It’s really ridiculous when magazines, journalists or just ordinary music fans making the year top lists in late November. Here is my list about records which I really enjoyed and listened on my turntable, or CD player. There is no number one, or best of the best, no order, no gold medal just some great records, and some liner notes about!
Full length album
Swans – Leaving Meaning. (Young God Records)
My favorite album from 2019, the fifteenth studio album! Sounds like a Michael Gira solo album or a new Angels Of Light record, but Gira is Swans and Swans is Gira. Killer, smart album, not so sonically violent, but still strong and amazing masterpiece! A long, double CD album again, the long playing time is normally on Swans albums. No weak moment, or boring track here. After 40 years doing music in Swans, or in other projects Gira has stories to say, songs to play. If you have seen Swans live on stages with Filth, Cop, Children Of God etc era maybe you will not like the band’s second reincarnation, your problem, but Swans never made a bad, or boring album, still the greatest band on planet! The best song, and one of the best Swans song ever recorded is Amnesia!
Deathspell Omega – The Furnaces Of Palingenesia (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
More space to Mikko Aspa on this record, the best DSO album since Si Monumentum… Killer riffs from the first song till the end. After the ultra chaotic, short and noisy “The Synarchy Of Molten Bones” the band went to another direction, smarter, violently killer, mature, this is my black metal, the best black metal album of 2019. The totally high points are the lyrics and the vocals! The closing “You Cannot Even Find the Ruins… “ put the crown to this great record! One of the most important album from the huge DSO discography! “Whatever is now, is right”.
Funereal Presence – Achatius (Sepulchral Voice Records / The Ajna Offensive)
Bestial Devotion is Funereal Presence, yes the insane drummer from the New York based Negative Plane. In FP he is doing everything, a real one man black metal band! If you know the first FP album, “The Archer Takes Aim” this new album is on the same train, just better and smarter, if you are not familiar with earlier FP releases imagine a simplyer, but craziest Negative Plane, hmm sounds very insane. In some tracks Nameless Void the mastermind from Negative Plane playing some crazy solos from beyond! Fast tempos, insane solos, great riffs and some crazy chants make this album absolutely amazing and original! A concept album tells the legend of biblical Achatius. “Achatius” will be on prominent place at the Black metal pantheon!
Misþyrming – Algleymi (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
Söngvar Elds Og Óreiðu, the first Misþyrming album was not my friend, ok that album put Iceland on the extreme metal map, a pioneer of a new wave of Icelandic Black Metal. For a debut was cool, but nothing special. Algleymi is the real deal, a well written great new album from the first riff to the closing tunes. Less dissonance black metal tracks, more well composed, real songs with great structures! Lots of folk themes, and sometimes very rock riffing creates a very enjoyable album. The booklet says, all tracks were written and recorded by DG, the main man of the band, hmm sounds a solo album. I know Misþyrming is a great fan of Deathspell Omega, but really strange for me that this album was released by NOEVDIA, not their style! One thing is sure, this album will not fall to the void of oblivion (=algleymi).
Saint Vitus – Saint Vitus (Season Of Mist)
After 24 years from the best Saint Vitus album: Die Healing, we have a new album again with the original singer Scott Reagers, that’s one of the miracles of heavy music scene! I’m totally possessed!
What a great record, if you wrote down the band after the short, but really enjoyable Lillie: F-65 album, this new album will be your favorite.
The album title: this one is not cool, the first self-title album from 1984 is too iconic masterpiece to using this title again on the new record. If they close their discography with this album, make sense.
The cover art is too close to the original first album art…
No Wino, no party; false, I think without Wino, now the band stronger than ever! I love you Wino!
The best doom metal release from 2019, no question about. This kind of dusty doom only Saint Vitus can make, Scott’s voice is not that powerful like on Die Healing, but we are not in 1995. Lots of experimental tracks here, the rest is old school doom on high, all punkish doom metal riffs from Chandler are gold, true king of doom metal riffs!
Culture Reject – Breaking With The World (Specific)
CR is a project of the Canadian musician Michael O’Connell. They playing a very positive bedroom pop, urban folk, acoustic folk from the very deep of his heart. This is the second album and earlier was an EP too, but for me this is the first time to listening this nice band. The title speaks for itself, when I want to break with this world and escaping from the today’s world shit, just put this nice vinyl record on turntable and doing nothing just listening those nice songs, read the lyrics and see the cover! Perfect album in every aspect.
Denial Of God – The Hallow Mass (Osmose Productions / Hells Headbangers)
If I ranking the DOG albums, this 3rd album will be on the 3rd place, not so catchy like the debut and not so great like the Death And The Beyond, but still good and from the current scene, absolutely outstanding record. After 7 years from the previous album, “The Hallow Mass” from the first listening sounds like Death And The Beyond part 2, or B side from that recording session. Lots of listening needed to get into this record, but worth every minute, because a really good album, long tracks with the well known DOG formula, totally old style black metal with lots of 80’s metal influence. The cover art also my style, so all in all everything is on the right place.
Drastus – La Croix De Sang (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
After 10 years of total silence I saw an announcement on NOEVDIA newsletter about the new Drastus album, Drastus was a French one man band mostly played ambiental black metal, but nothing remarkable, or outstanding. On this album, second full length in their discography they play (yes Drastus recruited a real drummer) a very great written French black metal, very dark and very powerful! Absolutely recommended for every French black metal worshipper, if you are into Antaeus, Aosoth, early Blut Aus Nord, or Deathspell Omega, you will like La Croix De Sang for sure.
NECRONOMIDOL – Voidhymn (Specific)
Some people say, Necronomidol from Japan is the little sister, or the underground version of Baby Metal, but it’s wrong and not true at all! First was released this 3rd full length album in 2018, but only in Japan! A great combination of J-pop, Black Metal, Kawaii metal and synth pop, with full speed and great songs! These well written anthems with Japanese language sounds brilliant!
Vltimas – Something Wicked Marches In (Season Of Mist)
One thing is clear, Vltimas beaten everything done by Morbid Angel after Formulas! This extreme music super group (I hate this definition, but…) made a masterpiece on their first record! Blasphemer’s riffs, guitar style with David Vincent’s lyrics and absolutely fantastic vocals made an outstanding death metal album, yes death metal, some people say blackened death metal, but for me this is death metal! No fun, no gore, no bullshit just killer songs, yes songs, perfectly composed death metal songs!
Teitanblood – The Baneful Choir (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
For bands like Teitanblood have 2 ways to follow after 2 albums and many eps; or going to more chaotic, noisy warmetal total blasphemy worship, or trying something musical, something smarter, darker. Teitanblood choose the 2nd way and made a very dark, but very mature album! Of course “The Baneful Choir” is not a progressive garden metal! Satanic black-death metal inferno! The most dark, black vortex album of 2019!
Rome – Le Ceneri Di Heliodoro (Trisol)
Jerome’s not resting, not slowing down, another year and another great new album, I really enjoyed the last 2 great albums, but this one even better. I think in the last couple of years we wrote everything about Rome, so my advice: just listen to this album, read the lyrics, learn and get your ticket for one of the shows from the upcoming tour! (if will happen this year….)
“When it will be right, I don't know
What it will be like, I don't know
We live in hope of deliverance
from the darkness that surrounds us
Will there be rivers of blood, I don't know
Will there be rivers of blood, I hope no
Will there be rivers of blood, I don't know...
What do they know of Europe who only Europe know”
Doombringer – Walpurgis Fires (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Another Cultes des Gholes related project. 2nd full length album, old style Polish Black/Death metal rites. Very rare nowadays to hear this kind of black-death metal played with total old school spirit without any nostalgia, or tribute feeling. If you are into Cultes surely will like “Walpurgis Fires”.
Pentacle – Spectre Of The Eight Ropes (Iron Pegasus Records)
14 years gone after the last Pentacle album! And now the archaic death metal masters are back with a brand new album! After lots of listening I need to realize this is the best Pentacle album ever! 54 minutes of total death metal, killer riffs one after another, great tempo changes, absolutely top notch album! and how they made a total Pentacle song from the Necrophagia track (Forbidden Pleasure) is just amazing!
Departure Chandelier – Antichrist Rise To Power (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
A long time existed, but not so active (only one demo and a split) band, or project from Ash Pool and Akitsa members (Dominick Fernow, Kris Lapke, Pierre-Marc Tremblay)! And here is the first album: the album about Napoleon the fallen Emperor. Dirty, lo-fi black metal with the best Akitsa tradition, and lots of great synth themes in the background. This kind of black metal could make only French, or French Canadian motherfuckers. I really enjoyed the lyrics! Salute to the great Emperor, hail Napoleon! I hope will be more DC releases, why not a full length album, in 10 years.
Profanatica – Rotting Incarnation Of God (Season Of Mist Underground Activists)
When I saw first time the front cover of this record, painted by the Italian genius madmen Paolo Girardi I knew that this will be a great album, and yes this is it! Black death metal vortex with full of chaos, darkness, desecration and blasphemy, the best Profanatica album to date!
Svart1 – Monotono (Mask of the Slave)
Put your headphones and listen to this truly experimental album by night, carefully, than write your feeling, impressions, than repeat the audition after a month, and analyze the result, go ahead!
EP, Mini album
Denial Of God – The Shapeless Mass 12” MLP (Osmose Productions / Hells Headbangers)
Very interesting mini album from the ghouls of DOG, contains one of the worst Bathory cover ever; zero feeling on the Call From The Grave cover, ok, you will know from the first seconds that DOG are playing, but this is not enough. New songs from the latest album sessions, a very bad Bathory cover, and still on the list of “best of 2019”, why? The answer is really simple, because the last track on this record, the totally bull’s eye, fantastic cover song from Exuma. “Mama Loi, Papa Loi” is just a brilliant cover, better than the original, perfect and mesmerizing! I gave my soul to the devil!
Siculicidium – A halál és az iránytű 7” EP (Sun & Moon Records)
The perfect 7” EP, 2 great new songs, fine artwork & concept, Eastern European black metal madness, it’s really time for the new album. The Transylvanian black metal storytellers back, and this EP is their best release to date!
Death Like Mass – Matka Na Sabacie MCD (Under The Sign Of Garazel Productions / Malignant Voices)
When we have no new Cultes Des Ghoules album, we need to listen some related bands/project, so here is Left Hand Trip’s new band Death Like Mass, LHT is the vocalist from Cultes under the Mark of the Devil name. The other members are from Lvcifyre, Enthroned, Nightbringer etc. The music is close to the Ghoules style, all in Polish language, evil, morbid, occult black metal of death, one track in almost 32 minutes of playing time! Crazy riffs, ferocious, satanic Black Metal from beyond.
Thy Serpent / Ash Pool – Thy Serpent / Ash Pool 7” EP (KVLT / Tour De Garde)
Forget the Thy Serpent side, I have no idea how was made this split, but the Ash Pool song is gold! World needs new Ash Pool album now! I’m really into those nice clean vocals!
Genocide Organ – Movement 7” EP (Tesco Organisation)
Leaders as always! Without GO the industrial, power electronics, noise scene would be a mistake.
most disappointing record:
Mgła – Age Of Excuse (Northern Heritage / No Solace)
The album of excuse, good for trendy new comers, but bad for old fans, big festivals and tours will embrace Mgla. (not this year, maybe in 2021)
The great surprise record:
Dead Bronco – The Annunciation (Roots Union Records)
Missed record, need to listen:
(Dolch) – Feuer (Ván)
Molasses – Mourning Haze / Drops Of Sunlight (Ván)
Best record label:
Specific, from France
Vomitor, Zipp it Kolozsvar
Heretic & Vulture, Running Free Fest Bulgaria
Kill, Zipp it Kolozsvar
Abigail/Deathhammer/Witchunter @ Old Grave Fest, Bucharest
Michael Gira @ Cinema Arta, Kolozsvar
Slayer, farewell concert, Bucharest
by Mirgilus, March 2020