Max's Top 5 Albums and Shows of 2019

2019 has been an incredible year for new music. With so many new albums and amazing tours, I wanted to share my favourites with you. The choices are based on my personal opinion and the impact they had on me in 2019. It’s always hard for me to review an album after listening to it only a few times but now that a whole year has passed, some of them have really stood out for me. The same thing is also true for concerts; there is an adrenaline that comes with seeing a live show that can cloud my judgement on the spot, but once it goes away, you are left with the memories and I made some amazing ones this year. The list could have been way longer but I tried to keep it to the essentials. Let us know what were your favourite albums and shows in the comment section!

Top 5 – Albums of the Year

I had pretty much given up on Slipknot at this point. I was not a big fan of their two previous releases nor of all the drama around the band. With three original members out of the band, I was pretty sure that ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ was going to be a disaster. I was not even a fan of the new masks! On my first listen, I did not like the album at all, but somehow, I came back to it. After a week or two, the album grew on me and everything just clicked. I now love this album to death. With the exception of ‘My Pain’, all the tracks are stellar and make me excited to see what’s next for the band. A big praise to their new drummer Jay Weinberg who seems to be the glue they were missing.

Favorite Track: ‘Nero Forte’

Slipknot – ‘We Are Not Your Kind’
  • Amon Amarth – ‘Berzerker’

Amon Amarth’s previous record ‘Jomsviking’ is my favorite of theirs, so I was waiting for ‘Berzerker’ with anticipation to see if the Vikings would be able to top themselves and offer something new. I was so glad when I found out the answer was yes. ‘Berzerker’ is pure Amon Amarth: fun, aggressive Viking music. It may lack the storytelling of ‘Jomsviking’ but it has so many good riffs, solos and melodies that you forget all about it and follow Amon Amarth onto their next big battle. Hearing the new songs live also confirmed that they fit perfectly into their setlist amongst their other classics.

Favorite Track: ‘Shield Wall’

Amon Amarth – ‘Berzerker’

I was not able to decide which album to put in the top 5 so I decided to include them both! Rammstein self titled album and Lindemann ‘F&M’ were huge gifts for me this year. As a fan of Rammstein and their lead singer Till Lindemann, I had been craving new music for a very long time. To receive both albums this year was a dream come true. Now let’s hope we won’t have to wait this long again for their next album.

Favorite Tracks: ‘SEX’ (Rammstein) and ‘Ach so gern’ (Lindemann)

Rammstein – ‘Rammstein’
Lindemann – ‘F&M’
  • While She Sleeps – ‘So What?’

I discovered While She Sleeps when they opened for Architects, while they were promoting their newest offering called ‘So What?’. Since I was really impressed with their performance and energy, I bought the album. I love this record so much that it made me hunt down their previous ones, and I will be seeing them again in February but this time as headliners. I cannot wait for the concert. If you are into hardcore or post-hardcore music and that you like your metal with catchy melodies, you have to check them out. They are really good and ‘So What?’ is the perfect introduction to their music.

Favorite Track: ‘Gates of Paradise’

  • Boundaries – ‘Turning Point’

Boundaries is my favourite local band and their third album called ‘Turning Point’ is everything I wished they’d become. It’s melodic, aggressive, energetic and it’s also quite unique. Up to this point, I have heard every new track played live and they are even better in concert. True to its title, this album really is Boundaries stating that they are ready for the big leagues. Go get them boys, you deserve it more than anybody!

Favorite Track: ‘Big Red’

Boundaries – ‘Turning Point’

Special Mentions

A perfect black metal album. It’s so aggressive and intense that I have to take a break after listening to it. What an experience.

This album is incredibly original and does not feel like a first release at all. I cannot wait to see what’s next for Messora. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this album on a lot of lists this year.

Alice Cooper and Joe Perry play music together. Enough said.

This one grew on me like crazy. It’s probably the album I’ve listened to the most this year. It’s just so dammed pleasant to crank to 11 and sing along to.

  • Dirty Heads – Supermoon

A rap album based on 70’s funk music with a corny spy theme? Yes, I’m in. Oh, and it’s also excellent. Dirty Heads show that they are at the top of their game and that nothing is out of their reach.

Top 5 – Shows of 2019

  • Aerosmith – Las Vegas Residency

Aerosmith is the band that got me into music back in high school. Their first five records are some of my favourites of all time. To see them live on my birthday in Las Vegas was surreal. We even paid for the VIP tour and got to walk on the stage and see all their instruments up close. This one still feel like a dream. Best way to turn 28 for sure.

My friend and I are huge Iron Maiden fans. We’ve seen them many times but this might just be my favourite Maiden concert. Everything was perfect. We were in fifth row, didn’t wait outside at all, the setlist was amazing and the pit was just right, not too calm or nor violent. We enjoyed ourselves like we were two 12 years old seeing Maiden for the first time. It was a very special night that I will be remembering for a long time.

I had been waiting for this concert for years and not only did it deliver it also blew my expectation away. If The Struts can maintain this momentum there is nothing stopping them. They are the perfect blend of old and new. Long live The Struts, the world needs their music.

Alice Cooper is still one of the best live acts out there and he proved it once again in 2019. His new stage show is amazing, and the setlist included deep cuts as well as the classics. Each song is a short story that unfolds under your eyes and his backup musicians are doing everything they can to make sure that they are delivered with precision. I will be seeing him again in April and hopefully for many years to come.

This concert introduced me to Striker and Holy Grail. It was also one of my first artist interview and concert review for this blog. Everybody was so nice and kind that I simply fell in love with both bands. They both played perfect sets and didn’t let the size of the venue affect their energy. They delivered arena quality performances and became bands that I will be seeing every time they will be gracing us with their presence.

Special Mentions

It was my first time seeing King Diamond in concert and I was not disappointed at all. His voice, charisma and stage show are still a sight to behold. I cannot wait for his new album coming out in a few months.

Both bands were great. It was my favorite pit of the year without a doubt. There is nothing like being a Viking on Amon Amarth battlefield.

One of my favorite band finally calling it quit after decades and decades of touring. I saw them twice on this tour and they were still good. Yes, the backing tapes helped a lot but for men in their seventies they still impressed the hell out of me. The stage show was as extravagant as you would expect, even if it wasn’t anything new for people who had seen them before. I regret not seeing them a third time in Montreal back in August. That would have been my tenth Kiss concert.

These guys made it to the arena circuit and I was there to witness it. It’s also a big step for Hardcore music that seems to be getting bigger recognition with the passing year. This was also my favourite A Day to Remember setlist ever; hearing ‘Sticks and Bricks’ live was just crazy.

  • Architects – Holy Hell Tour

‘Holy Hell’ that came out last year was an amazing record. One that proved that Architects were far from being done with us. This year concert proved it even more. They seem to be bigger than life now and their performance was simply flawless. Don’t miss these guys next time they are in town. You won’t regret it.

Maxime Allard
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