2019: The Curtain Call (Jan-Jun)

Cos Radu won't leave me alone

Created by: musclassia | 09.01.2019

1. Dreadnought - Emergence
2019 [8.4] - Dreadnought continue to refine their distinctive approach, potentially summoning up their finest work to date here, particulary with the track Tempered.
2. Monocluster - Ocean
2019 [8.3] - Definitely the best of my SMOD discoveries so far, lush stoner rock/metal with some really delicate soft moments and quality riffs and hooks. Somewhere similar to Samsara Blues Experiment in tone, but without the progginess.
3. Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree - Grandmother
2019 [8.3] - Excellent doom, started off very slow and drony but then alternates between some Sleep-esque slow, punishing dirges and some softer and more picturesque stretches.
4. Swallow The Sun - When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light
2019 [8.3] - STS are generally a band that I listen to the new album of, decide I rather like it, and then forget to revisit it again. This could be another one of those, but I do have to say I did really like it on first listens. Right off the bat, the strings and vocal interplay of the title track really set the mood, which is consumately sustained across the album.
5. Valerinne - Desire
2019 [8.2] - Some really enjoyable, if perhaps overlong, instrumental post-metal
6. Mote - Samalas
2019 [8.2] - Some super-lush psychedelic rock, somewhat in the vein of Naxatras but more spacious perhaps a bit more upbeat. Really pleasant instrumental work to just swim in.
7. Vous Autres - Champ Du Sang
2019 [8.2] - Some quality post-black metal, with all the mood, creepiness and dynamics that classification hints towards.
8. Waste Of Space Orchestra - Syntheosis
2019 [8.1] - The fact that this is composed of members of Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising should not be a surprise to anyone who hears it, as the relentless, hypnotic style and quirkiness is fully in keeping with those acts. It's perhaps a bit more varied as a release than the output of those bands can be album-by-album, however, with some somewhat grandiose and oddball moments, such as the backing vocals on Wake Up The Processor. There's a lot to digest here, but it's worth the digesting.
9. Stone From The Sky - Break A Leg
2019 [8.1] - Not sure I was that hot on their previous album, but this is really neat, cool stoner/post-rock, really nice sound and good song structures.
10. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - Yn Ol I Annwn
2019 [8.1] - Enthralling effort, with dreamy lead vocals, heavy stoner riffs and intriguing expanses of psychedelic/ambient music.
11. Saor - Forgotten Paths
2019 [8.1] - I'll be honest, I can't really remember their past albums, so I don't know if the folk side was quite so prominent on those efforts, but I really like the mixture of folk instruments, acoustic guitars and black metal trading off throughout; it's been done before many a time, but not always as effortlessly convincing as this. Certainly, there's times when it comes off pretty cheesy (I'd probably say the pipes n' blast beats are most guilty of that for me), but other times it really comes off well and delivers that melancholic highlands vibe.
12. A Swarm Of The Sun - The Woods
2019 [8.1] - Quite a short album, but manages to lay out its stall, which is restrained, evocative, downbeat post-rock/metal, that deftly manages the voluminous highs and the aching soft stretches.
13. Hypnotic Nausea - The Death Of All Religions
2019 [8.1] - Heavy, melancholy stoner rock with evocative vocals and big powerful riffs.
14. Jorge Elbrecht - Coral Cross - 002
2019 [8.1] - Eclectic venture that exhibits a lot of black metal features whilst remaining completely unrecognizable as that genre, with the array of weird vocals, and the completely chop-changing song structures that can move from tremolo blast-beats to a duet between acoustic guitar and low, warbling clean vocals, and back, both times via instantaneous transitions. Certainly a bit much to take in, and some of the vocals can get pretty irritating, but this is exploding with interesting ideas.
15. Nasheim - Jord Och Aska
2019 [8.1] - A very long melancholy build-up to some imposing mid-tempo riffing, and from then it continues to deliver dramatic, atmospheric, melodically-inclined and measured BM. Stumbled across it from Youtube autoplay and felt no inclination to turn it off, it's pretty solid all round to be honest.
16. The Moth Gatherer - Esoteric Oppression
2019 [8.1] - A solid follow-up to The Earth Is The Sky, some more solid, chunky, stompy post-metal with tasteful synths/electronics. Could maybe play around with the speed a bit more to mix things up, but they do the heavy and the soft well and transition smoothly between the two.
17. Wolvennest - Vortex
2019 [8.1] - A more compact effort than last year's excellent but excessive Void, it's also a bit more immediate because of it with some of the instrumentation. It also has this somewhat gothic vibe that I didn't notice much on Void that works nicely.
18. Sageness - Akme
2019 [8.1] - Another thoroughly enjoyable SMOD discovery, nothing surprising here, just solid instrumental psychedelic/stoner rock with good vibes.
19. Neànder - Neànder
2019 [8.1] - A really solid effort, with a mix of doom, post-rock and metalgaze. Can do the heavy fuzzy riffs, the shimmering and blasting sections all solidly, mixing the daintier parts with the thicker and punchier side.
20. Hollow Leg - Civilizations
2019 [8.0] - Solid stoner/sludge with something of a later High on Fire vibe, particularly to some of the vocals. Has some of that sludge nastiness, but has a lot of the grooves and southern licks of stoner rock. In any case, it doesn't reinvent the wheel but is filled with hooks.
21. 11Paranoias - Asterismal
2019 [8.0] - An intriguing combination of drone, doom, psychedelic and stoner rock, albeit with more of an emphasis on the former two. It does drag at times, particularly on the final track, but was generally pretty satisfying.
22. Gorm - Gorm
2019 [8.0] - Really solid and soothing instrumental proggy stoner rock. Something like the more laidback parts of Elder all sewn together.
23. Wheel - Moving Backwards
2019 [8.0] - Intriguing Tool-inspired modern prog, more enjoyable than quite a lot of bands that fall under that tag. The instrumentation is highly proficient and the atmosphere delivered is consistently engaging. A few bits threw me off a bit, but generally very solid and worthy of additional exploration.
24. Violet Cold - kOsmik
2019 [8.0] - This guy's output is as relentless as it is enjoyable. After the trilogy from last year, the black metal is back, but the post-rock and shoegaze elements are still present. The interplay between the harsher influences and the soft, angelic atmospheres is pulled off with aplomb, and the album can turn on a knife-edge from euphoric to intimidating. The female vocals also add an interesting side, varying in their approach from ethereal gliding singing to more up-front and direct.
25. Kaleikr - Heart Of Lead
2019 [8.0] - Gotta say, when I saw this was an up and coming Icelandic BM album, I was expecting either pure savagery or galactic adventures. Instead, this has a lot going on, with some clear melodic black metal influences (and guitar solos), clean vocals, semi-regular use of what sound like strings, and yet the ability to launch into fierce BM bludgeoning. The vocal approach is more growling than shrieking, but no less intimidating. It's quite a mix of approaches, but quite deftly sewn together.
26. Downfall Of Gaia - Ethic Of Radical Finitude
2019 [8.0] - Post-/black metal, one of many successful attempts at combining the harshness of black metal and the atmospheric, dynamic songwriting of post-metal. Definitely leans a bit more towards the black metal side, but deliver softer moments very effectively.
27. Miscarriage - Imminent Horror
2019 [8.0] - A revolting mix of grind, sludge, and extreme doom, one of the most sickening things I can remember enduring.
28. Saqra's Cult - The 9th King
2019 [7.9] - Short and sweet, 30 minutes of proficient black metal with ritualistic undertones.
29. Jagannatha - Samsara
2019 [7.9] - Really solid instrumental, doomy stoner/psychedelic rock, at any given time can be slow and doomy, or mellow and lush, doing each to really great effect.
30. Suffering Hour - Dwell
2019 [7.9] - Solid 20-minute atmospheric black metal song, with a harsh tone, sometimes dissonant playing, but a often spacious sound and some solid hooks.
31. Dopelord - 4 Way Split [Split]
2019 [7.9] - Neat 4-way split featuring solid new songs from Weedpecker (following in the vein of III's more psychedelic approach) and Spaceslug amongst others.
32. Rakta - Falha Comum
2019 [7.9] - Very creepy and intimidating whilst remaining restrained and quiet, it's quite the sinister yet subdued journey, and I'm not quite sure what it is classed as, but I dig it.
33. Numenorean - Adore
2019 [7.9] - I'm not quite sure how I feel about this after a couple of listens. There's some really neat moments but also some stretches that are a bit insipid. Probably will be one of the better blackgaze albums of the year, but feels slightly like it's not quite a good as it could be.
34. Soen - Lotus
2019 [7.9] - I've always found Soen to be an interesting band that I fail to really engage with, but this was a bit more up my street than Lykaia. Their quasi-Tool sound mixed with some classic prog leanings delivers some nice melodies and atmosphere, even if the hooks are ultimately somewhere out of reach.
35. Evergrey - The Atlantic
2019 [7.9] - These guys are somewhat like Swallow The Sun, in that I often like the first listen of their albums, but don't really find myself returning to them even after I'd bought a download of them. This feels like more of the same; I found it was another enjoyable display of straightforward and quite evocative melodic prog with some decent hooks, but without anything to truly exhilarate me.
36. Mono - Nowhere Now Here
2019 [7.8] - Mono have definitely become more direct in the years since Hymn To The Immortal Wind, with simpler, less shimmering songs and greater use of vocals. They don't have the same quiet majesty they had on that album, but this is still an effective post-rock album worth checking out.ri
37. Dolpo - Inner Himalayas
2019 [7.8] - Solid ritualistic ambient drone doom, as slow and ponderous as you might expect from that description, but also as atmospheric and ominous. There are moments where I feel it could actually break loose and benefit from going more aggressive (e.g. towards the end of A2), but they clearly want to stick with the restrained approach.
38. Brymir - Wings Of Fire
2019 [7.8] - One of the stronger folk metal bands going, very bombastic and symphonic, and very cheesy, but fully enjoyable.
39. Helevorn - Aamamata
2019 [7.8] - Solid Gothic-tinged doom, with some nice arrangements and moving vocals.
40. Gloson - Mara
2019 [7.7] - Nice little cameo whilst we wait for the full-length follow-up to Grimen. The usual harsh, pounding sludge is on display, but the melodic nature of the second track is enjoyable.
41. Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan
2019 [7.7] - I'm hoping with time this score will go up, as there's some really solid stuff here (Reptile, Blood Eagle, Crush, and some parts of Satellites and Garden of the Bones); however, on first listens I found It's Only Smiles and CHVRCH BURNER to really drag.
42. W.H.Lung - Incidental Music
2019 [7.7] - This was pretty neat, all in all, pretty 80's inspired but less synthpop and a bit more like The Cult/The Cure gothic-tinged stuff, along with a few other approaches. Somewhat poppy, somewhat rocky, with some hefty song lengths, it was a rather interesting journey.
43. Aephanemer - Prokopton
2019 [7.7] - Melodeath release with folk melodies and Children of Bodom influences, it's a reliably entertaining release without being especially compelling.
44. Seer - Vol. 6
2019 [7.7] - An interesting mix of doom, sludge and black, will alternate between cavernous, trudging, stomping extreme doom riffs, melodic, triumphant more trad-doom parts with clean vox, acoustic daintiness, pummeling sludge and tremolo black metal with natural flow. I wouldn't say there were many/any parts that really reached out and grabbed me, however, to lift it to that next level.
45. Dream Theater - Distance Over Time
2019 [7.6] - Certainly a big step up from The Astonishing, and the best album with Mangini. The simultaneous focus and variety on the album, and the quality of tracks such as S2N and At Wit's End elevate the album over a lot of their recent work, even if I remain increasingly indifferent towards LaBrie's vocals.
46. The Lunar Effect - Calm Before The Calm
2019 [7.6] - Cool classic-style hard rock with a stoner rock edge.
47. Elizabeth Colour Wheel - Nocebo
2019 [7.6] - An eclectic combination of noise rock, punk, soul and more, has its irksome moments but is effective at others, and the sheer diversity prevents it losing too much momentum.
48. Devin Townsend - Empath
2019 [7.6] - Based on the first listen, I could really see this score going either up or down with subsequent listens. There's a lot going on, really too much to fully enjoy, but maybe will reveal itself with repeated listens.
49. The Claypool Lennon Delirium - South Of Reality
2019 [7.6] - Modern psychedelia from Les Claypool of Primus fame and Sean Lennon of John Lennon fame, can get pretty irritating in its wackier moments, but can also deliver some really lush instrumentation and quality technicality, particularly on the opening track.
50. Yerûšelem - The Sublime
2019 [7.6] - Apparently this is Blut Aus Nord delving into their industrial side without the black metal. I think from listening to this it wouldn't surprise anyone to find out this is by musicians historically associated with black metal, but the cold, mechanical industrial atmosphere dominates here. I think it generally delivers on the relentless, harsh, somewhat mesmerizing Metropolis vibe one might expect from a group playing this style, but lacks an element to push it beyond an accomplished imitation of an established sound.
51. Soilwork - Verkligheten
2019 [7.6] - I'm hoping that on repeated listens my opinion will pick up slightly, as at the moment The Ride Majestic feels like a bit of a one-off success from Soilwork. I like this, but it's nowhere near as hooky, emotive and varied as TRM, and feels a lot more like brief pleasure rather than a lasting love affair. It also seems a bit pointless to have Tomi Joutsen guesting on a song where you can't really hear much of him.
52. Son Cesano - Submerge
2019 [7.6] - Good instrumental stoner/psychedelic rock; it is a bit derivative but it has it's strong moments.
53. Blindead - Niewiosna
2019 [7.6] - A bit of a weird one this, at times I almost thought I was listening to Wardruna/Skuggsja, with some of the vocals on display. It's got some decent melancholy atmosphere for the most part and patient songwriting. However, I was slightly thrown by some bits, most notably Ani Lekkomyślnie, Ani Bezboleśnie, a rocky track which felt rather out of place.
54. Rotting Christ - The Heretics
2019 [7.5] - This is perfectly enjoyable, but it's clearly not the sound of a band firing on all cylinders. They clearly either enjoy what they've been doing recently or don't quite know how to break the habit, but this sounds like a band that is either in a groove or a rut, depending on how you look at it. They can still deliver some cool songs with hooky guitar leads and interesting vocal interplay, however.
55. Rosetta - Sower Of Wind
2019 [7.5] - Some fairly pleasant semi-ambient soundtrack-style music, makes for good background music or sounds to sleep to, getting slightly more structured towards the end.
56. Panopticon - The Crescendo Of Dusk
2019 [7.5] - A short aftermath of last year's colossal effort, you get a good mix of the raw atmospheric black metal and the acoustic folk leanings, but I feel like it probably works more as a nice alternative if you don't want to listen to 2 hours of said elements on The Scars Of Man..., rather than leading the way on its own merits.
57. Helms Alee - Noctiluca
2019 [7.4] - Less heavy than Sleepwalking Sailors, and perhaps more ambitious on the songwriting front, but does lack the hooks of songs like Pinniped and Tumescence.
58. The Pilgrim - Walking In The Forest
2019 [7.4] - Pleasant and peaceful desert/psychedelic rock-inspired acoustic music. The vocals I'm not 100% sold on, and I wouldn't mind it having a bit of a heavier side to go with the acoustic work, but generally makes for a nice listen.
59. Crowhurst - III
2019 [7.4] - I generally quite dug this, particularly in its more introspective moments. However, I do have to agree with others that the clean vocals are not necessarily great. "Self Portrait..." is the highlight of the album; I was less keen on the frantic noise and aggression of "Five Characters..."
60. Brutus (BEL) - Nest
2019 [7.4] - A combo of (post-)hardcore and post-rock, has some cool rocking grooves, and the combo of the post-rock tremolo euphoria over the driving beats works quite nice; however, the vocals can get a bit grating at times, particularly across a full album listen. "Techno" stood out to me as a choice cut.
61. Whitechapel - The Valley
2019 [7.3] - This is clearly a different band to the one I briefly encountered on This Is Exile, with a lot less deathcore breakdowns and a cleaner, more melodic approach on some songs. Not great, but I generally enjoyed it. At the same time, I imagine more long-time fans of the band probably reacting in the way I did to Undying Light.
62. Fen - Stone And Sea
2019 [7.3] - A brief affair compared to the excesses of Winter, this is perfectly pleasant enough to listen to but not at the level of Carrion Skies. The all-acoustic title track is probably the pick of the trio of songs here.
63. Inter Arma - Sulphur English
2019 [7.3] - To be honest, I didn't really like the death metal songs that bookend the album, but the sludgier efforts in between were pretty engaging on the whole.
64. Queensrÿche - The Verdict
2019 [7.3] - I can't quite remember what the previous albums from these guys have sounded like, but I'm not sure if I ever got as much of a classic Queensryche vibe as I did on this one. Not too captivating but enjoyable.
65. Avantasia - Moonglow
2019 [7.2] - A decent vocal line-up (digging the Hansi Kursch) for some more Avantasia mid-tempo ballad-leaning cheese. It delivers some decent power metal anthems, the usual decent long opener, and some better than usual ballads.
66. Pensées Nocturnes - Grand Guignol Orchestra
2019 [7.2] - As much as a clusterfuck as you would probably expect from Pensees Nocturnes, the same mix of black metal and cabaret is fully on display, and is still interesting enough to listen to, even if someone like A Forest Of Stars is a more enjoyable spin on this kind of approach.
67. The Elysian Fields - New World Misanthropia
2019 [7.2] - Basically if SepticFlesh were more of a black metal than death metal band, and had the metal instruments higher in the mix. To be honest, if I hadn't been overcome with extreme symphonic apathy as a result of SF and Fleshgod Apocalypse's output from the past decade, I'd potentially feel warmer towards this record. It's by no means bad and it has its moments, just nothing really grabbed me whilst listening to it.
68. Noctambulist - Atmospheres Of Desolation
2019 [7.2] - A brief voyage into dynamic and violent death metal in the vein of Ulcerate, a decent listen but I wasn't in love with it.
69. Born Of Osiris - The Simulation
2019 [7.0] - Short but sweet. I still ocassionally give A Higher Place a listen on rare occasions, as it's one of a tiny handful of deathcore albums I actually properly enjoy, but for the most part it's been a long time since I listened to BoO, but I enjoyed this a bit more than expected. It's only 30 minutes long, but I found the lead guitars, electronics arrangements and songwriting kept me entertained.
70. Jakuzi - Hata Payı
2019 [6.8] - Heavily 80's inspired synthpop, there's nothing particularly original or gripping about it but it makes for nice quiet or background music to soothe yourself with.
71. Lochrian Poem - Snow
2019 [6.7] - A bit rough around the edges, but not an unpleasant listen. A mix of folk-y ambiance and lo-fi black/doom (with some pretty cavernous growls). Some of the transitions on the heavier tracks (e.g. Snow) could be smoother, and the 16-minute ambient closer is a bit much, but the metal/folk mix is fairly well done, and there's certainly promise there.
72. Obed Marsh - Dunwich
2019 [6.2] - A gruelling and somewhat tedious extreme doom effort.
73. Fallujah - Undying Light
2019 [5.8] - A complete letdown, an abandonment of everything that made this band special in favour of a flat and repetitive snoozefest, really perplexing how this happened.
74. Jinjer - Micro
2019 [5.7] - To be honest, this wasn't that bad, but I just found parts of it super irritating. I think the song that really tanked it was Teacher, Teacher!, with its massively inane lyrics. In general, I didn't enjoy the lyrics, some of the vocals and the proggy bass sound.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments: 11   Visited by: 39 users
12.01.2019 - 00:22
I sure wont
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
12.01.2019 - 00:48
Written by RaduP on 12.01.2019 at 00:22

I sure wont

22.02.2019 - 08:36
Yay this list finally got populated
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
22.02.2019 - 10:27
i c deaf people
Stumbled upon this list since I got into Violet Cold myself, lately.
But I just hope you didn't really want to say "[...] the black metal is bad, but the post-rock and shoegaze elements are still present" - didn't you?
Besides that, I can follow most of your trains of thought.
signatures = SPAM
22.02.2019 - 11:38
Written by Starvynth on 22.02.2019 at 10:27

Stumbled upon this list since I got into Violet Cold myself, lately.
But I just hope you didn't really want to say "[...] the black metal is bad, but the post-rock and shoegaze elements are still present" - didn't you?
Besides that, I can follow most of your trains of thought.

Well spotted, it has been corrected
22.02.2019 - 12:41
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
I'm looking forward to new Saor as its debut "Aura" came out exceptionally brilliant.
07.04.2019 - 16:31
Man fix the coding on the 4 way split already
Samsara too
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
07.04.2019 - 18:32
Written by RaduP on 07.04.2019 at 16:31

Man fix the coding on the 4 way split already
Samsara too

Done, O demanding one
21.04.2019 - 22:02
It's ya boy, spelling nazi.

Tag Valerinne and Brutus (BEL) properly.
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
22.04.2019 - 00:16
Written by RaduP on 21.04.2019 at 22:02

It's ya boy, spelling nazi.

Tag Valerinne and Brutus (BEL) properly.

How do you notice this stuff? :p
22.04.2019 - 00:31
Written by musclassia on 22.04.2019 at 00:16

How do you notice this stuff? :p

I keep coming back to your and others' lists to check for stuff to check out or for your takes on stuff I already know, so I look for stuff that wasn't there before. The misspelled stuff isn't hard to spot.
Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me

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