Hello dear readers. We’re racing inexorably towards the closing stages of 2018, a year that has brought us a lot of great new music. It has also been a year in which I have written more reviews than ever before. But there’s no rest for the wicked because 2019 will soon be upon us and that means more great albums and EPs coming our way.
So, with that in mind, I thought it was a good time to take a breather and for me to list out for you a few of my highlights for 2019, so that you can dutifully add them to your diaries. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on anything exciting, that’s for sure.
And, on that note, here we go:
Evergrey – The Atlantic
Release Date: 25 January 2019
Well, duh! Naturally this release sits at the very top of my list because Evergrey are my favourite band. Simple. ‘The Atlantic’ is the eleventh record of the Swede’s career and is also apparently the final part of a chapter that began with ‘Hymns For The Broken’ back in 2014, coincidentally (or not), the album that also saw the return of drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage to the fold.
Have I heard the album yet? You bet your life I have. I won’t reveal too much as it is still early days but even at this point, I have to say that there is some genuinely exceptional material within it, including a contender or two for their best ever song. You have been warned, ‘Mark of the Triangle’! Oh, and a couple of surprises too – don’t you just love a good surprise?!
October Tide – TBC
Release Date: Spring 2019
I was extremely impressed with ‘The Winged Waltz’ the last album from October Tide. Of it, I remarked: “If, like me, you have a weakness for doomy death metal with melodic and subtle progressive leanings, make ‘Winged Waltz’ a priority, because it demands your immediate attention.”
So, it comes as no surprise that I’m all over the news, somewhat out of the blue, that a new album is ‘more or less finished’ and is planned for a release on Agonia Records some time during Spring 2019.
Soilwork – Verkligheten
Release Date: 11 January 2019
Consistently one of my favourite melodeath bands, Soilwork return on 11th January 2019 with their eleventh album, ‘Verkligheten’. They’ve been through the ringer of late with line-up changes in key positions. And yet, led by the brilliant vocal talents of Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid and accompanied by a set of ever-hungry musicians, Soilwork never cease to impress me. The tracks released so far from the forthcoming record are enough to whet any appetite and it bodes well for the full-length when it sees the light of day just in time to clear some groggy heads after the New Year festivities.
Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light’
Century Media Records
Release Date: 25 January 2018
I began to wonder whether everyone’s favourite pioneers of ‘gloom, beauty, despair’ were still in existence. Not because of an especially long hiatus between albums but because of vocalidst Mikko Kotamaki’s involvement elsewhere and because there has been almost utter silence from the STS camp of late. However, that silence has been broken with the delightful news that a new album has been completed and is due for release in January 2019.
Not only is there a new album in the form of ‘When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light’, but before the New Year, we will be treated to a stand-alone 14-minute epic entitled ‘Lumina Aurea’ which features a guest appearance from Wardruna’s Einar Selvik and The Foreshadowing’s Marco I. Benevento. Anyone else giddy with excitement?!
Bjorn Riis – TBC
Release Date: TBC
A new album from one of the most emotive guitarists around? Well, if you happen to agree with me that Bjorn Riis fits this description, then you’ll be as happy as I am with the news that the Airbag musician is returning in 2019 with a brand new full-length release. It comes less than a year after the impressive EP, ‘Coming Home’, but if the new material is anywhere near as good, we’re in for a wonderfully warm, emotional and engrossing listening experience.
The Neal Morse Band – The Great Adventure
Release Date: 25 January 2019
I was rather impressed with the last record by the Neal Morse Band, ‘The Similitude of a Dream’. As such, I’m really interested and excited to hear what this supremely talented bunch of musicians has come up with to follow it. Ignore the awful and lazy cover and instead focus on the fact that we are going to be treated to another double-disc release – that’s certainly ambitious but I have complete faith in the band to come up trumps when the record is released via Radiant Records/Metal Blade at the tail end of January, a day of many huge releases it seems.
Teramaze – TBC
Mascot Label Group
Release Date: TBC
It seems like this album has been years in the making. It hasn’t of course, but I’ve been watching the updates on social media from guitarist/songwriter Dean Wells for a long time now, getting more excited for this new release. The excitement stems from the fact that the Australian band’s last album, ‘’Her Halo’ was so damn good – I’m expecting big things from this new one as and when it arrives – but 2019 is guaranteed now that the record is essentially done!
Dream Theater – Distance Over Time
Release Date: 22 February 2019
One of the original creators of classic progressive metal return on 25 January 2019 with their fourteenth album, ‘Distance Over Time’. In recent years, I have grown a little tired of Dream Theater’s output. I barely even listened to 2016’s ‘The Astonishing’. Part of the reason for this is that I have fallen out of love a little with James LaBrie’s vocals. Nevertheless, I’m curious to see whether such an important band in my musical history will reignite my enthusiasm in 2019. They certainly have the talent to do so.