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.
A good combination of Grindcore and Finnish Death metal with a healthy dose of Autopsy for the slower passages. While such a mix should theoretically sound idiotic or half baked, Sadistic Drive do it with panache and excellent arrangements with songs reaching powerful climaxes. It should be safe to assume that the band are planning a full length that should develop on the tremendous potential found here.
While the middle songs are the dullest moments in this band’s career “All Lay Dead in the Slit Trenches of Calcar” and “Across the Rhine is only death” are possibly the best songs in this band’s history. Having taken the previous idea of having a handful of lightning paced riffs and have expanded on that by expanding on these melodies in much richer and denser arrangements without sacrificing any of the urgency from Godless Arrogance. Aspiring bands take note.
Trench Warfare – Hatred Prayer
War metal done right with doses of Floridian Death metal elevate this band above the typical angry noise that has invaded this style. While a bit too direct in its bellicose method and often failing because of it, there are some great ideas for the band to expand on the sophomore album.
Angel Witch – Angel of Light
Fun record that pays tribute to the best of the band’s best material while toning down the quirkiness that defined this band. While offering nothing new, Kevin Heybourne finally understands what made his music so powerful and plays to those strengths. The veterans are still beating the younger generation despite being slower and less agressive.
Infamous – Muttos Pro S’Aristocratzia
Disappointing at times with its forays into vapid melodies and endless static arpeggios but managing to create the best traditional Black metal album of the year with the excellent interplay between the guitars and the keyboards in the Burzum style. While there is nothing special here, it is well done and a good listen for its combination of atmosphere and composition.
Tangerine Dream – Oedipus Tyrannus
A hidden gem that has finally been released for all to hear. Another incredible album by a legendary group.