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Shit. Another year of turmoil and the world seems more divisive than ever. The good news is that metal was as strong as ever and kept us united with top notch releases from every genre and every type of band from new and unsigned to perennial heavyweights. One glance at the staff lists below show the quality and quantity of metal released, as you’d be hard pressed to find a common top album amid the bunch.

Here’s to 2020 (where the fuck are the flying cars and shit??) , and you can look forward to more reviews, and maybe even a fresh coat of paint on the site. Skol!!!!!!

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Luke Saunders

In another year of drama in the world, dealing with personal and professional challenges, and the various curveballs of life, thankfully metal remains a sturdy rock of support when times are tough. I consumed a ton of music in 2019 in what proved to be another action packed year for fans of heavy music across a broad spectrum of genres.

There were plenty of surprises, the odd disappointment, and a glut of albums I still need to spend more time with. Through it all I juggled my writing duties and compiled a list of albums I deemed as the best I heard in 2019. There’s much yet to discover. But until then, thanks for reading and supporting this humble blog and its dedicated team of talented, hard working writers.

10. NecropantherThe Doomed City. Self-Released. Another addictive slab of thrashy, blackened melodeath which found the band spreading their wings and diversifying their formula.

9. DisillusionThe Liberation. Prophecy Productions. A welcome return from Germany’s Disillusion, The Liberation features a bombastic, epic and tightly executed collection of progressive melodeath tunes in their signature style. Much closer to their classic debut in quality than the patchy Gloria.

8. WilderunVeil of Imagination. Self-Released. The ambition and symphonic scope behind Wilderun’s long awaited third album is wildly impressive, even if there are moments that are a little too overwrought and cheesy. At its best, their Opethian blend of progressive death, folk and symphonic metal is mesmerising.

7. The Offering Home. Century Media. A gloriously warped, genre bending exercise of flamboyance, muscle and creativity, The Offering packed prog, thrash, metalcore, djent and death into a thrilling package that shouldn’t work but does. Old school attitude, technical chops, catchy song-writing and modern flair combine with delightful results.

6. FirelinkThe Inveterate Fire. Self-Released. Atlanta’s Firelink came from nowhere with this Dark Souls inspired debut. Incredibly tight performances and advanced writing defines a vicious collection of progressive, blackened melodeath gems.

5. WarcrabDamned in Endless Night. Transcending Obscurity. The UK’s underrated purveyors of chunky death sludge delivered another stellar album, combining their NOLA influences with classic Bolt Thrower heft, soulful melodies and engaging writing.

4. SoenLotus. Silver Lining Music. Sweden’s masters of melancholic prog metal released one of their finest albums yet with the brooding Lotus. Fixing production issues of the past, Lotus is a sonically superior evolution of their established sound. Chunky, complex riffage, striking vocals and bleak melodies defined an emotive, memorable collection of songs.

3. The OdiousVesica Piscis. Self-Released. The surprise of the year. I hadn’t previously been acquainted with this forward thinking progressive metal act until their long gestating return to the studio for Vesica Piscis. This incredibly skilled, adventurous band crafted a colourful collection of top notch tunes, combing intricate prog with death, hardcore, ‘90s inspired alt-rock and thunderous grooves. Throw in some of the catchiest metal songs of the year and a wonderful vocal performance and you have one of 2019’s best albums.

2. SermonBirth of the Marvellous. Prosthetic Records. Essentially the brainchild of one anonymous individual, UK’s Sermon burst onto the scene with a beguiling prog metal opus, full of emotion, strong clean vocals, dynamic compositions and melancholic atmosphere. Vader’s James Stewart stepped in to deliver an excellent performance behind the kit.

1.Fvneral FvkkCarnal Confessions. Solitude Productions. Dubious band name aside, Germany’s Fvneral Fvkk struck me hard with a harrowing, highly addictive and emotionally shattering doom opus, rife with tension, unforgettable vocal melodies and crushing doomy riffs. A bleak, heartbreaking yet immensely powerful album, Carnal Confessions whipped traditional and modern doom elements into a fresh, epic and simply unforgettable opus.

Honourable Mentions (no order):

Car BombMordial

Blood IncantationHidden History of the Human Race

ToolFear Inoculum

Shadow of IntentMelancholy

GomorrahGomorrah

Paladin Ascension

BorknagarTrue North

Weeping SoresFalse Confession

Black Sites Exile

Spirit AdriftDivided by Darkness

No One Knows What the Dead ThinkNo One Knows What the Dead Think

Moon ToothCrux

Venom PrisonSamsara

Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings

Didn’t spend enough time with: Organectomy, Devourment, Pathology, Unfathomable Ruination, Opeth, Aephanemer, Eternal Storm.

Disappointment of the Year: Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas. Although a solid, occasionally inspired offering, Death Atlas was overstuffed with interludes and lacked the jaw-dropping innovation and quality of their previous couple of albums.

 

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Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Man, nobody liked the new Devil Master?


  2. Commented by: M Budziszewski

    Surprised to see Planetary Clairvoyance on just a few lists. I really thought I’d be the only list without it. Same for Blood Incantation. In a way It’s nice to see.


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