What’s unique about this list is that there are five genres included in the list and five different countries. These countries and genres were not a factor in putting together this Top 5 Albums for 2019. Having a Top 5 makes the albums more selective and not a reach to list ten albums for 2019. All of these albums are amazing in their own, unique way.
Eloy‘s The Vision, The Sword and The Pyre Part II is the continuation of the history of Joan of Arc being put to music by Germany’s Frank Bornemann. It is to be noted that Part I was released in 2017. The album is one that could have easily slipped through the cracks at Brutal Planet but didn’t. The concept of Joan of Arc’s history being put to music and spoken word has resulted in a fascinating album that actually inspired the purchase Part I to get the full musical story. Now when The Vision, The Sword and The Pyre is spun whether commuting, grading papers or decompressing in the classroom, Part I and II receive equal love in that order. It’s like listening to a book from start to finish.
Capilla Ardiente’s The Siege is a pure slab of classic heavy, thick epic doom metal in the vain of Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. When those two bands are mentioned, it’s worth take note of who’s producing music of that caliber especially when coming from South America. The disc may only consist of four songs but the tracks range from 9:41 with “The Crimson Fortress” to 13:19 with “The Open Arms, The Open Wounds”. It’s a disc that keeps the listeners attention and definitely worth the Number 2 slot.
Rotting Christ’s The Heretics released early in 2019 was an unexpected release that made a huge impact. The band wove into their music choral arrangements, Gregorian chants, quotes from Mark Twain, English poet John Milton the Latin Greek scholar Friedrich Neitzsche and Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, all who were judge as Heretics by the church. Sprinkle in snippets from Edgar Allen Poe’s the Raven and the result with is a mind-blowing release from Greece’s Rotting Christ. The Heretics was slightly edged out and landed at Number 3.
Austria’s Visions of Atlantis and their magical and musical symphonic journey titled The Wanderers firmly sits at the Number 4 slot. The theme of the album is based on the quote “Not all who wonder are lost” from J. R. R. Tolkien’s poem titled “All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter”. The band’s vocal performance comes from both male and female voices, smooth leads and choruses give the album a unique and brilliant symphonic metal twist. It’s not a typical symphonic metal release that takes the Number 4 spot.
Wrapping up the Top 5 for 2019 is an album that wasn’t reviewed but definitely worthy of being in the list. Even though there were several great live albums released in 2019 such as Slayer and Belgium’s Evil Invaders, King Diamond’s Songs for the Dead deserves to be in the Top 5. The album is one of the finest live releases in the last several years. King’s voice is spot on, the song selection is the best of the best and the crowd participation on choruses is off the charts. Probably the most significant moment of the album comes in the last few minutes when King Diamond gracefully thanks the crowd for being there. It’s as sincere as one can get. King Diamond’s heartfelt words hit hard, very hard. Songs for the Dead is an amazing live album.