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Thrashman

2019 Top Ten

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Yours?

(feel free to hold off on posting if it's too early for you :))

01 Krypts - Cadaver Circulation
02 None - Damp Chill Of Life
03 Malignant Altar - Retribution Of Jealous Gods
04 Blood Incantation - Hidden History Of The Human Race
05 Disentomb - The Decaying Light
06 Memoriam - Requiem For Mankind
07 Vltimas ‎– Something Wicked Marches In
08 Mortiferum - Disgorged From Psychotic Depths
09 Kever - Primordial Offerings
10 Zohamah - Spread My Ashes

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On 11/19/2019 at 4:45 PM, Thrashman said:

Yours?

(feel free to hold off on posting if it's too early for you :))

01 Krypts - Cadaver Circulation
02 None - Damp Chill Of Life
03 Malignant Altar - Retribution Of Jealous Gods
04 Blood Incantation - Hidden History Of The Human Race
05 Disentomb - The Decaying Light
06 Memoriam - Requiem For Mankind
07 Vltimas ‎– Something Wicked Marches In
08 Mortiferum - Disgorged From Psychotic Depths
09 Kever - Primordial Offerings
10 Zohamah - Spread My Ashes

End of year list in November?

Ridiculous, thread locked.  Opens again last week of December (when the year is ending).

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Quite a big year for metal, although every year is these days when I have so many mandatory-listening bands.

Rotting Christ – ‘The Heretics’, Amon Amarth – ‘Berzerker’ and Darkthrone – ‘Old Star’ significantly underwhelmed.

Other releases like Swallow the Sun – ‘When a Shadow is Forced Into the Light’, Turilli/Leone Rhapsody – ‘Zero Gravity’ and even Children of Bodom – ‘Hexed’ were unlucky to miss a spot in my Top 10, but the former was too bland and the latter two were too light on without staying power. 

Jury’s still out on Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra – ‘Legacy of the Dark Land’, the all symphonic fantasy novel epic that’s just come out, but as much as I really like it, I know it’s not going to make my Top 10.

Requiem’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

10. Sabaton – ‘The Great War’

I wasn’t sure about this one. It felt wrong to include this. It’s cartoon metal, it’s corny, it’s history for dumb-asses, but it’s oh so much fun. Fist pumping, rousing, emotional and catchy, this is brilliant. Not sure of its longevity though as it’s real fast-food metal, but damn a cheeseburger can be great sometimes. Put this on after a shite day at work in the car on the way home and your problems are solved. That means a lot. Avoid the ‘History Edition’ with someone’s granny trying to sound tough with lame narration. Terrible. Also a pretty dodgy album cover too but it's alright for a cartoon.

9. Kampfar – ‘Ofidians Manifest’

After taking a cold shower at the conclusion of the Sabaton assessment, I can now get into this absolute gem. Emotional black metal with real authenticity and meaning, it’s full of great moments and genuine songwriting passion (Rotting Christ take note). 8 parts black, 2 parts folk, the inclusion of (nekro) piano here and there gives it flavour and nuance. Fantastic album cover of the Rubens ‘Medusa’ classic painting.

8. The 69 Eyes – ‘West End’

The 69’ers know exactly who they are and what they do, and I love what it is they do. This is probably their best album of gothic rock since 2004’s ‘Devils’ album. Modern vampire anthems from the Sunset Strip like ’27 and Done’ and ‘Outsiders’ have me wearing sunglasses at night. Producer and keyboardist Johnny Lee Michaels gives them that mature sensibility that just works so well for the Helsinki Vampires. Cool album cover; the black balloons are actually a full-on sculpture. Very nice.

7. Mgla – ‘Age of Excuse’

This took a long time to grow on me to the extent that I went from liking it to loving it. I was, and still am, entirely enraptured with ‘Exercises in Futility’, and this definitely doesn’t stack up to that masterpiece, but it has the same aura, structure and production, basically, just without some of the huge hooks of that former album. Is it my imagination or are the lyrics a little more opaque, too? Still an amazing album that continues to develop for me. Artwork gets some stick around here, but I think it’s cool.

6. Vltimas – ‘Something Wicked Marches In’

This was a big surprise for me – not just the music, but the idea of it. The recipe was nearly perfect: Dave Vincent, the mighty Blasphemer and Flo: what could go wrong? Blasphemer’s songwriting is close enough to his era in Mayhem to get me powerfully aroused, Vincent sounds huge, and the songs just work as units of music. I’m punching air fists everywhere. ‘Last Ones Alive Win Nothing’ could be my song of the year. God, it's so damn sinister. Excellent album art that suits the band and the sound, even if it is done by that flavour of the month guy with the impossible to spell name.

5. Borknagar – ‘True North’

With Vintersorg stepping aside, I knew this would still be an amazing album, with Vortex and Lars doing all the vocals themselves. This could well be my favourite Borknagar album ever. The production is absolutely perfect, the songs are achingly beautiful, the vocals are stellar and there’s a sense of meaning and philosophy behind the whole project that provides Truth. Possibly the album cover of the year.

4. Saor – ‘Forgotten Paths’

Andy Marshall’s Scottish black/folk metal project is metal’s greatest hidden secret. While this is strangely a full 20 minutes shorter in length than previous album ‘Guardians’, which is one of my all-time favourite albums, this still contains those Celtic melodies that pull at the heart strings and the DNA strands. Even with the shorter running time it’s a touch repetitive, even for me, but as a package the whole thing is stunningly beautiful. What an achievement. Cool illustrated album cover.

3. Fleshgod Apocalypse – ‘Veleno’

This is the first of the three albums that in any given year could take out the number one spot. You hear a lot of bollocks about FA online, but the fact is, the genius behind this band and their death metal/symphony orchestra staggers me every time. ‘Veleno’ is slightly more straightforward and listenable to my ears, and the concept of ‘poison’ that runs through each song is genius. I’ve used that word twice now and I stand behind it. This album moves me on a profound level. Interesting and very strange album artwork. I think I like it.

2. Mayhem – ‘Daemon’

Yes, well, here we are. It’s no secret that Mayhem are my favourite all time band, and it’s no secret that I really didn’t like ‘Esoteric Borefare’. I hung internet shit on Teloch as well. I owe him and the band an apology, because this album is unbelievable. For me to love this album this much after being very sceptical of the line-up and the whole deal says a lot. The thing about ‘Daemon’ is that it’s REAL. It’s not over-mastered, it’s not over-produced, it’s not a cut-price job. It’s authentic, varied, deep, darkly catchy and with no corners cut. Hats fucking off. Cool album cover and fantastic media book art package.

1. Eluveitie – ‘Ategnatos’

Speaking of albums done right. This is by far the greatest Eluveitie album. It’s long as hell but never boring: it has some of the greatest folk melodies on traditional instruments I’ve ever heard; some of the catchiest commercial metal anthems ever; and songs that out Behemoth Behemoth in their dark ferocity (check out 'Worship' - Nergal must be crying to his mamma). I was worried about the replacement female vocalist, Fabienne, because I simply loved Anna’s voice, but dammit if Fabienne isn’t better! Where the hell does Chrigel find these people? Best folk metal album of all time and best album of the year. Beautiful album art of that waterfall from the ‘Ategnatos’ video and majestic booklet in my mediabook edition.

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10. Dead Witches - The Final Exorcism

I've been following Mark Greening ever since he left Electric Wizard and enjoyed his previous band Ramesses immensly. With Dead Witches he opted for a more classic approach to doom metal although with female vocals this time. With the second album The Final Exorcism they tick all the boxes for me when it comes to doom metal. Fuzzy and heavy guitars and groovy riffs? Check. Lush and loose drumming? Check. Distorted vocals and occult lyrics? Check. Dead Witches hardly reinvented the (doom) wheel here, but they do what they do so perfectly that you don't mind. If you were disappointed with Electric Wizard's recent output you might want to check out Dead Witches instead.

 

9. Mayhem -Daemon

After years of more experimental musical pathways the original bad boys from Norway return to their roots and go for a simple and straight forward approach. And for the most part it actually works out pretty well. The production and songs sound like they could have come straight out of '94. Also love the subtle use of keyboards on some tracks and there are some juicy riffs which sound somewhat Thorns inspired at times. Another unexpected comeback from a band that was somewhat forgotten these last few years.

 

8. Mork - Det Svarte Juv

This man doesn't seem to slow down and with his latest album he lands another touchdown. I love the mid paced approach and the way this band sounds like they were frozen in '93 and just came out of cryogenic stasis and continued like nothing has changed. This is traditional Norwegian black metal at it's finest and purest form. If Mork can keep up this level of quality then we have a lot to look forward to.

 

7. Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen

This one caught me really off guard since Vindsal pretty much abanonded his old school roots a long time ago, except for the occasional Memoria Vetusta album. But on this album we are treated to some truely superb songs with tons of infectious riffs and melodies. If you close your eyes you'd almost swear you are hearing the first two albums only with a much more refined sound. If this is the future for Blut Aus Nord then i look forward to hearing more!

 

6. Strigoi - Abandon all Faith

Another suprise release, this time by Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost fame. I never really warmed up to Vallenfyre but with Strigoi Mackintosch manages to hit the spot exactly. A fine mixture of death, black, doom and crust elements which come together like a perfect storm. Also props for Waltteri Väyrynen for putting down some deadly drums on this release. This album contains something for everyone, wether it be fast tracks like Noctural Vermin or the doomy and epic Carved into the Skin. A most pleasant experience from beginning to end.

 

5. Abigail Williams - Walk Beyond the Dark

The road of Abigail Williams has been a long and rocky one. From being labelled deathcore in the beginning to Dimmu Borgir clones later on. Luckily with the last few releases Abigail Wiliams has finally carved a path for themselves in the USBM scene. The latest release Walk Beyond the Dark is the culmination of all that hard work. Ken Sorceron brings us a perfectly balanced album with the harsher black metal elements merging perfectly with the softer and more relaxed passages that were missing on previous releases. In essence this is all you can wish from a black metal band in my opinion. There is diversity and plenty of elements for everyone to enjoy.

 

4. Kampfar - Ofidians Manifest

Kampfar came back in a big way with their latest album. They have been on steady rise ever since Mare and with this album they hit their peak once again. Like on previous releases Dolk manages to infuse the black metal sound with just enough folk elements to give it a unique and grand sound unlike any other black metal band i know. I think i prefer Profan slightly over this release, but still this a very valiant effort by Kampfar after quite a long period of uncertainty and they have proven their worth once again. Black metal wouldn't be the same without this band.

 

3. Abbath - Outstrider

For a man who has to endure so much shit on a professional and personal level you have to commend Abbath for delivering such an incredible sophomore album. Expectations were pretty low after the mediocre debut album but he's proven the doubters wrong with Outsider. Taking a more old school first wave black metal approach Abbath creates some of his most memorable tunes. If you had doubts about the man his musical capabilites then Outstrider will prove you wrong. Tracks like Harvest Pyre like Calm In Ire of Hurricane grab you by the throat and won't let you go. I'll have some more of this, please!

 

2. Borknagar - True North

Just when you thought they couldn't top their previous album Winter Thrice these boys prove you wrong again. Where i almost wrote them off a few years ago i can now only stand in awe of their latest accomplishment. ICS Vortex effortlessly takes over Vindsal's position as the lead singer and manages to sound just as grandiose. Once again we are treated to some epic anthems like only Borknagar can create. Especially the track Voices has grown on me and shows the huge diversity of this band. Without a doubt the crowning achievement of their career so far. Words can't do this album enough justice. You just have to experience it yourself.

 

1. Sarke - Gastwerso

It's truely astonishing to see the growth of Sarke in the last few years. Where as the first few releases were somewhat straight forward black 'n roll release they somehow went through some kind of growth spurth with their last three releases. Gone is the basic black 'n roll sound and instead we are introduced to some of the most unique and diverse sounds within black metal, if you can even call it that. No two tracks sound the same and it's been a long time since Nocturno Culto's vocals sounded so good. If this the way that Sarke is going to continue then i can't wait to see what's next. For me this has been the release of the year without a doubt. 

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Unfortunately, I, as usual, failed to listen to any large number of new releases this year.  However, there were a few albums that came out that I thought were noteworthy, and very enjoyable.  I will add more if I think of any.  Here is my list (though it does not reach the desired "top ten"):

1: Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes - Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes

This band quickly became one of my favorites, so I was extremely excited when I found out that they would be releasing a full length album for the first time.  While this ended up being more of a best-of compilation than a full length, I still greatly enjoyed it.  It contains some of their best material, and was produced in a beautiful format (nice art design, and a great booklet with lyrics).

2:  Racial Superiority - Zyklon SS

I don't really understand where the title of this album came from, as the content seems to be more religious than racial (the band is not a ns project).  Despite this confusion, the music is awesome.  It is dark, atmospheric, and oppressive heavy industrial/power electronics music by one of the best active projects.  it has a great use of samples, well-placed vocals, and great cover art.

3: "YSY" - Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes

Yes, another of their releases.  This was an interesting single-track ep.  While short, I thought it was evocative.  The music perfectly matched the underlying concept of kamikaze pilots.  Honestly, it is the first case of atmospheric grindcore that I have ever encountered, and for that reason, it is remarkable.

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I really hope Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes had a few more albums out this year so that you can finish your list Balers. [emoji6]
[mention=11164]Balor[/mention]
They also did an ep (I think) this year, but it was not as good as the two I listed.

Honestly, this year, I tried to listen to so many things (both old and new) that I never spent any real time with the biggest metal releases. The new Blut Aus Nord has been on my list of stuff to listen to for a while, and I still have not listened to anything beyond the promo track for the new Mayhem album.

Luckily, I have some free time coming up, so I should be able to fix this problem.

Sent from my SM-S327VL using Tapatalk

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9 hours ago, Balor said:

They also did an ep (I think) this year, but it was not as good as the two I listed.

Honestly, this year, I tried to listen to so many things (both old and new) that I never spent any real time with the biggest metal releases. The new Blut Aus Nord has been on my list of stuff to listen to for a while, and I still have not listened to anything beyond the promo track for the new Mayhem album.

Luckily, I have some free time coming up, so I should be able to fix this problem.

Sent from my SM-S327VL using Tapatalk
 

Get on to that Mayhem album. It’s going to make your day. 

I feel like I need to hear the new BAN album as I haven’t heard anything from them since ‘The Work Which Transforms God’ which I found a little too clever and not much fun. Actually it’s been years since I’ve played that disk so I should give it another spin and see how I feel. 

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4 hours ago, Requiem said:

I feel like I need to hear the new BAN album as I haven’t heard anything from them since ‘The Work Which Transforms God’ which I found a little too clever and not much fun. Actually it’s been years since I’ve played that disk so I should give it another spin and see how I feel. 

Hallucinogen is pretty different from that album. I guess one could tease out conceptual similarities but it's a different facet of their sound, more like the Memoria Vetusta albums but lighter. It's very melodic, lots of psych rock and post-rock atmospheres, gobs of lovely clean chanting vocals. Screams and other violent tendencies are pushed to the background. I wouldn't even call it black metal. I love it, anyway.

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41 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

Hallucinogen is pretty different from that album. I guess one could tease out conceptual similarities but it's a different facet of their sound, more like the Memoria Vetusta albums but lighter. It's very melodic, lots of psych rock and post-rock atmospheres, gobs of lovely clean chanting vocals. Screams and other violent tendencies are pushed to the background. I wouldn't even call it black metal. I love it, anyway.

The chanted vocals sound really interesting, and your description makes it seem reminiscent of 777 - Cosmosophy. 

5 hours ago, Requiem said:

Get on to that Mayhem album. It’s going to make your day. 

I feel like I need to hear the new BAN album as I haven’t heard anything from them since ‘The Work Which Transforms God’ which I found a little too clever and not much fun. Actually it’s been years since I’ve played that disk so I should give it another spin and see how I feel. 

I will make sure to listen to the Mayhem album soon!

You seriously didn't like that Blut Aus Nord album?  I agree that it probably was not his best, but it did have a pretty cool atmosphere and some interesting riffs.

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Right, here's my list for 2019:

10 - Candlemass - Door to Doom

It has had limited plays since I reviewed it but each visit makes me smile still, if for nothing more than the sheer, unadulterated metalness of it all.  Balances riffs and atmospherics well throughout but does suffer from very similar starts to the tracks and that ballad is fucking awful.

9 - Mortiferum - Disgorged From Psychotic Depths

Time is probably the main reason this doesn't chart higher as I have not had much opportunity to sit with it really.  The few listens I have given it have seen me nod very appreciatively on each spin.  Captures that Finnish density to death metal perfectly, even though the band is American.

8 - Borknagar - True North

What Borknagar have become over the course of a near quarter of a century is astonishing and True North encapsulates this journey perfectly.  The haunting melancholy of the vocals, the vast structures to the songs and the quality of the songwriting all make this a brilliant experience.  Lacks a bit of punch in some places but makes up for it with the ethereal beauty of tracks like Voices which I could play endlessly for days on its own.

7 - Mystik - s/t

Speed metal makes an unexpected appearance on 2019's list.  I found this on a random flick through the internet one Sunday and I have found myself coming back to it over and over again.  It has a goofy charm to it that is like a warm hug from the eighties for anyone sat in their leather pants and bullet belts listening to this.

6 - Vltimas - Something Wicked Marches In

The quality of the musicianship and songwriting here has not really been touched by much of anything else in death metal this year.  With a line-up such as this I can hardly act surprised but still one of the best things Vincent, Mounier and Eriksen have ever done outside of their respective achievements with other bands over the years.

5 - Mizmor - Cairn 

Probably had this down for a top three slot at one point before the rest of the year turned up and knocked it down to mid-place in the rankings.  Still has howls colder than a witch's tit and a cloying allure to proceedings that is as terrifying as it is appealing at the same time.

4 - Lingua Ignota - Caligula

The most ugly and at the same time most emotionally charged record I have heard this year.  It isn't metal really - in fact it is genre defying - but it inhabits the darkest corners of the human psyche calling out the worst behaviours humans are capable of and laying bare before the listener the tragic outcomes of such acts.

3 - Overkill - The Wings of War

I have played this to death for the first part of the year.  Not withstanding the fact that it is far from perfect, the main appeal here is how much fucking fun is to listen to.  It sounds like a band younger than the years Overkill have in the ranks nowadays and energises the listener as well.

2 - Memoriam - Requiem for Mankind

Although I am late to the Memoriam party, I think I have discovered them as they really hit their stride.  Imagine all the best bits of Bolt Thrower with some added groove and your on the right page with this.  More please.

1- Immortal Bird - Thrive on Neglect

I still fucking love this almost undefinable opus of multi-faceted genre influence all balled into a frenzied and furious maelstrom of in-your-fucking-fat-face metal.  It is monstrous as much as it is energised.  A band I have followed for a few years who have earned their props and earned the top spot on my list also.

 

 

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On 12/13/2019 at 3:33 AM, Benjaminc81 said:

4. Kampfar - Ofidians Manifest

Kampfar came back in a big way with their latest album. They have been on steady rise ever since Mare and with this album they hit their peak once again. Like on previous releases Dolk manages to infuse the black metal sound with just enough folk elements to give it a unique and grand sound unlike any other black metal band i know. I think i prefer Profan slightly over this release, but still this a very valiant effort by Kampfar after quite a long period of uncertainty and they have proven their worth once again. Black metal wouldn't be the same without this band.

 

This is a really good album, especially the final three tracks, 'Eremitt', 'Skamlos!' and 'Det Sorte' (which has a great atmospheric keyboard outro). These three songs just make the album for me. So mature yet also so genuinely headbangable. Glad to see it so high on your list! 

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On 12/16/2019 at 1:13 AM, MacabreEternal said:
Right, here's my list for 2019:

10 - Candlemass - Door to Doom

It has had limited plays since I reviewed it but each visit makes me smile still, if for nothing more than the sheer, unadulterated metalness of it all.  Balances riffs and atmospherics well throughout but does suffer from very similar starts to the tracks and that ballad is fucking awful.

9 - Mortiferum - Disgorged From Psychotic Depths

Time is probably the main reason this doesn't chart higher as I have not had much opportunity to sit with it really.  The few listens I have given it have seen me nod very appreciatively on each spin.  Captures that Finnish density to death metal perfectly, even though the band is American.

8 - Borknagar - True North

What Borknagar have become over the course of a near quarter of a century is astonishing and True North encapsulates this journey perfectly.  The haunting melancholy of the vocals, the vast structures to the songs and the quality of the songwriting all make this a brilliant experience.  Lacks a bit of punch in some places but makes up for it with the ethereal beauty of tracks like Voices which I could play endlessly for days on its own.

7 - Mystik - s/t

Speed metal makes an unexpected appearance on 2019's list.  I found this on a random flick through the internet one Sunday and I have found myself coming back to it over and over again.  It has a goofy charm to it that is like a warm hug from the eighties for anyone sat in their leather pants and bullet belts listening to this.

6 - Vltimas - Something Wicked Marches In

The quality of the musicianship and songwriting here has not really been touched by much of anything else in death metal this year.  With a line-up such as this I can hardly act surprised but still one of the best things Vincent, Mounier and Eriksen have ever done outside of their respective achievements with other bands over the years.

5 - Mizmor - Cairn 

Probably had this down for a top three slot at one point before the rest of the year turned up and knocked it down to mid-place in the rankings.  Still has howls colder than a witch's tit and a cloying allure to proceedings that is as terrifying as it is appealing at the same time.

4 - Lingua Ignota - Caligula

The most ugly and at the same time most emotionally charged record I have heard this year.  It isn't metal really - in fact it is genre defying - but it inhabits the darkest corners of the human psyche calling out the worst behaviours humans are capable of and laying bare before the listener the tragic outcomes of such acts.

3 - Overkill - The Wings of War

I have played this to death for the first part of the year.  Not withstanding the fact that it is far from perfect, the main appeal here is how much fucking fun is to listen to.  It sounds like a band younger than the years Overkill have in the ranks nowadays and energises the listener as well.

2 - Memoriam - Requiem for Mankind

Although I am late to the Memoriam party, I think I have discovered them as they really hit their stride.  Imagine all the best bits of Bolt Thrower with some added groove and your on the right page with this.  More please.

1- Immortal Bird - Thrive on Neglect

I still fucking love this almost undefinable opus of multi-faceted genre influence all balled into a frenzied and furious maelstrom of in-your-fucking-fat-face metal.  It is monstrous as much as it is energised.  A band I have followed for a few years who have earned their props and earned the top spot on my list also.

 

 

 

 

Nice representation of female vocals with Lingua Ignota, Immortal Bird & Mystik.

 

Re Mystik: I picked this up from NWN. If speed is your thing, Stormwarrior & Riot City released my fave speed metal albums of 2019.

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Here it is, the one you've all been waiting for. Top 3 are clear, the rest are not in order. 

1. Pulchra Morte: Divine Autem Et Aniles: 

Their 2018 cover of Paradise Lost's "The Painless" piqued my interest and 'Divine Autem Et Aniles' certainly brings lots of Gothic-era PL influence to the table.   Transcribed as "Beautiful Death: Godless and Divine"", this is a massive sounding album providing a really good blend of death, doom, groove and atmospheric guitar harmonies (strongly reminiscent of Paradise Lost's Gothic album). Subtle hints of Bolt Thrower too. The album pacing is superb, songs and sounds getting the time to breath they deserve. Death doom 90s style hasn't been done this well since.....well the 90s. One of my favourite releases of the year: 

Choice Cuts: "Give No More" & "Black Ritual"

2. Wormwitch: Heaven That Dwells Within.

Melodic, folk-tinged black metal with a really strong grounding in traditional metal. Weird combination on paper but the application results in one of 2019's best releases. Worship the riff. Worship the feel. Worship the atmosphere. A beautiful album and superb album cover. Wonderful production. Notable influence from Tribulation, Emperor and Watain, but built on your basic heavy metal platform.

Choice Cuts: "Disciple of the Serpent Star", "Vernal Womb”, “Two Halves" & "Dancing in the Ashes"

3. Idle Hands: Mana:

When speed metal band Spellcaster disbanded in 2017, three of the five members formed Idle Hands. Hard to describe them - a witchy fusion of mid-’80s goth and post-punk with classic heavy metal roar (some nice dueling guitar harmonies) —with just the right amount of gloomy over-spray. I may have said this before but if any new band deserves to be massive it's Idle Hands. This album appears on so many 'best of' lists I've flicked through this year its not funny.  Possibly the best collection of individual songs I have heard in years.

Choice cuts: "Double Negative", "Dragon, Why Do You Cry?", "A Single Solemn Rose", "Jackie (with it's Paradise Lost inspired solo) and "Give Me to the Night".

Vorna: Sateet Palata Saavat: Translated to English as "the rains will return"; one of the highlights of an ever- crowded Finnish metal scene, combining folk elements and traditional blackened shrieks into a medley of melodeath and atmospheric black metal. I'm amazed old mate Requiem hasn't picked up on them yet.

Choice Cuts: "Maa martona makaai" or "Syvyydet"

Obsiquiae: The Palms of Sorrowed Kings. Following on from 2015's ' Aria of Vernal Tombs', Palms of Sorrowed Kings contains all the spellbinding medieval-folky melody you could hope for. Possibly a little more mature/focused than its predecessor. A couple of tracks "Ceres in Emerald Streams" and the title track are destined to become 'classics.  One of those albums you can put on, close your eyes and drift off and forget where you are. Such a unique band with an amazing sound. One of the year’s best.

Alcest: Spiritual Instinct. These guys can do no wrong in my eyes. A really strong follow-up to Kodama. A bittersweet melancholy with some blastbeats and shrieks thrown in, the quality of songs like "Protection", "Les jardins de minuit" & "Sapphire" guarantee repeat listens for years to come. Superb.

Borknagar: True North; The album of their career. A near perfect blend of folk, black and progressive metal. I was disappointed when Vintersorg departed but Lars & ICS Vortex in particular deliver an amazing vocal performance here. The production is perfect. Album cover of the year too.

Choice Cuts: "True North" & "Thunderous".

Stormwarrior Norsemen: These guys fly under the radar (6 albums since their '98 formation) to all but the most ardent followers of Helloween, Running Wild and early Maiden. Not a lot of variety on this album, it’s pretty much speed, gallop and more speed. The vocals of Lars Ramcke are just perfect for this band. Probably doesn't contain the individual highlights (song-wise) of a couple of other albums but it’s an improvement over the ultra-processed guitar sound of 2014's "Thunder and Steel". Would like a little more bottom-end next album.  

Choice Cuts: "Sword of the North", "Odin's Fire” & "Freeborn".

Tomb Mold: Planetary Clairvoyance: One review put it best: "Sludgy, warped death metal is interspersed with tempo and rhythm changes, Carcass-like grooves, exquisitely cacophonous guitar leads and solos, and brutally fast technical sections." Great stuff.

Choice cuts: "Accelerative Phenomenae" + "Beg for Life"

Tygers of Pan Tang: Ritual. That's two from two. 2016's self-titled and now the follow up Ritual. Superb late-career highlights.  Jacopo Meille is surely one of the best melodic-hard rock vocalists going around (alongside Axel Rudi Pell's Johnny Giolli). Folks, we are not reinventing the wheel here; and like the proceeding disc, 'Ritual' nails two of the most basic principles of enjoyable hard rock - genuinely good 'songs' and superb production. These guys are on a roll.

 Choice cuts: "Love Will Find a Way" (an 80s inspired melodic metal masterpiece); "White Lines” & "Destiny".

 

Next Best:

Yellow Eyes: Rare Field Ceiling. New York Black Metallers paying homage to the old school. Vocals and the 'Do it yourself' production kill on this. Awesome discovery. Choice Cuts:  "Warmth Trance Reversal" or the rolling-riffery of “No Dust".

Riot City: Burn the Night. The album cover screams Priest (and also Icon's 1984 debut). Painkiller/Screaming/Defenders-Priest at that. Warrior of Night kicks things off with some seriously delicious speed metal and the rest delivers (the goods) in a big way. Fans of Riot, Priest, Stryker, RAM should lap this up.

Choice Cuts: Warrior of Time" & "Livin' Fast".

 Funeral Storm: Arcane Mysteries

Greek black metal built on a strong traditional heavy metal platform (similar to Wormwitch). Beautifully sounding album which benefits from intelligent compositions and well-paced delivery, allowing each song to breath. Highly recommended.

 

EP of the Year:

Sodom: In the Trenches

 

Song(s) of the Year:
Up North (Borknagar)

Les jardins de minuit (Alcest)

Ceres in Emerald Streams (Obsiquiae)

Moonglow (Avantasia/Candice Night)

 

Biggest piles of shit of 2019

Motley Crue - 3 of the 4 songs released to coincide with awesome biopic 'The Dirt'.  B-Grade Sixx: AM leftovers at best. Does DJ Ashba write all their music now?

Ozzy Osbourne's two new songs. Jeez Sharon really mis-read the temperature of the room here. Proof once and for all that you DO NOT involve non-metal people in writing or producing your music. Fail on every level.

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On 12/19/2019 at 12:54 PM, True Belief said:

 

Biggest piles of shit of 2019

Motley Crue - 3 of the 4 songs released to coincide with awesome biopic 'The Dirt'.  B-Grade Sixx: AM leftovers at best. Does DJ Ashba write all their music now?

Ozzy Osbourne's two new songs. Jeez Sharon really mis-read the temperature of the room here. Proof once and for all that you DO NOT involve non-metal people in writing or producing your music. Fail on every level.

An eclectic list to be sure and we'll discuss it in detail when I see you tomorrow at Castle Fucking Requiem. 

As for these piles of shit, they're very small piles, because one has four tracks and the other is just two at this stage. I agree though, especially in relation to the new Motley songs. Apart from 'The Dirt', which is a great, great track, the others are so forgettable I don't think I've gone back and listened to them since they were released. You and I have obviously spoken at some length about Mick Mars and his mysterious disappearance from Motley Crue recordings hahaha. 

As for Ozzy, I'm not going to pull the trigger on this one just yet. Yes, all the ingredients stink: Andrew Watt on guitar and production; poor guitar; worse production. But I'm just going to see how the whole album goes before I dismiss it. I guess the Ozzy fan in me just doesn't want to face the idea that a ten year wait from 'Scream' has meant nothing... 

Requiem's Biggest Disappointments In Summary

None of these albums do I hate, but they are disappointing. Here's why: 

5. Darkthrone - 'Old Star'

Not really fair to include this, as this is about as boring as their last seven or eight albums, but I keep holding out hope that they'd go for a bit more atmosphere and songwriting. They are happy being a garage band, so good on 'em. 

4. Amon Amarth - 'The Bezerker'

This has gone the opposite direction to Darkthrone. It's so clean and inoffensive I didn't even buy it - the first AA album I haven't bought on CD. I'm sort of sick of the world's obsession with this band too. 

3. Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra - 'Legends of the Dark Lands'

Huge wait for this album, and while I don't know what they could have done better, because it's a huge undertaken, it's just very unexciting. It also crosses into nerdy show-tunes just a touch too much. Some of the character dialogue is laughable too. I don't know, it's ok I guess. 

2. Rotting Christ - 'The Heretics'

I don't mind a more gothic approach from Rotting Christ, (I love 'A Dead Poem' etc), but these tunes seem to lack energy and enthusiasm. I don't know what it is, but I just can't listen to it anymore. Way too much love on youtube as well. What's wrong with people. 

1. Insomnium - 'Heart Like a Grave'

This is a tough one. While it has one of my favourite songs of the year in 'Mute is My Sorrow', there is way too much unemotional filler here. It just doesn't move me like 'Winter's Gate' did. 

All of these albums seemed to get a lot of high praise from the 'media' as well, which sort of turns me off even more because some websites and individuals seem to review the name rather than the music and I need to hold my standards up. Could be hypocritical of me, I don't know. 

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