It is that time of the year. We are half way into 2019 so here is a look at the best metal albums that have been released so far. This also gives us a snap shot of what direction metal is heading in. It lines up with my prediction as it being heavier on the death / doom side of the equation. .While only 3 of the albums on this list could fall into that sub-genre, it is a sample polling of the hundreds of albums I have already sorted through this year. Considering three of these albums I received this month. That means this has not been the greatest year for metal. Honorable mention would be two albums that are not on this as they skirt the bounds of metal. They are the new 3Teeth and Cellar Darling. Did not include samples of the music those can be found on the links to the reviews I posted alongside the entries.
10-Death Angel - "Humanicide"
There are glimpses of the band I used to love, but they are good at what they do and have enough that is different still about them to tell it is Death Angel. They are not apologetic about being metal, so thrash fans who want song writing should check this album out.
9-Darkthrone _ " Old Star"
Genre - black metal
This time around they are returning to black metal though it's roots , so the opener carries more more of a Venom sound. The guitar tone is really mean on this album and the celticy frost on the cake. I think fans of the band will find it easy to embrace if they have not been pretending they like the first few albums on vinyl.
8-Nailed to Obscurity- "Black Frost "
Genre- "Death Doom"
This gloomy and doomy Mid paced progressive death metal ban has a load of catchy riffs and doesn't try to dazzle you with guitar solos every where or drums that are too busy.
7-Swallow the Sun -"When a Shadow is Forced Into the Light" <- a="" abysmalhymns.blogspot.com="" album="" are="" band="" br="" committed="" direction.="" direction="" doesn="" fan="" find="" finnish="" forced="" goth="" heading="" helsinki="" hen="" https:="" if="" implied="" in="" into="" is="" lean="" light="" melodic="" more="" of="" really="" shadow="" sit="" some="" sound="" swallow-sun-when-shadow-is-forced-into.html="" swedish="" t="" than="" that="" the="" then="" they="" this="" though="" to="" touches="" well="" who="" will="" with="" you.="" you="">->
Genre- Progressive Doom
They sound more Swedish than Finnish, though some of the goth touches that are more implied than really committed to, lean in in more of a Helsinki direction. If you are a fan of the band who doesn't find the more melodic direction the band is heading in then you will find this album will sit well with you. If you haven't really given them much of a chance like I am guilty of then this is a good enough place to start.
6- Sigils - You Built The Altar, You Lit The Leaves "
Genre - Doom Gaze
While very Jesu. These guys hit every mark. They took their influences and added enough of their own spin so it doesn't feel like a tribute band, They have also not just captured a sound that many bands try to , but they care enough to write songs with it.`
5-Pulchra Morte - "Divina Autem et Aniles"
Genre - death metal
These guys a pretty much just a death metal. Though not the kind of death metal that blasts you in the face. Comprised of former members of the bands Withered , Harkonin, and Ex Mortis, they have a more technical winding to their riffs than anything doom. The vocals are a low death growl that is fairly articulated.
4-Dead To A Dying World - Elegy
genre - Sludge
Sonically it is occupying a similar space as the last Amen Ra album. The use of clean vocals is well done and not a good cop/ bad cop trade off. The use of strings also adds texture. I can hear where people might be quick to call it post-rock. This album also features guest performances by two former Swans members, Jarboe and Thor Harris.
Genre -Post Black Metal
Nachymystium might be a good reference point for the direction of this new darker sonic space the band is embarking upon. The guitars are really doing some interesting things which requires the drummer using the restraint to give them the space to do so. I can see where at this point in time if you showed up for a black metal album you might be disappointed or confused
2- Gaahl's Wyrd-" GastiR - Ghosts Invited"
Genre - black metal
l Gaahl is true as fuck and been very vocal in his support of church burning , thinking their should be more of them. He is an iconoclast. He might be true as fuck , but that does not mean he is settling with mediocrity or sounding like every one else. I am surprised how progressive this album is . This is balanced out with darkness. . They are not just hitting you with blast beasts , but dissonance , creepiness and haunting melodies.
1- Abrahma "In Time For the Last Rays of Light"
Genre - doom
There was a time when it seemed like the French were beginning to dominate black metal. Now they are gaining ground when it comes to doom. These guys are very close to the sonic zip code of Hangman's Chair. The vocals are emotive against a dreary back drop. The difference is there is more of a blues influence creeping around the corner