20 albums which filled up concert venues, personal play lists and music news. Or deserve to. 

Not a top 20. In order of release.

Legion of The Damned, Rotting Christ,  Dirty Shirt, Cocaine Piss, Dead Sea Apes, The Raconteurs, Nystagmus x Pavel Tchikov, black midi, vert:x, Sacred Reich, Tool, Mike Patton and Jean-Claude Vannier, The Cosmic Dead, Of Mice and Men, Laurie Anderson with Tenzin Choegyal and Jesse Paris Smith, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, ZU, Swans, Cunts, Psychic Lemon

Legion of the Damned – Slaves of the Shadow Realm

A great old-school thrash and death metal album with black metal influences. Legion of the Damned built this hybrid upon old-school sound structures, but the combination of the three styles in different variations grants the album a nowadays dynamic. Virulent guitar riffs, insane vocals, sledge-hammering drums, and a certain intentional sophistication with all these shifts between genres, you get them all on Slaves of the Shadow Realm.

Released on January 4, 2019 via Napalm Records

Rotting Christ – The Heretics

The Greek black metal gods Rotting Christ released another mystical concept album on the domain of anti-religious heavy metal. Masters of using adrenaline, epic build-ups and dark art for unifying motifs and tempos, they’ve managed once more to prove their immense creativity, both in music and in lyrics:

‘Since man cannot live without miracles,
He will provide himself with the
Miracles of his own making.’

Released on February 15, 2019 via Season of Mist

Dirty Shirt – Letchology

Dirty Shirt is one of the most original metal bands from Romania, combining various styles of metal with Romanian traditional music. At their fifth studio album, the eight-musician collective astonishes with how seamless they float from one genre to another, song after song, album after album. Take the track ‘Killing Spree’ for example – they blend heavy metal into ska punk, then switch the tonality to metalcore, insert some nu metal in between, flirt with groove metal, mess around a bit just for fun with some progressive tonalities developing them seriously afterwards into symphonic, to end up into pure death metal and grindcore. While keeping alive the traditional rhythms as well.  Impressive.

Released on March 8, 2019 via Rock Attack Records / Cargo (for France: Apathia Records)

Cocaine Piss – Passionate and Tragic

Twelve short, aggressive, full of excitement and  destruction tracks, produced under the supervision of Steve Albini. On this second album, the Belgian noise punks match their original sound and adds even a lot of more energy to it.

With this sophomore album, Cocaine Piss continue their explosive ascend.

Released April 5, 2019 on Hypertension Records

Dead Sea Apes – The Free Territory

On The Free Territory, Dead Sea Apes have applied a more introspective approach, revising their sound to dive in a dimension that captures a cold dystopia of the nonexistence of time and space.

An atmospheric and almost entirely instrumental album, where guitar riffs fuse within droned soundscapes and remove any conventional connections.

Released May 10, 2019 on Cardinal Fuzz (UK) and Feeding Tube Records (USA)

Nystagmus x Pavel Tchikov

A sonic attack via free improvisation, brilliantly executed by Farida Amadou on bass, Tom Malmendier on drums and Pavel Tchikov on theremin and synth effects.

The interactions are driven by passion, extreme energy levels and depth, for a complete, uncompromising freedom.

Self-released on May 19, 2019

The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

The third album of The Raconteurs is their first studio album in 11 years.

A steady record, maybe not as precise and as sophisticated as its predecessors, due to intentional  improvisation and low-fi sequences, but keeping a thematic coherence in which only The Raconteurs could fit in country folk, rockabilly, vocal harmornies, capella, piano and Americana.

Released on June 21, 2019 through Third Man Records

black midi – Schlagenheim

Schlagenheim is the debut studio album by English rock band Black Midi. They come from London and formed in 2017.

The record is original, crazy with changes in rhythms and tempos and with apocalyptic twists, the album is insanely mesmerizing. Technical complexity mixed with pure raw energy.

Released on June 21, 2019 through Rough Trade Records

vert:x –  (the orange album)

The very first vert:x album was released in 2007 and since then, vert:x has been moving always ahead on a floating mass of metal and heavy electricity. vert:x has reinvented itself for countless times but never lost their original mastermind formula, still secret until today. (the orange album) immerses the motorik into imprinted noise for effects that set the brain on fire. Especially live.

Self- released on July 1, 2019

Sacred Reich – Awakening

Awakening is the fifth studio album by American thrash metal band Sacred Reich and the band’s first studio album since 1996. It marks also the returns of drummer Dave McClain who had left for Machine Head in 1996 and of guitarist Wiley Arnett, Lead guitarist from 1986 until 1999. Another interesting fact is that, whilst the front man and bassist Phil Rind has represented the ultimate core of the band, the current new rhythm guitarist Joey Radziwill was not even born when the band formed.

The album stays true to the band’s thrash roots. It’s a great come-back with a nicely reconfigured lineup.

Released on August 23, 2019 through Metal Blade Records

Tool – Fear Inoculum

Tool revealed the release date of their long-awaited fifth album in May, revealed its title in July and finally release it on August 30. Fear Inoculum, undoubtedly the most expected album of the decade, was preceded by the entire Tool back catalog going officially online on streaming services. The album picks up where the 10,000 days left off, thirteen years ago. With outstanding vocals, dense energy, aggressive soundscapes and a full-grown approach, this album is made to offer a unique listening experience.

Released on August 30, 2019 through Tool Dissectional, Volcano Entertainment, and RCA Records

Mike Patton, Jean-Claude Vannier – Corpse Flower

Mike Patton and the and French composer  Jean-Claude Vannier met while working on a Serge Gainsbourg tribute at the Hollywood Bowl in 2011. The distance between their two continents wasn’t an issue for their online collaborate for this album: a beautiful collection of songs, two great minds,  a band (under the director of Paton in L.A  and an orchestra directed by Vannier in Paris.

Released September 13 via Ipecac Recordings

The Cosmic Dead – Scottish Space Race

Four lengthy tracks of epic, gloriously heavy sound, each of them fully rewarding, with remarkable changes in pace, and with arrangement crafted so skillfully around well-built song structures.

The album cover represents the map of Scotland solely, without the rest of the UK.

Released September 20, 2019

Of Mice and Men – Earthandsky

Earthandsky (or Earth and Sky)is metalcore at its best. Probably their heaviest album so far, Earthandsky is explosive, aggressive, with strong riffs and outstanding drumming.

High energy attitude all the way. Everything on this release sounds so familiar, but still, what a refreshing release in the landscape of the genre.

Released on September 27, 2019 through Rise Records.

Laurie Anderson / Tenzin Choegyal / Jesse Paris Smith – Songs from the Bardo

Laurie Anderson teams up with the Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal and the composer/activist Jesse Paris Smith for a spoken word project based on the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.

Laurie Anderson narrates the text, Jesse Paris Smith plays piano and creates additional effects with droning crystal bowls, Tenzin Choegyal sings and plays traditional Tibetan instruments, and cellist Rubin Kodheli and percussionist Shahzad Ismaily provide the musical accompaniment.

 ‘Listen without distraction’.

Released on September 27, 2019 via Smithsonian Folkways

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

In 2016, Skeleton Tree seemed darker than everything that Nick Cave had created by that date.  Well, not anymore. Ghosteen recounts an ongoing agonizing nightmare, a continuous search for never found peace of mind, a contemplation for the darkest feelings. It’s so moving that listening to it without having the slightest understanding of what it means to suffer real loss feel like a sacrilege. A masterpiece of mourning.

Released on October 4, 2019 on Ghosteen Ltd and on 8 November 2019 on Bad Seed Ltd

ZU – Terminalia Amazonia

‘In the Amazonian tradition nature and man are not separated’ says the band member and bass player Massimo Pupillo. Terminalia amazonia is a species of tree native to North America and South America. The album is the result of four years of regular research in an undisclosed indigenous village on the Ucayali River close to the border between Peru and Brazil.  The result, am album in which ancient shamanic songs are mixed with sound and frequencies played only on vintage analogue synthesizers.

Released on released October 11, 2019 via House Of Mythology

Swans – leaving meaning.

In 2017, Michael Gira announced that the Swans prolific journey had come to an end. Nevertheless, it came back reinvented this year, in a project bringing together musicians from various Gira’s past projects. The album slows down the total sonic adventure so loudly explicit on the latest albums, but it’s expanding the sound giving ways to acoustics improvisations, strings, piano, orchestral percussions and choirs. The lyrics are key to the album, depicting the chaotic fragility of the existence, in a vast range of nuances, from melancholy to sarcasm.

Released October 25, 2019 on Young God

Cunts – Cunts

Los Angeles punk supergroup featuring the vocalist Matt Cronk (Qui), the guitarists Michael Crain (Festival Of Dead Deer, Retox, Dead Cross) and Sterling Riley (Hepa.Titus), the bassist Keith Hendriksen (Virginia Reed, Kill The Capulets), and the drummer Kevin Avery (Retox, Planet B). The self-titled album puts on display everything that hardcore punk has to offer, it’s noisy and intense, with plenty of socio-political statements.

Released on November 1 via Ipecac Recordings

Psychic Lemon – Freak Mammal

Freak Mammal is explosive from start to end, dense and rich in sound, with the Psychic Lemon’s signature on the technical precision for every note and nuance.

A fully developed, exciting album, that makes the term ‘the difficult third album’ completely irrelevant, and which should take the band from the underground into mainstream.

Released November 8, 2019 via Drone Rock Records


Author: ywannish