BEST OF 2019 - Shawn "Animalize" Irwin (Best of 2019)

BEST OF 2019 – Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

Welcome to the CGCM Podcast/Website. We are a group of music passionate folks from around the world. Although we began in Canada with only the podcast co-hosts, we now realize an entire team of staff from Canada, UK, USA and Sweden! Follow us at our website and/or social media for all our podcasts, album/concert reviews, interviews, photo galleries and more!

Check out all CGCMs BEST OF 2019 lists from each individual contributor. Enjoy listening to the Best of 2019 podcasts, featuring a ton of the music and hopefully you found some things that maybe you missed throughout the year. Feel free to share the lists and/or podcasts around and let us know what you were rocking to in 2019.

Keep an eye on our Upcoming Release page for all the info on the hottest releases throughout 2020. Every article we post has Amazon links (if available) so you can easily buy the album and support the artists. Here’s to 2020 🥂

BEST OF 2019 – Shawn “Animalize” Irwin (Photographer/Writer) 🇨🇦

As 2019 concludes, it is time to reflect on over 170 new music releases that I discovered this year and to pick my BEST OF 2019 – Shawn “Animalize” Irwin. It is never an easy task with so many releases in one year.

The recap of my #1 CDs from the last six years;

BEST OF 2019 - Shawn "Animalize" Irwin

2018 – Kobra and the LotusPrevail II

2017 – Harem ScaremUnited

2016 – SabatonThe Last Stand

2015 – Leaves’ EyesKing of Kings

2014 – SabatonHeroes

2013 – Tobia’s Sammet’s AvantasiaThe Mystery of Time

Three of the above bands released new material in 2019. Let’s see who takes #1 for this year and if any winners from previous years make the Top 10.

With my first year working with CGCM Podcast here is my BEST OF 2019 – Shawn “Animalize” Irwin.

#10 – Myrath – Shehili 🇹🇳

2019 Myrath released their 5th studio album. I first found out about Myrath in 2018. I was looking forward to the new release, but not realizing this would be one of the best CDs of 2019 for me. With their mix of hard rock and Arabian music, Myrath sets the flavour of mixing cultural musical influences to a new level.

With playing many shows there were two that stood out for them. Myrath hailing from France and Tunisia made history at Sweden Rock Festival 2019. The audience didn’t know what hit them as they played on a small stage under a tent. With the cancellation of a band later the same day, Sweden Rock asked Myrath if they would play a 2nd show. This time they played on one of the main stages in front of 1000’s of people. An absolute bonus to the show was Elen Oriental from Georgia and she belly danced to this remarkable music.



#9 – The Dark Element – Songs the Night Sings 🇫🇮

One or two Symphonic Metal bands usually make my top picks. We shall see if any other outfits join The Dark Element. Anette Olzon former Nightwish vocalist with Finish guitarist and songwriter Jani Liimatainen started this project with their first release in 2017. This project soon became real. The S/T album became so popular that the band found themselves touring. Their first show was at Sweden Rock 2018, and I was there. Songs the Night Sings is a perfect follow-up and one of my most played CDs this year.



#8 – Eclipse – Paradigm 🇸🇪

Eclipse from Sweden keeps dominating the Melodic Rock fans with each of their releases. Playing on the Monsters of Rock Cruise and playing in the USA, Eclipse doesn’t look like they are slowing down anytime soon. There is always negative feedback out there, but I kept my mind open when I first heard Paradigm. Maybe it didn’t hit me as hard at first, but it didn’t take long to grow on me. I do love this release with the melodic catchy grooves and lead singer Erik Mårtensson is brilliant on vocals.


CGCM Album Review: Eclipse – Paradigm by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall


#7 – Lindsay Schoolcraft- Martyr 🇨🇦

Who is Lindsay Schoolcraft you might ask?

I only recently heard about her, even though she lives in my hometown Oshawa, ON, Canada. Lindsay had been touring the world with the UK Gothic Metal band Cradle of Filth, which is not my style of music, but Lindsay recently released her debut album Martyr. I came across the video for “Savior” through Facebook and I was blown away. With her incredible vocals, this song soon became one of my favourite tracks, not only on the album but for 2019. Martyr has tastes of heavy goth, symphonic and some beautiful slower tracks that highlight the talent of this artist.


CGCM Album Review: Lindsay Schoolcraft – Martyr by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

CGCM Concert Review: Lindsay Schoolcraft – Live in Toronto by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

CGIM Interview: Lindsay Schoolcraft – Interview by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin


#6 – Hammerfall – Dominion 🇸🇪

Hammerfall from Sweden are back with their 11th studio album Dominion. Anything this band does I absolutely love. When I heard there would be a new Hammerfall in 2019, I had no doubt Dominion would make it in my Top 10 this year. Getting the chance to see them and photograph the show in their home country this year at Sweden Rock Festival was a huge highlight of 2019 for me. The track from the new release, “(We Make) Sweden Rock” brings chills to me every time I hear it as it reminds me of how I go to Sweden each year. Another outstanding album and maybe one of their best material.



#5 – Battle Beast – No More Hollywood Endings 🇫🇮

Battle Beast - BEST OF 2019 - Shawn "Animalize" Irwin

Here is a band I can never get enough of. Their last 2 albums easily made it in my Top 10 finishing 2nd and 3rd. No More Hollywood Endings took a few plays to get me hooked as it has some different sounds than previous releases. This CD gives us what we would expect from the band and a variety of tracks such as the pop single “Endless Summer”. I was able to see Battle Beast in September play their first headline show in Canada. From seeing them at Sweden Rock in front of 1000’s of fans to a small bar in Ottawa with maybe 200 people. It was awesome in this intimate setting and I quickly got to meet the band after the show for a photo.


See my photo gallery in this review of Battle Beast by Rich “The Meister” Dillon: Battle Beast – Ottawa 2019


#4 – Pretty Maids – Undress Your Madness 🇩🇰

Pretty Maids - BEST OF 2019 - Shawn "Animalize" Irwin

Here is a band I have been a fan of for almost 30 years. Having the privilege of seeing them perform in England, Germany and Sweden was a dream come true. Nothing like getting to see a bucket list band. Pretty Maids from Denmark released their 16th album this year since 1984. Their last release, Kingmaker in 2016 also made my Top 10. Undress Your Madness has proven to possibly be my favourite melodic rock album this year. If you are a fan of straight forward hard melodic rock, this one has to be in your collection.



#3 – Kobra and the Lotus – Evolution 🇨🇦

Kobra - BEST OF 2019 - Shawn "Animalize" Irwin

Three years in a row Canadian band Kobra and the Lotus have released new albums which all made my Top 10 list. 2017 Prevail I (5th), 2018 Prevail II (1st) and now Evolution. This was so hard picking the order of the top 3 spots as any given day it could be any of these albums making number one. As a huge fan of Kobra and the Lotus, Evolution is a great follow-up to the perfection of the last 2 releases. Evolution gives us hard rock with a little turn towards commercial. I always like the heavier tracks the best but “Wash Away” is a beautiful track that shows Kobra’s beautiful range of vocal perfection. Well worth having the Japanese version for the bonus track “Tokyo” sung in Japanese.



#2 – Beast In Black – From Hell With Love 🇫🇮

Beast in Black - BEST OF 2019 - Shawn "Animalize" Irwin

Beast in Black released their 2nd album From Hell With Love. With the success of their first album Berserker, the band found themselves touring all over. In 2020 North America will get to see them perform these songs live as they open for Hammerfall. Even though their first release didn’t hit my Top 10 that year, it was amazing. With the new release Beast in Black has proven they are a force to be reckoned with and the world now knows who this band from Finland is. I had the chance to see them at Sweden Rock this year and it was one of the best shows, bringing tears of joy to my eyes.



#1 – Sabaton – The Great War 🇸🇪

Sabaton - BEST OF 2019 - Shawn "Animalize" Irwin

The #1 position goes to Sabaton from Sweden. For anyone that knows my music taste, you will know since 2013 Sabaton has become a favourite of mine. This is 3 releases in a row from this amazing band that finished #1 on my Top 10 lists. Formed in 1999 The Great War is their 9th studio album. The new album is everything you would expect from these historian musicians as The Great War is all about WWI. I read many negative views on the new release, but this did not sway me from loving this album. Full of energy and memorable stories.

Even though there were so many great albums of 2019, The Great War by Sabaton beat out the competition. They have headlined shows around the world in 2019 and many sold-out. When asked about my top bands Sabaton is right up there with KISS, Harem Scarem, Black ‘N’ Blue and Kobra and the Lotus to name a handful.


CGCM Album Review: Sabaton – The Great War by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

Honourable Mentions: BEST OF 2019 – Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

It was not easy to bring my list down to ten albums so here are some other bands that hovered around the Top 10 for 2019 in no order.

The Ferrymen – A New Evil

Avantasia – Moonglow

Crashdiet – RUST

Edenbridge – Dynamind

First Signal –  Line of Fire

Freedom Call – M.E.T.A.L.

Iron Savior – Kill or Get Killed

Queensryche – The Verdict

Michael Sweet – Ten

Tarja – In the Raw

Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood

Within Temptation – Resist

Get ready for 2020 with all new releases by Ozzy Osbourne, Delain, Brothers of Metal, Rage, Magnum, Heat, Dirty Shirley, Revolution Saints and Sons of Apollo. Who will make the Top 10 of 2020?

You will find out December 2020.

Shawn Animalize Irwin

More Shawn “Animalize” Irwin photo galleries, written reviews and more: Shawn “Animalize” Irwin