She Likes It Heavy on Tuesdays, 7pm PST on bostonfreeradio.com, prajmetal@gmail.com

My Best of 2019 ends here with my #1 album, Witch Trail (Belgium)!

Album Art
A lot of metal bands chose Mariusz Lewandowski as their artist this year, and received the exact same cover. He should not have done that. So I've skipped all of those bands, even though technically the art is awesome (e.g. Fuming Mouth).
Ad Patres (FR), album - A Brief Introduction To Human Experiments: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0625848865_10.jpg
Critic (France), album - Eveil De L'esprit: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0185422145_10.jpg
Damnation Defaced (Germany), album - The Devourer: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0317751538_10.jpg
Disentomb (AU), album - The Decaying Light: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a2784689877_10.jpg
Feral (Sweden), album- Flesh for Funerals Eternal: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a3992260695_10.jpg
God Disease (Finland), album - Drifting Towards Inevitable Death: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a3703540376_10.jpg
Guðveiki (Iceland), album - Vængför: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1910583303_10.jpg
High on Fire (Oakland), album - Bat Salad: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1834743777_10.jpg
Hornwood Fell (Italy), album - Damno Lumina Nocte: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0987484078_10.jpg
Ogarya (France), album – Inclination: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1079877534_10.jpg
Plaguebringer (CAN), album - Diabolos: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1020675703_10.jpg
Pulchra Morte (USA), album - Divina Autem Et Aniles: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0838456446_10.jpg
Relics Of Humanity (Minsk), album - Obscuration: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a4101279720_10.jpg
Seer (CAN), album - Vol. 6: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1552924366_10.jpg
Skullpture (Chile), album - Reborn In Decay: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1628348844_10.jpg
Triumvir Foul (Portland), album - Urine of Abomination: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a4279260030_10.jpg
Vader (Poland), album - Thy Messenger: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0740756423_10.jpg
Vale Of Pnath (Denver), album - Accursed: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0493728966_10.jpg
Venom Prison (UK), album – Samsara: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a2210657858_10.jpg
Vimur (GA), album - Triumphant Master of Fates: https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1633501463_10.jpg

Evil Psychedelic Avant Garde
PHOBONOID (Italy), album - La Caduta di Phobos
Song: CoRot-7b (0:25-5:57)
— Psychedelic takes you on a cerebral journey: bending, decompressing, compressing. Phobonoid has a massive album, dense, dystopian, alien and fully immersive.

Runner Up:
Waste of Space Orchestra (Finland), album – Syntheosis
— Waste of Space Orchestra builds upon these peyote dreams of different textures and feels and movements and effects, rumbling over your brain, erupting in your brain, pulsating through your brain.

Grindcore
CLOUD RAT (MI), album – Pollinator
Song: Last Leaf (7:31-9:57)
— Grindcore pummels raw dissonance within a short set of time. Cloud Rat creates yet another album that is a vibrant furious rebellion, poetic and punk. Her vocals are versatile enough to also front a dark ambient album, ALSO released last year.

Runners Up:
Full of hell (MD, PA), album – Weeping Choir
— I saw Full of Hell live, and it was without a doubt one of the best live shows ever. The vocalist is a god, just powerful and reining his wrath upon the peons.
No One Knows What The Dead Think (NJ), album - s/t
— Thriving New Jersey dynamic grindcore with expressively insane vocals and brutal tempo. The album is hella solid.

Goth/Deathrock/Industrial
RITUAL HOWLS (Detroit), album – Rendered Armor
Song: I Can Hear Your Tears (10:29-15:21)
— I love this vocalist so much. Romantic, lush wave with a darker goth, deathrock and industrial layer.

Runners Up:
Statiqbloom (Brooklyn), album – Asphyxia
— I know it is really boring for me to love Statiqbloom every time he releases an album, but he is incredible. Experimental and strange, badass vocal effects, nostalgic, all of it rolled into the perfect cold, creepy industrial package. Statiqbloom has won my “Best of” multiple times before.
Die Sektor (GA), album - Death My Darling
— Catchy, melodic industrial and electronic dance and synth with nods to their forefathers like KMFDM and Skinny Puppy. Modern streaks of experimental break apart the dance, keeping the compositions unique. The vocals are very reminiscent of Ogre.

Hardcore/Crust/Influenced
KNOCKED LOOSE (KY), album - A Different Shade of Blue
Song: Belleville (15:53-19:09)
— Kentucky brings the inspirational, anthemic passion and a lead singer that drives their fans crazy. There is a metal edge, including a secondary gruff vocalist.

Runners Up:
Portrayal of Guilt (Austin), album - Suffering Is A Gift
— 2018’s Best Hardcore with a sophomoric album that is darker, bleaker and more chaotic.
Oozing Wound (Chicago), album - High Anxiety
— This trio has always made me so fucking happy. Fans of Karp and Big Black, and produced by Steve Albini, and it shows. Thrashcore, noise, angular, prog-crust with smokey vocals.
Fuming Mouth (MA), album - The Grand Descent
— Filthy crust layered death with down-tuned breakdowns.

Warm Male Vocals
MAGIC CIRCLE (MA), album - Departed Souls
Song: Valley Of The Lepers (19:36-26:40)
— Lead singer is a powerful, groovy 70's FIERCE with an emotional level that was unique.

Runners Up:
Spirit Adrift (AR), album - Divided by Darkness
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, album - S/T (stoner)
Cult Of Luna (Sweden), album – A Dawn to Fear
Bask (NC), album – III

Blackened Death (2 Winners!)
XOTH (Seattle), album - Interdimensional Invocations
Song: Mountain Machines (27:32-31:20)
— Chomping technical metal and turbulent tempos with a venom-pitched vocalist.

WORMWITCH (Vancouver), album - Heaven That Dwells Within
Song: Dancing in the Ashes (31:53-36:27)
— Fighting for #1 album of the year and WAY different from Xoth. Unafraid to blend gorgeous guitar instrumentals and groove to create a vivid texture.

Runners Up:
Vacivus (UK), album – Annihilism
— Fire-breathing demonic beast with technical harmonizing guitar monsters, interweaving to create ripping riffs. The vocalist is a massive spread of guttural and screech.
Bölzer (Switzerland), album - Lese Majesty
— Raw animalistic predatory metal with experiments in tempo creating more chaos.
Haunter (TX), album - Sacramental Death Qualia
— Technical shards of dissonant-shaped death that pummel, mastered by one of my favorite musicians, the dude from Convulsing, hearts.

American Black Metal (2 Winners!)
VIMUR (GA), album - Triumphant Master of Fates
Song: Adversarial Impetus Ignition (37:17-44:47)
— There are black metal forests in Georgia. The southern side warms this otherwise cold and dramatic structure to chomping and catchy. A blast.

AORATOS (CO), album - Gods Without Name
Song: Holy Mother of Terror (45:43-49:57)
— Witches breathe through the instruments creating dense weird creepy effects and wicked forms.

Runners Up:
Vale (Oakland), album – Burden of Sight
—Raw pummeling aggression, filthy punk grit, and massive female vocalist.
Yellow Eyes (NYC), album – Rare Field Ceiling
One of my favorite black metal bands, Yellow Eyes always release albums that require time to unpack. Raw American black metal, Yellow Eyes has mind-melding tempo changes, sinister and buzzing creeping atmosphere, hella riffs and a desperate vocal that hides within a shroud. It’s dense spectacularly strange story-telling, providing more insights with each listen.
Mizmor (Portland), album – Cairn
Horror upon horrors upon ash upon death upon dead until you are gone.

Death (2 Winners!)
VALE OF PNATH (Denver), album – Accursed
Song: Accursed (50:54-55:34)
— Sinister concoctions of evil, progressive, horror death in the script of a snake-hissing vocalist.

BLOOD INCANTATION (Denver), album - Hidden History of the Human Race
Song: Slave Species of the Gods (55:55-1:01:20)
— Guitars build-up within an insane wall of strange compositions that drop into mesmerizing pools of psychedelic.

Runners Up:
Soulmass (FL), album – The Weakness of Virtue
— Crisp production and strangling gurgling vocals with head churning explosions built within sinister doom. And the doom really infiltrates, bringing in unique compositions and time to stretch.
Hath (NJ), album – Of Rot and Ruin
— Melodic funk and harmonizing gorgeous guitars were an added texture to neck-chomping tempos and a scorched vocalist. Stylish font and album cover added bonus.
Ossuarium (Portland), Living Tomb
— Portland is the coolest city in the country. Truly fire and hell death, a vocalist barely breathing above ground.

Saturday Album and #1 Album of 2019
WITCH TRAIL (Belgium), album – S/T
Song: Afloat (1:02:17-END)
— Saturday album is the one I listen to the most. Witch Trail blends alternative, metal and noise rock, but what makes it erupt is their vicious singer. It is the juxtaposition of light and dark without tight boundaries.

Direct download: She_Likes_It_Heavy_Best_of_2019_Part_2_012820.mp3
Category:Radio Show: She Likes It Heavy -- posted at: 12:55am EST

Best Live Show:
JONATHAN BREE (New Zealand), at Rickshaw – an intimate experience to the most unique show I have ever seen outside of Skinny Puppy
ORANSSI PAZUZU (Finland), at Cornerstone – the Finnish are the only men that look good with man-buns
PINK TURNS BLUE (Berlin)/NEAR DARK FEST, at The Uptown – romantic dark wave festival introducing me to female-led The Ire (Detroit) and Yama Uba (Oakland)
SHE PAST AWAY (Turkey/UK), at Neck of the Woods – on my birthday no less!  Sold out, the bay area showed UP; and I met some really nice people that night
STUMPFEST FESTIVAL, at Mississippi Studios – we got to see our friends Terry Gross and hang out in Portland
PETER MURPHY (UK), at The Chapel – he sang the entire Deep album and special songs from Love Hysteria and I was pretty much in tears the whole show
 
Heavy Metal/Retro/Doom
KRYPTOS (India), album – Afterburner
Song: Dead of Night (0:25-5:23)
— Nostalgic heavy metal that is catchy without being repetitive, with a fiery evil singer.  Everything we want from a sword wielding witch. 
 
Runners-Up:
Traveler (CAN), album - S/T
— Damn straight, guys fucking rock.
Spirit Adrift (AR), album - Divided by Darkness
— Nate Garrett’s vocals bring life to his lyrics.  This is heart-wrenching heavy metal.
Crypt Sermon (Philly), album - The Ruins of Fading Light
— This album goes on for days; full on lyrical genius sung by a doom-master.
Horseburner (WV), album – Fathoms
— Similar to their brethren West Virginia band Brimstone Coven with southern charm and whiskey vocal, but with a unique harder edge.

 
Atmospheric/Melodic Black Metal
MISÞYRMING (Iceland), album - Algleymi
Song: Með Svipur á Lofti (6:51-13:52)
— Revels in the torment, vocalizing their surroundings in a haunting, frosty black metal with different styles and energy.
 
Runners-Up:
Belenos (France), album - Argoat

Belenos vocals are rippling energy.  He rolls over achingly melodic guitars, entrenching the sound with more soul. This is not black gaze, this is raw, thoughtful and immense with accompanying cathedral vocals.
The Great Old Ones (France), album: Cosmicism
— There is nothing like French brooding.  The Great Old Ones use blast beat heavy lead-ups and French rasps that bleed into deep unexpected loveliness. 

  
Thrash
NECROPANTHER (Denver), album - The Doomed City
Song: Death at Hand (14:25-17:19)
— Necropanther’s vocalist is an insane alien beast lining riffs and groovy thrash and monster death. 
 
Runners-Up:
Illyrian (Alberta), album – The Entity
— Canadian fists flying to speed, technically tempoed, and viciously vocalized.
High Command (MA), album - Beyond the Wall of Desolation
— Warm thick guitar that chomps, romps and punches.
Inculter (Norway), album – Fatal Visions
— Hammer precise drums and earth shattering riffs to keep it real.
Algebra (Swizerland)
— Technical thrash with disjointed proggy tempos.
 
Sludge
INTER ARMA (VA), album - Sulphur English
Song: A Waxen Sea (17:50-25:12)
— Refined sludge in the form of dreamy and meditative that bleeds into filthy and proggy, and experimental becomes post-metal,

Runners-Up:
Terre (Belgium), album - S/T
Creeping, deep into the earth is a writhing vocal.  This is where the band starts, penetrating its filth with a down-tuned dirty thick bass.
Fange (France), album - Punir
— Fange has it all, including noise, industrial, hardcore, sludge, laid atop a slab of atmospheric black metal.
Rorcal (Switzerland), album - Muladona

Thick pummeling drums in a vicious black and death metal and abrasive core.
Lord Mantis (Chicago), album - Universal Death Church

Sludgy, dense, and textural, with melodic and groove in the mix.
 
Modern Death
WACHENFELDT (Sweden), album - The Interpreter
Song: Ut (26:02-33:30)
— Savage drums and riffs crushing each other into pinpoints of compressed blazing horror-filled thrashing and swelling sharp guitar solos and harmonies.
 
Runners-Up:
Tomb Mold (Toronto), album - Planetary Clairvoyance
— Pummeling drummer is also the blistering vocalist, both instruments their own beasts. Guitars follow on a wild ride breaking apart the ferocious death metal.
Light Dweller (AR), album – Incandescent Crucifix
— Holy shit this is a huge album; jagged, angular, sharp and complex.
Ceremony Of Silence (Slovakia), album – Oútis
— Psychedelic death metal now? Expand the brain and then pummel it into pieces, living the Slovakian dream.
Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Chile), album - Teufelsbücher
— Angular weird proggy death with refreshing piano.
Arallu (Israel), album – En Olam
— Middle eastern ethnicity fully integrated in explosive death metal. Infectious, unique and deeply headbang-worthy.
 
Modern Black Metal
SCHAMMASCH (Switzerland), album – Hearts of No Light
Song: Ego Sum Omega (34:21-42:09)
— Emotional and gruff baritone juxtaposed with shimmering instrumentals in a soaring, majestic black metal that drizzles into a goth mist, proggy interludes, and retro doom.
 
Runners-Up:
Deathspell Omega (France), album - The Furnaces of Palingenesia
The vocalist is at the forefront, a grunting guttural menace, creating a horror-atmosphere where the plodding tempos and strange mesmerizing guitars follow.
Svartelder (Norway), album – Pits
— Being chased down a wind-swept black metal mountain by a rabid vampire in a hot folk outfit.  Completely under the radar.
Mesarthim (Australia), album - Ghost Condensate
— Electronics within a shrieking black metal is just, surprising.
Guðveiki (12/18) (Iceland), album - Vængför
— Another explosive alien black metal offering from Iceland, raw and progressive and scary.
 
Alternative
DIÄT (Berlin), album - Positive Disintegration
Song: We (42:49-46:38)
— Old school alternative alternating from poppy to ambient to gothy-dance to noise and punk.  
 
Runners-Up
Boy Harsher (MA), album – Careful
Massachusetts duo with deeply emotional and stylistic dark and minimal wave supported by velvety female vocals.
TR/ST (Toronto) album – The Destroyer
— I cannot tell you how much I love this lead singer.  Just, love. 
 
Evil Male Vocals
LORD MANTIS (Chicago), album – Universal Death Church
Song: Fleshworld (47:25-55:30)
— Vocals scratch and rasp and screech and whisper horror. 
 
Runners-Up
Vortex of End (France), album – Ardens Fvror
Profanatica (CT), album - Rotting Incarnation of God
Vacivus (UK), album - Annihilism
Negator (Germany), album – Vnitas Pvritas Existentia

 
Female Vocals
VENOM PRISON (UK), album – Samsara
Song: Sadistic Rituals (55:54-59:38)
— Beastly muscular vocals accompanied by brain-bashing, stunning, surprising, dense, REQUIRED death metal mixed with aggressive hardcore.
 
Runners-Up
Vale (Oakland), album – Burden of Sight
Immortal Bird (Chicago), album – Thrive on Neglect
Bethlehem (Germany), album – Lebe Dich Leer
False (MN), album - Portent
Freedom of Fear (Adelaide), album – Nocturnal Gates

 
Best German Black Metal, #2 Album
KRATER (Germany), album – Venenare
Song: Atmet Asche (1:00:29-END!)
— The best albums are indirect, they are unexpected, they are filled with a million facets that are undiscoverable.  My favorite black metal is this textured journey, and Krater all in a dystopian package.
 
Runners-Up
Imperium Dekadenz (Germany), album – When We Are Forgotten
— 2 piece creating diverse and textured sound, a glossy, foggy, ethereal black metal, cascading desolation and sorrow.
Thormesis (Germany), album – The Sixth
— Desperation-lined vocals creates heartfelt melancholy not shying away from sweet melody and instrumentals; and organic drumming steering away from machine beats.  The whole album is explosive in emotional energy.
Verheerer (Germany), album - Monolith
— Brooding and theatrical with glorious and vivid compositions, but still fucking rocks out.

Schattenfall GER), album - Melancholie des Seins
Chanting poetry from a new vocalist in this sophomore album. 
Negator (Germany), album – Vnitas Pvritas Existentia
— Fantasy world of monsters and battles and horns that creates just a blast.  Whimsical, if your brain was fucked.

Direct download: She_Likes_It_Heavy_Best_of_2019_Part_1_012120.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51pm EST

0:25-7:22
XANTAM (CA)
Pseudogods
— One man band, fueled by Satan. Gargling monster vocals and an onslaught of pummeling nightmare vocals and angry riffs.

8:17-16:35
TORTURE CHAIN (US)
Chaos at Feast / The Ascent of Deimos
— Another sole-brained band creating a strain of venomous death metal with a distant vision of cold horror atmosphere.

17:00-21:06
OGARYA (France)
Damnatio Memoriae
— Carnival, symphonic and theatrical concoction of proggy and furious.

21:34-28:48
CULT OF ERINYES (Belgium)
Nothing Is Owed To The Void
— Belgian sinister with layers of spewing guitars and cruel vocals.

29:11-34:57
PANZERFAUST (Toronto)
The Decapitator's Prayer
— Sledgehammer drums and vocals that blow fire and ash.

35:13-43:29
VERDUN (France)
The Second Sun
— Misty malaise mixed with dense and distorted sludge and a hardcore vocalist.

43:48-49:13
DARKEND (Italy)
With Everburning Sulphur Unconsumed
— Romantic black metal with a growling baritone vocalist.

49:37-55:03
HELLEBORUS (CO)
Juniper Shrine
— Colorado black metal, raw and bleak with enough melody and groove that bleeds into symphonic.

55:32-1:04:18
OAK (Portugal)
Maze
— A duo with an explosive vocalist that can do blistering fast and massive slow fury in building compositions.

1:04:55-END
UNDER THE PLEDGE OF SECRECY (Germany)
Euphoric Bliss
— Intense prog and grind and technical death metal with German surprises.

Direct download: She_Likes_It_Heavy_Show_335_123119.mp3
Category:Radio Show: She Likes It Heavy -- posted at: 11:30pm EST

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