Editorial: Best Heavy Metal Albums of 2019

It is that time of the year where we acknowledge the best metal albums of the year. 2019 saw a mix of new and established bands release some stellar records. This decade in metal ended on a high note and there is no doubt 2020 will bring a new batch of headbanging records.

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1. Candlemass-The Door To Doom

Original Candlemass vocalist Johan Langquist returned to Candlemass after 33 years to contribute his soaring vocals to this massive slab of doom metal. Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi’s guest appearance on “Astorolus-The Great Octopus” made Door To Doom heavy enough to crack the earth.

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2. Elvenking-Reader Of The Runes-Divination

Runes is an adventurous folk metal epic. It is an accessible record, but maintains a high degree of progressive musicianship that makes for an interesting listen. The closing track “Reader Of The Runes-Part 1” provides a tasty morsel of what is to come.

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3. Fleshcrawl-Into The Catacombs of Flesh

German outfit Fleshcrawl’s first record in 12 years is a mean slice of melodic death metal with a splice thrash. It is not as refined as the Swedish bands that Fleshcrawl is often compared to, but it more than makes up for it with sheer brutality and determination. One only need to spin “Frozen Blood Grounds.”

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4. Nile-Vile Nilotic Rites

Karl Sanders and company march on and Rites is another notch in the band’s belt. The manic blast beats, rhythm changes and unmatched guitar work fire are a go on this record. All hail the Pharaohs of Death Metal.

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5. Haunt-If Icarus Could Fly

Haunt’s second record, Icarus, positions Haunt as a leading band in the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal. The production is both vintage and modern. The Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica influence is played with a fresh spin. Haunt stand on giants’ shoulders while forging its own path.

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6. Entombed A.D.- Bowels Of Earth

Bowels Of Earth is Death n’ Roll played the right way. Tracks like “Fit For A King” and “Bowels Of Earth” show the band’s growth and versatility, while keeping things fairly straightforward.

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7. Amon Amarth-Berserker

This album is the perfect soundtrack for a viking raid. “Shield Wall” is classic Amon Amarth with its crunchy melodicism and Johan Hegg’s gruff vocals commanding his fellow vikings to hold their ground.

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8. Legion Of The Damned-Slaves Of The Shadow Realm

A blistering, blasphemous album that rarely relents. The carnage created by the buzzsaw guitars is accentuated by the sharp percussion. Legion crafted an album that opens Hell’s gates.

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9. Flamekeeper-We Who Light The Fire

A record that is both beautiful yet hellish. The soaring choruses, thrashing drums and grumbling vocals make for a captivating listen, while the production causes a feeling of nostalgia.

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10. Toxic Holocaust-Primal Future

Joel Grind shows the crossover is not dead on this album, which is obvious by the resurgence in traditional metal and hardcore. Well Grind lead the revival and proves that on Primal Future. This record makes one want to don a DRI shirt and thrash across the room.

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