It’s that time of the year again. Time to reflect upon another stellar year of new releases in the world of hard rock and heavy metal. Without further ado …
#20. SALEM’S BEND – Supercluster (Ripple Music): Los Angeles trio Salem’s Bend has risen rapidly through the ranks of the heavy music underground, with their refreshing take on stoner rock. Deep-rooted in the ’70s but by no means a blatant attempt to sound like a revival band, Salem’s Bend puts forth an expertly crafted modern version of a classic sound, and it is easy on the ear. The band’s sophomore full-length Supercluster is everything one could ask from a heavy rock album.
#19. HORSEBURNER – The Thief (Ripple Music): Hailing from Parkersburg, West Virginia, Horseburner blends elements of classic hard rock, old-school heavy metal, stoner rock, sludge metal and doom. The group’s third LP The Thief is the perfect representation of their creative prowess, a compelling slab of dark, intense melodic heavy music that takes the listener on a journey that only gets more rewarding the further it goes.
#18. GATECREEPER – Deserted (Relapse Records): Arizona’s Gatecreeper have made quite a name for themselves in the realm of heavy metal in the six years of their existence thus far, and rightly so. They have emerged with a crushing, unrelenting brand of death metal that is none more prominent and powerful than on their second full-length. A strikingly bleak expression of death-doom that may as well be the soundtrack to the inevitable apocalypse, Deserted justifies its title and serves as one of the most hard-hitting albums of 2019.
#17. WORSHIPPER – Light in the Wire (Tee Pee Records): When you start a band, take inspiration from the likes of Thin Lizzy and attempt to recreate a classic sound, you could end up as a generic revivalist band, or stumble upon something completely your own. With Boston MA group Worshipper, it’s certainly the latter. Filled to the brim with catchy riffs and delightful vocal and guitar harmonies, the band’s sophomore effort Light in the Wire pays tribute to the glory of all things classic hard rock and heavy metal, yet succeeds to sound so incredibly unique and individualized. This is an album like no other, and demands its rightful place in your 2019 best-of year-end collection.
#16. ASHBRINGER – Absolution (Prosthetic Records): Post-black-metal, blackgaze, shoegaze, atmospheric black metal … these are variants of heavy music that have been explored increasingly in recent years, and in many ways are diametrically opposite to traditional black metal, even though they carry some of the same sonic traits. There is a plethora of bands pursuing these sub-genres or a combination thereof, but one band that undoubtedly stands out is Ashbringer from Minneapolis. On their third full-length Absolution, the group has truly channeled their creative energies to create something beautifully dreamy and uplifting.
Which albums made #15 to #11? All revealed on Page 2 …