The Staff's Top Picks of 2019
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(Click on each writer's name below to go directly to his list.)

Summarized List Of The Top 50 CDs, From All Of The SoT Staff

Pete Pardo
Butch Jones
Michael Popke
Carl Sederholm
Simon Bray
Steven Reid
Jon Neudorf


PETER PARDO

Peter Pardo- Best of 2019

1. Rival Sons : Feral Roots
2. Dream Theater : Distance Over Time
3. Opeth : In Cauda Venenum
4. Candlemass : The Door to Doom
5. Queensryche : The Verdict
6. Overkill : The Wings of War
7. Borknagar : True North
8. Arch/Matheos : Winter Ethereal
9. Whitesnake : Flesh& Blood
10. The Neal Morse Band : The Great Adventure
11. Vanden Plas: The Ghost Xperiment : AwakenIng
12. Alter Bridge : Walk the Sky
13. Magic Pie : Fragments of the 5th Element
14. Flotsam & Jetsam : The End of Chaos
15. Diamond Head : The Coffin Train
16. Spirits of Fire : Spirits of Fire
17. Evergrey : The Atlantic
18. The Aristocrats : You Know What?
19. Angel Witch : Angel of Light
20. Kadavar : For the Dead Travel, Fast
21. Big Big Train : Grand Tour
22. Possessed : Revelations of Oblivion
23. The Wrong Object : Into the Herd
24. IZZ : Don’t Panic
25. Nocturnus AD : Paradox
26. Lance King : ReProgram
27. Morglbl : The Story of Scott Rotti
28. Nile : Vile Nilotic Rites
29. Skanska Mord : Blues From the Tomb
30. The Flower Kings : Waiting For Miracles


Best Live Albums of 2019

Gov’t Mule- Bring On the Music-Live at the Capitol Theatre
Toto-40 Tours Around the World
Todd Rundgren’s Utopia-Live at the Chicago Theatre
Journey-Live in Japan 2017- Escape/Frontiers
Joe Bonamassa-Live at the Sydney Opera House
Jimi Hendrix-Songs For Groovy Children-The Fillmore East Concerts
The Marshall Tucker Band-New Year’s in New Orleans-Roll Up ’78 and Light Up ’79
Helloween- United Alive in Madrid

Best Concerts of 2019

Kansas-The Beacon Theater, NYC
King Crimson-Radio City Music Hall, NYC
Joe Bonamassa- Bethel Woods, NY
Dream Theater-Count Basie Theater, Red Bank, NJ
Michael Schenker Fest-Irving Plaza, NYC
Judas Priest/Uriah Heep-Palace Theater, Albany, NY
Alice Cooper-Bethel Woods, NY
The Rolling Stones-Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ


JON NEUDORF

My favourite releases of 2019

1. United Progressive Fraternity : Planetary Overlord �" Loss
2. Big Big Train : Grand Tour
3. Cosmograf : Mind Over Depth
4. RPWL : Tales From Outer Space
5. Bjorn Riis : A Storm Is Coming
6. Yogi Lang : A Way Out Of Here
7. Darkwater : Human
8. Devin Townsend : Empath
9. Pattern Seeking Animals : Pattern Seeking Animals
10. Samurai Of Prog : Toki No Kazi
11. Dream Theater : Distance Over Time
12. The Mute Gods : Atheists & Believers
13. Retrospect : Latent Avidity
14. Izz : Don’t Panic
15. Tim Bowness : Flowers At The Scene
16. Crayon Phase : Two Hundred Pages
17. Bruce Soord : All This Will Be Yours
18. Steve Hackett : At The Edge Of Light
19. Obsidian Sea : Strangers
20. Kinetic Element : The Face Of Life
21. Lowcaster : Flames Arise
22. RPWL : Live From Outer Space
23. Thieves’ Kitchen : Genius Loci
24. Hawkwind : All Aboard The Skylark
25. Semistereo : Zabriskii
26. Salem’s Bend : Supercluster
27. Doomstress : Sleep Among The Dead
28. Irata : Tower
29. Djam Karet : A Sky Full Of Stars For A Roof
30. Metaphor : The Pearl
31. 35 Tapes : Lost & Found
32. Big Scenic Nowhere : Dying On The Mountain
33. Horseburner : The Thief
34. The Kentish Spires : Sprezzatura
35. Elder : The Gold & Silver Sessions
36. Jolly : Family
37. Lord Vapour : Semuta
38. Swifan Eohl & The Mudra Choir : The Key
39. Wolftooth : Wolftooth
40. Cities Of Mars : The Horologist
41. Professor Tiptop : Hybrid Hymns
42. The Skys : Automatic Minds
43. Hidden Lapse : Butterflies
44. Mythopoeic Mind : Mythopoetry
45. 25 Yard Screamer : Natural Satellites
46. Bryan Beller : Scenes From The Flood
47. The Ossuary : Southern Funeral
48. Dead Quiet : Dead Quiet
49. Aerostation : Aerostation
50. Van Morrison : Three Chords & The Truth


SIMON BRAY

1. DragonForce : Extreme Power Metal
2. Edenbridge : Dynamind
3. Freedom Call : M.E.T.A.L.
4. D-A-D : A Prayer for the Loud
5. Cats in Space : Daytrip to Narnia
6. Visions of Atlantis : Wanderers
7. Lovebites : Clockwork Immortality
8. HammerFall : Dominion
9. Babymetal : Metal Galaxy
10. Rammstein : Rammstein
11. Sabaton : The Great War
12. Status Quo : Backbone
13. The Hu : The Gereg
14. Amon Amarth : Berserker
15. Danny Vaughn : Myths, Legends and Lies
16. Jim Peterik and World Stage : Winds of Change
17. Avantasia : Moonglow
18. Toby Hitchcock : Reckoning
19. Gloryhammer : Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex
20. Metalite : Biomechanicals
21. Beast in Black : From Hell With Love
22. Nils Lofgren : Blue With Lou
23. Bloodbound : Rise of the Dragon Empire
24. Hangarvain : The Great Machine
25. Neil Young & Crazy Horse : Colorado
26. Wind Rose : Wintersaga
27. Rhapsody of Fire : the Eighth Mountain
28. Big Big Train : Grand Tour
29. Whiskey Myers : Whiskey Myers
30. Black Oak Arkansas : Underdog Heroes


STEVEN REID

TOP 50 of 2019

1. The Wildhearts : Renaissance Men (The classic line-up reunite and blow it our of the water)
2. Bruce Springsteen : Western Skies (The Boss goes vintage retro to record best album in years)
3. Cats In Space : Daytrip To Narnia (Are Cats In Space the best exponents of theatrical 70s rock around right now? I think so)
4. Opeth : In Cauda Venenum (The evolution may have stalled but Opeth are still at the top of their game)
5. Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul : Summer Of Sorcery (Stevie Van Zandt continues to celebrate music’s past and present)
6. Seven Steps From The Green Door : The?Lie (German conceptual prog metal that gets better with very listen)
7. IZZ : Don’t Panic (When a prog outfit record an album that pleases them, it pleases us too!)
8. Phil Lanzon : 48 Seconds (The Lanzon renaissance continues)
9. Lonely Robot : Under Stars (Is it the end for John Mitchell’s Lonely Robot? If it is this was a superb way to check out)
10. Atom Works : The Life Of Spice (A neo-prog debut concept album that deserves way more notice than it has so far received)
11. Tesla : Shock (Def Leppard’s Phil Collen helps Tesla make a superb)
12. Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts : This Is The Sound (One of the main underground success stories of recent years, Ryan Hamilton and his renamed band record their best album to date)
13. Magic Pie : Fragments Of The 5th Element (A stunning return from prog royalty)
14. The Room : Caught By The Machine (The intrinsically British but Saga inflected outfit just get better and better)
15. Angel : Risen (It’s received some love and a lot of hate but Angel’s return worked for me as it harked back to the band’s different eras in convincing style)
16. Overkill : The Wings Of War (Does classic US metal get much better than this?)
17. New Model Army : From Here (They’ve never been fashionable but New Model Army continue to defy the critics and record socially aware and invigorating music)
18. Ivory Tower : The Earth (My first encounter with this German prog-metal act won’t be my last)
19. Bruce Soord : All This Will Be Yours (The Pineapple Thief frontman’s second solo album contains few surprises, but it’s still a strong statement)
20. Bryan Scary : Birds (A 3 year overdue Pledge Music project that landed after that platform imploded through its own greed, Birds brings The Beach Boys into the here and now)
21. Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts : Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts (Furyon/Color Of Noise frontman goes solo with a confidence that suggests it was the right move)
22. Lance King : ReProgram (The ex-Balance Of Power and Pyramaze singer’s solo work should be much better known than it is)
23. Anthony Phillips : Strings Of Light (More solo guitar mastery from one of the style’s best exponents)
24. Electric Mary : Mother (Aussie rock that’s down, dirty and damn tasty)
25. Flotsam & Jetsam : The End Of Chaos (Did I say that classic US metal doesn’t get much better? Make mine a double helping)
26. ESP Project : The Rising (Lush symphonic prog that plays to its strengths)
27. The Cosmic Trip Advisors : Wrong Again, Albert… (Scottish hard rock and blues outfit with a big future ahead of them)
28. Backyard Babies : Silver & Gold (Not quite up there with this band’s best raucous rock but S&G is a belter nonetheless)
29. Fugitive : The Awakening (UK band resuscitate the 80s without sounding like a pastiche)
30. The New Roses : Nothing But Wild (A belting rock album that boldly struts where few tread these days)
31. The Kris Barras Band : Light It Up (British blues rock guitarist ups his game with album number 3)
32. Broken Parachute : Living Dangerously (Wide ranging but narrowly focused prog that rewards on many levels)
33. S.O.T.O : Origami (Jeff Scot Soto continues to confound his critics with this hard and heavy outfit)
34. Whitesnake : Flesh & Blood (An album that’s much better than I believed David Coverdale still had in him)
35. The End Machine : The End Machine (Three quarters of classic era Dokken reconvene with singer Robert Mason to deliver one of the best post Dokken albums these guys have been involved with)
36. Marillion : With Friends From The Orchestra (It’s Marillion in the studio with an orchestra)
37. Retrospective : Latent Avidity (Modern beats wrapped round a neo-prog base makes for an interesting and rewarding mix)
38. New Years Day : Unbreakable (A really personal statement form this modern rock and metal band suggests a coming of age)
39. Status Quo : Backbone (The first post-Parfitt album may not be classic Quo but neither does it sully their name)
40. The Swamp Born Assassins : Dead Man’s Train (Scottish swamp rockers get near full speed with album number two)
41. Lugnet : Nightwalker (There’s a lot of 70s rock out there but Lugnet do it extremely well)
42. Dyadics : Love’s Devolution (A melding of Muse and The Cult that makes much more sense than you’d think it does)
43. o.r.K. : Ramagehead (Excellent technical prog rock with links to Porcupine Tree)
44. Cyril : The Way Through (They have an awful band name, but Cyril know how to write excellent prog rock)
45. Gandalf’s Fist : The Clockwork Prologue (The prequel to my personal album of 2016 may not be quite as cohesive but it’s still an intricate and impressive work)
46. Jonas Hornqvist : L.I.A (Instrumental guitar work at its best)
47. Jordsjø : Nattfiolen (Traditional prog values delivered with style and grace)
48. Una Quinn : Inside Out (A real surprise of an album which blends musical styles and social insight remarkably well)
49. Signum Regis : The Seal Of A New World (The metal of power smashes home once more)
50. Crayon Phase : Two Hundred Pages (There are no boundaries pushed on this neo-prog outing but it’s still a fine listen)


Best LIVE ALBUMS of 2019

1. Helloween: United Alive In Madrid
2. King Diamond: Songs For The Dead Live
3. Arena: Revisited Live
4. Riot V: Live Japan 2018
5. The Pineapple Thief: Hold Our Fire
6. Paolo Baltaro: Live Pillheads
7. Mob Rules: Beast Over Europe
8. Bruce Springsteen: Western Stars + Songs From The Film
9. Blaze Bayley: Live In France
10. Joe Bonamassa: Live At The Sydney Opera House

BEST REISSUES/COMPILATIONS/COLLECTIONS of 2019

1. New England: Archives Box Vol 1
2. Marillion: Afraid Of Sunlight (deluxe)
3. Purgatory: Purgatory EP
4. Steven Wilson: Hand.Cannot.Erase (deluxe)
5. Raven: Over The Top
6. Ken Hensley: The Bronze Years 1973-1980
7. Iced Earth: Iced Earth EP
8. Gandalf’s Fist: Road To Darkness
9. The Babys: Silver Dreams - Complete Albums 1975-1980
10. Def Leppard: CD Collection Vol 2

Best EPs of 2019

1. Eddy Lee Ryder: Eddy Lee Ryder
2. The Wildhearts: Diagnosis EP
3. King Zebra: King Zebra
4. Austin Gold: Austin Gold
5. Mike Dekleva: Psychedelia
6. Dirt: Supercharged Apocalyptic Antichrist Psychosis
7. Robot Lords Of Tokyo: Rise Robots Rise
8. Kill City Kills: Straight From The Heart Of Nowhere
9. A.C.T: Rebirth
10. N’Tribe: Root ’n’ Branch

Top LIVE BANDs of 2019

1. Cats In Space (Glasgow)
2. Mob Rules (Glasgow)
3. The Pineapple Thief (Glasgow)
4. KT Tunstall (Glasgow)
5. The Wildhearts (Edinburgh)
6. Riverside (Glasgow)
7. KISS (Glasgow)
8. Electric Mary (Edinburgh)
9. StOp sToP (Edinburgh)
10. S.O.T.O (Edinburgh)


BUTCH JONES

1. Rival Sons : Feral Roots
2. Evergrey : The Atlantic
3. The End Machine : S/T
4. Exhorder : Mourn The Southern Skies
5. KXM : Circle Of Dolls
6. Crobot : Motherbrain
7. Sweet Oblivion : S/T
8. Walls Of Blood : Imperium
9. Overkill : The Wings Of War
10. Big Wreck : …But For The Sun
11. Last In Line : II
12. Electric Mary : Mother
13. Burning Rain : Face The Music
14. Anthem : Nucleus
15. Opeth : In Cauda Venenum
16. The Treatment : Power Crazy
17. Kadinja : Super 90’
18. Thenighttimeproject : Pale Season
19. Destrage : The Chosen One
20. Dirty Honey : Ep
21. TNT : Encore Live In Milano
22. Flotsam & Jetsam : The End Of Chaos
23. Inglorious : Ride To Nowhere
24. Angel Witch : Angel Of Light
25. Dogface : From The End To The Beginning
26. Soilwork : Verkligheten
27. Periphery : Periphery IV: Hail Stan
28. Crashdïet : Rust
29. King Diamond : Songs For The Dead Live
30. Starbreaker : Dysphoria
31. Queensrÿche : The Verdict
32. Tool : Fear Inoculum
33. Joyous Wolf : Place In Time
34. Arch/Matheos : Winter Ethereal
35. Sacred Reich : Awakening
36. Devin Townsend : Empath
37. Uneven Structure : Paragon
38. Herman Frank : Fight The Fear
39. Mark Morton : Anesthetic
40. A New Revenge : Enemies & Lovers


CARL SEDERHOLM

1. Monolord : No Comfort
2. Thunderclap : Inebriocean
3. 1914 : The Blind Leading the Blind
4. Pulchra Morte : Divina Autem et Aniles
5. Pinewalker : Migration
6. Yatra : Death Ritual
7. Drednought : Emergence
8. Exhumed : Horror
9. Tomb Mold : Planetary Clairvoyance
10. Necronomicon : Unus
11. Necropanther : The Doomed City
12. Batushka (Krzysztof Drabikowski) : Panihida
13. Fetid : Steeping Corporeal Mess
14. Den : Iron Desert
15. Hate : Auric Gates of Veles
16. Sins of the Damned : Striking the Bell of Death
17. Pelican : Nighttime Stories
18. Cattle Decapitation : Death Atlas
19. Municipal Waste : The Last Rager
20. Inter Arma : Sulphur English
21. Ossuarium : Living Tomb
22. Haunt : If Icarus Could Fly
23. Faerie Ring : The Clearing
24. Amon Amarth : Berserker
25. Vltimas : Something Wicked Marches In


MICHAEL POPKE

1. Flying Colors : Third Degree
2. Dream Theater : Distance Over Time
3. Avantasia : Moonglow
4. Neal Morse Band : The Great Adventure
5. Devin Townsend : Empath
6. Pattern-Seeking Animals : Pattern-Seeking Animals
7. Ray Alder : What the Water Wants
8. Neal Morse : Jesus Christ the Exorcist
9. Barock Project : Seven Seas
10. Soto : Origami
11. The Flower Kings : Waiting for Miracles
12. Magic Pie : Fragments of the Fifth Element
13. Sabaton : The Great War
14. Lance King : ReProgram
15. Narnia : From Darkness to Light


Top 5 Reissue/Live Albums
1. Sons of Apollo: Live with the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony
2. Pretty Maids: A Blast From the Past
3. Delain: Hunter’s Moon
4. Fish on Friday: An Initiation (2010-2017)
5. Long Distance Calling: Stummfilm-Live from Hamburg

Top 3 Non-Genre New Releases

1. Bruce Hornsby: Absolute Zero �" Why? Veers far from the Range
2. Bruce Springsteen: Western Stars �" Why? A slow-burning slow grower
3. Hootie & The Blowfish: Imperfect Circle �" Why? Just because, which is reason enough

Top 5 Concerts

. Paul McCartney @ Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.
2. Dream Theater @ Overture Center, Madison Wis.
3. Mad With Power Fest 3 @ High Noon Saloon, Madison, Wis.
4. Greta Van Fleet @ Breese Stevens Field, Madison, Wi.
5. Hootie & The Blowfish/Barenaked Ladies @ Alpine Valley, East Troy, Wis.




Summarized List Of The Top 50 CDs, From All Of The SoT Staff

1. Dream Theater : Distance Over Time
2. Opeth : In Cauda Venenum
3. Overkill : The Wings Of War
4. Magic Pie : Fragments Of The 5Th Element
5. Izz : Don’T Panic
6. Devin Townsend : Empath
7. Big Big Train : Grand Tour
8. Rival Sons : Feral Roots
9. Cats In Space : Daytrip To Narnia
10. Flotsam & Jetsam : The End Of Chaos
11. Lance King : Reprogram
12. Neal Morse Band : The Great Adventure
13. Pattern Seeking Animals : Pattern Seeking Animals
14. Evergrey : The Atlantic
15. Avantasia : Moonglow
16. Sabaton : The Great War
17. RPWL : Live From Outer Space
18. Bruce Soord : All This Will Be Yours
19. Electric Mary : Mother
20. Queensryche : The Verdict
21. Amon Amarth : Berserker
22. The End Machine : S/T
23. Arch/Matheos : Winter Ethereal
24. Angel Witch : Angel Of Light
25. Whitesnake : Flesh & Blood
26. The Flower Kings : Waiting For Miracles
27. Retrospective : Latent Avidity
28. Status Quo : Backbone
29. Dragonforce : Extreme Power Metal
30. Flying Colors : Third Degree
31. Monolord : No Comfort
32. The Wildhearts : Renaissance Men
33. United Progressive Fraternity : Planetary Overlord �" Loss
34. Bruce Springsteen : Western Skies
35. Edenbridge : Dynamind
36. Thunderclap : Inebriocean
37. 1914 : The Blind Leading The Blind
38. Cosmograf : Mind Over Depth
39. Freedom Call : M.E.T.A.L.
40. Candlemass : The Door To Doom
41. D-A-D : A Prayer For The Loud
42. Exhorder : Mourn The Southern Skies
43. Pulchra Morte : Divina Autem Et Aniles
44. Bjorn Riis : A Storm Is Coming
45. Kxm : Circle Of Dolls
46. Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul : Summer Of Sorcery
47. Pinewalker : Migration
48. Crobot : Motherbrain
49. Seven Steps From The Green Door : The?Lie
50. Yogi Lang : A Way Out Of Here




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