Top Ten Metal Albums Of October

2019 is still going strong! October held nothing back, unleashing exceptional albums (especially in heavy and power metal). There were a few notable folk metal releases which almost made this list (albums by Forgotten North, Tandra, and Nifrost) but, after a lot of back-and-forth, I settled on the following Top Ten Metal Albums of October!

10. Dawn of Destiny – The Beast Inside

When a unique band like Dawn of Destiny comes around with a new album, it always gets me excited. Fortunately, my excitement was well-founded in The Beast Inside, which is the band’s seventh full-length album. The songs range from energetic power metal to heavier, darker metal to unconventional-yet-melodic metal. Some songs are definitely stronger than others, with ‘Signs in the Sky’ and ‘If We Close Our Eyes’ being my favourites, but every track offers something different from the last, so make sure to give the whole album a spin!

Full Review

9. Secret Chapter – Chapter One

Sit down and strap the fuck in because Secret Chapter are going to take you on a nostalgic ride back to the 80s with their hyper-melodic, solo-rific debut, Chapter One. While Chapter One treads a similar sound he likes of Skid Row, TNT, Europe, and 80s hair metal in general, it keeps things interesting by maintaining a modern heavy metal undertone. The production, layered instrumentation, and driving riffs combined with undoubtedly 80s choruses allow for the best of both worlds, and there’s no shortage of passion or aggression. A lot of 80s metal bands just sound like refined metal from the era (if that), but Secret Chapter manage to maintain individuality by putting their own musical spin on things.

Full Review

8. Crow’s Flight – The Storm

Crow’s Flight have swooped in with a new drummer, new vocalist, and new album that’ll be a hit for fans of melodic metal as well as traditional heavy metal. While I wouldn’t call The Storm a classic metal by any means, there are enough traits that it’s worth a mention. Regardless, if you’re looking for strong melodies accompanied by kickass riffs and atmospheric keyboards, look no further.

7. Rumahoy – Time II: Party

Blowing in only a year after their debut, the self-proclaimed “Best True Scottish Pirate Metal Band in the World” Rumahoy are back with another booze-fueled party album ready to go: Time II: Party. After sailing the seas of the Wild West, Captain Yarrface and his skimask-clad crew have written ten catchy sea shanties of the most fucking ridiculous variety. Within you’ll find the expected power/folk metal combo that’s typical of pirate metal, but with a variety and dynamism that’s all but unseen in the genre.

Full Review

6. Iron Kingdom – On the Hunt

Vancouver’s own Iron Kingdom have dropped yet another solid slab of classic metal. Combining old school dual guitar sounds with clear, crisp vocals and some of the best drumming I’ve ever heard from a classic metal band, On the Hunt offers a bit more of a modern approach to the style of old. It’s the perfect balance, production-wise, because every part is clear and separated but there’s still an organic feel to the whole thing. There’s no lack of passion and sincerity, but there’s also just enough flare to keep me excited about it.

Full Review

5. Cathubodua – Continuum

Belgium’s female-fronted symphonic metal outfit Cathubodua have unleashed their devastating debut album: Continuum. Featuring folk, symphonic, death, and power metal elements, Continuum wastes no time in displaying its melodic, balls-to-the-wall epic onslaught.

Full Review

4. Aerodyne – Damnation

Smithed by the mighty Aerodyne, Damnation is, in short, one hell of a sophomore album. It’s energetic, anthemic, charismatic heavy metal with a blatant Ozzy undertone. Sound kickass? Of course it does! It’s true metal to the core, no doubt about it.

Full Review

3. Induction – Induction

In one of the strongest symphonic metal debuts of the year, Induction deliver shameless bombast, insane grooves, and killer musicianship. Featuring guitarist Tim Hansen, vocalist Nick Holleman, and Sean Brandenburg on drums, Induction is a dynamic symphonic power metal album with tons of prog influence.

2. Galneryus – Into the Purgatory

The finest neoclassical power metal band east of the Silk Road have unleashed yet another album of facemelting ferocity. Into the Purgatory is the twelfth album to come from the mighty Galneryus and, despite such a long career, it lives up to the band’s glory, and then some. A slice of Galneryus’ neoclassical edge has been swapped for a bit more of a progressive influence this time around so, while you can still expect a hyper-melodic work of shred insanity, it’s different enough from their other albums to keep things feeling new.

Full Review

1. Noveria – Aequilibrium

Italian proggers Noveria don’t fuck around. As soon as it starts, Aequilibrium explodes into high-intensity with a death metal atmosphere and epic choirs. Through the rest of the album, we encounter sick riff after sick riff (not the least of which can be found in ‘Awakening’ and ‘Broken’) in all their beefy, syncopated glory, as well as beautiful interludes and pulled back sections. Another aspect that makes Aequilibrium stand out is the fact that, while there’s a dark tone to most of the album, it’s never depressing and it’s always energetic.

Full Review

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Galneryus – Into The Purgatory Review

Score9.5/10
GenreNeoclassical Power Metal
CountryJapan
Runtime58:27
Release Date23 October 2019
Record LabelWarner Music Japan

The finest neoclassical power metal band east of the Silk Road have unleashed yet another album of facemelting ferocity. Into the Purgatory is the twelfth album to come from the mighty Galneryus and, despite such a long career, it lives up to the band’s glory, and then some. A slice of Galneryus’ neoclassical edge has been swapped for a bit more of a progressive influence this time around so, while you can still expect a hyper-melodic work of shred insanity, it’s different enough from their other albums to keep things feeling new.

The band begins with a super Dream Theatery instrumental and a floating melody that feeds directly into the second track, with a similar melody occurring in the closer. As if the all-out enthusiasm and energy of the album weren’t enough for me, I have a soft spot for wraparound melodies. They’re such a nice touch. Anyway, the rest of the album offers plenty of ups, downs, time changes, fast 16-note runs, and aggressive keyboard runs to keep you on your toes. Oh, plus, it’s also relentlessly fast, but you knew that already, right?

As usual, though, Galneryus’ highlight in Into the Purgatory is the unmatched guitarwork of Syu (who also released a solo album earlier this year in February, which was just as fucking crazy as this one). Between breakneck shredding, unstoppable riffage (‘The Followers’), and soloing that’s in a class of its own, Syu delivers nothing but gold for the albums entirety. Some of my favourite solos can be found in ‘Fighting of Eternity’ and ‘The End of the Line’, but they’re all just ridiculous.

In short, Into the Purgatory is just another excellent album from a band that’s never given anything less. Despite a consistent melodic structure, there’s enough variety to keep the entire album exciting, and the sheer skill the band has at their disposal is, frankly, staggering. Be sure give this one a listen because it’s sure to make a few Album of the Year lists.

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Vanden Plas – The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening Review

Score7/10
GenreProgressive Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime46:36
Release Date11 October 2019
Record LabelFrontiers

Germany’s Vanden Plas is the only veteran band I can think of off the top of my head that’s had the exact same lineup since their beginning. For more than thirty years, the band’s five members have delivered great progressive metal albums without fail, all the while never getting sick enough of each other to split up. If that doesn’t scream musical commitment, then I don’t know what does. That’s a damn impressive feat in and of itself, so the fact that their ninth album, The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening, is yet another solid piece of prog is just icing.

Stylistically, The Ghost Xperiment treads pretty closely to the albums of bands like Fates Warning (and especially Arch/Matheos) and mid-Queensryche. As is common in prog, the album only consists of six songs, but each clocks in at close to ten minutes, so it actually feels a lot longer than its 46-minute runtime. There’re a few parts that could probably be condensed a bit, but the tracks are dynamic enough that it really isn’t necessary.

Everything about The Ghost Xperiment is really good; the melodies are strong, the riffs are great, and the grooves are heavy. The only real downside is that nothing really jumps out. Sure, there are a couple notable melodies throughout the album (such as in the closer, ‘the Ghost Xperiment’), but the album as a whole is pretty homogeneous. If I had to pick a highlight, it’d be the solos. They’re super sick, although, since the backing parts are pretty straightforward, they don’t deliver a huge impact.

For a band that’s been around for more than three decades, The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening is worlds more than I’d expect. However, for Vanden Plas, this album is exactly what I’d expect. The whole band is on point, the arrangements are genuine, and there’s enough energy and passion in the music that, while it doesn’t throw any showstoppers, the album delivers a commendable prog metal performance.

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Melodic Metal: New Single From Edge Of Paradise

Edge of Paradise unleash the ‘Fire’ in their latest single, which is the opening track of their upcoming album, Universe.

Edge of Paradise are a female-fronted melodic metal band from the US. Their style combines elements of symphonic, classic, melodic, and industrial metal to form an electronic, catchy, contemporary style.

Vocalist Margarita Monet on the new video:
We are thrilled to unleash the ‘Fire’ music video, which is the opening track of our new album Universe! With ‘Fire’, we wanted to ignite the album from the start. For me, music, lyrics and visuals always go hand in hand, and I wanted this song and video to be an explosion of empowering energy, exciting adventures, and breathtaking imagery. The song is about following your passions, no matter what obstacles life throws your way. We all have fire and drive inside of us, and we want you to fearlessly follow it!

01. Fire
02. Electrify
03. Universe
04. Alone
05. Hollow
06. World
07. Perfect Disaster
08. Face Of Fear
09. Stars
10. Burn The Sun

The band will also join HammerFall and Battle Beast on their North American Tour in Fall 2020

Their album, Universe, is set to be released on 8 November via Frontiers Records.

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Power Metal: KingCrown Release New Single

French melodic metallers KingCrown have released the ballad ‘Over the Moon’ from their upcoming sophomore album, which will drop this Friday.

The video was filmed, directed, and edited by Mehdi Khadouj.

01. The Flame Of My Soul
02. Qumrân Caves
03. In The Sky Of Athens
04. The Human Tide
05. Over The Moon
06. The End Is Near
07. Golden Knights
08. Sad Song For A Dead Child
09. Soundtrack Of My Existence
10. A Perfect World
11. Over The Moon Acoustic (Bonus Track)

A Perfect World will hit the scene on 1 November via Rock of Angels Records.

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Rumahoy – Time II: Party Review

Score9/10
GenreFolk Power Metal (Pirate Metal)
CountryArgentina
Runtime38:29
Release Date25 October 2019
Record LabelIndependent

Blowing in only a year after their debut, the self-proclaimed “Best True Scottish Pirate Metal Band in the World” Rumahoy are back with another booze-fueled party album ready to go: Time II: Party. After sailing the seas of the Wild West, Captain Yarrface and his skimask-clad crew have written ten catchy sea shanties of the most fucking ridiculous variety. Within you’ll find the expected power/folk metal combo that’s typical of pirate metal, but with a variety and dynamism that’s all but unseen in the genre.

As with any comedic metal band, like Nanowar, Alestorm, Tenacious D, or Gloryhammer, the jokes and humour are definitely important, but the true key to success is the music itself. If you take away the hilarity of the lyrics, the music should still be able to hold its own, otherwise the act gets pretty old pretty fast. Fortunately, the talented Rumahoy have fucking nailed their songwriting, so, while you’re not busy laughing your ass of at things like “Hooks out for Harambe!” and “pirate erection”, you can appreciate the musical arrangements almost as much.

As far as contrast goes, these party pirates have nailed that, too. ‘1000 Years of Dust’ brings a darker, heavier sound than the rest of the album (as you’d expect from a song about pirates kidnapped by mummies), and there’s the electropop dance tune ‘Poop Deck Party’ which features some unexpected rapping by Gloryhammer/Alestorm founder Christoper Bowes. Every track on the album commands a contagious, heroic energy, along with anthemic “yo-ho-ho”s, “oogachaga”s, or similar chantable choruses and killer grooves and riffs. Group that together with clean mixing and a tight band, and you’ve got yourself an unstoppable pirate force.

If you like your pirate metal with a heavy serving of sick riffs, ripping solos, jokes about poop, and the occasional cheesy keyboards, this album is exactly what you need. Rumahoy have effortlessly outdone all of their competition with Time II: Party. It’s fun, it’s clever, and it’s crazy good.

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Legendry – The Wizard And The Tower Keep Review

Score6/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountryUSA
Runtime47:12
Release Date1 November 2019
Record LabelHigh Roller

Springing forth with their third album are Pennsylvania’s heavy metal outfit Legendry. In The Wizard and the Tower Keep, they offer a unique heavy metal experience that’s drenched in late 70s/early 80s prog (think RUSH). Alongside this are other elements, too, such as speed metal (in ‘Behind the Summoner’s Seal’, for example), bands like Manowar, and classic thrash. While it doesn’t live up to the epicness it promises, the album is very different from what you’d hear from a metal band in 2019.

Contributing to this notable sound are the guitar solos, which are straight out of the 70s (and also the best part of the album). ‘Earthwarrior’ uses some funky guitar fx, and ‘The Lost Road’ has some sick classic shredding that’s worth pointing out. As far as the rhythm sections goes, everything is really laid back, and the mixing and easy vocals only pull on the music harder. This doesn’t make the music sound bad, but, for a band that want to call themselves “epic metal”, they’re basically shooting themselves in the foot.

Which leads us to the most crucial problem of The Wizard and the Tower Keep: its label. As I’ve said, Legendry refer to their style as “epic metal”, but this album, unfortunately, lacks the heroism that they’re so clearly trying to capture. Sure, epic metal can mean a thousand different things, with some heavy metal bands earning the title through all-out energy, or attitude, intense choruses, or through a beefy, powerful sound. However, this album lacks pretty much all of that and, while it’s not a bad album, it’s bad for what it’s intended to be.

On the other side of things, The Wizard and the Tower Keep excels in one aspect more than any other: sincerity. There’s no effort here to try to be something they’re not. They wrote an album, put their hearts into it, and, while it misses its mark, it’d be impossible not to appreciate this. There’s no bullshit here, no pandering or falsification. Just an honest heavy metal album with a lot of progressive nuances and long-ass songs.

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Power Metal: Victorius Unleash The ‘Super Sonic Samurai’

German powerforce Victorius have released the first single to their upcoming album, Space Ninjas from Hell. ‘Super Sonic Samurai’ introduces (you guessed it!) the Super Sonic Samurai of the super space war that will take place in the new album.

Space Ninjas from Hell is the followup to 2018’s EP Dinosaur Warfare – Legend of the Power Saurus. Where Dinosaur Warfare saw a holy war between aliens and the mighty dinosaurs for Earth, Space Ninjas from Hell will see the Dinoforce pitted against, well, space ninjas that are, presumably, from Hell.

01. Tale Of The Sunbladers
02. Ninjas Unite
03. Super Sonic Samurai
04. Evil Wizard WuShu Master
05. Nippon Knights
06. Shuriken Showdown
07. Wasabi Warmachine
08. Wrath Of The Dragongod
09. Astral Assassin Shark Attack
10. Space Ninjas From Hell
11. Cosmic Space Commando Base
12. Shinobi Strike 3000
13. Dark Side Of The Sun (Japan bonus track)

Space Ninjas from Hell will be released on 17 January 2020.

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Cathubodua – Continuum Review

Score8.5/10
GenreSymphonic Metal
CountryBelgium
Runtime59:25
Release Date25 October 2019
Record LabelMassacre

The time has come for Belgium’s female-fronted symphonic metal outfit Cathubodua to unleash their devastating debut album: Continuum. Featuring folk, symphonic, death, and power metal elements, Continuum wastes no time in displaying its melodic, balls-to-the-wall epic onslaught. After a short instrumental, we’re welcomed with an intense trifecta in ‘Abyss’, ‘Hero of Ages’, and ‘Hydra’ which start the album at its highest point.

It’s hard to pinpoint where Cathubodua’s sound lies because it’s so dynamic and fairly unique, too. At times they show some likeness to Elvenking, and it isn’t a huge similarity, but that’s really the closest comparison I can come up with. Not like any of that concerns me anyway because the sound is sick, the lead is sick, the drums are sick (see: ‘A Treacherous Maze’ and ‘Hero of Ages’), and everything else is, you guessed it, super cool. Numerous interlude tracks act as good transitional pieces, so the album also has a fair amount of fluidity going for it.

One thing (albeit a small thing) that gives Cathubodua an edge on a lot of other symphonic acts is that the operatic vocals are used pretty sparingly as a highlight rather than as the main vocal style. Like rough vocals, I think this more limited approach to operatics works way better than having them at the forefront all the time. It allows for more varied expression and really allows Sara Vanderheyden to attack with every vocal delivery she has, be it aggressive, tranquil, folky, operatic, powerful, or otherwise.

As with most albums, Continuum does have some things keeping it from being perfect. There’s a bit of excess that could be trimmed, namely the track ‘Deified’, which is pretty messy and a huge drop in quality compared to the rest of the album. And then there’s the way in which Cathubodua finish the album, which is with another instrumental. The second-to-last track, ‘Apotheosis’, would have ended the album perfectly, but the ending we get does the same thing ‘Apotheosis’ did but with a quarter of the impact.

But, as I may have hinted at, Continuum has a lion’s share of excellent tracks. My favourite, ‘Hydra’ has one of Vanderheyden‘s best performances on the album, showcasing both her ferocity and beauty, and the overall power from this track is great. There’re also some instrumental breaks that hearken to Elvenking’s ‘King of the Elves’ that are a nice touch. And then there’s ‘A Treacherous Maze’, which has an Eastern flavour, rough vocals, fucking crazy blast beats, killer instrumentals, and so much more going for it. Finally, while ‘Hydra’ is my favourite song, my favourite moment in the whole album is found in ‘Apotheosis’, where the melody from ‘Hero of Ages’ comes back to give you the ultimate, spinetingling goose-bumps experience.

I haven’t even touched on the great riffs or shredding solos, but hear me when I say that Continuum contains some of the best symphonic metal of the entire year. While it’s not without a few flaws, it’s a beast of a debut album (and an album in general). It’d be an understatement to say that I’m excited to see what Cathubodua come up with next, because this immensely talented group have limitless potential.

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Heavy Metal: HammerFall Announce 2020 North American Tour

With a few dates left in their current North American tour as special guests for Sabaton, heavy metal legends HammerFall have announced a headline tour for North America. The tour will be in September and October, with support coming from Finland’s Beast in Black and California’s Edge of Paradise.

Vocalist Joacim Cans on the tour:
“After the amazing times and reception we have gotten and are still experiencing on tour with Sabaton, we can’t wait to return to North America in 2020. For the past three years we have toured the continent frequently and every time, you showed us that heavy metal is still alive and kicking. So, polish your studs and get ready for the hammer to fall harder than it ever did before.”

Guitarist Oscar Dronjak adds:
“The last three tours have proven to us that North America is ready and willing to once again wield the hammers of Heavy Metal, and it is with great pleasure we announce that we will return to the continent for the fourth time in as many years.”

This will also be Beast in Black’s first tour across North America. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, 26 October!

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