Greetings! Welcome to my year end ego trip of self indulgence. 2019 was a stupidly good year for metal albums, there's a few shockers absent from this list, but whatever, screw you. This is a top 10 not a top 20. This list is more then just a way of tracking what albums I enjoyed in 2019. No, it is so that I can ram my opinion down the throats of the 10's and 10's of readers that may frequent this page as they sit in there moms basement listening to NSBM, prepping notes on the pagan origins of Christmas and the historical inaccuracies of the bible. Grandpa will totally regret offering to say a blessing this year! Yes, dear reader, we metal heads are an opinionated bunch, but I have a platform, so my opinion matters more. So read my list and tell me why I'm stupid.
10. Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - Mardom
This album fucking rules, plain and simple. It is unrelenting traditional Norwegian black metal. Except that they're from Germany and fronted by a Polish woman. Right from the opening instrumental track you taste the ghostly, graveyard, worm infested meal that DNS are about to feed you. This is everything I want from a black metal album. The artwork is cool as hell, the drums are blistering, the corpse paint is painted, the crosses are inverted and Satan is being hailed.
9. Full of Hell - Weeping Choir
Thomas Hobbes once said that life was "nasty, brutish and short" and so is Full of Hell's latest offering, produced by Kurt Ballou (Converge). This album is all over the fucking map, it encompasses every genre of metal and yet blends them together like a Vitamix. Sludgy doom riffs, chaotic grindcore, mind melting industrial, headbanging breakdowns, I love this fucking band. The entire album clocks in shorter than 1 song does on an album yet to come on this list. Fuck ya.
I had the honour of interviewing them in the early days of this website/podcast in a parking lot in Toronto while a raccoon hung out with us. They still to this day are hands down the nicest dudes I've gotten to talk to. The fuckers who robbed these dudes deserve to be the centerpiece of a real life Belphegor music video.
8. Abbath - Oustrider
The year of our Lord 2019 has been a tumultuous one for the black metal icon known as Abbath. First he dropped his best album since breaking up with Demonaz, then he embarrassed himself onstage in South America and at last word had checked himself into a rehab facility. This album though, I love it, from the opening winds that blow through your soul, to the Lemmy inspired riffs. Abbath has evolved his sound from a typical black metal musician. Its catchy and fun as hell, this is next level heavy metal song writing.
I wish him nothing but luck in his recovery, and hope to Sauron he gets healthy cause I need to see him on that co headlining tour with Mayhem. (or makeup with Demonaz already)
7. Darkthrone - Old Star
Norway's favorite politician and kindergarten teacher are at it again delivering filthy blackened speed metal. Fenriz and Nocturno Culto continue to put out killer record after killer record. Maybe its because they don't have to worry about touring or being in a full time band that they continually are able to write to evolve their sound. It never sounds like a habit for them, every album comes r right from the love of writing music, they do what they want and how they want. Transylvanian Hunger this album is not, but it is a killer heavy metal album with Nocturno Culto doing what he does best and Fenriz brutalizing the kit. What more do you want?
Now play a fucking show for once, so I can fly to wherever I have to fly too, or don't, whatever.
6. Amon Amarth - Berserker
To paraphrase the great Steve Earle, Johan Hegg is the greatest front man in heavy metal today and I will gladly dance on Corey Taylor gold plated, diamond encrusted coffee table and say that. Berserker is by no means a musical masterpiece, it is an Amon Amarth album. It is like every other Amon Amarth album, melodic death metal songs about Vikings, and do you what, they do it really fucking well. Fafners Gold, Shield Wall, Crack the Sky and Ravens Flight have been entrenched in my head since the album came out, and if that doesn't signify a damn good album, then what does?
It also helps that the Berserker tour wasn't just the best concert I saw this year, it was the best concert I've seen in my entire life. If you missed it, may you die the death of a coward and never reach the hallowed halls of Valhalla.
..the drum riser was a damn Viking Helmet with glowing eyes...Thor was there...what a show.
5. Rammstein - Rammstein
Look, OK. Its Rammstein. Rammstein rules. FYS. I'm not ashamed and neither should you. This album is great. I have nothing more to say.
4. Sun 0))) - Life Metal
I have always been a huge detractor of Sun 0))), I didn't get it. Why is a 14 minute song with 1 note every 3 minutes good? I don't want to give all the credit to Steve Albini, but I'm sure that having the best producer of all time in the studio helped. Anywho, when I read that Albini had produced this I decided to give it a listen. I was trying to concentrate on something, so I figured it'd be perfect background music...and it stayed on repeat for months. I think this album made me finally "get it." Its a beautiful composition that challenges the notion of what music is. It allows you to get lost in the atmosphere created by the music, ugh, I'm beginning to sound like a Pitchfork writer... its good heavy droney doom shit. I've laid in bed listening to this album countless times and I almost always fall asleep, I'm not sure what that means, but its gotta be good.
3. Blood Incantation - Hidden History Of The Human Race
I am a damned fool, a damned fool I tell you. I had never heard of Blood Incantation until I saw them on the bill for the Immolation North American tour. I don't know how their previous release "Starspawn" escaped my ears, but it did. After interviewing Immolation, I walked into the venue as Blood Incantation was starting and proceeded to have my skull ripped open and an alien being eat the gooey insides. I immediately bought a t shirt and eagerly anticipated the release of the album that featured the 20 minute song they closed their set with. Obviously this album has become a beast, and is featured on almost every list this year, so nothing I say hasn't already been said by better writers. What an album. Blood Incantation has filled the Vektor sized hole that my sci fi loving metal head heart needed.
2. Borknagar - True North
Borknagar songwriter and mastermind Oystein Brun has recorded some of the most enchanting and critically acclaimed heavy music of all time. Yet the progressive black metal band (more progressive then black these days) somehow manages to stay underappreciated. 2018/19 was a rough year for the band, as long time vocalist Andreas Hedlund aka Vintersorg announced he was leaving the band. Vintersorg had been fronting the band for almost 20 years, but Borknagar has had more lineup changes then an Eluveitie recording session. So it should come as no surprise when long time bassist ICS Vortex stepped up to deliver the vocal performance of the decade on this album. This album is a sweeping progressive metal masterpiece about ice, snow and death. Its the kinda album that makes you wanna just stare out into fields of ice and just get lost in the snowy windswept atmosphere it creates.
1. Rotting Christ - The Heretics
The Tolis brothers have been putting out blasphemic black metal records for over 35 years and it has all been building up to this. 13 albums into their career Rotting Christ has finally released their masterpiece. Self produced and featuring a plethora of background singers, spoken word poems and percussionists, the album is a masterclass in production as much as it is in song writing. The massive undertaking of this album cannot be understated. Sakis Tolis sings in 4 different languages, creates a musical rendition Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, and weaves the whole thing together as a tribute to all those labeled as heretics throughout history. I've been listening to this album for almost a year now and I still find something new and thought provoking on each listen. Sakis reading of The Raven to close out the album as the crescendo builds behind him leaves goosebumps on my skin every damn time. Borknagar and Rotting Christ are co-headlining the Devastation On The Nation tour this year and I could not be more excited.
1. Glory Hammer - Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex
Yeah, I have two number 1 albums of the year, what you gonna do about it? Wanna fight about it?
This album is straight up goofy as hell power metal created from a DnD campaign and it ha taken my world by storm. The silliness and over the top fun of this album is something the metal world needs more of. Everyone takes themselves so seriously in our little niche world of angry loud music. So when a group of Swiss time travelling space men come along with an album that makes me laugh as much as it does makes me shout along with every word, you best believe I'm gonna fawn over it. Truth be told, it is a damn shame this album isn't more year end lists, in fact I haven't seen it on any. The music is fantastic, the vocals are Dickinson level great and it is as catchy as a record can be. Yeah...there is a lot of unicorn and hammer talk on the album, but that's a bonus in my eyes.
HOOT HOOT HOOT HOOT