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It’s the final issue of the year so let’s finish off THTH’s Top 5 of 2019!
5: Hate – Auric Gates of Veles
4: Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition Chapter I: War, Horrid War
3: Immanifest – Macrobial
The first of two late year releases that made the top 5 list this year is from symphonic technical black/death metal band Immanifest. Whilst leaning on their notable influences (earlier Dimmu Borgir) and then mixing in futuristic themes across their superbly technically percussive tracks complete with sharp rhythms break-neck pace, Immanifest have mordernised this sound. There’s so much going on here on Macrobial that at times it feels manic, and that’s good because it gives the album so much listenability. The stand out track here is ‘Wandjina’, an unrelenting, rapid, musical assault full of twists and turns while ‘Niflheim’ travels more on a straight line and isn’t as dense as other tracks on the album which gives a little more air to breathe and to focus on the groove and brilliant musicianship on offer here.
2: Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
This is the second of the two late year releases in the list that made the top 5. Chances are Death Atlas will make a lot of the top lists for 2019 and I believe one of those reasons has to do with the album’s theme; humanity will be the cause of the end of humanity, and these days there is a massive fear across the world that this is true. However, the album’s theme also touches on the fact there’s nothing humanity can do to halt the coming of the end times. Bleak, right? Check out ‘Bring Back The Plague’, a track about reducing the world’s population. Then there’s ‘Time’s Cruel Curtain’, a track that reminds us that in time, we’re all going to die. Death Atlas is an extremely devastating statement both thematically and musically but it’s also brutal yet fresh, it rips and tears through everything surrounding it, whilst at other times it doesn’t and it’s in those times you can appreciate all that is Death Atlas.
1: Periphery – IV: Hail Stan
If you’re a Periphery fan you’ll know it took almost a year for the band to put this record together and that this is their first record they have released independently on their own label. These points are important because the band took their time and made an album that answers to no one, and it shows. If you’re not a fan but you’re aware of Periphery then it’s more than likely you’ll have noticed this record seemingly dropped earlier this year out of nowhere.
IV: Hail Stan is a pulverising mix of the band’s trademark djent with chugging riffs, pounding beats all rolled together to create proggy tracks that are lightly sprinkled orchestral passages and electronics throughout. The album is bookended by opener ‘Reptile’ and closer ‘Satellites’. ‘Reptile’ is a near 17 minute progressive masterpiece that is hands down the song of 2019, and ‘Satellites’ is the perfect closer, part “ballad” and part balls-out chuggfest. Between the bookends sit tracks such as the punishingly heavy ‘Blood Eagle’, ‘Garden In The Bones’ which highlights its thick, rich tones and ‘It’s Only Smiles’ which is kinda cool as it’s reminiscent of the sort of tracks that were played in 90’s awkward teen romcom films. Overall, IV: Hail Stan is, unsurprisingly, an immensely technical album full of genius compositions that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The attention to detail here is borderline obsessive compulsive and astonishing and the production is, as always, amazing. Whilst music fans (haters) out there may suggest Periphery would be better off without vocals, this album showcases Spencer’s best vocal performance to date.
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Written by Paul Taylor
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