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Offline Kattelox

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Welcome to my top 50 albums of all time! I'll try to update this regularly, every few days or so, but I want to give each and every album a writeup that justifies how I feel about it while also giving them enough time in the spotlight before moving on to another. Expect power metal, more power metal, and a few odd black sheep here and there.

This is my personal little venue to gush ad nauseum about my favorite albums ever made, so I don't expect everyone to read every word of my ramblings. However, if it inspires discussion and strong opinions, I couldn't ask for more. I hope this is entertainment for at least one person out there.

Important Disclaimer: This list was incredibly difficult to organize. To be completely honest, the only rankings that are 100% set in stone are the top 3. Those have never, ever changed. 4-10 are pretty firm, but could shift amongst themselves. 11 through, roughly, 30, are about the same. That is, on any given day, 8 could switch with 30 and I'd still love both of those albums equally. The rest at the bottom are, again, roughly grouped equally, but you never know – again, on any given day, they could switch amongst themselves, or even be placed higher. It's almost impossible to rank so many albums I love so dearly, and even harder when you throw a wild variety of genres into the mix.

Honorable Mentions: At the end of the thread, I'll include my 'Honorable Mentions' list, which includes albums that were all in the running for the top 50, but for whatever reason(s) did not make the cut.

Let's get this show on the road!

#50. Avantasia - Moonglow [2019]
#49. Aquaria - Shambala [2007]
#48. Tom Waits - Closing Time [1973]
#47. Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror [2015]
#46. Arctic Monkeys - AM [2013]
#45. Opeth - Damnation [2003]
#44. Stratovarius - Infinite [2000]
#43. Kamelot - Poetry for the Poisoned [2010]
#42. Avantasia - The Metal Opera, Pt. II [2002]
#41. Rush - Power Windows [1985]

#40. Opeth - Watershed [2008]
#39. Avantasia - The Wicked Symphony [2010]
#38. Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion I [1991]
#37. Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion II [1991]
#36. Edguy - Rocket Ride [2006]
#35. Rhapsody - Dawn of Victory [2000]
#34. Stratovarius - Destiny [1998]
#33. Sonata Arctica - The Days of Grays [2009]
#32. Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place [2003]
#31. Ayreon - 01011001 [2008]

#30. Cain's Offering - Gather the Faithful [2009]
#29. Rhapsody - Symphony of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret [2004]
#28. Asia - Alpha [1983]
#27. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times [2007]
#26. Sonata Arctica - Unia [2007]
#25. Eminem - The Eminem Show [2002]
#24. Power Quest - Neverworld [2003]
#23. Fairyland - The Fall of an Empire [2006]
#22. Stratovarius - Visions [1997]
#21. Sonata Arctica - Reckoning Night [2004]

#20. Enya - Dark Sky Island [2015]
#19. Chroma Key - You Go Now [2000]
#18. Tycho - Awake [2014]
#17. Dream Theater - Images and Words [1992]
#16. Rhapsody - Symphony of Enchanted Lands [1998]
#15. Blind Guardian - Imaginations From The Other Side [1995]
#14. Aquaria - Luxaeterna [2007]
#13. Dragonforce - Valley of the Damned [2003]
#12. Voyager - Ghost Mile [2017]
#11. Power Quest - Magic Never Dies [2005]

#10. Rhapsody - Legendary Tales [1997]
#9. Edguy - The Savage Poetry [2000]
#8. Dragonforce - Sonic Firestorm [2004]
#7. Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence [2002]
#6. Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain [2006]
#5. Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction [1987]
#4. Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown [2010]
#3. Sonata Arctica - Winterheart's Guild [2003]
#2. Stratovarius - Episode [1996]
#1. Toto - IV [1982]

Honorable Mentions
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 12:54:58 PM by Kattelox »
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Offline Kattelox

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2019, 05:07:11 PM »
50.
AVANTASIA
MOONGLOW

Rock Opera / Theatrical Rock / Power Metal

released February 15th, 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records



1. Ghost In The Moon [9:51]
2. Book of Shallows [5:00]
3. Moonglow [3:56]
4. The Raven Child [11:14]
5. Starlight [3:38]
6. Invincible [3:07]
7. Alchemy [7:28]
8. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn [7:20]
9. Lavender [4:30]
10. Requiem for a Dream [6:08]
11. Maniac (Michael Sembello cover) [4:31]
12. Heart (Bonus Track) [3:49]

MOONGLOW is

Tobias Sammet (Vocals / Bass / Keyboards / Piano / Orchestrations)
Sascha Paeth (Guitars / Keyboards / Piano / Orchestrations)
Michael “Miro” Rodenberg (Keyboards / Orchestrations)

FEATURING

Felix Bohnke (Drums)
Ronnie Atkins (Vocals on 2, 5, 8)
Jørn Lande (Vocals on 2, 4, 8)
Eric Martin (Vocals on 8, 11)
Geoff Tate (Vocals on 6, 7, 8)
Michael Kiske (Vocals on 10)
Bob Catley (Vocals on 8, 9)
Candice Night (Vocals on 3)
Hansi Kürsch (Vocals on 2, 4)
Mille Petrozza (Vocals on 2)

WITH

Nadia Birkenstock (Celtic harp)
and
Oliver Hartmann (Additional lead guitars and vocals)

   Starting off my top 50 albums of all time is not only the most recent entry of the lot, it is the only 2019 representative on the list. This album was actually a last-minute addition to the list, after being on the fence for a long time. It is hard to gauge one's love for an album after only a few months, even after obsessive spinning, but sometimes there is a gut feeling, deep inside you, telling you how special an album is. “Moonglow” is a special album to me. I believe it represents Avantasia at their best in nearly a decade, and is one of only two Avantasia records to beat out one half of the Metal Opera records for a spot in this list.

   Tobias Sammet has long been a favorite musician of mine, who with the right people on his side can seemingly do no wrong. Even my least favorite albums in his prolific career have a few spots of brilliance among the murky haze of questionable songwriting. I have such a passion for his art that the albums I dislike invoke a grudge in me toward the music that borders on reverence, and those albums I love have moments that make the hairs on my arms stand upright, or even bring me to tears.

   Moonglow wastes no time getting to business. The opener “Ghost in the Moon” is 10 minutes of Tobias Sammet embracing the biggest and best aspects of Meat Loaf, power metal, and the theatrical arena sound Avantasia has become known for around the world. Relatable and logical lyrics be damned; Tobias sings about the power of dreams and the moon with a passion that manages to make me look past contradictory and silly – but admittedly kickass – lyrics like “tenebrous wicked starbright.” Tobias is a master of writing songs that build tension and momentum into a glorious, infectious chorus, and Ghost in the Moon is the culmination of years of honing his craft. When I reach that epic chorus - “Wake up the night to yell a prayer up to the starlight; veiling boon, ghost in the moon” - I couldn't care less how silly the lyrics sound, because it's such a happy burst of sickly sweet music. My issues with a lot of Avantasia music since its revival in 2007 aren't present on this song, and as such it's the perfect way to start the album.

   “Book of Shallows” has one of the few moments of the album I could overlook, the monotonous rough section with Kreator's Mille Petrozza, but that's a petty complaint considering how awesome the rest of the song is. I adore the way the song starts with a four-on-the-floor kick drum beat underneath a catchy lead guitar motif. That's generally the ticket to my heart no matter the genre of music. Hansi Kürsch makes his debut with Avantasia here, and the combination of him, Jørn Lande, and Tobias alternately singing the chorus puts it over the top for me. I especially love the lyrics of the chorus, “Chase your dream / If you don't mind don't be astounded / By the things they make you do for amusement's sake.” A bonus memory that enhances this song is listening to Tobias Sammet live in concert talking about going after your dreams, and fuck what anybody else says. That's what it's all about, and he's living proof that you can do whatever you want if you set your mind to it. That is, usually, power metal at its best, in my opinion. It reinforces positive thoughts, embraces dreams and fantastic thoughts, and encourages self-empowerment. I want to belt this song's hook at the top of my lungs from the top of a mountain. It is damn near a requirement for me to get that feeling out of a power metal song for me to love it.

   The album had two lead singles, the title track, “Moonglow,” and “The Raven Child,” an 11-minute number featuring Jørn and Hansi once more. The title track is a nice happy little number, comparisons to Nightwish's Amaranthe notwithstanding (I don't think they are as similar as some people have said, personally). It's nothing groundbreaking, but it fits like a glove alongside songs like Lost In Space and Sleepwalking. “The Raven Child” is actually one of my least favorite songs on the album, mostly because I always think I could just be listening to “The Scarecrow” instead, but Hansi and Jørn undeniably sing their hearts out. Either of those guys could sing the phone book, as the saying goes, and sell tickets.

   I am no big fan of Ronnie Atkins, but he is a great performer and I like what he does on Moonglow more than on The Mystery of Time. Even the weaker songs on this album are wonderful, and while “Starlight” might not be my favorite of this bunch, it reeks of positivity. You give me a nice beat, some “whoas” and a happy, catchy chorus, and it's near impossible for me to dislike the song. “Are you gonna guide me, starlight? Guide me, starlight / Are you out there, anywhere at all?” I've found I like this one most when I'm driving down the road. My favorite music gets an emotional response out of me. This song makes me smile and feel happy.

   What can I say about Geoff Tate that hasn't already been said for the last thirty years? “Invincible” gives plenty of room for his legendary voice to carry over dark piano chords. It is remarkable how strong his voice is after all these years, after singing such demanding material for so long. “Alchemy” smacks of Tobi taking notes from Nightwish's more recent albums, with a chunky, easy-to-follow guitar riff with strings that safely mimic the riff, allowing Geoff and Tobi to take the spotlight. And it's powerful. Despite my tendency to skip the first minute of the song because of the extended nature of the riff, “Alchemy” is one of my favorite Avantasia songs in years. To me, it's one of many examples of Tobi knowing exactly how to use every guest singer he brings into this band.

   I find it funny that one of my very favorite songs on the album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” was not played live when I recently saw Avantasia, despite having all five guest singers on stage. Ronnie, Jørn, Geoff, Eric Martin, and Bob Catley just tear this song up. The bouncy sound and melody that the synth carries the song with at the start is something that has been a point of contention amongst power metal fans, and I'm not quite sure where that sound falls in the minds of Avantasia's audience in the year 2019, but for me, it's lovely. This song has such powerful melodies – that's what it's all about with this group, is it not? - and I'll be damned if I really know what the song is about, but the chorus speaks to me, and when Jørn screams with seemingly all the power in his voice, “Whoa / You dance on the wire to the breeze that carries change tonight” it gives me chills. I deeply lament the unwillingness to embrace such adventurous, powerful melodies in popular rock and metal. This is what it's all about. Is it a little corny? Maybe. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely fucking not! Sing, damn it! SING! The legendary rock singers of the 70s did not create so much wonderful music that the popular rock stars of today need forget how to craft warm and beautiful melodies with their voices.

   Bob Catley and Michael Kiske are two of my favorite guests in Avantasia's long history, and my only complaint is that they aren't used more often on this album. “Lavender” is another poppy number not unlike “Starlight” and it's simply amazing that the 71 year-old Bob Catley rocks it so hard on this track. Bless him. Tobi chose to save Ernie for the home stretch of the album, closing the main portion of the album with a beautiful facemelter in “Requiem for a Dream.” I'll always prefer the days when Henjo Richter handled the guitar duties for Avantasia, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in love with Sascha's choice of lead guitar melody on this song. The Kiske songs have always been true highlights of any Avantasia album and this is no different. It certainly doesn't unseat “Wastelands” in my book, but that's an extraordinarily high bar to match. It does, however, come close.

   I love me some pop music, so I have no qualms with the inclusion of “Maniac,” especially when Eric Martin sells it. This could be placed dead center in the album and I would not mind. Of course, I remember when Tobias included a cover of “Rock Me Amadeus” on the last Edguy album, and I enjoyed that, so this was hardly offensive to me. Back when Tobias released the Lost In Space EPs, he included an amazing cover of Ultravox's “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes,” and this goes pretty well with that. I love a good danceable beat in my rock music. Additional note: “Heart” is a bonus track on my edition of the album, and I think it's a great way to close the curtain on this monstrous album. It's inoffensive and does not stand out, but I enjoy it every time it comes out.

   This album easily unseats “Ghostlights” as my favorite Avantasia album in many years. Of any album released in 2019, this is by a country mile my favorite, and after a lot of thought believe it deserves at the very least the bottom slot on this list. I feel it rising just from writing out my thoughts on it, but I have listened to the album several times a week since it released, and I just love it more and more each time I hear these songs. Huge production, amazing hooks, an abundance of wonderful melodies, songs that are perfectly written for their guest singers, a dash of pop magic and you get yourself one hell of an album. I adore Moonglow, and I strongly recommend it to any fan of music with good melodies, big hooks, and theatrical, dramatic rock. Avantasia is the gift that keeps on giving – hopefully for many more years.

In Summary: It's big. It's loud. It's catchy. It's unapologetic in its silly lyricism and unbridled joy. Through Moonglow, Tobias Sammet exudes nothing but passion for music and singing and the theatrical aspects of rock and metal. This is a lovely album that makes me happy whenever I hear it, and I can listen to it from start to finish without feeling the need to skip a track. The wide variety of singers and how effectively each is used on their respective tracks is harder than it seems yet Tobi makes it look effortless. I love this album.

Katt's Favorites: Ghost in the Moon, Book of Shallows, Alchemy, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Ghost in the Moon
Alchemy (feat. Geoff Tate)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 09:07:13 PM by Kattelox »
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Offline TAC

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time v. A glowing beginning
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2019, 05:34:35 PM »
Yay, the 50 Worst Albums list!  ;D

Starting off appropriately.


Moonglow is one of your 50 best albums? Seriously? That is new car smell suspicious.







Definitely following and looking forward to this. :)
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline Kattelox

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time v. A glowing beginning
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2019, 05:38:04 PM »
If you're taken aback by that, you're going to want to have a medic on standby for later.
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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time v. A glowing beginning
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2019, 05:38:35 PM »
I think 1999 not being represented in this list tells me everything I need to know...

Offline TAC

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time v. A glowing beginning
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 05:38:56 PM »
If you're taken aback by that, you're going to want to have a medic on standby for later.


I already have coverage lined up. :lol
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Cyril

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time v. A glowing beginning
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2019, 05:41:35 PM »
"except for 2011"

ahh, so no "The Apologist" then :neverusethis:

Offline TAC

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time v. A glowing beginning
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2019, 05:44:42 PM »
...or A Dramatic Turn Of Events.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Kattelox

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums of All Time v. A glowing beginning
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2019, 05:48:06 PM »
Well, yeah. The albums I chose are both better than those, clearly!

@Lethean: There were a lot of potential 1998 and 2000 albums that served as strong possibilities for this list, but there's a noticeable lack of 1999 in my entire music collection. I only think one album from 1999 even crossed my mind as a contender for this list. Odd!

Also, doing this thread taught me how to create in-document hyperlinks in Open Office for a table of contents, so I learned a skill today while caffeine'd up to talk about music! NERD POWER!  :lol
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Since 1999 has the best album of all time, I can only assume you were not in your right mind when compiling this list. :P

Offline Kattelox

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I'm almost afraid to ask which a-

Oh. OH.

Sorry folks. These are likely not the albums you're looking for. :)
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Offline Evermind

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Moonglow? :lol I think the only album from 2014 when I did in my original top 50 was The Road of Bones, which is still definitely in my top 50. Moonglow isn't even in the top 3 Avantasia albums for me.

I mean I had Mystery of Time of my list, so I guess I can't exactly complain.

Offline Kattelox

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Well now that's just silly. Mystery of Time is shit!  :lol
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Offline Cool Chris

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Following. But seriously, as I contemplate doing my own list, that write-up is longer than the sum of all the write-ups I'd manage for my entire list. I just don't have that much to say!
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Offline Evermind

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Well now that's just silly. Mystery of Time is shit!  :lol

Mystery of Time is the shit! I also had it on #31 I think.

I just noticed you're not a big fan of The Raven Child. How the hell is Moonglow even on your list with that I don't know. :lol

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I will follow for sure but already I'm going to find it difficult to take this seriously seeing Moonglow open the show, sorry mate.

I haven't given it much of a chance but I think it's by far Avantasia's weakest.

I also find it hard to add an album that was released just a few months into a top 50.  You have to wait for novelty to really wear off.

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Will be following for the shits and giggles

This is my personal little venue to gush ad nauseum about my favorite albums ever made, so I don't expect everyone to read every word of my ramblings. However, if it inspires discussion and strong opinions, I couldn't ask for more. I hope this is entertainment for at least one person out there.

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Offline Kattelox

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I will follow for sure but already I'm going to find it difficult to take this seriously seeing Moonglow open the show, sorry mate.

Well that's a shame, don't follow then. I laid out why it's on the list. It's MY favorites, not yours. I thought long and hard about this, I'm not here to please anyone but I thought I justified its inclusion well. :)

Y'all are going to be very upset with my picks, I can already tell! Hah. 49 will rankle a few more feathers.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 06:44:18 AM by Kattelox »
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Offline kingshmegland

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I know this will be hard to believe but I never checked out Avantasia before.
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Offline Kattelox

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I know this will be hard to believe but I never checked out Avantasia before.

I'll be posting YouTube links to 2, maybe 3 songs per album I share. Do you like early Queensryche? Give Alchemy and Ghost in the Moon a shot. Ghost will inform you pretty well as to what the album sounds like. Alchemy is a straight-up rocker with chunky riffs and Geoff sounds lovely.
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Offline kingshmegland

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I saw Queensryche open for Kiss in 1984 on The Warning tour and had to get their album the next day.  I love Queensryche.
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I will follow for sure but already I'm going to find it difficult to take this seriously seeing Moonglow open the show, sorry mate.

I haven't given it much of a chance but I think it's by far Avantasia's weakest.

I also find it hard to add an album that was released just a few months into a top 50.  You have to wait for novelty to really wear off.

I disagree with the first comment, think the 2nd one is a bit harsh, but 100% with you on the last one.

It's MY favorites, not yours. I thought long and hard about this, I'm not here to please anyone but I thought I justified its inclusion well. :)

I was going to say something along these lines.  Oh, and .... TASTES!!!!

P.S. ... can we get a tl;dr version of your writeups?   :biggrin:  I love your passion for your favorite music, but if every writeup is going to be that verbose, I'm not sure I'll be reading every entry front-to-back.

As for my thoughts on Moonglow... I love it.  It (like Ghostlights) is filled with great highs, but the lows are also just as 'great'.  One of the things I love best is the return to form of Tater.  Invincible/Alchemy is the highlight for me.  Also... Hansi.  Hard to believe that I enjoy Hansi's parts on this over Jorn's.
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Offline Kattelox

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I can give a TL,DR at the end, yeah. They will mostly all be of similar length except for a few I can't really say anything more about.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 08:13:25 AM by Kattelox »
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I also agree that it would be hard to put a 2019 album in the top 50, but at the same time, choosing only 50 albums has to be really hard.  For me, it would probably be a combination of a few that are more or less set in stone, and others that would be more of a snapshot of what I was into at the time.  And taking that into consideration, I can see how a really new album could make it.

Offline Kattelox

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It made the list 'cause it's fokking amazing that's why.  :biggrin:
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Wow, tough crowd :lol

The only Avantasia album I own is The Scarecrow and love it.  I need to check out a few more of the albums.
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Wow, Moonglow in the top 50? I must admit, I bought it a little while ago and have still not gotten around to listening to it, so I'll have to take this as the opportunity to remedy that.

I don't necessarily see a problem with including a recent album. If I did one right now, I think I would have a very good chance of including The Great Adventure. If I wound up not thinking it was so good as I thought a few years down the line, so what? All of these top 50 lists are at least partially based on how a person is feeling at the time they wrote it.

Definitely following, especially since you sent me some of my favorite songs in my v2 and you have a take on power metal that I think I somewhat trust.
It's a switch flipped
It's a pill tipped back
It's a moon eclipsed

Offline Stadler

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Can't be all bad; Candace Knight sings on it.

Offline TAC

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Can't be all good; Tobi Sammet sings on it.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline Kattelox

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425, I think you'll enjoy this then. There's a fair amount of amazing power metal in this list. I imagine most people here won't be interested in most of my favorite albums, but on the other hand, I think that's cool because my picks will clearly stand out. I'll throw up a couple songs with each album if you find the time to check out some stuff you maybe don't know already. And give Moonglow a listen. :)

Tomorrow, Album #49 will see us visiting a rainforest. Bring extra bug spray.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 08:37:22 PM by Kattelox »
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Offline Podaar

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I'll throw up ...

Oh, thank Thor. I'm happy to know it's not just me.

Offline TAC

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G n R

Welcome To the Jungle.

Right?

would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Online Puppies_On_Acid

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G n R

Welcome To the Jungle.

Right?
I actually would be surprised if a GnR album didn't show up on this list.

On the subject of putting albums that just came out on a top 50 list, I say go for it. Follow your heart/ears. If it moves you, it moves you.

On the subject of Moonglow specifically, I gave it a once over and decided it wasn't really for me, but that's tastes for you. I'll probably circle back around to it in the future a few times, at least to get a proper ranking on my 2019 top album list. Perhaps it will sit better with me on repeated listens.

Anyways, I'll definitely be following this. And I'll stay out of the peanut gallery. This is YOUR list, your opinion is the one that matters here.
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Offline Kwyjibo

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Following this and hoping this is the first list to feature some awsome Toto records.  :metal :metal :metal

That Moonglow record is good, but my favorite is still the Scarecrow.

And to feature a 2019 record is no problem for me, if you feel it's great, then add it. Or are there rules that forbid it?  :laugh: