Metal and More in 2019: Jenna’s Five Unmissable Upcoming Albums
Who knew that the antidote to year-end madness was another list? I am just as shocked as you are, but truly, the opportunity to look toward a horizon proved to be a bit less solemn than watching one drift away. As music fans, we can all agree that there is no better feeling than knowing that your next favorite song, album, or band could be around the corner. This possibility has swung a bit too far in the adverse direction by creating a very real personal problem: what if I don’t click on that suggested YouTube video or swipe too quickly through Soundcloud auto-play? I could be missing a Bell Witch, an Entering, a nothing,nowhere., or any from the litany of other artists who I consider to be among my favorites.
My resolutions for 2019 should be calculated risk and careful planning, starting with keeping my finger on the pulse of what I do know is up next. While it can be difficult to weed through upcoming releases from bigger (and in some cases over-hyped) artists while still giving due credit, as well as keeping track of off-the-cuff independent releases, I formulated a starting point from which we can plunge into another great year.
Eyehategod -- TBA
Release date: TBA
Much has changed since Eyehategod’s 2014 self-titled release. Frontman Mike IX Williams arose from the brink of death with the help of a crucial liver transplant. Longtime guitarist Brian Patton resigned from his post to attend to family matters, leaving the practitioners of D-beat-flavored doom to tour the world as a newfound four-piece. Eyehategod was even somewhat of a departure from their past body of work in and of itself. The full-length features a lineup adjustment with the addition of Aaron Hill following the sudden passing of Joey LaCaze, as well as some (relatively) faster moments, such as those found in opener "Agitation! Propaganda!"
All that being said, Eyehategod has never been anything less than unapologetically themselves. While not much is yet known about their expected 2019 release, it can be guessed that it will grittily document many of the hurdles the 30-year-old unit manages to clear time and time again. Early contributions such as 1993’s Take as Needed for Pain will always serve as landmarks within slow-and-heavy circles, but the ability to maintain the velocity needed to keep the dominoes falling is what is particularly valiant.
Bring Me the Horizon -- amo
Release date: January 25th
Bring Me the Horizon have been providing recovering scene kids everywhere with an important lesson in aging gracefully. While their days of unadulterated deathcore gave way to a brisk foray into post-hardcore, their story continued to unfold even after asymmetrical bangs gave way to undercuts. The year 2010’s There is a Hell… welcomed a decade in which highly-emotional heartstrings were tugged through more electronic and experimental undertakings. Follow-up Sempiternal, which features regarded singles "Can You Feel My Heart," "Shadow Moses," and "Sleepwalking," gave way to unapologetic melody dripped in face-melting brutal honest.
But it was 2015’s That’s the Spirit that sealed the deal of Bring Me the Horizon as a bona fide brand. The umbrella symbol featured in the album’s artwork personifies the basic shelter that the band’s ethos provides. Resilience -- whether that be over drug abuse, heartbreak, or death -- is written in Bring Me the Horizon’s story as much as expert musical evolution is. Their latest track "MANTRA" serves as a glimpse into the world of amo as the carnival-like madness of cult-inspired shenanigans takes a meta perspective on one’s place in the world. This time, it looks like surviving the storm will take on a whole new struggle.
Lana Del Rey -- Norman Fucking Rockwell
Release date: TBA
Lana Del Rey is one of those magical artists who manages to steal hearts across the lines of genres. Given her noir-splashed tone and aesthetic, metal fans in particular (or, at least this one) tend to have a soft spot for the Summertime Sadness singer. Since her demo days, Del Rey has offered installments in the complicated portrait that is the all-American girl. Earlier in the decade, the now infamous Born to Die, along with Paradise, became renegade pop classics inspired by Lolita and adolescent alcoholism.
The year 2014, however, marked a turning point with Ultraviolence – smoky, cool, and a stitch more jaded, Del Rey took charge with rock and roll-charged singles like "West Coast." Most recently, Lust for Life included playful features from A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti, as well as Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon. Such selections embody the heart of what Del Rey is about: namely, merging new and old schools in a way that is as exciting as finding a relevant trend in a vintage shop. Fortunately, it does not look like the nostalgia trip has run out of eras as last fall’s "Venice Bitch" shows off a minimalistic meditation on cruising the coastline, which, somehow, exudes a timelessness as curious as a Norman "fucking" Rockwell painting itself.
Wytch Code -- The Cure for Depression
Release date: TBA
While it is often difficult to pinpoint the "what’s" and "where’s" of the underground, Edmonton's Wytch Code has made it known that work is underway for The Cure for Depression. This album will be the follow-up to 2017’s Fantasies of My Suicide, which marked an inaugural venture into exceptionally delicate DSBM. Solo artist Peter Derksen commits the heretical act of clean singing, but in a fashion that is alluringly fresh. Citing a unique blend of doom and black metal -- including 000, Hypothermia, and My Dying Bride -- as influences, Derksen has come a long way since his early undertakings in grindcore.
While not much has been revealed about the specific themes of The Cure for Depression, it can be wondered if additional chapters will be installed regarding a tumultuous relationship between a domineering mother and struggling son. What we definitely know is that the previously-released title track (above) will spearhead the album. While its production retains some of the grit that one may expect of DSBM, gentle piano strokes and low-and-slow singing provide beauty in an unexpected place. While 2019 is (at least allegedly) bringing new music from bands who are kind of a big deal, Wytch Code is a reminder to keep one eye on what is bubbling up from the hot pits below.
Wicca Phase Springs Eternal -- Suffer On
Release date: February 15th
Speaking of the underground rising, occult-themed hip-hop solo artist Wicca Phase Springs Eternal is hot on the heels of last year’s EPs Corinthiax (prod. Foxwedding) and Spider Web (with Fish Narc and Clams Casino) now with full-length Suffer On. Wicca Phase, also known as Adam McIlwee (ex-Tigers Jaw), has followed a similar yet distinct trajectory from other underground hip-hop artists of the decade. While such a musical style became alluring due to the ease with which he could work without being saddled with the logistical issues inherent to having bandmates, McIlwee has rebelled against the trope of moving to LA and living a feeble fantasy.
Instead, he has used Wicca Phase as a means of building magic back home in Scranton. Recent single "Look at Yourself" (prod. Greaf) discusses the merits of doing laundry and getting to bed before midnight from the safety of what appears to be my deceased great aunt’s house. Whether or not he has a magic circle hitched in the backyard, Gothboiclique’s spooky staple provides a lesson in unexpected wholesomeness. Here’s to hoping that Suffer On will come with incense and a good crockpot recipe.
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