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. Epic means big dynamics, powerful backing melodies, and a grand and/or glorious feeling, so here are our picks for the Most Epic Song of 2019!
This year our nominations will be in their own separate playlists! You can follow them on Spotify:
1. Brymir – “Wings of Fire”
2. Insomnium – “Valediction”
3. Avantasia – “Ghost in the Moon”
Everytime “Wings of Fire” comes onto my playlist, I respond with, “What is this? OH! The new Brymir song! Hell yes!” There’s something about the blend of styles mixed with the energy and melodies of this track that just fucking works. It’s perfect for getting into an epic sort of mood.
Much like the previous song, every time “Valediction” hits one of my playlists, I get so amped up. The incredible melodic effects, growling and clean vocal blends, and overall incredible soundscape make for a truly epic piece, and this is coming from Insomnium, who released a 60-minute song. You may remember. One might consider it epic that a band could top something like that, yet arguably, they may have.
Finally, we have “Ghost in the Moon,” the first track from Avantasia‘s latest release. The song reflects the album’s title, Moonglow, conceptually, but rather than being a regular Avantasia metal opera -blend song, it features Tobias Sammet on his own accompanied by some of the most epic and dynamic music that will pump you up no matter what, alongside piano that sounds right out of a MeatLoaf album. If that isn’t epic, I don’t know what is.
Honorable mention(s): Hevisaurus – “100”; Everfrost – “Whisper in a Frozen Tale”; Avantasia – “Lavender”
1. Brymir – “Gloria in Regum”
2. Eluveitie – “Ategnatos”
3. Avantasia – “Raven Child”
[ed: Laureline was pressed for time and excused from the text part of the nominations]
1. Swallow the Sun – “When a Shadow is Forced into the Light”
2. Batushka – “Utrenia”
3. Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Fury”
Keeping in mind that the term, epic, really refers to something that tells a story, I can think of no finer example this year than “When a Shadow is Forced into the Light” by Swallow the Sun. Even without the benefit of knowing the author’s original intent (though I’m sure everyone has their own theories), I’ve been operating under the impression that it’s about that hazy moment after a depressive episode when you dare to re-enter society. But is it epic in the colloquial sense? – Absolutely. It sounds huge, and bombastic. It has quiet narrative sections to further emphasize the heavier moments. It’s beautiful, big, and it has a story to tell.
The epicness of “Utrenia” speaks for itself. That’s why it’s on here. I know we’re all supposed to hate this incarnation of Batushka because the so-called real band has been split up and this is just the one guy’s vanity project, or something. Honestly, I’ve never been one to pay attention to that kind of stuff. It seems contrary to the point of extreme metal (especially black metal) to get offended over which musicians are jerks, or racist, or whatever. I understand people’s desire to not support people they find morally objectionable but I honestly just want to listen to music more-or-less unburdened by all that.
The Italian masters of orchestral technical death metal, Fleshgod Apocalypse, made a triumphant return this year despite recently parting ways with lead vocalist Tommaso Riccardi. The entirety of Veleno would qualify for this list but I had to choose just one. Out of all the new tracks, “Fury” has the most memorable parts and the most hair raising elements. Though past songs like “The Fool” benefited from having more clean vocals, I don’t think it’s inherently necessary. “Fury” brings it with its symphonic prog tickery and does not relent.
Honorary mention(s): Rotting Christ – “Heaven and Hell”; Blind Guardian: Twilight Orchestra – “War Feeds War”; Leprous – “At the Bottom”; Novembers Doom – “Nephilim Grove”; Black Crown Initiate – “Years in Frigid Light”
1. Opeth – “Allting tar slut”
2. Tool – “Invincible”
3. Dream Theater – “At Wit’s End”
Opeth‘s “Allting tar slut” closes In Cauda Venenum on a grand note, and the melody at the end sounds so majestic and infectious that putting the song at the top of my list was a no-brainer. Can’t wait to hear this live!
Tool‘s “Invincible” is epic both musically and lyrically, as the nearly 13-minute song goes through many different phases, and Maynard James Keenan sings about a “Warrior struggling / To remain relevant”. If the lyrics are autobiographical, he need not be worried, judging by how lively Fear Inoculum sounds and the fact that Tool fans never forgot about the band, helping it dethrone Taylor Swift from the top of the Billboard chart.
While Dream Theater‘s Distance Over Time in my opinion isn’t quite the return to form that many fans make it out to be, “At Wit’s End” is definitely one of the best modern DT songs. Vocalist James LaBrie‘s lyrics were inspired by the #MeToo movement and written from the perspective of a man who’s trying to reach his partner, who’s dealing with the trauma of having been raped, and the turbulent musical journey matches the lyrics well. The song has the trademark DT shredding and heaviness, but also a beautiful ending, and as an Easter egg after the fade-out you get to hear the band jamming on the last part of the song in the studio, which is a nice extra.
1. Avantasia – “Raven Child”
2. Sabaton – “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”
3. Saor – “Forgotten Paths”
Combining the glorious power metal force of Avantasia with vocal legends Hansi Kursch and Jorn Lande is nothing short of epic on its own. “Raven Child” is a great song, strong and full of force and dynamics and great lyrics, and it makes you want to know more about this mysterious raven child.
If packing all the energy you can manage into something to make your fists go up hard and fast is your type of epic, Sabaton will take care of your needs. “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” is not only a great Sabaton track, but it’s perhaps the best Sabaton track to come out in years.
Despite not being a fan of black metal in general, “Forgotten Paths” by Saor is so massive and natural, giving the listener the feeling of being out in nature. It’s brutal and atmospheric at the same time, like wilderness made into a song.
1. Insomnium – “Heart Like a Grave”
The title track from Insomnium‘s Heart Like a Grave isn’t epic in the usual, bombastic sense, but instead paints a more unassuming epoch, leaning towards the traditional Finnish and Karelian folk melodies as much as the legacy of Sentenced. If any song can sound exactly like looking down from Ukko-Koli hilltop, it’s this one.
1. Hevisaurus – “100”
2. Devin Townsend – “Genesis”
3. Cellar Darling – “Freeze”
… [the songs are whispered by the stars]
1. Thy Art is Murder – “Make America Hate Again”
A song that just makes you want to punch mountains. The lyrics and the overall aggression of this song make it one of the most epic combos to hit the airwaves. The political undertone adds to its greatness.
2. Belzebubs – “Blackened Call”
One of the most epic songs to come out this year. A calling card to the interesting blend of sound put together by Belzebubs.
3. Suicidal Angels – “Born of Hate”
One of the best if not the best thrash song of 2019. Violent, aggressive, riff driven, and with vocals to match, “Born of Hate” makes you headbang until you snap your neck.