Thursday, 26 December 2019

My Top 10 Albums Of 2019

 Its not been as active a year with time devoted to other things. I've got to start of with a mention to FKA Twiggs. Loving her new album and the moment and If I had more time with, I'm sure it would be on this list. Also need to mention Ghost and their Seven Inches Of Satanic Panic EP, two of their best songs to date but obviously a little short on the run time to call it an album. I don't think anything out of the ordinary has taken hold, just another year, another bunch of records and here are my favourites!

(10) Aeons Confer "Zero Elysium" link

This records theme and setting is colossal, a plunge into the expansive cosmos led by meaty metallic guitars and aggressive drumming to batter you through the abyss. Initially it felt a bit bland and straight forward but its riffs devoid of flash and flair have a lot to offer as it becomes familiar. I am so stoked they have gotten things together and somehow retained the magic they had sixteen years ago.

(9) Devin Townsend "Empath" link

If Devin releases an album, chances are it will make it to this list. I adore the man and his musical vision but with such a large catalogue of albums they new songs become a blur, the best of blurs. Empath however plays like a slice of everything rolled into one and elevated to another level. I think it could be among his best but only time will tell at this point. Its a huge record, loaded and layered, it may take more time to fully get through.

(9) Kanye West "Jesus Is King" link

Not his best work, a flawed ambition but fruitful its in new direction. Inspired by church music and Gospel, infusing elements of it with a dash of Hip Hop, Kanye forged a slice of something outside the ordinary to introduce to the masses and I personally loved it. Of course being somewhat of an agnostic the lyrics didn't move me much but the music and stunning voices at play did very much so.

(7) Slowthai "Nothing Great About Britain" link

The young Northampton rapper may be one to watch out for in the future. This statement led debut has a lot of attitude and vitality about it. The story telling is fantastic but it stems from many of the things that success changes. A lot of Rap artists I can recall have suffered from this, the escape of poverty diminishing the source of inspiration but none the less its a cracking album that I fondly frequent back too.

(6)  Slipknot "We Are Not Your Kind" link

I never expected it to be so but Slipknot have undoubtedly created something you can hold in a similar light to their classic arrival records. The eruption of chaos, aggression and frustration of them crash landing into the public conscious could never be the same again but twenty years later the group missing now three of the original nine tap into the very best of the bands sound with a solid record spiced with a bit of experimentation that has grown on me. Great to have he Knot back at it!

(5) Billie Eilish "When We Fall Asleep Where We Go" link

Its certainly nice to hear more advantageous, experimental artists capturing ears in the mainstream. She may not exactly be "out there", her songwriting has many of the decent tropes Pop music can have but the use of ASMR techniques and vocal distortions is fun, interesting and expressive. All in all a fantastic record I enjoy every time I hear but also one to follow closely in the future.

(4) Cane Hill "Kill The Sun" link

Kill The Sun is an example of why bands shouldn't be afraid to explore their other aspirations. Stepping aside from their metallic roots, the group explore an exotic breed of Americana. Its utterly infectious and may of been what sent me on an Alice In Chains binge this year, learning that group too made Americana EP's between albums. There is now doubt they were an influence and although this was a short record I've loved it over and over. Massively infectious!

(3) Little Simz "Grey Area" link

I've been blown away by the sheer talent that is Little Simz. English Rap music has often felt in the shadows of the states if not pursuing a cultural altercation like Grime or Drill. Simz stands firm with fiery traditional rhyme skills and impressive cadence, she also has a lot to say and thus delivers some serious lyrical substance alongside some boisterous, affirming bars. 

(2) Puppy "The Goat" link

I was anticipating this album immensely and on arrival it blew me away. Puppy have a fantastic sound, a mix of all the best bits from Alternative Rock & Metal of the nineties. This album delivered in droves however I may have over saturated it. With a year to binge on The Goat, another surprise came along to steal the show. It was my first record of 2019 and I was pretty sure it would take the top spot.

(1) Sabaton "Great War" link

Sabaton have done it, maybe only with the help of Indy Nidel! I've been converted. Knowing these guys are history buffs interested in similar aspects of war, this album animated into life as I knew its inspiration intimately. Having followed the week by week reliving of World War I, its songs took on a whole new meaning that let melodies and tuneful songwriting really take hold. It can be a bit cheesy in places but its always fun and riveting with metallic energy. Since I wrote about it, its been on frequent rotation and is still giving tones of pleasure. It was totally unexpected but they trumped The Goat for me.