The Metal Wanderlist: End of Year Staff Picks

Recommendations for the last part of the year 2019

By The Metal Wanderlust staff
As the year is drawing inevitably towards it’s very end, everybody is getting ready to get their top-lists sorted out. We here at the The Metal Wanderlust put our metal heads together to make a list of recordings that you really should not miss.
This is the last The Metal Wanderlist before the year is through and we too, will be unleashing some best of listings of our own in the near future, but before that happens we recommend you this bunch right here! This is the best stuff out there to be checked out, if you have not already. This is the truth, at least according to the staff of The Metal Wanderlust, so enjoy and above all – play loud!!

30. Verthebral – “Abysmal Decay“.

Paraguay’s Verthebral are delivering the essence of what South American death metal has to offer. The brutal onslaught, rich with riffs and no running after trends and kissing butt to sell more records whatsoever. This is the sound of genuine death metal underground and it cannot be underlined enough!

29. In Mourning – “Garden of Storms“.

When “Garden of Storms” is playing loud from the speakers, it is easy to say that In Mourning are doing just the albums Opeth would have done, if they kept on releasing albums in that melodic/progressive death metal format they had going in the beginning of their career. Runners up with Insomnium for the best melodic death metal album of the year, In Mourning are a must for all the fans of the genre.

28. Aegrus – “In Manus Satanas“.

Think of the 1990’s melodic black/death metal from Sweden. Then add the more melancholy, depressed Finnish quality to it and you pretty fast realize what type of black metal Aegrus are working on. Black metal fans – take a good listen of the real underground sound!

27. Fulci – “Tropical Sun“.

Tropical sun” sounds like it could be a reggae album, but trust me – this is not the case. Rather more of a full on take on early Cannibal Corpse by these Italian gore/horror freaks. The snare sound is brilliant, and so is more or less everything on this killer record. This is the second album by these maestros and it sets them to the very forefront of European death metal! If you were into that super sweet Skulmagot album last year, you will absolutely love this one as well.

26. Novembers Doom– “Nephilim Grove“.

The 11th full album from these death doom veterans brings them back to very front of the genre. This Dan Swanö produced affair has doom, gloom, melody and heaviness, all in perfect balance. A surprise for the last part of the year for sure!

25. Khaos – “Encircles Us” – Demo.

Total underground death metal chaos from these guys from Germany. Pure and absolute sonic violence that should please all the underground extreme metal maniacs around the globe. One of the absolute demo highlights for the end of the year!! You see that symbol on the cover? You will know what is coming!

24. Irksvm – “Moribund“.

One man progressive black metal from the USA that had even our committed death/doom freaks excited. Odd, different and superbly heavy. Absolute brilliance and it is just the debut album! Expect to hear a lot from Irksvm in future conversations about the best stuff among the North American black metal scene. Irksvm can, and will, take over the throne Agalloch and Woods of Ypres have left empty.

23. Filthdigger – “Defied Mummified“.

Some Entombed worship from Norway, somewhere around the “Hollowman” era. Some crust punk and d-beat included too. How cool is that?! Yes, very!! And you will agree the very moment you check this monster of an EP out. Miss at your own peril.

22. Profane Order – “Slave Morality“.

Is your house infested by posers? When such a situation occurs, we at the TMW headquarters use Profane Order and the pest will leave the building in a heartbeat. War metal excellence this is, with all the right amounts of Blasphemy included, but comes also with a strong own identity to stand miles apart from the usual copycat stuff. A damn fine beating!

21. Vukari – “Aevum”.

Amazing black metal release from the USA, right up there with the Icelandic bands, Vukari jumps in between the violent and atmospheric with great ease. This release is absolutely stellar in the musical and productional qualities of it, so do not close up your annual best – of lists until you’ve heard this one completely through.

20. Rottendawn – “Occult“.

We all love death doom, don’t we? Rottendawn from Finland is full of local metal scene veterans, featuring musicians from such cult acts as Unholy, Impaled Nazarene, and Protected Illusion. The know how is there, but so are the tunes, as their first album – “Occult” – is the perfect mix of old and the new, to impress with ease.

19. Cloak – “The Burning Dawn“.

Cloak from Atlanta bring you a modern touch on the subject of old school black metal. No dissonance, no cloaks, no audio-violence, “The Burning Dawn” is rather a riff-infested ride much in vein of Rotting Christ, or like a more civilised Mystifier. Some touches of old school heavy metal, lots of mysticism, gnarly vocals and riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs…

18. Rotted – “Dying to Rot” – Demo.

Yes, we have said it before this year, but to make the thing bloody effing clear we will do it again. Death metal in 2019 has been SPECTACULAR on the demo level! The brilliant flooding of nihilistic riffs from the very depths of the underground has been actually way more interesting in demo tapes than on many full length album levels, and “Dying to Rot” just exemplifies this perfectly. Crushing, ugly and vile, this release is the closest thing to Undergang on the American side of the Atlantic Ocean. Check this!

17. Capilla Ardiente – “The Siege”.

Epic doom, able to move on other paces too than just a plain crawl. An absolutely fantastic vocal delivery and refreshingly back to basics soundscape make this an album to make both traditional doom fans AND heavy metal heads happy. Sometimes an old trick is definitely better than a handful of new ones.

16. Blut Aus Nord – “Hallucinogen“.

A huge leap ahead by Blut Aus Nord, “Hallucinogen” shows a focused and enchanting side of the band that is at the same time very much extreme metal and rich with melodies too. That is not an easy thing to achieve, you know! Not maybe a hit at the first minute or two, but we dare you to give this album a well thought out go. You will get lured to the atmospherics. Trust us on the fact.

15. Insomnium – “Heart Like a Grave“.

Somewhere along the way Insomnium have grown up to be a huge name in the melodic death metal business. Keeping up the Finnish tradition of melancholy, much in the guidelines of Sentenced and Amorphis (to name a few), Insomnium are the torchbearers of melodeath in 2019 and hopefully a gateway band for many new souls for the metal altar.

14. The Drowning – “The Radiant Dark“.

The Drowning is the band that will keep the flag of British death doom flying high this year. Fans of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and early Anathema should not miss this. There’s also something here for the fans of Swallow the Sun and the before mentioned Insomnium, so give these dudes a go. They deserve it!

13. Gatecreeper – “Deserted“.

The sharpest spear of Arizona death metal cries out for blood on their latest release. A huge step up from the debut album three years back, even we hardly thought it was possible. This is lethal stuff, brothers and sisters. A classic in the making and A DEFINITE MUST for everybody who is considering their top-lists for death metal this year.

12. Melangia – “Réquiem“.

Imagine somebody dug into the vaults of time and found an unreleased album from early Katatonia, or early Anathema? Well, the fantasy comes partly alive with the debut album from Melangia from Barcelona, Spain. Consisting of a single 30 minute track, “Réquiem” is 1990’s death doom worship from start to finish. The solemn walk in the cemetery, the fall of autumn leaves, and the silent acceptance of the fact that we all die alone, all wrapped up in the wonderful music of this brilliant album. Cheerful, huh?

11. Officium Triste – “The Death of Gaia“.

The return of the veterans keeps the death doom well presented in our lists. It’s quiet obvious we have been dipping our heads deep in the buckets of doom on this list and Officium Triste are on the top of that very tree. Beautiful melodies, doom, gloom and just the right kind of dynamics to keep the album interesting from start to finish. An utter masterpiece. There really is no more to say.

10. The Deathtrip – “Demon Solar Totem“.

A return after the much praised debut album “Deep Drone Master“, “Demon Solar Totem” is our top pick for the 2nd generation black metal on our list. There’s plenty of Mayhem, Burzum, and Satyricon on this one, but also plenty of trademark melodies of their own. Just the right kind of a minimalistic, yet well produced sound here, and bam – we have a top-notch release to glorify all the year-end lists!

9. Carcinoid – “Metastatic Declination“.

The debut album from Carcinoid is exactly what Greg Mackintosh was aiming to do with the latest two Vallenfyre albums. A perfect mix of crust, doom, and vile old school death metal, this is the megaton sized rot bomb, ready to take the world under it’s mushroom cloud. Simple, effective and raw. Bulldozer of an album!

8. Wilderun – “Veil of Imagination“.

Amazing and epic American folk metal, Wilderun have built themselves a respectable following by sheer quality alone. There has been A LOT of discussion going about this album and it goes without a saying that it simply cannot be ignored at this point of the year. The careful arrangements, rich dynamics, and enjoyable presentation and performance speak all for their selves.

7. Snorlax – “II“.

Yes, we know a Snorlax is a Pokémon, but do not let yourself be fooled. After all, it is better to call your band Snorlax than Jigglypuff, right? After all, this is very serious business. The blackened death metal of these Aussies is about to give 2020 a flying start in morbidity. A perfect combo of 2nd generation black metal and gnarly old school death. Pretty sweet, isn’t it?!

6. Alcest – “Spiritual Instinct“.

The otherworldly kingdom of Alcest has never been this goth before. Calling these guys as the The Cure of our day and age is definitely not far off and like Robert Smith & co, Alcest will be remembered still after decades and decades. They are melodic, yet not the least diluted. Always on the peculiar side of arrangements to keep Alcest head ,and shoulders above your average group. File under: Classic.

5. Borknagar – “True North“.

Borknagar have been firing a classic album after another for a while now and their latest is no exception. Serene and frosty, this is the more progressive and melodic side of the band. Yet, the direction chosen has only made “True North” more easy to get into and get lost with too. These melodies will remain in your head for hours after the album has finished. Dreaming of icebergs in motion has never been this great!

4. Nile – “Vile Nilotic Rites”.

Nile certainly seem to be on fire on this new album! Returning to the very core of their sound after the much speculated line-up change. “Vile Nilotic Rites” will certainly please the old fans of the band, and bring some new ones in as well. For a while it seemed that the self-proclaimed masters of Egyptian death metal would fall in line with every other average technical death metal band, but they sure seem to have found their trademarks again here. Those riffs, bends, multiple vocalists, and relentless drum savagery are all back. “Vile Nilotic Rites” also comes with a fat dose of experimental ideas to underline their Celtic Frost legacy.

3. Chthonic Deity – “Reassembled in Pain” -Demo.

The highest ranking demo of our list mixes punk and death metal to a moshpit pleasing effect. Eerie leads, fat drum sound and vocals calling out from archaic caves of the 1990’s, “Reassembled in Pain” is an instant demo classic. Did we mention those bass lines already? Damn…

2. Blood Incantation – “The Hidden History of the Human Race“.

Spacey, but not in a Kevin kind of way, Blood Incantation are finally taking over the throne that has been destined for them for some years already. You can hear a lot of Death, Nocturnus, and Demilich in here, but also plenty of their own thinking mixed up with some bits that are almost Pink Floydian. Yes, if there is a one death metal album you need to hear in 2019, to be able to share opinions with everybody in the scene, it is “The Hidden History of the Human Race“. This will be the most talked about record in the business this year, and we recommend you to pay attention.

1. Runemagick – “Into Desolate Realms“.

This one is pure “Shit mate, that is my foot under those tons and tons of Panzer that just stopped there on my very feet and is fucking crushing them to atoms” quality death doom! “Into Desolate Realms” is the best album from Runemagick since the very early releases and has been an absolute TMW Staff pleaser from start to finish. On “Into Desolate RealmsRunemagick prove that playing death doom does not necessary mean slamming those big, slow and weighty chords under death grunts alone, they also keep on delivering a champion of a riff after, one after another. Being doomy does not mean being boring, and Runemagick are a great reminder of this fact. This stuff is smart, and thus extremely great! One giant fuck yes from all!

So there you have it! Enjoy!

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