Friday, December 13, 2019

the Top 10 Mainstream 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,  this is at least the second album by these artists. . We are once again defining main stream metal as any genre that is not of the more extreme variety, but still actually metal and not hard rock. This makes it more accessible than say black or death metal. a   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 mainstream metal albums of 2019 .

10- Borknagar-"True North"

I will always take what I can get from ICS Vortex. Their 11th album,finds the band refining and maturing their sound. Some songs are more prog than others. It stands shoulder to shoulder with the bulk of their work up to this point.

9-Tyr -"Hel" 

 It had the kind of muscle many folk metal bands lack with great sense for hooky anthems. The guitar players dazzle you more than previous efforts. This was one of the years most solid straight up metal albums . It was pretty straight forward but really powerful. They swung their hammers harder than Borknagar this time around.

8-Rotting Christ- "The Heretics" 

r the past 19 years they have expanded their sound into something beyond black metal. Bigger and sometimes more symphonic like Dimmu Borgir. This also explains why they have a larger audience. They continue to weave in various elements of world music into their sound. It pays off and proves they care about their songs. They beat out the likes and Borknagar for this spot because they are darker. 7- Cellar Darling - 'the Spell"

6-Wednesday 13-- "Necrophaze"

This gritty take on goth metal that sounds like it could have crawled out of the best places from the 90s. I debated if they belonged here or the goth list. It boils down to the guitars and vocals owing more to W.A.S.P than Marilyn being the the tipping point. It's the razor they sink into their riffs that gives them the edge over Cellar Darling.

5-Beastmaker- "Eye of the Storm"

 Sadly this is the swan song for this band. Two of the members are in Haunt, so they are bringing this band to a close in order to focus more on that project. I think judging from the title track that opens this album that I prefer Beastmaker to Haunt. These guys are the more metal of the two band. There are less guitar solos here and a darker mood. The raw emotion gives them leverage over Weds 13.

4-Crypt Sermon- "The Ruins of Fading Light"

 this album boils up from a place where power metal meets doom. The guitars have a more driven chug and the powerfully sung vocals carry an edge. The melancholy to their sound wins me over where most modern power metal loses me as it is too happy to be metal. Almsot to close to call against Beastmaker.

3- Alcest-" Spiritual Instinct"

These guys were melding black metal and shoe-gaze way before Deafheaven. Oddly neither of thoe two elements plays a dominant role in this album , but it is a more metallic and aggressive offering than their last two albums .More sonic layers than Crypt sermon.

2- Karyn Crisis' Gospel of Witches 

As a big fan of her old band Crisis, I will take anything I can get from her. Her voice has a great deal of personality no matter if she growls or croons. The sophomore outing for this projects finds the songs having more of a slither to them than the first one. Deeper and darker than Alcest.    

1- Life of Agony- 'the Sound of the Scars"

The sound of the scars tells me this is the album that should have come after “Ugly” . Not as dense and hard core influenced as the classic “River Runs Red” ,. Caputo’s voice is back where it needs to be to restore uphold the band’s legacy. These songs have warranted hours of repeat listens., more l;listens than I gave Karyn.

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