Best Underground Metal of 2019

While 2019 has shown that home studios are only getting better with the release of better emulators and cheaper “ready to record” prepackaged setups, the increase of quantity has not shown a proportionate increase in quality across the music spectrum. Metal has been in a particular weak state despite the best releases of the year being better than those of previous years, the overall quality was so low that even the present editor had to explore non-metal underground music in hopes of finding something of great quality. While such “expeditions” have been for the most part fruitless, the best of the year can only leave the metal listener with a sense optimism of what the new decade has to offer. Without any further ado, here is the best underground metal of 2019.

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Polemicist Interview

(review can be found here)

Is it delusional to believe in a revitalization of our much beloved music? Judging by the everflowing stream of nonsense bombarding our ears for the last 20 years or so, it is all too easy to answer the question affirmatively. What ultimately makes it worth hanging around just a little longer are the precious few and often unexpected discoveries that somehow manage to make it to your stereo. Like Zarathustrian Impressions by the debuting epic death/black metal ensemble Polemicist. With a combined assault of evocative melodies, erudite songwriting and conceptual rigeur, these Philadelphians have not only helped restore faith in underground music, but also cleared the path for further exploration in the crossection between black, death and heavy metal.

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Polemicist – Zarathustrian Impressions (Fólkvangr, 2019)

In the past, metal journalism used to function mainly as a filtering device; weeding out the bad so that the good stuff would rise to the top. Nowadays, it’s more likely the other way around. We’re now searching for potential in a seemingly endless flow of “interesting” or pleasant-sounding junk. This task often requires time and patience, because those rare and far between releases will often sound similar to their lesser peers on a surface level. One illuminating example would be the Pennsylvanian epic death/black metal act Polemicist and their debut album Zarathustrian Impressions. Their music may not appear spectacular on casual listen, but repeated and concentrated exposure reveal unexpected qualities.

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