Heavy Blog Staff’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

It might not come as a shock to most of you who keep up with the site, but I don’t really like lists. Some of the other editors despise them less and some might even like them but I don’t think you’ll find anyone singing their praises too loudly. I mean, I get it; I get why lists, and end of year lists, serve a functional purpose for people (as a tool to discover new music) and the sort of psychological itch it scratches (the need to compare and feel superior). But, just like review scores (which we got rid of years ago for these reasons exactly), there’s something so reductive about lists and the wider the scope, the more reductive it feels. Sure, a list of “best of” in a certain genre feels contextual and effective but a list of albums in a year? In a decade?

We place these releases on an abstract scale (and not even a very subtle one) and proceed to say which is “better”. But better for what? And for whom? How do you compare the violent catharsis of a Venom Prison and the personal journey of a Wilderun or your Bent Knees of the world? It seems silly; music and taste in it are fluid things which can literally change in a single day. Have a shitty mood? Black metal feels just right, the coldness at its core singing to the coldness within you. Just got some great news? Screaming along with Thank You Scientist is one of my favorite ways to celebrate life.

And so on; you get the picture. So, why do lists at all? Or why keep the numerical model instead of something more abstract and qualitative? Good question and we might have a different answer for it next year (and, as a result, a radically different format for these posts). But for now, if I’m being a honest, a good list has one key value: it forces you to think about your own list. When you’re confronted with something ordering their year, their taste in music, their favorite releases, you invariably start thinking about your own. Sure, the scale is arbitrary but arbitrary restrictions can yield good creativity and introspection. And that’s what happens here; suddenly you find yourself saying “hey, wait, what is my number one, if I have to choose?”

When you cross-reference multiple lists, that exercise becomes even more fruitful. OK, sure, the scale means nothing but given the limitations, why did this and that choose this album at number three while that guy went with number 5? Therein lie many questions and answers about the criteria we use to measure music, our own preferences, and how they’re formed. And so, without further ado (sorry for another long intro), we give you our individual lists for 2019, from which we drew our aggregate Album of the Year. What’s different on yours? Why do you think one of us went with a certain album at this number while it might not appear on another’s? And what do the relationships between the choices on any one list tell you about taste, filter bubbles, and genres?

Happy hunting.

Ahmed Hasan

  1. Thank You Scientist – Terraformer
  2. Car Bomb – Mordial
  3. Warforged – I: Voice
  4. Nick Johnston – Wide Eyes in the Dark
  5. A Novelist – Folie
  6. The Comet is Coming – Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
  7. Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean
  8. Pound – ••
  9. Full of Hell – Weeping Choir
  10. Leprous – Pitfalls

Bill Fetty

  1. Dead Bars – Regulars
  2. PUP – Morbid Stuff
  3. La Dispute – Panorama
  4. Clowns – Nature/Nurture
  5. Tiny Moving Parts – breathe
  6. Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond The Dark
  7. Torche – Admission
  8. Baroness – Gold & Grey
  9. zeta – Mochima
  10. Dave Hause – Kick

Brandon Klemets

  1. Iapetus – The Body Cosmic
  2. Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean
  3. Voyager – Colours in the Sun
  4. Leprous – Pitfalls
  5. Alcest – Spiritual Instict
  6. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood
  7. Cult of Luna – A Dawn To Fear
  8. Periphery – Periphery IV: HAIL STAN
  9. The Contortionist – Our Bones
  10. Opeth – In Cauda Venenum

David Zeidler

  1. Her Name Is Calla – Animal Choir
  2. Minor Movements – Bloom
  3. Old Solar – SEE
  4. Kalax – III
  5. Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond The Dark
  6. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  7. SOMN – The All-Devouring
  8. Greet Death – New Hell
  9. Thank You Scientist – Terraformer
  10. Glassing – Spotted Horse

Eden Kupermintz

  1. Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean
  2. Dreadnought – Emergence
  3. Exulansis – Sequestered Sympathy
  4. Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
  5. Old Solar – SEE
  6. Ashbringer – Absolution
  7. Atlantean Codex – The Course of Empire
  8. Green Lung – Woodland Rites
  9. Snooze – Familiaris
  10. Iapetus – The Body Cosmic

Jimmy Rowe

  1. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
  2. Warforged – I: Voice
  3. Periphery – Periphery IV: HAIL STAN
  4. Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
  5. Alcest – Spiritual Instict
  6. Bring Me The Horizon – Amo
  7. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  8. Sturgill Simpson – Sound and Fury
  9. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood
  10. Glassing – Spotted Horse

Joe Astill

  1. Thank You Scientist – Terraformer
  2. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  3. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
  4. Vitriol – To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice
  5. James Blake – Assume Form
  6. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood
  7. Numenorean – Adore
  8. YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy
  9. Old Solar – SEE
  10. Teeth Of The Sea – Wraith

Jonathan Adams

  1. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
  2. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  3. Misthyrming – Algleymi
  4. Idle Hands – Mana
  5. Wilderun – Veil of Imagination
  6. Inter Arma – Sulphur English
  7. Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance
  8. False – Portent
  9. Liturgy – H.A.Q.Q.
  10. Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings

Jordan Jerabek

  1. Sturgill Simpson – Sound and Fury
  2. Shabti – Trembling and Shorn
  3. Infinity Shred – Forever, A Fast Life
  4. Grogus – Four Kings
  5. Serpent Column – Mirror In Darkness
  6. Torche – Admission
  7. Falls of Rauros – Patterns in Mythology
  8. Pelican – Nighttime Stories
  9. Helms Alee – Noctiluca
  10. Superstition – The Anatomy of Unholy Transformation

Joshua Bulleid

  1. Hath – Of Rot And Ruin
  2. Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
  3. Marina – Love + Hate
  4. Killswitch Engage – Atonement
  5. Todrick Hall – Haus Party, Part 1
  6. Tool – Fear Inoculum
  7. Cult of Luna – A Dawn To Fear
  8. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  9. SiXforNinE – Parallel Universe
  10. The Ritual Aura – Velothi

Karlo Doroc

  1. Northlane – Alien
  2. Fit For An Autopsy – The Sea Of Tragic Beasts
  3. Hath – Of Rot And Ruin
  4. Eye of the Enemy – Titan
  5. Schammasch – Hearts of No Light
  6. Leprous – Pitfalls
  7. Unprocessed – Artifical Void
  8. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  9. Evergrey – The Atlantic
  10. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno

Matt MacLennan

  1. This Gift Is A Curse – A Throne of Ash
  2. Die Choking – IV
  3. Full of Hell – Weeping Choir
  4. Detach the Islands – The Burden to Become Fact
  5. Immortal Bird – Thrive on Neglect
  6. LINGUA IGNOTA – CALIGULA
  7. Mastiff – Plague
  8. Coilguns – Watchwinders
  9. Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean
  10. Cult of Luna – A Dawn To Fear

Nick Cusworth

  1. Thank You Scientist – Terraformer
  2. Alarmist – Sequesterer
  3. Latitudes – Part Island
  4. Nubiyan Twist – Jungle Run
  5. Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean
  6. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  7. Dreadnought – Emergence
  8. Portico Quartet – Memory Streams
  9. Glacier – No Light Ever
  10. Wilderun – Veil of Imagination

Noyan Tkgz

  1. After the Burial – Evergreen
  2. Gone in April – Shards of Light
  3. Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites
  4. Aenimus – Dreamcatcher
  5. Babymetal – Metal Resistance
  6. Fit For An Autopsy – The Sea Of Tragic Beasts
  7. Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  8. Wilderun – Veil of Imagination
  9. Periphery – Periphery IV: HAIL STAN
  10. Fractal Universe – Rhizomes of Insanity

Pete Williams

  1. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
  2. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  3. Immortal Bird – Thrive on Neglect
  4. Shabti – Trembling and Shorn
  5. Dreadnought – Emergence
  6. Mizmor – Cairn
  7. Green Lung – Woodland Rites
  8. Fit For An Autopsy – The Sea Of Tragic Beasts
  9. Alcest – Spiritual Instict
  10. Baroness – Gold & Grey

Ryan Castrati

  1. Devin Townsend – Empath
  2. Fit For An Autopsy – The Sea Of Tragic Beasts
  3. Moon Tooth – Crux
  4. Issues – Beautiful Oblivion
  5. Periphery – Periphery IV: HAIL STAN
  6. Full of Hell – Weeping Choir
  7. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood
  8. Car Bomb – Mordial
  9. Tyler, The Creator – IGOR
  10. Employed to Serve – Eternal Forward Motion

Scott Murphy

  1. Lightning Bolt – Sonic Citadel
  2. Orville Peck – Pony
  3. Pound – ••
  4. Exulansis – Sequestered Sympathy
  5. LINGUA IGNOTA – CALIGULA
  6. Dysrhythmia – Terminal Threshold
  7. Toro y Moi – Outer Peace
  8. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood
  9. Hashshashin – Badahkshan
  10. Xiu Xiu – Girl with Basket of Fruit

Simon Clark

  1. Employed to Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
  2. Latitudes – Part Island
  3. Conjurer & Pijn – Curse These Metal Hands
  4. Raketkanon – RTKN#3
  5. Port Noir – The New Routine
  6. Devin Townsend – Empath
  7. We Lost the Sea – Triumph & Disaster
  8. Battles – Juice B Crypts
  9. Coilguns – Watchwinders
  10. Herod – Sombre Dessein

Simon Handmaker

  1. No One Knows What the Dead Think – S/T
  2. The Number Twelve Looks Like You – Wild Gods
  3. Legendry – The Wizard and the Tower Keep
  4. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana
  5. Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
  6. Full of Hell – Weeping Choir
  7. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
  8. Cerebral Rot – Odious Descent Into Decay
  9. Various Artists – Dungeon Rap: The Introduction
  10. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood

Trent Bos

  1. Wrvth – No Rising Sun
  2. White Ward – Love Exchange Failure
  3. Billy Woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places
  4. Serpent Column – Mirror In Darkness
  5. LINGUA IGNOTA – CALIGULA
  6. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction To Blood
  7. FKA twigs – Magdalene
  8. Greet Death – New Hell
  9. Alcest – Spiritual Instict
  10. Snooze – Familiaris
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