Continuing our celebration of the releases from 2019 that hit the hardest with our team of metal-loving maniacs, we bring you Part 2 of the official Ghost Cult Albums of the Year and count down from 40 to 21…
You can find Part 1, containing our coverage of the albums that charted from 75 through to 41, here.
40. Mizmor Cairn (Gilead Media) With four sprawling, harrowing blackened doom epics sinking corrosive hooks into your psyche, Cairn is at turns uncomfortable and twists a reflective yet euphoric outpouring.
39. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes End of Suffering (International Death Cult) “What the End Of Suffering has done here is it has taken raw emotion into a beautiful hardcore slow dance. It might not be for everyone but its unfiltered execution is what makes it punk rock. Frank Carter has presented another side of him, vulnerable yet striking”. Review
38. Abbath Outstrider (Season of Mist) “Say what you will about his corpse paint and his knack for iconic promotional photography posing, but Abbath still has it. Most questions and doubts should’ve been settled by 2016’s stellar Abbath, but we metal fans are fickle and panic-prone when it comes to new music. Turns out that Abbath was no fluke.” Review
37. Idle Hands Mana (Eisenwald Tonschmiede) Death Rock, post-Punk, Goth and an undertone of traditional Heavy Metal all combine in this refreshing, pounding album that manages to bring something new and vital to the table, despite its roots, core and most of its substance being retrospective in nature. Contains more bangers than your average pack of sausages.
36. Sacred Reich Awakening (Metal Blade) “Most bands want to live in the past and repeat themselves. Few manage to capture the sound they are known for but have a foot in the present as much as Sacred Reich does here. Blistering thrash riffs and mosh ready tempos abound, yet none of the songs feel like a clone of any past track.” Review
35. The Wildhearts Renaissance Men (Graphite) Reuniting their classic 90’s line up of Ginger, Danny and CJ Wildheart and Ritch Battersby, and upping the ante with intent, vibrancy, power and a series of great tunes that represents the best release under the Wildhearts banner since PHUQ, Renaissance Men shows that one of the most underrated bands in the modern history of alternative music still has more chops than Ric Flair.
34. Car Bomb Mordial (Holy Roar) Discordant, angular and angry one moment, grungy and melancholy the next, often within seconds of each other, New York’s buzz-ticket hit the spot once again with a fourth album that refuses to be boxed in, or to sit still, all while covering a sonic ground as wide-reaching as Helmet, Meshuggah, Mudhoney, Dillinger and way more.
33. We Never Learned To Live The Sleepwalk Transmissions (Holy Roar) “Constant emotional heft becomes a touch wearing at times, exhausting in its baring of the members’ souls, but this is obviously a minor criticism and actually speaks to comprehensively written, cohesive Post Hardcore. Heaps of praise should be piled upon We Never Learned To Live for a mature slab of beautiful music”. Review
32. Puppy The Goat (Spinefarm Records) “The main question on everyone’s lips, however, was when are they going release a full album and will The Goat lives up to the expectations set by their prior two EPs and live show? To put it short and bluntly; Puppy have done that and more, bringing all that is great about their previous releases and turning it up several notches”. Review
31. Leprous Pitfalls (InsideOut Music) “If you are a fan of the band and you’re looking for heavy progressive music, you should open your mind a bit, because the majority of this album is not heavy. Now, the fact that this is not a heavy album should not mislead you since this is probably one of the best-written albums of the year.” Review
30. Korn The Nothing (Roadrunner Records) “Nick Raskulinecz makes sure that the Bakersfield boys have the right environment to write punchy and very well produced jams that could fit right in with albums like Take a Look in the Mirror or Korn III: Remember Who You Are. ‘The Ringmaster’ and ‘Can You Hear Me’ open with riffs that clearly state Head and Munky are as comfortable as they’ve ever been trading riffs”. Review
29. Chelsea Wolfe Birth of Violence (Sargent House) “Written in near solitude in her Northern California home, retreating from the world after feeling burned out from the road and the business, the sound of Birth of Violence feels like it might have been inspired by long drives, secret spots, moss beds on rocks, Redwood trees, mountain air, and many dawns and dusks spent looking for something not easily found”. Review
28. Amon Amarth Beserker (Nuclear Blast Records) “Covering all the usual subjects of dragons, battles, axes, ships, hammers, and fire, and with guitar solos featuring plenty of unadulterated Maiden worship, Berserker includes no real surprises but is simply the sound of a band at the top of their game doing what they do best. Smashing their enemies to pieces and leaving the bodies sinking slowly into the muddy earth”. Review
27. Abigail Williams Walk Beyond The Dark (Blood Music) “With vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and drum duties all currently assigned to himself, he wouldn’t be faulted if he decided to fold the project and move on to something else. But generous listens and careful consideration paid to Walk Beyond the Dark it’s clear Bergeron doesn’t need anybody else in the room to crank out some classy-ass Black Metal”. Review
26. In Flames I, The Mask (Nuclear Blast) “With almost a touch of flavor from every era of their career, you might mistake I, The Mask for a greatest hits collection. The band doesn’t stand still and stare backwards, however, they are trying to learn and grow with every release. Anyone who has stayed on this journey with In Flames will find most of this album very rewarding”. Review
25. Employed To Serve Eternal Forwards Motion (Spinefarm Records) “Any concern you may have had about Employed To Serve leaving Holy Roar for new pastures and challenges is immediately evaporated in the opening notes of the title track as it bursts with that Botch-like scattergun intensity that hooked so many on Greyer Than You Remember. Things only get more cutthroat”. Review
24. Gloryhammer Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex (Napalm Records) “Listening to a Gloryhammer album is like watching one of those cheesy but brilliant straight to video sci-fi movie trailers from the 1980s. Well, whereas those movies generally struggled to do justice to their wildly optimistic advertising campaigns, Gloryhammer pretty much guarantees maximum enjoyment every time”. Review
23. Darkthrone Old Star (Peaceville Records) “Old Star is the latest chapter in Darkthrone’s ongoing quest to be the Metal band of all Metal bands. The last three decades have seen it straddle the genres as it continues to evolve in new and intriguing ways. The band remains both deadly serious and deadly funny. And they’ve still yet to make a shit album”. Review
22. Alter Bridge Walk The Sky (Napalm Records) “It seems that Mark Tremonti intended his namesake band to be the heavier of his two active groups, but Walk The Sky is full of bangers. While there is a lot of posi-sounding modern rock tunes, there are tons of dark heavy riffs and licks on most all of the tracks. Designed to pump you up, filling you with a flood of emotions, the album is also sequenced beautifully”. Review
21. Death Angel Humanicide (Nuclear Blast) “From start to finish, this album keeps the intensity maxed out and does not let up. While I believe Death Angel does not have anything to prove, they keep coming back album after album and putting together some incredible thrash metal. No worries here, as this record is sure to please even the pickiest thrash fans”. Review
The third and final part of our Albums of the Year is due soon…