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2019: The Curtain Call (Jul-Dec)

Thumbs up: +3
I've just turned 27, I guess if I'm lucky I'll live long enough to finish this list.

Created by: musclassia | 12.07.2019

1. Cult Of Luna - A Dawn To Fear
2019 [9.2] - CoL make a mockery of the otherwise underwhelming releases in 2019 by knocking out an 80-minute post-metal titan. Lights On The Hill, Inland Rain and The Fall are highlights of an epic tracklist.
2. Schammasch - Hearts Of No Light
2019 [9.0] - I kinda wish they'd pursued the Maldoror sound a bit more, and Paradigm Of Beauty is a bit of an oddball, but otherwise this is an excellent album by one of the hottest BM bands around, with a great mix - the blast beats are perfectly judged midway in the mix, whilst the thunderous toms and bass drums reign over all to make a truly intimidating atmosphere.
3. Abigail Williams - Walk Beyond The Dark
2019 [8.8] - The latest approach to black metal from this restless group, Walk Beyond The Dark feels like Abigail Williams have finally found their own distinctive sound, featuring elements of their previous records, particularly Becoming on the Beyond The Veil-esque The Final Failure, whilst not just retreading old ground. Hopefully they will focus on this approach on any future records, but I've enjoyed everything they've done so if they decide to reinvent themselves again after this, I'm sure it'll still sound great.
4. Disillusion - The Liberation
2019 [8.8] - A highly accomplished return after a similarly lengthy break to Tool, the SOAD-esque side on BttToS is mainly gone, but in its place there is more of a Nordic extreme prog vibe here that I got, particularly as a result of the vocals. The music is diverse and compelling, a fantastic surprise.
5. Esoteric - A Pyrrhic Existence
2019 [8.8] - Funeral doom is a hard pill to swallow for me, but Esoteric are about the best operating in that super slow doom sound, and this is just an awesome 100-minute leviathan of music.
6. Tool - Fear Inoculum
2019 [8.5] - Honestly, the 'all long songs' approach wasn't really necessary - some variety in approach would have been nice. However, Tool are masters of their craft, and each of these six extended tracks, particularly Pneuma and 7empest, make for rewarding listens. Nothing here to rival classic epic tracks from their previous albums such as Rosetta Stoned or Reflection, however.
7. Moanaa - Torches
2019 [8.4] - This almost passed me by, but it's good to hear more from these guys. The last album wasn't quite at the level of Descent, but a full album of the kind of material on this EP could contend, there's some really fine stuff here, particularly on Without You I'm Nothing and Red. The clean vocals feel like they've improved, and they retain their mastery of post-metal atmosphere and heaviness.
8. Föllakzoid - I
2019 [8.4] - Some banging minimalist techno, 60 minutes of pure, relentless, subdued electronic beats and ambience with various different additional elements to add some variety to the persistent music base.
9. Lethvm - Acedia
2019 [8.4] - Some excellent post-/sludge from these Belgians, slightly on the sludgier side compared with their compatriats Amenra, but similarly heavy and harsh, with CHVE-esque shrieking vocals alongside some dark, undeniable sludge grooves.
10. Finsterforst - Zerfall
2019 [8.3] - The Moonsorrow influences are still clear to see, but Finsterforst are continuining to grow, and deliver a colossal success in the 30+ minute epic Ecce Homo.
11. White Ward - Love Exchange Failure
2019 [8.3] - Longer and perhaps more blackgaze-y than Futility Report, but still a solid follow-up to what was an excellent debut album, with some excellent songs in the proggier second half.
12. The Great Old Ones - Cosmicism
2019 [8.2] - I know in the past I've wanted to like this group's albums more than I actually have, but I found myself pretty damn impressed with a lot of this record on first listen, and hope for more of the same with revisits.
13. Rorcal - Muladona
2019 [8.2] - Nasty blackened sludge with some savage riffs and murky grooves.
14. Katharos XIII - Palindrome
2019 [8.2] - Moody, jazzy dark ambient track with doom and black metal elements, this is bewitching and beguiling. Somewhat in the vein of Wolvennest, it has a unique sound and identity that captivates, really enjoyed this.
15. Iamthemorning - The Bell
2019 [8.2] - Doesn't quite match the serenity of Too Many Years or the outro of Lighthouse on first listen, but another majestically dainty effort from a seriously impressive act.
16. In Mourning - Garden Of Storms
2019 [8.2] - Another solid progressive melodeath album from a very consistent band, with great moments on Yields of Sand and The Lost Outpost, but also probably not the album from them that has that extra spark to lift them to true captivating greatness.
17. Monolithe - Okta Khora
2019 [8.2] - The songs keep getting shorter and shorter, but the music is just as great as ever; a really fine band, capable of hour-long extreme doom colossi like Monolithe IV and yet capable of condensing the length, upping the pace and melody, and still delivering quality doom.
18. Wilderun - Veil Of Imagination
2019 [8.2] - Wilderun go full-on symphonic prog - there's slight traces at best of their more folk-oriented early work, and a few riffs drawing inspiration from Opeth, but this is more a mesh of the drama and prog of somebody like Native Construct with a flamboyant and colourful symphonic soundscape. This band demonstrates an impressive upward trajectory and hopefully this will continue to grow their reputation.
19. Alcest - Spiritual Instinct
2019 [8.2] - Alcest bring back the black metal nicely whilst still maintaining the ethereal gaze side of their sound, this is probably their strongest effort since Ecailles de Lune.
20. Borknagar - True North
2019 [8.1] - Possibly the most melodic Borknagar have been, very vibrant-sounding and energetic record, although perhaps lacking some of the hooks at times to back up the dramatic melodicism of the vocals.
21. Eternal Storm - Come The Tide
2019 [8.1] - Really enjoyable melodeath debut, has a bit more harshness than some albums in the genre, with some heavy chugging guitars, tremolo riffing and punchy double bass. Really enjoyed the first double-parted track in particular.
22. Spaceslug - Reign Of The Orion
2019 [8.1] - More in the vein of Ahtmosphere than Time Travel Dilemma, not quite as good as the first couple of records but another solid effort for these prolific Poles.
23. Cloak - The Burning Dawn
2019 [8.1] - This album channels Formulas of Death-era Tribulation at times with its black metal/hard rock/gothic fusion sound, and delivers something more up my street than what Tribulation have put out since that record.
24. Omnerod - Arteries
2019 [8.1] - Solid extreme prog album with clear technical ability on display, but solid song craftmanship, and keen melodic sensibilities amongst the intensity. Good effort.
25. Grima - Will Of The Primordial
2019 [8.1] - Really solid atmos-black, perhaps a bit more melodic than some acts in the genre (particularly Panopticon, who the album artwork immediately inspired thoughts of), but without reaching anything approaching cheese.
26. ROSK - Remnants
2019 [8.1] - Following up Miasma with their own take on the black metal band-turns-acoustic approach, there's a couple of excellent tracks in the middle of what is an evocative and rich album.
27. Conjurer / Pijn - Curse These Metal Hands [Collaboration]
2019 [8.1] - Less nasty than Conjurer, this is more stoner/sludgy, with some heaviness still present but a bit more fuzz and groove than the intensity Conjurer typically summons up.
28. Netherbird - Into The Vast Uncharted
2019 [8.1] - Very much a meloblack album with a fairly standard sound, but executed really well, with solid riffs and some nice lead guitar work, particularly on Harvest The Stars.
29. Shadow Of Intent - Melancholy
2019 [8.1] - Symphonic melodic death(core), I honestly thought this was miles ahead of the recent output by symph/death heavyweights such as Fleshgod Apocalpyse or SepticFlesh, with memorable hooks, solid growls and clean vocals, and a good audio balance so that everything doesn't blend into a mesh of blastbeats and synths.
30. The Offering - Home
2019 [8.1] - An impressive spin on the mid-00's American mainstream alt metal sound run through a Judas Priest/power metal filter, a surprising reinvigoration of a sound that felt close to the grave.
31. We Lost The Sea - Triumph & Disaster
2019 [8.1] - I think these guys have become a lot more post-rock than I remember them being with before their singer unfortunately passed, bits of this dragged but a lot of it was movingly epic.
32. Heilung - Futha
2019 [8.1] - The more exuberant side of this group's sound (see Hamrer Hippyer) does make them slightly less reliably enchanting than Wardruna, but they can do excellent softer music (Norupo) or darkly atmospheric work (Elddansurin), and this broadly retains its appeal across its lengthy 70+-minute runtime.
33. Hypno5e - A Distant (Dark) Source
2019 [8.1] - Another lengthy but impressively varied effort from these extreme progsters, with atmosphere, intensity, polyrhythmic chugging, and a solid ability to develop songs across their extended runtimes.
34. Plaid - Polymer
2019 [8.1] - Enjoyably varied and well-measured IDM, with an impressive ability to build and expand songs in measured runtimes, and only really rubbing me the wrong way with its glitchier/wackier moments, most notably the in-your-face beats of Recall. All To Get Her and Crown Shy are highlights.
35. This Gift Is A Curse - A Throne Of Ash
2019 [8.1] - Intimidating, violent and sinister blackened sludge, with a somewhat industrial atmospheric opening before letting loose with an onslaught of frantic hardcore-infused sludge. The black metal influence is perhaps from the more dissonant side (Deathspell Omega), and with a bit of post-metal writing tendency, it manages to balance the hardcore assaults with occasional breathers for more mid-tempo, menacing material.
36. Insomnium - Heart Like A Grave
2019 [8.0] - Another good album from these guys, not quite matching up to the force of Winter's Gate, but with some real nice melancholy on the longer songs, and memorable hooks on the shorter tracks.
37. Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls
2019 [8.0] - Clearly 80s-inspired synthpop, I think the first half, particularly the opening couple of tracks, overshadows the second half a bit, but the piano ballad-style closer Mountains brings a nice end to proceedings.
38. Mamiffer - The Brilliant Tabernacle
2019 [8.0] - Soothing, serene ambient post-rock with angelic vocals, delicate acoustic guitars/flute, and just a hint of eerie noise at certain moments to contrast with the otherwise dreamy nature of the album.
39. Elder - The Gold & Silver Sessions
2019 [8.0] - A purely instrumental effort from the prog/stoner subgenre figureheads, this is stylistically a compilation of their dreamier, more psychedelic song segments, albeit with a bit of a kick at the end following the little organ bit. Really lush, nothing original for the genre with this particular sound but their sheer quality lifts them above the competition.
40. Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
2019 [8.0] - A fairly standard but fully enjoyable meloblack effort.
41. God Alone - God Alone
2019 [8.0] - An eclectic combination of blackgaze, post-hardcore, math rock and more in an engaging and exciting ~30-minute journey. The mathier elements, such as those dominating the second half of Ke Ta, are a bit much, but overall it manages to maintain a consistent quality throughout the various stylistic shifts.
42. Mantra Machine - Heliosphere
2019 [8.0] - Been a while since I've ridden the old SMOD train, but this was linked on their home page and it's some pretty tasty and lush instrumental stoner/psychedelic rock jams, very laid back.
43. Vanishing Twin - The Age Of Immunology
2019 [8.0] - Some jazzy modern psychedelic pop, carried by the freeness of the instrumentation and the gentle, yet slightly aching vocals.
44. Fen - The Dead Light
2019 [7.9] - Another solid atmos-black album, but lacking the emotional heft of Carrion Skies and the epic nature of Winter, so it falls ever so slightly flat in comparison.
45. Immortal Bird - Thrive On Neglect
2019 [7.9] - Some ripping death metal drawing some influence from grind, sludge and black, but operating with a relentless savagery throughout most of its time. Also got some nice Gojira squeals in there.
46. Mayhem - Daemon
2019 [7.9] - Not quite as conventional as Mgla, but this is a far more generic black metal album than Mayhem have pumped out over the past couple of decades. However, they still bring their unique touch to it to embody the music with a more distinctive personality than that of Mgla's. I've never been a huge Mayhem fan but this is very approachable whilst still being grim and nasty. Attila's vocals in particular stand out.
47. Gatecreeper - Deserted
2019 [7.9] - Gnarly thrashy OSDM, very much of its genre but got meaty riffs.
48. Como Asesinar a Felipes - Naturaleza Muerta
2019 [7.8] - A brief but enjoyable jazz/hip-hop fusion album, with intelligent guest vocals from Chino Moreno and an intriguing interlude/song-interweaved tracklist.
49. Mgła - Age Of Excuse
2019 [7.8] - Like this band plays black metal really well, but it's a very typical black metal sound, I do get surprised how wildly people love them. Good stuff again though.
50. Scorn - Cafe Mor
2019 [7.8] - Thick, punishing ambient dub powered by pulsating, menacing electronic bass and suitably subtle beats. I wasn't keen on the track with vocals, but this was otherwise pretty satisfying.
51. Bent Knee - You Know What They Mean
2019 [7.8] - It starts off a bit weird for its own good, but really develops later on with some nice tracks, with their weird prog sound.
52. Jenny Hval - The Practice Of Love
2019 [7.8] - I could maybe do with a bit less of the spoken word, and the first couple of tracks are definitely my favourite, but I like the slightly trancy approach to synthpop, particularly on Lions, with its nice ascending/descending vocal lines, simple but effective beats and spoken word/sung vocal interplay. It's an interesting combination of simplicity and a certain degree of complexity, all through a pleasing art/synthpop filter.
53. Portico Quartet - Memory Streams
2019 [7.8] - Enjoyable mix of modern jazz with electronic and ambient elements, working best when these different elements are combined (see Offset and Within, Beside, Against).
54. Mizmor - Cairn
2019 [7.8] - Not sure the album quite lives up to the artwork, but this is some imposing drone-infused blackened doom, with stretches of dark ambience/noise, big, slow funeral doom-esque riffs, and nasty black metal edges.
55. Nazca Space Fox - Pi
2019 [7.8] - Enjoyable instrumental stoner rock, rocky but also smooth with some nice noodly guitar work.
56. Sumatran Black - Elegy For A Lost Cosmonaut
2019 [7.8] - A really solid space ambient EP that effectively invokes at different times the curiousity and fear that many of us feel towards the black emptiness and mysteries of space.
57. Opeth - In Cauda Venenum
2019 [7.7] - Not quite as good as Pale Communion as far as retrOpeth prog rock albums go, there's some genuinely captivating music, albeit still with some tendencies to overwrite parts in a way that removes a bit of the emotional power of songs.
58. Blood Incantation - Hidden History Of The Human Race
2019 [7.7] - A little bit too tech-y at times, but pretty solid overall. I particularly enjoyed the more atmospheric track 3, although it felt more like an album opener than a mid-album song.
59. Elyrean - Blacken The Sun
2019 [7.7] - There's a few rough edges songwriting-wise in this Sylosis-influenced thrash/metalcore EP, but tracks like Distorted Reality draw heavily from Sylosis (see the second half), and given my enthusiasm for that band, it's unsurprising that there's a fair amount here to enjoy.
60. Electric Youth - Memory Emotion
2019 [7.7] - A deft combination of synthwave and dream pop, carried by delicate, husky vocals delivering effective vocal melodies that complement the electronic instrumentation, whether weighted more towards the Drive soundtrack sound or more dreamy, poppy approaches.
61. Cloudkicker - Unending
2019 [7.7] - In the same vein as Beacons, not as good but still very enjoyable.
62. Joel Grind - Echoes In A Crystal Tomb
2019 [7.7] - A more soothing, ambient-leaning take on the cyberpunk-inspired synthwave sound purveyed by other (former) metal musicians, such as Perturbator. A tad limited, but makes for pretty pleasant listening.
63. Oiseaux-Tempête - From Somewhere Invisible
2019 [7.7] - This is actually probably one of the more interesting post-rock albums I've heard in quite a while, with a compellingly off-kilter sound. However, the spoken word vocals could be toned down a bit - there's only so many times I can hear someone say 'crow' in a single song before my sanity starts fading.
64. Vorna - Sateet Palata Saavat
2019 [7.7] - Enjoyable folky meloblack, but nothing beyond the ordinary.
65. Chelsea Wolfe - Birth Of Violence
2019 [7.7] - Very pleasant melancholic folk, gets perhaps a bit too one-note across the whole runtime but it does that note very nicely.
66. Car Bomb - Mordial
2019 [7.7] - Absolutely frenetic, nasty AF album, I can definitely enjoy parts of it, but as a sustained listen it's pretty draining. The versatility is impressive though; the melodic parts such as those on Vague Skies come across nicely, whilst the 'pew pew' sounds are just funny.
67. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest
2019 [7.7] - A cool reinterpretation of the thrash/Motorhead sound, although the best track here is the stoner doom song 'Superbug'.
68. DIIV - Deceiver
2019 [7.7] - A solid combination of shoegaze and modern alt rock, combining the melancholy aspects of each genre to good effect on songs such as Taker. The lengthy closing track is a great demonstration of all the best parts of DIIV's sound.
69. The Utopia Strong - The Utopia Strong
2019 [7.7] - Snooker legend/electronic musician Steve Davis makes his big musical debut as part of this psychedelic ambient electronic trio. I didn't love it, but it was very listenable, and with a song like Brainsurgeons 3, an intriguing exercise in serene ambience with a somewhat disorienting psychedelic approach distorting the vibe.
70. Bask - III
2019 [7.7] - Very pleasant, but somewhat typical stoner/psychedelic rock, with a very lush and tender sound.
71. Arctic Sleep - Kindred Spirits
2019 [7.7] - Still maintains that curiously lush warm-melancholic vibe of Passage of Gaia, and has more variety in terms of approach to that album, but on the flip side it has less memorability, which may be partly a result of its extensive runtime.
72. False - Portent
2019 [7.6] - A fairly conventional 'epic' black metal album, with some long, blast-intensive songs, cold BM riffs, nice melodic breaks and segments, and dramatic synths. Perfectly enjoyable but doesn't necessarily add on what others have done before. The artwork however is pretty ace though.
73. Xoth - Interdimensional Invocations
2019 [7.6] - Somewhat like a harsher version of Vektor, this is pretty fun on the whole, although the vocals are a tad on the mediocre side.
74. Lord Mantis - Universal Death Church
2019 [7.6] - I'm surprised how quietly this popped up; clearly Lord Mantis have lost some momentum since Pervertor. Still, this is a solid blackened sludge effort, with fierce, heavily distorted vocals, some relentless blasting early on before it moves into a more mid-tempo, grim, meaty affair.
75. Julie's Haircut - In The Silence Electric
2019 [7.6] - I wish this album was more in the vein of the opening track, a really gripping combination of creepy keyboard motifs, this subtly relentless instrumental backdrop and the indie vocals that make me think of The Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol. The rest of the album is far more psychedelic/krautrock-oriented, which is fine, but not quite as interesting.
76. Dekadent - The Nemean Ordeal
2019 [7.6] - Not a huge drop in songwriting quality from the superior Veritas in 2015, but the poor production really undersells it in a number of places.
77. Russian Circles - Blood Year
2019 [7.6] - Given their high standing in the genre, I've never been particularly won over by Russian Circles. This is a solid album, with some choice cuts bookending it; however, it remains a relatively underwhelming experience compared with some of their other contemporaries of similar renown in the post-metal sphere. Quartered is a stand out track.
78. Killswitch Engage - Atonement
2019 [7.5] - More of the same, but perfectly enjoyable and scratches the itch I want KSE to. Not as good as Disarm the Descent, but comparable to Incarnate.
79. Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling
2019 [7.5] - A bit tremolo-heavy for its own good, it can deliver some gloomy and euphoric moments, but there's not quite enough variation in approach to allow songs to distinguish themselves, and it eventually falls a bit into the background.
80. Yazz Ahmed - Polyhymnia
2019 [7.5] - There are times when the jazz goes too jazzy, but I also like quite a lot of this, with the smooth vibe and some pleasant interplay between the various instruments in the ensemble. Could do without the spoken word bit on track 3 though.
81. E-an-na - Nesfârşite
2019 [7.5] - Slightly preferred this to Dirty Shirt's album from this year (which I'm comparing to because I'm lazy), some of the heavier parts I felt could have been toned down a bit to fit the sound more, but the folkier parts were generally pretty enjoyable, and there's some satisfying grooves across the album.
82. CFCF - Living Colours
2019 [7.5] - New age/drum n' bass easy-listening music designed as a soundtrack of a consumerist utopia; a few irritating moments pop up throughout, but in general it is an incredibly pleasant an uncontroversial listen.
83. Mechina - Telesterion
2019 [7.4] - Finally breaking from the New Year's Day releases and taking a couple of years back, Mechina come back slightly fresher, with a few nice songs on here, but still a bit too one note to make something truly special - Xenon remains their best to date.
84. Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild
2019 [7.4] - An eclectic experimental electronic-industrial album with songs that would fit in nicely at Ibiza clubs alongside others leaning more in the direction of Death Grips at times.
85. Wormwood - Nattarvet
2019 [7.4] - Meloblack with a bit of a viking vibe at times, and a Saor-esque folkier side at others. It's nice to listen to, and the clean vocals are enjoyable, but I didn't quite find myself getting pulled in by the songs. There's definite talent but I think there's also real room to further develop, like I feel Saor did this year.
86. State Faults - Clairvoyant
2019 [7.3] - Some decent post-hardcore, with its fair share of frantic screamo alongside some more delicate moments, inspired at different times by post-rock and indie.
87. Blood Ponies - Hoax
2019 [7.2] - Unremarkable but enjoyable post-punk with heavy 70s/80s influences.
88. Fawn Limbs - Harm Remissions
2019 [7.2] - Tasty grindcore, but does push some of the limits of my interest at a shockingly long 25 minutes. The second-last song does mix things up by slowing things down and adding some mood, which I appreciated.
89. Blind Guardian - Legacy Of The Dark Lands
2019 [7.2] - This is fine enough for what it is, but isn't a great power metal album or a great orchestral album, a half-and-half effort that is missing the best of both. Also the narration before every song thing being carried over from Nightfall In Middle-Earth is an unwelcome addition.
90. Chromatics - Closer To Grey
2019 [7.2] - A decent 80s revivalist synthpop album, not as good as Bat For Lashes' album from this year but a bit less indebted to the 80s, incorporating some modern pop and indie influences in the mid-order of the tracklist.
91. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
2019 [7.2] - By far the most appealing track on this album is the title track, with its enjoyable synths bringing a cool 80's new wave vibe to the chamber pop vibe of the song. The rest of the album was still appealing, but did not quite match up to this track for me.
92. Gloryhammer - Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex
2019 [7.2] - Epic cheese power metal, but not too shabby.
93. Sleeping Giant - Sleeping Giant
2019 [7.2] - Decent stoner rock with some meaty fuzz to the riffs.
94. Husbandry - A Port In A Storm
2019 [7.2] - Another good post-hardcore/math rock album, I give State Faults the edge due to the somewhat flat production here, but this arguably has better vocals, as well as some interesting songwriting directions that manage to be diverse yet coherent.
95. Hatriot - From Days Unto Darkness
2019 [7.2] - Effective thrash metal with Steve Souza-style vocals, which is probably not surprising given his son is the singer. It's very much 80's worship, but it's reasonable enough for what it is.
96. Golden Ashes - Gold Are The Ashes Of The Restorer
2019 [7.1] - A bit more up my street than most of Mories' work, an interesting noisy black metal album with some post-metal and gaze influences, but ultimately it could have been a bit more varied.
97. Bölzer - Lese Majesty
2019 [7.1] - Agree with others that the clean vocals fall flat, but otherwise this is more decent DM from a band I've never really gotten on board with.
98. DJ Shadow - Our Pathetic Age
2019 [7.1] - No Endtroducing..., and the rap-heavy second half isn't aligned with my interests, but still a few solid tracks here, particularly Slingblade.
99. Tycho - Weather
2019 [7.1] - A bit of a departure from Tycho, away from the electro-ambience of Dive towards a more pop-oriented sound, enhanced by the introduction of poppy vocals. It's generally pleasant, but it's not quite what I'm looking for from Tycho.
100. Rimfrost - Expedition: Darkness
2019 [7.1] - I think the black metal tag is a bit misleading; there's some harsh tinges to the guitars and BM-leaning vocals, but for the most part this is a heavy and punchy version of the traditional heavy metal sound. A couple of tracks whip out Iced Earth triplet gallops, and the riffing is definitely more forceful than, say, Judas Priest, but it very much leans towards that sound.
101. Pelican - Nighttime Stories
2019 [7.1] - Has some really neat moments, particularly in the opening and closing couple of tracks; however, the fully instrumental approach does mean it lacks a bit of direction at times, instead coming across as meandering chugging. The title track in particular is a bit of a turgid affair. Generally, however, it makes for a decent listen with a few highlights.
102. Costin Chioreanu & Sofia Sarri - Afterlife Romance
2019 [7.1] - Some moderately appealing dark prog rock with some trip-hop inclinations; however, it didn't quite have enough about it to generate interest in further listens. I feel like the proggier inclinations could have been held back a bit.
103. Barker - Utility
2019 [6.9] - On the face of it, ambient techno sounded right up my street. Unfortunately, I feel a few of the songs leant either too far towards the ambient side, or more commonly and irksomely towards the electronic side with a somewhat glitchy approach. The songs where these approaches were both employed together were the standouts, particularly Hedonic Treadmill.
104. The Contortionist - Our Bones
2019 [6.8] - Somewhat underwhelming considering how much Clairvoyant captivated/captivates me, Early Grave and Hollow are fine but not jawdropping, and the Smashing Pumpkins cover they chose is far from my favourite song by that band.
105. Rings Of Saturn - Gidim
2019 [6.8] - Not too bad, but the production is a bit flattening and suffocating, and the techy parts are pretty wanky on the whole.
106. Zonal - Wrecked
2019 [6.8] - Justin Broadrick project number whatever, the moody hip-hop of the first half didn't sway me, but the bleak, subtle industrial grooves of the second half were pretty likeable.
107. Riverside - Acoustic Session
2019 [6.8] - This is okay and has some pleasant moments, e.g. the last minute or so of Out of Myself, but Vale Of Tears was a bland choice for the opener, and it feels a bit redundant doing an acoustic version of River Down Below.
108. Dawn Ray'd - Behold Sedition Plainsong
2019 [6.8] - Reasonable atmos-black, but bar a few nice moments nothing exceptional.
109. Leprous - Pitfalls
2019 [6.7] - Leprous become the Einar Solberg Project, with the guitars and drums sitting in the background whilst vocals and electronics dominate on an album that regularly treads the line between rock and a more 'dark pop' approach. There are some interesting moments and appreciable songs that come out of this change in approach, but I didn't like this nearly as much as I expected. The simplistic approach and melodramatic choruses of Below and Alleviate ring slightly hollow compared to previous singles like From The Flame and Illuminate, whilst the likes of Observe The Train and Distant Bells don't really offer up much in the way of reward. At The Bottom finishes nicely, and The Sky Is Red is an effective closer far more in line with past efforts, but as a whole this was not an inspiring listen.
110. 2814 - Lost Fragments
2019 [6.6] - Pleasant but somewhat monotonous ambient electronica produced by a collaboration between prominent vaporwave musicians. Nice background music but a bit gradual for a more focused listen.
111. Torche - Admission
2019 [6.4] - Sludge with a whole lot of 90's alt rock/heavy rock. I enjoyed some of the more melodic cuts, such as the title track, but I did find it had a tendency to be a bit flat and repetitive, and the vocals sadly undersold some parts, only truly convincing me on the title track.
112. For Tracy Hyde - New Young City
2019 [6.3] - A combination of indie rock/pop (something I've never been particularly keen on) with vocals that, whether due to my own prejudices or real musical similarity, remind me a lot of anime soundtrack music; it's interesting, but not something I particularly care to listen to again.
113. Blood Stain Child - Amateras
2019 [6.2] - I don't know whether it's that I'm 27 instead of 18, or whether not having the great singer from the last album has really hampered things (definitely to some degree), but whilst a lot of the components on Epsilon are still present, the overall product just doesn't compare. It's missing the hooks and infectiousness of that album, but it's still listenable.
114. Cosmonauts - Star 69
2019 [6.1] - Psychedelic/garage rock with some nice instrumentation, but dreary 90's alt rock-style vocals that completely killed my interest.
115. Northlane - Alien
2019 [5.8] - I have an affinity for melodic metalcore even today, but haven't ever been particularly won over by Northlane, although I didn't mind Mesmer. This album is a clear step towards a more melodic, accessible sound compared with their previous efforts, with some danceable electronics in play. That by itself isn't necessarily a bad thing for me; however, the music in general on this album didn't particularly appeal or inspire.
116. The Bedroom Witch - Diaspora
2019 [5.6] - Some passably enjoyable synthpop massively undermined by the poor vocals.
117. Neoandertals - Neanderthal Parallax
2019 [4.8] - Sadly, for a 20-odd minute album, I found this to be a long and tedious listen. I understand it has the image of being primitive, and the rough production may play into it (and may also be a recording limitation, that I also understand), but from the opening seconds of 'Birth of the Enemy of Man', I am completely disengaged by both the production and instrumentation, which is a chore to decipher and would be personally unappealing even with a 'better' production. 'Night' is a particularly repetitive and irritating cut, which makes it odd to me that it's the auto-selected song when you open this song on Bandcamp.

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Comments: 2   Visited by: 61 users
12.07.2019 - 21:38
I'll be following this

Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
12.07.2019 - 22:37
Written by RaduP on 12.07.2019 at 21:38

I'll be following this


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

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