The following are the records I found myself jamming the most in 2019 and they are listed in NO PARTICULAR ORDER. Magnitude - To Whatever Fateful End I was turned on to this record by hardcore Twitter, as there was massive buzz upon its release. The epic intro track leads into a hellacious proper opener in ”Opposition”, with its chugging breakdowns and anthemic vocals. Seeing their set at This Is Hardcore was so epic, I honestly considered going straight edge for a second….for a second. Ceremony - In The Spirit World Now I already reviewed this record in depth so I’ll spare you from reiterating how much I think Ceremony have settled into a great sound that nods to previous records in their discography. I also won’t repeat myself by saying that this is a proper sonic bridge between Zoo and The L-Shaped Man. Now go on ahead and pop on the title track and Charlie Brown dance in your living room. Spirit Adrift - Divided By Darkness The third release by Gatecreeper’s alter ego is a hell of a record from beginning to end that I have also waxed poetic about previously on this very site. Fans of modern doom metal and even 80’s-esque metal/hard rock need to check this out. Helms Alee - Nocticula The Seattle based rock trio served up another 40 minutes of weird, angular hard rock that I cannot get enough of. The vocal harmonies are more haunting and catchy, the riffs are often times heavy and yet atmospheric, and the bass is dominant and crushing in tone. Everything about this band gets better from record to record, check out the album closer ”Word Problem” for a real punch in the ears. Fuming Mouth - The Grand Descent The hellacious debut LP is a HM2 soaked punch in the fucking mouth, and you KNOW I love me some HM2. This record packs in plenty of dissonant breakdowns and fast paced blasts that both hardcore kids and metal heads and agree on. Triple B Records killed it this year and there’s still ONE MORE BBB release on my list to go. Wear Your Wounds - Rust On The Gates Of Heaven This record will hold your attention while weaving its way through heavy rhythms, haunting melodies, and the restrained vocals of Converge frontman Jacob Bannon. What started as a solo side project has blossomed into a heavy hitting and fully realized band comprised of legendary members of the heavy music scene. While I hope my initial review lead you to check this record out, if you missed it I encourage you to go in blind. Dims the lights and crank the speakers, sit back and enjoy the ride. Pelican - Nighttime Stories and Russian Circles - Blood Year Two prominent bands in instrumental heaviness churned out what I feel may be their heaviest releases yet. While Pelican take the cake in terms of raw riffage, Russian Circles have a level of hypnotic precision with their loop based songwriting that is hard to deny. While this isn’t a dick measuring contest by any means, both of these instrumental metal legends are at the top of their game. Restraining Order - This World Is Too Much This record popped on my radar late in the year, but being that it was released on Triple B, I had to give it the benefit of the doubt. Fast paced hardcore punk with pummeling riffs and two step riffs galore. Most tracks are short and sweet and catchy which will lead to repeat listens. I’d like to imagine that if Ceremony never started leaning into the post-punk/new wave sound we’re accustomed to today, you’d get Restraining Order. Inter Arma - Sulphur English The fourth album from the RVA based Inter Arma is a fantastic listen from the songwriting to the crushing production. I still find myself revisiting the midpoint of ”Citadel” to headbang to the elephant stomping breakdown riff. These guys just got announced as support for the Deafheaven 10 year tour so I highly suggest checking them out. Honorable Mentions NY In 64 - Safety Knocked Loose - A Different Shade Of Blue Creeping Death - Wretched Illusions Nomad Stones - Unriddled Low Dose - S/T Torche - Admission Mark Morton - Anesthetic