Ozzy Osbourne-Ordinary Man ©2020 Epic Records
Here is a guy who absolutely does not need an introduction. You cannot think of metal without thinking about how big of an influence Ozzy has had on the whole scene. Although albums have been much slower to come in recent years, he always retains a very sizable audience. With some recent health issues, I was personally surprised to hear of this new music coming out. It's a pretty decent batch of songs that includes some great musical guests as well. There has been some criticism about the amount of polish or whatever. To me, I'm grateful for another record. Ozzy is one of the artists that helped shape my musical taste, so there is always something comforting knowing he is out there and occasionally we get a new platter of goodies. It's Ozzy, there's is no doubt about it. Go into this one and enjoy it, nobody knows how much longer we'll get more.
Release Date: February 21, 2020
Darker Half-If You Only Knew ©2020 Massacre Records
This band is releasing their fourth album and I can't say I have checked them out before now. This is a pretty good record. The band hails from Australia and plays with a sound that I felt had some traditional qualities mixed with some modern elements. Vocally, it reminded me a bit of Mike Vescera who fronted Obsession. There is that kind of power vocally. The album offers a decent musical journey. While there is a consistency in the sound and songwriting journey, each track stands on it's own and completes that journey. I used to listen to quite a few bands on the Massacre label, but haven't had the same exposure in recent years. it seems they still are releasing quality acts like Darker Half. If you are looking for something that has a smooth delivery, the necessary intensity, and a bit of finesse here and there, this is a good bet!
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Anvil-Legal At Last ©2020 AFM Records
For whatever reason, I had kind of lost track of this band. They have been around for a very long time and have quite a catalog of albums to this point. I was able to check out their latest album 'Legal At Last' and revisit their sound. They still sound very old school and lean to the heavier side of traditional hard rock and metal. The songs are quite consistent not just with each other, but with the band's sound as I remember it from years ago. This band makes a lot of noise with their sound and this is another album meant to be played loud. If you are familiar with the band at all and like their sound, you will pretty much get what you expect. With all of the new bands out their, it is nice to see a band with so much history release an album made their way with an intact original sound. Traditional metal and rock fans will probably dig this one!
Release Date: February 14, 2020
Shakra-Mad World ©2020 AFM Records
Switzerland has offered up some very good bands through the years. from Krokus to Gotthard and you would also have to include Shakra. The band has hit the 25 year mark which is quite the accomplishment in itself. 'Mad World' is another great record for the band. It sticks to the successful formula the band has developed in their songwriting and it works every time. There is a consistent sound here in terms of overall sound and tempo. The record is mostly rockers, but does have a very good ballad with the track 'New Tomorrow' which closes the album out. The difficulty sometimes presented by working in the same formula is that the songs have to be very good. People get too picky and complain. Shakra does a very good job in this area. Their songs are always well written and delivered in a great way. Another solid record! Lets go for another 25 years!
Release Date: February 28, 2020
The Outfit-Viking ©2019 Pavement Music Entertainment
I remember checking out this band's previous self titled release and thinking the band had a good thing going. We keep our eyes out for bands that look like they could make some noise with each album and The Outfit was on our radar. Fast forward to the band's latest 'Viking'. This band has shown some great growth. There is a very confident feel to this record in my opinion. The songs are really good and a bit diverse. Some that stood out to me included 'Midnight Moses' which sounds fairly traditional, 'Bleed in the Dark' which has a bit more modern feel to it but is very memorable, and 'Sitting Here Alone' which has another different feel. I love the diversity on the album. Even though it's not major diversity, the different feels make this album a lot of fun to navigate. Definitely check this out and get them on your radar as well!
Release Date: March 27, 2020