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. Goth tends to lean toward it's hey day in the 80s ; so is not surprising that there are only two new bands on this list. If you are wondering how we are defining the goth of the equation this year it ranges from dark wave to neo-folk, so it's darker than the peers of the artists in the other sub genres they might fall into as well. More of a Halloween vibe than post -punk.
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.
I could have picked albums from bands that are more hispter darlings , 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. There are links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 goth / industrial albums of 2019
10-Porn- "the Darkest of Human Desires Act 2"
German band does an excellent job recreating the industrial strength brand of rock that came out in the 90s. The vocals remind me a little of Orgy. Not unlike Strvngers who rules last year, these guys are more accessible, where Strvngers had more of an edge in their attitude and the sleaze that dripped from their songs, while ironically for this band to be so named I do not get the same vibe from them. The influences they war on their sleeves are bands I like so this album works for me.
9-Unto Ashes -"Pretty Haunted"
It is a solid album from a genre that can wander too far out into the woods and become hippie background music. The vocals are focused and the sound is fleshed out. That is not to say it is all sound no songs because they songs engage you in the way I would expect from this sort of thing. They are much less ominous than Death In June and that is ok, the vocals here are more emotive. If you are a fan of neo folk I do not have to sell you on this one. dark enough to skip the folk list and show up here at number 9
8-Night Sins-" Portrait in Silver"
They have shed their aspirations of the Bat Cave and gone a more polished 80s new wave direction. The vocals are breathy not low and gothy. It still gets the point across. It's more 90s dark wave than 80s. This album is produced better and I like the use of samples. While we think of the 80s for goth, a concept that is not unfounded. It is the 90s that goth became self aware. It is hard to deny the more Depeche Mode like groove to "Daisy Chain". It's not even from Depeche Mode's darker period. Think "Strangelove" . Still their is enough of their old sound in the grooves to make the number 8 spot.
7-Die Krupps- " Vision 20/20 Vision"
Never got around to reviewing this one so here it goes. They get political and ambitious. For industrial I can take raging against the machine in doses. It works here. Covering a Peter Gabriel era Genesis is however more than they were equipped to handle vocally, but aside from that they are staying true enough to themselves to earn the number 7 slot.
6- Corlyx- "In2 the Skin"
This Los Angeles duo drinks deeply of the industrial influence Alt-pop from the 90s. The production is more complex with more layers sitting in interesting places. The guitar has similar intent as that of mid-period Nine Inch Nails- though not as aggressive or dense. Vocalist Caitlin Starks has a tongue that drips with sex and slathers her melodies in it. Riding the line between organic elements and electronic propulsion. Having a sexier sound than the competition earned them the 6th spot.
This band has been building momentum so this is the album that is poised to break them out to a larger audience. This fact scared me as it could mean they would sell out and become a more commercial nu metal version of what they were doing. This first track is a relief to find they are leaning into the more electronic industrial side of what they do without becoming a big dumb metal band. Yet it's the heaviness of what they do that gave them an edge to get to the number 5 spot.
4- KMFDM- "Paradise"
I have heard them less inspired than this. The title track and "Oh, My Goth" hold up against the body of work that makes this band who they are. They punched the clock at times, but even them dialing it in is better than most bands. This album is solid it's just I have the bar really high for these guys.
3- Frontline Assembly- "Wake Up the Coma"
The project's 20th album finds them pumping out what you would want from them. Aggressive dystopian dance music with slithering grooves. The first departure from their tried and true formula is on their cover of Falco's " Rock Me Amadeus" with Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence on vocals. Even these playful risks worked for them, if KMFDM has been on their A game they might have claimed this spot as it was already a tough call.
2- Strvngers- "Death is the Only Way Out"
Amor/ Noir" was one of the decade's best albums so the bar is high for this one. Echoes of it still haunt this one. The biggest shift comes from having a different theme than the "Amor/Noir" , this time it's suicide making this album lyrically heavier. There is a more electronic feel. It's spacious mix with very clean synth sounds. More emotive than your average dark wave band. day these guys are masters of the hook which elevates them over even the veteran skills of Frontline.
1- My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult- "the House of Strange Affairs"
I am very happy to hear the first song on their 14th album is a return to darkness rather than the disco they dipped into with "Sex on Wheels". When I interviewed Groovy Mann, he said this album was made pretending that "Sexplosion" did not exist and they were picking up where they left off, and that feels very true. Darker is always better , when you pair it with their song writing skills how could they not take the number one spot.