20 metal albums we’re anticipating before 2019 ends
Earlier this year, we listed 13 metal albums we were anticipating in 2019, most of which have already come out (still waiting on official announcements from Carcass, My Dying Bride, and Triptykon), and then we listed 16 more for the spring, all of which are out now. There's still so much more metal to look forward to this year, though, so we've put together a new list of 20 metal albums we're anticipating for late summer and fall.
This one (spoiler) finally includes Tool, who -- after all this time -- officially have a title and release date set in stone, and even a lead single released. Tool might be the most widley talked-about and anticipated metal album of the whole year, but it's obviously just a scratch at the surface of what the genre has to offer, and our list has all kinds of other stuff, from reunited thrash vets to goregrind lifers to rising metallic hardcore bands and much more. We also kept the list to albums that are 100% being released by the year's end, so nothing is included that doesn't have a concrete 2019 release.
Read on for the 20 albums we picked, in order of when they're getting released. What metal albums are you looking forward to in 2019?
Sacred Reich - Awakening
due 8/23 via Metal Blade
Phoenix's Sacred Reich are OGs of the late '80s thrash era, but they haven't released an album since 1996, despite reuniting over a decade ago. That will finally change this week with Awakening, their first album in 23 years. It seems original members Phil Rind (vocals, bass) and Wiley Arnett (lead guitar) joined by '90s-era Sacred Reich drummer Dave McClain and new rhythm guitarist Joey Radziwill who wasn't even born yet when Sacred Reich's last album came out and who Phil Rind says "brings a freshness to us." "He gives us an opportunity for us to see things from a different perspective, and all of us were blown away by what he can do with a guitar and how effortlessly he does it," he adds. A freshness is also brought by the great producer Arthur Rizk, who works with lots of great modern metal bands and whose work with thrash revivalists Power Trip especially makes him the man for the job when it comes to thrash in 2019. Going by the singles, it seems that Sacred Reich have done a pretty killer job of staying true to the type of music they helped define and sounding fresh too.
Tool - Fear Inoculum
due 8/30 via RCA
It's finally coming for real! After a 13-year wait, and several vague and often misleading teasers, the new Tool album officially has an album and release date, and the ten-minute title track is out now. It's a good song, one that leans more on the band's melodic, atmospheric, psychedelic side than their metal side, and some of Tool's best music is in this realm. Some fans have complained that the song isn't exciting enough given the long wait and insane levels of anticipation for this album, but there's still 75 minutes of Fear Inoculum that we haven't heard yet, and you can't judge any of Tool's albums by just one song. We suspect Fear Inoculum has many more unexpected tricks up its sleeve.
Mizmor - Cairn
due 9/6 via Gilead Media
Portland one-man band Mizmor's 2016 album Yodh was a much-loved exercise in blending black metal, drone, and doom, and -- as you might expect from a description like that -- not the most accessible album in the world. He's now set to follow it with Cairn, and two of the album's four tracks are out now: the much more accessible, black metal-tinged opener "Desert of Absurdity," and the droning, 18-minute "Cairn to God" which is on Mizmor's more grueling side. The album comes out on Gilead Media (who's having a great year thanks to the recent False and Falls of Rauros albums) and it's got killer artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski (whose work also appeared on the False album and the great Fuming Mouth album this year). That art alone makes us want to own a copy.
Crypt Sermon - The Ruins of Fading Light
due 9/13 via Dark Descent
Crypt Sermon established themselves alongside bands like Pallbearer and Khemmis as one of the strongest trad-style doom bands around with their 2015 debut Out of the Garden, and now four years later they're finally ready to release a followup. Doom is a great genre of music but one that starts to get repetitive quickly, especially when played in its most traditional form, but going by the three singles released so far, it seems like Crypt Sermon are taking a pretty noticeable leap with their sophomore album. The melodies are catchier, the arrangements and song structures are more ambitious; it looks like we can expect everything great about the debut but bigger and better.
Dold Vorde Ens Navn - Gjengangere i hjertets mørke
due 9/13 via Soulseller Records
As many metalheads know, before Ulver went on to explore trip-hop, synthpop, and other very non-metal styles of music, they were one of the finest black metal bands around, and classic early albums like their 1995 debut Bergtatt – Et eeventyr i 5 capitler remain highly influential Black metal Ulver is officially a thing of the past (including at their live shows), so it's exciting news that Håvard Jørgensen -- who was in Ulver from 1993 to 2000 and has continued to contribute to Ulver albums since (and was an early member of Satyricon and played on their 1992 demo before that) -- has a new band that's rooted in the type of '90s black metal that Ulver helped define. That band is called Dold Vorde Ens Navn, their lineup also includes Vicotnik (Dødheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende), Cerberus (ex- Dødheimsgard) and Myrvoll (Nidingr), and one and a half of the songs on their four-song debut EP Gjengangere i hjertets mørke are streaming now. Håvard can still do this kind of stuff with passion and precision, and the rest of the members are no slouches either. It should help quench the thirsts of those who yearn for the Ulver of old, but Dold Vorde Ens Navn also have a flair of their own that makes this more than just Bergtatt revival.
Cult of Luna - A Dawn To Fear
due 9/20 via Metal Blade
Following their excellent 2016 collaborative album with Julie Christmas (who will be playing Roadburn 2020 with Cult of Luna's Johannes Persson in her band), the great Swedish post-metallers Cult of Luna are now finally set to release their first "proper" album in six years (following 2013's Vertikal. Vocalist/guitarist and lead songwriter Johannes Persson calls the album "the antithesis of everything we’ve done before," and the ten-and-a-half minute lead single "The Silent Man" definitely doesn't just sound like a repeat of past Cult of Luna albums. It's got gorgeous melodies and atmosphere and pulverizing heaviness at the exact same time, and it takes some unexpected left turns throughout its lengthy running time too. We can't wait to hear what else Cult of Luna have in store on this one.
Exhorder - Mourn The Southern Skies
due 9/20 via Nuclear Blast
New Orleans thrash vets Exhorder helped pioneer groove metal and influenced some of the classic Pantera albums, but they broke up after just two LPs in the early '90s, before groove metal really took off in the mainstream. In 2017, they reunited with original vocalist Kyle Thomas and original guitarist Vinnie LaBella -- joined by bassist Jason Viebrooks (Heathen), guitarist Marzi Montazeri (ex-Superjoint, Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals), and drummer Sasha Horn (Forbidden) -- to reclaim their status as legends and perform their two albums in full, and now they're putting out their first new album in 27 years. Lead single "My Time" hearkens back to the whiplash-inducing thrash of Slaughter in the Vatican, but it's got cleaner, crisper production than Exhorder ever had back in the day, and it helps them sound as fresh today as they sounded in 1990. If the rest of the album is anything like this song, Exhorder should no longer be thought of as just an exciting reunited nostalgia act.
No One Knows What The Dead Think - No One Knows What the Dead Think
due 9/20 via Willowtip
Discordance Axis broke up all the way back in 2001, but remain one of the most-loved grindcore bands of all time. Vocalist Jon Chang had since been busy with his band Gridlink, but they're now on hiatus too, so Chang reunited with Discordance Axis guitarist Rob Marton and the two of them have a new band, No One Knows What The Dead Think (with drummer Kyosuke Nakano of Cohol, Abort Mastication, and Defiled). Gridlink were great, but Rob Marton's unique approach to riffage has been greatly missed and it's awesome to hear Jon Chang shrieking over Marton's expert guitar work again. The singles released from this album so far have been genuinely killer; this is no "side project," or some half-interesting project we have to settle for while we continue to await a Discordance Axis reunion. This is the real deal, and it already seems like NOKWTDT could be as much a force today as Chang and Marton's former band were in their time.
White Ward - Love Exchange Failure
due 9/20 via Debemur Morti Productions
Ukraine's White Ward's 2017 debut Futility Report was one of 2017's more interesting metal albums, thanks to a mix of modern post-black metal, jazz, and glitchy electronic music. They're following it with Love Exchange Failure this year, and the lead single/title track picks up right where the debut left off and also pushes White Ward forward. It starts off with over three minutes of music that find White Ward fully in chilled-out, atmospheric jazz territory; it isn't remotely metal. Eventually, though, big metallic chords come crushing in, and the song turns into a tornado of modern black metal. From there, it keeps throwing more curveballs throughout its nearly-12-minute running time, and it's making us very excited to hear what other ground Love Exchange Failure will cover.
Creeping Death - Wretched Illusions
due 9/27 via eOne
It's been a great time for the cross section between metal and hardcore lately, and the upcoming debut album by Texas' Creeping Death is looking like it'll be no exception. They've been making a name for themselves for a few years now, with two EPs, a demo, and tours with lots of notable bands to their name, and they only continue to take off, with upcoming tours with High On Fire/Power Trip and Inter Arma this year. "Bloodlust Contamination," the lead single off the upcoming album, finds them orbiting somewhere between hardcore, thrash, and death metal, never really fitting neatly into any of the three, and certainly not fitting into "metalcore" (And it sounds great, thanks in part to being mixed and mastered by Arthur Rizk and produced by fellow Power Trip collaborator Daniel Schmuck.) It doesn't really matter what genre you call them though; if you like furious, headbang-worthy music of any kind, you're gonna wanna hear this LP when it drops.
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
due October via Debemur Morti Productions
France's Blut Aus Nord have been pushing black metal in exciting, experimental directions for nearly 25 years, and even with an intimidating number of albums, EPs, and splits to their name, they continue to reinvent themselves. We haven't heard the new album yet, but a press release says it includes "dreamlike choirs, inimitable harmonic developments, reflective clean guitars, palpable organic drumming, and a welcome rock and roll swagger," and Metal Hammer got an early listen and called it "another sonic leap for a band who continue to evolve and expand nearly a quarter century on from their devastating debut album." Sounds promising!
Boris - LφVE & EVφL
due 10/4 via Third Man Records
Japan's Boris have been making all kinds of heavy (and sometimes not heavy) music for over 25 years, and they still refuse to repeat themselves or allow themselves to get pigeonholed into one or two sounds. The only thing predictable about them is that they're always going to be unpredictable, and it already seems like that will be true of their upcoming double album LφVE & EVφL. The album is split up into two distinct halves, one called LφVE and one called EVφL, and lead single "LOVE" is actually on the EVφL half. It's a very trippy, seven-minute song that should appeal to fans of psychedelic rock as much as to fans of metal, and since it's Boris, we assume it's not necessarily indicative of what the rest of the album will sound like. LφVE & EVφL is also Boris' first album for Jack White's Third Man Records, which makes them the second legendary '90s-era metal band -- following Sleep -- to sign to that label.
Gatecreeper - Deserted
due 10/4 via Relapse
This comes out one week after the aforementioned Creeping Death album, and it should pair well with it. Gatecreeper are more firmly rooted in death metal than Creeping Death, but they're also in tune with the genre's roots in hardcore and thrash, and that very much comes across on "Boiled Over," the recently released lead single off Deserted. It's got the kind of mid-tempo groove that's impossible to sit still while hearing, a venomous bark from vocalist Chase H. Mason, and a nice amount of melodic guitar work to balance out all the abrasion. Deserted is the followup to Gatecreeper's much-buzzed-about 2016 debut Sonoran Depravation, and going by "Boiled Over," it looks like they've really come a long way in the past three years. They sound more distinct than ever.
Exhumed - Horror
due 10/4 via Relapse
Deathgrind vets and masters of gore, Exhumed are about to be back with a new album, Horror, which not only has killer artwork that looks like a VHS-era thriller (and even has a bundle option with an actual playable VHS with audio and visuals of the entire album), but also comes with a ripper of a lead single, "Ravenous Cadavers." Frontman Matt Harvey says this whiplash-inducing single is actually "one of the more mid-paced tracks on the record," and our bodies are ready to hear what the even faster ones will sound like. Harvey continues, "If you liked the more intricate, melodic stuff that we’ve done, this may not be the one for you. If you’re a fuckin’ maniac that wants to pound some beers and smash up some tombstones, this is the record you’ve been waiting for." Right on.
Insomnium - Heart like A Grave
due 10/4 via Century Media
Finnish melodic death metallers Insomnium's last album was 2016's Winter's Gate, a one-song, 40-minute concept album split into seven parts that was inspired by Edge of Sanity's Crimson and was a lot more digestible than it might have sounded on paper. It proved that Insomnium are still armed with an arsenal of killer, melodic riffs and gorgeous, atmospheric textures, and hopefully the momentum will continue on its upcoming followup, Heart Like A Grave. This will be the band's first album with new guitarist Jani Liimatainen (ex-Sonata Arctica, Omnium Gatherum, Cain’s Offering), and the band says, "The concept of the album is to delve deep into the heart of the Finnish melancholy. We’ve been inspired by some of the bleakest and saddest songs, poems and tales that truly capture the essence of northern gloom." Only two short teasers are out so far, and the second one seems to suggest that the band's knack for addictive riffage is still strong. (The first one is more ambient.)
1349 - The Infernal Pathway
due 10/18 via Season of Mist
Norwegian black metallers 1349 have been going strong for about two decades now, and following a brief yet killer EP from earlier this year, they're now set to put out their first full-length album in five years. Two songs are already out from it, and both sound absolutely furious.
Alcest - Spiritual Instinct
due 10/25 via Nuclear Blast
The decade is about to end, and people are already starting to look back on what trends and genres and artists and albums defined the 2010s. One of the decade's biggest trends in metal is the crossover between black metal and shoegaze, and though the most popular band in that realm is Deafheaven, the first major band to pioneer the sound was Alcest. Alcest had perfected the sound by 2010's Écailles de lune, and later went into other musical territory, like with 2014's very non-metal Shelter. Their last album, 2016's Kodama, was sort of a return to form, though, and now they're finally set to follow that album with one more before the 2010s end. No single is out from Spiritual Instinct yet, but word of a new Alcest album is enough to get us very, very excited.
UPDATE: A new song is out and it's great:
Cloak - The Burning Dawn
due 10/25 via Season of Mist
We named Atlanta's Cloak one of the best new(ish) artists of 2017 off the strength of their debut album To Venomous Depths, which combined arena rock and black metal in a way not unlike Tribulation. That album had more of a slow rise than an instant hit, and we suspect its upcoming followup The Burning Dawn will really take Cloak to the next level. Going by lead single "Tempter's Call," they're sticking to the very appealing formula of their debut and just perfecting it even further.
The Great Old Ones - Cosmicism
due 10/25 via Season of Mist
Lovecraft-obsessed French atmospheric black metallers The Great Old Ones are following their great third album EOD - A Tale of Dark Legacy (2017) with their fourth, Cosmicism. Like its predecessors, its themes are influenced by the literary philosophy of H.P. Lovecraft, and a press release says "the idea behind 'Cosmicism' is that humans are godless creatures who are totally insignificant in the grand scheme of our cosmic universe." Even if you don't pick up on the lyrical themes, though (and, as is often the case with black metal, it's not like the words are easy to understand or anything), it's clear from lead single "The Omniscient" that Cosmicism is shaping up to be a very powerful album. It's nine and a half minutes of post-rocky black metal that hits as hard as any of the popular bands making this kind of music as of late.
Esoteric - A Pyrrhic Existence
due 11/8 via Season of Mist
UK doom greats Esoteric helped pioneer an especially dirgey offshoot of the doom genre that became known as "funeral doom metal," and they've continued to make great albums all throughout their career -- their latest, 2011's Paragon of Dissonance, is pretty killer. They hadn't made another one since, but they're now finally set to release their first album in eight years, A Pyrrhic Existence, this fall. It's a massive two-disc album with each disc containing three songs that add up to about 50 minutes a piece. (The opening track is nearly 28 minutes long.) The band says that the album "deals with some of the darkest sides of the human psyche and the harsh realities of existence," and that "the concepts of the lyrics deal with death, suffering, tragedy, lies and the breakdown of the human psyche."
We haven't heard a note of it yet, but on paper, it already seems exciting.
UPDFATE: That nearly-28-minute long has arrived: