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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Aerodyne – Damnation Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime46:08
Release Date18 October 2019
Record LabelROAR! Rock of Angels

Against my lack of any expectations whatsoever, I was fucking blown away by this album. Smithed by the mighty Aerodyne, Damnation (which is my first taste of this band) 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.

The driving force behind Aerodyne’s success is the phenomenal riffing that ensues as soon as the album lifts off. Between the chugging drive of songs like ‘Murder in the Rye’ and the lower, meaner riffage heard in ‘The Nihilist’, there’s not only a good mix but there’s also a strong sense of sincerity displayed. The soloing is just as sick and the bass is juicy but, at the end of the day, the riffs are what heavy metal is all about, and these guys excel in axemanship.

Now, while the guitars may be what make Damnation as killer as it is, it’s the vocals that make the album truly distinct from so many of the metal bands today. As I mentioned earlier, this album bleeds Ozzy Osbourne (mid- and late-Ozzy, to be more precise). Sure, the overall sound and rhythm guitarwork are partially responsible, but Marcus Heinonen‘s voice is the biggest reason for this relation. This becomes especially apparent in ‘Kill or Be Killed’ and ‘March Davai’ (which seriously belongs on Black Rain), where the similarities are not only in your face but shoved down your throat.

Alongside catchy melodies and dynamic songs, Aerodyne prove themselves as a terrifying metal force. Damnation is a hellbeast of an album that offers all the aggression, power, and headbangability you could want from a heavy metal album. These Swedes have slammed their way onto my radar and I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat until they unleash another album.

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Ethereal Kingdoms – Hollow Mirror Review

Score3/10
GenreSymphonic Metal
CountryDenmark
Runtime43:15
Release Date11 October 2019
Record LabelMighty Music

Symphonic metal is a little pretentious on the best of days, but Ethereal Kingdom are in another realm entirely. Their debut album, the aptly-named Hollow Mirror, is about as hollow as it gets, but it’s pretentious enough to make even a bitchy blonde trust-fund girl seem humble. Seriously. The band’s whole schtick rides on the back of juxtaposing tranquil lows with dissonant highs as if it’s a revolutionary idea (which, if you’ve ever listened to symphonic or gothic metal, you’d know it isn’t).

To be clear, though, it’s not this dark/light idea that is responsible for Hollow Mirror‘s downfall. No; it’s far, far more than that. The culprit here is, well, damn-near everything. The execution is bad, the songwriting is bad, the melodies are crap, and the vocals are in their own, keyless world.

But, before I tear this poor album to shreds, I’d better get the good stuff out in the open. The drums are actually pretty good to the point where they far out-perform every other aspect of the album combined. They craft some solid grooves and vicious blast beats but they also manage to keep everything more-or-less tied together, despite some awkwardly structured songs and messy backing keyboards. Additionally, the rhythm guitars, while very straightforward, aren’t bad at all.

But, yeah. That’s it. Think the album’s hopeless now? Well, until you hear it, you’ll have no fucking clue just how hopeless it is. It’s almost as if Ethereal Kingdoms intentionally tried to make a shitty album. All you have to do is listen to one of the many passages with rough vocals and this becomes ever clearer. Courtesy of the band’s vocalist Sofia Schmidt, they sound like they were sung by someone who was trying to make fun of screamo, and that’s putting it nicely. But the vocals don’t stop there; Miss Schmidt also sings the finest out-of-tune soprano I’ve heard in a while, in a manner so boringly that it’s almost impressive. It also doesn’t help that the vocal lines are written like crap to begin with.

Aside from awkward, jagged, uninspired songs (especially ‘Endings’ and ‘Apparition’. Jesus Christ.) and an awful lead, the album has two more crucial pitfalls. The first is the incredibly dissonant violin (which I think might actually be fucking intentional, for whatever reason) which I’m convinced is played by a seven year old. The second comes in the form of spoken sections in most of the songs which try to tell some sort of story. Although, even after numerous listens, I have no idea what that story is because I spent equal amounts of time laughing and cringing while listening to it.

Needless to say, I don’t recommend Hollow Haze. That is, unless you’re looking for some scarily-bad music to play at your Halloween party, in which case it’s exactly what you need! All jokes aside, Ethereal Kingdoms have entered the metal world on such a low note that, if they decide to actually pursue a second album, they have nowhere to go but up.

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Heavy Metal: New Single From Aerodyne

Aerodyne are a fresh heavy metal band out of Sweden’s capital. Their debut album, Breaking Free, was released in late 2017. With their sophomore album right around the corner, the war-themed single ‘March Davai’ has been put out to give a taste of the new album.

The Ozzy Osbourne vibes in ‘March Davai’ are unmistakable, and I’m not complaining one bit.

Make sure to check out Damnation when it comes out on 18 October!

Follow Aerodyne on Facebook!

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Dawn Of Destiny – The Beast Inside Review

Score8/10
GenreMelodic/Power Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime56:26
Release Date4 October 2019
Record LabelRam It Down

These days, it’s incredibly difficult to carve out your own distinct space in the metal world. Among the billion or so new bands that come out by the year, it’s simply a numbers game at this point; no matter what your sound is, chances are it’s been done before. Usually, anyway. So, when a band like Dawn of Destiny comes around with a new album, it’s enough to ignite my curiosity. To say that The Beast Inside is unique would be a bit of an understatement. Seriously. It’s so unique that I can’t directly compare its sound to another band or album. Not that I’ve heard every metal record ever (because, obviously, I haven’t), but I’ve listened to my fair share of melodic and power metal, so that should say something.

However, that doesn’t make their sound indescribable or anything of the sort. Most simply, The Beast Inside is a mashup of gothic, progressive, symphonic, and power metal. This fundamental mix is hardly groundbreaking, but the way in which Dawn of Destiny differs from any band I can think of is the way it twists this combination into unconventional songwriting and interesting melodies. The first track, ‘The Beast Inside a Beauty’ is a great example of this. Starting with a light music box melody, it brings the attitude of gothic and symphonic metal together with the driving energy of power metal. It’s also the perfect preview to the album’s overall sound and (although the next two tracks aren’t quite as good) it starts the album off on a high note.

So, yeah, it’s got a unique sound, but what about the musicians? I’m glad you asked! In short, this is a fucking talented group. Jen Faber brings a big, beefy guitar tone to his chugging riffs and, on drums, Philipp Bock goes beyond your basic time-keeping by keeping the grooves dynamic. And those guitar solos? Holy fuck. There are some serious gems, especially in ‘It’s My Fate’. The highlight, though, is Jeanette Scherff‘s strong vocal style. She sings far lower and with way more bravado than you usually hear in this kind of music, making the already-solid choruses even more memorable. Her voice is actually very similar to original Battle Beast and current Burning Point vocalist Nitte Valo. Tying the whole thing together are the keyboards, courtesy of Dirk Raczkiewicz, which fill out the background nicely.

Despite all the praise I have for The Beast Inside, it isn’t perfect. ‘Peace of Mind’ is pretty weak to the point where the album could easily do without it. But, other than the odd awkward verse melody and section, this is pretty much it for shortcomings, which isn’t bad at all, if you ask me.

All things considered, The Beast Inside is an awesome 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!

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Eclipse – Paradigm Review

Score6.5/10
GenreHard Rock/Heavy Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime41:34
Release Date11 October 2019
Record LabelFrontiers

Paradigm is the seventh album from Swedish rock outfit Eclipse. While it’s primarily a hard rock album, it crosses the line between rock and metal enough that it can’t definitively be considered one or the other. As such, it’s safe to expect a super catchy album that offers both the weight of heavy metal and the fun-loving lifeblood of hard rock.

But the genre crossovers don’t quite stop there. To get a better idea of what Paradigm offers, think something along the lines of pop-punk vocals over contemporary riffs, tame rock drumming, poppy mastering and song structure, all with a metal undertone. I know it doesn’t really sound promising when put like that, but it actually allows for a ton of sick hooks and memorable tracks. Sure, there aren’t a whole lot of flashy performances (although, it’d be impossible not to recognize the fantastic performance of vocalist Erik Martensson), but songs like ‘Viva La Victoria’ and ‘Mary Leigh’ make up for it in charisma and energy.

Anyway, since you’re here, chances are you’re at least kind of a metalhead. So, of course, I’d damn-well better get to the most metal parts Paradigm has to offer! The rhythm guitar lines and tone are mostly responsible for the heavy metal undertones throughout the album, but tracks like ‘Delirious’, ’38 or 44′, and ‘The Masquerade’ unleash a melodic metal massacre, trading the rock riffs and overall sound for an aggressive (albeit still poppy) bite that is undoubtedly metal in every way.

The biggest thing setting Paradigm back is the amount of filler tunes. While there are five tunes which I really dig (all of which I’ve mentioned already), a few songs, namely ‘Never Gonna Be Like You’ and ‘United’, fail to strike any impact beyond offering a few minutes of passable music. If more of the songs were similar in quality to its best, I would consider this album excellent but, you know, that’s not the case.

All in all, Eclipse has made another really good album in Paradigm. Unfortunately, as is the case with 95% of hard rock albums, it falls victim to basic, stock-variety songwriting. That being said, this album is still a lot of fun, and its high points make the entire album worth checking out.

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Silent Call – Windows Review

Score7/10
GenreProgressive Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime1:00:52
Release Date11 October 2019
Record LabelRockshots

Swedish prog outfit Silent Call have been around since the mid-2000s. Since then, they’ve put out only a handful of albums, with their latest, Windows, being their fourth. Even though this is the final album of the band’s career, they’ve enlisted Göran Nyström (Sarpedon, Twinspirits) as their new vocalist, whose style gives the album a very Greek power metal feel, similar to Firewind or Diviner.

For the most part, Windows is a really solid prog metal album. The riffs are heavy, the drums and vocals are expressive, and there are numerous synth parts in the background and foreground. Additionally, the intros to pretty much every song are very well done. The album’s only real downfall is its amount of excess. With an hour-long runtime, it’s a bit long, which would be ok if every song got the care it deserved, but that, unfortunately, isn’t the case. Songs like ‘Imprisoned in Flesh’, ‘Shifting Shape’, and ‘Clouded Horizon’ (among others) don’t offer much past your typical Queensryche-y or power metaly progressive metal song. It’s not like they’re awful songs, but they’re forgettable and come across as mainly filler.

But that isn’t to say there aren’t any awesome tracks; tucked far into the album’s end, the final three, ‘Invisible’, ‘Bleeding Me Dry’, and ‘Eye of Destruction’, all blow the rest of the tracklist out of the fucking water. Between excellent synthwork, great guitar soloing, strong arrangements, and the best riffs on the entire album, it makes me wonder why they’d be stuck on the tail end of such a long album. Upon consecutive listens, the album has a sort of sagging feeling after the second track because, aside from a few cool moments, there’s not a whole lot to see in between the main good songs.

It’s often a shame when a band announces its end, but sometimes, as is the case here, it’s better to make a clean exit than to be remembered for falling apart in the latter portion of your career (I’m looking at you, Sonata Arctica. Fuckers.). Despite having some issues with it, Windows is still a very enjoyable album, and its highlights deliver some seriously killer performances.

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Storchi – Outside Review

Score8/10
GenreProgressive Metal/Fusion
CountryIsrael
Runtime44:51
Release Date10 October 2019
Record LabelDutch Music Works

I don’t know what’s in the water over there, but Israel has pumped out some seriously good prog albums this year. The unforgettable Lotus Graveyard by Tillian is just one example, and I still listen to that record on a regular basis. The latest addition to this effort is the debut album of Storchi, entitled Outside. It brings an interesting combination of prog metal, fusion, and club jazz, finished off with a deep-rooted Middle Eastern feel. If you want to listen to something with its very own distinct sound, look no further.

Aside from the raw skill its musicians display (more on that in a minute), Storchi’s best quality is its blatant uniqueness. While, at times, Outside beckons to a sound similar to Mahavishnu Orchestra and 70s/80s fusion in general, the sound it ends up with can’t be compared too closely to these because it is simply very individual. The music is driven by the flute, courtesy of Danielle Sassi, which carries all of the melodies over top of the guitars, bass, and drums, which constantly transition between intense metal riffage and light grooves.

There’s a good ratio of metal to jazz here, with most of the songs leaning more one way than the other. For example, ‘Surroundings’, ‘Hidden Truth’, and ‘Lights Out’ are far more metal, whereas ‘Paracosm’ (after the first third of the song, anyway) and ‘Midnight’ are almost entirely ethnic jazz tunes. It becomes evident in the album’s first minutes that Outside will be a dynamic experience, but that’s a bit of an understatement.

And now we get to the musicians themselves who, strikingly, are all teenagers, which blows the shit out of my mind because I can’t play anything half as good as these guys. The guitarwork is great, with some notable soloing in ‘Paracosm’ and ‘Hidden Truth’, and the bassplaying follows in like fashion. The flute, of course, is excellent throughout the album’s entirety, but my favourite part of Outside is that fucking drumming. Noam Arbel proves himself to be quite the beast behind the kit, and he bangs the shit out of the highs and patters away on the lows with tasteful precision. Right off the get go I was impressed with this guy, but on the fifth track, ‘Midnight’, I was fucking blown away. Seriously. The five-minute drum solo constantly reminded me of drummers like Joe Morello and (to a lesser extent) Buddy Rich. Damn. Not too bad, if you ask me.

There are also a handful of guest musicians lending support on piano and string instruments, but the core of Outside‘s energy comes from its main quartet. While a couple of the arrangements could do with some trimming and touching up, this album is an all-around blast and I’m damn excited to listen to what Storchi lays down next.

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Yurei – Saudade Review

Score8.5/10
GenreProgressive Metal/Fusion
CountryCanada
Runtime39:52
Release Date4 October 2019
Record LabelIndependent

Yurei is the instrumental progressive metal project helmed by the Brazilian-born composer/guitarist Gabriel Castro. As you can imagine, this brand of prog is largely influenced by latin music. Their full-length debut, Saudade, is no exception to this; it brings all the rich vitality that latin jazz offers but with a massive metal bite. While this combination isn’t necessarily anything new, especially considering the recent influx of fusion-styled instrumental prog that’s almost become an expectation of modern prog at this point, the arrangements are fun, the technical skill of the musicians is through the roof, and the drumming is a fucking godsend.

One of the things I like the most about Saudade is the fact that it’s a great album whether you’re just a casual listener or a musician. Yeah, fancy jazz chords and complex rhythms are super cool, but a lot of prog artists forget that technicality isn’t everything. Fortunately, you don’t need to know dick-all about music theory to enjoy this album, but you’ll still love it if you do.

Upon the first few minutes of listening, an overtone of early/mid-00s fusion is created and remains for the entirety of the album. To paint a bit of a picture, Saudade sounds similar to Dave Weckl‘s 00s stuff combined with whatever the fuck Japan was doing with GameCube soundtracks at the time (but without all the symphonic stuff). Needless to say, Saudade is served with a pretty hefty dose of nostalgia. Nostalgia that listened to way too much funk drumming.

But don’t let all the jazz/fusion comparisons be the only thing that forms your opinion of Yurei, because these guys are just as much metal as they are fusion. Saudade‘s melodies are led by some killer lead guitar work on top of super heavy, syncopated grooves. The hefty guitar tones allow for a good amount of aggression, but the expressive lead guitar keeps the sound from becoming too dark. There’re also various synth tones scattered throughout the background, which are mainly used to create fluid atmospheres rather than to pull any attention away from the guitars and drums. All in all, the album contains a fair balance of groovy jams and floating, emotional ambiance.

Any fan of prog metal, jazz, fusion, or videogame soundtracks will dig Saudade a lot. Between fantastic metal riffage, soaring solos, reflective synths, and ridiculous drumming, there’s no reason not to check Yurei out.

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Galneryus Announce New Album

Japanese power metal superstars Galneryus have announced a new album for this month. Entitled Into the Purgatory, it will be released on 23 October under Warner Music Japan.

1. Purgatoral Flame
2. My Hope is Gone
3. Fighting of Eternity
4. Glory
5. Never Again
6. The Followers
7. Come Back to Me Again
8. Remain Behind
9. The End of the Line
10. Roaming in My Memory

Into the Purgatory will be Galneryus’ fourteenth album. Having released an album pretty much every year since their formation, it’s astounding that they’re still going strong.

While no singles have been released, it’s probably safe to say that the album will be just as melodic and fast-paced as their others!

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