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She Likes It Heavy

Jan 29, 2020

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:
Critic (France), album - Eveil De L'esprit:
Damnation Defaced (Germany), album - The Devourer:
Disentomb (AU), album - The Decaying Light:
Feral (Sweden), album- Flesh for Funerals Eternal:
God Disease (Finland), album - Drifting Towards Inevitable Death:
Guðveiki (Iceland), album - Vængför:
High on Fire (Oakland), album - Bat Salad:
Hornwood Fell (Italy), album - Damno Lumina Nocte:
Ogarya (France), album – Inclination:
Plaguebringer (CAN), album - Diabolos:
Pulchra Morte (USA), album - Divina Autem Et Aniles:
Relics Of Humanity (Minsk), album - Obscuration:
Seer (CAN), album - Vol. 6:
Skullpture (Chile), album - Reborn In Decay:
Triumvir Foul (Portland), album - Urine of Abomination:
Vader (Poland), album - Thy Messenger:
Vale Of Pnath (Denver), album - Accursed:
Venom Prison (UK), album – Samsara:
Vimur (GA), album - Triumphant Master of Fates:

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.

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.

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.

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.