01) Avantasia, Moonglow (Nuclear Blast)
Here’s the surprise that nobody saw coming. I loved the new Avantasia album from first listen and knew it would be my AOTY from there. Biased? Yup. Do I care? Nope. This is a wonderful followup to Ghostlights, an album I considered a high point in their career, and this just continues to further my belief that Tobias Sammet is one of the most talented songwriters in the world. He finds a way to utilize the talents of those around him in such a way that it not only sounds completely natural, but highlights their abilities in ways that they themselves cannot / have not done on their own while still creating great standalone tracks that can be brought together to form a cohesive story. This features all the familiar voices, including newcomers Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian, Demons & Wizards) and Mille Petrozza (Kreator). “Alchemy” and “Invincible” are Geoff Tate’s best recorded vocal performances in years and he absolutely killed them live. “The Raven Child” was a stellar choice for first single. Their cover of “Maniac” with Eric Martin on vocals is wonderfully fun. This album is as damn close to as perfect a Avantasia album as you can get and seeing them in Chicago amazing.
Key Tracks: “Book of Shadows” “Alchemy” “The Raven Child”
Honorable mentions & things I slept on longer than I should have in no specific order:
Voyager – Colours in the Sun (Season of Mist)
Galneryus – Into The Purgatory (Warner Music Japan)
Soen, Lotus (Silver Lining Music)
Children of Bodom – Hexed (Nuclear Blast)
Tyr – Hel
Magnum – Live at Symphony Hall (Steamhammer)
Eluveitie – Live At Masters of Rock 2019
In Flames – I, the Mask (Eleven Seven)
Mark Morton – Anesthetic
Tool – Discography
2019 really was a great year. I listened to a lot of good music. Saw a crazy amount of bands live, including a surprising big chunk of my favorite bands. I got a nice promotion at work. I got a new car. I got to spend a few weeks in Colorado and Florida for work, and visit Chicago, Atlanta, and Columbus for fun. I’m still alive and my health is up. It was a damn struggle of a year, and I’m still figuring the whole “moving and living situation” thing out, but other than that it turned out to be pretty solid. Here’s to having an even better (or at least marginally as good) 2020! Oh shit… it’s an election year. 2020 is cancelled. We’re skipping to 2021. It’s gonna be a drugs year.
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