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Top Albums of 2019 (So Far)

IO

It’s nice to stop and smell the flowers every so often… or, alternatively, your favorite metal albums so far this year. And while I do not personally recommend sniffing your vinyl/CDs/whathaveyou, I do recommend reflecting on what makes your favorite albums so special. Remember, think not about what your music says about you, but what you have to say about yourself in context of your favorite music. Did you learn anything new about your tastes? Did you discover something that you’d have hated just a year ago? Are you changing? Is the world changing?

Big questions, but we have some big albums to answer them. Before we get into the lists, check out this roundup of Invisible Oranges articles from earlier this year — we had covered many of the albums that our contributors/writers selected. As always, stay metal, and let us know in the comments what your personal top picks are for halfway through 2019.

— Andrew Rothmund

Warforged (video interview)
Gomorrah (album premiere)
Dead to a Dying World (song premiere + interview)
Numenorean (song premiere)
Big|Brave (full review)
Cosmic Putrefaction (song premiere)
Primitive Man + Hell (full review)
Shabti (album premiere)
Inter Arma (interview) + Inter Arma (full review)
Dreadnought (interview)
Town Portal (song premiere)
Pound (song premiere)
Kaleikr (album premiere)
Hath (song premiere)
Violet Cold (full review)
Full of Hell (interview)
Oozing Wound (interview)
Herod (song premiere)
Aoratos (song premiere)
Pinkish Black (full review)
Spirit Adrift (interview)
Venom Prison (interview)
Candlemass (interview)
The Lord Weird Slough Feg (interview)
Waste of Space Orchestra (full review)

Andrew Rothmund

What a year (so far). Personally, it’s been tough as a concrete turd already. Music-wise, we’ve been graced with some of the hottest, most wicked metal ever laid to tape. It’s my very honest opinion that metal keeps getting even better (especially as the world around us continues to decay). This doesn’t mean that more prosperous times (for everyone, not just the rich) in the world’s history didn’t result in great metal. It just means that when people struggle, fight, and sometimes perish due to unfair structures in the world around us, that extreme music gets a concomitant boost. Metal is life, metal is pain, metal is suffering, but metal is the ultimate catharsis. Let’s hope (and work) for a better world in the future; for now, let’s enjoy better music for all.

WarforgedI: Voice
GomorrahGomorrah
Dawn of NilCulminating Ruins
WolvennestVortex EP
Dead to a Dying WorldElegy
NumenoreanAdore
NusquamaHorizon Ontheemt
Big|BraveA Gaze Among Them
DefacementDeviant
Cosmic PutrefactionAt the Threshold of the Greatest Chasm

Thomas Hinds

The year 2019, at least thus far, has been the year of revitalized sludge. It seems that across the full gamut of metal’s countless subgenres, a grimy, unforgivingly course demeanor now casts a shadow of angst and catharsis upon all new material. The past sixth months has seen the proliferation of a primordial, destructive energy that has spurred a stylistic convergence between styles once considered dissimilar; from the otherworldly death metal dungeon slime of Nucleus and Fetid, to the crunch-heavy mathematics of Pound and Town Portal, to the psychedelic tribal doom of Zaum and Numidia, it’s safe to say that this new wave of dark introspection and unbridled rage has thoroughly engulfed heavy metal culture worldwide.

Primitive Man + Hell — Split
ShabtiTrembling and Shorn
FetidSteeping Corporeal Mess
NucleusEntity
Inter ArmaSulphur English
DreadnoughtAwakening
Town PortalTown Portal
Pound••
NumidiaNumidia
ZaumDivination

Ivan Belcic

I haven’t been the most active music writer this year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. As early as the opening weeks of January, the underground once again proved itself replete with inspired brutality. The albums which stood out most intensely to me over the past six months are united in their plaintiveness, whether tinged with hope or smothered by withering despair, testaments to metal’s enduring ability to both channel and provoke the emotions.

MurmurThe Boundless Black
IthacaThe Language of Injury
WristmeetrazorMisery Never Forgets
WaldgeflüsterMondscheinsonaten
NumenoreanAdore
FriendshipUndercurrent
KaleikrHeart of Lead
HathOf Rot and Ruin
Krzysztof DrabikowskiПанихида
Violet ColdkOsmik

Aaron Maltz

Give me hooks or give me silence. Throw me all the genres you’ve got, but if you don’t provide that crystallizing moment where pleasure and intellect shake hands, I’ll probably forget your name. Looking over my mid-year favorites, I almost feel like I don’t qualify as a metalhead anymore but rather an art-rock dude with some heavier leanings. Considering that I gave up booze for kombucha, I’ll proudly wear the tag.

PUPMorbid Stuff
Moon ToothCrux
PixvaeCali
Helium Horse FlyHollowed
Big BusinessThe Beast You Are
SkryptorLuminous Volumes
Helms AleeNoctiluca
Deathspell OmegaThe Furnaces of Palingenesia
Ooozing WoundHigh Anxiety
Mord’A’StigmataDreams of Quiet Places

Chris Rowella

This collection of albums surprises me, in ways I cannot quite articulate yet. The year 2019 has been a haphazard, lurching, and eye-opening year so far — is there a similar theme buried in the desert rock, filthy death metal, and Lynchian crooner country on display here? Perhaps. If not, at least the tunes are good.

FriendshipUndercurrent
RingwormDeath Becomes My Voice
EsoctrilihumThe Telluric Ashes…
Pinkish BlackConcept Unification
NebulaHoly Shit
Spirit AdriftDivided by Darkness
OssuariumLiving Tomb
My Diligence Sun Rose
Inter ArmaSulphur English
Orville PeckPony

Tom Campagna

This year has been a very diverse year for heavy music listeners. Classic bands finally hitting the ground running after years by the sidelines or others just powering through their discographies with sonic aplomb. In six months, I may look back at this list and wonder what in the world I was thinking. Let me save myself the time, 2019 is a powerful precursor for a year that is still a primordial pool of yet undiscovered variety.

SanhedrinThe Poisoner
Spirit AdriftDivided By Darkness
DarkthroneOld Star
Saint VitusSaint Vitus
CandlemassThe Door To Doom
PossessedRevelations of Oblivion
Magic CircleDeparted Souls
Eye of the DestroyerBaptized In Pain
Devil MasterSatan Spits On Children of Light
BellropeYou Must Relax

Brian O’Neill

There are a lot of hotly tipped albums by bigger bands coming out the second half of the year, but for quality and diversity, it’s not impossible that the best albums of 2019 have already been released. Which isn’t to say I’ll stop listening.

Big|BraveA Gaze Among Them
BrutusNest
The CoathangersThe Devil You Know
DarkthroneOld Star
Dead to a Dying WorldElegy
Die KlutePlanet Fear
The Lord Weird Slough FegNew Organon
Magic CircleDeparted Souls
Petrol GirlsCut & Stitch
Venom PrisonSamsara

Joseph Aprill

Long time reader of Invisible Oranges here (and sometimes comment section scribe) who you’ll soon see some contributions from in the near future. The year 2019 has already been a headrush of a year with great albums from young bloods and old bastards alike. Such abundance of music became far too apparent in how much I had to cut to make this a lean ten. All of which will be thrown into further disarray soon enough by the return of looming giants and hidden surprises on the horizon.

CandlemassThe Door to Doom
DarkthroneOld Star
Devil MasterSatan Spits on Children of Light
Funereal PresenceAchatius
HauntIf Icarus Could Fly
Idle HandsMana
MisþyrmingAlgleymi
MorkDet Svarte Juv
The Lord Weird Slough FegNew Organon
VircolacMasque

Langdon Hickman

This list doesn’t mention the phenomenal new electronic/country album from Lambchop, the brilliant Americana of both Josh Ritter and Bruce Springsteen, the searing and necessary rage of the new Brutus record, and so many more. I picked 13 records instead of ten both because it’s fucking metal and it also felt like the only fair way to highlight how incredible this year has been for music. There is of course some metal in here (have to know your audience!) but I would be dishonest if I didn’t highlight some of the experimental electronic records that have not only comprised a large portion of my auditory diet this year but also greatly inform my writing in general. Conspicuous absence: Baroness, who released a record I love but admittedly came out too soon to muscle its way past some of these heavy hitters, at least for now. Check back with me at year’s end.

Inter ArmaSulphur English
Holly HerndonPROTO
Tyler, the CreatorIGOR
TenggerSpirituality 2
Big|BraveA Gaze Among Them
KaryynThe Quanta Series
WandLaughing Matter
Mary Lattimore and Mac McCaughanNew Rain Duets
Tomb MoldPlanetary Clairvoyance
Black to CommSeven Horses for Seven Kings
HealthVol 4.: Slaves to Fear
Dolphin MidwivesLiminal Garden
Waste of Space OrchestraSyntheosis

Chris Butler

Krzysztof DrabikowskiПанихида
VéhémencePar le Sang Versé
WormwitchHeaven That Dwells Within
HerodSombre Dessein
Pulchra MorteDivina Autem Et Aniles
HathOf Rot and Ruin
Black CrucifixionLightless Violent Chaos
UnurnmentSpiritual Penury EP
AoratosGods Without Name
PileGreen and Gray

Emily Marty

MisþyrmingAlgleymi
Full of HellWeeping Choir
AndavaldUndir skyggðarhaldi
EsoctrilihumThe Telluric Ashes of the Ö Vrth Immemorial Gods
Gaahl’s WyrdGastiR (Ghosts Invited)
Krzysztof DrabikowskiПанихида
KvelgeystAlkahest
SinmaraHvísl stjarnanna
OssuarySupreme Degradation
HelheimRignir

Andrew Sacher

Dead to a Dying WorldElegy
BrutusNest
Inter ArmaSulphur English
JudiciarySurface Noise
NoisemCease To Exist
Fuming MouthThe Grand Descent
MartyrdodHexhammaren
Helms AleeNoctiluca
Big|BraveA Gaze Among Them
IthacaThe Language of Injury

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