Be it 2020’s or humanity’s, the end is indubitably nigh. And you know what that means: the time of the end of year lists, best of’s and top tens is upon us. A fun yet daunting task as the flow of good music is near constant and, to be quite honest, it’s not always easy to keep up. But that’s why we’re here, right? To keep you updated on any music you may have missed. But alas, no one is infallible, and it happens that we also miss a couple of releases every year. If you’ve read my personal top albums of 2019, you’re aware I try to scour every inch of the net looking for the very best. And while I’m usually satisfied with the quantity and quality I’ve shared with you, at the start of the following year I already begin to notice the stuff I missed. And boy, did I miss some amazing works.
I’m here to set the record a little straighter with ten 2019 releases that completely flew under my radar. These artists deserve your attention now more than ever so make sure to show your support by grabbing their music and merch whenever possible. Here we go.
1. Worsen – Cursed to Witness Life
One of my more embarrassing misses of 2019 is this melodic black metal marvel that really came out of nowhere. Well Worsen actually sprung from the mind of one single brilliant musician, but you know what I mean. I somehow missed the promo, didn’t see any publicity, and none of my fellow underground dwellers recommended it to me. Which, considering the quality of the music here, is just inexplicable. Anyhoo, here it is. Enjoy the blast beats and soaring tremolo melodies.
2. Mortality Rate – You Were the Gasoline EP
Hailing from Calgary, Canada, we have hardcore quartet Mortality Rate who brought us their ‘You Were the Gasoline‘ EP. This one’s a fury and I’m not just talking about Jess Nyx‘ vocals. Everything on this modern hardcore jewel is pure anger. I would begrudge the short length of this EP, if the experience weren’t so intense. Trust me, you’ll need to take a moment to catch your breath as soon as you’re done with it. You can imagine how happy I am with their July 2020 full-length, ‘Sleep Deprivation‘, which is just as furious. It may or may not be featured in my top 2020. Just sayin’.
3. Mass Worship – Mass Worship
If I remember correctly, Mass Worship‘s self-titled debut was the first record that got me thinking “damn, this would have made my top 10”. I got my hands on it around January 5th. Really frustrating. This is for my peeps who like their hardcore on the slower side. Think sludge with an aggressive and extra crunchy HM-2 Swedeath sound, topped with an impressive vocal delivery which will draw in both death metal fans and hardcore fans alike.
4. Judiciary – Surface Noise
Whenever I’m in the mood for brutish hardcore, Judiciary‘s ‘Surface Noise‘ is one of my go-to records. While I’m not too surprised I missed that one last year, I deplore not having been able to enjoy the primal pummeling sooner. I love the retro sound on this one. The guitar distortion and the echo on the snare really give it a 90s feel. There’s a ton of memorable moments here, the very coolest of which is a totally unexpected guest appearance by Knocked Loose‘s Bryan Garris on vocals. Power Trip fans should not pass up on this, though admittedly it caters a little more to hardcore fan and focuses less on the thrashy side of things.
5. Cloud Rat – Pollinator
Cloud Rat‘s Pollinator is an amazing grindcore record. Perhaps even one of the best releases of 2019. The music is powerful stuff that often catches you off-guard. On quite a few occasions I’ve been stared at by strangers in public transport while listening to it, because I must have been pulling the weirdest faces as hook after hook caught me unawares. Moreover the thought-provoking and all too relatable lyrical content, no doubt coming from deeply personal experiences, only adds to its quality. This is a striking record, the impact of which lingers for days.