2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with major players such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For his part, Mike Hranica contributed to the Devil Wears Prada's latest LP, The Act, one of this year's best. With that in mind, we asked the vocalist-guitarist to share some of his favorite music from this year — below, along with a poem, is what he offered up.
"Antiquated ambivalence by the new age.
Moving winds and petrified decay
Inversion and contrast.
Bloom, reception, methodic.
Passing melody through fields of grain, as to welcome man again.
"It's been an excellent year in new music. Thank you to Revolver for having me back to name my favorite releases. You'll find those alphabetically listed below."
I find something deeply peaceful about BIG | BRAVE. It feels as if they continually create an unchartered means of exploring affection. A Gaze Among Them continues the band's said means of exploration.
Without doubt, Big Business is one of the most transformative support acts I've witnessed in some time. At Sleep's show in Madison, Wisconsin, this past June, I was quickly entranced. The Beast You Are encapsulates all of the band's notable components in a truly excellent LP.
I'd heard about this split across the internet and came across the vinyl at a shop in Santa Cruz. While it may be considered black-metal blasphemy to know little of the bands' surroundings outside of Sentient Ruin, and also not a fervent black-metal fan myself, Gloam and Black Fucking Cancer compiled a project that I believe to expand past what is much of black metal's temperamental expiration date.
A few guys in TDWP messaged me about Sergeant House's Brutus when they released a single or two from Nest — pardon my lack of recollection to the exact details. Sometimes today's three-piece acts rub me as incomplete and repetitious, however the musicianship of Brutus combines perfectly.
Mentioning Cylene as cavernous and moody undermines the sheer beauty of this ambient collaboration. Even "ambient" feels shallow, incomplete. Stunning tones, movement: I was very much looking forward to this release and find myself entirely satisfied.
I had the great pleasure of finding Diabolical Records in Salt Lake City this year. Their collection and releases have yet to disappoint, certainly starting with Harrga. Passionately jarring avant-garde vocals and textures, born against society's tragic mishandling of the immigration crisis.
When I heard the first two singles for Sea of Worry, I was let down. I figured there was no way HANL could top The Unnatural World, a record I unabashedly qualify as an all-time favorite release — even at a young five years old. All the same I preordered. On tour and away from my records, I had a long walk across Syracuse in cold November, listening to the MP3s for the first time. While it is certainly too early to comment on Sea of Worry vs. The Unnatural World, it is safe to say that Have a Nice Life have another incredible batch of songs in their new LP.
Oh dear. Is there a way to start with Nick Cave? For me — no. While Push the Sky Away and Skeleton Tree may contain more digestible hooks and traditional song structures than Ghosteen — in what's been stated as a trilogy of albums — Ghosteen is a story of limitless bounds, lyrically and sonically.
I caught word of Sunn O))) working at Electrical Audio, and from there I was — figuratively — counting the days for the album announcement. Since my introduction to the band with Monoliths & Dimensions, the harrowing power and beauty of drone has been one of the most influential revelations for me. There is only one Earth 2 and only one Lysol, however it is a fool who would be surprised to recognize what Albini did in capturing Life Metal.
A tyrannical caveman/cavewoman ensemble deep in melody, deep in fundamentals. It'll take me years of unraveling to better understand every clatter and voice that combines to construct Leaving Meaning. I wait and eagerly listen. Lost in beauty, like fiction.
Chelsea Wolfe - Birth of Violence
Droneflower: A Collaboration Between Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky
Helms Alee - Noctiluca
High Priest - Sanctum
The Murder Capital - When I Have Fears
Sunn O))) - Pyroclasts
Uzeda - Quocumque jeceris stabit