2019 was a spectacular year for music videos, in no small part due to the return of heavy-music titans like Korn, Slipknot and Rammstein with their big-budget cinematic extravaganzas that reinvigorated metal's on-screen appeal. It wasn't only the flashy, expensive shorts that got attention, though — relatively simple performance videos also reigned supreme and reinforced that the only thing you really need to make a lasting impression is talent, passion and charisma. Read on to discover what videos captivated you, the fans, this year and see which relative newcomer act beat out the long-running heavyweights to nab the No. 1 spot.
Korn set the tone for their 2019 album The Nothing with the explosive debut of lead single "You'll Never Find Me" with a creepy animated visualizer, only to follow it up with a full-fledged short sci-fi film of a music video featuring a feverish desert-set live performance and an abstract narrative involving a futuristic experiment that seemingly went very wrong.
No intricate storyline or intricate flourishes here — only raw, unfettered performance energy delivered straight from the gut courtesy of Killswitch Engage and a very special guest. The pinnacle moment of excitement comes around the one-minute mark when, calmly and without fanfare, former Killswitch singer and current Light the Torch frontman Howard Jones jumps in to ratchet up the intensity in simply perfect harmony.
Director M. Shawn Crahan (a.k.a. Clown) really showed up and out for the stylish, hypnotic video for the lead single, "Unsainted," from Slipknot's We Are Not Your Kind. The stunning imagery throughout combines a cultish aesthetic and church-like setting to expertly introduce the band's updated masks, all the visual flourishes beautifully complementing the song's volatile grandiosity.
Controversy ruled the headlines when teaser clips for Rammstein's "Deutschland" music video previewed scenes that felt highly problematic viewed out of context. But the German provocateurs' latest button-pushing visual ended up being a captivating tribute to and critique of the band's homeland told through a series of extraordinary vignettes that track and illustrate the country's history for better, worse and everything in between.
3TEETH released several incredible clips this year, but none so skillfully nailed down the critical sociopolitical analysis explored in their lyrics quite like "President X." Starring charismatic frontman Alexis Mincolla as the fascistic shape-shifting con man in control of the mindless hordes, the clip follows a raucous militarized rally that sees the public hypnotized by President X's swagger and evil promises, only to be thwarted by a perfectly timed single bullet in the end.