Ten For the Top of Twenty-Nineteen
The Best New Songs of Twenty-Nineteen
By Boris Lee
Holy sh*t! Another year speared into historical entry… Goldberg style! Another decade done! It seems as I level up in life (or as the misinformed refer to it as ‘Getting Old’), I find myself wondering where the time has gone. What happened? What did I do? Did I achieve anything positive and productive during our planet’s last revolution round the sun?
Twenty-nineteen answered me by pointing at a published book that helped spark a publishing opportunity for twenty-twenty, a book signing and other literary adventures. Twenty-nineteen then pointed at other significant personal and creative moves forward I made. Twenty-nineteen brought some of the most creative and beautiful people into my life, some of which I have had the privilege to write about and collaborate with. Finally, twenty-nineteen pointed me towards the Metal Babe, Alison Masson, and the opportunity she brought me with the return of my column, Symptom of the Metalverse. Twenty-nineteen was arguably the best of my forty-five-years breathing.
With twenty-nineteen being my best, with my achieving legitimacy as an author and journalist, I felt it befitting to jump on the ‘Best of the Year’ train and publish my own list to close out the year. (I know about the decade ending list publishing everywhere, but hey… I’m just getting the ball rolling.)
Rather than do a typical ‘Best of’ album list, I decided to do a ‘Top Ten Songs’ list. These are songs that I came across due to album reviews or artist interviews for Symptom of the Metalverse during the past year. To make the list, the music had to be new, original, and released in twenty-nineteen. No re-released materials or cover songs. This narrowed my field of source material. That being said, honorable mentions to Nytrate and The Prophets of Addiction. Let’s raise horns, bang heads and get the pit rolling as we mosh into the…
… Symptom of the Metalverse Top Ten Songs of Twenty-Nineteen.
10- Diabology– Seas of Eternity. Album: Demo.
Diabology is a teenage-thrash-metal-band based out of Los Angeles. I came across their music while interviewing lead guitarist and founding member, Jesse Bergen. Though my interview with Jesse, The Beast of Bergen, was arguably the most difficult I have put together, it made for a good trip down nostalgia avenue for me. Talking with Jesse brought back memories of my life at seventeen, reconnected me with some rare fond memories of my youth, and most of all, put some killer music in my ears. Seas of Eternity is a killer track with heavy early Megadeth influences. A great head banging beast!
9- The Militants– Unfathomable Depths of Perception. Album: Front Line Kill.
Charlie Zeigler is the driving force behind the industrial punk band, The Militants. This song made the list because Charlie ventured into a darker realm creatively here. I enjoyed this song more than anything else from The Militants because of the diversity and simplicity in creation. “The acoustic guitar work presents a chilling call to the listener, setting the tone of a well written black and white horror, or a state of the union address for those lacking perception.”~ Boris Lee, Front Line Moshacre
8-Sin City Rejects– Sadder Day. Album: The Death of a Nation.
Drop kicking out of Las Vegas NV, the Sin City Rejects are solid homage to old-school punk rock.I came across their music while reviewing their debut album upon suggestion from Alison. “Sadder Day is a great tune with heart-felt angst about a modern day ‘Dear John letter’ break-up via text message. Instrumentally the band’s influence from The Ramones and The Misfits flourishes.”~ Boris Lee, Sin City Success.
7- Suzy– Tomorrow. Self titled release.
Suzy Wilson is a pleasant surprise creatively. At first I was not a fan of the music. Sorry, I wasn’t. However, I listened to the album several times and realized what I disliked about the album had nothing to do with the music. The music was damn good. Suzy is talented and created music with some feeling to it. Anyone who is paying attention knows I say music needs FEELING and to BREATHE. Suzy’s music does this, and the standout song doing so is “Tomorrow.” When I wrote my review of Suzy’s self-titled album, I became a fan and have never looked back since. I look forward to what tomorrow brings Suzy in twenty-twenty.
“Tomorrow is a tour de force rock anthem about getting through life’s challenges. The theme of the song is a classic tale of looking past today’s darkness and to the fruitful potential of a better tomorrow. One part of modern feeling guitars, one part strong drumming, and one part smooth vocal work, makes for a modern song with a true to form rock formula at its foundation.” ~Boris Lee, Tomorrow is a Road To Success
6– Ritual Moon-Ritual Moon. Self titled release.
When Mars and Belen, the rhythm section for Sirenhex, broke off to do a side project, they ended up with the Abrahadabra self titled release. “The title track of the Ritual Moon debut tolls in as what I declare the strongest song on the album. Opening with a heavy drum riff by Mars and deep chord picking from Belen, the melody whets the appetite for what is lurking ahead. When the tempo picks up and Bee begins her demonically baritone like vocals, the music has feeling. With the next tempo change in the song, the melodic pace quickens into a state of anticipated climax, breaking the song into the movements of a metal music symphony.”~ Boris Lee, Under a Mars Moon Bee Unstoppable Success.
5-Wednesday 13– Monster. Album: Necrophaze.
Though I was vaguely familiar with Wednesday 13 from his Murderdolls days, I had heard nothing from his solo material until I reviewed his album, Necrophaze. When it comes to the gruesome genre glory that is horror and music, monster mashed into a cacophony of creation, I am a bloodthirsty ‘Thrashman’. Necrophaze is an ‘All Killer No Filler’ album and the track “Monster” carries a two-meaning terror tale in the lyrical Labyrinth. “Monster is a modern macabre march of musical madness. Cristina Scabbia (Lucana Coil) provides supporting vocals that lift this terror tale into a commercial friendly fiend. A retelling of the Frankenstein story or message of modern heartbreak and the psychotic potential that can come from loves betrayals, the song’s meaning is open to perspective suggestion.”~ Boris Lee, Monster Music Magnificence.
4-The 69 Eyes. Hell Have No Mercy. Album: West End.
Twenty-nineteen saw Goth N Roll masters, The 69 Eyes, release the album West End. Without giving out too much of a spoiler to my review of the album, I had to share my thoughts on this one song. The track resonates with me. Look for the full album review at Symptom of the Metalverse on Metal Babe Mayhem in the coming weeks. “Hell Has No Mercy is my favorite song of the album. It has a Danzig “Thirteen” vibe to it and feels like a song of nightmarish reflection. Solid instrumental work accompanied by deep methodical and melodic vocals makes this song a strong closer for the album.” ~Boris Lee, Where The West End’s, Goth N Roll Begins.
3- Sirenhex– Blazing Star. Album; From the Cove.
It’s a rare occasion that I am bummed out by hearing of a band splitting up. Shit happens and creative creatures go on separate paths. But when Sirenhex announced they cast their final spell in December, I was legitimately disappointed. Sirenhex were one of the most talented bands I had come across, and I felt they had a solid future within the national touring metal world. Their live shows and album recordings matched energetically. Their imagery and sound was spot on for taking metal back to its nineteen-eighties high points, while feeling fresh and modern. Whatever their reasons for the departure, may they all find success in their next creative endeavors.
“Blazing Star, opens fast, blazing right into a creative cauldron of drum beats, high octane guitar riffs, and Luna’s best vocal performance to date. What stands out in the song is the “Hexettes” flowing as one force with the music. If the energetic unison of water flowing through rapids created metal music, it would feel like the music that is Blazing Star.
“The band already had good tempo change abilities and have become seamless at this point. Jerm’s solo is EXCELLENT. Short, sweet, and unlike on the Sirenhex debut release where he reminded me of a good version of Kirk Hammett, Jerm makes his guitar sing during his solo on Blazing Star. The music breaths! Something I keep saying music needs to do. The band joining in with Luna on vocals for the closing verse of the song is well executed, and frankly… I was surprised at how good the “Hexettes” backing vocal abilities are. Impressive. Luna’s vocal speed, power, diversity and range are highlighted on Blazing Star.”~ Boris Lee, Full Scream Ahead.
2- Edge of Paradise– Fire. Album: Universe.
Of all the music I reviewed in one fashion or another during twenty-nineteen, the band I have the longest history with is Edge of Paradise. Some four years ago now, EOP were one of the first bands I saw perform at the now defunct Hollywood bar, Loaded. The moment I saw them on stage and I heard Margarita Monet’s voice, I told myself they were going on to greater things in music. Edge of Paradise moved onto conquering greater things, and coming off the success of their European tour, the band has proven they are ready to rule the musical universe.
“Fire, burns through your speakers and ignites a desire to stand up and overcome the distractions and delusions placed forth by society and inner misdirection today. The song opens with beautiful piano work by Margarita, which is quickly married to an intense musical march from her supporting cast. Margarita’s vocals are at their best on Universe with “Fire,” balancing the musicianship of the band, giving all members an equal energy in what your senses consume. There is not much I can write about this song that does it justice. “Fire” would be the song I used to introduce Edge of Paradise to new listeners.”~ Boris Lee, Universal Paradise.
1- Edge of Paradise– Alone (Acoustic version). Album: Universe.
There are two versions of the EOP song Alone on Universe and while both versions of the song are near perfect heart-screaming anthems of the imperfect seeking deserved love, the acoustic version of “Alone” holds more feeling. Margarita’s vocals and piano, and Dave Bates guitar work shares in the song’s emotional emphasis. This song checks all the boxes for a ‘Beautiful Beast’ and deserves to be declared the best song of modern metal music in twenty-nineteen.
“Alone” is an anthem for many of us today. The acoustic version of the song offers a warm feeling of hope for damaged souls overcoming a respective cold darkness. While the standard version of the song presents strong tempo changes for a musical emotional aesthetic touching the warrior within the lost, the acoustic version relies on more of a storyteller feel that calls to the souls of the flawed and scarred. The acoustic version of the song is a modern ballad kissed by beautiful piano work with a timeless heart.”~ Boris Lee, Universal Paradise.
I want to thank all the bands for putting out music I felt passionate about writing about. I want to thank Alison Masson for the opportunity to work with her and for granting me the platform I needed to return to entertainment journalism. Last yet far from least, thank you to all of you… the reader and music fan. You have given Symptom of the Metalverse a horn-raised, head-banging-heartbeat. The roaring twenties are coming our way. See you out in the pit!