5. Tom Keifer – Rise
Cinderella has sadly parted ways, but it is a blessing that frontman Tom Keifer has chosen to stick around. Years of battling his vocal condition had not stopped the musical hero from making great tunes, and 2019 turns out to be his year.
Cranking up the volume knob, Rise veers from his days of Heartbreak Station and even his solo debut, delivering a grittier sound that borrows from 70s heavy metal as much as modern rock. His lyrical honesty accompanies, sharing inspiring optimism after his personal struggles.
4. Periphery – Periphery IV: Hail Stan
Who knew what happened to Periphery, but their newfound rage has certainly taken them to new heights. Periphery IV: Hail Stan is all angst and no holds barred, venting harsh aggression while retaining their former djent and metalcore leanings.
Let not the edgy title tune you out of the insane tracks Blood Eagle and Chvrch Bvrner. Don’t let the duration intimidate you either. Reptile may be almost 17 minutes long, yet it feels nothing like it. After three prequels and one double album, these guys may just have perfected their craft at songwriting.
3. Brymir – Wings of Fire
It is both my fault and loss to have only discovered Brymir now. Two works of art later, the Finnish epic metal act has re-entered the arena with Wings of Fire, raising every contender an unmatched and immersive aural experience.
Gloria in Regum presents what to expect from the get-go. The orchestral lead-in comfortably segues into a rousing call to arms, flaunting their unique musicality in anthems yet to come. Accompanying the brutality of the storm is grandeur in their brilliant symphonies, fit for kings clad in armour.
2. Lindemann – F&M
In a year where Till Lindemann signed up twice for the ranks on the metal charts, fans had everything to gain from his double dose of industrial metal. His bass voice leads Rammstein in their new wave of classics and controversy with Untitled, though it is F&M by Lindemann that caught my attention.
Entirely in German this time, his second team-up with PAIN’s Peter Tägtgren births another eclectic dance fest. The display of audacious creativity alone is enough to charm. Synth meets chugging riffs, before they find time to waltz between a catchy tango and a dark lullaby that proves strangely compelling.
1. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
In 2008, All Hope is Gone saw Slipknot steer into Stone Sour territory. Corey Taylor had opted for more clean vocals above accessible rock melodies, venturing into their softer side for commercial success. Granted the band has never made the heaviest of metal, their new direction remains unpalatable for those hoping for an Iowa reprise.
It seems they heard the fans when .5: The Gray Chapter teased a return to roots. Their follow-up takes it up a notch, with varied efforts from the gothic experiment in Spiders to the crowd-rousing Solway Firth. We Are Not Your Kind is a truly multi-faceted collection that reminds maggots how they first became obsessed. Can’t wait for their concert in March.
Here is the end, or so it is on the subject of music. Do share your favourites that I might have missed as I try to get back into regular programming. Have a good weekend. x