The first few weeks of the year have passed and we have already enjoyed several interesting metal albums. After careful review of all the records I heard so far, I’m proposing here in this article the five LPs that gave me the strongest emotions. The choice, as always, is subjective. But beyond the individual tastes and preferences, I’m convinced that these five albums are objectively solid and full of qualities. Therefore, in case you missed any one of them, don’t lose time and check them out! And stay tuned for the future updates of the chart.
#5) “666-Pack”, by Insanity Alert
Thrash Metal / Crossover
Among the five albums selected for this article, 666-Pack is absolutely the one which surprised me the most, in the sense that before listening to the LP I would have never imagined that this crazy band from Austria could end up within the five best of this period.
In the end, the winning feature of Insanity Alert‘s new record was to embody, in the most genuine way, the irreverent and chaotic spirit of thrash metal while retaining compactness and also a number of good ideas that are out of the ordinary.
The album lasts for 32 minutes and contains 21 songs: a fistful of thrash, grind, punk and crossover…. in short, a coarse mixture of stuff, all seasoned with a teenage spirit and lyrics that deal with deep and complex social themes such as beer and parties. Absolutely refreshing and spontaneous.
#4) “Melting the Ice in the Hearts of Men”, by Our Survival Depends on Us
It was not the same level of surprise of Insanity Alert’s release, but also the new album from Our Survival Depends on Us (they too coming from Austria) arrived without much fuss but caught quickly all of my attention.
The music played by this band is a special kind of doom metal which is very close to prog rock, with also additional components coming from black metal (especially for what regards the chord progressions) and sludge. Their new LP features four long songs, all of them evocative, absolutely fascinating and also played with meticulous precision. With respect to their previous records, their sound today seems to have lost some of the roughness and abrasiveness in favour of an increased emphasis on the melodic, folkloristic and progressive components. This is going to generate discussion among the fans of the band. I’m among those who appreciated this evolution of their style.
#3) “The End of Chaos”, by Flotsam and Jetsam
Second thrash album in the list of the best five albums, it says a lot about the fact that the beginning of the year was certainly positive for this genre of metal.
If you’re a fan of thrash, you need only 43 seconds to realize that the new album by Flotsam and Jetsam will bring you a lot of satisfaction. At 43 second into the first song, in fact, the brief instrumental introduction ends and you hear a fantastic groovy bass line that signs the start of the thrash ride. Yes, because this is precisely what is The End of Chaos: an uninterrupted and healthy sequence of epic and headbanging riffs, from the first to the final song of the record.
The new album by Flotsam and Jetsam may sound a little vintage because of the inserts from and the singing style of Eric A. K., but it’s much better to have an old-fashioned sound with lots of good ideas, rather than a modern feeling but flat and useless songs. As a matter of fact, many of the new and emerging thrash bands should really buy The End of Chaos and start studying it.
You can read here the review of the LP.
#2) “Slaves of the Shadow Realm”, by Legion of the Damned
This is one of the first records I’ve heard this year, and it’s also one of the best.
From a musical point of view, there are clearly two components in the music of Legion of the Damned that chase and compete each other: a blackened death metal vein, which typically provides the brutal, sinister and aggressive baseline of their songs, and a thrash metal sensibility that generates speed and riffs. Thanks to the perfect mixture of these two components, which was further enhanced by an impeccable production, we may enjoy an exciting collection of powerful, obscure and absolutely heavy tracks.
Best Metal Album of 2019 so far
When the World Becomes Undone”, by A Pale Horse Named Death
Doom Metal / Gothic Metal
I must admit that this choice can be partially affected by nostalgia, but it’s not easy for one who loved so much the wonderful Type or Negative to remain indifferent in front of a record that’s so full of the atmospheres and the sounds of one of the most influential bands of the recent decades. In any case, I’m convinced that the value of this record is absolutely objective and independently from the position that it may achieve in the various metal rankings, it remains an album that emanates passion and intensity like few other LPs have done so far.
In this respect, the operation that was conducted by former Type O Negative’s drummer Sal Abruscato is absolutely valid, and smart. He has in fact managed to develop a style of music that despite being inspired from that of his former band, it’s still moving towards new directions. In this respect, the insertion of the grunge component into the gothic recipe was an interesting and well-executed move.
For the time being, When the World Becomes Undone is my favourite metal album of the year. It presents a beautiful mix of past and present, and a collection of songs that are at the same time engaging, powerful and extremely melodic.
I published a complete review of the LP, you can read it from here. You can also enjoy in this playlist a collection with the best gothic metal songs of recent times, which is expected to grow with time.