The Best Death Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2019


Total votes:
934



Very rarely does a death metal album sound so technical but so formless at the same time. On A Beacon In The Husk, Abyssal take what should be some cavernous death metal and peel away all of the slime and the murkiness from the production; what is left is a husk of chaotic and otherworldly death metal that feels like the opposite of claustrophobic instead. With some atmosphere that takes some getting used to, it actually makes it a lot easier to tell apart the intricacies within the music than the usual cavernous sound one would expect from it.

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Blood Incantation's second LP may not be as guitar-driven as Starspawn - in the sense that it has so much more juice to enjoy than just guitar riffs and solos - but it still hits hard enough to open a portal to another dimension. Hidden History Of The Human Race embraces you with its old-school nostalgia, it awes you with its technical proficiency, it expands your mind with its progressive complexity, and, finally, it mesmerises you with its alien ambiance.

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Cattle Decapitation continue down the path they've been walking with their last two albums, with progressively increasing prominence of Travis Ryan's creepy 'clean' vocals and ambition in their songwriting, most notably on the lengthy title track. However, the same chop-change song structures, blasting drums, savage riffs, and nasty guitar leads from previous outings are still present in abundance, and the whole gamut of Ryan's impressive extreme metal vocal range is provided ample opportunity to shine once again.

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Continuing Finland's tradition of producing death metal that often strays really far into the doom side of the spectrum, with some glacially slow moments that feel almost funeral-doom-like, Krypts made Cadaver Circulation a colossally heavy slab of oppressive atmospheric Perkele death-doom. It can crush you when it's slow, and it can crush you when it's fast. Bottom line is: it will crush you.

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After three albums in as many years, Memoriam is shoving younger death metal bands into the pavement with the muscle of a linebacker half its members' age. Boasting legends Bolt Thrower and Benediction as two of its parent bands, Memoriam comes across as a combination of the two: raw and grindy on one end, mountainous and armor-plated on the other. On Requiem For Mankind, the production has taken a massive leap forward from The Silent Vigil, at last bringing out the low end necessary for those Bolt Thrower moments to shine, and Karl Willetts projects a lot more energy in his vocals. You'll have to go back to Those Once Loyal to find another example of such pure, brutal, heavy-feeling death metal.

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Nearly 30 years after their legendary album The Key, space death metal pioneers Nocturnus return revamped as Nocturnus AD with Paradox, as good a "comeback album" as any. With drummer/vocalist Mike Browning now at the helm, Paradox may not be an exact replication of the old-school Nocturnus sound, but it comes pretty damn close. With off-kilter, technical riffs, excellent drumming from Browning, and the signature spacey, synth-heavy atmosphere, Paradox is a definite return to form for Nocturnus, and it's great to have them back in town.

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Deformation Of Humanity is the album that Phlebotomized should have released after Immense Intense Suspense. It features this familiarly creepy and nightmarish atmosphere enhanced by the frequent use of keyboards and brings into play melancholic melodies strengthened by piano and violin parts, as well as symphonic passages. All these elements dance together in perfect sync to create a gloomy, depressive mood. With only Tom Palms from the original line-up left in the band, this studio return after 22 years sounds invigorating and engaging enough to be considered a successful comeback worthy of Phlebotomized's reputation.

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Dwell is a challenging, one-song EP, in which Suffering Hour's complex and progressive brand of blackened death metal is laced with dissonant harmonies and monstrous riffs with an atmosphere that is unhinged, compelling, and claustrophobic. The songwriting is inspired and unconventional, maintaining a certain illusion of order in its anxiety-provoking and chaotic extremity.

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Is this what it sounds like in Hell? Quite possibly. With The Baneful Choir, the monstrous Spanish duo known as Teitanblood has returned, once again spewing forth its grotesque, cavernous, blackened death metal machinations for a truly punishing, nightmarish experience. It's sort of like watching a volcanic eruption from up close, knowing you're too close in range to ever escape but still unable to stop watching with a sort of horrified fascination. If you're down for filthy, unrelenting jamz, do not pass this one up.

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VLTIMAS features in its ranks an extreme metal all-star team and their debut is a fast and relentless death metal punch in the face, with riffs that keep coming at you showing no sign of mercy. Rune Eriksen's (ex-Mayhem, Aura Noir) playing offers a blackened and sometimes dissonant edge in the riffing, while there is a balance between power chords and tremolo-picking. The drumming is so insanely good that all you can do is just sit back and admire what Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy) accomplishes here. And, finally, David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel) sounds more aggressive and focused than he has been for a long time. What more can you ask for from a death metal album?

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