Dead Rhetoric Halfway Through 2019 Best-of

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019

Each year goes by a little quicker it seems, and 2019 is flying by with the best of them. An early flood of releases started things off in a big way (certainly bigger than in recent years), and the momentum has kept coming. Now with the fall and end of the year coming closer by the day, we at DR have done what we always do – assess the year to date and pick a few of our favorites. It’s anybody’s game as the fall onslaught is soon on its way, but any listed releases below that you might have missed are worth checking out as you hit the pleasant (and very unmetal) weather and outdoor activities this summer.

David E. Gehlke
Although some real heavy-hitters are right around the block, the first half of 2019 was stocked with quite a few head-turners, notably, Rotting Christ’s songwriting feast that is The Heretics. There really is no substitute for the direct-shot black metal anthems, is there? As we harp upon every year around late June/early July, these lists will probably look a lot different by December, but for now, there’s plenty to bask in…and probably quite a few releases that slip by due to album release overload. Not a bad problem to have, though.

1. Rotting Christ – The Heretics (Season of Mist)
2. Drawn into Descent – The Endless Endeavor (Avantgarde)
3. Sanhedrin – The Poisoner (Cruz Del Sur)
4. Glare of the Sun – Theia (Lifeforce)
5. Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion (Nuclear Blast)

Kyle McGinn
It seems that we are off to a banner year for metal already, as tinkering with my own list so far this year, there’s already a very solid top 12 that could sit and be posted as if it was already December. Lots of the veteran acts firing on all cylinders with new releases and some notable new names to quench that thirst for some innovative tunes. Can’t ask for anything more than that! As it sits now, Cellar Darling is the band to beat, with a gorgeous yet dreary concept album that sees them flying past the work of their debut and hitting a rich, emotional core that still impresses with a load of listens behind it.

1. Cellar Darling – The Spell (Nuclear Blast)
2. Soilwork – Verkligheten (Nuclear Blast)
3. Idle Hands – Mana (Eisenwald)
4. Hath – Of Rot and Ruin (Willowtip)
5. Red Handed Denial – Redeemer (Self-Released)

Matt Coe
The older we get as adults the faster time seems to be speeding by. Hard to believe it’s already halfway through 2019 – but in the metal landscape, there have been some impressive, awe-inspiring albums. Once again, this scribe’s favored power/progressive metal realm leads the way, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of variety and throwback aspects to this list as well. As listeners we can only hope that the second half produces more killer efforts to round out a worthwhile year.

1. Arch/Matheos – Winter Ethereal (Metal Blade Records)
2. Evergrey – The Atlantic (AFM Records)
3. Idle Hands – Mana (Eisenwald)
4. Smoulder – Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring (Cruz Del Sur Music)
5. Eternity’s End – Unyielding (Ram It Down Records)

Matthew Bowling
A stout year. A far stouter year than I was expecting at its dawn but really unsurprising with how good the 2010s have been as a whole. Streaming (and wide internet proliferation in general) has made it possible for every obscure boutique act to shine and catch unexpecting ears. Fortunately for me I’ve tended to often be among those unexpecting. Worse than expected is the raw difficulty in pairing down only five releases out of the long list of stellar experiences so far.

1. Deathspell Omega – The Furnaces of Palingenesia (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
2. Misþyrming – Algleymi (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
3. Sana Obruent – End Game (Backmask Records)
4. Sinmara – Hvísl Stjarnanna (Ván Records)
5. Ossuarium – Living Tomb (20 Buck Spin)