Anybody for the second half of my Albums Of The Year hit-parade? Good.
We’ve put our favourite song from each of our selections into a Spotify playlist. Here it is.
10. SeeYouSpaceCowboy – The Correlation Between Entrance And Exit Wounds
Ushering in my Top 10 is the gnarly gem that sounds like it’s been transported right from 1999 – in the very best of ways. This is chaotic, glitchy, bonkers and generally just a joy, even if, as you’ll see further down this list, it isn’t quite the best release of this sort of thing in 2019. Even so, it rages.
9. .gif from god – Approximation_of_a_human
This is a second piece of glitchy, spasmodic hardcore and just takes the crown when it comes to the premier release of that sort of thing this year. It has riffs for days and sees this band really deliver on the potential they showed on their infamous split EP with Vein. Yes please.
8. Throes – In The Hands Of An Angry God
There has been some fantastically heavy and aggressive stuff put out this year, and this Throes record is right up there in terms of quality. It’s an album packed full of lumbering, angry noise that just gets me going. Play it loud, play it proud and revel in the audio kick in the jaw it delivers with every listen.
7. Car Bomb – Mordial
When a band is hyped as much as Car Bomb have been you always risk being disappointed. Not so with Mordial. This sounds like all of the heavy things being played at once and is marvellous – and that’s before taking into account the laser-gun guitars that have had six-string nerds everywhere asking, ‘How the hell did they do that?’
You need a lie down after listening to this one, sure, but that’s true for lots of the very best albums, right?
6. Ithaca – The Language Of Injury
The first of two long-awaited debuts from terrific British bands that have been regulars on my stereo for essentially the entire year. Ithaca’s big fat riffs are just delicious, particularly when interspersed with their trademark gnoots, whoots, and blip-bops (technical terms) as much as they are on this record.
They’re a fab band; this record has me air-guitaring every time and it has given me the line ‘I’m not here to make friends’, which perfectly sums up how I approach just about every aspect of adult life.
5. Puppy – The Goat
Here’s that second much anticipated British debut, and boy was this one worth the wait. If you want to understand this album’s brilliance just push play on its opener, ‘Black Hole’. If that riff, those drums, that glossy production and those hooktastic melodies don’t grab you then we probably won’t ever get along.
4. Tool – Fear Inoculum
The fact that this record isn’t sitting at the top of my list is probably the biggest shock of the year. Tool are one of the bands that have defined my overall musical taste and I’ve been waiting 13 years for something new.
The fact that, when it finally arrived, it sounded just like Tool explains why it sits at number four. It is, without doubt, a spectacular record, better than everything else bar my final trio. But, for a band so creative to wait so long and not really do anything different? I was hoping for a bit more.
3. Her Name Is Calla – Animal Choir
Wow, oh wow, is this album special. For a band to put out something as glorious and diverse as Animal Choir and then split up the very next day is mind-boggling. It’s absolutely a perfect ending to a band’s career but, boy, would I have liked the chance to see this live.
This is progressive, heavy, quiet, beautiful, aggressive, melodic and more – I still hear new things every time I listen. From the moment I first pushed play on this one I knew it would be a record that I will listening to for the rest of my life. It is marvellous.
2. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
However hard they try, they still can’t kill Slipknot. For a band this extreme, that has been through what they’ve been through in recent years, to come back with an album so full of the piss and vinegar that defined their early years is astonishing.
But this isn’t just nostalgia. This is a band that has aged aggressively and has been able to put out one of the finest albums of their career more than 20 years into it. Just listen to ‘Nero Forte’. Fucking incredible – as is the rest of the album. Seeing this stuff live next year cannot come quickly enough.
And my Album Of The Year for 2019…
1. Employed To Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
When you think of bands that keep getting better and better you needn’t look much further than Employed To Serve. The jump from Greyer Than You Remember to The Warmth Of A Dying Sun was spectacular and they’ve done it again here.
On this, their major label debut, you can hear how well the extra budget has been spent. The production is razor-sharp and gives so much power to the knife-like guitars and piercing drums that dominate this record.
The riffs here are spectacular and just make you want to move. You can hear the band’s hardcore roots mixed perfectly with the love of metal that clearly runs through their veins, and the result is an absolutely vital album.
Vocally, they’ve never sounded better – there are hooks here to match the riffs and these songs are just stupendous. The moment the opening of ‘Force Fed leaps out in the middle of this record just gets me every single time. All hail Employed To Serve!