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.

Summer Slaughter ticket give away

Summer Slaughter at Empire

On Tuesday, August 12 (that’s next week!) the Summer Slaughter Tour makes its only area stop at Empire. The bill is loaded with some of the most brutal death metal bands in the world, including: Dying Fetus, The Faceless, Thy Art Is Murder, Goatwhore, Origin, Decrepit Birth, Within The Ruins, Fallujah and Boreworm. This week DCHM is giving away a pair of tickets to the show at Empire to one of you lucky readers of this site. To enter leave a comment on this post telling me which band you’re most excited to see at Summer Slaughter this year. At 5pm EST this Friday, August 8th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner within 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly right now for $30 here.

Fans of death metal do not want to miss this show! With bands like The Faceless, Goatwhore, Origin, Decrepit Birth and Maryland’s own Dying Fetus all playing, you can be sure this show will satisfy all your mosh pit and headbanging needs. There will be food specials all day and be sure to bring a few extra dollars for some of the sick looking merch that you just know will be available with this many death metal bands on the bill. Now check out some of the tunes below and tell me, which band are you most excited to see at Summer Slaughter this year?

Dying Fetus – From Womb To Waste

The Faceless – Accelerated Evolution

Goatwhore – Baring Teeth For Revolt

Origin – Absurdity Of What I Am

Decrepit Birth – The Resonance

Animals As Leaders ticket give away

Animals As Leaders at the 9:30 Club

Instrumental progressive band Animals As Leaders are headlining the 9:30 Club on Saturday, May 17th. This is a show will be an instrumental music fan’s dream come true as none of the three bands playing have a vocalist. I love instrumental bands and to help get you into them too we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to this show. To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite instrumental song is. From Metallica’s Orion to Watain’s Lawless Darkness to Animals As Leaders’ own CAFO, any instrumental song will count as long as you love it! At 5pm EST this Friday, May 2nd, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $20 from Ticket Fly here.

Animals As Leaders members Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes were both from the DC area originally before relocating to California to form Animals As Leaders. Their incredible musicianship and technical prowess has earned them fans all over the world though you can bet this show will feel something like a home town show of sorts. Also playing is Conquering Dystopia, an instrumental band featuring guitar wiz Keith Merrow and Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore) on guitars, Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse on bass and Alex Rüdinger, drummer for The Faceless. This band has quite the pedigree but their self titled debut album shows that they not only live up to expectations, but exceed them with a level of technicality and aggression few can match. The opening act is Chon, a progressive instrumental band from San Diego. All three of these bands can really play and this show is on a Saturday night so you don’t have the school-night excuse for missing this one. Now check out these killer tunes by the bands playing and tell me what your favorite instrumental song is!

Animals As Leaders – Lippincott

Animals As Leaders – CAFO

Conquering Dystopia album teaser

Chon – Sketch

Review of Carcass at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Sunday the 13th of April 2014 marked the final night of the 2014 Decibel Magazine Tour and it was at the Fillmore Silver Spring. The headliner was Carcass, making their first DC appearance since reuniting in 2008, though they have played Baltimore twice since then. Each stop on the tour had a local opener and for this show it was Coke Bust, a straight edge hardcore band. I got there in time to see them but there was a problem with my photo pass at the box office and I didn’t get the pass in hand until Coke Bust had finished their set. A shame since I’ve seen them before but never on such a big stage. The second band to play was Noisem, a band of very young guys from Baltimore. I don’t think any of them are even old enough to drink yet. Noisem wasn’t another local opener though, they were on the entire tour, and as such they’ve certainly been getting a lot of exposure outside the area as well. They play a rather catchy style of death/thrash that’s a throwback to the 90s. Their vocalist Tyler Carnes was pretty high energy on stage, at least when he wasn’t fighting with the mic chord that was wrapped around the stage monitors. He jumped down into the photo pit area several times during his set, you may have seen me trying to avoid running into him while photographing him down there, and he ran up to people and would scream lyrics at them. This must have been pretty cool to people close up but for anyone not right in front, well, they probably had no idea what he was doing. Their set was good though and the band looked good on the Fillmore’s nice, big stage. A cover of Terrorizer‘s “Fear Of Napalm” with guest bass by Alejandro Corredor of Nausea was fun and gave Noisem’s regular bass player the opportunity to stage dive.

The next band to play was technical death metal band Gorguts. The Canadian band only has one member from its pre-reunion days, guitarist/vocalist Luc Lemay, but the band was always really his to begin with. For some reason he was off to the left of the stage most of the time, an odd place for a lead vocalist even if he was also playing guitar. Two members of the techy instrumental band Dysrhythmia, a personal favorite band of mine, are in Gorguts so I’m definitely a fan of the current line up. They were absolutely crushing on Sunday at the Fillmore. They are probably the most brutal band to ever play there and while Gorguts only played five songs, each one was performed expertly. They closed out their set with their classic song “Obscura” which was punishing. This is the band I was most excited to see at this show and they did not disappoint! Luc Lemay was manning the band’s merch table most of the night and was very friendly with fans, shaking hands and taking photos with them. If you missed their incredible set don’t worry, they’re playing the final day of Maryland Deathfest this year, Sunday, May 25th, and they’re playing on one of the big outdoor stages so tickets won’t sell out.

The next band to play was The Black Dahlia Murder, a melodic death metal band from Michigan that, I’ll admit, I’ve never really been a fan of. I’ve seen them several times over the years since they tend to play with bands I like but I’m not really familiar with their music. A lot of people seemed to really dig their performance but I just wasn’t one of them so this part of the show was, for me, used to talk to various people I knew that were there. This isn’t to say that their set was particularly bad, though I could have done without the “big titties” comment from vocalist Trevor Strnad, it just wasn’t my kind of music and it wouldn’t really be fair of me to judge their overall performance.

The next band to play was the headliner, Carcass. They played Maryland Deathfest last May as one of the headliners, but that was before they released their new album, last year’s Surgical Steel. Sunday night’s set list (see it here) was fairly similar to the one they played at Maryland Deathfest, except a few older songs had been removed to make room for several new songs. While Surgical Steel seems to have been well received by most fans, I didn’t like it at all so the loss of older songs in the set list for newer ones was a bummer for me. Overall the audience didn’t seem to mind and I suppose if you’re really into the new material this was your first chance to hear it live. The new song “Captive Bolt Pistol” certainly got a bigger mosh pit than “Exhume To Consume” did, and only hearing three songs from Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious was a bummer to me, but overall I got what I expected, mostly songs from Heartwork and Surgical Steel. I thought Carcass’ performance was much better here than at Maryland Deathfest where they seemed a bit rusty. Part of this might be due to the band having played so many more shows recently. Bill Steer and Mike Amott replacement not Bill Steer Ben Ash traded solos seamlessly and the band just seemed tighter overall this time. Jeff Walker sure talked a lot between songs and speaking with people after the show there seemed to be two sets of thought on this: some people loved it and found it very entertaining while others found it rambling and annoying. Sometimes he had some interesting or funny things to say about the band’s origins or the Chicken Man, but sometimes he said things that had me wondering why he was still talking. Like when he made a comment about how being vegetarian or vegan is a choice like being gay is (what?) and how the last time the band was in DC his only memory was of how confused he was by an overweight, black, lesbian Neo-Nazi at the 9:30 Club (again, what?). It didn’t take away from the show too much I guess but I certainly don’t remember him talking that much the last couple times I’ve seen them live. Anyways, even if this Carcass show wasn’t my ideal show, they did play material from every era of the band to at least have something in there for every Carcass fan. Plus a show like this brings out a lot of people and it’s always awesome running into so many familiar faces. Be sure to check out my photos and videos from the show below and feel free to leave a comment telling me about your experience at the biggest metal tour to come through our area this April.

Noisem:

Tyler Carnes of Noisem

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Noisem at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Gorguts:

Luc Lemay of Gorguts

Luc Lemay of Gorguts

Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts

Colin Marston of Gorguts

Gorguts at the Fillmore Silver Spring

The Black Dahlia Murder:

Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

The Black Dahlia Murder at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Max Lavelle of The Black Dahlia Murder

Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

Carcass:

Jeff Walker of Carcass

Jeff Walker of Carcass

Bill Steer of Carcass

Jeff Walker of Carcass

Ben Ash of Carcass

Bill Steer of Carcass

Carcass ticket give away

Carcass at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Carcass is a band that started as vegetarian grindcore and evolved over the years into one of the pioneers of melodic death metal. They broke up in 1995 only to return recently with last year’s release of Surgical Steel and now, on Sunday, April 13th they’ll be playing songs spanning the entire history of the band at the Fillmore Silver Spring as they headline the 2014 line up of the Decibel Magazine Tour. We here at DCHM are pretty damn excited about this tour and so we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to this show to one of you lucky readers. To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Carcass album is. If you need help you can find their discography listed here. If you’re not a huge Carcass fan but more into one of the other bands on the tour, then tell me what you favorite album by one of them is instead. At 5pm EST this Friday, April 4th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $26.50 from Live Nation here.

Not only are death metal legends Carcass playing this show but a ton of other great bands as well. The Black Dahlia Murder is from Michigan and the melodic death metal band’s 2013 release Everdark might be their best album yet. Canadian techdeath masters Gorguts have also reunited and they’ll be destroying eardrums at this show as well. Gorguts may be the most brutal band to ever grace the stage at the Fillmore Silver Spring! Baltimore’s death/thrash upstarts Noisem are really starting to take off and they’ll be on the entire tour, not just our date, and for good reason: their high energy live show slays audiences! And for this date of the tour only straight edge hardcore band Coke Bust will be opening the show. Now that’s what I call a killer line up! Be sure to check out these killer tunes by all the bands playing the show and tell me what your favorite Carcass album is in the comments!

Carcass – Captive Bolt Pistol

The Black Dahlia Murder – Goat Of Departure

Gorguts – Forgotten Arrows

Noisem – Split From The Inside Out

Coke Bust – Lines In The Sand

Suffocation ticket give away

Suffocation at Metro Gallery

Death metal masters Suffocation are playing at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on Saturday, February 22nd and DCHM is giving you a chance at a free pair of tickets to the show! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite death metal band is. Old or new, even broken up death metal bands count. At 5pm EST this Friday, February 21st, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $23.50 here.

Suffocation completely disrupted the world of death metal in 1991 when they released their classic debut album, Effigy Of The Forgotten. The album raised the bar on technicality in death metal while still being extremely brutal, and the band has never relented since then. This show is a special one off for Suffocation, not part of a tour, so they could end up playing almost anything from their intense back catalog. There’s also several locals on this show including Strong Intention, a band somewhere between thrash, grind and hardcore punk, as well as Visceral Disgorge, who always bring brutal slam-death beat downs. Other support acts include Demiz, March To Victory, Limb By Limb and Metanium, a band whose latest album was reviewed on DCHM here. Now check out these killer tunes by bands playing the show and tell me what your favorite death metal band is in the comments!

Suffocation – Infecting The Crypts

Suffocation – As Grace Descends

Strong Intention – 3rd Space Gorilla Generator

Visceral Disgorge – Skullfucking Neonatal Necrosis

Gorguts ticket give away

Gorguts

The French Canadian death metal band Gorguts is coming to Empire (formerly Jaxx) in Springfield, Virginia on Thursday, September 5th! They haven’t played the area since reforming and one of you lucky readers will win a free pair of tickets to the show. To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me which old school metal band you hope reforms to make a come back next and at 5pm EST this Friday, August 30th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Amped & Alive for $16 here.

In the 90s Gorguts put out some excellent technical, yet very brutal, death metal albums but ended up going on hiatus in the new millennium. They reformed to play a set at Maryland Deathfest in 2010 which was awesome but lacked any new material. Well the new Gorguts album Colored Sands is coming out and I can tell you that having heard an advance copy already, it’s sick. This isn’t a recreation of past glories, this is a modern evolution of the classic Gorguts sound and there’s even some surprises in there too. If getting to see Gorguts play their classic songs plus some of their killer new material live wasn’t great enough there’s also direct support coming from Richmond’s Inter Arma. They released their first album on Relapse earlier this year and have been putting on some outstanding live performances in support of it. Seriously, catch these guys live and you’ll become a fan. There will also be sets by March To Victory from Pennsylvania and locals Acid Deth Kvlt. Now check out these awesome new songs by Gorguts and Inter Arma as you decide which old school metal band you wish would come back next!