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2019: The Curtain Call (Jan-Jun)

Cos Radu won't leave me alone

Created by: musclassia | 09.01.2019

1. Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree - Grandmother
2019 [8.4] - 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.
2. 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.
3. Methadone Skies - Different Layers Of Fear
2019 [8.3] - Nothing shocking here on this instrumental psych/prog/stoner album, but plenty of enjoyable music, particularly on some of the extended tracks. Some really beautiful mellow sections on this album, especially the fantastic final track.
4. A Secret Revealed - Sacrifices
2019 [8.3] - Some damn good post-black metal, got a fair amount of blasting and tremolo, but also got some really nice melodic and crunchy post-metal sections, and some post-hardcore influences in some of the guitar work, all culminating in a really fine package.
5. Cartographs - Wilt & Blossom
2019 [8.3] - Very solid post-metal, quite gloomy, has a heavy side but quite melodic and spacious as well.
6. Nasheim - Jord Och Aska
2019 [8.3] - 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, some lovely melodic stuff towards the end of the last track.
7. 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.
8. Belzebubs - Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods
2019 [8.2] - This was really fun, solid melodic black metal, something I feel like I haven't said all that often in recent years. The presumed origin of this band as a melodeath band (Insomnium) may be part of the reason, with that epic melodeath background inspiring a meloblack approach that sounds majestic without becoming a wall of hookless flamboyance. Looking forward to revisits of this one.
9. Rama - Everything Is One
2019 [8.2] - This kicks some serious ass, stoner metal but with a serious, somewhat sinister and slightly ritualesque vibe to proceedings, some great vocals and heavy and soft guitar work.
10. Craig Leon - Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon
2019 [8.2] - Peacful new age-influenced cosmic ambient music.
11. Valerinne - Desire
2019 [8.2] - Some really enjoyable, if perhaps overlong, instrumental post-metal.
12. Allegaeon - Apoptosis
2019 [8.2] - Another impressive effort from this group that deftly balances proggy/technical extreme musicianship with melodeath songwriting inclinations to deliver music that is both technically impressive but also grounded with hooks and well-judged writing. The closing songs in particular were impressive.
13. 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.
14. Vous Autres - Champ Du Sang
2019 [8.2] - Some quality post-black metal, with all the mood, creepiness and dynamics that classification hints towards.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. Jambinai - Onda
2019 [8.1] - An extremely intriguing band that continue to build on their unique sound - I feel like this one has become more metal than the last album, and also a bit more post-, particularly on the impressive Into The Woods; however, the use of traditional Korean instruments and the capacity to deliver occasional chaotic sonic maelstroms remains.
21. Misþyrming - Algleymi
2019 [8.1] - I remember seeing these guys live at Roadburn in 2016 and finding it a bit of a drag, but this is a very lively and vibrant effort, with a solid degree of melody and symphonic flamboyance to go with the relentless speed and the ripping vocals.
22. Thank You Scientist - Terraformer
2019 [8.1] - At 80+ minutes of chaotic music, this is pretty overwhelming, but when it's not too much to handle, it's very impressive, definitely feels like a step up from the last album.
23. Ihlo - Union
2019 [8.1] - Solid modern prog effort, has a bit of a Devin Townsend-vibe at times, but also has a classic prog metal vibe at other times, electronic influences, modern prog guitarist playing and arrangements, there's a fair amount going on, straddling a few different styles within the prog-sphere without being clearly identifiable as any of them.
24. Hypnotic Nausea - The Death Of All Religions
2019 [8.1] - Heavy, melancholy stoner rock with evocative vocals and big powerful riffs.
25. Hath - Of Rot And Ruin
2019 [8.1] - Pretty ferocious tech-leaning death metal, got a very intense delivery, particularly with the somewhat high-pitched extreme vocals. Has limited incorporation of melodic and atmospheric elements to add some depth to the sound, and even a bit of a slightly Travis Ryan-esque clean vocal edge in some songs (although far less sickeningly high-pitched and filthy than his vocals), pretty solid all-round.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan
2019 [8.1] - With time, the really strong moments (Reptile, Garden in the Bones, the second half of Satellites) have really shone through; however, the mid-section of tracks 3, 5 and 6 does bring it down somewhat.
30. Mesarthim - Ghost Condensate
2019 [8.1] - Mesarthim continues to pump out music at a high rate whilst still maintaining their mesmerizing aura. This is possibly their best since Pillars, thoroughly enjoyed it.
31. Sageness - Akme
2019 [8.1] - Another thoroughly enjoyable SMOD discovery, nothing surprising here, just solid instrumental psychedelic/stoner rock with good vibes.
32. Warforged - I: Voice
2019 [8.1] - Pretty exuberant extreme prog album with a fuckload going on; not all of it works, but some of it is undeniably excellent. Uses a lot of dynamic variation to add atmosphere between the sickening shrieks and blasts, but also delivers flamboyant symph-death parts, bro-style deathcore chugging, and and ambitious proggy songwriting and technicality. To be honest, it's not something I love, but it's something I can firmly appreciate for its unbridled ambition and enthusiasm, regardless of some of the hiccups.
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. Erlen Meyer - Sang et Or
2019 [8.0] - Some solid blackened sludge somewhat in the vein of Celeste and RLHT.
36. 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.
37. Gorm - Gorm
2019 [8.0] - Really solid and soothing instrumental proggy stoner rock. Something like the more laidback parts of Elder all sewn together.
38. 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.
39. 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.
40. 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.
41. Nocturnus AD - Paradox
2019 [8.0] - I have listened to The Key, but not in a long time, so I can't speak for quite how similar this is to that album, but it does pull off a real old-school vibe, and the mix of the keyboard/atmospheric moments with the gnarly death metal is pulled off very effectively.
42. Andavald - Undir Skyggðarhaldi
2019 [8.0] - Another product of the Icelandic storm of hellishly dissonant and abrasive black metal, this is certainly uncompromising in terms of the vile depths it's willing to plunge, but retains sufficient restraint and a curious sense of almost melodic dissonance to allow the merits of this particular brand of atmospheric black metal to shine through.
43. Oceanwake - Lights Flashing In Mute Scenery
2019 [8.0] - An album with one foot firmly in both doom and in post-metal, delivering a rather satisfying combination of the two, with the gloominess and 'epic' clean vocals from the doom side colliding well with the post-metal songwriting approaches. More digestible in terms of song lengths than Sunless, my previous encounter with the group.
44. Dreamwalkers Inc. - First Re-Draft
2019 [8.0] - Melodic prog metal with a clear Serenity-esque symphonic power metal influence, most notably in the vocals, but also in the keyboard-dominated dramatic sound. I don't love it, but it's definitely a cut above a lot of similar upcoming melodic metal acts.
45. 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.
46. Greg Foat - The Mage
2019 [8.0] - I could definitely do with the saxophone being restrained a bit, particularly on "Drifting" and "The High Priestess" but the other instrumental arrangements throughout are mellow, tender and really evoke some of the gentle innocence of children's fantasy stories.
47. 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.
48. Saqra's Cult - The 9th King
2019 [7.9] - Short and sweet, 30 minutes of proficient black metal with ritualistic undertones.
49. 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.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. 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.
54. Cosey Fanni Tutti - Tutti
2019 [7.9] - Fairly entrancing low-key techno-based electronic music. It's pretty muted and restrained for the most part, but I could definitely see myself enjoying this as a soundtrack to a club night.
55. Teramaze - Are We Soldiers
2019 [7.9] - A more modern take on melodic prog than Her Halo, my introduction to the band, it has some snippets which don't work for me but is generally a pretty sound listen.
56. Morass Of Molasses - The Ties That Bind
2019 [7.9] - Like many others on here, enjoyable stoner rock/metal with a surplus of quality riffs and some pleasant writing, along with a slight rough edge with some of the screamed vocals.
57. Age Of The Wolf - Ouroboric Trances
2019 [7.9] - Solid energetic doom with stoner/sludge elements, and booming, ripping lead vocals.
58. Myrath - Shehili
2019 [7.9] - Probably the most I've enjoyed this band outside of Tales of the Sands, my introduction to them, this delivers a similar mix of prog, Arabian folk and power metal influences to produce fun, lively yet compact songs.
59. 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.
60. 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.
61. 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.
62. Big Brave - A Gaze Among Them
2019 [7.8] - Droning, noisy, meditative atmosphere with folky, moving female vocals on top. It's a bit much to deal with in one sitting, but in smaller doses is pretty darn admirable.
63. Faerie Ring - The Clearing
2019 [7.8] - Good quality stoner metal with chunky, fuzzy riffs and some solid drive. The final song is a particular standout, finishes the album really strongly.
64. 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.
65. Monocluster - Ocean
2019 [7.8] - Was pretty impressed with this on first listen, with subsequent listens I've been a tad put off by it. It's still good, but I'm not that huge a fan of the vocals.
66. Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces Of Palingenesia
2019 [7.8] - Angry and dissonant as you would expect from DsO, not quite my thing but I generally dug it and it seems like DsO fans consider it one of their strongest in a while.
67. Baroness - Gold & Grey
2019 [7.8] - Not sure this quite has the legs to maintain the quality level throughout the long runtime, but it definitely has some good choice cuts on, particularly a couple of the last tracks. Would say it's probably a step above Purple.
68. 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.
69. Helevorn - Aamamata
2019 [7.8] - Solid Gothic-tinged doom, with some nice arrangements and moving vocals.
70. 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.
71. Low Fen - Low Fen
2019 [7.7] - Pleasant instrumental stoner rock.
72. Motorpsycho - The Crucible
2019 [7.7] - Aside for a somewhat perturbing detour midway through track 2, this is some pretty solid prog rock; heard bits of Pink Floyd and the more energetic moments of Camel or Yes at different parts, but through a decent modern filter.
73. Althea - The Art Of Trees
2019 [7.7] - Pretty nice melodic prog metal with something of a classic vibe, prominent bass, an a nice soft edge, but also not quite something for me to go crazy over.
74. Pyramid - Mind Maze
2019 [7.7] - Sold instrumental stoner rock with some really lush softer moments.
75. 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.
76. 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.
77. 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.
78. 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.
79. Rainer Landfermann - Mein Wort In Deiner Dunkelheit
2019 [7.6] - Exuberant avant-garde metal drawing from a diverse range of different extreme, soft and non-metal influences (including passages of circus-style music that feel obligatory for wacky avant-garde) held together with wildly frantic vocals, with the versatility to employ curdlingly high shrieks, more typical but somewhat grotesque mid-range extreme vocals, and more. Not really my thing but appreciable.
80. Possessed - Revelations Of Oblivion
2019 [7.6] - A solid comeback from a real classic cult band in the death/thrash scene.
81. The Lunar Effect - Calm Before The Calm
2019 [7.6] - Cool classic-style hard rock with a stoner rock edge.
82. 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.
83. Batushka - Panihida
2019 [7.6] - I don't think this matches up to Litourgiya, but there's still definitely quality on display here; track 3 in particular stood out to me. It'll be interesting to see what the alternative Batushka is like.
84. 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.
85. The Comet Is Coming - Trust In The Lifefore Of The Deep Mystery
2019 [7.8] - A pretty wild combo of electronic music and jazz saxophone; its ability to charm me is slightly held back by my general dislike of the saxophone, but some of it's pretty effectively moody and vaguely sci-fi.
86. 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.
87. Yerû?elem - 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.
88. 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.
89. Efdemin - New Atlantis
2019 [7.6] - Downbeat techno, I don't love all of it, but generally makes for some decent background music.
90. American Football - LP3
2019 [7.6] - Was surprisingly entranced by parts of this, particularly Uncomfortably Numb, which is a delightfully dainty track.
91. Wormlust - Kosmískur Hryllingur [Collaboration]
2019 [7.6] - Far more up my street than the decrepitude of Skaphe's full album, this is fierce and acerbic, but with sufficient restraint to the dissonance and malice to make this hellish style of black metal approachable and appreciable.
92. Earth - Full Upon Her Burning Lips
2019 [7.6] - Incredibly recognizable as the same sound as 'The Bees Made Honey...', this isn't quite as captivating as that album, and is a bit invariant for its runtime, but it still makes for some fairly effective chilled-out music.
93. Son Cesano - Submerge
2019 [7.6] - Good instrumental stoner/psychedelic rock; it is a bit derivative but it has it's strong moments.
94. 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.
95. Stormlord - Far
2019 [7.5] - Symphonic black metal, done well but with few surprises.
96. 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.
97. 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.
98. 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.
99. 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.
100. Destrage - The Chosen One
2019 [7.4] - Decent proggy metalcore.
101. Valley Of The Sun - Old Gods
2019 [7.4] - Very much standard stoner rock, but it's enjoyable for what it is.
102. 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.
103. 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..."
104. Abyssal - A Beacon In The Husk
2019 [7.4] - More suffocating dense and dissonant extreme metal from these guys; I preferred the previous one but this is still an imposing listen.
105. 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.
106. 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.
107. 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.
108. 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.
109. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
2019 [7.2] - Pretty decent semi-melancholy singer-songwriter music, with a low-key electronic vibe behind the vocals. It's a bit much as a complete package, but the individual songs are all pretty likeable.
110. Fleshgod Apocalypse - Veleno
2019 [7.2] - The guitars are starting to win the battle for dominance with the symphonic elements, but although the songs are now more discernible, they're not necessarily super interesting. This is a perfectly enjoyable listen, but nothing that makes me eager to come back for more.
111. A Novelist - Folie
2019 [7.2] - A bit of a weird one, parts of this felt pretty impressive (I actually got a fairly regular The Dear Hunter vibe (I think that's this album at least, it was something I heard on this day so may have been Althea or Ihlo, but think it's this), probably because of the clean vocals), but also found some other parts rather awkward and offputting. It's basically extreme prog, with some pretty dramatic musicianship, with a bit of an awkward mesh at times of blasting metal barrages with quirky orchestral arrangements, and an uneven trade-off of good clean vocals and unconvincing shrieks. There's plenty of imagination here, but although it clearly has its strong moments, as a whole package I'm not quite convinced.
112. Dirty Shirt - Letchology
2019 [7.2] - Some quite fun stuff, short and sweet, got a mix of punky energy, Orphaned Land-style folkish melodicism, solid interchange between varied vocal styles and a decent degree of variety in the song approaches. At the same time, whilst I appreciated it, I can't say I felt much more than mild enjoyment for it.
113. Jamila Woods - Legacy! Legacy!
2019 [7.2] - A long way from my usual interests, this R&B/soul effort was generally pretty likeable, aside from a few moments that veered too far from my tastes; the husky and imperfect, yet evocative vocals and slick arrangements work to great effect here.
114. Queensrÿche - The Verdict
2019 [7.2] - 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.
115. 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.
116. Port Noir - The New Routine
2019 [7.2] - From pop power metal to pop rock, this effort sees the Swedish alt rock band more thoroughly integrate the pop, R&B and rap influences they proclaim in their band bios; the overall sound is admirable, and I hope it brings some of the crossover appeal they presumably aspire towards, but at the same time does rub me up the way on occasion. Something a bit closer to Onyx would have been a bit more up my street, but for what it is, it's a broadly successful cohesion of a few different styles.
117. 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.
118. 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.
119. 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.
120. Sunn O))) - Life Metal
2019 [7.0] - My first encounters with Sunn O))) were wholly unsuccessful, but this is my first attempt with them since my moderate breakthrough with drone-leaning metal. I think it worked reasonably well as background music/sound whilst I was stuck ploughing through some headache-inducing tasks at work, but whilst it has some moments that I found quite appealling (a lot of which were in the opening track, from the galloping sounds at the intro to some of the female vocals), overall it's not quite something I can see myself enjoying as anything more than noise to fill the void, something the likes of Nadja and Dark Buddha Rising have achieved on occasion.
121. 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.
122. Sunlotus - This Old House
2019 [7.0] - Pleasant shoegaze with slightly soporific vocals.
123. Bus - Never Decide
2019 [7.0] - Moderately decent stoner rock with major NWOBHM elements.
124. Idle Hands - Mana
2019 [7.0] - Gothic rock with a pretty classic 80's vibe, particularly with the vocals. Nothing wrong with it but not really especially appealing to be honest.
125. Toy - Happy In The Hollow
2019 [6.9] - This has elements of Madchester Britpop as well as some elements of 80's Gothic/alternative, a lil bit like W.H. Lung, but not quite as good, mainly because the vocals are unfortunately quite underwhelming.
126. Amon Amarth - Berserker
2019 [6.9] - Nothing like WOOOS or TOTTG, but it has some solid moments during its runtime - I think I liked 'When We Set Sail...' quite a bit.
127. 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.
128. Tim Hecker - Anoyo
2019 [6.8] - The somewhat effective haunting opener That World aside, this still isn't quite up my street, but is far preferable to the abbrasive approach Hecker has employed on previous albums.
129. Disparager - Existential Dread
2019 [6.8] - Reasonable mid-tempo post-hardcore with certain post-rock influences. The title track is pretty satisfying, and the remainder is listenable enough; however, it's nothing to go crazy over.
130. 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.
131. Vaura - Sables
2019 [6.6] - I have to say the idea of 80's new wave-inspired prog metal sounded pretty great, but whilst there were good moments here, there were unfortunately quite a few more where it lost me. I think there's potential here, but also a lot that needs working on.
132. Nibiru - Salbrox
2019 [6.2] - Has its moments where they reproduce the thick, heavy drone sound I've mildly enjoyed from them in the past, but also has its fair share of bits that are either tediously insubstantial or just straight up annoying.
133. Obed Marsh - Dunwich
2019 [6.2] - A gruelling and somewhat tedious extreme doom effort.
134. Nivhek - After Its Own Death / Walking In A Spiral Towards The House
2019 [6.0] - Remarkably dull ambient album which seems to be dominated either by wordless singing or extended periods of bells ringing. It's arguably more listenable than Obed Marsh just due to its levity, but it's also extremely long.
135. 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.
136. Rammstein - Rammstein
2019 [5.7] - Has a few glimpses of entertainment, but makes for a pretty dull listen as a complete package sadly.
137. 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: 14   Visited by: 74 users
12.01.2019 - 00:22
I sure wont
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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
Paisa Vich Nasha
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
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
30.07.2020 - 19:26

Just checked out Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree - Grandmother. No wonder this album features No.1 in your list. The whole album is so sonically pleasing.
Leeches everywhere.
31.07.2020 - 01:22

Written by tintinb on 30.07.2020 at 19:26

Just checked out Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree - Grandmother. No wonder this album features No.1 in your list. The whole album is so sonically pleasing.

It's a beast - I should've reviewed it last year to give it some more exposure. At least I helped to get it the stoner Staff Pick for the MS awards
01.08.2020 - 03:27

Yes, I am going through all the stoner albums nominated in 2019. This album by far is my favourite, arguably along with Monocluster's. I also see this is one of the staff picks. Great job on that.
Leeches everywhere.

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