Metalmance's Top 20 Releases of 2019

The best 20 releases of the past 12 months

What a year! I was absent for most of it but that didn’t mean I wasn’t lurking and listening to albums. I’ve kept the list honest this year, with the releases I’ve listened to the most. If you’ve come here expecting to see SLIPKNOT and TOOL then you can go to Metal Hammer for that. As always I’m featuring EPs as well as albums…so behold! My Top 20 releases of 2019!


 

20. HOUR OF PENANCEMisotheism. Release date: 25 October.

It’s been a couple of months since Italy’s HOUR OF PENANCE dropped the meaty slab of death metal that is Misotheism and it still absolutely slays. Out of all the brutal death metal releases which have dropped this year, Misotheism is one of the most consistently punishing. Tracks such as The Second Babel and Lamb of the Seven Sins are violent delights. The brutal grooves and relentless battering of the senses are a morbid treat. Instead of focussing on how fast or how extreme they can go, HOUR OF PENANCE ensure there is some form of structure and substance to their songs which is sometimes missing in extreme music today. If you’re also a glutton for punishment then you could do a lot worse than giving Misotheism a spin.

Roundup – Oct & Nov 2019 feat. Misotheism


 

19. ABIGAIL WILLIAMSWalk Beyond The Dark. Release date: 15 November.

It’s great when a band’s first album in almost five years doesn’t suck. ABIGAIL WILLIAMS have always been a bit of an oddball (in the best possible way) and have upset the most cvlt of black metal fans through the years. Walk Beyond The Dark is their best album since In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns. That’s a big statement I know, but it just emphasises my point on how good Walk Beyond The Dark Is. Atmospheric enough to be gripping and chilling, succinct enough to remain ambitious without overstaying its welcome. Sun and Moon and Into the Sleep are some of the more storming tracks on the album, but no second is wasted on this beauty. The darkness and colossal atmosphere is something else and proof that ABIGAIL WILLIAMS have not lost an ounce of intensity. In fact, it seems they’ve gained more.

Roundup – Oct & Nov 2019 feat. Walk Beyond The Dark


 

18. BAESTVenenum. Release date: 13 September.

I’ve probably said this a few times but BAEST are what I wish BLOODBATH still were. Their old school death metal is addictive as hell and with Venenum their second album, they sound beastlier than ever. The riffs are utter filth and the venom spat by frontman Simon Olsen is some of the most terrifying you’ll hear from a modern death metal band. Heresy, As Above So Below and Sodomize are ferocious additions to BAEST’s arsenal of death metal delights. With hellish lyrics and a relentless delivery, BAEST are firmly on the rise to extreme metal royalty. This year saw their ascent escalate with successful support slots for the likes of DECAPITATED and ABORTED. Their recorded material is impressive but their live show absolutely slays. One of the most promising death metal acts out there, beware the BAEST.

Roundup – September 2019 feat. Venenum


 

17. WORMEDMetaportal EP. Release date: 19 July.

Another death metal delight, this time in the form of WORMED’s incredible EP Metaportal. Their technical death metal is some of the best I’ve heard all year, like old school DECAPITATED with extra speed, madness and sci-fi themes. Metaportal is four tracks of unapologetic tech death bludgeoning. 2019 saw some albums which should have been EPs and some EPs which should have been full-lengths, including this one. Spain is rapidly gaining a reputation for its quality, extreme death metal acts and there’s no reason why WORMED can’t join Spain’s metal elite. A polished slab of the most unforgiving metal around, Metaportal shows the newbies how it’s done. Full length next please!

Roundup – July 2019 feat. Metaportal


 

16. CRYSTAL LAKE Helix. Release date: 15 February.

The last couple of years has seen Japan’s metalcore troupe CRYSTAL LAKE grow from strength to strength. Last album True North was a bit all over the place, but Helix is an absolutely punishing release. Aeon has remained one of my favourite songs of the year with its flawless execution. If the same focus was given to the remainder of the album then Helix would rank higher in the list. Agony and +81 are other bangers and things get brutal again with the heavy Hail To The Fire. Helix features lots of riffs to die for and some of the most ferocious drumming of the year, but it’s front man Ryo Kinoshita who is the [not so] secret weapon of CRYSTAL LAKE’s appeal. The technique and talent on display in Helix is incredibly exciting. Once they tap into which sound works best for them and stick to it, world domination awaits.

Crystal Lake – Helix review


 

15. AENIMUSDreamcatcher. Release date: 22 February.

Californian brutal troupe AENIMUS are slowly but surely working their way through the ranks to being one of the best progressive extreme acts out there. I’m surprised they haven’t gained more recognition off the back of the incredible Dreamcatcher album. One of the most polished and consistent extreme records of 2019, Dreamcatcher is a spectacularly dark record. Any moments of light and optimism are briskly extinguished to maintain a fiercely dark atmosphere. Songs like The Ritual fill the empty BLACK CROWN INITIATE-shaped hole that is in our lives at the moment, while My Becoming could have been what we wanted from SHOKRAN this year…there is something for every extreme metal fan on Dreamcatcher. Fingers crossed we get more live shows and we can get our faces ripped off in person.

Aenimus – Dreamcatcher review


 

14. SCHAMMASCHHearts Of No Light. Release date: 8 November.

One of the most atmospheric black metal bands out there, Switzerland’s SCHAMMASCH never fail to bring the most chilling and ambitious black metal to our ears. SCHAMMASCH achieve blackened brilliance without all the cringey cvlt gimmicks of the genre. Hearts Of No Light is another superb effort from the Swiss demons. Polished and bold, but not so it loses any raw power or impact, the album is sure to finally put the band on a level which they deserve. There are a few interesting nuggets on this album which hint at the band experimenting with new ideas and approaches (the bewitching I Burn Within You anyone?) which is exciting as some black metal bands churn out the same stuff year after year. SCHAMMASCH are a band you can’t wait to hear more of or see what they conjure up next. All hail the new dark lords!


 

13. THIS GIFT IS A CURSEA Throne Of Ash. Release date: 14 June.

I made a bold statement at the beginning of the year, saying 2019 was going to be the year for black metal and sludgy hardcore. Sweden’s THIS GIFT IS A CURSE mix all these genres into a terrifying aural assault in the form of latest album A Throne Of Ash. This album is anything but uplifting and optimistic. Harking back to the glory days of CURSED and chaos, THIS GIFT IS A CURSE have produced one of the most bleak, yet rewarding albums of 2019. The unforgiving Blood Is My Harvest and Gate Dweller provide some of the noisiest and most disorientating metal of the year. If you’re a sensitive soul then avoid THIS GIFT IS A CURSE.


 

12. MYRATHShehili. Release date: 3 May.

Shehili by Tunisian metallers MYRATH is a bit of a gem. If you like your progressive metal with a little extra something, then MYRATH are for you. They often get compared to ORPHANED LAND but MYRATH are more power metal than oriental metal. MYRATH write catchy songs and go easy on heavy messages, so it’s a good time all round. Tracks like You’ve Lost Yourself, Dance and Darkness Arise are absolute belters. If you don’t get your shimmy on with this album then you might not have a musical bone in your body. Shehili is a solid, catchy, polished album that is a fun listen and rewarding every time. Well worth checking out.

Roundup – August 2019 feat. Shehili


 

11. CAR BOMBMordial. Release date: 27 September.

Ah CAR BOMB. Previous album Meta was mathcore perfection, yet with Mordial they have pushed the boundaries further and created something so genius and mindblowing I am almost lost for words. I mean, we all fell in love with the laser effects on Dissect Yoéurself but CAR BOMB mostly avoid gimmicks and let their otherworldly music speak for itself. Some fans have expressed their dislike of the ‘clean’ vocals but I love the DEFTONES edge they give. Mordial is one of those albums that you find yourself shaking your head at in bemusement and awe. The crunchy, metallic riffs, the whirring instrumentation and crazy time signatures all add up to a cacophony of brilliance and madness. Indulge if you dare.

Roundup – September 2019 feat. Mordial


 

10. GODEATERAll Flesh Is Grass. Release date: 27 September.

America might dominate the tech metal scene but Glaswegian darlings GODEATER are sure as hell worming their way upwards to the British elite. Their debut album All Flesh Is Grass has thankfully smashed out of the UK tech bubble and has been invading its way into the wider metal community, both at home and overseas. Environmentally conscious but not in the way that dominates the music, GODEATER are a band with a conscience…and tasty riffs. Standout songs Silent Spring, Blood Moon and Inertia Haze exhibit the technical brilliance of the band, but technical brilliance which also shimmers with heart and soul. There is substance to the songs which prevents it from becoming soulless guitar noodling. This is only the beginning.  

Tech Fest 2019: Part 1 feat. Godeater

Roundup – September 2019 feat. All Flesh Is Grass


 

9. ISSUESBeautiful Oblivion. Release date: 4 October.

ISSUES’ first self-titled album was perfection and their second album Headspace fell short of expectations, so I wasn’t expecting much from third album Beautiful Oblivion. That was until they released lead single Tapping Out and I got all excited by its promise of a heavy direction. When I first listened to the album I was bitterly disappointed. But once I got over that it wasn’t the self-titled 2.0, I began to appreciate the gem that it is. Mature, catchy and subtly heavy, Beautiful Oblivion is a solid, melodic metal album. It’s a passionate, thoughtful, polished slab of joy, but nothing quite prepares you for the brilliant Flexin and its irresistible hooks. Some might see ISSUES as a guilty pleasure. I see them as a melodic band worthy of your attention.


 

8. TIDES FROM NEBULAFrom Voodoo To Zen. Release date: 20 September.

Polish post-rockers TIDES FROM NEBULA released their most ‘electronic’ album to date, with the incredible From Voodoo To Zen. From the breath-taking opening track Ghost Horses to the sublime closer, Eve White, Eve Black, Jane, TIDES FROM NEBULA have created a post-rock masterpiece for the 21st century. The synth greatness which ensues in tracks such as Dopamine and the mesmerising title track, elevate your senses to a stratospheric level. The shimmering tracks take you on a journey and the bright, crisp sounds are oddly reassuring and positive. An outstanding album by one of the greats. Phenomenal.


 

7. SIGNS OF THE SWARMVital Deprivation. Release date: 11 October.

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed SIGNS OF THE SWARM new album Vital Deprivation. I’ve always liked them, don’t get me wrong but they have seriously stepped up their game with this latest effort. Last year it was all about WITHIN DESTRUCTION for slamming deathcore, this year it’s about SIGNS OF THE SWARM. Songs such as Malformed Dissonance and Malevolent Enslavement bring the best slamming grooves, while Lost Within Reflection and Tempting Death (featuring Tom Barber) bring something a bit more mature and nasty to the table. It’s really promising to hear such a huge jump in progression between albums, I wonder what SIGNS OF THE SWARM will pull out of the bag for album number four?

Roundup – Oct & Nov 2019 feat. Vital Deprivation


 

6. VOYAGERColours In The Sun. Release date: 1 November.

VOYAGER have always been a quality prog band but with newest album Colours In The Sun they have really surpassed themselves. It’s the old cliché of the album being their poppiest, yet heaviest to date. But it only takes one listen to realise this is true. Tracks like Colours, Brightstar and Reconnected are some of the best songs VOYAGER have ever penned. A glorious highlight is the magnificent Entropy which features none other than LEPROUS’ Einar Solberg which makes for a terrific proggy surprise. Colours In The Sun is the band’s most solid and consistent release and it’s a gem from start to finish. Fun, upbeat, heavy and catchy…what’s not to like?!


 

5. PORT NOIRThe New Routine. Release date: 10 May.

PORT NOIR’s previous album Any Way The Wind Carries was my second favourite album of 2016, but their newest effort The New Routine hasn’t quite matched its predecessor for me. BUT, The New Routine is still one of the slickest releases of 2019. PORT NOIR have dropped their heavy, progressive edge and embraced their funkier, poppier side, and it’s divine. Tracks like Champagne, Blow and Flawless are some of the catchiest and smoothest songs of the year. They will have you groovin’ and movin’ in no time. No one really qute sounds like PORT NOIR and their experimental side is utterly irresistible.  

Roundup – July 2019 feat. The New Routine


 

4. NUMENOREANAdore. Release date: 12 April.

Over the course of the year Adore has really grown on me. NUMENOREAN are one of the most promising post-black metal bands out there and I’m beginning to wonder how they will ever top this masterpiece. So many blistering yet moving tracks feature on Adore; the brilliant Horizon, the bewitching Stay and all the cacophony of terrors in between. NUMENOREAN appeal to the blackgaze community with their black metal approach and their melodic twists. The atmosphere that NUMENOREAN create is unlike any other, it’s both chilling yet heartwarming, an amazing feat without losing any of their impact. An incredible album by a band still so early in their career. Ones to watch for sure.


 

3. GHOST IRISApple Of Discord. Release date: 22 February.

Danish progressive metallers GHOST IRIS are always one of those reliable bands you know are going to smash it with every release. Latest album Apple Of Discord is a magnificent release and easily their best record so far. Last album Blind World hinted at the band’s talent at writing brutal yet catchy tunes, but nothing prepares you for what they’ve achieved with Apple Of Discord. Crushing riffs with Jesper Vicencio Gün’s menacing growls and impressive cleans are the order of the day. One of the standout songs The Rat & The Snake features the bludgeoning growls of TRAITORS’ Tyler Shelton and is unforgettable. GHOST IRIS also drop some absolute belters with the likes of Heaven Was Pure Hell and The Devil’s Plaything to keep you nodding along. Such an underrated yet talented band!

Ghost Iris – Apple of Discord review


 

2. PIJN & CONJURERCurse These Metal Hands. Release date: 16 August.

Is this an EP? Is this an album? Who the hell cares this trumps most releases which have dropped this year. PIJN and CONJURER are both exciting up and coming bands from the UK, but together they are phenomenal. Curse These Metal Hands sees the material the bands wrote for ArcTangent Festival finally see the light of day as a recording. It mixes the mesmerising post-rock of PIJN and the storming venom of CONJURER and the result is something so special it makes me want to weep. High Spirits sounds like MAYBESHEWILL with BARONESS riffs and a bit of the ol’ shouty, shouty. whereas Endeavour sounds like a KYLESA/CONVERGE gritfest and I’m all for it. Such a treat.

Roundup – August 2019 feat. Curse These Metal Hands

Pijn & Conjurer – Curse These Metal Hands review


 

  1. CARTOGRAPHS wilt & blossom. Release date: 1 March.

Well, here you have it, my favourite release of 2019. Earlier in the year I said this was a contender for album of the year…and no other release has topped it for me. Post-metal is seriously gaining some traction and Denmark’s CARTOGRAPHS have proved they are one of the genre’s most promising bands with the sublime wilt & blossom. The passion, the fire, the grit and the power in each song is unforgettable and incredibly striking. Wilt Over Time and Peace Was Never Mine To Be Found are two standout tracks but the biggest gem of them all is the superb Through The Garden Gate with THAT riff and all the feels. It’s no surprise no other band have touched the top spot for me after this release. Listening to wilt & blossom again nine months on feels like I’m listening to it again for the first time. I am winded by its colossal power and numbed by its heartwrenching melodies. Just…incredible.

Cartographs – wilt & blossom review

Roundup – July 2019

It’s been a scorcher of a month and that’s just this month’s releases!

Metalmance is well and truly back after a well-deserved break. There is so much to catch up on, this year is proving to be a corker of a year for new albums. In the coming months Roundups will also include releases which have captured my attention and singles you might have missed. Links to features this month will also be shared as well as a gem from the archives. This month I’ll start with my Top 3 releases of July and then feature some of my favourite albums of 2019 I’ve been enjoying on my break. Thanks for reading, see you next month!


 

Metalmance’s Top 3 Releases of July

This month has been a death metal paradise with regard to releases. With the scorching heat wave and the wave of brutal tunes, it’s been feeling like hell with a devilish soundtrack! My top releases of this month reflect this, so without further ado here are my Top 3:

 

WORMEDMetaportal EP. Release date: 19 July 2019

I don’t know how I’ve completely slept on WORMED until now, but goodness me am I happy I’ve discovered them. The Spanish sci-fi tech death troupe sound like all my favourite extreme metal bands all rolled into one. Metaprotal is an insane little record. One which you wish was a full length, but perhaps it is better off this way because you can savour each of the four tracks until you’ve consumed all the brutality. Songs like Bionic Relic boast DECAPITATED-esque riffs (cirqa. Organic Hallucinosis) while Cryptoubiquity harks back to the filthy days of BERZERKER, but it is E-Xystem://Ce which has a contemporary dissonant air about it (imagine if NIGHTMARER wrote Carnival is Forever).  These four songs are enough to strike plenty of damage, approach at your own peril.  

2

DISENTOMBThe Decaying Light. Release date: 12 July 2019.

One of my most anticipated albums of 2019 finally landed this month and it was well worth the wait! Brutal death metal Aussies DISENTOMB have returned with the spectacular The Decaying Light and if they weren’t on your radar, then they sure as hell will be now! The dissonant tones which run underneath their ferocious tunes give it an extra menacing edge. The production is as murky as the depths of despair which is a good thing when you want to spread your misery. The pace is relentless throughout the album and vocalist Jordan Phillip is continuing to impress as one of the scene’s most unforgiving guttural merchant. If you’ve yet to venture into the depths of DISENTOMB, then tread carefully. 

3

Thy Art Is MurderHuman Target. Release date: 26 July 2019.

It’s easy to say Human Target, the fifth album by Aussie death metal merchants THY ART IS MURDER could be the raucous soundtrack to our inevitable dystopian future. Truth is, Human Target hits home in the dystopia which is the world TODAY. Never a band to shy away from sensitive topics or worldwide scandels, THY ART IS MURDER channels our sick world into some of the most brutal metal of our time. Human Target is arguably the band’s most blackened material to date and the results are outrageous. There’s oodles of CABAL-esque desperate despair as well as the predictable nods to politics today (Make America Hate Again) but with this album you can really feel every word and every note of misery played. The band are angrier than ever which means the state of the world is even worse, but it’s good news for us because we get an even more relentless steamroll from THY ART IS MURDER.


 

Metalmance Catch Up

As I said above, there’s been plenty of releases I’ve been jamming on my break and so many I want to share with you! This month I’m sharing some of my top albums which dropped in the Spring.   

PORT NOIR – The New Routine. Release date: 10 May 2019.

Much like the title of the second track of this album, The New Routine is indeed Flawless! You might remember Swedish rockers PORT NOIR’s last album Anyway The Wind Carries was my second favourite album of 2016 and it’s felt like a long wait for this third album. Now signed to Inside Out Music I’m glad the band are amongst a progressive roster as PORT NOIR’s music is tough to pigeonhole and needs a label which will let them grow and fly. I was worried their new direction might be a lot poppier and it is in a way, but there is still such an appealing organicness to their music which is irresistible. I love they’re a trio with a huge sound and they really do get their groove on with this album. They sound like DEATH FROM ABOVE but sassier and bassist/vocalist Love Andersson is sounding as delightful as ever. The riffs are on point and the melodies are so smooth and sexy it will make you dream in velvet. Hot stuff, check them out before they get huge.  

 

BRUTUSNest. Release date: 29 March 2019.

I bought Nest just on the basis of falling in love with a live video of BRUTUS’ song War. At the start I thought it was just going to be folky rock (which isn’t my cup of tea) but it developed into an intense, raw display of power and they blew me away. They’re only a trio but they create such huge walls of sound and blistering soundscapes they can be lumped in with post-rock bands as well as your conventional alt-rock groups. They’re signed to Hassle Records so you can expect an element of chaos to what they do. They chuck a lot of styles and influences into the pot yet they create their own BRUTUS sound; black metal riffs, punk energy and shoegaze visions all make an appearance on Nest making it unpredictable yet fresh. Stunning stuff.   

 

EMPLOYED TO SERVE Eternal Forward Motion. Release date: 10 May 2019.

This album goes bloody hard! EMPLOYED TO SERVE’s Eternal Forward Motion is absolutely devastating! I wasn’t expecting the brutal pace and relentless ferocity. I really liked their last album Warmth of a Dying Sun but this new album is something else! It makes me stomp around with the ugly riff face, exactly what I like in a record! There’s been a lot of hype around this band for a few years now so if you still haven’t checked them out or seen them live, then you’re really missing out.  


 

From The Archive…

After reviewing the band’s second album Render earlier this month (link to review at the bottom of this Roundup), I was curious to revisit my first review of Bristolian proggers VALIS ABLAZE back when they released their EP Insularity. Here’s a snippet of what I had to say…

VALIS ABLAZEInsularity EP. Release date: 30 January 2017.

“To push themselves to the forefront of the scene the band should focus on nurturing and fine-tuning their own sound, as the band have proved with this EP they already harness the talent and passion to potentially become a leading force themselves.”

Valis Ablaze – Insularity Review

 


 

DON’T MISS…

Metalmance interview with WOLF JAW

INTERVIEW: Wolf Jaw

Metalmance Tech Fest 2019 reviews

Tech Fest 2019: Part 1

Tech Fest 2019: Part 2

Metalmance live review of CROBOT

Crobot/Wolf Jaw/Kamensko

Metalmance review of VALIS ABLAZE Render

Valis Ablaze – Render

Metalmance Top 20 Albums of 2016

A great year for metal! Who took the top spot?

Welcome to the first Metalmance Top 20 Albums! 2016 has been a hell of a year for metal this year, with lots of reunions and surprise releases. Not all entries will have a blog link due to Metalmance only being a third of a year old. So let’s get straight to it…

 

sleeping  No. 20  CANDIRIA – While They Were Sleeping                     

It’s good to have CANDIRIA back isn’t it? While They Were Sleeping is the band’s eighth album and their first on Metal Blade and it’s a reminder of the band’s refreshing metal mix of hardcore, prog, hip hop and jazz. If you’re new to CANDIRIA, then this album is a good start. Check out the link below to see what Metalmance said about the band’s video for the title track.

Weekly Roundup #4

 

a3458996965_10  No. 19  INCITE – Oppression

You can always rely on INCITE to provide some straight-up, relentless metal, and with their fourth album Oppression, the band continue to carve their own niche in the scene. This isn’t easy when you’re the stepson of metal god Max Cavelera, like frontman Richie Cavalera is, but INCITE are more than capable of thriving on their own. With an intense live show to match, INCITE should be one of your bands to watch.

 

kvelertaknattesferd  No. 18  KVELERTAK – Nattesferd

Every KVELERTAK release is an exciting bag of rock n roll, black metal and punk. This, being the Norwegian’s third album is no different but includes a glorious classic rock tinge to proceedings without losing any the original ferociousness the band are known for. Still raw, fast and exciting, KVELERTAK are still on the rise.

 

mortiis_cover  No. 17  MORTIIS – The Great Deceiver

Another welcome return in 2016 was MORTIIS with their new album The Great Deceiver. After a hiatus of almost five years, the new material was like reuniting with an old, industrial friend. The album has the timbre of Downward Spiral era NIN, but with a contemporary twist, all resulting in a pretty impressive album for the revival of industrial metal.

 

14040057_10154510824634759_8534743349618738043_n  No. 16  NOCETM – Haeresis

Stumbling upon Spanish extreme metallers NOCTEM was an excellent discovery this year. Their album Haersis is still bludgeoning the ears of Metalmance. Read a snippet of the review below and follow the link to the full review.

“Introducing NOCTEM, a black metal band that have more tricks up their sleeve than you might first perceive. They sound like all of your favourite extreme bands rolled into one delicious, morbid package, each track offering a new twist to proceedings.”

NOCTEM – Haeresis Review

 

nails_-_you_will_never_be_one_of_us  No. 15  NAILS – You Will Never Be One of Us

Probably the most unforgivingly brutal release of the year, NAILS winded metal fans around the world with the absolutely punishing You Will Never Be One of Us. Twenty minutes of sheer face-ripping, ear-pummelling metal, it never gives up for a second. This is how metallic hardcore punk should be done.

 

annisokay  No. 14  ANNISOKAY – Devil May Cry

One of Germany’s most promising metal exports, ANNISOKAY makes metalcore exciting again with their pure passion for their craft. Not afraid to include massive choruses, this young band can only get bigger with their irresistible melodies and crushing riffs.

“With the aggression of newer PARKWAY DRIVE and the melodic sensibilities of bands like SAOSIN and SILVERSTEIN, ANNISOKAY will appeal to fans across the melodic metal spectrum.”

ANNISOKAY – Devil May Care Review

 

lacunacoildeliriumcd  No. 13  LACUNA COIL – Delirium

Italy’s finest never disappoint. Still churning out masterpiece after masterpiece, LACUNA COIL have set their own bar high in the form of Delirium, their eighth album and heaviest to date. Based on narratives surrounding the abandoned asylum near to where the band live, the album is full of intensity and emotion. It still packs a punch over half a year later.

“The subject matter helps to shape the band’s most intense album to date with opener House of Shame bursting in kicking and screaming with the heaviest riff and vocals we’ve heard from LACUNA COIL in a long, long time.”

Weekly Roundup #2

 

textures-phenotype-artwork  No. 12  TEXTURES – Phenotype

Four long years since their last release, TEXTURES finally dropped fifth album Phenotype back in February and it’s still a rewarding progressive metal album. Vocalist Daniël de Jongh is proving his worth with the absolute belters of New Horizons and opener Oceans Collide. Recorded simultaneously with the album Genotype which will be released next year, don’t be surprised if TEXTURES also feature on the list next year.

 

wallsofjerichonoonecd  No. 11  WALLS OF JERICHO – No One Can Save You From Yourself

Yet another band returning from a hiatus, Detroit’s WALLS OF JERICHO released No One Can Save You From Yourself and it is a perfect return to form. The hardcore greats are as ferocious and as angry as ever and could easily show younger bands how it’s done. Welcome back.

“Candice Kucsulain, along with the rest of the band WALLS OF HERICHO, delivers such straight up, no nonsense hardcore punk, it’s mind boggling this hardcore troupe from Detroit do not receive more credit and recognition.”

Weekly Roundup #3

 

brutai  No. 10  BRUTAI – Born

2016 finally saw the release of the debut album by London’s BRUTAI. It was well worth the wait, with its refreshing approach to the melodic metal genre making the band one to watch. With big riffs, big ideas and big choruses, BRUTAI pulls it all off with aplomb and passion. One of the UK’s brightest metal hopes.

“The future of British metal has indeed been born.”

BRUTAI – Born Review

 

a0651344947_10  No. 9  ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law

A band who never disappoint, ANAAL NATHRAKH returned this year with ninth album The Whole of the Law, which is quite possibly the band’s most punishing album to date (if that’s even possible). The brutality ramps up with each song, making The Whole of the Law an intense listen which rewards you with mutilated ears.

“A new ANAAL NATHRAKH album is always a joyous occasion – if joyous means the same as the sensation of having your face battered off by a shovel.”

ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law Review

 

dreamshade  No. 8  DREAMSHADE – Vibrant

A late treat in the year, DREAMSHADE’s third album Vibrant is a gloriously melodic affair with a whole lot of heart. Their passion for their music overspills in each song, ensuring you get wrapped up in their infectious metal and melodies. A great discovery for Metalmance this year.

“An album which shimmers with melodic metal perfection, this third offering from Swiss band DREAMSHADE is indeed a vibrant effort.”

DREAMSHADE – Vibrant Review

 

evergreythestormwithincd  No. 7  EVERGREY – The Storm Within

EVERGREY…dark, emotional, intelligent, melodic, heavy, progressive…and catchy too. Is this an album with everything?? Guest appearances from Floor Jansen? Check. Songs with a big heart? Check. Dark and moody atmosphere? Check. Intense and beautiful video accompaniments? Check!

“If you want some progressive metal which you can belt out around the house, then look no further than EVERGREY.”

Weekly Roundup #9

 

vola-inmazes-album-art  No. 6  VOLA – Inmazes

Technically a reissue through Mascot Label Group, it’s such a treat of an album it would have been rude not to have featured it in this year’s list. VOLA’s Inmazes features most of the year’s catchiest melodies and big choruses, with Stray The Skies still owning the most memorable keyboard hook in recent memory. A young band full of promise and potential, VOLA are ones to watch for sure.

“The young band from Copenhagen have already fine tuned their sound which incorporates chugging guitars giving way to soaring vocals and catchy keyboard hooks.”

VOLA – Inmazes Review

 

animalsasleadersmadnesscd  No. 5  ANIMALS AS LEADERS – The Madness of Many

Modern metal legends ANIMALS AS LEADERS dropped The Madness of Many a month ago and it is captivating and mesmerising audiences worldwide. Just listening to a few seconds of opener Arithmophobia will make you understand why. An album bursting with a stupid amount of musical talent, ANIMALS AS LEADERS have outdone themselves again. How will they ever be able to top this?

“The diversity of sounds on this album demonstrates how far the band push the boundaries of progressive music and composition itself, as far as utterly breaking free of limitations and creating the most mesmerising music which doesn’t seem possible by man.”

Weekly Roundup #11

 

0045778746064_png_1200x1200_q90_crop  No. 4  SAOSIN – Along The Shadow

Another band who ended their hiatus and released an album this year. With Along The Shadow, SAOSIN have created a modern, post-hardcore classic. There was always a risk of sounding run-of-the-mill or sounding too similar to CIRCA SURVIVE, but the band thankfully pulled out all the stops and released one of the year’s most surprising highlights. Heart wrenching songs, big riffs and even bigger choruses, they’re the kings of the new post-hardcore generation.

“The album is one hot nostalgic trip to the glory days of post-hardcore, but somehow they sound timeless.”

Weekly Roundup #13

 

ihsahn-arktis-e1450461123634  No. 3  IHSAHN – Arktis

Ihsahn needs no introduction. This year he almost reached perfection with Arktis, an album so full of twists and turns in extreme styles it is spectacular from start to finish. There are plenty of unexpected elements which feature in the album, including SHINING’s Jørgen Munkeby providing a cheeky bit of saxophone on Crooked Red Line and LEPROUS’ Einar Solberg providing the stunning vocals on closer, Celestial Violence. A modern classic, Arktis will astound listeners for many years to come.

 

635902518368165120  No. 2  PORT NOIR – Any Way The Wind Carries

Possibly the most exciting discovery for Metalmance this year, PORT NOIR is a band which is almost impossible to pigeonhole. With songs bordering on pop, then others edging towards CULT OF LUNA-esque riffs (see Black From the Ink) each song is a different melodic beast. Elements of funk, jazz and metal complete with the distinct vocals of frontman Love Andersson, make Any Way The Wind Carries a rewarding listen each time. For a trio, PORT NOIR have such a rich and deep sound you wonder at how they haven’t already cracked the mainstream. An album so diverse and well executed, Any Way The Wind Carries deserves its high ranking in this list.

“The level of melodic goodness doesn’t detract from the heaviness on the album, instead you feel like you’re listening to all of your favourite genres as they are all sprinkled into one tasty package.”

Weekly Roundup #5

 

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No. 1  BLACK CROWN INITIATE – Selves We Cannot Forgive 

And here we have it! Metalmance’s album of the year! BLACK CROWN INITIATE’s Selves We Cannot Forgive has been on frequent rotation since its release. A truly spellbinding example of progressive death metal and its very best. An absolute beast of an album, it pummels you with its devastating riffs and ferocious drumming, then revives you through the utterly compelling clean vocals. The band mix slow and brooding, with fast and aggressive with such zeal the album is a seamless triumph of modern metal. Standout track Belie the Machine pulls you in with its entrancing introduction, you think you’re safe for a few minutes, then the band absolutely crush you with a catastrophic riff GOJIRA would be proud of. The title track shows the more melodic side of BLACK CROWN INITIATE, with its soaring vocals and piano accompaniment. A diverse and ambitious album, it deservedly owns its place at the top spot.

“This, being the band’s second album released through eOne Music, is such a varied beast with  each track harnessing its own surprising little nugget.”

Weekly Roundup #4

Weekly Roundup #3

3 is the magic number

Band to watch: LEPROUS. They’re about to embark on an extensive North American tour but it’s most likely you haven’t heard of these Norwegian fellows. Four albums into their career and they’re finally gaining momentum and praise around the world. Deliciously on the melodic end of the metal spectrum, LEPROUS’ beautiful melodies are made the more spine tingling thanks to the incredible vocal talent of Einar Solberg. You might have heard his voice recently as guest vocalist on IHSAHN’s track Celestial Violence on this year’s Arktis. In fact, LEPROUS used to be the backing band for IHSAHN. The haunting Nordic sound is ever present in LEPROUS’ songs, but their influences range from MASSIVE ATTACK to GOJIRA. The heavier side of metal unexpectedly is unleashed now and then in their compositions which further emotionally charges the music. Most recent album The Congregation boasts elements from a variety of genres, everything from prog to djent and jazz. There’s no denying LEPROUS add their own twist to proceedings and really push themselves to the front of the melodic metal pack. You can catch them on tour in the UK with prog contemporaries TESSERACT and DEVIN TOWNSEND next March. Expect to hear more about these guys in the coming months!

https://www.facebook.com/leprousband/?fref=ts

Video to watch: SKYHARBOR. Last year SKYHARBOR released the track Out of Time which show cased new vocalist Eric Emery, proving he is more than capable of filling the shoes left behind by Daniel Tompkins (now back in TESSERACT). Now with new video Chemical Hands released last week, SKYHARBOR are prepared to take over the world with their new line-up and their own strain of progressive metal. The song itself is a stellar piece of melodic, proggy, technical goodness, fully demonstrating Eric’s vocal capabilities. The video accompaniment itself can only be described as a glorious sci-fi vision akin to films The Matrix and the Riddick trilogy. The stunning visuals compliment the heart wrenching melodies to create an all encompassing sensory experience. Director Michael Di Lonardo sets out a barren, futuristic landscape occupied by machines, with the band appearing like a transmission from outer space. SKYHARBOR, we read you loud and clear, we’ll see you in the UK next week!

Most anticipated release: WINTERFYLLETH. New album The Dark Hereafter will be released this Friday!

https://www.facebook.com/Winterfylleth/?fref=ts

Still in the stereo: WALLS OF JERICHO. When you think of female fronted bands you probably think of your pop punk types or your metal ARCH ENEMY like bands. But Candice Kucsulain, along with the rest of the band WALLS OF HERICHO, delivers such straight up, no nonsense hardcore punk, it’s mind boggling this hardcore troupe from Detroit do not receive more credit and recognition. Easily just as relevant and ferocious as contemporaries HATEBREED and SICK OF IT ALL, it is refreshing to hear a band so passionate and aggressive minus all the poser bullshit the scene can be now guilty of at times. So when WALLS OF JERICHO released No One Can Save You From Yourself back in March this year, it was gratefully received by fans as it had been roughly 8 years since last album The American Dream came out. It was well the worth the wait with the band sounding angrier than ever but also aiming to reunite people across not only their fan base, but across the scene, especially through tracks such as Relentless and The Anthem. It is a solid piece of honest work by a band who obviously still have a lot to say. They announced a UK/EU tour this week, so let’s hope they stick around for a little while longer at least.

https://www.facebook.com/WallsofJericho/?fref=ts

Band to rediscover: BYZANTINE. I must admit, I thought BYZANTINE were long gone, dead and buried in the metal graveyard, but lo and behold, they are now signed to Metal Blade Records with a self-titled album available in stores and a new record underway! 2005’s album …And They Shall Take Up Serpents rippled a few waves in the underground metal scene, then they seemed to vanish. To be fair, they can be pretty hard to Google, but now it shouldn’t be hard to find them and fall under their spell once again. Their progressive thrash metal, reminiscent of bands such as TESTAMENT, LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, also incorporates instrumental sections, tribal drumming and killer solos bordering on progressive jazz. Now the band are back and stronger than ever, it is time to punish our ears once again!

https://www.facebook.com/Byzantinewv/?fref=ts

Band yet to listen to: PORT NOIR. I keep hearing about this band and their ability to mix up all sorts of genres to create their own brand of gorgeous metal. Next on my list to check out.