05) Brutus, Nest(Sargent House)
Although Nest is Brutus’ sophomore album, 2019 was the first I’d heard of them. Stefanie Mannaerts’ excellent vocals (and drumming) and the angular post hardcore of the rest of the band only could have come from Europe. Give a listen/watch to “War” and if you’re not already on board, you will be.
Key Track: “War”
04) Astronoid,Astronoid (Blood Music)
This band’s debut album,Air, knocked me on my ass. The combination of black metal blastbeats, upbeat Coheed and Cambria-like major key music with liset of vocal harmonies shouldn’t have worked like it did, but it was a revelation. Their sophomore album continues the trend, and it’s a matter of time until more people notice. Y’know the way Zeal and Ardor kind of blew up last year, that’s what these guys deserve as well.
Key Track: “I Dream in Lines”
03) Opeth, In Cauda Venenum (Nuclear Blast)
How cocky have Opeth gotten in their decade plus of taking a hard left from being a death metal band? Enough to have recorded versions of their thirteenth album in both Swedish and English. And guess what, it totally works. An hour plus of proggy goodness, the album manages to be progressive, yet heavy without relying on the growls that fans have by now come to not expect.
Key Track: “Heart in Hand”
02) Baroness, Gold & Grey (Abraxan Hymns)
The addition of Gina Gleason on guitar has helped out Baroness in a big way. The band have always known their way around a hook, but Gleason’s energy onstage and guitar skills make it feel like she’s been in the band since the beginning. While the band haven’t made it to the next level yet (whatever that means), they’re continuing to hone their craft, and for the first time in a while, seem to be having fun while doing it.