photo by Luis Roa
(Once again we are fortunate that our Mexican friend Jacobo Córdova — of Majestic Downfall and Zombiefication — has accepted our invitation to share with us his list of the year’s best metal releases (and one disappointment).)
In my opinion, even if 2019 was a great year for Metal releases, it was not as strong as past ones. I feel quality was not that present overall while quantity surely was, but that sucks since there is so much trash released every year that you really need to dig to find gems. That being said, here is my top 10 list from this year, where, at least for me, all are truly stellar releases that deserve to be praised! Thankfully, here quality is everything!!!
10) Impure – Satan’s Eclipse
Chaos Records surely released one of the darkest and most catchy releases of the year. Satan’s Eclipse is a full-on juggernaut of crushing rhythms that stick in your head for their sheer brilliance. They surely are not the most technical band in the world, but that is exactly what makes Impure’s debut album so brllliant. Riffs are everything, and these Americans surely know they are everything. Add to that a beefy organic production and get ready for destruction!
9) Mystik – Mystik
Something I really like in my Heavy Metal is an evil feeling, and Mystik surely delivers. Their darkness-infused music accompanied by those ’80s-tinged female vocals give you the creeps. Can’t wait to see what these 3 ladies and guy deliver on their next satanic onslaught.
8) Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion
I, as many, didn’t see this coming. I hate comeback albums and all related to that nostalgia but fortunately Becerra and friends proved us wrong! Revelations of Oblivion is Possessed 100%, nothing more and nothing less. You find the aggressiveness of Seven Churches and at the same time the layering of Beyond The Gates. Production is also great, maybe a tad bit too modern, but still killer. If I have to wait another 33 years for the next release and it is nearly as good as this, I will.
7) Inculter – Fatal Visions
Inculter’s debut was one of my favorite releases of 2015, so when finding out they were releasing a new album in 2019 I surely had to go and buy it. Fatal Visions is top-notch killer European angry Thrash Metal. Nothing original as you have come to expect from the band, but their sheer composing ability nails you in the head when pressing play. Also, this time around, the band played with a bit of more mid-tempos, which creates a killer ambience that can sometimes be mistaken for a Death Metal one.
6) Departure Chandelier – Antichrist Rise To Power
Atmospheric lo-fi Black Metal for fans of Burzum, (early) Gehenna and (early) Ragnarok. The atmosphere is just there. Simplistic, catchy, absorbing and constant mid-tempo headbanging Black Metal. Nice surprise, especially since ’90s Black Metal done with mastery is rarely heard during these times.
5) Perverticon – Wounds of Divinity
I didn’t see this coming either. I had given up hope of present-day bands doing the Dawn, Sacramentum, Dissection, Gates of Ishtar (and so forth) brand of Black/Death Metal. Fortunately, Perverticon came and proved me wrong, so fucking wrong. Wounds of Divinity is full of ultra-fast but melodic dark riffage that gets you all pumped up. This is how Black/Death Metal with melody should sound. Not wimpy stuff here.
4) Asphodelus – Stygian Dreams
Cemetery Fog was a band I really liked, so when finding out they had split I was a bit sad. Fortunately the flame was carried by Asphodelus, and after their amazing demos Stygian Dreams appeared. Expect total Dance of December Souls worship here (I know what I am saying is dangerous but it really is), Paradise Lost first 3 albums vibe, and even some Amorphis from the first 2 albums. Godly, godly, and more godly.
3) Funereal Presence – Achatius
This is how you do extreme Metal. Achatius is a rich, layered piece of art full of creativity and ambience. They have no fear of experimenting and playing with melody while keeping it all the time brutal and full of attitude. This album is a no-brainer, really, go and get it. As good as it gets.
2) Profetus – The Sadness Of Time Passing
Hail Finland. Hail Funeral Doom. Hail the sons of Skepticism. Hail Profetus. These Finns are on a roll, and if you are looking for music to dream and dive into, there is no better potion. This is just mesmerizing!!
1) Eclipse – Paradigm
The band with the worst covers ever releases, as usual, the best music ever. I am a huge AOR/Hard Rock fan and this band is just perfect — hell, this album is just perfect. Catchy Hard Rock done by the masters themselves. I may go a bit far in saying this, but I can´t think of a band past or present as good in doing this kind of music as Eclipse. Damn, gotta put it in my CD player now!!!
Releases that for sure would have made it here had I heard them:
Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Huma Race
Officium Triste – The Death of Gaia
Most overhyped release of the year:
Idle Hands – Mana
After seeing lots of people talking about how good this band was and how they could mix post-rock with Gothic Metal with mastery, I had to give it a chance. Heard the album multiple times, maybe 10-15, and all I got in return was a watered-down attempt of music. Really disappointing, now please give me my listening minutes back!