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: Havitetty for 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)

Abbath Outstrider (Nuclear Blast) Spotify YouTube; Abigail Williams Walk Beyond The Dark (Blood) Spotify YouTube; Alcest Spiritual Instinct (Nuclear Blast) Spotify YouTube; Astronoid Astronoid (Blood) Spotify YouTube; Avantasia Moonglow (Nuclear Blast) Spotify YouTube; Cattle Decapitation Death Atlas (Metal Blade) Spotify YouTube; Fever 333 Strength In Numb333rs (Roadrunner) Spotify YouTube; In Flames I, The Mask (Nuclear Blast) Spotify YouTube; Insomnium Heart Like A Grave (Century Media) Spotify YouTube; Killswitch Engage Atonement (Metal Blade) Spotify YouTube; Lacuna Coil Black Anima (Century Media) Spotify YouTube; mgla Age Of Excuse (No Solace) Spotify YouTube; Sermon Birth Of The Marvellous (Prosthetic) Spotify YouTube; Soen Lotus (Silver Lining) Spotify YouTube; Sum 41 Order In Decline (Hopeless) Spotify YouTube; Vltimas Something Wicked Marches In (Season of Mist) Spotify YouTube; Vukari AEvum (Vendetta) Spotify YouTube; Whitechapel The Valley (Metal Blade) Spotify YouTube; Wilderun Veil of Imagination (self-released) Spotify YouTube; Yellow Eyes Rare Field Ceiling (Gilead) Spotify YouTube


20. Royal Republic Club 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