So here is an album both well deserving of and well served by a bit of back story. A new Cirith Ungol album. The first one in 29 years.
We recently published our Best of 2019 article and a few weeks ago we made a post urging you all to vote for your own favorite album of 2019. Well it’s time to take a look at how you, the reader, voted for the best albums of 2019 and compare!
It’s hard to believe that the year (and decade too!) is over in just one week. As far as traditional heavy metal goes, 2019 has been an exceptional year with one fantastic release after another from the get-go. Now it’s time to look back at some of the Ride into Glory author team’s favorite traditional heavy metal releases from the past year!
Fates Warning’s previous work, The Spectre Within, was a masterpiece which essentially set the standard by which most metal – almost certainly all prog metal after it – should frequently aspire to (and often never does). Following up such an album is a tall task for anybody; almost nobody could. Fates Warning weren’t like any other band in metal – not now, and sure as shit not back in the 80’s either – and as such they proved capable of following it up with something even more monumental.
A bloodstained murderer with a schizophrenic look on his face, waves his machete towards unsuspected bystanders ,as he runs the streets at night. He is set on a murderous, manhunting path that will not stop unless he is killed because his thirst for blood cannot be sated. If that was the intro scene for an 80s slasher film, then Vulture’s latest album, “Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves” would be the perfect soundtrack.
We are now half way through the year and what an incredible six months it has been. The bar has been raised for 2019 and there has been high quality album after high quality album. This quarter alone we to nearly 40 different releases across all types of traditional metal to highlight the best ones for you all. The winter 2019 wrap up was our first iteration of this, but we’ve changed things up this time around and involved all of RIG’s regular contributors!
With the release of 2018’s Conqueror’s Oath, American metal stalwarts Visigoth were as white-hot as ever. Intending to keep that heat, they released a two track EP titled Bells of Awakening just last month. Everything you’ve come to know and love Visigoth for – the tremendous vocals, catchy riffs, and singalong choruses – is out in full force here. The band has stamped out their own style of traditional heavy metal and Bells of Awakening further solidifies that.
In Another Time when demons and wizards ruled supreme, of black roses and rock legends, of secret treaties and fires of unknown origin, and where Grecian giants roamed under endless skies. In Another Time, to which Tanith’s music transports us.
The Spectre Within is a peculiar album, both out of context and within the one of Fates Warning’s career to that point. Night on Brocken, their debut, was an album that was frankly, very derivative Iron Maiden worship. It isn’t really a terrible album so much as one that shows a young band very unsure of their direction and what they’d actually want to do (Jim Matheos, the main songwriter of the band, reputedly never liked it very much). I submit that The Spectre Within, its immediate successor, represented one of the biggest leaps of maturity and quality in metal history, at least up to that point. And, for a vanishingly small window, it helped position Fates Warning as one of the unquestioned masters of metal genre, both of their era and of all time.
Under The Spell is the perfect bulldozer of USPM, and if you have to know one thing about Hexx, that’s enough. That’s not to say it’s necessarily the best album to do it, though if someone said it was, I certainly wouldn’t argue, but it perfectly encapsulates everything you want from USPM and more. For those unfamiliar, Hexx was given birth as a fast as hell band from San Francisco that formed in 1983 and almost immediately put out a really good speed/power record, No Escape, on Shrapnel Records the following year.