We have finally reached the top 40. It's been a radical ride so far going over 60 albums in the top 100 and 20 honorable mentions so far. After today, we will hit the top of the mountain with the top 20. But till then, we gotta check out the albums that deserve just as much love and hopefully you feel the same way. Let's get to the rules.
Let's go over the ground rules:
1.) This is my own personal top 100 list, that is made in 6 parts. Parts II-VI is the Top 100 and Part I is the Honorable Mentions. Check back every day for a new part till all six are available.
2.) This is done 20 albums per part, in countdown order (100-1).
3.) As mentioned, this is my own list. I am not paid, asked, or sponsored by any band, label, etc.My choices are mine and mine alone.
4.) 2019 has been an incredibly horrible year for my personal life and I have not been able to cover nearly as much music as I had hoped. There is many albums that I really dug that I had to cut from the list do to not being able to hear it enough, giving it enough time or simply it wasn't my bag...baby.
5.) CHECK OUT EVERY PART OF THIS LIST!!! My favorite one may be yours as well. Your favorite album may be number 17 or 34 or 89 or even an honorable mention. You simply don't know if you skip any part. The numbers don't matter; a good album is a good album. All of these are good albums.
6.) All 100 albums of the list will be made into a Spotify list (or at least as many that are on Spotify), where I'll pick a track from each album and show it off countdown style. Check back every day for the playlist to updated till the list is complete.
7.) The whole purpose of list is to not only show off my favorite albums of the year, but to try to get every person who reads this recommendations for new music to check out. My goal is to have everyone make one new discovery they dig. If you do, spread the joy!
40.) Within Temptation- Resist
FFO- Modern Metal, Symphonic Metal
Talking about genre shifting....WOW! Within Temptation really took a different turn this year, but at the same time they didn't. For anyone who has been paying attention to their last few albums, you could see this coming, but maybe just not to this extent. On my first listen, I was so lost and confused but then I gave it a real fair shot and I am so glad I did. Behind what feels like a turn against the fanbase they have made, all they did was update their sound. The symphonics are pushed to the side, sure, but they are still there in different ways. But the songs are just as catchy and memorable. This was the change the band needed to survive and I'm very thankful they did.
39.) Lunar- Ediolon
FFO- Progressive Metal, Progressive Death Metal, Progressive Rock
The latest addition to the top 100 but it was worth the wait. The sophomore album from this Cali band is showing the band expanding their horizons in sound. The heavy parts are heavier, the lighter parts are even lighter and the proggier parts are even more insanely proggy *plus on the song, Surrender, there is a very cool nod to the final lasting riff in Opeth's Deliverance to close out the track...don't think I didn't catch that!* With all of the guest appearances, fantastic production and just masterful songwriting, this is one of the strongest prog albums you will hear all year. Trust me!
38.) Toothgrinder- I AM
FFO- Modern Metal, Progressive Metal, Post Hardcore
The ever-evolving band Toothgrinder comes back with their 3rd LP and the band has found a mint mixture between their past, present, and future. While there are some bonkers riffs and transitions on this album, they are few and far between while more modern metal and post hardcore elements really shine here. If they are not on top 40 rock radio (I have no idea, I don't keep tabs on FM), they really should be. This is perfect for the radio and the band still gets to be themselves. Along with writing some of the most personal and hard hitting lyrics the band has ever done. Don't be scared off by the name if you are more of a rock fan; this will be your kind of heavy. And for the metalheads, sometimes you need something different and Toothgrinder provides that perfectly.
37.) Evergrey- The Atlantic
FFO- Progressive Power Metal, Dark Metal
The 3rd and final album in the ocean/water trilogy the band has been working on for years now; the band has provided some of their best work ever. The songs hit you hard, the lyrics are so relateable and depressing/uplifting (depending on how you take it), and the band is just playing at the top of their game. I'm convinced that Evergrey can never write a band album and The Atlantic continues to prove that change is true progression and we all need that in life. What a fantastic album.
36.) Moon Tooth- Crux
FFO- Progressive Metal, Hard Rock
One of my favorite discoveries this year. Crux is an album that just captures everything I love about 21st century progressive metal and just adds the right amount of hard rock tendencies and makes it such a pure delight to listen to. Imagine a love child of Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, Rush, and Judas Priest and you will start to see what the band is all about. Beyond catchy hooks, stellar production, and off the wall technical proficiency. This is one of the most fun albums you will hear in 2019 and in the end, that is what music should be about; ENJOYMENT! I'll be shocked if Moon Tooth doesn't put a smile on your face after one listen.
35.) Bleak Flesh- ...And Save Us From Silence
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Symphonic Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
Hearing this album for the first time just put my jaw to the floor in utter amazement. The songwriting and musicianship on this album is as mindblowing as it gets. While it has been 5 years since the band's first LP, the band has gotten stronger and stronger. Also getting the magnificent and blast beat extraordinaire, Marco Pitruzzella on drums is the icing on powerhouse of a cake. If you really need an explanation of this band; Imagine a Chilean version of Fleshgod Apocalypse with more synths and you are getting closer to what this band is all about. One of the more underground bands on my top 30 but you really need to go check this out, pronto!
34.) Equilibrium- Renegades
FFO- Epic Folk Metal
I don't even know a better way to describe this band. The elements of folk metal are there, but the epic metal vibes throughout this album is truly something to behold. Genre shifts are all over this album and the entire just sounds like one hell of a fun party. It really feels like the band focused on trying to have a fun time and write fun music this go around and it truly worked out to the band's benefit. Catchy, danceable, fantastic production. If you check this out, you'll be in for a great time!
33.) Torche- Admission
I can't put a label on these guys, it just feels useless. They can combine pop, rock, sludge, metal and doom into one giant cauldron and make some of the most captivating music you can hear. With Admission, there is a bit of everything going on; which is my favorite kind of Torche album. There are some pop riddled tracks, there are insanely heavy doom/stoner tracks, there's a few metal, nearly thrash tracks. It's what I love about the band in a single album and it just may be up your alley as well.
32.) Ray Alder- What The Water Wants
FFO- Progressive Metal
The very first solo album from the legendary voice of Fates Warning and it completely shines. Making an album with all themes dealing with water in some way is quite intriguing. The album gets heavy, mellow, poppy, even funky at times. THis is exactly what I was hoping for in a solo album. It's not just a bunch of Fates Warning b-sides. these are truly independent songs for this album and it fits together and lead you down the river into the delta of prog metal you know and love. A sheer delight of an album.
31.) Twin Temple- Bring You Their Signature Sound...Satanic Doo-Wop
FFO- Satanic Doo-Wop
As pointed out by the band, why does Satanic music always have to be associated with rock and metal? Take a trip back to the 50s and imagine a world where someone dared to confessed their love for the devil and bring it in the classic genre at the time, Doo-Wop. The production has the perfect 50s feel and every song is not just perfect for the style, but the vocals are so haunting and hypnotizing. It's a gorgeous album and I really hope Twin Temple keeps the Satanic love in Doo-Wop going for years upon years to come.
30.) Pulchra Morte- Divina Autem Et Aniles
FFO- Doom Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal
The debut album from this absolutely killer band is something that truly deserves any recognition it gets. The lineup for this band is insane and it totally makes the mood of the songs presented and the production style. Raw but clear, heavy but not brutal, crushing yet enjoyable. This is how you are able to take a love of death, doom, hints of black and other flavorings and make for an amazing debut album that has me chomping at the bit for the sophomore album. Seriously, give this one the shot it deserves.
29.) Skyblood- Skyblood
FFO- Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Doom Metal
What do you do when Candlemass reunites with their original singer? Well you make one of the finest solo albums of 2019 of course! This album is jaw dropping to say the least. Mats Leven showcases everything he is best at and so much more. No matter the tempo, no matter the style, no matter the vocal range; Skyblood has it all and it's just a brilliant album from start to finish. If you love anything that Leven has ever been a part of; you will find something to love about Skyblood. This is phenomenal work.
28.) Gatecreeper- Deserted
FFO- Death Metal, Old School Death Metal
Sometimes you want death metal that is not at 300bpm and layered in gravity blasts. Sometimes you just want a death metal album that is chunky, powerful, devastating and a soundtrack to your headbanging and circle pits. Gatecreeper provides that for you and it is masterfully done. The band is continuing to improve with every release and there is a reason they are so talked about; they are just that good. If you dig those classic death metal grooves, here it updated by Gatecreeper and enjoy what you will hear.
27.) Borknagar- True North
FFO- Progressive Metal, Folk Metal, Black Metal
This is a new chapter of the band without vocalist Vintersorg. The band continues on what they did with their previous album, but ups the prog game this time around. There isn't nearly as many screams on this album (though they are still there, don't fret). This feels like the perfect starter album for someone who loves prog and wants to explore the black metal side of music but doesn't want to dive head first and needs to be eased into it. Let ICS Vortex and Lazare's vocals soothe you as you travel up north through the barrens of the mountains and let the music take you away to that far off land you always wanted to explore. This album is perfection, without a single doubt.
26.) Arch/Matheos- Winter Ethereal
FFO- Progressive Metal
It kills me not to have this album in the top 20 as I was convinced that this may be the best album of the year. John Arch and Jim Matheos have a musical chemistry that is something to truly cherish. Throughout this entire album you truly hear that this album was meant to be a Arch/Matheos album instead of Fates Warning B-sides and the album is infinitely benefited from that fact. This is what progressive metal should strive to achieve in today's age. There's not much more I can say, this is a miraculous album.
25.) Swallow The Sun- When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light
FFO- Doom Metal, Death Metal, Gothic Metal, Post Metal
I will say, straight up, that Songs From The North I, II, III will be nearly impossible to top. Not just by the band themselves, but by any band in similar veins. That triple album is a thing of wonder that is pure, unadulterated, haunting beauty. This album though...it's as close as one can get. Taking all of the best elements of that release, adding a bit more diversity in the songs themselves, and fine tuning the production and you have a brilliant album that screams in pain, calls you in with it's cleans and the music you grab you and bring you into the grave. Literally...ugh sorry for the pun...swallow you whole. STS is simply fantastic music, check out this latest album and understand why.
24.) Strigoi- Abandon All Faith
FFO- Doom Metal, Gothic Metal, Death Metal, Crust Punk, Black Metal, Industrial
When Vallenfyre was disbanded, I was crushed as I loved all three albums. But earlier this year when I found out that the remains of the band are forming a new entity that literally means vampire in Greek; you immediately got my attention. Taking the Doom and death metal sides of Vallenfyre and adding bits of crust punk, industrial and even hints of black metal for good measure; and you have one of the most intriguing debut albums of 2019. Don't sleep on this album, it is one of the best outing of the year and should listen for yourself.
23.) Candlemass- The Door To Doom
FFO- Doom Metal
When I heard original Candlemass vocalist, Johan Langquist was returning to the band, I got very, very nervous. For One I love what Mats Leven did in the band and he is a magnificent vocalist, but Langquist was the original singer of the band, but hasn't been with the band in 32 years (that's a year longer than I've been alive!). THANKFULLY when this album was released, not only were my fears to put to bed, I realized that this is the best Candlemass album since...ever! The production is the finest on any Candlemass album, the vocals are so powerful, and the music is just the perfect doom that you expect from the band, but done even better. It's not often when a band that has been around this long is continuing to put out their finest work, but that';s what Candlemass is doing and I simply can't wait to see what's next.
22.) The Dark Element- Songs The Night Sings
FFO- Modern Metal, Symphonic Metal, Power Metal
I've said it before and I'll pretty much say it until proven otherwise. every band that does female fronted modern metal since the first two Amaranthe albums have done it better than Amaranthe. The Dark Element is a perfect example. The sophomore album from this band is the band at it's best. Taking what worked so well with the debut, but expanding the sound, more creativity and diversity, and just letting that musical chemistry flow is what makes this album flow. A completely solid album from start to finish and easily one of the best modern metal albums of the year.
21.) Avantasia- Moonglow
FFO- All Star Power Metal
Another album that completely shocks me to not crack the top 20, but it is so. Honestly, the previous album, Ghostlights has become one of my favorite albums of all time, I just thought there was no way they could top it. But as learned, they didn't try to top it, they tried to be Avantasia and what's what works on this album. Bringing back legendary vocalists that have been apart of the band for years and bringing in some brand new vocalists making their debut for Avantasia, this album is more of a moodier album and has more of a focus on storytelling than the music itself. Sure, there are a couple faster tracks that feel perfect, but the album is a bit more mid tempo and mellow in comparison to Ghostlights and honestly, that is the way it should have went. The story is fantastic and of course Avantasia can do no wrong. If you missed out on this album for any reason, you should go check it out immediately!
Alrighty folks, there is 80 of my top 100 albums done in 5 parts. Tomorrow brings the final chapter; Part IV: The Top 20.
SEE YOU THEN!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)