To the Teeth is the name of a Facebook-based metal blog that began life in May of 2016. The proprietor, Dutch writer Peter van der Ploeg, regularly posts about new extreme metal songs and full releases, and as the year goes along he adds selected music to a growing Spotify playlist. He also has a Reddit thread in which he often goes into greater depth about what appears more briefly at To the Teeth on FB.
Peter has posted his own personal 2019 Top 50 list, which you can see HERE, but he again compiled a “List of Lists”, as he has done in past years. To do that he began by assembling a population of 117 year-end lists from 32 international critics, magazines, blogs, and other publications Those included a lot of “big platform” mainstream publications as well as lists from metal-only outlets such as our own; those 117 also included separate staff lists from some sites (such as our own). This year, these were the lists he included in the aggregation process:
Angry Metal Guy (x20), Bandcamp, Consequence of Sound (x2), Cvlt Nation (x5), Decibel, Exclaim, Goliath is Dead, Heavy Blog is Heavy (x9), Heavy Music HQ, Indy Metal Vault (x4), Invisible Oranges (x9), LA Weekly, Last Rites (x7), Loudwire, Metal Hammer (x14), Metal Storm, MetalInjection (x9), MetalSucks (x4), Mondo Sonoro, Never Mind the Hype, No Clean Singing (x7), Pitchfork, Popmatters, Revolver, Riff Magazine, Rolling Stone, Stereogum, The Quietus, To The Teeth, Toilet Ov Hell (x7), Treble and Vinyl Me, Please.
All together, these lists included a total of 778 records, 333 of which received two or more votes.
Peter assigned point values to the selections based on the rankings they received at their original locations: “I gave every number 1 position 10 points. A second place got 8 points, a third 6 and the rest of the top-10 positions got 5 points. A top-25 was 3 points, and everything below 1. When two records had equal points, the amount of list mentions prevailed. When those were equal as well (looking at you Inter Arma and Spirit Adrift), the amount of number 1’s (or, subsequently number 2’s) counted.”
Through those calculations, he came up with a Top 100 “list of lists”. And with Peter’s permission I’m re-posting those 100 names from To the Teeth’s “list of lists”, as we’ve done before. To read Peter’s thoughts about the outcomes, go HERE (Facebook) or HERE (Reddit), though I’m excerpting some of those comments below.
As always, thanks to Peter for all this hard work.
LIST OF LISTS:
Blood Incantation made the best heavy record of the year
(written by Peter van der Ploeg)
“Blood Incantation’s Hidden History of the Human Race is the best heavy album of 2019. That’s the result of analyzing 117 end of the year lists by 32 international critics, magazines, blogs and other publications. The death metal foursome from Denver, Colorado already landed their saucer on a third place in 2016 with debut Starspawn, but this year’s sophomore record really didn’t have competition with 249 points. Number #2, France’s Blut Aus Nord, follow at a distance, with 139 points for their trippy Hallucinogen. Sweden’s Opeth got 138 points with their bilingual, heavy prog album In Cauda Venenum and make it to #3. Blood Incantation follows in the footsteps of Yob (2018), Converge (2017) and Vektor (2016).
“Blood Incantation were put on 49 lists and that’s a lot: runner-up Blut Aus Nord were on 31 lists, and Opeth on 30. The battle between those two was tight as a duck’s behind: only one point difference. I actually had a version of this piece with Opeth at second place for a long time. Remarkably enough Blut Aus Nord got so high while not making a single number one spot on any end of the year list. A lot of publications apparently think it’s a great record, just not the best of the year. Devin Townsend’s Empath on the other hand is at #7 (109 points) with no less than six number one positions – just as many as Blood Incantation, but with just twenty mentions in total. Tool are the least-mentioned top-ten band with just 18 lists. Lingua Ignota, Spirit Adrift, Inter Arma, Cult of Luna, Obsequiae, Crypt Sermon and Darkthrone all were on more lists, just with less points. Seminal black metal act Darkthrone didn’t came further than place #18. But that’s still a feat: I’ve counted 778 records in total this year.”
THE LIST OF LISTS
1. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
2. Blut Aus Nord – Hallucinogen
3. Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
4. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
5. Idle Hands – Mana
6. Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
7. Devin Townsend – Empath
8. Alcest – Spiritual Instinct
9. Tool – Fear Inoculum
10. Lingua Ignota – Caligula
11. Inter Arma – Sulphur English
12. Spirit Adrift – Divided By Darkness
13. Cult of Luna – A Dawn to Fear
14. Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
15. Crypt Sermon – The Ruins of Fading Light
16. Baroness – Gold & Grey
17. Wilderun – Veil of Imagination
18. Darkthrone – Old Star
19. Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
20. Arch / Matheos – Winter Ethereal
21. Fvneral Fvkk – Carnal Confessions
22. Mizmor – Cairn
23. The True Mayhem- Daemon
24. Atlantean Kodex – The Course of Empire
25. Waste of Space Orchestra – Syntheosis
26. Borknagar – True North
27. Devourment – Obscene Majesty
28. Big ‡ Brave – A Gaze Among Them
29. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
30. Rammstein – Rammstein
31. Brutus – Nest
32. Full of Hell – Weeping Choir
33. Venom Prison – Samsara
34. Swallow the Sun – When a Shadow is Forced Into Light
35. Immortal Bird – Thrive on Neglect
36. Esoteric – a Pyrrhic Existence
37. Schammasch – Hearts of No Light
38. Candlemass – The Door to Doom
39. Funereal Presence – Achatius
40. Gaahls WYRD – Gastir-Ghosts Invited
41. Chelsea Wolfe – Birth of Violence
42. No One Knows What The Dead Think – same
43. Gatecreeper – Deserted
44. Car Bomb – Mordial
45. Slow – VI-Dantalion
46. Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion
47. Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark
48. The Drowning – The Radiant Dark
49. False – Portent
50. Soen- Lotus
51. Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
52. Haunter – Sacramental Death Qualia
53. Ithaca – The Language of Injury
54. Warforged – I: Voice
55. Sunn O))) – Life Metal
56. Killswitch Engage – Atonement
57. Mgła – Age of Excuse
58. Thanks You Scientist – Terraformer
59. Devil Master – Satan Spits On Children of Light
60. Yellow Eyes – Rare Field Ceiling
61. Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites
62. Dawn Ray’d – Behold Sedition Plainsong
63. Knocked Loose – A Different Shade of Blue
64. Weeping Sores – False Confession
65. Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave
66. Misthyrming – Algleymi
67. Tanith – In Another Time
68. Liturgy – HAQQ
69. Disillusion – The Liberation
70. Moon Tooth – Crux
71. Vanum – Ageless Fire
72. Batushka (Krzysztof Drabikowski) – Панихида
73. Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean
74. Eternal Storm – Come The Tide
75. An Isolated Mind – I’m Losing Myself
76. Sinmara – Hvísl Stjamanna
77. Health – Vol 4: Slaves of Fear
78. Organectomy – Existential Disconnect
79. Exulansis – Sequestered Sympathy
80. Véhémence – Par Le Sang Versé
81. Leprous – Pitfalls
82. Exhorder – Mourn the Southern Skies
83. Serpent Column – Mirror in Darkness
84. Haunt – If Icarus Could Fly
85. Black Sites – Exile
86. Vitriol – To Bathe From The Throat of Cowardice
87. Sacred Reich – Awakening
88. Eternity’s End – Unyielding
89. Slough Feg – New Organon
90. Ars Magna Umbrae – Lunar Ascension
91. A Pregnant Light – Broken Play
92. Falls of Rauros – Patterns in Mythology
93. Gomorrah – Gomorrah
94. Aephanemer – Prokopton
95. Nocturnus AD – Paradox
96. Krypts – Cadaver Circulation
97. Wormwitch – Heaven That Dwells Within
98. Iapetus – The Body Cosmic
99. Angel Witch – Angel of Light
100. Rotting Christ – The Heretics
Cool list. There are several here that I liked, though only one that made my own list (Krypts). But, I overlooked Slough Feg this year, which is an oversight I am happy to be able to correct now. Thanks 🙂
The lack of Shabti is surprising.
Given how many places seem to jerk off that mediocre Gatecreeper album, I’m surprised to see it as low down on the list as it was
Fully agree on Gatecreepers latest outing. It seems to have gotten to the point where just being signed to Relapse and getting hyped by the label’s PR machine does the trick these days.
For what it’s worth I’ve tried to think of two solid bands on relapse: Death (‘s backkatalog, not originally released by relapse) and Ulcerate- now off to Debemur Morti. Also: I’m more or less sympathetic to Full of Hell. Still I just feel Relapse sometimes relies more on marketing than decent releases.
Agreed. Relapse has a solid back catalogue, but currently the only bands on there I care about are Coffins, Incantation and maybe Windhand.
Nothing on that Gatecreeper album justified the amount of buzz it got, though. It was a dime-a-dozen Entombed-core release, and everyone acted like they’d never heard a band use an HM-2 pedal before
Oh yeah I forgot about Incantation! As for Gatecreeper: I consider it a somewhat uninspired affair, especially with regards to compelling songwriting. For whatever reason I also sensed too much boring midtemp-passages there. On the other hand the whole HM-2-sound is just such a hit and miss affair, because as Andy wrote in his review, it’s basically a nostalgia thing, so IMO it all comes down then to great songwriting and personally aggressiveness. Really good releases in the HM-2 vein this year were e.g. Sentient Horror or especially Endseeker if you’re interested. To me those kind of got the fierceness one needs for that style
I agree, it’s definitely uninspired, that’s why I feel it’s so very dime-a-dozen. It’s not that I dislike the Stockholm/HM-2 sound, I enjoy quite a few of those bands, but over the last decade or so it’s become such an overused style that a lot of bands are just starting to fall into the generic category.
That’s where I’d put band like Gatecreeper. It’s not terrible, I can listen to it and not run for the door, but it’s so completely bland and unmemorable that the praise people are giving it feels completely out of proportion to the album.
As for bands…Endseeker has never done much for me, but I agree about Sentient Horror, that was a damn good album. I’d also recommend their label mates Carnal Tomb and Nightbearer for this style of metal…and while not the best of the bunch, both Revel In Flesh and Entrails did good, solid releases
Sure, but honestly but that lies rather in the nature of that particular style than the bands adapting it i´d say. Still like many others I´ve got a sweet spot for it and if I had to place a bet, I´m gonna go out on a limb and say (at least of the whole OSDM-spectrum) its the death metal style with most releases per year.
And yes, perfectly agree about Gatecreeper. The good part about is, that they only seem to gain traction in the US, where they predominantly tour. So at least as a European I won´t encounter them often on the road. But who knows, maybe live they´re after all fairly ok, as everyone makes them out to be.
Gotta admit I only listened to Carnal Tomb once. Should give it more spins, but nothing wrong at first sight. Revel in Flesh also seemed to be fine aside from a strange mastering. Entrails I honestly havent heard more than one single.
To close this: I´ll go with Baest for the HM-2-consensus album of 2019. Similar to Gatecreeper they´ve been crazily hyped as of lately, but repeated listens warranted good results for me. I´d like to stress though that I think they´ll really reach their peak on their third album.
For me it’s a style I’ve moved away from a bit. I still enjoy it when it’s done well, and I don’t actively avoid it or anything, but I’ve been so heavily immersed in it since the whole OSDM trend kicked off that the bloom has kind of come off the rose. I’ll check out something that catches my eye, but I don’t look into that particular style as deeply anymore as I used to. These days I tend to prefer the dirtier, cavernous styles of death metal you get from bands like Dead Congregation or Triumvir Foul.
Appreciate the heads up on Baest. I didn’t really care too much about Danse Macabre when it came out last year, so I’d avoided Venenum until now, but after giving it a spin that was pretty solid!
I see your point, but I´m not giving up on it, as long as it produces some quality releases, like clearly is the case.
Dead Congregation might be the best example for the point, that bands don´t have to do something new or original, but rather just need to interpret established styles with their own flavour. Saw them on their recent tour, where they also sold their debut for 15 bucks (really good deal!). Funnily though I seem to fall into the category, that prefers their sophomore album. Also, stone me, but I´ll take DC any day over Incantation.
Originally I felt the same about Baest: I too wasn´t blown away by their basically average debut. But Venenum really has really grown on me, especially with repeated spins.
Oh no…I definitely don’t need a band to do something wholly original to catch my attention. My tastes are very old school and traditional and I’m not really a fan of too much experimentation. I just need a band to do something that makes me take notice…a good riff or a cool beat…just something that gets my head going. I’ve just heard so much Swedish death metal over the years that it takes more than “not bad” to really get me interested.
As for Dead Congregation, I’ve been lucky enough to catch them live several times over the years and you won’t get any argument from me about which of their albums is better. Graves of the Archangels is a great album, but Promulgation of the Fall my be one of the best death metal albums of the last 20 years.
That being said, Incantation is one of my all time favorite bands with very few missteps and they’re still absolutely massive live. I don’t think I could pick between either band.