Wait, it’s the end of the year already? Wait it’s the end of the DECADE already? It’s been a crazy year that seems like a manic two months, and along the way, some pretty solid music came out. This list is in no order, mainly because I can’t say that there’s one album on this list that blew me away particularly more than any of the others. That being said, there was a lot of pretty decent music that came out in the last year or so.
10) Tool, Fear Inocolum (Tool Dissectional)
It shouldn’t take any active band 13 years to make an album, but when Tool finally released their fifth full length album, it sounded like a band that took their time making what they wanted. If you didn’t already like Tool, this probably won’t be the album to change your mind. With no immediate singles and many songs topping the nine minute mark, listening to it is more like meditating for 77 minutes. That being said, Tool are comfortable in their space as being one of the most mass appeal prog-metal bands out there, and it’s good to have them back.
Key Track: “Pneuma”
09) Cult of Luna, A Dawn to Fear(Metal Blade)
A few years ago after touring in support of Vertikal, Cult of Luna suggested they’d be going away, perhaps for good. Thankfully, they returned with Julie Christmas for;Mariner in 2016, and this year, released their eighth album and first for Metal Blade. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from the collective – beautiful passages, crushing riffs and impassioned vocals that tear a page from the ISIS handbook (the band, you idiots!) but creating their own post-hardcore sound.
Key Track: “A Dawn to Fear”
08) Slipknot, We Are Not Your Kind (Roadrunner)
Already in my 20’s by the time Slipknot’s debut album came out, I was never a devout enough fan to call myself a “maggot,” but the band’s never-boring stage show, aggression and talent has always kept me interested in them. Another thing overlooked by many is that they know how to write a hook. I didn’t think I needed a Slipknot album in 2019, but choruses and riffs from songs like “Unsainted” and “Solway Firth” remained in my head days after hearing them.
Key Track: “Nero Forte”
07) Torche, Admission (Relapse)
It’s always cool to see a band you like expand their sound organically, and the Miami sludge merchants in Torche did that on their fifth album. Sure, there are still sub-two minute bangers like album opener “From Here” and “What Was,” but the title track is one of the best shoegaze songs of 2019.
Key Track: “Admission”
06) Russian Circles, Blood Year (Sargent House)
There’s not a ton of experimentation with Russian Circles’ seventh album, nor does there need to be. The instrumental trio continue to write music that’s headbangable, propulsive and introspective, and unmistakably sounds exactly like you’d expect it to.
Key Track: “Arluck”