Homeland heroes dominate the album charts this week, with indigenous acts ruling the roost in far more countries than normal, including Australia (Hilltop Hoods), Austria (Bilderbuch), Belgium (Zwangere Guy in Flanders and Angele in Wallonia), Croatia (Razni Izvo?a?i), Finland (Ville Valo), Germany (SDP), Greece (Mario Frangoulis), Hungary (Leander Kills), Ireland (Hozier), Italy (Lazza), Japan (Sekai No Owari), Poland (O.S.T.R.), Slovakia (Sima Martausova), South Africa (Jo Black), South Korea (??? aka Lower Nebula) Spain (an Operacion Triunfo compilation), Sweden (In Flames), the USA (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper) and the UK, where Scots-born, Manchester-raised Tom Walker’s first album, What A Time To Be Alive opens at the top.
Unlike the majority of the acts mentioned above, whose overseas success is limited, Walker has a good international profile, thanks primarily to the success of his single Leave A Light On. In initial chart tabulations, What A Time To Be Alive is also No.14 in Ireland, No.18 in The Netherlands, No.19 in Germany, No.31 in Flanders, No.32 in New Zealand, No.35 in Italy, No.51 in Sweden and No.86 in Wallonia.
Irish singer/songwriter Hozier – who makes it two No.1s out of two in his homeland with Wasteland, Baby! - also opens at No.6 in the UK, No.9 in New Zealand, No.15 in Germany, No.17 in The Netherlands, No.19 Flanders, No.43 in Sweden and No.54 in Wallonia.
Not mentioned above, Bryan Adams will likely debut atop at No.1 in the country of his birth, Canada, with 14th studio album, Shine A Light, when their chart is announced today. Meanwhile, the album opens at No.2 in the UK, No.3 in Germany, No.10 in Flanders, No.16 in New Zealand, No.37 in The Netherlands, No.43 in Belgium and No.50 in Ireland.
In addition to becoming the fourth of their 13 studio albums to reach No.1 in their home country of Sweden, Gothenburg heavy metal band In Flames are No.2 in Germany, No.9 in Norway, No.17 in Flanders, No.34 in Wallonia, No.66 in the UK and No.84 in The Netherlands with I, The Mask.
Bouncing 3-1 in the USA, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper’s soundtrack set for A Star Is Born also recovers 2-1 in Canada and 3-1 in Portugal but slips 1-2 in Flanders.
Meanwhile, although falling 1-2 in Australia, the Czech Republic and Ireland, 1-3 in the UK, and 1-6 in Austria, Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next remains at the apex in Argentina, New Zealand and Norway.
Finally, we neglected to mention progressive metal veterans Dream Theater’s 14th studio album, Distance Over Time, last week. It had a slew of debuts then, and even more in the current week – so here they are.
The album debuted at No.1 in Germany and Switzerland, No.3 in The Netherlands and Norway, No.4 in Finland, Italy and Sweden, No.5 in Austria and Hungary, No.6 in Spain, No.8 in Flanders and Wallonia, No.10 in Australia, The Czech Republic, Japan and Poland, No.12 in Canada, Slovakia and the UK, No.16 in France, No.22 in Greece and No.24 in the USA. That’s 22 countries and – oddly for a band that formed in Boston, Massachusetts and rose to fame in New York - the one where it makes the smallest impression is the USA.