Wrapping up the year here at Lady Obscure headquarters and we have found ourselves trying to organize the immense amount of albums released this year and even some albums that were released in past years but discovered during the last 12 months. Although we have been keeping in mind the Top Albums list since the beggining of the year, sometimes we got lost in the moment by enjoying it or simply trying to cope with it. Anyway, I, for one, have assembled this list not as a means to impart judgement on which is the best band or album or artist but just as an excuse to recommend, suggest music for your delight. Note that the first ten albums are in order but the last ten are albums that didn’t make to the list for whatever reason. I encourage you to share your thoughts on my list on the comment section below and please, do share yours.
See you this 2020 with more music and even more energy than ever.
10. In Mourning- Garden of Storms The Swedish prog-melodeath core geniuses have once again released a work of art, their fifth one. Deep, furious, melodic, Garden Of Storms is the last part of a conceptual trilogy started with The Weight of Oceans and followed by Afterglow.
9. Swallow The Sun- When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light The Flame of Aleah shines brighter every moment we spread her music to every bleeding heart there is out there. Juha Raivio’s mourning process finally has reached to a point of light , dim light, but bigger in every step he takes, and every step he takes comes in the form an album whether it is with Trees of Eternty, Hallatar, or Swallow The Sun. The less ¿evil? album of the band takes you to a journey of gloom, despair, and hope like never before.
8. Humanity’s Last Breath- Abyssal Probably the heaviest album ever. Every breakdown , which I hate in every other metalcore/djent band, is like a huge clenched fist going back and then BAM! a blow into your chest. Unbelievably heavy, cavernous, dissonant, evil, disgusting. Believe it or not, just writing this makes me put on my stank face. Highly recommended.
7. Evergrey- The Atlantic I must admit: I have never been a huge fan of the band. I’ve listened to their whole discograpahy, I know their past and present line up, and I know many of their songs but they have been somehow hit or miss for me. But everything changed when The Atlantic was released. Emtional as always but this time going back a litlle with the heavier sound of their first albums, going slower almost doom-ish, going djent-ish with some riffs. Lot’s of new elements combined with old elements, a stellar lineup. Tom’s never dissapoting vocals, and a excellent sound production courtesy of Jacob Hansen make one of the best surprises, for me, and one of my favourite albums of the year.
6. Jinjer- Macro One the best bands at the moment. The Ukrainian beast had to seize the momentum they were getting these past 2 years and they did it. Macro recovers some of the groovy rhythms from Cloud Factory but they add so much passion and depth to each fof their song. Roman, Eugene, Vlad, and Tatiana are masters at their craft and they are here to stay.
5. Tarja- In The Raw I was worried when I received the promo for the album that I wouldn’t like it. Since Colours in the Dark that every album by her has not resdonated with me, at all. But In The Raw is different yet familiar. Heavy, catchy, straightforward compositions, stellar guests, vocals from Heaven. Tarja rules and we serve.
4.The Agonist- Orphans The Greek-Canadian Juggernaut is ready to greet you with a roundkick in your face. We already knew the value of the four guys in charge of the instrumenst but Vicky Psarakis stands out one more time due to her immense display of vocal skills, delivery, and preformance.
3. Korn- The Nothing In a case similar to that of Juha Raivio. Jon Davis has delivered once again a stellar vocal performance in the wake of the loss of his wife. Their best album in a while, (I actually loved the two albums prior to this one)Munky and Head specially composed the songs in order to let Jon express himself. mourn, and heal. “ God is making fun of me, He is laughing up there I can see”
2. Edenbridge- Dynamind I have a soft spot for this band. Lanval’s solos and riffs mixed with Sabine’s vocaie and vocal lines NEVER dissapoint. Since My Earthdream they have been releasing a series of records founded on heavy riffs, memorable choruses and emotional vocals that always hit the right notes in my soul.
1. Darkwater- Human Masterpiece. Coming from a couple of dissapointments on the prog realm after several years of waiting (yeah, I’m looking at you both Seventh Wonder and Adagio) , all my expectations were placed on Henrik, Markus, Simon, Magnus, and Tobias. 78 minutes of melody. tasteful compositions, riffs, odd time signatures, lyric content, and masterful performances that leaves you wanting for more. Pure art.
The following albums didn’t make it to the list for various reasons but they are all worthy of being recognised.
Sulphur Aeon- The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos The German Lovecraftian cultists known as Sulphur Aeon have released the third chapter on their blackened death bible. Ia!, Ia! Fhtaghn!
Shadow Of Intent- Melancholy Symphonic Blackened Djent similar to Abigail Williams and ASsemble The Chariots.
Borknagar- True North It was going to be difficult to surpass Winter Thrice and they didn’t. But still the album manages to achieve a level of quality and enjoyment chracteristic in their discography. It’s always a pleasure to hear Vortex singing and this time taking care of the growls too.
Mechina- Telesterion The biggest sci fi story ever. Mechina is the vehicle in which Joe Tiberi channels his love for symphonic deathcore and long ass Sci fi stories.
Tool- Fear Inoculum Does it worth the wait? Yes, but no. Is it a good album? Yes. Is Pneuma the best song of the year? Hell, yes.
Unprocessed- Artifical Void Polyphia+Animals As Leaders. Among all the generic dejnt bands out there, Manuel Gardner Fernandez has managed to stand out by means of a tremendous talent on his guitar and really tasteful compostions. A breeze of fresh air.
Source- Totality Opeth+Tool but it is not Soen.
Rammstein-Rammstein Happens the same as with Liebe Is Fur Alle Da, half of the songs are really good and the other half are not.
Saint Deamon-Ghost The Norwegian deamons are back after a very long time and they have brought a healthy dose of pure Power metal like grandma used to make.
November’s Doom- Hamartia Paul Khur and co. show us one more time how to properly make death doom. Evil, grief, and hope all in one album.
Failed musician, amateur bass and guitar player; Kinslayer has been in love with music since he was a wee lad. His introduction to metal occurred in the early nineties with albums such as Angra's Angels Cry and Sepultura's Chaos A.D. and quickly started to get inmerse in the deep waters of metal. While currently enjoying almost, literally almost, every sub genre of metal, his soft spots are prog, power , and symphonic metal. He has joined the fine ranks of Lady Obscure Music Magazine since February 2018 with the review for Tesseract's Polaris. Editor and reviewer, Kinslayer strives only for the pleasure of the reader and the excellence of the magazine.