2019 was another great year for my metal-loving ears. Here is a rundown of what got me banging my head this last 12 months. I’m sure there was even more awesome stuff that passed me by, but here goes.
Herod – Sombre Dessein. When I first checked this album out I wasn’t sure what to expect. The heaviness is so intense and the pain-encrusted vocals really drive the sound home. Detuned brutality with moments of welcome tunefulness, this album improves with every listen. And some of those riffs… ooh pinch me!!
Pelican – Nighttime Stories. Instrumental music needs to have something pretty special going on to rise its head above the vocal-less crowd. While I’ve enjoyed this post-metal band in this past I have to say this latest offering is the best I’ve heard from them. Riffs aplenty, this beast of an album rumbles along with some monstrous riffage that never lets up.
Korn – The Nothing. I used to love Korn back in the day. Then there was that See You on the Other Side album; ugh!! Since then I’ve avoided these guys, my tastes had changed and even the early stuff I didn’t enjoy as much. But this album is pretty darn good. There’s some killer riffs, good vocal melodies and a real freshness to it I wasn’t expecting. I may have to check out some of there other later releases now.
Vltimas – Something Wicked Marches In. When I heard there was a supergroup featuring Dave from Morbid Angel, Flo from Cryptopsy, and Blasphemer from Mayhem, I loved it already. Luckily this doesn’t disappoint. It’s an evil blackened death metal masterpiece. Unrelenting yet tuneful when it needs to be, this is everything you’d imagine from this unlikely trio.
Mayhem – Daemon. Speaking of Mayhem… Their last couple of albums have been a tad, erm, experimental I think is the word. This beast, though is a full-on black metal assault. The raw energy is there as always, but there’s just no let-up in the onslaught. You can even see the evil running from the speakers like an infernal ooze.
Devin Townsend – Empath. On first listen of this I was a bit ‘meh, it’s OK’. After a couple of further listens I was beginning to appreciate it more. And then, Boom! it suddenly hit me. I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing Dev has ever released, but it’s certainly up there. It’s as though he’s hand-picked all the elements from his illustrious career and condensed them into one handy record. There’s SYL brutality and blasts; stadium sing-along epic choruses, and even a Disney-inspired ‘happy’ song that still brings up the hairs on the back of my neck. Really killer stuff.
Blood Red Throne – Fit to Kill. There’s nothing groundbreaking about this band’s latest release; it’s just a really solid death metal record. It just keeps going and going, giving no sign of let-up. If you’re a death metal fan then this should be another to add to your collection.
Darkened Nocturnal Slaughtercult – Mardom. This is another album that doesn’t do anything monumental, but still managed to enrapture my puny soul for its entirety. This black metal band wear their evil right there on their spiked sleeves.
Car Bomb – Mordial. There’s no one quite like Car Bomb. Detuned technical mathcore/djent/post-hardcore doesn’t really do it justice. Rhythms so complicated it seems impossible to nod your head to, but you do anyway. Drummer Elliot Hoffman is a true legend and my new hero. Some of those patterns he plays… wow! Their previous release, Meta, is even better than this one, and that’s saying something.
Fluoride – Disentanglement. One of many enjoyable grindcore albums, but this one just had something different about it, although I can’t quite put my finger on what. The production is raw, the drums pummel like your skull is the snare drum, and the whole mood of the piece is just really satisfying. It’s the kind of record you need to spin again once its finished.
Here are some that could have easily made the list but didn’t quite make it.
Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
Full of Hell – Weeping Choir
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest
Adrift – Pure
Torche – Admission
Vulvodynia – Mob Justice
Pissgrave – Posthumous Humiliation
Abbath – Outstrider
Gale – Gale
And now some disappointments. There’s only three which is a pretty decent return this year.
Darkthrone – Old Star. This one didn’t really do it for me, especially when comparing it to the excellent Arctic Thunder. I don’t want to say it sounds too cheesy, but there’s something lacking. The riffs don’t live up to their usual high standards.
Tool – Fear Inoculum. Underwhelmed is the perfect word for this release. Perhaps I’d been waiting too long, but even though it sounds exactly like you’d expect Tool to sound, it sounds a bit kind of samey. Each song is basically a slow intro, then kicks in, and goes on for the same amount of time. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but where’s 2019’s The Pot, or Stinkfist, you know? I still need more time with this one, though.
1349 – The Infernal Pathway. I’m so disappointed with these guys. I’d forgiven them for their last release, Massive Cauldron of Chaos (is that the best title they could come up with?) which I really didn’t like. But it seems they were very happy with it because this one follows on from that one quite (?)well. Hellfire was a great, evil black metal album, but recently they seem a bit 80s hard rock with blast beats. That’s a little unfair but this just doesn’t sound anywhere near heavy or evil enough.
I hope whatever you were listening to this year was enjoyable and awesome, and lets hope 2020 brings even more great music!!
Happy New Year y’all!!!
Categories: Music Review