Friday, December 6, 2019
the Top 10 Death Metal Albums of 2019
It's that time of year again, to sort through the top 10 albums of all the respective genres, then use them, to compile the top 10 albums of the year. Later in the month I am making the top 10 lists for the decade, though to be blunt this is the decade's weakest year for music. Especially when it comes to new artists, 7 of the 10 bands are veterans. You had to search much harder to find ten albums that rose above, yet that is what I did. As in past years I am giving a brief explanation as to why these albums stand over their peers in lower positions on the list. The very fact these bands made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Sure you can bitch and complain about your favorite band not being on the list. However I listen to five new albums a day so yes I heard your favorite album and was not impressed. No, I do not care what you think about it. I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list and have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 Death metal albums of 2019 .
10- Cold Colours -" Northernmost"
Despite a Swedish tinge to the sound of this Minnesota band, at the end of the day they are more death n roll. his album is really well produced and these guys have a big guitar sound that plays to their strength as a band. Sure there is a large dose of melo-death to what they do , but it's not all guitar harmonies. They throw a few different shades of death metal at you and they all work well together.
9- Nightfell- "A Sanity Deranged"
There is no shortage of grim atmosphere on his album, sometimes they are closer to death doom at other's they are flirting with black metal, but aggression is their stock and trade. The guitars are so mean it's sick and despite all the other shades they throw at you at the bleeding heart of this album it is death metal. They beat out Cold Colours for this spot because these guys are darker.
8-Cloak-"the Burning Dawn"
This time they are less haunted by Swedish influence and coming int more of their own sound thanks to matured song writing. The guitar tone is more dialed in and some of the chugged riffs are heavier and cooler. This album grew on me and even the vocals became more accepted to my ears. These guys beat out Nightfell due to their melodic nuance.
7- Nocturnus Ad- "Paradox"
Drummer Mike Browning was one of the founding members of Morbid Angel. Is he as good as Pete? No, but he is pretty solid and he sings ..ok, growls on top of playing. "the Key" was one of the best albums of the early days of death metal, while there is not the same level of feral chaos here it has been replaced with more technical savvy , like a death metal version of Coroner. I normally do not like technical death metal, but Browning's matured song writing skills sell it. It is this prowess that puts them over the younger Cloak.
6- October Tide - "In Splendor Below"
This Swedish band features two members of Katatonia, the Norrman brothers holding down a twin guitar attack for the band's 6th album. It starts off as melodic death metal not far removed from say Bloodbath, sometimes having more in common with earlier Katatonia This album grew on me due to , it's catchy song writing which is more than the bulk of death metal you hear these days. This sense of inherent groove vaulted it over Nocturnus.
5-Nailed to Obscurity- "Black Frost "
If you are going to be a death metal band that upon occasion employs cleanly sung vocals do it like these guys as it doesn't sound contrived. It's death metal for a cold rainy day. The mood is what beats out the somewhat similar October Tide.
4- Blood Incantation- "Hidden History of the Human Race"
At first I thought ok this is another band that wants to be Morbid Angel, and then things began to take some twists and turns. For all it's technical and progressive leanings , the groove is seldom compromised. Rooted in a classic sound while being ambitious enough to strive for more. This willingness to pla y with the formula is what puts them ahead of Nailed to Obscurity.
3-Creeping Death- "Wretched Illusions"
They care about writing songs and are steeped in old school death metal. They also give me some fucking grooves that keep my head moving. If I was going to compare them to any old school death metal band it would be Obituary. They have the same nasty slime coming off their riffs. The sheer weight and aggression they attack these songs with gives them the edge over Blood incantation.
2- Coffins-- "Beyond the Circular Demise"
This band's sound is it is organic, yet dark and dense. When they lock into a mid paced chug , it is probably their best quality. They do not do it every song , or even every other song, but when you hear it there is no denying this fact. It is heavy as fuck. Not to the point they have thrown the song out the window either. The tighter riffing is what beats out Creeping Death.
1- Pulchra Morte : "Divina Autem et Aniles" t
This album is focused and doesn't get carried away with atmosphere. The vocals seem very intentional and not just an after thought as does the addition of strings that seems to increase the deeper into the album you get .. You would think it would be common sense for the focus to be on the songs rather than just beating you into submission. This album came out earlier in the year so it makes sense, I listened to it more since I had the time to simmer on it. Listened to it more since and there was time to simmer on it.