By Nikita Alekseyevich Khrenov
What a year, what an astounding year. We all have trouble at the end of fall making a list of the albums we really liked, but this year was the biggest challenge of all. It seemed like every single week brought out another 10/10 album of the year contender. I know I’m going to go back through the releases I had missed throughout the year and curse myself for missing out, but there are only so many hours in a year. Anyways, without further ado I present my top 10 records of 2019:
- Soilwork – Verkligheten
- Equipoise – Demiurgus
- Firelink – The Inveterate Fire
- Jinjer – Macro
- Iapetus – The Body Cosmic
Top 10 of 2019
- Devin Townsend – Empath
Devy still manages to amaze us. Empath transcends the genre boundaries while still managing to feel like a cohesive piece of art. As strange as it is comforting, this record truly represents the next level of Devin Townsend’s songwriting.
- Ola Englund – Master of the Universe
*clap* What’s up everyone? This record took me completely by surprise. Ola manages to deliver nothing but high-quality riffs across its 40-minute run time. From shred solos, to chunky Pantera-esque chugs, this album has it all.
- Idle Hands – Mana
In Solitude meets the The Cure, Idle Hands captures the bleak essence of classic goth with a heavy metal edge. Catchy hooks and Gabriel Franco’s passionate vocal performance come together to create an absolute classic.
- Ithaca – The Language of Injury
An absolute perfect blend of technicality and ferocity, Ithaca brings an intensity only rivaled by legendary acts like The Dillinger Escape Plan. Math-y riffage juxtaposed with feedback and pounding chuggy breakdowns, The Language of Injury cements itself as an archetype of modern metalcore.
- The Callous Daoboys – Die on Mars
What would happen if Mike Patton joined The Chariot and never left? The Callous Daoboys, that’s what. A perfect blend of aggression, humour, dynamics, and songwriting wriggled its way into my ear and refused to leave until the album reached its haunting last note, only for the itch to return again and again.
- Aesthetic Perfection – Into the Black
Into the Black, in my opinion, is Daniel Grave’s finest work to date. He has perfected his industrial pop songwriting to the point that every single track on this album could be a single. I would dare anyone to listen to any track and keep their feet from tapping and their body from moving.
- Rammstein – Rammstein
Amazing what 10 years can do to a band. Rammstein went full force with their composition on this album and pushed themselves to the absolute limit. What other band could create a club song like “Ausländer” and keep it very much their own? Or craft a song as unnerving as “Puppe” that manages to keep bringing listeners back to it over and over? If it’s to be believed that this could be the final Rammstein album, I couldn’t think of a better way to go.
- Swallow the Sun – When a Shadow is Forced Into the Light
In 2015 Swallow the Sun made a bold move by releasing their 3-disc juggernaut Songs From the North. They seemed to take all of the elements of that album and managed to compartmentalize them all into this beautiful and tragic piece of art. No matter how much I choked up listening through this record, I could not bring myself to stop listening to it.
- Immortal Bird – Thrive on Neglect
Just when I think this band can’t get any angrier and more intense, they break all my expectations. Jarring, dissonant, angry, frustrated; all of this packed into this beast of an album. It starts with a bang, it ends with a bang, and everything in between is just pure, rage-filled bliss.
- Wilderun – Veil of Imagination
Wow, just wow. Having been a fan of Wilderun since literally their first show back in 2012 it’s been amazing to see how they’ve grown as musicians. Veil of Imagination is without a doubt a perfect album. The band let all of their ideas run wild and flow through every single nook and cranny available to them on this album, meshing perfectly and creating a truly landmark experience. The Opeth comparison no longer holds water; this album is truly 100% Wilderun, and in the best way imaginable.