2019 is shaping up to be a real banner year for heavy metal, with long-awaited records from Tool, Korn, Slipknot and more coming down the pike very soon. While those albums will likely dominate the conversation in the latter half of the year, there's already been a bunch of excellent records released that are pushing heavy music into some interesting places. And the one bright side to those blockbusters not being out yet is that underground and cult bands, like Venom Prison, Brutus, Full of Hell, Periphery and more, have had a bigger spotlight on them. We recently revealed our favorite records from the first half of 2019, but were curious to find out what releases you've been obsessed with so far this year. So we asked — and you responded with a ton of great picks. See the top five vote-getters in the ranked list below.
Death Angel know who they are and what their fans want, and they give them exactly that on Humanicide. Ripping Bay Area thrash that whips and shreds limb from tired limb, the album is the group's fourth consecutive with the same lineup — a first for them, and a movement in the direction of reliability and consistency in their long-running and expansive career output.
Baroness went all in on Gold & Grey, utilizing their latest weapon, guitarist Gina Gleason, to the fullest with sweeping passages that pause to take breaths — attacking the senses with aural enormity once every ounce of passion is milked from each proceeding note. It's not the Baroness we all fell in love with in the early days before the color-themed records, but a matured likeness who refuse to stagnate in this fertile time of their career.
How the hell does a deathcore band manage to incorporate clean singing and non-distorted guitars without sounding soft or untrue to themselves? Whitechapel give a masterclass on how to change up the genre with their new record The Valley, pushing their craft further and pulling influence from far outside of their genre from the likes of Tool. Songs like "Hickory Creek" are slow-burners and show a kind of craft earned after years of hard work, and fans noticed.
The vision for Motionless in White has always been there from the start, but the band hasn't necessarily executed it to the fullest until now. Their new record Disguise earned numerous votes from our readers, which makes sense as it may very well be the metal band's best effort yet. The Scranton, PA crew combines catchy-as-hell hard rock with a level of heavy, dark production that creates an engaging, unrelenting sound — not far in DNA from Linkin Park or Korn. Songs like "Thoughts & Prayers" are legitimate ass-kickers and will satisfy most fans' taste for heaviness.
Rammstein's return after nearly a decade of studio silence was one met with anticipation and concern: Did the German titans still have it in them? Once the magnificent visual and aural feast of "Deutschland" hit the airwaves, though, all worries were assuaged and their subsequently released untitled record debuted to much acclaim. Songs like the catchy "Radio" and "Ausländer" show they can still make people dance, and "Puppe" is the most evocative and emotionally disturbing track the sextet have ever created — which is all to say they haven't lost an ounce of creative edge. Viva la Rammstein.