Tuonela Magazine’s Annual Staff Picks: Editor-in-Chief’s edition


2019 has come to an end. Whether this year has been a great success to you or a complete disaster, it’s undeniable that throughout these 365 days a lot of brilliant music was released. 2019 was one of the biggest years for metal in quite a while with a couple of long-promised new records that we have been looking forward to for years, such as TOOL, RAMMSTEIN, and SLIPKNOT.

Tuonela Magazine‘s staff took a look at all the releases, and each member of the staff choose their favorite ones for each category. Today we’d like to introduce you to our editor-in-chief Laureline Tilkin‘s list.

Note: As you can see we have a division within Finnish bands. Given our focus on young bands and rising stars, we also want to share several talents from the Finnish metal scene that have managed to capture our attention within the past year. We refer to these bands as local bands, even though some of these bands are growing incredibly fast. Think of them as the most promising acts the Finnish metal scene hosts.

Looking back to this year, it’s been surely a wild ride. A lot of different releases managed to convince me of their worth, and therefore it definitely was not an easy task picking contenders for each category. We’re curious to also get to know your choices, so leave a comment with your tops below!

Top 10 International Albums

2019 had an amazing amount of critically acclaimed albums worldwide of different genres within the rock and metal scene. Picking a top 10 turned out to be almost impossible, and I almost felt like extending my top 10 to top 20 to include as much as possible. However, it seemed like a vicious circle, so I went back to the original idea of having a top 10. It was difficult to rank these albums, as I fell in love with each of these albums, but in my opinion, there is only one winner here: OPETH. One of the biggest surprises on this list, however, is probably the rising American progressive metal act WILDERUN, who really managed to captivate me with their release.

  1. Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
  2. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno
  3. Myrath – Shehili
  4. Soen – Lotus
  5. Leprous – Pitfalls
  6. Avantasia – Moonglow
  7. Wilderun – Veil Of Imagination
  8. Periphery – Hail Stan
  9. Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites
  10. Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Honorary mentions: Devin Townsend – Empath, Jinjer – Macro, Rammstein – Rammstein, Tool – Fear Inoculum

Read more: Opeth – In Cauda Venenum (Review)Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno (Review)  |  Myrath – Shehili (Review)  |  Myrath (Interview)  |  Soen – Lotus (Review)  |  Soen in Helsinki (Live report)  |  Leprous – Pitfalls (Review)  |  Leprous (Interview)  |  Avantasia – Moonglow (Review)  |  Avantasia (Interview)  |  Periphery – Hail Stan (Review)  |  Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites (Review)  |  Devin Towsend – Empath (Review)  |  Devin Towsend in Helsinki (Live report)  |  Jinjer – Macro (Review)  |  Jinjer (Interview)  |  Tool – Fear Inoculum (Review)  |  Eluveitie – Ategnatos (Review)  |  Eluveitie (Interview)

Top 10 International Albums of decade

Not only 2019 is coming to an end, but the decade is also ending. These ten years were filled with some pretty epic releases, it was impossible to pick ten, but I feel pretty confident that these ten represent my favorite releases as much as possible. Also, check out my version at A&p-reacts’ channel which includes Finnish bands as well as one progressive rock act.

  1. Judas Priest – Firepower
  2. Gojira – Magma
  3. Ne Obliviscaris – Urn 
  4. Alien Weaponry – Tu
  5. Riverside – Wasteland
  6. Blind Guardian – At The Edge Of Time
  7. Carcass – Surgical Steel
  8. Symphony X – Iconoclast 
  9. Ghost – Prequelle
  10. Obscura – Diluvium

Honorary mentions: Leprous – Malina, Tool – Fear Inoculum (REVIEW), Behemoth – The Satanist, Haken – The Mountain

Read more: Judas Priest – Firepower (Review)  |  Ne Obliviscaris in Helsinki (Live report)  |  Alien Weaponry (Interview)  |  Riverside (Interview)  |  Riverside in Helsinki (Live report)  |  Symphony X in Helsinki (Live report)  |  Ghost in Helsinki (Live report)

Top 10 Finnish albums

  1. Brymir – Wings Of Fire
  2. Insomnium – Heart Like A Grave
  3. Marko Hietala – Mustan sydämen rovio
  4. Bloodred Hourglass – Godsend
  5. Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light
  6. Beast In Black – From Hell With Love
  7. Belzebubs – Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods
  8. Hexvessel – All Tree
  9. Children Of Bodom – Hexed
  10. Hevisaurus – Bändikouluun!

Read more: Brymir – Wings of Fire (Review)  | Brymir (Interview)  |  Insomnium – Heart Like A Grave (Review)  |  Insomnium (Interview)  |  Bloodred Hourglass – Godsend (Review)  |  Bloodred Hourglass (Interview)  |  Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light (Review) |Swallow The Sun (Interview)Beast In Black – From Hell With Love (Review)Beast In Black (Interview)  | Belzebubs (Interview) | Children of Bodom – Hexed (Review)

Top 10 local albums

  1. Wheel – Moving Backwards
  2. Metal De Facto – Imperium Romanum
  3. Everfrost – Winterider
  4. Silver Bullet – Mooncult
  5. Leverage – DeterminUs
  6. Vorna – Sateet Palata Saavat
  7. Palehørse – Palehørse
  8. Gladenfold – When Gods Descend
  9. Excalion – Emotions
  10. Lost In Grey – The Waste Land

Read more: Wheel – Moving Backwards (Review) | Wheel (Interview) | Metal De Facto – Imperium Romanum (Review) | Metal De Facto (Interview) | Silver Bullet – Mooncult (Review) | Silver Bullet (Interview) | Leverage – DeterminUs (Review) | Leverage (Interview) | Vorna – Sateet Palata Saavat (Review) | Everfrost – Winterider (Review) | Everfrost (Interview) | Palehørse – Palehørse (Review) | Gladenfold – When Gods Descend (Review) | Gladenfold (Interview) | Excalion – Emotions (Review) | Lost In Grey – The Waste Land (Review) | Lost In Grey (Interview)

Top 10 Finnish albums of decade

  1. Amorphis – Queen Of Time
  2. Insomnium – Shadow Of The Dying Sun
  3. TURISAS – Stand Up And Fight
  4. Arion – Last Of Us
  5. Brymir – Wings Of Fire
  6. Nightwish – Imaginaerum
  7. Wintersun – Time I
  8. Bloodred Hourglass – Godsend
  9. Metal De Facto – Imperium Romanum
  10. Stratovarius – Nemesis

Read more: Amorphis – Queen Of Time (Review) | Brymir – Wings Of Fire (Review) | Brymir (Interview) | Bloodred Hourglass – Godsend (Review) | Bloodred Hourglass (Interview) | Metal De Facto – Imperium Romanum (Review) | Metal De Facto (Interview)

Top 3 domestic EP

  1. Oceanhoarse – Voluntary Bends
  2. Thy Row – Thy Row
  3. Gloomy Grim – Obscure Metamorphosis

Read more: Oceanhoarse – Voluntary Bends (Review) | Oceanhoarse (Interview) | Thy Row – Thy Row (Review) | Thy Row (Interview) | Gloomy Grim – Obscure Metamorphosis (Review)

Best concert

2019 was a year not only filled with new music, but also filled with many surprises, which also influenced my decision of what the best concerts of 2019 were. It was difficult to just pick one, so I’d like to shed some light on two major happenings in the metal scene in Finland. The industrial metal act VELCRA, who disbanded many years ago, wanted to bid farewell to Nosturi in their own way and came back for a one-off show. On the other hand, Finland’s melodic death metal legends CHILDREN OF BODOM, announced that they would stop activities with its current lineup, and announced one last show on 15 December 2019 at Helsingin Jäähalli.

Read more: Velcra at Nosturi (Live report) | A Chapter called Children of Bodom at Helsingin Jäähalli (Live report)

Best Finnish live act

PROFANE OMEN decided to – for now – end their activities, and organized a couple of last shows around Finland, which definitely demonstrated one thing: this band knows how to stir up the audience and get it wild during the whole show.

Read more: Profane Omen at Lahti (Live report) | Profane Omen at Helsinki (Live report)

Best newcomers

I still remember when I interviewed WHEEL the first time. I was contacted to see whether I’d be interested in reviewing and interviewing this new prog band named WHEEL. Back then I knew that this band is gonna have a bright future in front of them, however, I didn’t anticipate that 1,5 years later the band would explode due to their debut album “Moving Backwards”.

Read more: Wheel – Moving Backwards (Review) | Wheel (Interview)

Best Finnish music videos

Insomnium – Valediction & Heart Like A Grave

Belzebubs – Cathedrals of Mourning

Beast In Black – Sweet True Lies

Swallow The Sun – Firelights

Leverage – Wind of Morrigan

Best music videos

Myrath – No Holding Back

Periphery – Blood Eagle

Jinjer – Judgement (& Punishment)

Devin Townsend – Genesis

Cellar Darling – Death

Soen – Lotus

Rammstein – Deutschland

The Darkness – Rock and Roll Deserves To Die

Opeth – Svekets Prins

Alcest – Protection

Fleshgod Apocalypse – Sugar

Best lyric videos

Cyhra – Battle From Within

Cellar Darling – Pain

Turilli/Lione Rhapsody – Phoenix Rising

Blind Guardian – Point Of No Return

5 Best international songs

Eluveitie – Ambiramus
Myrath – Born To Survive
Soen – Lascivious
Opeth – Svekets Prins
Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra – Point Of No Return

5 best domestic songs

Insomnium – Valediction
Belzebubs – Cathedrals Of Mourning
Marko Hietala – Stones
Brymir – Wings Of Fire
Bloodred Hourglass – Waves Of Black

5 best local songs

Metal De Facto – The Ascending of Jupiter
Leverage – Wind Of Morrigan
Palehørse – Pale Horse
Wheel – Wheel
Balance Breach – Hypocrite

10 best songs of the decade

Judas Priest – Firepower
Jinjer – Pisces
Haken – Cockroach King
Periphery – Marigold
Sabaton – Carolus Rex
Gojira – Magma
Ne Obliviscaris – And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope
Ghost – Square Hammer
Blind Guardian – Curse My Name
Rammstein – Radio

10 best Finnish songs of the decade

Insomnium – While We Sleep
Wintersun – Sons of Winter and Stars
Amorphis – The Bee
Ensiferum – In My Sword I Trust
Leverage – Wind of Morrigan
Stratovarius – Unbreakable
Metal De Facto – The Ascending of Jupiter
Nightwish – The Greatest Show On Earth
Wheel – Vultures
Beast In Black – Blind and Frozen

10 best last-minute songs

Lost Society ft. Apocalyptica – Into Eternity
Marko Hietala – Stones
Daimonic – Might Concealed
Sons Of Apollo – Goodbye Divinity
Carcass – Under the Scalpel Blade
Demons & Wizards – Diabolic
Sepultura – Last Time
Lordi – Shake The Baby Silent
The HU – Wolf Totem feat. Jacoby Shaddix
Annihilator – Armed to the Teeth

Best cover art

Cellar Darling – The Spell

Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno

Opeth – In Cauda Venenum

Metal De Facto – Imperium Romanum

Soen – Lotus

Avantasia – Moonglow

Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light

Leverage – DeterminUs

The Darkness – Easter is Cancelled

Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites

Best collaboration/guest

Lost Society – Into Eternity feat. Apocalyptica
Sabaton feat. Apocalyptica live
Hevisaurus – 100
The HU – Wolf Totem feat. Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach
Wednesday 13 – Necrophaze feat. Alice Cooper
Avantasia – Ravenchild feat. Hansi Kürsch & Jørn Lande
Alcest – L’île des morts feat. Kathrine Shepard
Avantasia – Moonglow feat. Candice Night
Voyager – Entropy feat. Einar Solberg

Recent posts

Related posts


  1. […] Those who follow our website may have noticed that “Mustan sydämen rovio” was one of my favorite Finnish releases of the year. The first English single released, “Stones,” also was one of my favorite songs to be released in 2019. With “Pyre Of The Black Heart,” Marko Hietala explores various soundscapes and moods, often reminiscent of progressive rock acts, and with a strong PINK FLOYDIAN vibe. This is specifically clear in the more psychedelic songs like “Star, Stone and Shadow,” “For You,” and “I Dream.” Other than that the album is definitely a mixed bag of genres that will appeal to a variety of crowds. With “Stones,” and “Death March Of Freedom,” Marko Hietala explores a more straight forward rock sound. “Runner Of The Railways,” and “Truth Shall Set You Free,” showcase his more Celtic folk approach to songwriting, which sometimes also has slipped onto NIGHTWISH albums. With plenty of moods available on the album, however, everything is unified by Marko Hietala‘s enchanting vocal performance, and a fantastic band accompanying the vocalist/bass player. […]