Metal Chris’ Favorite Death Metal Albums of 2019

I made a list of my favorite black metal albums of 2019 (here) and a doom/stoner list (here) but right now I’m focused on the brutal, gory and morbid world of death metal in 2019! The albums are not ranked so they’re in order of release date. They’re not meant to be “the best albums of the year” but they are my personal favorites of the year, the ones I kept coming back to listen to again and again.

MusmahhuReign of the Odious
Released January 11, 2019 by Iron Bonehead Productions
Musmahhu is a Swedish death metal band but don’t think they’re some throwback using an HM-2 pedal to no end. Musmahhu uses many elements of black metal but they aren’t a typical blackened death metal band like Behemoth either. Their aggression is so high that despite the black metal elements this is still firmly a death metal album. Fans of Deicide and Belphegor will like the evil sounding death metal on Reign of the Odious.

EquipoiseDemiurgus
Released March 8, 2019 by The Artisan Era
Pittsburgh based Equipoise is the proggy/tech death entry on this list. The band been called a “super group” for including members of bands like Hate Eternal and Beyond Creation but pedigree aside this is some pretty solid tech death. Songs are composed in a way that is complex yet fairly easy to follow, making this release more palatable than similar bands with great technical skill but no ability to compose a proper song. The flamenco elements are unexpected but somehow work as well!

Venom PrisonSamsara
Released March 15, 2019 by Prosthetic Records
The Welsh band Venom Prison has been making waves in the world of death metal, a genre often focused on gory depictions of violence toward women, by taking a feminist approach to it without losing the anger. Vocalist Larissa Stupar’s lyrics in the song “Implementing the Metaphysics of Morals” are perfect example, full of spite for infamous rapist Brock Turner and his light sentence, showing again that the rage of death metal can be used for more than just slasher film style shock.

NucleusEntity
Released April 13, 2019 by Unspeakable Axe Records
Nucleus is a death metal band from Chicago that takes the sci-fi vibe from thrash bands like Vektor and Voivod and severely ups the brutality. This isn’t death/thrash, this is straight up death metal but with that eerie vibe of being lost in the outer reaches of space. Nucleus has good amount of technical skill and dynamic songwriting to keep it interesting throughout Entity.

Immortal BirdThrive On Neglect
Released July 5, 2019 by 20 Buck Spin
The second band on this list from Chicago, and second with a female vocalist, Immortal Bird released their best album yet this year in Thrive On Neglect. There’s a lot of aggression coupled with an underlying tension throughout the album while the band also blends elements of genres far outside of death metal. They aren’t following any trends, they’re just making unique, solid death metal songs with so much variation you will keep discovering new details upon repeat listens.

Tomb MoldPlanetary Clairvoyance
Released July 19, 2019 by 20 Buck Spin
This is the third Tomb Mold full length in 3 years and you may be getting tired of seeing the Toronto based cavernous death metal band appearing on year end lists but their incredible streak of releasing top notch material shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. This time around it’s basically Tomb Mold In Space and while the sci-fi theme has definitely become a major trend in death metal lately, these songs are still full of all that raw aggression, nasty guitar tone and memorable riffage Tomb Mold is known for.

SanguisugaboggPornographic Seizures
Released July 26, 2019 by Maggot Stomp
Maggot Stomp has certainly become a trendy record label in the world of ugly, underground death metal and this 4 song demo that is only about 11 minutes long was their best release of 2019. There’s not a lot of build up on a release this short, it’s very straight to the point and full of some of the most ignorant caveman death metal riffs you’ve ever heard, combined with a psychedelic haze you’d expect of a band more like Electric Wizard. This release is fun as hell to listen to and even more fun to mosh to.

01101111011101100110111001101001SDSS J0333​+​0651
Released August 9, 2019 by Amputated Vein Records
01101111011101100110111001101001, also known as Ovni, (which is Spanish for UFO and what their name means when converted from binary code to ASCII) is obsessed with two things, aliens and brutal slam riffs. The album SDSS J0333​+​0651 is named for a distant galaxy cluster and the songs are all technical name designations for various stars, galaxies and other objects in outer space. The Argentinian band is known to dress up as aliens on stage too. The songs are sick and the album is only 23 minutes long, short enough that your interest doesn’t wane before it closes with a quote from Stephen Hawking.

Cerebral RotOdious Descent Into Decay
Released August 16, 2019 by 20 Buck Spin
Slimy, festering and rancid are all good descriptions of this surprise instant classic by Seattle based Cerebral Rot. This is death metal from the sewer in its purist form but what makes it special is just how many hooks they crammed into this release. The riffs are catchy and distinct from each other, yet keeping that beautifully repulsive sound constant throughout. This album is as fun as a splash fight in a septic tank!

MortiferumDisgorged from Psychotic Depths
Released October 11, 2019 by Profound Lore Records
Fans of that creeping death/doom pioneered by Incantation are going to absolutely love this debut album by Olympia, Washington, based Mortiferum. They have faster blasting segments that are contrasted perfectly with the almost funeral doom slow segments that will leave you feeling completely crushed under their weight. There’s a lot of bands attempting this style of death metal these days but nobody did it better in 2019 than Mortiferum.

Unfathomable RuinationEnraged & Unbound
Released November 22, 2019 by Willowtip Records
The London, England based Unfathomable Ruination put out one hell of an album this year in Enraged & Unbound. Relentless pacing and brutal intensity lay the foundation that the abrasive time changes and killer riffs that are built on. Fans of Psycroptic, Origin and old school Cryptopsy are going to love peeling the layers back with repeated listens of this album.

Blood IncantationHidden History of the Human Race
Released November 22, 2019 by Dark Descent Records
This was certainly the most hyped death metal release this year, it was even given Decibel magazine’s top spot on their list of 2019’s best albums. I’m not sure I’d go that far but it really is a great album, though I think I like their debut a bit better still. Regardless, the Denver based band has put out another album weaving crushingly heavy riffs with complex songwriting and this is in no way a sophomore slump release. Plus we got some cute Baby Yoda memes from that album cover art.

3 Comments

  1. WHY. MENTION. THE. GENDER. OF. IMMORTAL. BIRD’S. VOCALIST. Fuck.

    • Why mention anything? Why listen to metal? Why wake up in the morning?

    • The real reason I mentioned it is because it pisses off the kind of dudes that leave anonymous comments in ALL CAPS complaining about a post mentioning women.


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