– All lists (except for the most disappointing of 2019) start with the TOP record of the year and work backwards.
– Asterisks indicate a record that was reviewed on this or another site/publication by yours truly. Note that while an asterisk does indicate a review, there are three releases (Machina Non Grata, Disgust and Nothing Left to Love) that, for whatever reason, were un-published and cannot be republished without 404-ing.
– There is very little discrepancy between albums of similar rankings, but those more distantly separated are organized hierarchically (eg, 3 and 5 are essentially the same, whereas 3 is surely better than 13).
Top 25 LPs of 2019
- Spite – The Root of All Evil (Deathcore)*
- Counterparts – Nothing Left to Love (Metalcore)*
- AngelMaker – AngelMaker (Deathcore)*
- Issues – Beautiful Oblivion (Post-Hardcore/Progressive Metalcore)
- Varials – In Darkness (Metalcore)*
- Degrader – Burn You; Burn We (Metalcore)*
- Secret Keeper – Cemetery Feelings (Post-Hardcore/Alternative/Emo)*
- Distinguisher – Hell From Here (Metalcore)*
- The Last Ten Seconds of Life – Machina Non Grata (Deathcore)*
- Stray from the Path – Internal Atomics (Metalcore)*
- Knocked Loose – A Different Shade of Blue (Metalcore)*
- Denzel Curry – ZUU (Hip-Hop/Rap)
- Born a New – Eternal Isolation (Metalcore)*
- A Wake in Providence – The Blvck Sun || The Blood Moon (Blackened Deathcore)*
- I Killed Everyone – Lamenting Hymns (Deathcore)*
- Gamma Sector – Sanctum of Vivisection (Symphonic/Technical Deathcore)*
- WRISTMEETSRAZOR – Misery Never Forgets (Mathcore/Metalcore)
- Traitors – Repent (Deathcore/Downtempo Deathcore)*
- To The Grave – Global Warning (Technical Deathcore)*
- Weeping Wound – Pain (Nu-Metalcore)*
- Bound in Fear – The Hand of Violence (Downtempo Deathcore)*
- Loser – NEVERYOUNG (Nu-Metal/Nu-Metalcore)*
- Osiah – Kingdom of Lies (Technical/Slamming Deathcore)*
- Enterprise Earth – Luciferous (Technical Deathcore)*
- Rarity – The Longest Lonesome (Post-Hardcore)
Honorable Mentions (In No Particular Order)
Prison – Still Alive*
Kublai Khan – Absolute
The Devil Wears Prada – The Act
Signs of the Swarm – Vital Deprivation*
Gravemind – Conduit*
Humanity’s Last Breath – Abyssal*
Vulvodynia – Mob Justice*
The Cambion – Suffer:Forever*
Johnny Booth – Firsthand Accounts
Sentinels – Unsound Recollections
Brand of Sacrifice – God Hand
Shadow of Intent – Melancholy*
Hounds – Year of the Dog*
Decayer – End Note*
Top 25 EPs of 2019
- Dealer – Soul Burn (Metalcore)*
- Extortionist – Sever the Cord/Extortionist (Metalcore)*
- Desolate – Oyasumi, Volume I (Metalcore/Nu-Metalcore)
- Animal – The Witch (Metalcore)*
- Desolated – A New Realm of Misery (Beatdown Hardcore)*
- Alpha Wolf – Fault (Metalcore/Nu-Metalcore)*
- No Home – Living In Hallways (Melodic Hardcore)
- And Hell Followed With – Chimerical Reality (Deathcore)*
- Magna Carta – Cradle 2 The Casket (Hardcore)
- Sustenance – Olde Gods (Blackened Metalcore?)*
- Gold Route – White Knuckles (Pop-Punk)
- Boundaries – My Body in Bloom (Metalcore)*
- It Prevails – A Life Worth Living (Melodic Hardcore)
- Annotations of an Autopsy – World of Sludge (Slamming Deathcore)
- PORTALS – Desolation (Deathcore)*
- My Own Will – Disgust (Metalcore)*
- HIVE – The Mirthless Kind (Groove Metal/Progressive Metalcore)
- I Declare War – Downcast (Deathcore)
- DeathDealer – FleshBurner (Deathcore)*
- The Gloom in the Corner – Flesh & Bones (Metalcore/Nu-Metal)*
- Year of the Knife – Ultimate Aggression (Hardcore/Metalcore)
- Endeavors – By the End of This, It Will All Be Chrome (Post-Hardcore)*
- Honest Crooks – Damage Control (Metalcore/Beatdown Hardcore)*
- Murder Capital – The Mortality Model (Metalcore)*
- xServitudex – Bringing Your Hell (Straight-Edge Metalcore)
Best Standalone Singles of 2019
- Portals – “Masochist”
This one will be STUCK on repeat until the record invariably releases; catchy, fun and creative with a powerful message, this is not one to miss.
2. Dance Gavin Dance – “Head Hunter”
This one had me wishing for a new DGD late 2019 release, but it looks like we have to wait a little. Still a very fun and energetic track, John Mess is up to his usual shenanigans and to excellent effect.
3. Invent, Animate – “Cloud Cascade”
You’re a liar if you weren’t excited for this one. In a teaser for what I’m sure will be the greatest progressive metalcore release of 2020, Invent, Animate show that while they have been quiet, they certainly have also been busy.
Most Disappointing Releases of 2019 (In Ascending Order)
- Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas: I’ll say this right now—Death Atlas was good. Why is it on this list then? Because it was only good. Coming off of their previous effort, Cattle Decapitation had the momentum and skills to write an absolutely genre-defining epic. Instead, we got a record that felt like it was stretched too thin, giving us not enough of the great Cattle Decapitation, and too much of the meh Cattle Decapitation.
- Betraying the Martyrs – Rapture: Remember this record? Me neither. I remember loose elements of promotion leading up to its release, but suddenly the band fell off the map—likely because this record is almost totally unremarkable, in suit with their other, recent offerings, even in spite of an immense debut record in the early 2010s.
- Thousand Below – Gone in Your Wake: This band won me over with their debut effort earlier in the decade. Catchy, emotional and energetic, Thousand Below were poised to be one of THE post-hardcore acts. Then they created their own funeral with Gone in Your Wake, a tasteless and bland offering to the masses. Saving the sum of their impact for the last three songs and barely cutting it at that, Thousand Below blew it on this one, which is a shame considering their potential.
- Wage War – Pressure: This is one of—if not the most divisive metalcore offering of the year. People either love the new direction or were bored of it, and frankly, I fell hard into the latter category. I only really remember “Low” from this album, and only because it was a single so good the band toured on its release exclusively. The rest of the album? Bland as sandpaper with the same unpleasant feel.
- Gideon – Out of Control: This record is placed so highly on this list because it’s the record I was expecting to love the most. Coming off the two-track sampler released earlier in the year, I expected the “new” Gideon to take my breath away. Instead, Out of Control is Out of Control in the same way a 10 year old is when he learns cuss words. At best, uninspired and at worst…well, flagrantly irritating, Out of Control is a crippling addition to one of the most well-rounded and excellent discographies in metalcore.
Bonus Round: Infant Annihilator – The Battle of Yaldabaoth: It would be easy to give this a “it has no breakdowns, 5/10” and move on, but my disappointment in Infant Annihilator’s 2019 release transcends that. First of all, it’s hard to follow up The EGG. I get that. But where progression and more tasteful, talented song structure made the idea of The BOY more promising, its homogenous and tasteless execution made it stagnant. A whopping near-hour of densely packed riffs and grooves with little more than guest features to indicate where one song ends and another begins, The BOY just felt like a regression from The EGG and even TPLOP, moreso than it felt like anything else. Is it bad? Hell no—there is still boundless technicality and insane instrumentation throughout the record—it just feels very mechanic, lacking fluidity, warmth, or even energy—as much of the record seems to just trudge on for the sake of trudging instead of telling any sort of story.