2019: The Curtain Call (Jul-Dec)


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I've just turned 27, I guess if I'm lucky I'll live long enough to finish this list.

Created by: musclassia | 12.07.2019



1. Cult Of Luna - A Dawn To Fear
2019 [9.2] - CoL make a mockery of the otherwise underwhelming releases in 2019 by knocking out an 80-minute post-metal titan. Lights On The Hill, Inland Rain and The Fall are highlights of an epic tracklist.
2. Disillusion - The Liberation
2019 [8.8] - A highly accomplished return after a similarly lengthy break to Tool, the SOAD-esque side on BttToS is mainly gone, but in its place there is more of a Nordic extreme prog vibe here that I got, particularly as a result of the vocals. The music is diverse and compelling, a fantastic surprise.
3. Tool - Fear Inoculum
2019 [8.5] - Honestly, the 'all long songs' approach wasn't really necessary - some variety in approach would have been nice. However, Tool are masters of their craft, and each of these six extended tracks, particularly Pneuma and 7empest, make for rewarding listens. Nothing here to rival classic epic tracks from their previous albums such as Rosetta Stoned or Reflection, however.
4. Föllakzoid - I
2019 [8.4] - Some banging minimalist techno, 60 minutes of pure, relentless, subdued electronic beats and ambience with various different additional elements to add some variety to the persistent music base.
5. Finsterforst - Zerfall
2019 [8.4] - The Moonsorrow influences are still clear to see, but Finsterforst are continuining to grow, and deliver a colossal success in the 30+ minute epic Ecce Homo.
6. White Ward - Love Exchange Failure
2019 [8.3] - Longer and perhaps more blackgaze-y than Futility Report, but still a solid follow-up to what was an excellent debut album, with some excellent songs in the proggier second half.
7. Iamthemorning - The Bell
2019 [8.2] - Doesn't quite match the serenity of Too Many Years or the outro of Lighthouse on first listen, but another majestically dainty effort from a seriously impressive act.
8. Opeth - In Cauda Venenum
2019 [8.1] - On first listens, this is easily the best of the retrOpeth prog rock albums, with a lot of genuinely captivating music instead of the show-off frantic drums and hookless prog that was too abundant on Heritage and Sorceress.
9. Borknagar - True North
2019 [8.1] - Possibly the most melodic Borknagar have been, very vibrant-sounding and energetic record, although perhaps lacking some of the hooks at times to back up the dramatic melodicism of the vocals.
10. Omnerod - Arteries
2019 [8.1] - Solid extreme prog album with clear technical ability on display, but solid song craftmanship, and keen melodic sensibilities amongst the intensity. Good effort.
11. Grima - Will Of The Primordial
2019 [8.1] - Really solid atmos-black, perhaps a bit more melodic than some acts in the genre (particularly Panopticon, who the album artwork immediately inspired thoughts of), but without reaching anything approaching cheese.
12. Conjurer / Pijn - Curse These Metal Hands [Collaboration]
2019 [8.1] - Less nasty than Conjurer, this is more stoner/sludgy, with some heaviness still present but a bit more fuzz and groove than the intensity Conjurer typically summons up.
13. Shadow Of Intent - Melancholy
2019 [8.1] - Symphonic melodic death(core), I honestly thought this was miles ahead of the recent output by symph/death heavyweights such as Fleshgod Apocalpyse or SepticFlesh, with memorable hooks, solid growls and clean vocals, and a good audio balance so that everything doesn't blend into a mesh of blastbeats and synths.
14. The Offering - Home
2019 [8.1] - An impressive spin on the mid-00's American mainstream alt metal sound run through a Judas Priest/power metal filter, a surprising reinvigoration of a sound that felt close to the grave.
15. We Lost The Sea - Triumph & Disaster
2019 [8.1] - I think these guys have become a lot more post-rock than I remember them being with before their singer unfortunately passed, bits of this dragged but a lot of it was movingly epic.
16. Plaid - Polymer
2019 [8.1] - Enjoyably varied and well-measured IDM, with an impressive ability to build and expand songs in measured runtimes, and only really rubbing me the wrong way with its glitchier/wackier moments, most notably the in-your-face beats of Recall. All To Get Her and Crown Shy are highlights.
17. This Gift Is A Curse - A Throne Of Ash
2019 [8.1] - Intimidating, violent and sinister blackened sludge, with a somewhat industrial atmospheric opening before letting loose with an onslaught of frantic hardcore-infused sludge. The black metal influence is perhaps from the more dissonant side (Deathspell Omega), and with a bit of post-metal writing tendency, it manages to balance the hardcore assaults with occasional breathers for more mid-tempo, menacing material.
18. Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls
2019 [8.0] - Clearly 80s-inspired synthpop, I think the first half, particularly the opening couple of tracks, overshadows the second half a bit, but the piano ballad-style closer Mountains brings a nice end to proceedings.
19. Elder - The Gold & Silver Sessions
2019 [8.0] - A purely instrumental effort from the prog/stoner subgenre figureheads, this is stylistically a compilation of their dreamier, more psychedelic song segments, albeit with a bit of a kick at the end following the little organ bit. Really lush, nothing original for the genre with this particular sound but their sheer quality lifts them above the competition.
20. Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
2019 [8.0] - A fairly standard but fully enjoyable meloblack effort.
21. Mantra Machine - Heliosphere
2019 [8.0] - Been a while since I've ridden the old SMOD train, but this was linked on their home page and it's some pretty tasty and lush instrumental stoner/psychedelic rock jams, very laid back.
22. Vanishing Twin - The Age Of Immunology
2019 [8.0] - Some jazzy modern psychedelic pop, carried by the freeness of the instrumentation and the gentle, yet slightly aching vocals.
23. Immortal Bird - Thrive On Neglect
2019 [7.9] - Some ripping death metal drawing some influence from grind, sludge and black, but operating with a relentless savagery throughout most of its time. Also got some nice Gojira squeals in there.
24. Gatecreeper - Deserted
2019 [7.9] - Gnarly thrashy OSDM, very much of its genre but got meaty riffs.
25. Como Asesinar a Felipes - Naturaleza Muerta
2019 [7.8] - A brief but enjoyable jazz/hip-hop fusion album, with intelligent guest vocals from Chino Moreno and an intriguing interlude/song-interweaved tracklist.
26. Mgła - Age Of Excuse
2019 [7.8] - Like this band plays black metal really well, but it's a very typical black metal sound, I do get surprised how wildly people love them. Good stuff again though.
27. Jenny Hval - The Practice Of Love
2019 [7.8] - I could maybe do with a bit less of the spoken word, and the first couple of tracks are definitely my favourite, but I like the slightly trancy approach to synthpop, particularly on Lions, with its nice ascending/descending vocal lines, simple but effective beats and spoken word/sung vocal interplay. It's an interesting combination of simplicity and a certain degree of complexity, all through a pleasing art/synthpop filter.
28. Mizmor - Cairn
2019 [7.8] - Not sure the album quite lives up to the artwork, but this is some imposing drone-infused blackened doom, with stretches of dark ambience/noise, big, slow funeral doom-esque riffs, and nasty black metal edges.
29. Nazca Space Fox - Pi
2019 [7.8] - Enjoyable instrumental stoner rock, rocky but also smooth with some nice noodly guitar work.
30. Sumatran Black - Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut
2019 [7.8] - A really solid space ambient EP that effectively invokes at different times the curiousity and fear that many of us feel towards the black emptiness and mysteries of space.
31. Electric Youth - Memory Emotion
2019 [7.8] - A deft combination of synthwave and dream pop, carried by delicate, husky vocals delivering effective vocal melodies that complement the electronic instrumentation, whether weighted more towards the Drive soundtrack sound or more dreamy, poppy approaches.
32. Vorna - Sateet Palata Saavat
2019 [7.7] - Enjoyable folky meloblack, but nothing beyond the ordinary.
33. Chelsea Wolfe - Birth Of Violence
2019 [7.7] - Very pleasant melancholic folk, gets perhaps a bit too one-note across the whole runtime but it does that note very nicely.
34. Car Bomb - Mordial
2019 [7.7] - Absolutely frenetic, nasty AF album, I can definitely enjoy parts of it, but as a sustained listen it's pretty draining. The versatility is impressive though; the melodic parts such as those on Vague Skies come across nicely, whilst the 'pew pew' sounds are just funny.
35. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest
2019 [7.7] - A cool reinterpretation of the thrash/Motorhead sound, although the best track here is the stoner doom song 'Superbug'.
36. The Utopia Strong - The Utopia Strong
2019 [7.7] - Snooker legend/electronic musician Steve Davis makes his big musical debut as part of this psychedelic ambient electronic trio. I didn't love it, but it was very listenable, and with a song like Brainsurgeons 3, an intriguing exercise in serene ambience with a somewhat disorienting psychedelic approach distorting the vibe.
37. Arctic Sleep - Kindred Spirits
2019 [7.7] - Still maintains that curiously lush warm-melancholic vibe of Passage of Gaia, and has more variety in terms of approach to that album, but on the flip side it has less memorability, which may be partly a result of its extensive runtime.
38. False - Portent
2019 [7.6] - A fairly conventional 'epic' black metal album, with some long, blast-intensive songs, cold BM riffs, nice melodic breaks and segments, and dramatic synths. Perfectly enjoyable but doesn't necessarily add on what others have done before. The artwork however is pretty ace though.
39. Dekadent - The Nemean Ordeal
2019 [7.6] - Not a huge drop in songwriting quality from the superior Veritas in 2015, but the poor production really undersells it in a number of places.
40. Russian Circles - Blood Year
2019 [7.6] - Given their high standing in the genre, I've never been particularly won over by Russian Circles. This is a solid album, with some choice cuts bookending it; however, it remains a relatively underwhelming experience compared with some of their other contemporaries of similar renown in the post-metal sphere. Quartered is a stand out track.
41. Killswitch Engage - Atonement
2019 [7.5] - More of the same, but perfectly enjoyable and scratches the itch I want KSE to. Not as good as Disarm the Descent, but comparable to Incarnate.
42. E-an-na - Nesfârşite
2019 [7.5] - Slightly preferred this to Dirty Shirt's album from this year (which I'm comparing to because I'm lazy), some of the heavier parts I felt could have been toned down a bit to fit the sound more, but the folkier parts were generally pretty enjoyable, and there's some satisfying grooves across the album.
43. CFCF - Living Colours
2019 [7.5] - New age/drum n' bass easy-listening music designed as a soundtrack of a consumerist utopia; a few irritating moments pop up throughout, but in general it is an incredibly pleasant an uncontroversial listen.
44. Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild
2019 [7.5] - An eclectic experimental electronic-industrial album with songs that would fit in nicely at Ibiza clubs alongside others leaning more in the direction of Death Grips at times.
45. Wormwood - Nattarvet
2019 [7.4] - Meloblack with a bit of a viking vibe at times, and a Saor-esque folkier side at others. It's nice to listen to, and the clean vocals are enjoyable, but I didn't quite find myself getting pulled in by the songs. There's definite talent but I think there's also real room to further develop, like I feel Saor did this year.
46. State Faults - Clairvoyant
2019 [7.3] - Some decent post-hardcore, with its fair share of frantic screamo alongside some more delicate moments, inspired at different times by post-rock and indie.
47. Gloryhammer - Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex
2019 [7.2] - Epic cheese power metal, but not too shabby.
48. Sleeping Giant - Sleeping Giant
2019 [7.2] - Decent stoner rock with some meaty fuzz to the riffs.
49. Husbandry - A Port In A Storm
2019 [7.2] - Another good post-hardcore/math rock album, I give State Faults the edge due to the somewhat flat production here, but this arguably has better vocals, as well as some interesting songwriting directions that manage to be diverse yet coherent.
50. Hatriot - From Days Unto Darkness
2019 [7.2] - Effective thrash metal with Steve Souza-style vocals, which is probably not surprising given his son is the singer. It's very much 80's worship, but it's reasonable enough for what it is.
51. Pelican - Nighttime Stories
2019 [7.1] - Has some really neat moments, particularly in the opening and closing couple of tracks; however, the fully instrumental approach does mean it lacks a bit of direction at times, instead coming across as meandering chugging. The title track in particular is a bit of a turgid affair. Generally, however, it makes for a decent listen with a few highlights.
52. Barker - Utility
2019 [6.9] - On the face of it, ambient techno sounded right up my street. Unfortunately, I feel a few of the songs leant either too far towards the ambient side, or more commonly and irksomely towards the electronic side with a somewhat glitchy approach. The songs where these approaches were both employed together were the standouts, particularly Hedonic Treadmill.
53. The Contortionist - Our Bones
2019 [6.8] - Somewhat underwhelming considering how much Clairvoyant captivated/captivates me, Early Grave and Hollow are fine but not jawdropping, and the Smashing Pumpkins cover they chose is far from my favourite song by that band.
54. Leprous - Pitfalls
2019 [6.7] - Leprous become the Einar Solberg Project, with the guitars and drums sitting in the background whilst vocals and electronics dominate on an album that regularly treads the line between rock and a more 'dark pop' approach. There are some interesting moments and appreciable songs that come out of this change in approach, but I didn't like this nearly as much as I expected. The simplistic approach and melodramatic choruses of Below and Alleviate ring slightly hollow compared to previous singles like From The Flame and Illuminate, whilst the likes of Observe The Train and Distant Bells don't really offer up much in the way of reward. At The Bottom finishes nicely, and The Sky Is Red is an effective closer far more in line with past efforts, but as a whole this was not an inspiring listen.
55. 2814 - Lost Fragments
2019 [6.6] - Pleasant but somewhat monotonous ambient electronica produced by a collaboration between prominent vaporwave musicians. Nice background music but a bit gradual for a more focused listen.
56. Torche - Admission
2019 [6.4] - Sludge with a whole lot of 90's alt rock/heavy rock. I enjoyed some of the more melodic cuts, such as the title track, but I did find it had a tendency to be a bit flat and repetitive, and the vocals sadly undersold some parts, only truly convincing me on the title track.
57. For Tracy Hyde - New Young City
2019 [6.3] - A combination of indie rock/pop (something I've never been particularly keen on) with vocals that, whether due to my own prejudices or real musical similarity, remind me a lot of anime soundtrack music; it's interesting, but not something I particularly care to listen to again.
58. Blood Stain Child - Amateras
2019 [6.2] - I don't know whether it's that I'm 27 instead of 18, or whether not having the great singer from the last album has really hampered things (definitely to some degree), but whilst a lot of the components on Epsilon are still present, the overall product just doesn't compare. It's missing the hooks and infectiousness of that album, but it's still listenable.
59. Cosmonauts - Star 69
2019 [6.1] - Psychedelic/garage rock with some nice instrumentation, but dreary 90's alt rock-style vocals that completely killed my interest.
60. Northlane - Alien
2019 [5.8] - I have an affinity for melodic metalcore even today, but haven't ever been particularly won over by Northlane, although I didn't mind Mesmer. This album is a clear step towards a more melodic, accessible sound compared with their previous efforts, with some danceable electronics in play. That by itself isn't necessarily a bad thing for me; however, the music in general on this album didn't particularly appeal or inspire.
61. Neoandertals - Neanderthal Parallax
2019 [4.8] - Sadly, for a 20-odd minute album, I found this to be a long and tedious listen. I understand it has the image of being primitive, and the rough production may play into it (and may also be a recording limitation, that I also understand), but from the opening seconds of 'Birth of the Enemy of Man', I am completely disengaged by both the production and instrumentation, which is a chore to decipher and would be personally unappealing even with a 'better' production. 'Night' is a particularly repetitive and irritating cut, which makes it odd to me that it's the auto-selected song when you open this song on Bandcamp.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments: 2   Visited by: 25 users
12.07.2019 - 21:38
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I'll be following this

Closely
----
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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12.07.2019 - 22:37
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 12.07.2019 at 21:38

I'll be following this

Closely


In which case I'll make sure to misspell as many albums as possible to ruin the linking
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