) or the positively inspiring (Salvation, Manifest Reality) that may just fool you with its pace. Taut riffage and electric shredding define their solid return, as though no time had passed.