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 Lists
01.02.20 Top 30 Albums of 201901.06.19 Top 30 Metal Albums of 2018
12.24.18 Metal Albums I've Missed in 201801.02.18 Top 40 Metal Albums of 2017
01.09.17 Top 30 Metal Albums of 2016 12.03.15 Metal of 2015 + Give me Recs
01.01.15 The Best Of 2014 In Metal12.04.14 Metal Of 2014 And Give Me Recs
01.01.14 The Best Of 2013 In Metal 12.05.13 Metal Of 2013 \m/ And Give Me Recs
04.16.13 21 Most Influential Metal Albums Of The02.21.13 Rec me recent Metal Debut Albums \m/!!!
01.06.13 The Best Metal Of 201211.02.12 Holy Shit!! 2012
09.19.12 Bands With The Coolest Evolution \m/! 08.27.12 The Faceless Ranked
07.13.12 Finally a good Metal list \m/!!!!!!!!!05.07.12 What Does Each Rating Mean For You??
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Top 30 Albums of 2019

Another year in the books, and this time it's a tad bigger than normal! My first decade of exploring and enjoying music has come to a close. What a journey it has been! I have gone from feeling angsty and rebellious to the likes of Korn and Mudvayne to enjoying all of the bands that found on this list. 2019 has been a phenomenal one for metal with a myriad of genres having landmark releases. It was especially a great year for death metal and traditional doom/heavy metal. While there were plenty of amazing albums and even a couple near perfect ones, there wasn't one that really hooked me at a personal level that kept me coming back all year long. These releases are all on this list for a reason though and offer up a great snapshot for the different genres of metal in 2019.
35Obsequiae
The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings


But first it's time for some honorable mentions. For these thirty albums that made the list, there were plenty of others that fell short for whichever reason. Here are some of those:
These are the bands I did not quite have enough time with, whether it be due to the albums late release or just to the fact that I did not appreciate it enough on first listen: Obsequiae, Lord Mantis, Haunter, Esoteric
34Pissgrave
Posthumous Humiliation


Fuck there were too many solid gory gory death metal albums out this year such as albums from: Pissgrave, Fetid, Coffins
33Shadow Of Intent
Melancholy


he future of metal: Shadow of Intent, Hath, and Fit for an Autopsy
32Mgla
Age of Excuse


Bands that have released perfect albums not perfectly following up: MGLA, Alcest
31Toxic Holocaust
Primal Future: 2019


One last honorable mention! This album barely missed being on my list (it needs to be an even number after all..). This is some great thrash metal though! This album is a nice balance between Toxic Holocausts retro-thrash sound and more traditional heavy metal elements.
30Beheaded
Only Death Can Save You


Every metalhead should have a catchy death metal blueprint they can fall in love with no matter the date. Behead’s latest is one of the best examples of one: catchy riffs, memorable choruses, and an overall crushing atmosphere! Best song: Embrace Your Messiah
29Soilwork
Verkligheten


The catchy song writing continues on Soilwork’s latest album yet with a nice uptick in progressive metal influence that differentiates it from other Soilwork albums. The edition of space odyssey levels of epic helped with the overall appeal of this album as well. Best Song: When the Universe Spoke
28Nightfell
A Sanity Deranged


Nightfell, in my mind, has practically created a new genre with this release: Depressive suicidal doomy death metal. This release is not only unique but balances out this duality by having songs that shift from slamming speed to doomy pace seamlessly. Best song: The Swallowing of Flies
27Mystik (SWE2)
Mystik


Classic speed metal done right. This release is fast paced and epically executed songwriting wise. Imagine speed metal Blind Guardian perfectly resurrected and fronted by an absolutely savage female vocalist. The fact that their songs stick in your heads for days is an added bonus. Best Song: Into Oblivion
26Deserted Fear
Drowned by Humanity


Fuck yeah! Savage melodeath madness. The pacing is what makes this album awesome. It’s a quick shot of adrenaline. Epic yet still sharp riffs course through your aural veins while at the same time slamming to the point songwriting brings this fully modern yet still old school swedish melodic death metal release hammering home! Best song: All Will Fall
25Xoth
Interdimensional Invocations


The perfect cross between this new age of technical thrash and technical death metal, Xoth are truly unique in the modern scene. Their guitar sound is one of the best around: simultaneously sounding beautifully organic while mechanically precise. This compliment should be fully realized on tracks like Mountain Machines and Plague Revival 20xx. Vektor finally has some competition! Best song: Back to the Jungle
24Conjurer and Pijn
Curse These Metal Hands


This release proves that an angry british hardcore influenced band can somehow be the second coming of Baroness! I did not realize how badly I needed this release in my life! The beautiful melodies that occur along stride a savage pacing and heavy tone make for the perfect album to comfort a modern metalhead’s summer. Certain traits of this album cause a vision of a vast field of wheat to materialize, just like the Red Album did. Best song: High Spirits
23Torche
Admission


This album is a mature balance of Torche’s heavy yet still accessible sound. Instead of only diving into poppier melodies, Torche also sounds more somber and nuanced on this release. Simultaneously while the overall tone of Torche shifts, the aggressive nature of the material also improves. This album contains some of Torche’s heaviest tracks yet! Best song: Admission
22Year of the Cobra
Ash and Dust


Ash and Dust perfectly checks off every box of the modern doom scene. Slow and brooding: Check! Downtuned and punky at parts: Check! The perfect balance between hard rock and metal: check! Dynamics that range from thunderous to a faint whisper: Check! Essentially this album has it all, making it a fun and easy listen. Best song: Into the Fray
21Smoulder
Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring


This album can be described in one word: EPIC! The focus on anthemic choruses and good song writing makes every track memorable and unique. There’s something here for every fan of epic doom, whether it be the heaviness of closer “Black Gods Kiss” or the ritualistic feel of “Shadowy Sisterhood”. Best song: Voyage of the Sunchaser
20Weeping Sores
False Confession


Similar to Nightfell, this debut LP bends genres every which way to create a brooding yet lush torturous soundscape. My best attempt at classifying False Confessions is deathy symphonic doom sludge. Please don’t let my stupid attempt at pigeonholing this release keep you from hearing one of the most unique albums of 2019. Best song: Scars Whispering Secret Tongues
19Cave In
Final Transmission


Ephemeral and beautiful. This is an imperfect send off for Cave In showing warts and all. Every single aspect of their eclectic career gets a chance to shine here. Spacey prog rock of their later albums shines through on “Shake My Blood” and “Lanterna” while their more hardcore influenced sound serves as the perfect closer on “Led to the Wolves”. Best song: Winter Windo
18Heilung
Futha


As my first foray into this style of music, Futha is a mesmerising release that transcends time period and genre. This means that every piece of this album sounds excitingly alien, making it a breath of fresh air when compared to this wall of noise that usually enters my ears. Of course this album is best enjoyed while surrounded by nature as darkness falls as a full piece. Best song: Hamrer Hippyer
17Malignant Altar
Retribution of Jealous Gods


The first EP to appear on this list, Malignant Altar’s 18 minute entry easily holds its own when compared to the full lengths on this list. Their slapping caveman oriented yet still cosmic feeling death metal packs enough riffs and sharp song writing to be immediately memorable. Closer “Nephilim Burial” is one of the best death metal songs of the year and when combined with the other two crushing tracks found here, Malignant Altar becomes one of the most promising new bands in the death metal scene! Best Song: Nephilim Burial
16Tomb Mold
Planetary Clairvoyance


Tomb Mold continues to dominate all things modern death metal! This time their brooding sound is brought into a more technical riff oriented light. And all the better for it! Instead of being shrouded in murk, Tomb Mold are now playing a more dynamic almost Cynic influenced sound. Best song: Planetary Clairvoyance (They Grow Inside Pt. II)
15Kampfar
Ofidians manifest


The screams that echo during the opening seconds of this album are the perfect indicator that this release is a voyage into black metal hell. Excellent riffs combined with phenomenal production creates a unique sound and thematic feel to the overall album. From an instantly catchy chorus in the track Ophidian to the perfectly placed guest vocals on Dominans, the songwriting of Ofidian’s Manifest is never boring. Best song: Dominans
14Numenorean
Adore


An emotive album that truly captures the power that post black metal can possess. Fragile, visceral, and filled with equal parts self loathing and hope. Adore is a journey through self hatred that feels open ended and never ending. Aside from the overall concept, the riffs and dynamics on display here are top notch as well. Best song: Horizon
13Downfall of Gaia
Ethic of Radical Finitude


Between this and the previous album of this list, blackgaze had a fairly phenomenal year where the sound was pushed into even bleaker soundscapes. Downfall of Gaia’s take on the genre centers around an emotive depiction of death. Every second of music on this 40 minute release pushes this concept. The spoken word sections and clean sung vocals serve as a highlight and perfect centerpiece for this album. Best song: It’s all one beautiful piece
12Schammasch
Hearts of No Light


Schammasch continue their winning streak of thematic and extremely dynamic releases by sripping down their sound and making it a tad bit more accessible. This serves as a nice contrast to their other releases which delve headfirst into their themes. The further inclusion of post-punk influence along with Schammasch’s usual maelstrom of ritualistic black metal helps make Hearts of No Light stand out in their discography and the scene as a whole. Best song: A Paradigm of Beauty
11God Disease
Drifting Towards Inevitable Death


This album is drenched in absolute filth. Traditional Hooded Menace style death doom is turned on its head with the addition of some murky sludge. The guitar tone, vocal range and pig-like squeals, along with one of the best bass performances of the year make this album a standout in death metal. In short, this album sounds like crawling rotting death slowly rising from a swamp of decay; a disgusting beauty to behold. Best song: King of Maggot Crawling Flesh
10Suffering Hour
Dwell


How one 18 minute song can be this complete and cover such a wide array of soundscapes boggles my mind. This variety gives “Dwell” infinite replay and makes it seemless to get through. Some of the best riffs of 2019 are on this album as well. They run the gamut that this modern version of death metal has to offer. Some boast breathtaking speed while the best revels in an elephant stomping pace all while maintaining that skronk of the scene. Best song: Listen to this!
9Denial of God
The Hallow Mass


Dark, brooding, and most importantly heavily occult in feel, Denial of God strikes a unique chord in the modern black metal scene. To attempt a comparison, take the melodic knife like precision of 90s Rotting Christ and add some doomy folk influence almost similar to Pagan Altar and you begin to grasp what is offered on The Hollow Mass. Each song is essentially a horror story played out in this style. The perfect halloween release! Best song: Undead Hunger
8Crypt Sermon
The Ruins of Fading Light


A perfect amalgamation of epic traditional metal and brooding atmosphere drenched doom, “The Ruins of Fading Light” is one of the most entertaining albums of the year. The highlight is how this trad metal and epic doom sound is balanced. Tracks like “The 9th Templar” and “The Snake Handler” have the pace of galloping NWOBHM while other songs such as “Christ is Dead” or “Beneath the Torchfire Glare”. The vocal performance on this release is phenomenal as well, with some well placed growls adding an extra dimension to the music. Best song: Our Reverend’s Grave
7Tool
Fear Inoculum


The tooliest tool album Tool has ever tooled. Self indulgent, groove oriented, and ambitious in equal parts; as a self proclaimed Tool fan I love it! With highlights such as all of Pneuma, the heavy riffage of 7empest, and the vocals in Descending, and the drum craziness of Chocolate Chip Trip I think there’s more to this album than just my personal bias. Definitely a worthy addition to Tool’s discography and to the modern metal scene. Best song: Pneuma
6Deathspell Omega
The Furnaces of Palingenesia


Though not a record that’s easy to casually listen to, Deathspell’s latest has a thematic quality to it along with the usual avante garde craziness to make this a 2019 stand out. Furnaces sees Deathspell expand their sound to incorporate a little more riff oriented death metal elements especially on “Ad Arma! Ad Arma!”. Balanced by more reserved tracks like “1523” and “You Cannot Even Find the Ruins..” makes Furnaces an even more thematic listen and really nails in the themes of crumbling civilizations and revolution. Best song: You must listen to this album as a whole but, Ad Arma! Ad Arma!
5Blood Incantation
Hidden History of the Human Race


Every year, there is an album that the metal community seems to unite around and proclaim as the best album of the year; magazines, youtube, websites, and metal fans alike. Hidden History is this release for 2019, and it is well deserved! Hidden History is ambitious in scope and expertly doesn’t overstay its welcome at only 4 songs. The unique flare brought by experimenting with ambient passages and the inclusion of synths on songs like Giza Power Plant and the epic closer help to add variety to the cosmic intensity. Also the riffs on this release are some of the best of the year. Best song: Awakening From the Dream of Existence to the Multidimensional Nature of Our Reality (Mirror of the Soul)
4Spaceslug
Reign Of The Orion


Beautiful and emotive, this album proves that Spaceslug are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to doomy psych sludge and that their reign is just beginning. On this outing, Spaceslug release an EP that not only traverses their usual soundscapes but then also many new ones. Every song brilliantly plays with these new influences and comes off unique and refreshing. SpaceRunner is extremely psychedelic, Trees of Gold dives into grunge-y alternative rock territory, and Half-Moon Burns is one of the best songs of the year and one of the only pieces of music of 2019 to give me goosebumps. Please listen to this EP! Best song: Half-Moon Burns
3Idle Hands (USA-OR)
Mana


To my ears, Idle Hands is something new and fresh in the scene. They play a dark and emotive style of traditional metal perfectly spliced with 80s gothic style. Not only is it extremely catchy but the speed and pacing of the album makes Mana endlessly listenable. The vocal performance on this release is one of the many highlights. Everything from a gothic croon to deathlike grunts and even a werewolf howl pushes these songs to the next level. The first 6 songs of the album are absolutely flawless. Best song: Don’t Waste Your Time
2White Ward
Love Exchange Failure


The saxophone is officially here to stay in the metal scene and no genre is safe! In the case of White Ward’s post-black metal sound it is all the better for it. The balance between the soothing saxophone and savage black metal instrumentation creates a lush and varied listen. Over its hour and fifteen minute run time White Ward explores the loveless inhuman feeling of isolation that can be found in the oversized buildings that adorn the cover. Best song: Surfaces and Depths
1Cult of Luna
A Dawn to Fear


A monolithic sludge fueled post metal album which is perfectly balanced between being one of Cult of Luna’s heaviest and most dynamic. Each style gets highlighted in a couple of songs and overall unites the album as a bleak sludgy wall of noise signaling the end of humankind: A Dawn to Fear! This approach makes its 80 minute runtime go by extremely quickly. Some of Cult of Luna’s best moments appear on this album: the build up in Nightwalkers is crushing, the eerie melodies of the more subdued title track and We Feel the End creates an atmosphere of dread, and the swelling guitars of Inland Rain creates the best song of 2019. Overall, this is why A Dawn to Fear is album of the year, its “more is more” mentality makes this a must listen album for both fans of post and metal fans! Best song: Inland Rain
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