Our heavy renaissance continues.
When last year's lists began arriving, the amount of heat led many to hail 2018 as one of the best years in metal, ever. To be completely honest, it was. Though were many doubts as to whether 2019 would deliver the same level of quality, these past 12 months of continuous greatness have proved otherwise.
Death metal saw yet another spectacle of a year with releases from BLOOD INCANTATION, VASTUM, VACIVUS, TOMB MOLD, WITCH VOMIT and more hitting shelves while black metal welcomed records from the likes of ROTTING CHRIST, 1349, MISTHRYMING, MAYHEM, MIZMOR, and more. Doom also gave way to CRYPT SERMON, ESOTERIC, SPIRIT ADRIFT, MAGIC CIRCLE, and GREEN LUNG to name a few, and we won't even get into all the hybrid subgenre bands. No matter where you stand on the heavy spectrum, there's something for all to dive into.
Without further ado, we present to you our Top 30 Metal Albums of 2019:
30. Esoctrilihum - The Telluric Ashes of the Ö Vrth Immemorial Gods (I, Voidhanger) | Listen
29. False - Portent (Gilead Media) | Listen
28. Idle Hands - Mana (Eisenwald) | Listen
27. Inter Arma - Sulphur English (Relapse) | Listen
26. Magic Circle - Departed Souls (20 Buck Spin) | Listen
25. Vanum - Ageless Fire (Profound Lore) | Listen
24. Vacivus - Annihilism (Profound Lore) | Listen
23. Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces of Palingenesia (NoEvDia) | Listen
22. Altarage - The Approaching Roar (Season of Mist) | Listen
21. Mayhem - Daemon (Century Media) | Listen
20. Sinmara - Hvísl Stjarnanna (Ván Records) | Listen
19. Esoteric - A Pyrrhic Existence (Season of Mist) | Listen
18. Teitanblood - The Baneful Choir (NoEvDia) | Listen
17. Wilderun - Veil of Imagination (self-released) | Listen
16. Devil Master - Satan Spits on Children of Light (Relapse) | Listen
15. Schammasch - Hearts of No Light (Prosthetic Records) | Listen
14. Ellende - Lebenshammer (AOP Records) | Listen
13. Mizmor - Cairn (Gilead Media) | Listen
12. Misþyrming - Algleymi (NoEvDia) | Listen
11. Mystifier - Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia (Season of Mist) | Listen
10. Gardsghastr - Slit Throat Requiem (Profound Lore) | Listen
"Taken from the pages of the 2nd wave's destructive handbook, ‘Slit Throat Requiem’ removes the idea that there will never be a sound like the old ones again. Painfully self-aware, protective of the original, and built upon lore, this album is a bright future for a band that knows just how good we had it." - Jake Sanders
9. Aoratos - Gods Without Name (Debemur Morti) | Listen
"The atmosphere on Gods Without Name is absolutely unparalleled. With an aesthetic lifted directly out of a Lovecraft story and riffs that are not figuratively but in a very literal sense unsettling, I’ll be revisiting this album until my sentient husk is returned to the swirling cosmic chaos." - Ryan McCarthy
8. Vastum - Orificial Purge (20 Buck Spin) | Listen
"To stand above water in the flooded death metal underground, one must orchestrate compositions with a truly unique twist, as Vastum so greatly do. With a pairing of lyrics that torment the psyche and elite death metal musicianship, "Orificial Purge" sets the Bay Area unit apart from the standard." - Luis Flores
7. Kaleikr - Heart of Lead (Debemur Morti) | Listen
"The debut from Icelandic newcomers Kaleikr clicks immediately, sounding as if Opeth decided to make a blackened death metal record. With diverse instrumentation and impressive musicianship, Heart of Lead offers a truly innovative take on the genre." - R.M.
6. Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race (Dark Descent) | Listen
"Believe the hype. Hidden History of the Human Race is everything you and your mom ever expected it to be, that being a death metal benchmark in an era where the subgenre sees several releases by the week. From a guns blazing opener to the ethereal soundscapes present throughout, Blood Incantation further cement themselves as one of this generation's strongest newcomers" - L.F.
5. Rotting Christ - The Heretics (Season of Mist) | Listen
"You can't speak of excellence in black metal without the mention of Rotting Christ, who's latest chapter delivers grandiose extremity of the highest order. From the iconic Sakis screams to the cataclysmic Themis drum work, "The Heretics" is testament to the fact that the Sakis brothers are here to stay." - L.F.
4. Dead to a Dying World - Elegy (Profound Lore) | Listen
"Pure composition and collaboration join hands to forge a progressive album that takes Black Metal and turns it on its head. Melancholic, vulnerable, and oftentimes prophetic, Elegy spins a tale of a world nearing the end of its life and paints a picture of beauty and finality." - J.S.
3. Falls of Rauros - Patterns in Mythology (Gilead Media) | Listen
"A pillar of greatness for American Black Metal. Euphoric, free of all traditional notions, and wearing its spirit on its sleeve, ‘Patterns in Mythology’ is an album about liberation, determination, and breaking away from what is possible to do what is necessary." - J.S.
2. Mgła - Age of Excuse (No Solace) | Listen
"Cruel, callous, and devoid of the belief in anything or any limit, ‘Age of Excuse’ takes the world around the group in its scope and shreds the notions of ethics and morality. As minimal and effortless as their other releases, the album ruins cymbals and strings galore in its quest to find the delicate balance between intricate, technical, and mechanical." - J.S.
1. Crypt Sermon - The Ruins of Fading Light (Dark Descent) | Listen
"Crypt Sermon saw that death metal had a foot hold on the collective metal masses and charged like Crusaders into battle, crushing all beneath their horses of doom. The Ruins of Fading Light is an album that lingers like the incense of the Tabernacle and produces the finest craft of new school doom metal with the punch of 80's USPM. Given the fact that it may or may not have divine approval, it has become our album of the year. Take a stab and you'll be glad you did." - Tyson Tillotson
Well, there you have it. Whether you're into the slow chugging of doom or the blistering madness of death and grind, there's no denying that the past dozen months have provided plenty to love for fans of all things heavy. Those who dismiss the genre for not being the same as what one considers the "golden years" of metal is simply ignorant for there are riffs waiting to be discovered at every corner. Heaviest of Art thanks all of the hard working labels, publicists, distros, promoters, bands, and more importantly, fans, who keep the scene alive and well.
Thank you for your contributions, and may the consistent goodness continue for years to come...