5) Galneryus, Ultimate Sacrifice (Warner Music Japan)
Technically this released in 2017, but I didn’t get around to listening to it in depth until January of this year and it was the first album I really dug into for 2018. So it didn’t feel right not including it when it should have easily been a Top 10 last year. They will be playing their U.S. debut at ProgPower USA 2019, and that announcement was enough to guarantee me back there for all four days.
Key Track(s): “Heavenly Punishment” “Ultimate Sacrifice”
4) Judas Priest, Firepower (Sony)
I loved hearing Priest come back like they had something to prove when they released Redeemer of Souls, but they tapped into something deep with Firepower. Putting out this quality of music so deep into their career is as inspiring as it is impressive.
Key Track(s): “Necromancer” “Spectre”
3) Greywalker, Without Control (Self-released)
Pittsburgh’s hometown heroes Greywalker brought something spicy with Without Control, no sauce added (although you can still add some). Prepare to ride the riffs into the abyss so you can confront your emotions with a sledgehammer.
2) Gygax, 2nd Edition (Creator Destructor)
I unashamedly love everything about this album. It is fun, much nonsense D&D themed rock and roll full of riffs, solos, catchy hooks, and bouncy drums. 2nd Edition is the perfect follow-up to their debut Critical Hits. Critical hit confirmed.
Key Track(s): “It Makes It Worth It” “The Lascivious Underdark” “Second Wind”