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Metal Storm Awards 2019

The Wheel of Metal turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when yadda yadda yadda the Metal weaves as the Metal wills. Another edition of the Metal Storm Awards fades into dust.

This year's Awards were marred by various technical difficulties, which unfortunately did not delete all of your votes without your knowledge (we'll have to try that next year), but the chewing gum and toothpicks holding this site together took the strain long enough for these Awards to wheeze to a halt at their normally scheduled time. A round of applause, ladies and gentlemen, for duct tape and divine intervention. Maybe next year we'll avoid that nomination for Biggest Letdown, though we can't say we didn't deserve it this time. On the flip side, this year's Awards boasted the largest number of categories yet and the largest possible number of days in which to vote, and you responded by pouring out many more votes than the last several MSAs pulled in, with four categories topping 1,000 votes. We hope the excess there made up for the shortcomings elsewhere. Good music heals a lot of wounds... and that's why we've given our beloved late Marcel his own Metal Storm Award this year.

On a lighter note, speaking of shortcomings, our own expectations were somewhat misguided, as both of the bands we called out as clear winners in the intro text - Amon Amarth and Ulver - actually failed to win their respective categories. Now, before you start panicking, it's not like the victors were any more imaginative than that - Insomnium and Sunn O))) are hardly newcomers - but this is definitely not the first time this has happened, so we'll have to reconsider making public predictions for next year. The important thing is that no band without an established international presence and a two-decade career under its belt will ever win Melodeath ever again. Of course, it could have been Swallow The Sun, if you all had coordinated and written them in for ONE category instead of EIGHT (plus Biggest Letdown and Best Album Artwork)... If there is one thing that Swallow The Sun is not, it's sludge. And if there's a second thing they are not, it's power metal. And if there's a third thing... well, let's just say that for all the fuss no write-in is going to win a Metal Storm Award any time soon.

Grindcore was a close competition, coming down to Basically Just Grindcore (Exhumed) and Not Basically Just Grindcore (Full Of Hell). Alternative saw some drama, with Tool's long-awaited return taking second place to Soen, a band that began its life as a Tool copycat before evolving into its own sound. Wheel, another Tool clone (and not a bad one, either), slept soundly in the bottom half of the category. Tool did manage to steal Biggest Letdown, though (and thank goodness for that, because if Blind Guardian had "won," there would have been bans handed out left and right); it seems that returning from such a long hiatus will bring mixed feelings no matter what the result. Unless, of course, you are Possessed, who stunningly trounced Thrash with their first album in 33 years - and that category was no pushover. Angel Witch fared similarly; while it had been only seven years since their last studio venture, Angel Of Light brought their first true triumph in decades, and for that, they took the Heavy/Melodic category.

Industrial pitted Till Lindemann against himself, with Rammstein going up against Lindemann; in the end, there was no real competition, as Rammstein swept the stage with a 200-plus-vote lead over Master Boot Record, but Lindemann still managed a third-place finish. Mgła ran away with Black Metal, which was to be expected, and Mayhem took second, which was also to be expected, though they trailed with less than half as many votes; more surprising was the third-place rush of Abigail Williams, who turned a lot of heads last year. Batushka, not without reason, took home Drama of the Year. Thank the grim nasties we have a new perennial favorite in this category. 2020 is still young, so let's see what the 17,000 Batushkas, still multiplying as we speak, can cook up over the next ten months; that ought to save us from thinking too hard about the other nominees for the next MSAs. Metalgaze, a.k.a. the Alcest Award, didn't exactly come to a photo finish, but in Melodic Black, Blut Aus Nord very nearly lost to a cartoon, so that's pretty fun. The lack of Nanowar Of Steel in the Best Video category is very disappointing, but we have to admit that spending the entire GDP of any three European countries combined gives Rammstein a lot of room to breathe.

We hope you had fun with our most expansive MSAs to date. As we always say, it's not about losers and winners, because Accept wasn't nominated this year; it's about discovering some cool new music, challenging your own tastes, and having fun. That's why we put so much work into the MSAs year after year, and we hope that's why you all stick around. It doesn't matter if you didn't pick any champions, as long as you got something positive out of this. Thanks for playing; we'll see you again next year.

The Best Alternative Metal Album

The Best Ambient / Drone / Noise Album

The Best Avantgarde / Experimental Metal Album

The Best Black Metal Album

The Best Death Metal Album

The Best Djent / Math Metal

The Best Doom Metal Album

The Best Extreme Doom Metal Album

The Best Extreme Progressive Metal Album

The Best Folk / Pagan / Viking Metal Album

The Best Gothic Metal Album

The Best Grindcore Album

The Best Hard Rock Album

The Best Hardcore / Metalcore / Deathcore

The Best Heavy / Melodic Metal Album

The Best Industrial / Cyber / Electronic Metal Album

The Best Melodeath / Extreme Power / Gothenburg Metal Album

The Best Melodic Black Metal Album

The Best Metalgaze Album

The Best Post-Metal Album

The Best Power Metal Album

The Best Progressive Metal Album

The Best Sludge Metal Album

The Best Stoner Metal Album

The Best Symphonic Metal Album

The Best Thrash Metal Album

Clandestine Cut Of The Year

1. Boreal Hymn - Tundra (Demo) 26
2. Concilium - No Sanctuary 21
3. Krushhammer - Speed Blacking Hell 19
4. Ascète - Les Causses S'en Gaussent - Promo 17
  Crypts - Promo / Demo 17
6. Bewailer - Promo 2019 13
7. Tryptamyne - Tryptamyne 12
8. Wykan - Brigid - Of The Night 10

The Best Album Artwork

The Best Cover Song

1. Leprous - Angel [Massive Attack cover] 21
  Fleshgod Apocalypse - Reise, Reise [Rammstein cover] 21
3. Avantasia - Maniac [Michael Sembello cover] 16
  Unleash The Archers - Northwest Passage [Stan Rogers cover] 16
5. Abbath - Pace Till Death [Bathory cover] 15
  DragonForce - My Heart Will Go On [Céline Dion cover] 15
  Trivium - I Don't Wanna Be Me [Type O Negative cover] 15
8. Vader - Steeler [Judas Priest cover] 14
9. Mastodon - Stairway To Heaven [Led Zeppelin cover] 13
10. Mayhem - Bad Blood [Taylor Swift cover] 12

The Best Debut Album

The Best DVD

1. Helloween - United Alive 36
2. Ayreon - Ayreon Universe [2018] 31
3. Nightwish - Decades: Live In Buenos Aires 25
4. Slayer - The Repentless Killogy 23
5. King Diamond - Songs For The Dead Live 18
6. Metallica - S&M 2 12
7. Tribulation - Alive & Dead At Södra Teatern 11

The Best Video

1. Rammstein - Deutschland 67
2. Belzebubs - Cathedrals Of Mourning 39
3. Alcest - Protection 21
4. Insomnium - Heart Like A Grave 11
5. Sabaton - Bismarck 10
  Devin Townsend - Genesis 10

The Biggest Letdown

1. Tool - Fear Inoculum 45
2. Blind Guardian - Legacy Of The Dark Lands 35
3. Equilibrium - Renegades 31
4. Sonata Arctica - Talviyö 28
5. Metal Storm - Unable to connect to database 24
6. Opeth - In Cauda Venenum 21
7. Leprous - Pitfalls 20
8. In Flames - I, The Mask 15
9. Fallujah - Undying Light 12
10. Baroness - Gold & Grey 11

The Biggest Surprise

Drama Of The Year

1. Batushka - The Great Schism III: Protestant Reformation 260
2. Abbath - Diabolical Fullmoonshine Mysticism 68
3. Manowar - Other Bands Play, Manowar Don't 60
4. Children Of Bodom - The Hate Crew Deathrolls Outta Here 57
5. Vektor - Bleak Future 41
6. Varg Vikernes - A Lost Forgotten Sad Nazi 38
7. Various Artists - [Metal Band]? Not In My Good [Christian/Muslim/Unaffiliated] Country! 25
  Slipknot - Fire Chris Fehn, Still Have Too Many Members 25
9. Uada - Dying Of A Kvlt Sun 16
10. Six Feet Under - Thy Art Is Plagiarism 11

The Metal Hero

  Marcel Hubregtse -  
  The Metal Hero is the sobriquet given to Metal Storm's otherwise anonymous mascot, the guitar-wielding metal man you see in our logo. "Metal Hero" is also a title bestowed on the members of the metal community who have been most valuable to us, whether as friends, companions, inspirations, or in other ways. For this edition of the Metal Storm Awards, we have chosen to honor the late Marcel Hubregtse for the place he held in our lives. If you would like to know just how important he was, you can read some of the tributes that we have posted. With this special award, we ensure that, one way or another, he is still a part of the Metal Storm Awards. Doom on, Marcel. -