Another year is coming to an end, and because this became a ‚tradition’ we’ve thought that it might be a good opportunity to talk a little bit about the records which gave us the power to continue this hell of a 2019.
Alcest- Spiritual instinct– this album embrace a more direct musical approach right from the start. This is Alcest’s most organically cohesive and musically dense release yet with an emphasis on melodic exploration, showcasing the spiritual struggle in a harsh world.
Blut Aus Nord- Hallucinogen
Bolzer- Lese Majesty- is an act of immense talent that continues to frustrate and captivate in nearly equal measure. However, although Lese Majesty isn’t the drastic improvement I was hoping for, it’s a more coherent, engaging and focused offering.
Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas– the core concept of this record is humanity’s insignificance despite what we’ve convinced ourselves,” explains vocalist Travis Ryan. “That’s kind of why this album cover takes place in space, to remind you that ‘the universe always finds a way to purge’. In the grand scheme of things, our species is merely a fleeting thought.” This album marks a complete evolution from Cattle Decapitation in regards of sound, composition and atmosphere.
Cloak- The Burning Dawn- is melodramatic and enjoys it. It’s dark and sinister and happy about it. This band have clearly found a formula that works for them, and they’ve gotten comfortable enough with it that they can play around in it.
Cult of Luna- A Dawn of Fear- With their 8th album, Cult of Luna presents a more mature and refined sound, proving they’re still a dominant force in Post-Metal today.
Darkthrone – Old Star- I give you yet another rough Black Metal release, reminding of extreme metal of the 80s. It has been a good year for Black Metal, indeed!
Deathspell Omega- The Furnaces of Palingenesia- Few things are known about the band but the music has been consistently good, so nobody cared that much about the humans behind the art. “The Furnaces of Palingenesia” is considered to be the seventh album of the French band. The album is a totally maddening combination of soft notes and mayhem, purity and rebellion, the ultimate fight over the sick mind.
Esoteric- A Pyrrhic Existence – After a gap of 8 years, Esoteric returns with a double album spanning 98 minutes of huge, awe-inspiring monolithic doom songs.
FrostSeele- Kalte Leere
Gaahl’s Wyrd- Gahir Ghost Invited
Imperium Dekadenz- When we are forgotten- If you like black metal with a rich and evocative atmosphere, but that still has the capacity for speed and power, then the new album from Germany’s Imperium Dekadenz should be your soundtrack. Overall, I was really blown away at what these two gentlemen have created here. It’s one of those rare Black Metal releases that infuses melody and a bevy of emotions into the core Black Metal sound.
Mayhem – Daemon– I was struck in awe when hearing the first singles out of this gem of an album. Almost feels like a travel back in time into the tumultuous beginning of Norwegian Black Metal. Mayhem are still as actual and gendre -defining as they were in the 90s, and their latest release is the living proof of this.
Mephorash- Shem Ha Mephorash- “cinematic Black Metal”. There are definitely standout moments within the songs – moments that feel truly grand and exalted – and a nice flow between them as well.
Mgla – Age of Excuse- After their previous crushing album, Exercises in Futility, we were all left wondering what’s next. Mgla made no excuses from themselves and manage to surpass our expectations. We urge you to submerge into their universe of raw soundscapes and emotions.
Naga- Void Cult Rising
Non Opus Dei- Glod
Pensees Nocturnes- Grand Guinol Orchestra- This album represents the 6th full length material of the band. It consists of 10 tracks. It brings an innovative sound without being too pretentious and I think most black/death metal fans, even those with elitist leanings, would dig.
Rotting Christ- The heretics
Sun O))) – Pyroclasts- This album was recorded in the same sessions as April’s excellent Life Metal, and its concept is based around improv drone exercises done at that time.
Swallow the Sun- When a shadow is Forced into the Light- This album is a mix of melancholic sections and harsh vocals here and there. Along this journey of listening to this jewel, the image of Aleah keeps coming to my mind. The album title taken from the song Broken Mirror by Trees of Eternity, is with no doubt another creation dedicated to the the memory of Aleah.
Tableau Mort- Veil Of Stigma. Book I: Mark of Delusion
The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism– Lovecraftian black metallers return with another dark, chilling journey to the depths of R’lyeh.
Tribulation- Alive & Dead at Sodra Teatren- this band kicks ass since always. One of those who can be easily recognised by their sound, Tribulation does not stop to amaze everytime we give the albums a spin!
White Ward – Love Exchange Failure- Coming straight from Odessa, Ucrain, White Ward brought us their second album, which captures urban loneliness with a mix of prog, post-metal, post-hardcore and blackgaze.
This was 2019, with the good and the bad, but musically a lot of masterpieces have been released. For me, this was my last article and contribution to this magazine. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me along the years and those who have encouraged me to shine a light on the Underground scene, and last but not least to every band with which I have collaborated and those who have become my friends along the way. I would also like to thank our readers who kept an eye open towards our work during the year!
contributors of this article: Vitriol, Ana Maria Codescu & Daniel Stanescu.