Welcome to the 2019 Musicalypse Award Nominations! It is our second year after having changed our Award system over to the staff vote, and to shake things up, this year we’ve invited A&P Reacts to join us in the nominating and voting for the best of 2019. A lot of great new music came out this year so we’ll also let everyone vote for up to 5 songs in this category! So without further ado, here are our picks for the Best New Song of 2019!
This year our nominations will be in their own separate playlists! You can follow them on Spotify:
1. Everfrost – “Brandy and Antifreeze”
2. Hevisaurus – “100”
3. Ember Falls – “Divine”
4. Ember Falls – “Heart Shaped Black Scar”
5. Leprous – “Below”
If you follow us, you should all know by now that I really loved Everfrost‘s new album, Winterider, so you could pick pretty much any song off this album to show off. Tied for my personal favorites are the Michael Jackson -inspired, lyrically brutal “Chainlace Angel” and the high-energy, carpé diem anthem, “Brandy and Antifreeze,” but the latter has grown on me so much that it feels best to give it the place.
Next would be “100” by Hevisaurus. I’ve already been over this. The song is a monstrous epic bombshell full of solos and contributions from some of the best musicians and singers you can find in Finland (and a couple non-Finns too). You can read more of my thoughts in my featured single but let’s just say it’s a pretty intense piece of music.
Next up are both of Ember Falls new singles, “Divine” and “Heart Shaped Black Scar.” Again, it’s no secret that Ember Falls is basically one of, if not my very favorite band right now. They’ve never released a song I didn’t love, let alone like. “HSBS” was great with its strong lyrics and fun melodies, and “Divine” is even better with its high energy, strong lyrics (again), amazing vocals, and overall awesome feel. Pop/electronic metal does not get better than this.
Finally, the new atmospheric prog album, Pitfalls, by Leprous is one of the most emotionally powered releases I’ve heard in a while. I could pick any song from it really, but considering I’ve heard the single, “Below” the most, I’m most familiar with it. In a fun twist, rather than me being sick of it, I feel more connected to it as a result of the familiarity. That’s part of the beauty of this album. There are layers to peel back based on how much attention you want to give it.
Honorary mention(s): Avantasia – “Ghost in the Moon”; CyHra – “Blood Brothers”; Devin Townsend – “Genesis”; Marko Hietala – “Vapauden kuolinmarssi”; Everfrost – “Chainlace Angel” (and the rest of Winterider); Silver Bullet – “Eternity in Hell”; Insomnium – “Neverlast”; Brymir – “Wings of Fire”; Insomnium – “Valediction”
1. WHEEL – “Wheel”
2. Darkthrone – “The Hardship of the Scots”
3. Devin Townsend – “Genesis”
When I first heard WHEEL, I didn’t get it. I felt it was a bit too engineered to appeal to a modern Radio Rock audience. I have to admit though, it really grew on me. The eponymous “Wheel” has a smooth, proggy feel with a good emphasis on bass guitar. In its 10:10 run-time, it gives you all the TOOL-esque mellow jams you could ask for. Did I forget something? Oh, the chorus! The chorus has been stuck in my head since I saw them at Tuska this summer. This is the most exhilarating but also sublime track of the year.
Something this decade has excelled at is the re-branding of the term NWoBHM. Kids can ask their parents what it used to mean but now it’s new wave of black heavy metal. At first Darkthrone may have taken that to mean Celtic Frost -inspired punk goofiness. “The Hardship of the Scots,” however, was the first time they came closer to how some bands like Kvelertak, Nachtmystium, and Tribulation saw it. They finally let go of the “Too Old, Too Cold” attitude and embraced their inner cheesy 80s hair metallers. It’s filled to the brim with groovy old school rock riffs laced with that familiar broodiness from The Cult is Alive.
Just when you think Devin Townsend has calmed down a bit… what can I even say about “Genesis”? It’s insane! Between the EDM elements and the vocal parts that would make Queen blush, it would already be pretty busy. But wait there’s more. It also needs Devin’s usual nu-metal infused prog metal and massive wall of sound. It breaks up every groove it gets into every 10-20 seconds. There are dolphin and cat sounds, David Bowie-style coked-up piano riffs, and was that Anneke van Giersbergen for a second? What can I say except that it was my summer jam.
Honorary mentions: Mayhem – “Of Worms and Ruins”; Mgła – “Age of Excuse II”; Leprous – “Below”; This Gift is a Curse – “Wolvking”; Deadspace – “Inhale the Slime”; Death Angel – “Humancide”; Gaahl’s WYRD – “From the Spear”
1. Sabaton – “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”
2. Avantasia – “Moonglow”
3. Devin Townsend – “Genesis”
4. Everfrost – “Actraiser”
Sabaton‘s new album had a few tracks that reflect the best of their sound and none more than “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.” The hyper-catchy energy rush coupled with really great singalong lyrics make for a great live song as well.
All of Avantasia‘s new album had a magical feeling and nothing really more so than “Moonglow” with the fairy princess of fantasy herself, Candice Night. It may not be the long and storied epic you want from Avantasia, but even when Sammet keeps it simple, it’s still kind of great.
“Genesis” is best experienced with its music video to really understand the brilliance of it. The song has everything from cats to guitars and just… anything and everything that felt to Devin Townsend like it would fit into the music. And somehow it all works.
Everfrost has a lot of good material on their new album, but if you want to get power metal in its finest form, “Actraiser” is definitely one of this year’s best songs. The upbeat, heroic sound with a fist-pumping chorus you want to sing along with shows off a lot of Everfrost’s potential.
1. Soen – “Lascivious”
2. Queensrÿche – “Light-Years”
3. Tool – “Invincible”
4. Alcest – “L’île des morts”
5. Ray Alder – “The Killing Floor”
“Lascivious” by Soen is not an overly long song at 5½ minutes, but it manages to be very dynamic, combining 70s-style atmospheric bits, weighty riffs, and an absolutely massive chorus, and hearing it live sealed its status as my #1.
Queensrÿche‘s The Verdict was a mixed bag in my opinion, including a few modern classics, but also some rather sub-par tunes. “Light-Years,” however, is firmly in the former category, and it might even be one of the band’s best songs of all time, being a successful mix of the classic Queensrÿche sound and complex rhythms that give it a bit of a Dream Theater -vibe.
“Invincible” is the biggest highlight from Tool‘s Fear Inoculum, and in hindsight it’s not surprising that the band felt confident enough about it to premiere it live before its official release, given how strong it is – the buildup is great and the transitions work perfectly. My favorite section is the slow part with Adam Jones’ experimental guitar solo and the robotic vocoder effect on Maynard James Keenan’s voice – who said old dogs can’t learn new tricks?
Alcest is not really known as a riff band, but “L’île des morts“ has some really cool and crunchy 6-stringery going on, without forgetting Alcest’s signature atmosphere. The electronic intro took me by surprise, but it works!
I can forgive Ray Alder for ending his album with a fade-out, because “The Killing Floor” is such a great song to close an album with. Alder goes all-in vocally, showing why he’s one of the best singers in prog metal, and Mike Abdow’s guitar solo lifts the song to an even higher level.
1. Wilderun – “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl”
2. Jinjer – “Judgement (& Punishment)”
3. Periphery – “Blood Eagle”
4. Metal De Facto – “The Ascending of Jupiter”
5. Marko Hietala – “Stones”
After overthinking this too much, I just checked my Spotify algorithms to check five songs that appeared a lot on my on repeat Spotify playlists. I fell in love with Wilderun‘s album Veil of Imagination, and therefore picked the song that represents the progressive metal act best. In “Far From Where Dreams Unfurl” their folk metal side comes out a lot, and it is probably one of the best progressive metal songs from the past decade.
By including a genre such as reggae in “Judgement (& Punishment)”, Jinjer surprised me with the release of their new album Macro, and therefore the song breaks boundaries.
Another song that captivated me from the start was Periphery‘s “Blood Eagle” coming from their album Hail Stan. The bundled aggression makes it the perfect song to put on when you’re in a bad mood.
With “The Ascending of Jupiter”, Metal De Facto have released a song that has been continuously stuck in my mind. The song has done everything in its power to become one of the best power metal songs of the year.
I was planning to include Marko Hietala‘s “Kiviä” up until the legendary bass player released its English equivalent, “Stones,” recently. Not only is the song proof of his skills as a songwriter, but the lyrics also lift the song up to another level, and could potentially create a great drinking game like Queen’s “Bicycle.”
1. Hevisaurus – “100”
2. Wheel – “Vultures”
3. In Flames – “I, the Mask”
4. Tool – “Pneuma”
5. Ember Falls – “Divine”
… [the song names are whispered on the wind]
1. Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Monnalisa”
This song brings emotion to life in every single note with every single lyric that is sang. This song is their Mona Lisa: a beautiful, melodic, painful painting of their sound.
2. The Dark Element – “Not Your Monster”
Mixing the old with the new and bringing a new look to symphonic metal is what this songs brings to the table. A perfect opening track to a perfect album.
3. Jinjer – “Retrospection”
This song is the new calling card for Jinjer. It’s a song that shows where this band is going and the power of their message. One of the standout tracks of 2019.
4. Insomnium – “Twilight Trails”
It is hard to look at Insomnium‘s new album and pick a song that doesn’t stand out. This song for me has everything I have grown to love in this band with glimpses of what the future holds.
5. 1914 – “The Hundred Days Offensive”
One of the darkest, most somber songs ever created. The story that it tells cripples you with fear of the reality it represents and depicts. This is a song for the ages.