3) Trivium, The Sin and the Sentence (Roadrunner)

This was a big surprise for me. While I have always casually enjoyed Trivium, the direction that they had taken over the last few years didn’t really thrill me on release and not many songs left a lasting impression. The Sin and the Sentence was a blind side with how much I loved it. Them bringing Alex Bent on as a drummer was a fantastic choice, his style compliments the group’s sound very well and I think it helped the band as a whole step up their songwriting. Check out the playthrough videos Alex  has been releasing if you enjoyed this one or just want to see what I’m talking about.

Zach#2: It seems we both enjoyed this one for the same reasons. Touche.

Suggested Tracks: “Betrayer,” “Wretchedness Inside,” “The Revanchist”


2) Ayreon, The Source (Mascot Label Group)

When you’re first single is a 13 minute prog epic featuring Tobias Sammet (Avantasia, Edguy), Hansi Kursch (Bling Guardian), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), James Labrie (Dream Theater) and a half dozen other big (relatively speaking) progressive and power metal vocalist, it’s hard for me not to be intrigued. The Source is as big in its execution as it is in the size of its cast. The story is of a dying planet and the quest to save the inhabitants of the world as technology decides that eliminating them is the only way to save the planet. (He just seems so happy that he’s found the solution, too!) I was listening to this a lot at the same time that I was playing Mass Effect: Andromeda and it is by far the better written space epic.

Zenae: At least we can agree here (this will make sense in a moment).

Suggested Tracks: Just start at the beginning. If progressive metal double-albums aren’t you thing, this might not be for you. “Everybody Dies,” “The Day that the World Breaks Down


1. Ne Obliviscaris, Urn (Season of Mist)

This was easily the album I was most excited for this year. Their previous two releases have been fantastic and I expected nothing less from them. I feel like this could very be their most focused album to date. It may only be four songs long, but each and every moment of the album feels meaningful to the overall composition. Back in November I drove out to Cleveland (about 130 miles each way) just to see these guys and it was worth every moment of driving and frustration with traffic.

Zanae: I’ve got to disagree. Adding anything else to this would just water it down. With it only being 4 songs it feels tight and focused to me.

Suggested Tracks: Just start at the beginning, but otherwise “Intra Venus” and  “Eyrie” .



Honorable Mentions

Black Sabbath,  The End (Live) (Eagle Rock)

This is just a fantastic live album. The band sounds great, Ozzy sounds like Ozzy, and the production is excellent. The End (Live) is a small consolation for having never gotten the proper chance to see Black Sabbath.

Alice Cooper, Paranormal (earMUSIC)

I was so disappointed that I couldn’t see him when he came through Pittsburgh this summer with Deep Purple. The album didn’t stick all that hard with me, but “Paranoiac Personality” is such a fantastic song and the addition of some live tracks with the release doesn’t hurt. Live is the environment to experience Alice Cooper.

Mr. Big, Defying Gravity (Frontiers)

I’m really glad that I did not go into this one with too high expectations. While the band is comprised of exceptionally talented individuals, and that being apparent on almost every song on here, it is plagued by songwriting that doesn’t hit the bar. So while you’re have absolute jams like “Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” and the title track, you also end up with “1992,” a super cheesy song about how great it was to be popular 25 years ago.


New Favorite Old Album

Ayreon, Theory of Everything

While waiting for the release of The Source I was compelled to take a look deeper into Ayreon’s discography. This and Into the Electric Castle were the ones I listened to most, but this one became a favorite of mine. The story is town in four suites, spread over two discs, and the 42 tracks all flow seamlessly together as it blends its story and emotive instrumental passages. 9/10, would highly recommend.

Recommended Tracks: Just start at the beginning.


Radio Station:

The Metal Edge – Pittsburgh Metal Radio

If Bram gets to include Black Wail in his Top 10, you know for sure I’m including The Metal Edge here. Along with some folks in the Pittsburgh music scene I’ve started an online radio station focusing on the PA-WV-OH tri-state area hard rock and heavy metal scenes. We’re headquarter out of the Mr. Smalls building in Millvale, and just launched in November. We have some big plans for 2018, so check us out and if you know of any bands in the area that we should be in contact with feel free to reach out!

Concerts Attended (No specific order):

  1. Megadeth, Meshuggah, Tesseract, Lilake @ Stage AE in Pittsburgh
  2. Clutch, Primus @ Stage AE in Pittsburghin Pittsburgh
  3. Ne Obliviscaris, Allegaeon, Terranoct @ The Foundry in Cleveland
  4. Machines Supremacy, Urizen, Dethlehem, Danimal Cannon – Cattivo in Pittsburgh
  5. Brutal Beerfest 2 ft Baroness, Byzantine, and a whole bunch of great local Pittsburgh metal bands and breweries @ Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh

Music Memes:

4. thatistheplan – Memes Not Hot

A Fader hit piece got The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano to shut down his secondary, meme/shitpost channel thatistheplan, aaaand he’s back. Did you really think the best teeth in the game would allow that melon to talk about memes?

3. Big Shaq – Mans Not Hot

This is what happens when the meme gets too large for its own good. It capitalizes. The music video is currently sitting at 111,000,000 views on YouTube. Raw sauce.

2. Pink Guy – Pink Season

If you don’t already know, you’re probably not supposed to. It’s filthy.

1. Idubzzz – Content Cop + Diss track on Ricegum: Asian Jake Paul ft. Boyinaband

It’s hard not to love a well done musical take down piece. 37 million views and never hit YouTube Trending. Must not be family friendly enough.

*List orders all subject to change at any moment for any reason, arbitrary or not*