Favourite Rock and Metal Albums of 2019 Vol. 2

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.

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Favourite Rock and Metal Albums of 2019 Vol. 1

I may have run out of 2019, but I have yet to run out of lists. There remain triumphant musical comebacks to look back on, and new born earworms from veterans and up-and-comers alike. Before yet another year passes me by, here are my favourite rock and metal releases of 2019 in two volumes respectively with no further ado.

10. Goodbye June – Community Inn

Community Inn landed on my radar when Live in the Now dropped last year and has not left my playlist since. Despite the long wait, Goodbye June did not disappoint. Of mega riffs and soul-baring vocal work, the passion they inject in every note is audible. One only has to look to Secrets in the Sunset to fall deeper in love.

While their Zeppelin influence is stronger in this than in their debut, it never overshadows their own unique sound. Flowing between the mellow ballads and spirited bangers effortlessly, the blues-fuelled rockers prove that the brilliance of Magic Valley was no accident.

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Favourite Movies of 2019

As the decade comes to a close, so do many major film franchises that have ignited ten good years of fanfare and keyboard wars. Between the epic Endgame and divisive Rise of Skywalker, Glass ended the twenty-year wait for cinephiles who loved Unbreakable, while Dark Phoenix managed to disappoint legions of mutant fans.

Several original studio productions have rightfully shone in their own light, too, and it is on these that this list is based on. In order of personal preference, here are ten of my favourite movies that I have seen and enjoyed in 2019. Until I get to see the late releases, including Monos and Jojo Rabbit. Damn you, licensing agreements!

10. Mirage / Durante la tormenta (dir. Oriol Paulo)

When Vera finds a way to save a young child in the past, she never imagined that she would have to lose her own in the present. Made to doubt her own sanity, all she can do is hold onto her memories as she tries to find her way back into the life that she knew before.

This is the story of Mirage, a time-bending mystery that thrills with its every turn. Though not entirely unpredictable, the emotional core is what does cement director Oriol Paulo as one of the best genre writers today. (review)

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Favourite Rock and Metal Albums of 2018 Vol. 2

With ten slots proving barely adequate for this year in music, a second part comes due. Sorry for the lack of consistency, as I slip in and out between soft rock and metal(core) favourites. So try not to lift your finger off that volume dial.

In no real order and in time for the new year, enjoy Volume 2 of 2:

10. The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut

The blues continue to invade modern music, as The Temperance Movement releases their third solid rock n’ roll record. A Deeper Cut is yet another next top-notch album to join the impressively consistent collection of indie label Earache Records.

Capable of throwing out raw rockers like Caught in the Middle and Backwater Zoo, the beloved British band is unafraid to slow down for tender ballads such as There’s Still Time and the brilliant title track. And what is perhaps as much our blessing as it is the band’s, Phil Campbell’s raw vocals work amazingly well on both.

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Favourite Rock and Metal Albums of 2018 Vol. 1

Cynics may continue to cry foul at imitators and sellouts in the rock scene, but I stand my ground that 2018 has been good to music fans. Too good, if I dare to be bold. As labels shower us with gifts of addictive blast beats and criminally catchy hooks, I hesitate at the difficult task of playing favourites.

Music lists are tougher still for an indecisive audiophile, who holds on dearly to ancient favourites while craving for new ones. But I’ll take any excuse to re-listen to some of the best records this year:

10. Avatar – Avatar Country

I will always regret missing Avatar live at Download Festival. With their seventh album Avatar Country, the band is set to steal the title of the greatest showmen on the metal stage. Emulating the early persona of the revered Alice Cooper, the born performers are just a hell lot of fun to watch.

Granted that they may play up on the dramatic, their dress-up games never come at the cost of musicality.  Their latest record is full of groove-laden bangers, albeit softer than before. If there is a single track that sums up their serious musicianship alongside their love for fun, get in on The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country.

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