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Writers’ Choice: 11 Top Metal Albums of 2019 + 73 Other Surefire Bangers

Blut Aus Nord

We ran 11 individual year-end lists for 2019, representing an impressively wide gamut of tastes and appreciated styles among those who chose to contribute this year. It was heartening to see, following some quick tongue-out number-crunching, that there was actually minimal overlap among the selections. And while it’s very not surprising that Blood Incantation’s Hidden History of the Human Race came out on top — mostly because the album is just that goddamn fantastic, but also because not listening to it would be rotten negligence — this expected result points to a bigger truth about the current state of heavy metal.

There’s just too goddamn much of it for any one person to listen to.

Hence why we talk about heavy metal to begin with. Discovery. It’s one of the core pillars of the heavy metal scene, quite literally the glue which keeps it all together: sharing new music with others. The pleasure is clearly both selfish and altruistic, we do it to make both ourselves and others feel good. The year-end list is the perfect space to practice just that, doling out slices of another metalhead’s mind to bolster our own understanding of what this music might actually mean overall, personally too. And it’s in the year-end list where subjectivity reigns truly free, which is why applying some quantitative shackles to the thing seems pointless and daft despite still illuminating how effective (and viral) discovery and sharing are.

I try to think of it more of this way: here’s a gigantic list of really fucking splendid heavy metal albums, with 11 especially splendid albums highlighted on top. These 11 top picks were albums selected by two or more writers across our (coincidentally equal) 11 total year-end list contributions. Think of the whole thing, though, as a shopping guide, or a way to burn an hour or two clicking through random selections, or something to churn through more procedurally if that’s your style. This collection features everything from super-underground gems to goddamn Rammstein and everything in-between. Most importantly, it’s been vetted by a plurality of tastes, meaning that whatever albums you discover within have a higher chance than usual of sticking with you.

Here’s to another wonderful year of heavy music. It just keeps getting better and better, and there’s no way in hell I’m getting off this train.

— Andrew Rothmund

Top 11 of 2019 (Albums Chosen More Than Once)

Blood IncantationHidden History of the Human Race (x4)

Blut aus NordHallucinogen (x3)

Big|BraveA Gaze Among Them (x3)

Bonus: read Langdon Hickman’s full review of A Gaze Among Them.

Krzysztof DrabikowskiПанихида (x2)

Bonus: read Thomas Hinds’ Batushka vs. Batushka comparison review.

Idle HandsMana (x2)

Bonus: read Joseph Aprill’s interview with Idle Hands mastermind Gabriel Franco.

FriendshipUndercurrent (x2)

Funereal PresenceAchatius (x2)

Bonus: read Jenna DePasquale’s review of Achatius.

Crypt SermonThe Ruins of Fading Light (x2)

Bonus: read Brian O’Neill’s live report.

BrutusNest (x2)

Lingua IgnotaCaligula (x2)

Bonus: read Jenna DePasquale’s interview with Lingua Ignota mastermind Kristin Hayter, plus Brian O’Neill’s live report.

Inter ArmaSulphur English (x2)

Bonus: read Brian O’Neill’s interview with drummer TJ Childers and guitarist Trey Dalton, plus Langdon Hickman’s full review of Sulphur English.

73 Other Amazing Heavy Albums Released in 2019

A Pregnant LightBroken Play
AlcestSpiritual Instinct
Angel WitchAngel of Light
BorknagarTrue North
Bull of Apis Bull of BronzeOfferings of Flesh and Gold
CandlemassThe Door to Doom
Car BombMordial
Cattle DecapitationDeath Atlas
Cave InFinal Transmission
Chelsea WolfeBirth of Violence
CherubsImmaculada High
Cosmic PutrefactionAt the Threshold of the Greatest Chasm
Cult of LunaA Dawn to Fear
DarkthroneOld Star
Dead to a Dying WorldElegy
DevourmentObscene Majesty
DisillusionThe Liberation
Eternal StormCome the Tide
FluidsExploitative Practices
Frozen SoulEncased in Ice
HathOf Rot and Ruin
HaunterSacramental Death Qualia
HerodSombre Dessein
Immortal BirdThrive on Neglect
IthacaThe Language of Injury
Knocked LooseA Different Shade of Blue
LasterHet Wassen Oog
Magic CircleDeparted Souls
MonolordNo Comfort
MorkDet Svarte Juv
NasheimJord och aska
NebulaHoly Shit
Neptune Power FederationMemoirs of a Rat Queen
No One Knows What the Dead ThinkNo One Knows What the Dead Think
ObsequiaeThe Palms of Sorrowed Kings
Orville PeckPony
Petrol GirlsCut & Stitch
Pig’s BloodA Flock Slaughtered
Rainer LandfermannMein Wort in Deiner Dunkelheit
Red Beard WallThe Fight Needs Us All
RepugnanceShrouds of Deceit
Riot CityBurn the Night
Sanguine EagleStorm Mysticism + Shores of Avarice
SanguisugabudPornographic Seizures
SeeYouSpaceCowboyThe Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds
Spirit AdriftDivided by Darkness
Sunn O)))Life Metal
The Callous DaoboysDie on Mars
The CoathangersThe Devil You Know
The Lord Weird Slough FegNew Organon
The WraithAbsolute Power
Tomb MoldPlanetary Clairvoyance
ToolFear Inoculum
VéhémencePar le Sang Versé
Violet ColdKosmik
Waste of Space OrchestraSyntheosis
Wear Your WoundsRust on the Gates of Heaven
White WardLove Exchange Failure
WormwitchHeaven That Dwells Within
Zig ZagsThey’ll Never Take Us Alive

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