Sonntag, 29. Dezember 2019

Top 10 Releases of 2019

The only post for this year, wow...
Anyway, I decided to give you my top 10 again and this time I also came up with my very own
rating system; which maybe will be used more often in the future for reviews and stuff.
There are 10 categories with a diverse evaluation weight, where 1 (or even 0) is the lowest score
and 5 (or 6 in a very special case) is the highest. The results will be given in percentage
and basically everything over 90% is record of the year material. Over 80% is damn fine.
Over 70 is still good, but under that number it's probably generic or mediocre at best.
Feel free to send in your bands release and if I can find the time, I might give you an
honest response!

So, for the undeniable number one (which really took it's time to appear this year):
Cattle Decapitation - Death Atlas LP - with an incredible rating of 105%

So, we have a really nice 2xLP Gatefold (released via Metal Blade Records) with a great artwork. Just a Picture on the Inside and Inlay sheet is a bit simple, but it works. Solid 5 points.
Musically, in my opinion, they just keep getting better. Tbh, I didn’t really had them on my radar
until Monolith Of Inhumanity (2012) and their earlier stuff is a little too much grind for me – I mean, is it anything but grind? Anyways, since then they kept adding melodic death and black metal parts into their individual style of grind-metal. For this new Album, it’s the most diversified and exciting
I have heard all year – it basically tackles all styles of metal there are, while creating something completely new on their own. More than I could've asked for.
Plus, they have probably the best Vocalist there is and ever was (in extreme metal). Seriously, there are lots of great Vocalists around and of course, a lot is just matter of taste, but I can’t think of
anyone who is capable of anything close to what this guy is doing! Definitely 6 points!
Also we have great lyrics here - sometimes a bit cheasy, but very refreshing for grindcore!
And I love it that Travis and (depending on the line-up) most of the guys are vegans, so you can
even take those lyrics serious – the true soundtrack to the end of the world!
Everything else is just top-notch. Technicality it's – as always – over the top. I can’t even get
my head around their easier riffs… makes it really thrilling to listen to though! Production is
simply outstanding – everything sounds perfect and the vocal-mix is a pure eargasm. Also love
the audio-samples at the beginning/end of each side of the record – cool 90s analogy.
Favorite Track: Death Atlas. Simply mesmerizing. Fast and heavy metal riffage with a melodic refrain and an atmospheric ending you just wanna fall into that endless sleep to.

The number two, which actually was my number one for the longest time of the year:
King Apathy – Wounds - their farewell LP with a rating of  97%
So, we got a nice vinyl (fancy colored options), a cool label (Lifeforce Records) and an
awesome Artwork – really love the style and the imagery. Plus points for an inlay with a lot of
thoughtfull extra writings/infos about what the band stands for and what this album is about,
but a minus point, that for the outstanding album it is, it's only a thin standard jacket…
would’ve loved a nice gatefold with an actual booklet or something! Still a solid 5 though.
Musically, we have really atmospheric (post-)black metal that builds itself up slowly,
 just to fully discharge into pure, raw emotions, while still maintaining it's own character.
This record has it all – calm clean guitar parts with beautiful melodies, doomy atmospheric parts
to just dive into and fast black metal shredding with emotionally charged screams…
BUT (complaining on the highest level here) it feels like some song structures are re-occurring, couldn’t really distinguish half the songs at a first listen; and the singer – although I really like his style and what he’s doing – has very little variation in what he is doing (which some folks even
seem to prefer though, so it's not necessarily a minus point for everyone).
Lyrics are superb – best I have read in ages. Of course the vegan/nature thematic is especially appealing to me, but even if you try to leave that aside, they’re still very well written and some phrases like “extinction is not death, it’s the end of birth” are so deep and, when I first heard them, touched me on so many levels, I would even wanna get them tattooed! 6 points out of 5, man!
Also I have a ton of respect for the guys behind the band, especially Matthias, who started this as
a one-man project and is still the main song-writer. He’s so damn talented (also active in a bunch
of other bands – check his discogs), plus someone I can actually relate to.

Now for something completely different and even for me kinda suprising... number three:
Idle Hands - Mana - their debut LP with an astonishing score of 94%

Nice vinyl version, comes with booklet and poster, on a really cool label (Eisenwald Tonschmiede)
Not my favorite artwork, but it fits the aesthetic. 5 points.
Music is really refreshing – something completely new and different for me. Something to
actually dance and sing along to, but also to contemplate about and just feel it… no idea if it's
heavy metal or goth rock, also reminds me a bit on Woods Of Ypres though.
Anyway, my favorite "not extreme metal" record for this year (and probably even longer).
Fast and catchy song, hymns that get stuck in your head, doomy & emotional parts…
this one definitely has it all! Could even be played on the radios I guess?
But, it took me a 2nd listen to appreciate them tbh – it's way different to what I usually listen to –
but fits the atmosphere and everything. Love them now – still think the deep singing could take
parts with some screaming here and there, but that’s probably just the prejudiced me.
Lyrics are a bit weird here and there – hope they’re not 100% serious – but mostly cool
and fitting to the music (depressive goth rock meets fantastic heavy metal).
Length is just Perfect – wanna listen on repeat all day! I still feel like the songs are not not all
equally strong, but tunes like "Give Me To The Night" are damn earworms!
Bandmembers and the whole aesthetic they're using looks like they're timetravellers from the 80's.
I kind of don't get it why they choose to release on a black metal label, but along with the
odd lyrics and the unique sound, this is definitely a plus point for me!
It's nothing too difficult or funky, but well-written and exciting. Everything else is on point I guess.

Number four, hailing from Australia:
Frostveil - Ephemeral Visions - their debut Black-Metal LP with a solid 93%

First off: this is a solo-project and exists in different incarnations. While this one is their debut
  bm album, their already was a full abum in 2017, which was completely ambient/dungeon-synth
though... so don't get this confused when you're checking them out. But it's both great!
So, for the review: unfortunately this one was only released on a CD (with a really good artwork),
and although a tape version is also on it's way, this has to be accounted for as a minus point.
Give me a nice vinyl pressing and I will more than gladly correct your score!
Musically we have really well written melodic black metal with recurring rhythms and patterns
(which in this case, for this kind of music, is a good thing though). Fast tremolo pickings,
heavy riffings plus fantastic melodies accompanied by fierce, but precise drummings and a wall
of atmospheric synths – sth to really dive into. Never gets boring – fast & heavy parts, as well as hooks that get stuck in your head and emotional/heartfelt interludes + piano and lots of different synthie effects - can't believe that this is/was all just one 20 yeart old dude! Fuck me!
Vocals are good, fitting, distorted guttural shrieks – nothing over the top, the typical bm stuff.
No Idea about the lyrics, couldn't yet find them, but Jake is a vegan leftist, so they better be good!
Album maybe is a tad too long - you really need to let yourself in on this and give it the attention
it deserves, so you gotta have time for this journey, otherwise it's pointless; or at least you
won't have the ultimate experience of dreamy and emotional, songs like "Echoes Of Existence"
or "Longing", which are simply beautiful but then directly next to those, there are also tracks
like "Valiance", which make you feel like getting summoned directly onto the battlefield
of a fierce Viking battle! It's all really well-written. Nothing progressive or over the top difficult,
but it just fits. Wouldn’t want it any other way here. Also it's no major-label high-end production,
but especially for black-metal, I couldn’t care less. A true hidden Gem I guess!

And to make the top 5 just as diverse as possible, here we have, next to a death metal, a metalcore,
a goth-rock and a black metal album, a hardcore EP as well - place number five:
Caged – Burning Rage Of A Dying Planet - the phenomenal debut EP with a rating of 91%
Only a 7” EP, but damn I love the Artwork and the layout - also was released on a rather cool label
(Bound By Modern Age Records), so go and check them out!
True 90’s Style Metalcore/metallic Hardcore – if you liked To Ashes, you’re gonna love this one!
Starts off with a nice Maroon style melodic riff until Ivan’s distinctive vocals set in and catapult you back into the Purification era – serious militant vegan edge lyrics right in your face!
The B-Side then sets a contrast and starts with a typical 90's hardcore chugg that invites to dance - music and variety on point - 5/5 bbma crosses. Lyrics are great – heartfelt, authentic and full of emotions. You can still hear that they're from Italy, but that also has it's own charm I think.
All in all, maybe a bit too short, but perfect for a 7” debut. Now I’m hooked for the album!
Don't you dare to disappoint me! Better bring that with you on the next tour!
Super cool and interesting people that keep the scene alive. DIY Hardcore at it’s best.
Nothing over the top fancy, but good old metallic hardcore like it’s supposed to sound + a really
nice production (yeah, maybe it’s good to not pay homage to each and every detail of the 90s)

Started this whole list way too late this year and became tired of writing detailed reviews...
Might add them at a later point, might not. Here you go with my numbers 6 to 10:

6. Misþyrming - Algleymi LP - 90%


Melodic Black Metal from Iceland. Very diverse and exciting. Kind of "black'n'roll" in some parts.
Some songs/riffs are clearly stronger (or at least to my liking) than others, plus vocals could be
a bit more diverse. But other than that, it's a really solid, atmospheric but still catchy album.
Artwork and booklet are somewhat obscure. Production is top-notch. Vinyl is a bit quiet,
but that's probably for the better - you can really dive into the different instruments and synthies.
Didn't even knew the band before this, but I also like it much more than their previous stuff,
so it's alright I guess. Don't know anything else about them, but it fits right in with Mgła,
Cult Of Fire, Svartidauði, etc. - so check them out if you like that I guess.

7. Mgła - Age Of Excuse LP - 90%

Same old Mgła, if you liked their previous albums, you will also like this one.
But I don't really wanna talk much about them because of 2 things:
Their political views (mainly the singer and guitar player, who is but also the lyricist and main
song-writer) are somewhat catchy/shady... I don't believe that they're full-on Nazis,
they don't propagate any rightwing mindset or something, but I also can't justify his support
in some other projects anymore; might be just unpolitical and stupid, but I rather try to seperate
the art from the artist here (still a big minus point though). So, this one, plus that I don't have a vinyl copy yet - they just released it digital and now everything is slowly following up (with vinyl being the slowest) - are the main reasons why this is only place number 7. The music is fantastic and
this could've been ranked so much higher if it weren't for the giant douche behind it.

8. Woe - A Violent Dread EP - 87%

Solid melodic Black Metal from the States. Not sure if this EP can live up to their sublime
full-length from 2017, which is still on constant rotation here, but nevertheless this is one of my favorite recent/current bands around. Also was released on one of the coolest RABM labels
(Vendetta Records). Nice diy style screenprinted fold-cover and a one-sided 12" with a
screenprinted b-side, which is kind of a waste, but also looks really cool!

9. Blut - s/t LP - 85%
Raw atmospheric black metal from germany and one of the best kept secrets in the scene I guess.
Fantastic song-writing by a super cool dude (Chriss Dettmer - just google him),
with maybe just a little too much love for the true 90s sound. Be sure to listen calmly and
undisturbed at full-volume on a high-end stereo or really good headphones, or just don't.
I still feel like Track 1 is the strongest and for me it really could've been a better mix/master, other than that it's a damn solid debut - it's almost like early Burzum, but with a decent guy behind it!

10. Cleansing - The Pleasures That Lead EP - 81%

And another bbma release - finish 90's style edge metal(core) done right.
Unfortunately just a tape (but a cd version is coming soon). And I feel like the second half
of this EP is somewhat stronger than the first half... songwriting, vocals - everything, idk.
Anyway, one of the best demos I've heard in a while, so be sure to not miss out on them!

Quick overview of places 11 - 20 if you wanna do some research yourself now:
Enslave – Spiritual Authority & Temporal Power, Falls Of Rauros – Patterns In Mythology,
Panopticon – The Crescendo Of Dusk, Inclination – When Fear Turns To Confidence,
Renounced – Beauty Is A Destructive Angel, Vital Force - Hard To Be A God,
Divided Life – The Death Of…, Watch Me Die - Demo,
Die Young - Defective Machines, Contention - s/t, ...

Montag, 10. Dezember 2018

Top 10 Releases of 2018

Top 10 (in no particular order):
I don't know if it's only me and maybe I'm just getting a litle more selective whilst getting older,
but I'm under the impression that there have been a whole lot of "good" releases this year,
yet only a handful that really blew me away... still, let's see what actually stood out:
(and sorry for featuring so many of my own label releases again - but I guess that only shows
how much I actually like those myself and that I always try to release and support my favorites,
whenever I get the opportunity to do so)

The new Panopticon Album - probably the hottest contender for the title, if I had to pick
the one record of the year. Two hours of diverse, yet beautiful art by the mastermind A. Lunn.
This record is divided into two parts - the first, which is really well written atmospheric black metal
with (appalachian) folk elements, ranging from a bleak blasting to playful progressive riffs,
breaking up by a sudden melodic acoustic part and atmospheric landscape sounds. Also the lyrics (from what I could understand) and samples are really good - they challenge you to think about
your everyday habits and how we, as humans, tread our one earth and the nature around us.
Therefore I understand "The Scars Of Man On The Once Nameless Wilderness" as a
melancholic accusation. Inspired by "The Singing Wilderness" by Sigurd Olson.
I instantly fell in live with this first part of this album, released on a stunning 2x12", accompanied
by lots of pictures, art and some interesting readings, which complement the record perfectly.
The 2nd part - I have to admit - although took me while to appreciate, as it is full on
americane (folk/country), paired with bluegrass. It's still not that kind of music, which I can listen
to every day on my way to work or sth, but I can embrace the beauty and craftsmanship that lies within it and I understand the composition of this album, as it is meant to be heard;
and so should you! FFO: Agalloch, Wolves In The Throne Room, Falls Of Rauros, ...

Definitely the most exciting and original debut EP I've heard in a while.
Vegan Straight Edge themed Black Metal, mixed with some good old 90's Style Metalcore.
Outstanding good lyrics, screamed with utmost emotion by one of the, in my opinion,
best/most promising and diverse (at least to me) new vocalist in the game, accompanied by sometimes playful and sometimes relentlessly chugging, bleak but substantial riffs.
The name "Gnapenstob" (actually "Gnadenstoß") is a really unique refference to an old
The Crow comic, which makes the band only even more interesting in my book.
These refferences can also be found throughout the 7" layout, as well as the band's merch.
The undoubtably cool and creative indiviuduals behind this project are (or were) also active
in bands like: Apothecarium, The Real Cost, Sympathy Beating, Cruelties, Shoujikina, ...
Furthermore, the band itself basically already started in 2011 under the name Yidak
(and then later Gnapenstob) as a solo oldschool DSBM project from their guitar player (Tristen).

But this new EP sounds far from anything they did before - I'd definitely keep an eye on them
for 2k19 if I were you! FFO: early Underoath, Prayer For Cleansing, Undying, ...

Number one surprise of the year. The new Immortal, with Demonaz (and Horgh) being the sole
and only member(s) left. If you, like me, love Immortal, but thought that Abbath (his solo Album) was good, but not outstandingly great, give this one here a chance! If Immortal was a movie-series
and we would be talking about the Blashyrkh Cinematic Universe, I would argue that this LP
would be in no way a sequel, but rather a pre-(or actually inter-)quel and should be placed between
Blizzard Beasts and At The Heart Of Winter. You have the same cold and distorted "vacuum" riffs,
being torn open by tugging melodies from the depths of the abyss, like in Blizzard Beasts or even Battles In The North. But then you also have these chill atmospheric synth parts, being destroyed
but the most evil and relentless axe (guitar), like in At The Heart Of Winter. Also the lyrics -
just look at those song names - fit in perfectly. Sure, the vocals are different. But they are still
very good and powerful, plus I actually appreciate the "fresh" change. So, check it out.
The physical release offers some cool options, like the deluxe vinyl box version which also holds
a nice slipmat, besides the CD, poster, patch, etc... and I think I have also seen a 12" picture disc
version around, alongside all the different standart vinyl colors - so there should be something
available for everyone - definitely on heavy rotation on my table! FFO: true oldschool Immortal

The best EP of this year. Raw and energetic, melodic Vegan Straight Edge Metal.
BoD is the solo project of Nolan Arthur, the guy behind HEAL Records, who also plays in
The Cambodian Heat, xEradicatex & Eco-Defense League - he is basically the american pendant
to me and Forward To Eden I guess... However, even if it wasn't for the awesome person behind it,
this EP would still totally rule - scratchy solo guitars with beautiful harmonies, the mandatory chugg,
and all this accompanied by a soulful, emotional high pitched scream - crymosh 2000 AD.
If someone would've showed me this and told me "hey, check it out, this is a lost Undying demo",
I probably wouldn't have doubt it! Also the lyrics are militant vegan stuff, so what else could you even ask for? The 7" copy comes in the most simple DIY way you could imagine. White, stamped
center labels and a b/w fold-out cover. But it is produced as simple as possible, so that the majority
of the proceeds can be donated to a good cause (animal- & earth-liberation). Pretty punk, huh?
Check it out. Should be as interesting for old HL folks, as it is for new 90's revival kids.
FFO: Undying, Prayer For Cleansing, Raid & the Earth Liberation Front!

Have you ever wondered what a "Woods 6" would've sounded like (if it wasn't for Gold's death)?
You might not have to worry anymore, because these guys might just have the answer for us!
After an overwhelming debut LP in 2014 and a split record in 2015, the masters of blackened
doom metal - at least I personally haven't heard anything near as good in this genre for a while -
are finally back with a masterpiece of an album. Just like Woods Of Ypres during their prime (musically somewhere between Deppest Roots & The Green Album), they somehow manage to combine the best of Doom, Black & Gothic Metal, without loosing their own integrity/authenticity.
The Album is carried by a depressive heaviness which sometimes is almost suffocating,
but then suddenly other emotions are breaking through the surface and it feels just natural and relieving. This record has everything, from slow steamroller doom parts, underlaid with harmonic synths and orchestral sung/clean vocals, to fast, grim black metal riffs with a bleak high pitched screaming. The only penalty point for me: no vinyl version (yet)... not even tapes!
Anyway, check it out digitally for now and then lets see what the future holds. This is definitely
a record that can standt the test of time. FFO: Woods Of Ypres, (early) My Dying Bride, ...

Do you also find yourself reminiscing the "good old 90's" from time to time and then, while listening
to Maroon's "Antagonist" think about how all newer metalcore bands are mere blatant fakes?
That doesn't have to be the case any longer - just listen to xEDENISGONEx instead!
Even the cover looks like it could've been an early Maroon release + the logo/lettering is a fucking
Earth Crisis rip-off! ...so you know what to expect, don't you? True to the core 90's Edgemetal!
Starting the album off with a movie sample, and not just any, but a crucial one from the
Berserk anime (100 ponus points for that already), is sure one way to win my heart (or in that case, make me sacrifice all other metalcore bands to the god hand). But this album doesn't stop here.
Ferocious blast beats with powerful growls and bloodcurdling screams over tremolo picking guitars
and dark, heavy chuggs. Anything other than the music (who is behind this project? do the lyrics
even make sense? ...?) is kinda kept a secret - based on the quality (more songwriting and technique than the actual recording), I assume it's safe to say that we might already know some of the
members from other bands though. FFO: Heaven Shall Burn, Arkangel, Day Of Suffering, ...

 Ancst never seem to disappoint. Blackened crust metal(core) with a message - lyrics about political and ecological matters, as well as personal and psychological stuff. Love metal, hate fascism!
Ancst are easily one of the most active and productive bands in the genre, having released a
full-length, a split EP & another EP this year alone - that's what other bands do in a lifetime -
and all of them are equally great! Also they seem to be always on tour - at least I have again seen them play 2 times this year and I don't even go out that often. I really struggled with the decision of which record to put up here, but eventually just went with the LP, because it's the longest and also shows their musical transition the most. The new EP is still just as good and even looks a lot more amazing in my opinion (12" vinyl with a screenprinted b-side), and the split 7" - also the Depravation side - is definitely stunning as well (even thought about still adding that to the list because of Depravation, so be sure to check them out as well). So, the change/the signing to Lifeforce Records also (may it be coincidentally) came with a little transition in the music. I feel like they added more "modern" elements, more metalcore influences - which isn't necessarily a bad thing though,
as it's still mostly black (crust) metal and appears as a natural evolution. Ancst started as a
one-man project by "Tom Is The Bastard" (the guy behind Yehonala Tapes & Henry Fonda),
but soon became something more with live members from bands like Afterlife Kids, Sinatra, ...
The earlier stuff reminds me a lot of a faster take on Fall Of Efrafa, while the later stuff is more Heaven Shall Burn. I love both. Maybe except for the ambient synth stuff, which they also release under that name from time to time - beware of that if you're just checking them out ;-P

 The proof that a record really can grow on you. When this was released a few weeks/months back,
I - being a huge Thrawsunblat fan and considering Metachthonia one of the best albums of 2016
- actually was a little disappointed at first listen. It was simply far from what I had expected.
Luckily I didn't kick it out of my rotation/playlist though, because at a 2nd (or 3rd) listen,
I slowly began to accept and appreciate it for what it is - overwhelmingly great written folk
black metal, but with 90% acoustic instruments and clean, sung vocals. It's a really interesting
record on it's own - you have songs like "Green Man Of East Canada", which is damn catchy maritime folk music you would expect on a medieval market or folk festival - you could actually
sing and dance to this (if you wanted to) - and then you also have songs like "Here I Am A Fortress",
which make you think: isn't this just (really good) melodic black metal on acoustic guitars?
It sure is a "different" record, which might not appeal to everyone, but I strongly suggest
giving it a try (and maybe also a 2nd and a 3rd). FFO: Woods Of Ypres, Agalloch, Winterfylleth, ...

Eco-Defense League - Join The Resistance / End The Ecocide EP
Bound By Modern Age (Tape) / HEAL Records (Tape)
Anyone else also thinks it's a shame that Green Rage only did that one 7" EP?
Isn't the only thing we want more militat 90's style vegan straight edge chugga core?
Our prayers have been answered: The Eco-Defense League is here to pick things up, where
the notorious xLAIRx since left them for good (another band that is gone way too early).
Also lyric- & ethic-wise you can't get it much butter than this + the physical release comes with
a whole lot of info material (which is always a plus for me): the EDL serves not only as a music project, but a educational gateway into the issues of environmental destruction and the radical environmental movements worldwide. These songs are reflective of the issues plaguing much of
the world, causing harm to all life, be it resource extraction, pollution, or government repression.
This project is non-profit, vegan, and advocates for total liberation and sustainable practices...
The EDL comprises members of bands like: Bring Our Demise & xEradicatex
And, yeah, sorry, but not sorry: my own band's (actually a solo project) LP...
Might come across as a little conceited, but I actually really like what I have created here
and I don't care how you think about this, but I even listen to it regularly! Also, a full-length
was quite an achievement for me, plus look at those labels involved - couldn't be more happy.
Musically, we have Death & Blackmetal influenced vegan straight edge 90’s style Metalcore
FFO: Maroon, Morning Again, Prayer For Cleansing, Unborn & The Vegan Jihad
...and before I loose myself in self-congratulation, for more info, check this: https://idioteq.com/debut-lp-premiere-death-metallic-vegan-straight-edge-metalcore-warrior-forward-eden/

10 more worthy of mention (in no particular order):
No judgement. Some of these maybe just would've needed a second or a third listen to get into
the actual top 10 - so definitely still all top notch releases which deserve to be checked out by you!

Vatican - Spawn Of All Pain Taken EP

Sorrow Carrier Records (Tape) / Glass Vial Records (Tape)
Chaotic 90's Style Straight Edge Metalcore/Crymosh. Ex-Coastlines.
FFO: Zao, 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Prayer For Cleansing, Poison The Well, ...

Youth 2 Youth Records (Tape) / Cavalcade Records (Tape)
Metallic oldschool Hardcore from Poland. Members of bands like: Incitement, Outbound,
Heatseeker, Desperate Times, ... FFO: Sunrise, Congress, Integrity, Morning Again, ...

Battle Ruins - Glorious Dead LP
Rock'N'Roll Disgrace Records (12")
Heavy Oi Metal Hardcore Punk Veterans. Members of bands like: XfilesX, The Rival Mob,
Mind Eraser, Magic Circle, Blank Stare, Boston Strangler, No Tolerance, Innumerable Forms, ...

Vital Force - Fetus Of Mankind EP
Bound By Modern Age (7")
Metallic vegan straight edge oldschool Hardcore/Metalcore from Russia.
FFO: Raid, Morning Again, Seven Generations, ...

Skeletal Remains - Devouring Mortality LP
Century Media (12"/CD) / Dark Descent (12"/Tape/CD) / Satanath Records (CD)
Oldschool Death Metal from California. FFO: Morbid Angel, Asphyx, Gorguts, ...

Wake Of Humanity - Fight / Resist LP
Bitter Melody Records (12") / Ugly & Proud Records (12")
Vegan straight edge, metallic oldschool Hardcore FFO: Birthright, Culture, Earth Crisis, ...

Elderwind - The Colder The Night LP
Self-Released (CD) / Depths Of Void (Tape)
Atmospheric/Symphonic, nature themed Black Metal from Russia. FFO: Drudkh, Summoning, ...

Avantgarde Music (12"/CD) / Folkvangr Records (Tape)
"Epic", atmospheric, multi-national folk Black Metal. FFO: Agalloch, Caladan Brood, ...

Eisenwald Tonschmiede (12" / Tape / CD)
Oldschool Black Metal with some melodic Death influence. FFO: Mgla, Satyricon, Immortal, ...
Also members of bands like: Ceremonial Castings, Infernus, Pillorian, ...

New Age Records (12")
Vegan Straight Edge 90's Style Metallic Hardcore. FFO: Unbroken, Strife, Inside Out, ...
Members of bands like: Cutting Through, Odd Man Out, Different Face, ...

And 5 more, which would've been in the actual top 10
...but couldn't legally be, because they either were re-releases or compilations:

Nechochwen - The Ancient Pulse (Comp)Bindrune Recordings (CD) / Nordvis Produktion (CD)
Appalachian folk (black) metal. FFO: Panopticon, Wolves In The Trone Room, ...
Members of bands like: Angelrust, Coldfells, End, Forest Of The Soul, Brimstone Coven,
Icarus Witch, Iron Flame, Obesquiae, Unwilling Flesh, Infirmary, Harvist, ...

Destroy Babylon - By The Knife LP
Bound By Modern Age (12") / Animals X Kingdom (12") / Diorama Records (Tape)
Militant vegan straight edge 90's style Metalcore from Italy. Members of bands like:
Absence, Rage Of A Prophet, The Battle, One Fine Day, Black Hill, Timor, End Of Suffering, ...

God's Heritage - Age Of Agony (Comp)
Mark My Words Records (CD) / Bound By Modern Age (7")
OG 90's Style Metalcore from Japan. Members of bands like: Statecraft, Loyal To The Grave,
Canopus, Extinguish The Fire, ... FFO: Morning Again, Kindred, Upheaval, ...

Cattle Decapitation - Medium Rarities (Comp)
Metal Blade Records (12"/Tape/CD)
All-Vegan Oldschool Grindcore/Gory Death Metal Legends. Also Members of bands like:
Anal Trump, Murder Construct, Creation Is Crucifixion, The Locust, Scour, My Lai, ...

Bound By Modern Age (Tape)
The perfect answer to the question "hey man, can you recommend me some cool new music?"
An original 90s style mixtape with all your favorite metal & hardcore bands on it! hehe...

Yeah, that's it... feel free to tell me about your favorites in the comments and I'll tell you how
I felt about those and why I didn't involve them in this list. See you next year! ;-)