January 4, 2020

Trevor Proctor's Top 25 Albums of 2019.

Year end listings aren't for everyone - some love them, others loathe them but whether you're a lover or a loather they still make for quite interesting reading as no two listings are ever the same. 
2019 was especially kind to us in terms of albums with some serious music being released worldwide. The fact my long list for this had to be whittled down from over sixty to twenty five stands testament to the fact our underground is as productive as ever, especially when I consider the number of very high standard albums that unfortunately had to be omitted. Also, the Nyogthaeblisz album will feature on 2020's album listing as it was released at the end of December and at the time of writing this article no versions were available. 

Thankfully the underground has continued to grow at a very satisfying rate this year. However, with this growth comes the unfortunate side effect of infiltration by those who have no place here. Those who seek to censor, control or destroy our underground should be ignored - their support is false, their means are false, their accusations are false and to put it simply the best thing we can do is turn our backs on those who have no place nor no welcome and eventually they'll bring their parasitic controlling tendencies elsewhere. Thankfully we have started to see the effect of snowflakes and would-be censors lessen and given time their false influence will lessen even further.
The underground does not need popularity to survive and will continue well beyond the longevity of those who do not belong.

2019 was the fourth consecutive year where I've been 100% responsible for publishing and posting all articles and it gives me great satisfaction and pride to see the site continue to grow. As with all previous years existing ties have been bolstered and new ties forged and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every band, label and promoter who has supported The Lair of Filth in any way during the year. I would also like to thank Jude for continuing to trust me with the site.

I would also like to thank my wife, Audrey, for not only sticking the abuse I subject her ears to during the year but also for being my constant source of support and being there for me, and with me, through thick and thin - she's my absolute rock and always will be.

Finally I'd also like to thank you, the reader, for supporting The Lair  of Filth during the year - every view, like, share, etc., means everything to me and without you there wouldn't be a Lair of Filth - so massive thanks and appreciation to you - your support will always be greatly appreciated by me.

Anyway, I hope you find something of interest below - there's streams for every release so you've plenty of listening ahead. 

Also, keep checking back as in the coming weeks I'll be featuring a further four year end listings, all very different to mine. We'll be hosting lists by PK from Iron Bonehead Productions, SS from Cyclopean Eye Productions and Alan Ripley, one of the underground's most dedicated followers, along with a listing from Jude.

Please also read my Top 25 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2019 listing for further top quality music from 2019.

Belgium's underground has been thriving for a number of years and Saqra's Cult is one of many bands helping the country maintain it's prominence in the underground.

Denmark's Ligfaerd is a band worthy of much more recognition and praise than they currently receive - hopefully this, their third album, will help gain them the attention they thoroughly deserve.

'The Baneful Choir' is Teitanblood's third album and was released in October with very little publicity or hype.

The press release for 'Atl Tlachinolli' featured here and stated, "The union of fire and water, bringing forth the sacred war. War chapter of the Black Twilight Circle brings life once more to the forgotten words and stories of the warriors of the past. Indigenous instruments flow like water alongside the fiery force of pagan black metal."

Yet another debut album, this time from Ireland's Sacrilegia, released on multiple formats by Invictus Productions in April. The press release featured here and stated, "Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Sacrilegia specialize in IMPURE AND RUTHLESS METAL. Although no public recordings exist prior to The Triclavian Advent, one listen through and it's immediately apparent that this full-length is the work of veterans with a master touch. 
Deadly direct, no fucking about, iron-fisted and iron-willed: Sacrilegia are a grand repository of blackened thrash metal's most sterling moments across the past three-plus decades, but minced 'n' mangled in a manner most engaging and effervescent."
The Irish underground is also thriving and this is Ireland's best release from 2019 - essential listening.

Another debut album, 'Ritual in the Absolute Absence of Light' was released on multiple formats by Iron Bonehead Productions in July. An exemplary album that deserves many listens.

Imprecation treated us with two releases in 2019 - this fantastic album and the 'Diabolical Flames of the Ascended Plague' split which featured on my Top 25 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos listing.

Another UK band, Barshasketh released their fourth, and strongest album to date, in January. Another of 2019's essential Black Metal albums.

Another UK band that's firmly cementing it's rightful place in the Death Metal underground, Vacivus is a band that most definitely deserves your unequivocal support.

Underground legends, Unaussprechlichen Kulten released their follow up to 2017's 'Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X) via Iron Bonehead Productions in October. The press release which featured here stated, "Unaussprechlichen Kulten have built a nigh-unchallenged canon that takes all the urgency 'n' ugliness of classic death metal and upends it into the realm of high art. When, this late into their career, they could easily coast into crowd-pleasing catchiness, these revered Chileans take the path less travelled and speak ever stranger tongues: verily, Teufelsbücher."

Deiphago's fifth full length album and first since 2015 - another album that was certainly worth the wait.

'Amongst the Flames of a Burning God' was one of the year's most anticipated releases and Diocletian's first full length since 2013 album 'Gesundrian.' With an extensive European tour planned for the first half of 2020 Diocletian is a band that will continue to be a focus of attention.

I had the honour of featuring an in-depth artist profile/interview with D Desecrator from Salughtbbath here in 2017, ahead of the release of the 'Contempt, War and Damnation' compilation. 'Alchemical Warfare' is the long awaited follow up to Slaughtbbath's 2013 album, 'Hail to Fire.'

The press release for 'Transfixion of Spirits' featured here and stated, "Above all, Black Cilice proves once again that "purism" need not be shorthand for a dearth of ideas: he twists the anachronisms of classic black metal into ageless, endlessly spellbinding forms, each undulating wave lapping back against the other to utterly hypnotizing effect."

I've been a fan of Antichrist Siege Machine since getting their 'Morbid Triumph' EP. Another debut album, 'Schism Perpetration,' was released by Stygian Black Hand and Krucyator Productions - two of the underground's finest labels. The importance of both labels, and Antichrist Siege Machine, must not be underestimated.

I'd the pleasure of seeing most of the tracks from this incredible album performed live at Atelier in Brussels earlier this year, a stunning live performance that matched the genius behind this album. Follow up to their debut album 'Söngvar elds og óreiðu,' this is another Black Metal album from 2019 that must not be missed. Track three, 'Ísland, steingelda krummaskuð,' is by far one of the year's best tracks.

Another debut album, 'Imprint of Extinction' is a follow up to Vomit Angel's debut release, the EP entitled, 'Sadomatic Evil.' The press release for this album featured here and stated, "Thus armed, 2019 will show Vomit Angel's fully developed musical direction, as Imprint of Extinction contains a blasting mix of shorter grindcore songs and mid-length, more death metal-oriented songs. All in all, a deadly combo of death metal, grindcore, and the band members' more-than-20-years involvement / evolvement in the underground - and of course, that touch of distinctive Sadomator madness."

Musmahhu's debut release was the 'Formulas of Rotten Death' EP which featured on last year's Top EP listing. The press release for 'Reign of the Odious' featured here and stated, "The same sense of delirium and dementia that marks Swartadauþuz's other projects manifests itself in Musmahhu, and the seven-song/43-minute 'Reign of the Odious' indeed rings with a supremacy - of intent, of action, of reality, of DEATH. Not to mention that the album is anchored by a production that's robust and boundlessly muscular, emitting a professionalism that handily challenges similarly styled hordes on bigger, more pussified labels."
Another debut album, 'Reign of the Odious' is an exemplary Death Metal album that's worthy of several listens.

The press release for this album was featured here and stated, "It has now been nearly five years since Doombringer released its first full-length, The Grand Sabbath, and the band’s second album, Walpurgis Fires, demonstrates its substantial progress while retaining the band’s notable traits. Perhaps the most exceptional element of Doombringer’s sound is its sheer unpredictability—the failure to adhere to a particular formula. Tempos shift suddenly, melodies dissolve and coalesce, and the vocals vary wildly across a broad spectrum of styles. Notwithstanding the diversity of tools in Doombringer’s arsenal, the end result is integrated and unified."

Trajeto De Cabra's last release was the demo entitled 'Antichrist Dominum' which was released by Iron Bonehead Productions in 2013. The three tracks featured on the demo were also released on the A.D.S.B. split which Trajeto De Cabra shared with Sacrocurse. Featuring one current member and two ex-members of  the legendary band Necroholocaust, 'Supreme Command of Satanic Will' is, in my opinion, the best debut album of 2019.

Holocausto returned to the forefront of the underground in 2016 with their first new material in over eleven years, the 'War Metal Massacre' EP that saw a return to their trademark sound as featured on their debut album 'Campo de Extermínio.' 2019 saw the release of  their full length 'Diário de Guerra' which features the original 'Campo de Extermínio' line-up - another superb "comeback" album that's every bit as good as their debut.

Poland's Deus Mortem released their first album in just over six years in April this year, a seriously excellent album that's had many many listens since - an album where the very high standard of music speaks for itself.

'A Beacon in the Husk' is Abyssal's fourth album, and follow up to 2015's fantastic, 'Antikatastaseis' which also landed the top spot on my year end album listing. Abyssal is a band that has featured many times here at The Lair of Filth, including an interview regarding this album in July this year. 
In a previous interview with Abyssal and Carcinoma Abyssal stated with regards to this album,"it has undoubtedly been the most challenging and beleaguered writing process that I have yet endured, involving at least three complete re-writes of the album from scratch." Thankfully this challenging writing process is not reflected in the finished album whatsoever with 'A Beacon in the Husk'  being as good as previous albums, 'Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius' and 'Antikatastaseis'
With several live dates already performed and future dates already booked, Abyssal continues to go from strength to strength and deservedly so - easily the best underground music to come from the UK in many years.

Nocturnus brought us one of the definitive Death Metal albums of the 1990's when they released 'The Key' in 1990, an album that remains unmatched in terms of vision and originality and still gets frequent listens by myself. The album, 'Thresholds'  followed in 1992 and whilst it is also a great album it just didn't match 'The Key' for a number of reasons, one of which being Mike Browning didn't perform vocals and his distinctive style was one of many factors that made 'The Key' such a stand out album. 
Fast forward to 2019 and Nocturnus, now called Nocturnus AD, announced the release of 'Paradox,' an album they referred to as a follow up to 'The Key.' 
To say 'Paradox' is one of the best "comeback" albums ever is in itself an understatement as this album is the follow up we have craved for many years. Easily as good as 'The Key' and once again featuring those distinctive keyboards and the legend that is Mike Browning back on vocals, this is an album we could only have dreamed of and one of the best releases of 2019.

MGLA's previous album, 'Exercises in Futility' was tied for the number 1 spot with Abyssal's 'Antikatastaseis ' on my year end album listing for 2015. The four year wait for a new album was definitely not wasted with MGLA delivering another modern Black Metal masterpiece.

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