As ever at this time of year, we take a look back at what our readers have loved most about the year-to-date, album wise…

20. Rhapsody of FireChallenge The Wind (AFM Records)
Rhapsody of Fire Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 3*

“Prepare to be challenged, prepare to be windswept, prepare to be amazed. Rhapsody of Fire is back, and they’re here to blow you away”. Alf-inge Ingesson 14/05/24

Read Alfie’s full review of the album HERE

19. AcceptHumanoid (Napalm Records)
Accept Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 3

“If, like me, you’ve felt the band was running out of steam a little over the last couple of albums, Humanoid will restore your faith in Accept – and then some”. A-I I, 12/04/24

Read Alfie’s Full review HERE

18. Praying MantisDefiance (Frontiers Music)
Praying Mantis

Highest Chart Position: 8

“Whilst Defiance doesn’t quite scale the dizzy individual heights of some of the songs on it’s predecessor, 2022’s Katharsis, it’s probably, if anything, a more consistent offering overall, with the whole band pulling out all the stops to deliver a slab of high-class, super-accomplished melodic hard rock”. – Scott Adams, 22/03/24

Read Scott’s full review HERE

17. DemonInvincible (Frontiers Music)
Demon Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 2*

“One of the finest, most well-rounded and multi-faceted albums Demon have yet committed to wax. Let’s hope they’ve got one or two more in them!” – Gavin Strickmann, 13/05/24

Read Gavin’s full review HERE

16. WaystedWon’t Get Out Alive (HNE Recordings)
Waysted Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 4

“In many ways Waysted was doomed to fail as a ‘big’ band from the outset, but that didn’t stop them recording some pretty massive tuneage nevertheless, and you can enjoy it all again here, in one handy package”. – GS, 03/04/24

Read Gavin’s full review HERE

15. Symphony of SwedenHaunted (Own Label)
Haunted Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 3

“Put simply, as far as modern AOR goes, Symphony of Sweden have hit the bullseye again”. – GS, 29/01/24

Read Gavin’s Full Review HERE

14. Sonata ArcticaClear Cold Beyond (Atomic Fire)
Sonata Arctica Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 3

“A superb reminder of why, despite the many twists and stylistic turns this band has taken over the years. it’s fans still flock to the Sonata Arctica banner” – Ferry Templeton, 14/02/24

Read Ferry’s full review HERE

13. NightrageRemains Of A Dead World (Despotz)
Nightrage Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1*

“This album is a must-listen for fans of melodic death metal and anyone who appreciates expertly crafted, emotionally charged music”. – A-I I, 23/05/24

Read Alf’s full review HERE

12.  DodenbezweerderAls De Hemel Zich Vult Met Apocalyptisch Kopergeschal (Improved Sequence)
Dodenbezweerder Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 3

“This is extreme ‘music’ in the purest sense of that term, meant for none but the most discerning listener, a plunge into the darkest corners of human emotion and mortality itself”. – Graham Goodge, 19/02/24

Read Graham’s full review HERE

11. Tygers of Pan TangLive Blood (Mighty Music)

Highest Chart Position: 9

“If you love proper British heavy metal played with just the right amount of pomp and circumstance, then you’ll have a fine old time with Live Blood. Highly recommended!” – GS, 27/03/24

10. DeicideBanished By Sin (Reigning Phoenix Music)
Deicide Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 3

“In summary, Deicide have delivered a relentless onslaught of sonic violence that, if you are a long term fan, will leave you bruised, battered, and begging for more… Play loud, but don’t be surprised if the neighbours call the exorcist…” – Chris Arrowmith, 25/03/24

Read Chris’ full review HERE


9. RageAfterlifelines (SPV/Steamhammer)
Rage Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1

“This is the Rage that I know, oh so well… While the strings and orchestrations add to the melodies, it really is a support, to Rage’s powerful music and strong lyrics. Another great disc full of music to set your ears on fire”. – Paul Kerr, 20/03/24

Read Paul’s full review HERE

8. Kerry KingFrom Hell I Rise (Reigning Phoenix Music)
Kerry King Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1

“Kerry King is back, and I for one am pretty pleased with the result…” – Michael Stronge, 19/04/24

Read Mick’s Full review HERE

7. Bruce DickinsonThe Mandrake Project (BMG)
Bruce Dickinson Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 2

“Bruce Dickinson. Much to Iron Maiden mainman Steve Harris‘ (probable) chagrin, whenever the air raid siren slips into solo mode, the tunes go with him. And once again, Bruce’s solo output knocks the concurrent Maiden album, song-wise, into a conveniently-placed Broooooce beanie”. – SA, 23/02/24

Read Scott’s full review HERE

6. Exhorder Defectum Omnium (Nuclear Blast)
Exhorder Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1

“Defectum Omnium is a tour de force that solidifies Exhorder’s status as one of the most important bands in modern metal. With this album, the band proves that they are not content to rest on their laurels but are instead committed to pushing the boundaries of their sound while staying true to their roots”. – A-I I, 09/02/24

Read Alfie’s full review HERE

5. Judas Priest – Invincible Shield (Sony
Invincible Shield Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 2

“If this turns out to be Judas Priest’s swansong – and let’s face it, there’s a strong chance that it is – it’s hard to imagine a better, more fitting way to bring down the curtain on one of heavy metal’s greatest careers. Bravo” – SA, 08/03/24

Read Scott’S full review HERE

4. VainDisintegrate Together (Jackie Rainbow Records)
Vain Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1*

“For longtime Vain fans, Disintegrate Together will strike a nostalgic chord, serving as a potent reminder of the band’s enduring appeal”. – Frank Tonkin, 23/04/24

Read Frank’s full review HERE

3. Ace Frehley10,000 Volts (MNRK Heavy)
Frehley Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1

“The most complete-sounding record Ace has made in a long, long time. If you don’t come away from this album with a huge and dopey grin stretched across your face then I suspect there may be no salvation for your mortal soul…” – GS, 23/01/24

Read Gavin’s full review HERE

2. MagnumHere Comes The Rain (SPV/Steamhammer)
Magnum top thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1

“Old pals forever, Tony Clarkin and Bob Catley are the bulwark of British pomp rock, and here across all ten songs, they stand defiant, taunting time and all it’s allies to do their worst…. I might not be the most soulful of chaps, I can spot class when I hear it, and Here Comes The Rain is going to be as classy as it gets in 2024, believe me. Fabulous stuff”. – SA, 29/12/23

Read Scott’s Full Review HERE

Which brings us to the readers’ choice as the best album of 2024 so far…

1. Hawkwind – Stories From Time And Space (Cherry Red)
Hawkwind Top Thirty

Highest Chart Position: 1

“At the end of the day, if you’ve enjoyed the last couple of Hawkwind releases, you’ll love the way SFTAS takes the best of both of them and refines their ideas into something that manages to sound like the Hawkwind you love whilst adding new and fresh moods to the pot. At this stage in the game I really don’t think we could ask for anything more, but the fact that that’s just what we get is still a matter for some celebration. Thanks guys!” – MS, 11/03/24

Read Mick’s Full Review HERE