Dec 022019


We have now entered the final month of 2019, and that begins the final countdown to the end of the year. In the world of metal, this month we’ll also start seeing more and more lists of the year’s best releases. In fact, today we began rolling out some lists of our own.

Back in 2009, when this site was just a few days old, I wrote a post about year-end lists and why people bother with them. The best reason still seems to be this: Reading someone else’s list of the albums they thought were best is a good way to discover music you missed and might like.

We don’t do an “official” NCS year-end “best albums” list. However, we publish the picks of each of our regular staff writers as well as a group of invited guest writers, in addition to lists that we re-post from a few print zines and “big platform” online sites.

Every year we also invite our readers to share their lists and we’re doing that again right here, right now.

If you’ve been pondering what you’ve heard this year and have made your own list of the albums, EPs, or splits released in 2019 that you think are the best of what you’ve heard, we invite you to share it with everyone in the Comments section to this post. And if you haven’t made a list yet but want to, there’s still plenty of time (read below).


We don’t have any hard-and-fast rules about year-end lists. Your list doesn’t have to be a specific number — it doesn’t have to be a “Top 10″ or “Top 20″ list, it could be a Top 2 list or a Top 15, or any other number.

And it doesn’t have to be a cross-genre list, i.e., the best of all metal you’ve heard this year. It could be the best death metal, or the best black metal, or the best grind, or the best crust or doom metal, and on and on — pretty much whatever you want to do and feel comfortable doing, as long as it fits your definition of metal.

Don’t be shy, and don’t worry about being judged — if you haven’t figured it out already, it ain’t our style or the style of our commenters to ridicule what someone else thinks is great metal.

And if you don’t have a list ready yet, no sweat, because you can come back to this post whenever you like and add your list later — or comment on the lists others have posted. I’ll put a link to this post at the top right side of every page so people can find it quickly — look for the link to 2019 NCS READERS’ YEAR-END LISTS. That will make the comments to this post a collection point for “Best of” readers’ lists. And that link will stay on our page from now through this time in 2020.

Last year we had 121 comments on the 2018 version of this invitation, and we’re hoping for even more this year. So start thinking and start commenting (please, and thank you).


  1. Hmmm, still a few I need to spend more time with, but why not, I’m bored. No order.

    Downcross- Mysteries of Left Path
    Aara- So Fallen Alle Temple
    Déhà- Cruel Words
    Inter Arma- Sulphur English
    Adrift- Pure
    False- Portent
    Voidsphere- To Exist | To Breath
    Corridoré- S/T
    Tongue- What Do We Know of Horror
    Devourment- Obscene Majesty
    Pa Vesh En- Pyrefication
    Toadeater- Codex
    Serpent Column- Mirror in Darkness
    Sammath- Across the Rhine Is Only Death
    TRUP- Szmula
    Abigail Williams- Walk Beyond the Dark
    Blood Incantation- Hidden History of the Human Race
    Unfathomable Ruination- Enraged and Unbound
    Kalt || Weiss- Serotonin
    The Great Old Ones- Cosmicism
    I’ll stop myself there, I’m getting carried away.

  2. My favorite BM albums of the year:

    Serpent Column
    Ultra Silvam
    Yellow Eyes
    Funereal Presence

    • Not-so-BM favorites:

      Flesh of the Stars
      Green Lung
      High Command
      Lord Mantis
      Spirit Adrift

    • That AKASHA may be my AOTY. If it’s not, it’s only because Teitanblood is.

      • That Akasha album is right up there. Need to give it a few more spins before the end of the year to see where it really lands! Teitanblood is amazing but too many interludes.

        • I love the Teitanblood, but I still hold Seven Chalices way above the last two. Thusly, I cant add it to my list this year. 😛

  3. The albums that made a lasting impression on me this year are Nocturnus AD Paradox, Mayhem Daemon, Possessed Revelations of Oblivion and Nile Vile Nilotic Rites, also love that new King Diamond song!

  4. top three

    White Ward
    Spirit Adrift

  5. These are the albums that I gravitated towards most…

    S.E.K.H. – Acéphale & Arkhé Tenebre
    Cryptae – Vestigial
    Mylingar – Döda Själar
    White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
    Portrayal of Guilt – Suffering is a Gift
    Cthonica – Typhomanteia: Sacred Triarchy of Spiritual Putrefaction
    Vessel of Iniquity – Void of Infinite Horror
    Shit and Shine – Doing Drugs, Selling Drugs
    Altarage – The Approaching Roar
    Sutekh Hexen – Sutekh Hexen
    Endon – Boy Meets Girl
    Turbohaler – Metal Vessel Music
    Deadkids – Metaprogramação
    Hold Me Down – Hold Me Down
    Abyssal Vacuum – MMXVIII
    Inter Arma – Sulphur English
    Abyssal – A Beacon in the Husk
    Deathspell Omega – The Furnaces Of Palingenesia
    An Isolated Mind – I’m Losing Myself
    Yellow Eyes – Rare Field Ceiling
    Pinkish Black – Concept Unification
    Full Of Hell – Weeping Choir
    Friendship – Undercurrent
    Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
    Heilung – Futha
    Aiua – Tragos
    Terminal Cheesecake – Le Sacre Du Liévre
    Cloud Rat – Pollinator
    Haunter – Sacramental Death Qualia
    Pa Vesh En – Pyrefication
    Lovely Wife – Audible Beef
    Prison Religion – Beachhead
    clipping. – There Existed an Addiction to Blood
    Moor Mother – Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes
    Drastus – La Croix De Sang
    Lightning Bolt – Sonic Citadel
    The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism
    Child Abuse – Imaginary Enemy
    The Budos Band – V
    Shit and Shine – Doing Drugs, Selling Drugs
    Skáphe + Wormlust – Kosmískur hryllingur
    Pound – ••
    Coilguns – Watchwinders

  6. My favourites of 2019 (in no particular order);
    Temple Koludra ‘Seven! Sirens! Archetype..’
    Blood Incantation ‘Hidden History..’
    Hell’s Coronation ‘Ritual Chalice..’
    Orthodoxy ‘ Novus Lux Dominus’

  7. 1. Crypt Sermon – The Ruins of Fading Light
    2. Darkthrone – Old Star
    3. Mgla – Age of Excuse
    4. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
    5. Atlantean Kodex – The Course of Empire
    6. Sielunvihollinen – Kuolonkylväjä
    7. A Pale Horse Named Death – When the World Becomes Undone
    8. Vargrav – Rein in Supreme Darkness
    9. Vitriol – To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice
    10. Djevel – Ormer til Armer, Maane til Hode
    11. Denial of God – The Hallow Mass
    12. False – Portent
    13. Toxic Holocaust – Primal Future: 2019
    14. Exhumed – Horror
    15. Mesarthim – Ghost Condensate
    16. Kampfar – Ofidians manifest
    17. Downfall of Gaia – Ethic of Radical Finitude
    18. Saor – Forgotten Paths
    19. Infernal Conjuration – Infernale Metallum Mortis
    20. SeeYouSpaceCowboy – The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds

    • The more I listen to Ruins of Fading Light, the more apparent it becomes how incredibly well written and recorded this album is. Really remarkable.

  8. My Favorites:
    Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
    Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
    Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
    Aephanemer – Prokopton
    Vehemence – Par le Sang Verse
    Vitriol – To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice
    Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
    Gomorrah – s/t
    Target – Deep Water Flames

    Also really great:
    Musmahhu – Reign of the Odious
    Wretched Fate – Fleshletting
    KHNVM – Foretold Monuments of Flesh
    Witch Vomit – Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave
    Warcrab – Damned in Endless Night
    Necropanther – The Doomed City
    Creeping Death – Wretched Illusions
    Hath – Of Rot and Ruin
    Haunter – Sacramental Death Qualia
    High Command – Beyond the Wall of Desolation
    Lowest Creature – Sacrilegious Pain
    Enforced – At the Walls
    Drastus – La Croix de Sang
    Aoratos – Gods without Name
    Mispyrming – Algleymi
    Belzebubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods
    Murg – Stravan
    Mizmor – Cairn
    Vukari – Aevum
    Arallu – En Olam
    Батюшка – Панихида
    Blue Hummingbird on the Left – Atl Tlachinolli
    White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
    Achiatus – Funereal Presence
    Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark

    Favorite Eps/Splits/Demos:
    Ossuary – Supreme Degradation
    Hellripper – Black Arts and Alchemy
    Sol De Sangre/Panico al Miedo – La Senda de la Muerte
    Charnel Altar – Demo
    Ripped to Shreds – Demon Scriptures
    Crush the Altar – Abhorrent Oblation

  9. 1. Mispyrming – Algleymi
    2. Teitanblood – The Baneful Choir
    3. Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition
    4. Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
    5. Akasha – Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity
    6. Profane Order – Slave Morality
    7. Forgjord – Ilmestykset
    8. Akrotheism – Law of Seven Deaths
    9. Murg – Straven
    10. Witch Vomit – Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave

  10. Top Metal/Hardcore from 2019
    Nightwatchers – La Paix Ou Le Sable
    TripSitter – The Other Side of Sadness
    Cult of Luna – A Dawn to Fear
    The Moth Gatherer – Esoteric Opression
    Fury – Failed Entertainment
    Nyt Liv – Ensomhedens Kolde Kald
    HAAR – Atlases
    Devin Townsend – Empath
    Cranial – Alternative Endings
    Cthuluminati – Reliqideus

    Not Metal
    The Young Gods – Data Mirage Tangram
    Gold – Why Aren’t You Laughing?

    A couple from late 2018
    Wire Love – Leave the Bones
    The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

    • I’d like to add
      Hath – Of Rot and Ruin
      Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations

      and another from the ass end of 2018 (Still hasn’t been out for a year)
      Sulpher Aeon – The Scythe Of Cosmic Chaos

  11. Not using this as a cheap shortcut to remember what came out this year. Nope sit, not one bit.

  12. Okay here are my top twenty for now. Please be aware that this is not the final list as I still have about 15 new albums left which I haven’t heard while I am writing this comment and also might be good enough for my personal top twenty:

    20. Full Of Hell – Weeping Choir
    19. Waste Of Space Orchestra – Syntheosis
    18. Dead Kiwis – Systematic Home Run
    17. Mephorash – Shem Ha Mephorash
    16. Shrine Of Insanabilis – Vast Vortex Litanies
    15. Second To Sun – Legacy
    14. Stray From The Path – Internal Atomics
    13. Panzerfaust – The Suns Of Perdition
    12. Pensees Nocturnes – Grand Guignol Orchestra
    11. Wrvth – No Rising Sun
    10. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno
    09. Steaksauce Mustache – SuperWoke
    08. Leprous – Pitfalls
    07. Mgla – Age Of Excuse
    06. SeeYouSpaceCowboy… – Songs For The Firing Squad
    05. Shadow Of Intent – Melancholy
    04. Rorcal – Muladona
    03. Employed To Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
    02. He Is Legend – White Bat
    01. Батюшка – Панихида

    Should something change I will edit my comment or reply to my comment.

    PS: I know my list is somewhat controversal on this site but I don’t worry about being judged or by Gorguts having released the best album of the year 😉

    • That Rorcal is very good, it has a very… intense effect on me.

      • I listened to the Rorcal album yesterday and it blew me right away. What an intense impact it made on me. After I finished the album I just knew this would become one of my top 20 albums. Hopefully some other people will like this album.

  13. I just gave it an order now, but its basically fluid and dependent on mood.

    BEST METAL – 2019

    1. Falls of Rauros – Patterns In Mythology
    2. Spirit Adrift – Divided By Darkness
    3. Véhémence – Par le Sang Versé
    4. Vanum – Ageless Fire
    5. Mefitis – Emberdawn
    6. Weeping Sores – False Confession
    7. Hath – Of Rot and Ruin
    8. Shabti – Trembling & Shorn
    9. Dreams of the Drowned – Dreams of the Drowned I
    10. Yellow Eyes – Rare Field Ceiling
    11. Unaussprechlichen Kulten – Teufelsbucher
    12. Schammasch – Hearts of No Light
    13. Pharmakeia – Pharmakeia
    14. Enforced – At The Walls
    15. Haunter – Sacramental Death Qualia
    16. Serpent Column – Mirror of Darkness
    17. Epitaphe – I
    18. Flesh of the Stars – Mercy
    19. Siaskel – Xo’on Hauk Sho’on
    20. Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings

  14. 1. Eternity’s End – Unyielding
    2. Atlantean Kodex – The Course of Empire
    3. Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave
    4. Vultures Vengeance – The Knightlore
    5. Swallow the Sun – When a Shadow is Forced into the Light
    6. Spirit Adrift – Divided by Darkness
    7. Gloryhammer – Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex
    8. Vehemence – Par Le Sang Verse
    9. Alcest – Spiritual Instinct
    10. Bewitcher – Under the Witching Cross
    11. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
    12. Aephanemer – Prokopton
    13. Carnal Tomb – Abhorrent Veneration
    14. Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
    15. Chevalier – Destiny Calls
    16. Crypt Sermon – The Ruins of Fading Light
    17. Detherous – Hacked to Death
    18. Nocturnus A.D. – Paradox
    19. Twilight Force – Dawn of the Dragonstar
    20. Mortiferum – Disgorged from Psychotic Depths

    Honourable mention for Equipoise – Demiurgus too!

  15. Favorite Metal of 2019:

    Falls of Rauros–Patterns in Mythology
    Hath–Of Rot and Ruin
    Baroness–Gold & Grey
    Warforged–I: Voice
    Sadness–Circle of Veins
    Nashiem–Jord och Aska
    Murk Rider–Exile of Shadows
    Vitriol–To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice
    Lunar Shadow–The Smokeless Fires (this was my favorite by a mile–anyone who has suggestions for good power metal, feel free to share!)

    • That Murk Rider was really good.

      Lunar Shadow too! I dont listen to much like this, but I also found myself listening to Tanith a lot this year.

  16. As always I will preface by saying this no attempt at a “best of” but merely a list of personal favorites from what I’ve been able to get in my ears this year. I will also continue my tradition of an alphabetical ordering, because fuck the unnecessary mindshits of ranking.

    Abbath – Outstrider
    Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark
    Abominism – s/t
    Aggressive Perfector – Havoc at the Midnight Hour
    Asagraum – Dawn of Infinite Fire
    The Bridge City Sinners – Here’s to the Devil (not metal but check it out)
    Cloak – The Burning Dawn
    Cikada – Lamplighter
    Darkthrone – Old Star
    Deadspace – The Grand Disillusionment
    Diva Karr – Healing
    Mayhem – Daemon
    Ragnarok – Non Debellicata
    Sammath – Across the Rhine is Only Death
    Sulphur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos
    Whitechapel – The Valley
    1349 – The Infernal Pathway

  17. Altarage – The Approaching Roar
    Andavald – Undir skyggðarhaldi
    Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult – Mardom
    Dead to a Dying World – Elegy
    Deus Mortem – Kosmocide
    Drastus – La croix de sang
    Hope Drone – Void Lustre
    Murg – Strävan
    Nightfell – A Sanity Deranged
    None – Damp Chill of Life
    Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition – Chapter I: War, Horrid War
    Schammasch – Hearts of No Light
    Teitanblood – The Baneful Choir
    The Ember, The Ash – Consciousness Torn from the Void
    The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism

  18. Where do you guys get the energy to compile. I always wonder what mental process goes into list-making. What about all those records falling through the crevises of your memory? Do you consult some mental list you tried to keep last year, or did you jot down quick notes month per month? How do you recollect an entire album? What about those duds on an album you then gloss over. Was it a feeling you had on first encountering an album? How about lyrics or front cover, do they weigh in? Ugh, Ill let others do the tallying and wallow in my own filth….

    • Its very geeky, but also very easy to do… I keep a list in Text Edit and I just add what I listened to. Whether I bought it or just listened to it on Bandcamp or Youtube or whatever..
      Sometimes I have to go back and add a few at a time, but its never much work.

      As I refer back to it I will bold the albums I found myself absorbed in.
      At some point I will go back and change some of the bolded text to red and those are my absolute favorites and are getting put in a list, both for shuffling and for sharing.
      Things that aren’t bolded are either deleted or pursuit of ownership is abandoned.

      Around this time of year I have more than enough for a top 20 and I just copy the red bolded items into a new list and I try not to think too much as I copy paste them in an order that sort of speaks to how much I listened to them, crossed with a gut feeling I get upon seeing the name.

      Its important to me as I listen to way too much damn music and this helps me keep my focus as well as enables me to tally what I liked and clean out my iTunes of things that aren’t worth keeping.
      This year:

      274 albums listened (Have to hear at least half of it for inclusion.)
      132 albums are keepers
      32 of those are my absolute favorites.

      • A well packaged album with good lyrics and cover and music, all gelling together, definitely makes for high marks. A cover cant save something thats only meh though.

        Also, I try not to overwhelm myself. I created the list throughout the year, but tallying my favorites before posting to this comments section took about 10 minutes. I simply put numbers because my brain likes them to be there, but ranking is kinda pointless. I put Falls of Rauros first and Pharmakeia at 13, but the truth is that nothing could touch Pharmakeia when I was deep in tie dye hell. Not even Falls.

        But Renouvellement into Last Empty Tradition from Falls really sticks out to me as it gave me a lump in my throat and yanked a tear from my eye. That kind of emotional response is worth a lot.

    • I am doing it the old fashioned way with an excel sheet and a rating system for myself. So, I can find out which albums left the most impact on me. And the top 20 albums I revisit on december for a second spin and after that the top 10 albums get a third spin just to be sure that I am only left with my favorite albums.

    • I list them through out the year and note what i get absorbed into, regardless of metal genre,
      though for me it tends to be dissonant black metal, funeral doom, drone, or anything just very dark hypnotic and evil sounding.

  19. Wilderun – Veil of Imagination
    Gatecreeper – Deserted
    Krypts – Cadaver Circulation
    Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
    Ossuarium – Living Tomb
    Vastum – Orifical Purge
    Misþyrming – Algleymi

  20. Albums: Nocturnal Departure, Teitanblood, Akasha, Falls of Rauros, Saor, Constellatia, The Great Old Ones, Esoctrilihum, Serpent Column, Drastus, Yellow Eyes. EPs: Ayyur, Sands in Darkness, Doodswens, Malignament.

  21. 1. SERPENT COLUMN Mirror in Darkness
    2. TOMB MOLD Planetary Clairvoyance
    3. WHITE WARD Love Exchange Failure
    4. ALCEST Spiritual Instinct
    5. NIGHTFELL A Sanity Deranged
    6. SCHAMMASCH Hearts of No Light
    7. OBSEQUIAE The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings
    8. IDLE HANDS Mana
    9. MAGIC CIRCLE Departed Souls
    10. SINMARA Hvisl Stjarnanna
    11. BLUT AUS NORD Hallucinogen
    12. AN ISOLATED MIND I’m Losing Myself
    13. SPIRIT ADRIFT Divided By Darkness
    14. OSSUARIUM Living Tomb
    15. MISTHYRMING Algleymi
    16. ABYSSAL A Beacon in the Husk
    17. DEUS MORTEM Kosmocide
    18. BLOOD INCANTATION Hidden History of the Human Race
    19. TEITANBLOOD The Baneful Choir
    20. FALSE Portent
    21. MIZMOR Cairn
    22. SERMON Birth of the Marvellous
    23. THE DROWNING The Radiant Dark
    24. ATLANTEAN KODEX The Course of Empire
    25. SKAPHE AND WORMLUST Kosmiskur Hryllingur

  22. 1- Allegaeon – Apoptosis
    2- OBLIVION – Oblivion
    3- Latitudes – Part Island
    4- KALEIKR – Heart Of Lead
    5- Gomorrah – Gomorrah
    6- Verheerer – Monolith
    7- Swordwielder – System Overlord
    8- Misery Index – Rituals of Power
    9- High Command – Beyond the Wall of Desolation
    10- Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
    11- Algebra – Pulse
    12- EYRTH – Fracture
    13- Seer – Vol. 6
    14- Vastum – Orificial Purge
    15- Singularity – Place of Chains
    16- Russian Circles – Blood Year
    17- Véhémence – Véhémence – Par le Sang Versé
    18- Crypt Sermon – The Ruins of Fading Light
    19- DESECRESY – Towards Nebulae
    20- Provocation – Provocation
    21- Rings of Saturn – Gidim
    22- Mayhem – Daemon
    23- Hannes Grossmann – Apophenia
    24- GRAVEYARD – Hold Back the Dawn
    25- Deathspell Omega-The Furnaces of Palingenesia
    26- Hour Of Penance – Misotheism
    27- Dreadnought – Emergence
    28- MORTIFERUM – Disgorged From Psychotic Depths
    29- Inanimate Existence – Clockwork
    30- Waste of Space Orchestra – Syntheosis

    • Yay! Verheerer!! They ended up #22 on my list of 20. Lol. Such a great album. Probably end up being an all time favorite eventually. The solo at the end of He Who Sowed The Poison Seeds is fucking amazing.

    • 3 late purchases, killer records i want to add are Panzerfaust, Rattenfanger, Misertus. Honorable mentions that round out my limited hearing/purchasing this year: Engulf EP, Equipoise, Ghost Walking, Aggravator EP, An Isolated Mind, Archecho, Arctic Sleep, Black Sites, None, Pelican, Sun Worship, Swarn, Tomb Mold, which should have made it to the list up top but fell short.

  23. Was waiting for this))

    My list:

    Paladin – Ascension (2019)
    Inculter – Fatal Visions (2019)
    Gods Forsaken – Smells of Death (2019)
    Astrophobos – Malice of Antiquity (2019)
    Amulet – The Inevitable War (2019)
    Aephanemer – Prokopton (2019)
    Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations (2019)
    Crepuscle – Heavenly Skies (2019)
    Baest- Venenum (2019)
    Arnaut Pavle – Arnaut Pavle (2019)
    Blood Red Throne – Fit To Kill (2019)
    No One Knows What The Dead Think – No One Knows What The Dead Think (2019)
    Eclipser – Pathos (2019)
    Hedonihil – I (2019)

    I didn’t listen to some new albums, so it is not complete one.

  24. 1. Mgla
    2. Batushka (Not the Metal Blade one)
    3. Lucifera
    4. Endless Disease
    5. Zad
    6. Krypts
    7. To Conceal the Horns
    8. Order of the Eibon Hand
    9. Mayhem
    10. Capilla Ardiente

    Maybe not quite metal, but Year of the Goat’s album would top everything.

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