Welcome back again!
We know that day wait to get to the second part of our most anticipated albums of 2019 must have been grueling, but we urge you not to live vicariously through us just because you already threw out your Bowflex in frustration. Instead, live vicariously through music! Today we’re featuring several more bands we hope will bring us that all-too-elusive happiness this year, even if we know some of them will disappoint. Did you know that humans are imperfect and as such their creations are imperfect? It happens. You’ll get over it. Or maybe you won’t, but hopefully you will.
As always, tell us your most anticipated records of the year in the comments, and check out part 1 if you missed it.
AEVITERNE – TBD
Aeviterne has been high on the anticipation list for yours truly ever since I caught them open a killer night of skronk-a-donk metal that also featured Pyrrhon and Krallice. They played a fiery, dynamic set that had as many roots in post hardcore, noise rock, and weirdo prog as it did death metal. In other words, they’re as likely to appeal to The Jesus Lizard fans that happen to enjoy Portal as they are to Portal fans that sometimes listen to The Jesus Lizard. It’s a churning, swirling, technical, and caustic sound that somehow still reserves space both for the music to breathe and the musicians to explore. And the musicians themselves bring quite the pedigree: two thirds of the great and eternally underrated Flourishing along with current and former members of Castevet, Artificial Brain, and others.
The Sireless EP they dropped last year was absolutely great—it landed high on my 2018 EP list despite being only two songs—but was also an absolute tease. Not only did the combination of its quality and cruel brevity leave listeners wanting for more, but it didn’t even contain the best songs they played live. They’re obviously saving their top material for the debut full length, which hopefully will come earlier this year than later. Fever. Pitch. [ZACH DUVALL]
Quality Confidence Factor: 95%
SAINT VITUS – TBD
2016 and 2017 belonged to death metal, particularly the latter. 2018, however, was more of a mixed bag that delivered potencies from most every branch. That said, it was doom that actually managed the most sneakily consistent 2018, especially in the second half, and that hasn’t actually happened for nearly a decade.
Obviously, the best way to keep a ball like that rolling is by continuing to release high-grade material, and who better to champion that cause than one of doom’s most vital leading lights, Saint Vitus. The yet-to-be-titled album number nine from these L.A. slow-hitters will of course provide long-time fans with all they typically require from Dave Chandler & crew, but the return of Scott Reagers behind the mic for the first time since 1995’s Die Healing is particularly good news for those of us who count that record and the band’s debut and sophomore efforts as their best. Clearly, Wino’s no slouch, and the Christian Linderson-lead C.O.D. release from 1992 remains terrifically under-appreciated, but one can’t help but sense the immense potential burbling from a version of the band that created monolithic stone-crumblers such as “The Psychopath,” “Mystic Lady” and “Dark World.” Please doom us back to the stone age, Saint Vitus. And leave no living soul in your path. [CAPTAIN]
Quality Confidence Factor: 80%
NASHEIM – JORD OCH ASKA
Toronto’s death metal darlings Tomb Mold recently announced via social media that they’re planning a new album for 2019, which will mark three full-lengths in as many years. By way of contrast, Sweden’s Nasheim is preparing to release album number two, the three songs of which will bring the grand total of Nasheim songs to… twelve (thirteen if you count a Bathory cover). If you’re keeping score at home, that works out to less than one song per year as an active band. Of course, it’s quite likely that there’s a workable middle ground between flooding the market and maintaining such meticulous quality control that your fans starve for any whisper of new music, but the heart wants what it wants.
More importantly, though, Nasheim’s first album Solens Vemod was an almost startlingly assured display of dark, hypnotic, beautiful, and fiercely elegant black metal. Nasheim’s Erik Grahn has shown himself to be a patient craftsman, which means that those of us who loved Solens Vemod have high hopes that the intervening five years will have produced another glittering gem. The only teaser for the new album currently available is a six-minute excerpt of the twenty-minute opening song, but even that snippet is tantalizing, with a slow, violin-augmented intro that cracks open to reveal a pounding (but not blasting) beat that urges a melancholy tremolo figure into life. The chorus of clean voices that blanket the preview are reminiscent of Ulver’s Bergtatt (surely an aesthetic inspiration for Nasheim) in the very best way. Given Nasheim’s record thus far, it’s not hard to believe that good things really will come to those who wait. [DAN OBSTKRIEG]
Quality Confidence Factor: 90%
HELLOWEEN – TBD
Helloween has joked about being too lazy to write another album, but if you look at the band’s history from day one, no more than three years have gone by since they’ve released an album. Is something on the horizon? History says yes, with the big question being what the band’s lineup will be. Last year’s exciting “Pumpkins United” single release saw the return of Hansen and Kiske sharing the vocal duties with Andi Deris. Was the group just having fun with that lineup? Most likely. However, history states that the band is just around the corner from releasing another one, and even if the album isn’t full of bangers, it would be nice if the Hamburgers could squeeze another “Nabataea” or “World of War” under their belts. [KONRAD KANTOR]
Quality Confidence Factor: 70%
TURBOKILL – TBD
If you know the first few Alpha Tiger albums, then you already know why the notion of a full length album from Turbokill in 2019 is very exciting. If you don’t know Alpha Tiger, the link between that band and Turbokill is vocalist Stephen Dietrich. The first two Alpha Tiger records are a rippin’ homage to early US Power Metal, like Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and Helloween, of which Dietrich’s vocals were an integral component. Their third album hewed a little too close to the modern edge for Dietrich’s taste, apparently, and he jumped ship to join Ronny Schuster in Turbokill and they released their self-titled EP in 2018. That record finds its home in more traditional territory, where Dietrich slides easily between Tate- and Halfordisms within Schuster’s classic-yet-distinctive riffs and melodies. It’s just four songs, but also a hopeful harbinger of the band’s full length debut. We’ve got literally nothing, as of right now, besides this EP to go on, but, given that it hit in early 2018 and has energy enough for extra-orbital liftoff, I’m willing to bet we get brand new Turbokill in 2019 and that it will smoke. For now, check out a live version of the best track from that awesome EP. [LONE WATIE]
Quality Confidence Factor: 85%
LUNAR SHADOW – THE SMOKELESS FIRES
Back in 2017, a band of young musicians out of Germany crafted a debut album that effortlessly blended influences from epic and traditional styles (with touches of black metal and doom thrown in for good measure) for what would become my personal 2017 Album of the Year. Lunar Shadow’s Far From Light is a truly inspired piece in which so many of its elements intermix and play off of each other in a unique and original exploration of melodic heavy metal. So it was indeed concerning when the band announced that it was departing with original lead singer Alex Vornam. While there was some criticism of his vocals upon the album’s release, his honest, hopeful melancholy actually brought a considerable, and possibly irreplaceable, bit of magic to the table. While guitarist Max’s songwriting is the backbone of the ordeal, it will be interesting to see if the band can kindle a fresh enchantment with new singer Robert Röttig. My bias here may be leading me to be a bit too hopeful, but I do have confidence in Max’s ear for melody to construct an album worthy of more than a mere passing curiosity. [RYAN TYSINGER]
Quality Confidence Factor:65% (would have been 70% if the band had kept the old logo)
Part 3 continues tomorrow!