2019...I can't believe that it is almost gone already. This year has been a complete and utter whirlwind for my personal life and work life. To focus on the latter, there has been so much good music to come out this year. I certainly can';t cover it all, but I like to think that I can cover a good chunk of the rock and metal worlds with my 2019 Best Of Lists. So why not start it off in an epic way with...the top 10 epics of the year?
So how I am going about this (if you're new) is that I am going in countdown order from 10 to 1 with what are my personal favorite songs over the 10 minute song length. No suites or multiple tracks on an album; one pure song over the ten minute mark. Let's crack on!
Tool- 7empest- Fear Inoculum (15:44)
FFO: Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Alternative Metal
This epic was the shining light on an album that I feel was perfectly described in an interview I did earlier this year "The album feels like walking in the desert for an hour and a half". It truly does, some people will dig that, others will not. 7empest is the final "song" on the album and it is the song where all the riffs are hidden, the most most interesting rhythm section moments and MJK arguably does his best vocal work ever. Was the rest of the album worth the wait? Not for me, but the wait was worth it for this song alone. The nearly 16 minute song could (maybe should?) have been released on it's own and people would call it the greatest thing Tool has ever done. I still think it is. I will be shocked if they ever top 7empest for the rest of the band's career.
10.) Gloryhammer- The Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny- Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex (12:34)
FFO- Power Metal, Epic Metal
WHile not breaking any new ground in the slightest, Gloryhammer doesn't need to do that anymore. If you familiar with the band at all, you know their over the top power metal stylings is not for the faint of heart, you either get it or you despise it. I love it and the band does not to change. The final track on this album is the perfect combination of everything the band is known for with a great story in the lyrics and just everything you love about the band. The perfect power metal/fun/cheesy blend you can't get enough of.
9.) Drifting Sun- Everlasting Creed- Planet Junkie (10:09)
FFO- Progressive Rock
With a pure love of progressive rock and metal before it's time; Drifting Sun was able to capture so much of what really makes prog rock work in a slightly over the 10 minute mark (just BARELY made the list criteria). The song is a whirlwind of keys, 70s inspired sounds, modern prog tinges, and amazing guest vocal work from Joshua Corum of Head With Wings. If you like your prog with natural twists and turns; I can't recommend this band enough and Everlasting Creed will be the song to suck you into the band.
8.) Together To The Stars- Apathy- An Oblivion Above (11:51)
FFO- Blackgaze, Post Hardcore
When you think of Stockholm, Sweden, you're first thought is of the Swedish melodeath scene created in the 90s. That is not all that has evolved there and Together To The Stars proves that. With the band's debut album, they have perfectly melded blackgaze and post hardcore into an emotional impasse that really grabs you. The nearly 12 minute epic shows this off in strides, never feeling meandering or boring and a constant ebb and flow that just makes you happy that you stayed for the ride.
7.) Cult of Luna- The Fall- A Dawn To Fear (13:13)
FFO- Post Metal
Cult of Luna made arguably their best work at the time with their previous album with Julie Christmas. So how was the band ever going to top that? By being themselves and letting the music go where it needed to go. That's what happens with this album and with The Fall, it showcases what the band is about in 2019. The combination of heavy, melodic, slow, somber, and brilliant songwriting take this track to where it needed to go. Truly a post metal masterpiece of an epic.
6.) Blood Incantation- Awakening From the Dream of Existence to the Multidimensional Nature of Our Reality (Mirror of the Soul)- Hidden History of the Human Race- (18:02)
FFO- Atmospheric Death Metal
It's not too often that you hear a death metal band outside of Gorguts attempt to do epic length songs. Usually it's as fast, heavy, and brutal in as short of time it needs to take. While the rest of the album (all 3 other track), follows closer to that rhetoric, the epic song with an absurdly long title track, shows what can be done in a true epic length death metal song. The brutality is there, but so are atmospheric tinges and mindblowing riffs and songwriting that make this adventure of a song something you want to experience again and again. There is a reason Blood Incantation is starting to get the attention they deserve, why don't you find out for yourself what all the hubbub is about.
5.) Panopticon- The Crescendo of Dusk- The Crescendo of Dusk (13:53)
FFO- Atmospheric Black Metal, North American Folk Metal
While Panoptiocon has stripped a lot of the folk, bluegrass and Americana sounds from their black metal sides (those sides are still there, but in their own songs) The Crescendo of Dusk feels like a track that really captures the dark aspects of what the band was originally known for with more ominous keys and synths. The power of this band is fully in tact and I don't think the other sides of the band have been put to rest, but it is great seeing the band showcasing that they are an atmospheric black metal band first and foremost. Give this a shot.
4.) Periphery- Reptile- Periphery IV: HAIL STAN! (16:44)
FFO- Modern Progressive Metal
Simply put this is the best Periphery song of the band's best album since PII. After losing the shackles of being on a label and creating their own, the band was free to make the music they wanted to make. What's a better way to do that then putting out a nearly 17 minute track as the opener for your brand new album? Everything I personally love about the band is in this song. What people referred to as Djent in the past is all but a spice in the flavoring of the band now. It is much more about writing the songs they want to make, no matter how abstract of left of center it becomes and the band benefits from that so much more. This opening track gives you a great taste of whats to come on the rest of the album (much shorter songs for the rest), but this has the potential to be the best Periphery song to date and it is more than worthy of that title.
3.) Devin Townsend- Singularity- Empath (22:33)
FFO- Devin Townsend
Hevy Devy has gone through so many changes and metamorphoses in his life. Empath is the beginning of that next chapter. No longer wanting to be in a "band" but being able to do anything he literally wants to write, Townsend decided to write nearly everything he possibly could with Empath. the closing track, Singularity is a great culmination of that fact. Starting off so pretty for so long, then becomes a tad bit strange and eerie, then becoming a full blown cyclone of progressive destruction. Going from hitting insane BPMs to moments that remind you of The Great Masturbator off the album Deconstruction. This album hits so many strange and exotic territories. It's just fantastic hearing Devin be happy making music again and you hear that so much in this 22 and a half minute epic.
2.) the Offering- Home- Home (14:42)
FFO- Extreme Metal
I don't think there is a fair way to describe this band or this epic to give it full context. The transitions of sound going from a nu metal riff into power metal going into death metal going into progressive metal and so much more I am leaving out. It sounds like a complete hodgepodge but it is a perfect hodgepodge of sound. The title epic track shows off the band is capable of and so much more. It's such a trip listening to this album. There may be parts you don't enjoy if you only stick to one genre or two, the parts that you do enjoy makes up for everything! the Offering has the makings to be a trendsetter for what is coming next in metal and I can't wait to see what's next.
1.) Finsterforst- Ecco Homo- Zerfall (36:29)
FFO- Folk Metal, Pagan Metal
This absolute monster of an epic is exactly what more bands need to strive for in their music. Literally a song that is longer than so many studio albums in the world; Finsterforst made a true epic story in this 36 and a half minute track that is an incredible rush to hear. The melodies, harmonies, songwriting, tones, and especially the production on this track makes Finsterforst stand out in the sea of folk and pagan metal bands in the world. If you are up for the journey of Ecco Homo, I can't recommend this track enough, it's more than worth the ride.
Alright Kids, there's are first list for That Drummer Guy's Best of 2019. Go check out some brand new epics, bands and tune in next time to see what list comes next!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)