Didn’t See that Coming
Here it is! The moment you have all (probably) been waiting for! Go listen to our choices and feel free to talk with us about them in the comments.
If you don’t want to ruin the episode do not scroll any further.
You have been warned…
- Infant Annihilator – The Battle of Yaldabaoth
- Spirit Adrift – Divided By Darkness (20 Buck Spin)
- Flub – Flub (The Artisan Era)
- Car Bomb – Mordial
- (TIE) Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas (Metal Blade) / Norma Jean – All Hail (Solid State)
- Gomorrah – Gomorrah (Willowtip)
- He is Legend – White Bat (Spinefarm)
- Opacia – On Blackest Wings
- Misery Index – Rituals of Power (Season of Mist)
- Wormwitch – Heaven that Dwells Within (Prosthetic)
- Polar – Nova (Nuclear Blast)
- Soilwork – Verkligheten (Nuclear Blast)
- Of Modern Architecture – Matricide
- After the Burial – Evergreen (Sumerian)
- Mireplaner – A Mountain Of Saola Hooves
- Shadow of Intent – Melancholy
- Employed To Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
- Gatecreeper – Deserted (Relapse)
- Pound – **
- Torche – Admission (Relapse)
- Destrage – The Chosen One (Metal Blade)
- Sermon – Birth Of The Marvellous (Prosthetic)
- Xoth – Interdimensional Invocation
- Sentient Horror – Morbid Realms (Testimony)
- Horndal – Remains (Prosthetic)
2019 was a bit of an odd year. I feel like there were a lot of mixed reviews for all of the albums released by the bigger names in metal, most notably Tool and the always polarizing Opeth. I guess that Slipknot and Rammstein are waning in relevance, but their 2019 albums still received some (if not many) decent reviews. And Amon Amarth and Killswitch Engage still continue to tow their lines even if they aren’t breaking new ground. So I think that left very few albums in 2019 that crossed over outside of their sub-genres and/or won over new fans. Maybe Blood Incantation and Cattle Decapitation seem to be a couple of the few albums that there is any sort of consensus on among the metal community. But beyond that, there seems to have been a lot of diverse opinions in 2019.
As for your list, my initial observation on your top albums is that 2 of the top 3 albums are from bands that the Metal Archives lists as their genre being some type of Deathcore. That’s not any sort of criticism, as I happen to really like Rings of Saturn, who are the same “Technical Deathcore” genre as Infant Annihilator. But even though I like Infant Annihilator, I think the way things work is that we tend to gravitate back to and have soft spots for our first exposure to something new and different. Which means that if Rings of Saturn is my first exposure to Technical Deathcore, then I’m always preconceived to think that they are the best Technical Deathcore band. Whereas your mileage seems to differ because I would venture that Infant Annihilator would be your first exposure to the genre. It’s not that much different for me in how Iron Maiden was my first exposure to heavy metal and Opeth was my first exposure to death metal. Those are always going to be two of my favorite bands simply for the reason that those are the bands I discovered first in their respective genres.
I 100% agree with both of your assessments. Other than Tool (which from most outlets that I frequent was hailed as album of the year), there really seemed to be less of a consensus on the “Greats” of the year. Honestly, I prefer that. I like seeing the full diverse spectrum that the genre offers receiving accolades from a slew of resources. It just reaffirms that taste is subjective and that there are enough talented bands out that to meet the needs of the audience. …..It also makes discovering new bands and new genre mashups much more enjoyable.
Which leads to your second point. If it weren’t for some of those publications who we’ve all followed for years now, and grown to trust, exposing us to something a little different that they were taken a bit by surprise of, then maybe we wouldn’t have stumbled across a band like Infant Annihilator. Brian and I tend to (sometimes wrongly) be dismissive of deathcore and most things associated with it and may not have been receptive if we hadn’t seen it receiving some praise elsewhere first. It’s seeing something represented as the peak of the genre that commands your attention and makes you give it a chance for a first time that gives you a permanent soft spot for a band or genre. There is a reason that 8 years later EVERY time we mention Tech Death I tend to pull Spawn of Possession as a reference point. I honestly don’t go back that often anymore, but they were the first band that opened my eyes to what I was missing and I will forever use them as a baseline.
Thinking out loud here: That would be a fun segment – subgeneres and the bands that got you into them. We could look at our first positive exposures to different modifiers and highlight the band that gave us an in.