Delain-Apocalypse & Chill   ©2020  Napalm Records
​Delain has been really delivering albums at a pretty consistent rate. I was surprised to hear they had another one coming out already. The music delivered hasn't been dipping in quality either. Each album has been really good and 'Apocalypse & Chill' is no exception. This album retains the Delain sound and songwriting formula. There is some great riffing on tracks like 'Chemical Redemption' and 'To Live Is To Die', but there is also a lot of depth as well. You could describe the sound as full on most of the songs. Yannis Papadopoulos of Beast in Black is featured on the track 'Vengeance'. His popularity has risen greatly in recent years and it was nice to hear him on a Delain record. I think overall, this record is on the heavier side of the band's sound through the years. Even with the heavier sound the melodic element is never lost. Another great record!
Release Date:  February 7, 2020
Breaking Benjamin-Aurora    ©2020  Hollywood Records 
​'Aurora' is a lighter version of the band's sound songs in general. For the most part, the track listing is older Breaking Benjamin material re-imagined. This concept has been done by other bands with success including Emil Bulls. I think the re-imagined songs sound really good, but it will all be based on the fans taste. Some might not like it, but that's okay. I think this record will have a decent impact and ends up being a nice in between releases type of album. There is a new song added to the release as well called 'Far Away' that fits the feel of the album very nicely. It also features Scooter Ward from Cold. It also worth mentioning that quite a few of the tracks feature guests which adds a cool feel as well. If you are a fan of more modern rock and like a lighter sound, you'll probably like these Aurora versions of the band's classics.
Release Date:  January 24, 2020
Black Swan-Shake The World  ©2020  Frontiers Records
​All I needed to hear with this band was the name Robin McAuley to immediately be interested. Add in the other members including Reb Beach, Jeff Pilson, and Matt Starr and you know this one is going to be great. Each member has a lot to offer from their craft and offer it they do. I wasn't expecting the record to be as heavy as it was, but it was a nice surprise. Being a fan of MSG back in the day had set my expectations of what to expect and in some ways it is similar. McAuley sounds absolutely great on this record. Hasn't lost a step. Reb's playing, especially the solos was definitely another high point. There is a good flow in the songs and everything to me was instantly likable. As fun as it is to hear new bands, it is equally important for the veterans to offer their talents as well. This is a great record as expected. Easy recommend!
Release Date:  February 14, 2020
Archon Angel-Fallen   ©2020  Frontiers Records
​One of the bands I miss the most that has been defunct for some time is Savatage. I became a fan of that band from early on. I loved the addition of Zak Stevens with the 'Edge Of Thorns' album. I was siked to hear he wanted to do something similar to the sound of Savatage as I think there is a hole in the scene in terms of that style. It's evident with the first track 'Fallen' that they had achieved that familiar feel. The album does carry that sound to a point, but does hit other sounds as well. The album also features Aldo Lonobile of Secret Sphere who we like a lot also. I think for the most part that the band succeeds with what it was trying to accomplish. There are tracks up on YouTube, so you the listener can be the judge. I am always glad to see Stevens active as I have been a fan for years. Great stuff and recommended!
Release Date: February 14, 2020
Stallion-Slaves Of Time   ©2020  High Roller Records
​The term that comes to mind with this release is 'old school'. This album is a burner. I checked out this band and some tracks a few years back and remember being interested, but it wasn't until now I was able to dig in deeper. I love the whole approach with this album. It's aggressive, but not in a modern way. It can be speed metal at times and more contained at others. Vocally, this band reminded me of the early 80's band Bullet in ways. Traditional fans are going to find a lot to like on this album. Personal favorite tracks include the opener 'Waking The Demons', 'No Mercy' which is also a video track on YouTube, 'AllIn', and 'Dynamiter'. As I went through this album it had a deja vu feel for me due to that early 80's sound. It felt great to hear something like this with a bit of an updated sound. Traditional metal fans, this one's for you!
Release Date:  February 28, 2020