• Noah Spiece

My top ten albums of 2019

This list will not contain any hits from the past year, nor will you, the reader, likely recognize any of the artists mentioned here. This is a deep dive into a diverse range of sound from the relaxed to the soul-crushing. Drone, noise, black metal, progressive doom, post-punk, and a healthy dose of grind-core are what you will find here. It’s a look into a world of music you never knew existed. And hopefully, a door into new territories of pleasurable listening. Or, you’ll simply be aghast at the entries here. That’s for you to find out if you have enough interest to continue, there is certainly material enough for both outcomes. So, without farther ado, and in no specific order, here are my top ten albums of 2019.

“Pollinator” by Cloud Rat

“Pollinator” is everything great about grind-core, and then Cloud Rat went a step further and added subtle, meaningful melodies that bubble up within each bombastic track. Never does this album lose its momentum. It’s grooving or lamenting, or both at the same time, in the most violent of fashion, with memorable earworms of riffs rising out of the crashing waves of distortion. This album hits in more than just the one spot grind-core is meant to hit, with feelings of triumph, struggle, victory, anger, and dread. This album stands above and is unique in its genre, and demands listening.

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“The Onlooker” by Windswept

Windswept play soaring, racing black metal. Their album “The Onlooker” displays the beauty in both sorrow and struggle through tremolo-picked melodies torn from their guitars. This is delivered with riveting intensity through the ubiquitous use of harsh vocals and unwavering blast-beats. The Onlooker is emotionally powered with the subtlety of melody underneath the overbearing and barreling rhythm guitars, jostling bass, battering drums, and screaming vocals. This dichotomy of intensity and struggling melody serves to make the album doubly affecting. Emotion and struggle are conveyed best with pain and unbridled exertion, as Windswept show us here.