Hey everybody! If you are reading this the day I post it, it's Wednesday, first full week of December. As of yesterday the Sony PlayStation is 25 years old and at the end of this list we will be at the top 40 albums of the year. Doing this list every year is tremendously hard work, but if it means that anyone checking out these 6 parts of this list get to check out new bands, new music and see that rock and metal are thriving as good if not better than ever; I'm doing my job. Let's get to it!
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!
60.) Vintersea- Illuminated
FFO- Progressive Black Metal, Extreme Metal
In simplest, but not the perfect terms; If you want an American, female fronted Ne Oblivscaris style band, this is the band for you. Just discovering this band a few short months ago, I am at a gasp at how much I love this album and sad that I wasn't able to give it more spins this year than I really should have. This covers so much ground that I love with articulate musicianship, fantastic production, and brilliant songwriting that just crushes when it needs to and is some of the most beautiful music you will hear in extreme metal in 2019. All you got to do is spin it for yourself and see what you've been missing.
59.) Destrage- The Chosen One
FFO- Progressive Metal, Avant Garde Metal
Sadly due to medical issues that plagued me for a few months this year, I completely missed this album. Completely! Honestly, I didn't even hear it until last week, that's how my 2019 has been! But anyways, Destrage's 5th LP outing is a mix of their most mainstream sounding material and some of their wackiest songwriting to date (in the best way possible). The lyrics feel a bit more personal and straight forward than in the past, but doesn't lose that quirkiness that makes the band truly stand out. If you want a progressive metal band that truly progresses as a band, check this album out!
58.) Hope Drone- Void Lustre
FFO- Atmospheric Black Metal, Post Black Metal
The sophomore album from this Australian band is truly something to behold. Rather than making everything more polished, the most crisp and clear production, maybe even making songs more mainstream; The band got grittier, the band rawer, the band got noisier; and it completely works. Only one track under the 10 minute mark and the longest song capping off at 17 minutes; the band has truly found their niche and it is something that just pulls you in and does not let go. If you want some amazingly written atmospheric post black metal, Hope Drone covers your needs and more.
57.) Blood Incantation- Hidden History Of The Human Race
FFO- Atmospheric Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
Blood Incantation is becoming one of the underground's most talked about bands, and for good reason. Even with this being the sophomore album from this fantastic band, the band has experienced so much growth within themselves and have really expanded what the band can be. WIth thought provoking lyrics, jaw dropping musicianship and the 17 minute epic final track too long to list the name of as it will take up the rest of the list; this band is carrying on what bands like Death, Cynic and Gorguts laid out before them. I can't wait to see what's next.
56.) Together to the Stars- An Oblivion Above
FFO- Blackgaze, Post Hardcore
I can't say enough good things about this band. This debut album is what so many bands strive to be and never achieve. A brilliant mix of blackgaze and post hardcore with some emo thrown in for good measure; TttS is showcasing what will be an incredible journey as a band with their haunting and poignant lyrics and atmosphere.This is what I want out this style to a T. I can't recommend this band enough, go check them out.
55.) Alcest- Spiritual Instinct
I couldn't be happier that Neige went back on his word about not making blackgaze music anymore and only working on post rock. Alcest is at their best when they are able to combine both into the mystical world that Alcest has created and so many others try to duplicate. The debut album for Nuclear Blast is the band at it's best without losing their touch. fans like myself couldn't be happier about that. Check out the band that helped start the blackgaze movement right here.
54.) The Ferrymen- A New Evil
FFO- All Star Power Metal
Ronnie Romero, Magnus Karlsson, Mike Terrana...Seriously what else do you need? The 2nd album from this powerhouse of a band takes what they accomplished on the debut album and perfected it tenfold. All three men are absolutely stellar on this album and the songs are absolute top notch. This is my kind of power metal when I'm not looking for the over the top cheesy power meta. This is power, heartfelt, and beyond killer. go pick this up!
53.) Cult Of Luna- A Dawn To Fear
FFO- Post Metal, Sludge Metal, Progressive Metal
Cult Of Luna can do no wrong and A Dawn To Fear continues to show you why. Taking all of the best elements of their sound and continuing to evolve it musically and writing some of the most hard hitting lyrics in the band's history, this is a recipe for perfection. It's heavy, thought provoking, and takes you on a musical journey that has so many twists and turns. Cult of Luna is a masterclass of songwriting. Go find out why.
52.) Nailed To Obscurity- Black Frost
FFO- Doom Metal, Melodic Death Metal
4 albums in and 14 years since it's inception; Nailed To Obscurity has found a way to make even darker, even scarier, and even more haunting music than ever before. Black Frost (one of the best album titles of 2019) is a band that can take those styles that were done with Opeth, early day Katatonia and My Dying Bride and make it into their own and it's stellar work. Nailed To Obscurity deserves you love, go listen.
51.) Memoriam- Requiem For Mankind
FFO- Death Metal
The 3rd album in 3 years from this all star, powerhouse of a death metal band shows the band at their absolute best. The lyrics are divisive (and perfect for that), The production is raw and dirty, and the songs are exactly what they need to be. This is such a solid death metal album from start to finish and it's all I could ever want out of the band, maybe you will feel the same way.
50.) Periphery- Periphery IV: HAIL STAN!
FFO- Modern Progressive Metal
Periphery lost me for a few years. Pretty much after the Clear EP, It just didn't have my attention anymore, maybe I just grew out of my enjoyment for the band? Well I am happy to report that the band is back in full form and who knew it would take the band getting out of a label contract and being able to write what they want to write? This album seriously feels like the band is at their peak freshness and that is going to last for such a long time. Every song is different from the next. The Djent sounds are merely an afterthought at this point (nothing you don't hear out of 7-8 strings nowadays anyways). I mean when you can write a 16 minute progressive masterpiece about a stoner fighting aliens in outer space like in the opening track, Reptile; you know that the band has abandoned trying to be anything but themselves and I couldn't be happier. If you fell off the Periphery boat like I did, maybe it's time you jumped back in just as I have.
49.) Downfall Of Gaia- Downfall of Radical Finitude
FFO- Blackgaze, Crust Punk, Sludge Metal
When you talk about mixing genres together and creating music that is so abstract but makes total sense, that is Downfall of Gaia. Taking what has become blackgaze and adding sludge metal and crust punk elements to really make everything stand out is such a killer idea that I wish it had been done so long ago. The fact the band is not afraid to add solos into this music as well is such a rousing display of musicianship that bands don't seem to want to do anymore (but it needed depending on the band). The band's 5th album is a perfect soundtrack to where the band is now and it's awesome from start to finish. Don't leave this band in the dust, go check them out!
48.) Avatarium- The Fire I Long For
FFO- Doom Metal
The band's 4th album is what I've always wanted to hear from the band. It is diverse, it's the strongest material to date, and the production is so pounding and perfect. The use of the keys, synths, and organs throughout really make this album stand out amongst other doom metal bands of today. This is a perfect doom album and it only gets better on repeat listens. It'll just take one listen to understand why.
47.) Pensees Nocturnes- Grand Guignol Orchestra
FFO- Avant Garde Metal; Carnival Music You Will Be Killed To In A Horror Movie
Don't just take the album cover's word for it. One taste of this album and you'll hear the description. This sounds like the literal carnival from hell and if you enter you will be brutally tortured and mutilated within it's confines. This is a literal definition of avant garde music, you do not see where the music will lead you at all and the twists and turns will lead to your doom. If you are the adventurous type, why not give this a shot and throw it on at parties; it will guarantee to have everyone talking about you later.
46.) Abigail Williams- Walk Beyond The Dark
FFO- Abigail WIlliams
This album is essentially a tribute to every AW album that came before it with all new material. Whether you like the atmospheric, black metal, or even the metalcore side of the band; there is a song here for you. It almost feels like a farewell album of sorts. I really hope not as I have always dug the band and always will, but let's just hope that this is the closing of one chapter of the band before it goes into it's next era. Stellar, stellar work.
45.) Finsterforst- Zerfall
FFO- Black Metal, Folk Metal, Melodic Metal
5 albums in and the band has created their masterpiece (at least up till now). Zerfall takes the most epic parts of melodic, black and folk metal and combined it into some of the best songs you'll hear this year and with it's 36 minute long epic, Ecce Homo, closing out the album; you are guaranteed for a trip that you will get from no other album this year. Come find out what this band is all about.
44.) A Pale Horse Named Death- When The World Becomes Undone
FFO- Gothic Metal, Doom Metal
This album speaks to me in a way that no other album has in 2019. This album literally feels like someone that is falling under the weight of depression and the world around them and that is exactly how I feel every single day. With catchy hooks, fantastic songwriting, the most heartfelt lyrics, I could hear right now and that feeling that I am not alone in this world with how I fell; this album is a perfect, dark antidepressant that fellow people like myself need. It helps on some of my darkest days, it may for you too.
43.) Pounder- Uncivilized
FFO- Speed Metal, Heavy Metal
If you thought Matt Harvey could only do grindcore and death metal, you are sorely mistaken. The debut album from LP shows Harvey letting his heavy metal colors fly with his insatiable guitar riffs and uniquely perfect vocal delivery. This is what a lot of revival metal bands have been trying to do for years and it's quite clear that other bands have truly fallen short upon hearing Uncivilized for the first time. This feels like it was made right in the heart of the 80s metal movement and it gives bands like Overkill, Death Angel, and Testament a run for their money. I can't recommend this band enough.
42.) Liv Sin- Burning Sermons
FFO- Heavy Metal, Dark Metal, Melodic Death Metal
The sophomore album from former Sister Sin vocalist, Liv Jagrell shows her love of heavy metal become even stronger. The songs are so much heavier and catchier, the riffs seriously rival those done in bands like Arch Enemy or In Flames' best years. And Jagrell's top notch vocals and horror inspired lyrics really make this album one of the albums that ironically, shine brightest this year. If you missed out on this albu,, go remedy that now.
41.) Saor- Forgotten Paths
FFO- Celtic Folk, Black Metal
Saor's 4th album is without question, their best album to date. The perfect blend of Celtic folk and black metal is at it's purest form. Along with the band's best production to date, stellar songwriting and even a guest appearance from Alcest's Neige on the title track. If this is intriguing to you in any way. I implore you to check this out and see what can happen when a band takes two genres that feel so strange on paper together, feel so right when it's performed.
And there we go folks, we are officially 60 albums down in the top 100 and only 40 more albums to go. Haven't seen your favorite album yet? Have you made any new discoveries yet? Can you see what the number 1 album will be from a mile away? Let's get some of those answers tomorrow with Part V: 40-21
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)