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Top Ten Music Albums of 2019
Per usual I’ve created an end of the year top ten list of the best music albums of the year (this being the 2019 list) and put it up late. However, I’ve put this list up in a more timely fashion compared to last year’s list. Don’t have much more to add other than enjoy the list!
Oh, I guess I should add instead of YouTube links I’ll just add link to Apple Music / iTunes – Last year I just inserted links instead of videos to reduce the clutter. So I figured I’d continue that trend. On to the best music albums of 2019!
Longest Album: Esoteric – A Pyrrhic Existence
Esoteric has been known for lengthy albums in fact they have longer albums but this one, this year, happens to be the longest one I’ve heard. Clocking in at 98 minutes you better have nothing better to do than listen to some dreary doom metal for the next hour and a half!
Best Radio Song Not on the Radio: Riff Raff – These Eyes
Riff Raff is a goofball to be sure but when he tries he’s actually pretty good. This album (Cranberry Vampire) was one of his goofball efforts, however, These Eyes was a standout. He deserves a Grammy for it!
Most Disappointing Album: Tool – Fear Inoculum
Tool fans have been left waiting for 13 years for the follow up to the divisive album 10,000 days. The first disappointment was trying to acquire a copy. If you didn’t pre-order forget about it, you couldn’t find a copy unless it was a 2nd hand marked up copy. Most Tool fans came from a physical age so even with their recent jump to digital music it seems somewhat perplexing to have a shortage of the format most of their fans would gravitate towards.
As for the actual music, I would say for the most part most Tool albums have a different sound to them while still being identifiable as Tool. The majority of Fear Inoculum sounds like B-sides off of Lateralus and not in a good way. Songs mostly consist of one riff and they go on for way too long. It was like in those 13 years the band forgot how to make a complete song and just released things they thought might sound like Tool instead. There is one bright spot the song 7empest which is great.
Worst Album Cover: Malibu Ken
If I told you Aesop Rock released another album last year you probably would not believe me. But he did, it was a collaboration with Tobacco. It’s actually a good album but not only did they disguise themselves by using the name Malibu Ken, they made one of the most repulsive album covers to grace your music collection. Gotta say though, it would be fun to get this on vinyl just to hold it up to your face in one of those humorous photos where you hold an LP to your face for lulz.
Also, enjoy humorous music video below:
Aoi Eir (藍井エイル) – Fragment
Up until last year I was unfamiliar with Aoi Eir. However, I’m a big fan of Tamaki Nami and this album gave me those vibes. You know high energy, uptempo j-pop songs. Enjoyable if you like that sort of thing.
Skyblood – Skyblood
Skyblood is a band from Mats Levén, he’s a singer who’s been in a bunch of bands most notably Yngwie Malmsteen and Therion. It’s a one man project but sounds legit. The music sounds very NWOBHM maybe a bit more progressive and Mats’ voice sounds like an old Ripper Owens. But it’s a very good album. I hope he sticks with it because I’d like to hear more.
Illyria – The Carpathian Summit
I had high hopes for this one especially after their debut album. It’s not bad, it’s actually really good but I feel like the first album was a lot more varied in terms of musical composition. The Carpathian Summit seems to stick to the blackgazeish style but with jazzy interludes throughout. Again, really good but feels a bit straightforward for them. They also brought out an instrumental version of the album if you’re not a fan of the vocals.
Lord Vicar – The Black Powder
Did you ever enjoy Black Sabbath? Well if you did you’ll probably enjoy this band. A very heavy (think the dynamics of High on Fire) version of Black Sabbath. I don’t know what more to say except that it’s pretty awesome.
Denzel Curry – Zuu
In 2018 Denzel Curry brought out TA13OO which was enjoyed by many, myself included. But I find concept albums like that hard to revisit. Zuu on the other hand is just non stop bangers. So I enjoy it more just based on listenabliity. Everything is on point here from the production to the writing I guess the only negatives I would say is that it’s a bit on the short side and those 3 interludes could have been replaced with another track.
Metalite – Biomechanicals
Have you ever gone to Disneyland and thought that the Main Street Electrical Parade could use 100% more metal? Well Metalite has you covered. Metalite is a Swedish trance metal band with some strong power metal influences. While the band name is a little on the nose the album is really fun. Fast paced metal with some electronic bleeps and bloops and the vocalist Erica Ohlsson is very capable as well.
Taeyeon (태연) – Purpose
While we are all waiting for Blackpink to make an actual album other Korean artists are stepping up to the plate. Taeyeon was / is a member of the girl group Girls’ Generation. However, since 2017 she has been releasing solo albums (seemingly against the grain as k-pop groups are still super popular) and she’s put out a great album here. Nothing hyper poppy, just smooth mature sounding songs. If you must listen to one song and one song only check out Wine.
Allegaeon – Apoptosis
Allegaeon is a progressive tech death metal band from Colorado. The album title, Apoptosis, refers to the programmed cell death of organisms so you might just learn something from this album. It’s a good mix of all the elements, like think of Cynic but more death metal influenced or think of Necrophagist but less death metal influenced or just think about listening to the album because it’s great!
Sadistik – Haunted Gardens
Sadistik is probably the most horribly underrated (or maybe overlooked) rapper out there. That being said this is one of his best. The lyrics are very personal ranging from his own depression and suicidal thoughts to reminiscing about his father. It’s not the most uplifting material but his pain is a pleasure to listen to. Trust me, it’s better than it sounds.
Alcest – Spiritual Instinct
Alcest rarely disappoint so Spiritual Instinct is more non-disappointing music. In fact one of the songs, L’île des morts, sounds a lot like a Tool song or what a Tool song should sound like. But as far as this album goes gotta say it’s pretty consistent throughout. If you’ve never heard an Alcest album this is probably a good place to start. It’s more accessible than the others (less harsh vocals) but still feels like the band.
Numenorean – Adore
This album is a big mash of genres, predominantly blackgazeish I suppose, but with some sludgy secret sauce kinda like Pelican and maybe even some Tom Waits. Whatever it is is it’s awesome! The album has a great atmosphere from front to back and I gotta say I’m a fan of the percussion among other things. This was truly an unexpected surprise but I’ll be sure to have this band on my radar in the future.
Devin Townsend – Empath
Have you ever heard of this guy? He’s pretty good. This album feels like a greatest hits of sorts. This album is basically the culmination of everything Devin has created throughout his career on one album. Pretty awesome from front to back and a joy to listen to. That being said there is a bonus CD full of demo versions of songs. I haven’t listened to the whole thing, maybe a handful of songs but The Waiting Kind is good. However, the demos are just icing on an already delicious cake.
Swallow the Sun – When a Shadow is Forced into the Light
Coming off of 2015’s Songs from the North triple album one would wonder if Swallow the Sun had anything left in the tank. The answer after releasing When a Shadow is Forced into the Light is an unquestionable yes. Swallow the Sun rarely make the same album twice and always do something new and still manage to sound like Swallow the Sun. This album is a departure from their normal doom sound with a lot of emphasis on clean vocals. The reasoning is the passing of Aleah Stanbridge, the guitarist’s girlfriend. Dead at 39 thanks to cancer (She’s even featured at the end of Clouds on Your Side which she helped write). So there is a tale to be told here and the clean vocals help tell that tale. That being said not all the songs are sad. A lot of them feel like they are filled with hope. In the end they created quite a masterpiece, possibly their best album or close to it.