Top 10 Mid-Year Albums of 2019: METAL EDITION

Hey guys, it’s finally time for our Mid-Year Lists! I actually put these together in late June, but July got crazy and I haven’t had time to edit the footage and get it up on YouTube. Part 1 is our Metal list, featuring an AMAZING slew of releases ranging from heavy-hitters like Periphery and Baroness to criminally underrated music from the likes of Astronoid and Numenorean. Also featuring the…ehm…”colorful” commentary from yours truly, as always.

Check out the full video below, and let me know your picks! Non-Metal list coming soon too!

 

June 2019 Album Round Up!

What’s up guys, hope the first half of your 2019 ended with a bang! Mine certainly did. Monthly Round Ups are back and here to stay! Below is a quick run-through of all the records I checked out this month:

Chon – Chon (Instrumental) 

Full-length number three from this virtuosic instrumental four-piece has completely reinvigorated my love for instrumental music. Chon’s entrancing blend of rock, jazz, and prog (among other influences) has inspired me to revisit brilliant records in my collection from Pat Metheny, Marty Friedman, and Steve Vai – records whose greatness, dare I say, Chon’s self-titled effort deserves mention alongside. Must-listen for guitar nerds and prog fans alike. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Meg Mac – Hope (Singer/Songwriter)

Australian singer/songwriter Meg Mac impressed me once again with this little seven-track mini-album. Her voice is powerful, versatile, and has me constantly wondering why massive success in the US has eluded her thus far. Particular highlights include “Head Away” and the dramatic title cut. RECOMMENDED.

X Ambassadors – Orion (Alternative)

You really have to TRY to make music this bad. I was appalled at the bland genericism of Orion, a batch of throwaway Alt tunes that makes Imagine Dragons appear bold and progressive. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Baroness – Gold & Grey (Metal)

One of Metal’s critical darlings did it again with this double album – album number five in Baroness’ color-themed series of releases. The music Baroness make is often more Hard Rock than Metal, actually – frontman John Baizley’s gruff melodic vocals and gritty down-tuned guitar riffs occupy a similar crossover territory to fellow Georgians Mastodon. I particularly enjoyed the numerous instrumental interludes sprinkled throughout this track list. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Hate – Auric Gates of Veles (Metal)

More devastating Blackened Death Metal from Polish giants Hate (known to some as “the other Behemoth”). While I don’t find myself having the same visceral reaction that I did to 2017’s Tremendum, Hate’s suffocating instrumentation and sinister aesthetic continues to draw me in. RECOMMENDED.

Mark Ronson – Late Night Feelings (Pop)

Wow! Quite pleasantly surprised by this highly collaborative LP from Pop producer extraordinaire Mark Ronson. I really expected to hate this. But Ronson is no DJ Khaled – that is to say, a “curator” who cobbles together records through a very “forced” combination of guests – but rather, a producer and co-writer with a vision here. The title track, “True Blue”, “Don’t Leave Me Lonely”, “Pieces of Us”, and even the Miley Cyrus-featuring “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”, are all highlights here. RECOMMENDED.

Lil Nas X – 7 EP (Hip-Hop)

An even bigger surprise was actually ENJOYING this EP from Lil’ Nas X, the 20-year-old rapper responsible for the Country-Rap Internet smash “Old Town Road”. Though he still feels like a novelty and his longevity is certainly still appropriate to be questioned, Lil’ Nas X holds his own on these seven songs. Particularly fond of the Cardi B-assisted “Rodeo” and the Rock-influenced “F9mily”. The jury’s still out on this kid but I’m gonna give him a chance! RECOMMENDED.

Mannequin Pussy – Patience (Alternative)

My favorite record of the month. And “Drunk II” is my favorite song of the month. SO much to love about this punk-infused alternative band! And their Epitaph Records debut will hopefully introduce front-woman Marisa Dabice in particular as the force of nature that the band’s underground fans have always known her to be. Producer Will Yip’s fuzzy-yet-polished approach works wonders here as well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

A FEW MORE:

Like:

The Black Keys – Let’s Rock (Alternative)

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana (Hip-Hop)

Goldlink – Diaspora (Hip-Hop)

Pryda – Pryda 15 Vol 1 (Dance)

The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger (Rock)

 

Dislike:

Enthroned – Cold Black Suns (Metal)

Gucci Mane – Delusions of Grandeur (Hip-Hop)

Metal Release Day 6/14: Baroness vs. Hate!

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to our Metal Release Day Battle Royale!

In one corner: acclaimed Georgia metallers Baroness, coming through with Gold & Grey, the fifth and final installment of their wildly successful chromatic-themed releases, each one more lauded than the last (2015’s Purple even garnered high praise from Metallica frontman James Hetfield himself). Anticipation for Gold & Grey is through the roof – Stereogum even referred to it as a “masterpiece” before it even came out. Relax, guys. Still, Gold & Grey will likely be a contender for many year-end metal lists, and I haven’t even heard it yet!

In the other corner: Polish extreme Metal band Hate, whose Blackened Death ferocity is perhaps only matched by the almighty Behemoth. I reviewed 2017’s Tremendum quite positively, complimenting it specifically for embracing more of Hate’s Black Metal side, and am hoping that Auric Gates of Veles blows it out of the water.

Whoever emerges as today’s victor, just know that it’s a great day to be a Metal fan! As for who this blog will declare the winner….well, my forthcoming Mid-Year Metal list may or may not be a good indication….