BEST OF 2019 - The Meister (Best of 2019)

BEST OF 2019 – The Meister

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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 – Rich “The Meister” Dillon

(Podcast Co-host/Writer) 🇨🇦

I always struggle beyond belief at this time of year. Choosing a top ten is so very stressful for me. It’s easy as the year comes along and you write an album review or hear a release to say “that’ll make my 10”. But when it comes right down to it, it’s not at all so easy.

I didn’t get a chance to write as many album reviews as I have in past years, but I’ve heard a lot! I’ve made a list of albums I liked all year. I’ve relistened to them. Even hurried to listen to things I see others raving about, in case I missed out. In the end, as usual, there’s been a lot of great music released in 2019. Rock is not dead, you just have to uncover it perhaps.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve put in my “10 Best of 2019”. For this list, I did not consider live albums. New music only. Nor did I consider EPs. Let’s face it, if every song on an album gets a tick for being good, a ten-song full-length beats an EP every time. But do not fear, several EPs with awesome new music came in 2019, so I listed my 3 best at the bottom 😁.

MEISTER’s Best of 2019 List – Honorable Mentions

Here are some albums in no particular order that are fantastic and should be listened to by any Hard Rock/Heavy Metal fan even though they did not place in my list: TORA TORA – Bastards of Beale / RON KEEL BAND – Fight Like a Band / LICENCE – N.2.O.2.R. / HELIX – Old School / DIAMOND HEAD – Coffin Train / BLACKMAYNE – Spat From Hell / MADHOUSE – Money Talks / SAVAGE MASTER – Myth, Magic & Steel / SHARK ISLAND – Bloodline / 42 DECIBEL – Ignite / 99 CRIMES – 99 Crimes / DEATH ANGEL – Humanicide / M!SS CRAZY – Make America Crazy Again / JULY REIGN – Waves of Destiny / AIRBOURNE – Boneshaker / STEEL PROPHET – God Machine / AERODYNE – Damnation / BURNT OUT WRECK – This is Hell / MICHAEL MONROE – One Man Gang / THE EROTICS – The Songs Remain Deranged

#10 – Treatment – Power Crazy 🇬🇧

Discovering these young men from the UK back in 2012 with their debut, This Might Hurt, they played a huge role in my then recently rekindled love of music. This fourth release, Power Crazy, is a bundle of pent up energy just waiting to burst forth. The Treatment have issued a slab of solid High Energy Hard Rock and were simply brilliant in concert at Call of the Wild Festival in 2019.


CGCM Album Review: The Treatment – Power Crazy by Rich “The Meister” Dillon


#9 – The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men 🇬🇧

The Wildhearts are a band that I’d “heard of” rather than “heard”. By outside influence, I started checking them out ahead of their planned appearance on the MORC Cruise. Unfortunately, visa issues prevented that appearance, but they were one of my gigs of the year at Call of the Wild Festival in 2019. Ahead of my seeing them live came their first full-length album in ten years. The whole album is loaded with punch and energy. Attitude and anger abundant throughout the lyrical content, yet a surreal ability to raise your spirits.


CGCM Album Review: The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men by Rich “The Meister” Dillon


#8 – Stone Rising – Stone Rising 🇦🇺

Always a little nerve-wracking when a friend gives you a CD from their band asking you to listen or review. I mean what if I hate the album? How do you tell them that? Thankfully, that’s not the case here with Australia’s Stone Rising which features former members of Kings of the Sun. The album is absolutely loaded with riff-heavy bluesy, punk ‘n’ roll Hard Rock. I simply love it (except the ballady track 🤷🏼‍♂️) and it’s been in constant rotations since I got it in June.


CGCM Album Review: Stone Rising – Stone Rising by Rich “The Meister” Dillon


#7 – Pretty Maids – Undress Your Madness 🇩🇰

Considering this Danish band began in the mid-’80s, I’d say I’m late to the party only really hearing of and getting into them in 2013 with Motherland. From there it was back into a massive catalogue of catchy Melodic Hard Rock. This album plays well from start to finish, yes even the slower fare! Another band that blows the doors off in concert and I’ve seen them several times through events like Sweden Rock Festival and MORC and also their own headline gigs in countries like Sweden and Germany. All the best to vocalist Ronnie Atkins and his current battle with cancer 💓.



#6 – Danko Jones – A Rock Supreme 🇨🇦

When I first heard a Danko Jones track, then featured on radio station 97.7HTZ FM, I was hooked. That song was “Bounce” from the early EP. While the Danko Jones-style has adjusted a little throughout the 20 plus years, it has always been high energy, “punch you in the balls” Hard Rock. Sometimes more blues-infused, sometimes more metal, sometimes more melodic, sometimes more punk flavoured, but always edgy. 2019’s A Rock Supreme is no different with foot stompers like “I’m In A Band”, “Lipstick City”, “Burn In Hell” and “Fists Up High”. Fortunately, I saw Danko 4 times in 2019. At Canadian Music Week in Toronto, at a club in Ottawa and at Sweden Rock Festival. It should have been a fifth, but the European tour with Volbeat outweighed the MegaCruise. And at least two shows on tap for 2020 in Sweden and HRH! There’s a reason I have the Danko Jones logo featured in my full-sleeve tattoo!



#5 – D-A-D – Prayer for the Loud 🇩🇰

Knowing “of” this band, but not really listening to them until their appearance on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. They instantly captivated me and are hands down one of the most fun and entertaining bands to watch on stage! And that’s just crazy bass player Stig Pedersen with his two-string bass guitars shaped like an iPhone, or a Red Baron Aircraft or any number of things. Originally monikered as Disneyland After Dark, the Disney Corporation had something to say on that! Their music incorporates a lot of different layers and textures including, bluesy riff and punky sensibilities blended with Hard Rock elements. The lead track, “Burning Star” is a perfect example of the fare on the album.


CGCM Album Review: D-A-D – Prayer for the Loud by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall


#4 – Grim Reaper – At the Gates 🇬🇧

Always been a big Grim Reaper fan. It was thrilling to have the opportunity to witness them live on stage through Sweden Rock a few years back. Especially cool since original guitarist Nick Bowcott was on stage for the gig. Now, unfortunately, frontman Steve Grimmett has lost his leg due to a parasite while touring in South America, I believe. In any case Grimmett and band soldier on having issued a pair of awesome albums in 2016’s Walking in the Shadows and now At The Gates. Solid Traditional styled metal.



#3 – Frenzy – Blind Justice 🇪🇸

Frenzy‘s Blind Justice appeared on the scene in February and was my first real “best of the list contender” in 2019. The first one to have that “wow/hook factor” I was searching for. The band hails from Madrid and fronted by a US-born singer. This sucker is loaded with Traditional Metal, Hard Rock influenced, 80’s styled, guitar loaded tracks that are sure to create massive earworms. For me, the clear standout “go to” track is “Killing with a Smile”. From the first listen of this blood pumper, it had me hard in its clutches. I love the high register vocals and the chugging riffs throughout.


CGCM Album Review: Frenzy – Blind Justice by Rich “The Meister” Dillon


#2 – Age of Reflection – A New Dawn 🇸🇪

FFS, yes it’s an AOR melodic Rock album! Yes, I know that’s not a preferred style for me. Know what else? I frigging love this album! It shocked the shit out of me too, but it’s really got a little of everything. The melodic sing-along sensibilities should appeal to those searching that type of thing. But there’s more. The guitar work has an edginess to it embedded in the ravaging riffs of songs such as “Go”.


CGCM Album Review: Age of Reflection – A New Dawn by Rich “The Meister” Dillon


#1 – Warrior Soul – Rock n Roll Disease 🇺🇸

Surprisingly, this album hooked me right from the get-go. I say surprisingly because Warrior Soul is not one of “my bands”. In my album review, I wrote: “…is Warrior Soul a “go-to band” for me? No. Do I know who they are? Yeah, I have an album… somewhere. I recall seeing Warrior Soul open for Queensryche on I think the Empire tour. Back in those days, I didn’t take well to the stage setters, especially if I didn’t know the music. And so, I was not left with a good taste from Warrior Soul.”. That stayed with me since then. Had I not been experimental in my listening one day, I may have passed Warrior Soul by. So very glad that I did not!

Since that first play, right from the opening “Up The Dose” (which I re-played three times before moving to track #2) Rock n’ Roll Disease had me hooked. The album has not left my regular daily commute to work rotation since I heard it in May. Now, having had the chance to redeem myself with the Warrior Soul back catalogue, in 2020 I will get the live opportunity! They are among the whole host of wicked bands I can’t wait to check out at UK’s awesome new festival, Call of the Wild in late May.


CGCM Album Review: Warrior Soul – Rock n Roll Disease by Rich “The Meister” Dillon



The Meister

Find more of my album reviews here: Meister Music

CGCM Podcast / Meister on Facebook / Meister on Instagram / Meister on Twitter / Meister’s Email

BEST OF 2019 – The Meister – EPs

#3 – Eleine – All Shall Burn 🇸🇪

This Swedish Symphonic outfit originated back in 2011. While this particular sub-genre of metal is not one that endears to me, some bands do float to the top. One such case is Eleine. Having seen them perform live on at least two occasions, I can say it truly is an experience. Vocalist Madeleine Liljestam incorporates fluid and mesmerizing belly dance moves in the stage performance. The music contains a lot of heavy riffs supplied by founder Rikard Ekberg and is most likely what I’m drawn to overall.


CGCM Album Review: Eleine – All Shall Burn by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

#2 – Running Wild – Crossing the Blades 🇩🇪

German Power Metal band Running Wild brought forth this 4 song effort in early December. As the forerunners of the Pirate Metal subgenre, Running Wild‘s lyrics often contain themes of war, suppression and the struggle for money. This EP contains three new compositions and a cover version of KISS“Strutter” and comes ahead of a planned full-length in 2020. Solid rocking from this well-established German outfit.


#1 – Kickin Valentina – Chaos in Copenhagen 🇺🇸

Call of the Wild Festival was my first time seeing Kickin Valentina with new frontman D.K. Revelle at the helm. Always enjoying their outputs previously, he just somehow brought it all together and I became a rabid fan on the spot. Later in the year, the guys issued this 4-track EP and it simply smokes! Bassist Chris Taylor and guitarist Heber Pampillon joined us for a full CGCM Podcast episode in 2019 (link below). Looking forward to catching them live a few times in 2020 at events such as Call of the Wild and HRH Sleaze!


CGCM Album Review: Kickin Valentina – Chaos in Copenhagen by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall

CGCM Podcast Episode: EP#81-Kickin Valentina (Heber and Chris)

Bring on 2020…watch for our album release news: Upcoming Releases


The Meister

Find more of my album reviews here: Meister Music

CGCM Podcast / Meister on Facebook / Meister on Instagram / Meister on Twitter / Meister’s Email