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Best of 2019

Daniel's Top 15 Albums of 2019

Posted by on December 10, 2019 at 12:57 pm

Greetings folks, and welcome to another year-end list from the Weekly Injection guy.

These are the albums that I either returned to the most, were unique listening experiences, or just plain made me happy to hear. So, I'm sure I left off your favorites and that's fine. This is my list.

To the metals…

Best Non-Metal:

  1. Carly Rae Jepsen Dedicated
  2. Karen O & Danger Mouse Lux Prima
  3. Lizzo Cuz I Love You
  4. Biffy Clyro Balance, Not Symmetry
  5. Alex Lilly 2% Milk
  6. The Bird and the Bee Volume 2 A Tribute to Van Halen
  7. Beck Hyperspace
  8. Muna Saves The World
  9. Sleater-Kinney The Center Won't Hold
  10. Billie Eilish WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
  11. The Flaming Lips King's Mouth: Music and Songs
  12. Jenny Lewis On The Line
  13. Anderson .Paak Ventura
  14. The Mountain Goats In League with Dragons
  15. Various Artists Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge – Oga's Cantina: R-3X's Playlist #1

Honorable Mentions:

Helms Alee Noctiluca
Skraeckoedlan Eorþe
Aenimus Dreamcatcher
Astronoid Astronoid
Raiju Non Sequitur
Flub Flub
East of the Wall NP-Complete
Russian Circles Blood Year
Cave In Final Transmission
The Claypool Lennon Delirium South of Reality


15. BENT KNEE You Know What They Mean
(InsideOut Music)

I saw Bent Knee a year ago when they opened for Leprous and Haken, and left a huge fan. So I was stoked to have something new to obsess over so soon after. You Know What They Mean might be the weirdest thing on my list and I love it for that.

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14. CULT OF LUNA A Dawn of Fear
(Metal Blade Records)

Their collaboration with Julie Christmas made me fall in love with this band again, and with A Dawn of Fear, they kept me along for the ride once more. This is a stellar example of what this band is with crushing heaviness mixed progressive tendencies.

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13. ABIGAIL WILLIAMS Walk Beyond the Dark
(Blood Music)

This one really surprised me. Abigail Williams always had black metal in their sound, and this one is no different in that regard. However, I feel like Ken Sorceron's tenure with The Faceless may have inspired him to include some more technical moments with Walk Beyond the Dark. You aren't getting full on prog opuses, but I see the potential in this for one.

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12. PUPPY The Goat
(Spinefarm Records)

This one is a little stoner rock, a little pop, and a little straight-up hard rock. The riffs are fantastic. The melodies are massive. This winds up being what I'd want from a band like Ghost. Such a fun record.

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11. CELLAR DARLING The Spell
(Nuclear Blast Records)

On paper, I shouldn't love this album as much as I do. The whole folk metal shtick usually loses me. However, Cellar Darling put a progressive twist on the genre and creates a sound that I've never heard before. Then there is also so much menace to their sound. Then, of course, hurdy-gurdy throughout. Hell yes.

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10. SOILWORK Verkligheten
(Nuclear Blast Records)

Starting with The Living Infinite, Soilwork have begun a new era of greatness that continued with Verkligheten. This one had more straight up rockin' than the last couple, but all it did was add even more sonic diversity to their already expanding sound. I also have to give a nod to new drummer Bastian Thusgaard who had huge to fill, and they fit him nicely.

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9. OPETH In Cauda Venenum
(Moderbolaget, Nuclear Blast Records)

Ask me again in a few years, but right now I’m feeling like this is the best purely progressive Opeth album (of the post-Watershed era). It has all the Opeth whimsy and bombast and hitting my ear just right. Then it’s also available in Swedish? That quirk really does provide a whole new experience to an already great album.

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8. MOON TOOTH Crux
(Pure Noise Records)

I praised this album when it came out by saying It's like Torche played by RX Bandits with Intronaut's sense of adventure. And I cannot really say it better. This is a ride of an album, and it's one that is as fun as it is challenging.

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7. CLOUDKICKER Unending
(Cloudkicker)

Dear Ben Sharp,
I missed you. Having a heavy, hypnotic, and atmospheric Cloudkicker album again was something that I didn’t know I needed so bad. But you knew. You always knew.

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6. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Atonement
(Metal Blade Records)

For as much as I love a prog band, I can admit when a band I love has a formula or sorts. Killswitch do and it’s a successful one. On Atonement, the band made what might be the perfect Jesse's second-era album. But this time they also brought in Chuck Billy from Testament and their old pal Howard Jones to shake it up. This is one totally for fanboys, and it totally worked on this one.

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5. HYPNO5E A Distant (Dark) Source
(Pelagic Records)

Here is a late edition to my list that hit me just right. At times it reminds me of The Ocean, other times of Fallujah, but mostly this album is its own beast. You’re getting a lot of long tracks here and they’re all wonderful journeys.

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4. BRUTUS Nest
(Sargent House)

Brutus came in a close second on my end of year list in 2017. And it was hard ranking them this time too. They set out to prove their first gem wasn’t a fluke, and they struck gold once again with Nest.

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3. ALLEGAEON Apoptosis
(Metal Blade Records)

Like the last Allegaeon record, these guys have one-upped themselves. My favorite science-obsessed tech dorks have a new bassist and they’re showing him off here. This, of course, features melodic guitar flurries coupled with pummeling rhythms, but the low-end this time…guys…

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2. BARONESS Gold & Grey
(Abraxan Hymns)

Gold & Grey showcases Baroness experimenting in a way they have never before with new sounds and new voices. This has all the heavy I’d want, but there’s so much emotion and depth to this as well. This is, hands down, my favorite Baroness album.

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1. DEVIN TOWNSEND Empath
(HevyDevy Records)

My Love of Devin Townsend is pretty documented between the reviews, blurbs, and write-ups I’ve done of his stuff over the years. Hell, I’ve even created a podcast named after one of his SYL-era songs (let’s sneak that shameless plug right here). Still, fanboy as I might be, I am often still surprised by his material. Empath is the perfect blend of Epicloud hope, Deconstruction madness, and a fresh experience. I didn’t see it coming, yet it was everything I wanted.

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View all of our best of 2019 coverage here and make sure to vote for your favorite album of the year.

 

 

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