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 Incantation -- Hidden History of the Human Race (x4)

Blut aus Nord -- Hallucinogen (x3)

Big|Brave -- A Gaze Among Them (x3)

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

Krzysztof Drabikowski -- Панихида (x2)

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

Idle Hands -- Mana (x2)

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

Friendship -- Undercurrent (x2)

Funereal Presence -- Achatius (x2)

Bonus: read Jenna DePasquale's review of Achatius.

Crypt Sermon -- The Ruins of Fading Light (x2)

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

Brutus -- Nest (x2)

Lingua Ignota -- Caligula (x2)

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

Inter Arma -- Sulphur 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 Light -- Broken Play
Alcest -- Spiritual Instinct
Angel Witch -- Angel of Light
Bask -- III
Borknagar -- True North
Botanist -- Ecosystem
Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze -- Offerings of Flesh and Gold
Candlemass -- The Door to Doom
Car Bomb -- Mordial
Cattle Decapitation -- Death Atlas
Cave In -- Final Transmission
Chelsea Wolfe -- Birth of Violence
Cherubs -- Immaculada High
Cosmic Putrefaction -- At the Threshold of the Greatest Chasm
Cult of Luna -- A Dawn to Fear
Darkthrone -- Old Star
Dead to a Dying World -- Elegy
Devourment -- Obscene Majesty
Disillusion -- The Liberation
Eternal Storm -- Come the Tide
False -- Portent
Fluids -- Exploitative Practices
Frozen Soul -- Encased in Ice
Hath -- Of Rot and Ruin
Haunter -- Sacramental Death Qualia
Heilung -- Futha
Herod -- Sombre Dessein
Immortal Bird -- Thrive on Neglect
Ithaca -- The Language of Injury
Knocked Loose -- A Different Shade of Blue
L’Acéphale -- L’Acéphale
Laster -- Het Wassen Oog
Liturgy -- H.A.Q.Q.
Magic Circle -- Departed Souls
Mayhem -- Daemon
Mizmor -- Cairn
Monolord -- No Comfort
Mork -- Det Svarte Juv
Nasheim -- Jord och aska
Nebula -- Holy Shit
Neptune Power Federation -- Memoirs of a Rat Queen
No One Knows What the Dead Think -- No One Knows What the Dead Think
Obsequiae -- The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
Orville Peck -- Pony
Petrol Girls -- Cut & Stitch
Pig's Blood -- A Flock Slaughtered
Rainer Landfermann -- Mein Wort in Deiner Dunkelheit
Rammstein -- Rammstein
Red Beard Wall -- The Fight Needs Us All
Repugnance -- Shrouds of Deceit
Riot City -- Burn the Night
Sanguine Eagle -- Storm Mysticism + Shores of Avarice
Sanguisugabud -- Pornographic Seizures
SeeYouSpaceCowboy -- The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds
Spirit Adrift -- Divided by Darkness
Sunn O))) -- Life Metal
The Callous Daoboys -- Die on Mars
The Coathangers -- The Devil You Know
The Lord Weird Slough Feg -- New Organon
The Wraith -- Absolute Power
Tomb Mold -- Planetary Clairvoyance
Tool -- Fear Inoculum
Torche -- Admission
Tzompantli -- Tlamanalli
Véhémence -- Par le Sang Versé
Violet Cold -- Kosmik
Waste of Space Orchestra -- Syntheosis
Wear Your Wounds -- Rust on the Gates of Heaven
White Ward -- Love Exchange Failure
Workshed -- Workshed
Wormwitch -- Heaven That Dwells Within
Zig Zags -- They'll Never Take Us Alive


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