As 2019 wraps up, we present our final monthly list of the year. November was a strong month, with some releases you’ll certainly be seeing on our best of 2019 list that’s coming soon. Here are our picks for the best new metal albums released in November of 2019.
1. Blood Incantation – Hidden History Of The Human Race (Dark Descent)
Denver death metal astronauts Blood Incantation are back with their proper sophomore album Hidden History of the Human Race. The atmosphere on the album is omnipresent; something to keep that edge and fear alive in the listener. The idea that humans were enslaved by aliens to serve said masters as an unwritten history would make late night viewers of The History Channel blush, yet it serves as the lyrical bedrock for these four tracks, one of which is an 18 minute suite.
Blood Incantation have continued to hone their craft and travel further into the depths of the universe. For an album that starts out as chaotic as it does, it certainly does give the impression of domination of one species by force and then leaving without a trace by album’s end, something that isn’t immediately noticeable. In a year full of great death metal releases, Blood Incantation manage to carve their own niche. Hidden History of the Human Race is one of the best and well rounded releases of the year.
Boston’s Wilderun are almost the golden child of progressive folk metal. 2015’s Sleep at the Edge of the Earth was featured prominently on many year-end lists. They finally return here with Veil of Imagination, and the aim of pushing their genre-defying musical styles even further than before. Folk, death, prog rock, and metal are all deftly interwoven throughout these eight songs.
The folk elements are less dominant here on Wilderun’s third album, but it is no less bombastic and epic. In fact, it may be too over the top for some listeners, but over the course of an hour the band has put together an amazing, dynamic, all-encompassing progressive metal opus.
3. Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas (Metal Blade)
The transformation of Cattle Decapitation from edgy grindcore to nihilistic progressive death/grind over the last decade has been tremendous to listen to. With each album since 2009’s The Harvest Floor, Cattle Decapitation have reinvented some aspect of their sound to the point that makes them highly unique. Death Atlas, the group’s eighth studio album, uses the band’s new lineup to put forth another winner in a long stretch that spans four albums now.
There’s never been much hope from Cattle Decapitation, but on Death Atlas, this hopelessness is expressed on a universal scale. To express this vision requires a level of extremity that Cattle Decapitation thrive in. A slightly tuneful vocal line from Ryan doesn’t counteract the sheer instrumental audacity from this five-piece. At 55 minutes, Death Atlas is their longest album to date, and that can be a lot to take in even with the ambient interludes scattered throughout. All this build leads to the nine-minute title track, a gripping closer with an almost soundtrack-level quality to its musicianship. There are moments where it’s as if we have a bird eye’s view of the shell that will be left of our planet.
4. Lord Mantis – Universal Death Church (Profound Lore)
In the five years between Death Mask and Universal Death Church, Lord Mantis had to come to terms with the death of an original member, drummer Bill Bumgardner, and internal strife that led to a brief dissolution. This pain and anguish seem to be channeled into the band’s fourth album, which has the group pursuing a psychedelic nuance to their blackened sludge metal in a similar way to their last album.
That isn’t apparent right away, as opener “Santa Muerte” is one of the most vicious songs the band has ever written, with two-and-a-half minutes of unfiltered black metal. It takes a few songs to really dig into the band’s experimental nature, such as the acoustic guitars on interlude “Low Entropy Narcosis” and guest musician Bruce Lamont throwing some saxophone into closer “Hole.” Throughout it all, vocalist/bassist Charlie Fell screams his lungs out as if he’s leaving blood-soaked phlegm on the studio microphone.
5. Bask – III (Season of Mist)
When you mix psychedelic rock elements with Americana and folklore, you are doing things a little differently than the norm. For Bask, it’s just business as usual.
When I think of way to describe this Carolina collective, I posit a combination of Baroness, Kylesa and Panopticon’s unabashed love for folk music, which certainly fits within the circles Bask may fall within. The atmospheres created by the guitars and their vocalist are sublime as the listener is encapsulated by the music that feels beautiful. This is the band’s best album to date, and with a varied sound and wide range appeal to fans of rock music, the sky is the limit.
6. Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove (Prophecy)
While industry pundits may lazily refer to Novembers Doom as a death-doom band, their sound encompasses a much wider breadth. Over the past thirty years, the Chicago band has incorporated everything from thrash to acoustic, and yes, death and doom metal, into their style. Here on their eleventh album, Nephilim Grove, the band continues to defy pigeon-holing.
The core of Nephilim Grove is nine “dark metal” songs, with ingredients sifted from doom, death, classic heavy metal, and a bit of progressive metal to boot. Paul Kuhr continues to shine behind the mic, with clean, harsh, and hardcore vocals all hitting the mark. Arguably, the two strongest songs here are the bonus acoustic variants of excellent numbers “What We Become” and “The Clearing Blind.”
Other 2019 Monthly Best Heavy Metal Album Lists
January 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
February 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
March 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
April 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
May 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
June 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
July 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
August 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
September 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums
October 2019 Best Heavy Metal Albums