#10. YEAR OF THE COBRA – Ash And Dust (Prophecy Productions): It is rare to come across a two-piece band with a bass-vocals-drums setup in hard rock/heavy metal. Seattle, Washington psych rock / doom metal duo Year Of The Cobra fits this description, but is far beyond a mere novelty act. Right from day one of their 2015 inception, their live performances left audiences captivated and spellbound, and their 2016 debut LP … In the Shadows Below showcased their mettle and substance. Now, three years later, the band has come out with the follow-up effort Ash And Dust, an album that truly elevates Year Of The Cobra to being revered as one of the finest in the new crop of heavy bands going around. Striking the often unattainable balance between melody and heaviness, in a manner all of their own, Year Of The Cobra is doing something unique and special.
#9. KRYPTOS – Afterburner (AFM Records): Perhaps no band on the planet worships the gods of old-school heavy metal as righteously as Kryptos, and this traits of theirs has been abundantly evident on everything they have ever done and released. Their fourth LP Burn Up the Night (2016) saw them attain the peak of their creative powers. On their 2019 effort, they very much stay at this peak, as they have continued to pump out one excellent tune after another. Afterburner is a hearty serving of old-school heavy metal at its absolute best.
#8. LORD DYING – Mysterium Tremendum (eOne Music): One band that really challenged and outdid themselves with their creative output this year is Portland, Oregon group Lord Dying. Formed in 2010, they’ve always been known, loved and respected in the stoner/doom circles of the heavy underground, but with their third LP Mysterium Tremendum, they have successfully transcended beyond the limits of that sub-genre while still staying rooted to it. Lord Dying’s newest album is a journey of sorts, a concept record that has multiple layers to it, a record that can be interpreted and experienced in many different ways. Very few albums released this year can justifiably be deemed “epic”. Mysterium Tremendum is undeniably one such album. A masterpiece in no uncertain terms.
#7. DEVIN TOWNSEND – Empath (InsideOut Music): Devin Townsend has done a lot of impressive things in the world of music throughout his career that dates back nearly three decades from the present day. But probably his biggest creative and productive undertaking surfaced in 2019. Empath, his 18th studio album overall but his first real solo effort since 2007, is a wholehearted, no-holds-barred endeavor come to fruition. What happens when a musical genius puts his mind, body and soul into an album and absolutely does not hold back on production costs? You get Empath, an eclectic embodiment of Devin Townsend’s musical repertoire, created and produced in a manner that puts it in a class of its own.
#6. ALCEST – Spiritual Instinct (Nuclear Blast): French group Alcest is a classic example in a rare breed of bands that started out playing a simplistic, primitive style of music but transitioned themselves into succeeding at making music far more dynamic than that in their early years. While still bearing some resemblance to their traditional black metal beginnings, Alcest has mastered the art of blackgaze-tinged post-metal. Their recent releases Shelter (2014) and Kodama (2016) garnered them new audiences and heightened expectations. The band’s 2019 effort Spiritual Instinct perfectly meets the expectations of this fanbase but at the same time expands it even further, as in typical Alcest style, it explores newer sonic territories and presents something more than just a regurgitation of past albums. One of the greatest bands of the modern era, Alcest’s newest is one of 2019’s finest.
Down to the top 5! Head over to Page 4 to find out …