Author's Choices

Steven’s Top 10 Releases of 2019 (Vinyl Edition)

10. Cranial – Alternate Endings

My vinyl pressing:
Yellow – heavy gatefold cardboard with UV-spots incl. unique die-cut o-card-sleeve – limited to 200 copies – released via Moment of Collapse Records

Cranial from Würzburg (Germany) is the first out of two great bands that I discovered this year within the roster of Moment of Collapse Records. Their interpretation of atmopsheric Post-Metal is very pure in its itensity and if you’re into some heavy Doom and Sludge Metal, you should not sleep on Alternate Endings.

9. Russian Circles – Blood Year

My vinyl pressing:
Black and gold galaxy – gatefold – released via Sargent House

Russian Circles instrumental Post-Metal is huge. I discovered the band with Blood Year‘s predecessor Guidance, which was released in 2016 and latest when I saw them live supporting the mighty Mastodon in Munich in 2017, I was fascinated about the band’s ability to create such huge and moody soundscapes. In my opinion their latest record marks one of their most impressive within the band’s notable back catalogue.

8. Irata – Tower

My vinyl pressing:
Opaque orange – 180g heavyweight vinyl – limited to 500 copies – released via Small Stone Records

If your’re looking for some stunning Stoner and Sludge Metal and you don´t know Irata‘s Tower yet, give this record a shot. Within my collection it stands in line with classics such as Mastodon‘s Crack the Sky and BaronessRed Album. I wrote a review about it earlier this year, you can check that out over here.

7. Baroness – Gold & Grey

My vinyl pressing:
Red and blue transparent – limited independent record stores release – double LP in gatefold – printed inner sleeves – released via Abraxan Hymns

Baroness is one of my alltime favorite bands and I love all of their records. It is good to see that they are still around and delivering great music over the years. With Gold & Grey the band completes their set of color-themed album concepts. The music on this record is very emotional, progressive and constantly in motion, so I highly recommend repeated listening sessions.

6. Darkthrone – Old Star

My vinyl pressing:
Black – 180g heavyweight vinyl – printed inner sleeve – released via Peaceville

I really cannot explain why it took so long for me to really dive deep into Darkthrone‘s huge back catalogue. Old Star marked the starting point for that journey so there was no way of not putting the record into my list. For me, it is by far Darkthrone‘s best effort since The Cult is Alive from 2016.

5. Cult of Luna – A Dawn to Fear

My vinyl pressing:
Clear with black circle – numbered – double LP in gatefold – includes 20 page booklet – limited to 200 copies – released via Metal Blade Records

Cult of Luna release a new opus and the Post-Metal world stands upside down.

4. Hope Drone – Void Lustre

My vinyl pressing:
Gold with black splatter – gatefold – limited to 100 copies – released via Moment of Collapse Records

Hope Drone from Brisbane (Australia) is the second band on Moment of Collapse Records I discovered this year. The atmospheric Black Metal on Void Lustre is characterized by bleak riffing and blustering blast beats that go hand in hand with more dense ambient and Post-Rock sections which perfectly build up sonic contrasts within the melancholic compositions.

3. NAGA – Void Cult Rising

My vinyl pressing:
Black and white split (“Twilight/Demise”) – gatefold – spikerot.com exclusive – limited to 100 copies – released via Spikerot Records

“A nasty blend of atmospheric Doom, filthy Sludge and the bleakness of Black Metal.”
Another great record which I might have missed without being part of Team Transcended. Read my full review of NAGA’s Void Cult Rising over here.

2. Inter Arma – Sulphur English

My vinyl pressing:
Gold and bone white galaxy merge edition – relapse.com exclusive – double LP in gatefold – limited to 500 copies – released via Relapse Records

Sulphur English is the most diverse Post-Metal album I can think of this year. Inter Arma‘s main influences range from Doom, Sludge and Progressive Metal and they easily achieve to let boundaries appear blurred in between these genres and beyond.

1. Mizmor – Cairn

My vinyl pressing:
Black – double LP in gatefold – released via Gilead Media

Mizmor‘s symbiosis of Black and Doom Metal crafted into Cairn is oustanding. I really love every aspect of this release and I am still amazed by it’s musical and lyrical depth. The brilliant artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski perfectly rounds off this masterpiece of an album.

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