GHOST CULT’S ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Steve Tovey: Top 20 of 2019

2019 seems an odd year for me to be writing a post about my albums of year, and to have so many albums I want to name-check or mention. See, early in the year I stepped down from my role within Ghost Cult – nothing the Cult did wrong, just a question of life and balance. Stepping back from direct exposure to every rock, metal or alternative release should have meant I had fewer albums to care about, but, actually, it’s afforded me more time with each of the albums that I have connected with.

So, whereas in previous years I may have logged a list with albums I had not much more than a superficial affinity with, a glancing “Oh, that’s good” from a couple of December spins only – for example, I’ve only heard the Fit For An Autopsy once, and while I can tell it’s an absolute (tragic) beast I haven’t spent enough time with it to include it – this time I’ve been able to spend more time with fewer albums and it’s been all the better for me and my enjoyment of a breadth music, I have to say. Less really has been more.


And in a surprising turn of events, 2019 has been the year that I accidentally rediscovered my love of Black Metal. Working late one night with Enslaved’s E and Moonsorrow’s V: Havitettyfor company I was reminded of what good Black Metal can bring to the table, and so I began to delve into some of the newer releases from that most hypnotic and contradictory of sub-genre’s, a resumption of an immersive experience I had, with some exceptions, turned my back on over the last few years.

Anyway, enough of the waffle. I want to thank Keith and Ghost Cult for giving my AOTY post a home where more than 2 people may actually see it, but as with every year, I post this purely and only to share the love for things I like. This post isn’t meant to invite criticisms of albums I’ve omitted, or criticism of myself for omitting albums others may like, this is merely my favourite (note “favourite” not “best” – there’s nowt objective or critical here) albums of 2019.

Before I run through my Top 20, here are some albums that I really liked though haven’t really spent a whole lot of time with, but ones I do find myself coming back to and enjoying… (in alphabetical order)

AbbathOutstrider (Nuclear Blast) SpotifyYouTube; Abigail WilliamsWalk Beyond The Dark (Blood) SpotifyYouTube; AlcestSpiritual Instinct (Nuclear Blast) SpotifyYouTube; AstronoidAstronoid (Blood) SpotifyYouTube; AvantasiaMoonglow (Nuclear Blast) SpotifyYouTube; Cattle DecapitationDeath Atlas (Metal Blade) SpotifyYouTube; Fever 333Strength In Numb333rs (Roadrunner) SpotifyYouTube; In FlamesI, The Mask (Nuclear Blast) SpotifyYouTube; Insomnium Heart Like A Grave (Century Media) SpotifyYouTube; Killswitch EngageAtonement (Metal Blade) SpotifyYouTube; Lacuna CoilBlack Anima (Century Media) SpotifyYouTube; mglaAge Of Excuse (No Solace) SpotifyYouTube; SermonBirth Of The Marvellous (Prosthetic) SpotifyYouTube; SoenLotus (Silver Lining) SpotifyYouTube; Sum 41Order In Decline (Hopeless) SpotifyYouTube; VltimasSomething Wicked Marches In (Season of Mist) SpotifyYouTube; VukariAEvum (Vendetta) SpotifyYouTube; WhitechapelThe Valley (Metal Blade) SpotifyYouTube; WilderunVeil of Imagination (self-released) SpotifyYouTube; Yellow EyesRare Field Ceiling (Gilead) SpotifyYouTube


20. Royal RepublicClub Majesty (Arising Empire) Spotify


.19. Misþyrming – Alglyemi (Noevdia) Spotify


18. Sabaton The Great War (Nuclear Blast) Spotify


17. Opeth In Cauda Venenum (Nuclear Blast) Spotify


16. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes End of Suffering (International Death Cult) Spotify


15. Dream Theater Distance Over Time (InsideOut) Spotify


14. Devin Townsend Empath (HeavyDevy/InsideOut) Spotify


13. Amon Amarth Beserker (Metal Blade / Sony) Spotify


12. The HU The Gereg (Eleven Seven) Spotify


11. Blut Aus Nord Hallucinogen (Eitrin) Spotify


10. Traveler Traveler (Cruz del sur) Spotify


9. Idle Hands Mana (Eisenwald) Spotify


8. Slipknot We Are Not Your Kind (Roadrunner) Spotify


7. Borknagar True North (Century Media) Spotify


6. Alter Bridge Walk The Sky (Napalm) Spotify


5. Puppy The Goat (Spinefarm) Spotify


4. Beast In Black From Hell With Love (Nuclear Blast) Spotify


3. The Wildhearts Renaissance Men (Graphite) Spotify


2. Soilwork Verkligheten (Nuclear Blast) Spotify


1. Gloryhammer Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex (Napalm) Spotify