TPM Top 30 Albums of 2019


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Here it is, the biggest award of them all.  While some decried the lack of good music in 2019, I obviously disagree.  I had just as much trouble making this list as in any other year.  In fact, I almost turned this into a top 40 because it killed me to move such good music to the “honorable mentions” section.  Anyways, see my top 30 albums of 2019 below.

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30. All Things Fallen – “All Things Fallen”

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All Things Fallen, a new band including members of Darkwater and Pain of Salvation, debuted with a flowing, rich album of progressive metal.  I loved the layering of emotions and eerie melodies.  It is a dark album, but not too dark.

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29. Neuland – “Neuland”

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Neuland’s debut album is a transcendent, razor-edged exploration of sounds and textures.  If you like Tangerine Dream, you will love this, too.

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28. In Continuum – “Acceleration Theory, Part 2”

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In Continuum is the spiritual successor to Sound of Contact, and the two albums they released in 2019 are quite a ride together.  I chose the second album as my favorite of the two because the last half of the album is spectacular.

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27. Nad Sylvan – “The Regal Bastard”

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Nad finished his trilogy in grand fashion, providing three albums of high quality, high class fare.  While he is possibly best known as the voice of Hackett’s Genesis tours, Nad is to me a sublime musician, and “The Regal Bastard” is as demogorgon as they come.

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26. Teeth of the Sea – “Wraith”

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Teeth of the Sea knows how to capture beats and rhythms in places I never imagined.  “Wraith” shifts and transitions and loops into riveting places.  I can’t get enough.

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25. Ray Alder – “What the Water Wants”

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Ray’s voice is legendary, and his debut solo album captures possibly his best performance in years.  On top of that, the songs themselves are tightly composed, emotional, and as solid as can be.

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24. Odd Logic – “Last Watch of the Nightingale”

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Odd Logic always changes up their style in such a way that their music captivates my ears anew each time they release a record.  This new album has some of the best guitars and even harsh vox of 2019, and I absolutely love the height and breadth of the artistry here.

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23. New Ghost – “New Ghost Orchestra”

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New Ghost, even several months after release, is pretty darn mysterious.  I don’t know much about them, but I do know that this album phases through so many textures and brilliant moments that it is almost the perfect nugget of progressive goodness.  It’s a real joy to hear it, and I hope we hear more from them.

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22. Moonrise – “Travel Within”

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Kick your head back, and sing along with this joyous, yet introspective album from Moonrise.  With superb vocal melodies and uplifting ambiance, this is an album that deserves more attention.

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21. Myrath – “Shehili”

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Myrath took their time with this new album, and I think it was worth the wait.  While it does not best “Tales of the Sands” for me, I think this might be right behind that masterpiece in terms of purely great songwriting.  It seems like every song on this record is something to sing and maybe even dance to in our house.

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20. Introitus – “Shadows”

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Introitus is one of my favorite bands, and this new album has all the heart, warmth, darkness, and emotion I wanted.  With nearly unparalleled instrumentals and explosive keys, this one will never get old.

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19. Evan Carson – “Ocipinski”

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Evan is a drummer, but this solo album tells me that he is much more than that.  Enlisting voices like Jim Grey (of Caligula’s Horse) and musicians like Gleb Kolyadin (of Iamthemorning), Evan has produced a grand tapestry of color and whirling light.

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18. Daniel Tompkins – “Castles”

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Daniel has come so far in the last decade, and this majestic solo record is proof of that.  Experimenting and progressing in various ways, this progressive pop record has some of the catchiest, most addictive songs of the year.

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17. Voyager – “Colours in the Sun”

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Voyager never fails.  That is a fact.  This new album from the Australian outfit has all the personality, charm, and groove you could ask for, and then some.

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16. Wilderun – “Veil of Imagination”

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Look no further than Wilderun if you are looking for dark poetry, blackened atmospheres, and eccentric song structures.  “Veil of Imagination” is hugely ambitious, and stretches my senses to new limits.

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15. Cosmograf – “Mind over Depth”

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Cosmograf is such a fantastic project, and I think this might be my favorite album yet.  With deep lyrics and a new appreciation for the electronic side of things, this album was right up my alley.

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14. Etrange – “Etrange”

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There weren’t very many instrumental albums that captured my heart this year, but Etrange’s debut certainly did.  With a balance between vast oceans of sound and technical wizardry, Etrange has created a work of universe-expanding art.

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13. Insomnium – “Heart Like a Grave”

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With three guitarists and lots of ambition, Insomnium is surging forward in my mind.  “Heart Like a Grave” is their most Romantic, shadowy album yet, and the first of theirs to grab me by the throat and heart simultaneously.  I foresee this album only getting better and better as I listen.

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12. Klone – “Le Grand Voyage”

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With nomadic ambiance and great composition skills, Klone blasted their way into my favorites for 2019.  I was not expecting the levels of sheer beauty and excellent song structure that appear on this disc, and so I want more now.

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11. The Tea Club – “If/When”

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The Tea Club had a really good year in 2019.  With this highly melodic, brilliantly arranged album, plus a big tour, the band seems poised to take the progressive community by storm soon.  I’m willing to bet that you will be singing along with this album in short order, as long as you give it a chance.

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10. M83 – “DSVII”

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M83 has created some fantastic music in the past, but this “DSVII” album is really something above and beyond.  Scaling the heights of melody and retro keyboard action, this album floats by with tender beauty and real color.

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9. Mother of Millions – “Artifacts”

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Mother of Millions did not have a good year.  They lost a member to the veil, and that can never be forgotten.  However, “Artifacts” is forever a tribute to keyboardist Makis Tsamkosoglou, and the rest of the band seems to have embraced the high emotion and spiritual atmosphere of this work of art.  I wish my best to them as they venture into the unknown as a band.

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8. Alcest – “Spiritual Instinct”

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Speaking of spiritual, Alcest explores some of the nether reaches of human pain and emotion, and they know how to draw that out in ghostly, embroidered fashion.  Even though I don’t understand a word of the lyrics, I can feel and recognize the emotions within my own heart.

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7. Darkwater – “Human”

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Darkwater finally returned in 2019, and they provided an album full of searing melody and imaginative arrangements.  I will forever love this band, but even if I had never heard them before now, “Human” is still a masterwork that instantly won my mind.

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6. Jolly – “Family”

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Jolly’s “Family” was a long time coming, and I supported the band on Patreon through the process.  It was a joy to see these musicians as they learned about each other, started families, and created this stunning album on the side.  I wish them the best, and I hope “Family” isn’t the last we will hear from them.

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5. Bent Knee – “You Know What They Mean”

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Bent Knee isn’t for the faint of heart.  Within this record, you will hear powerful lyrics of a raw nature that aren’t very common today.  You will hear math rock grooves, illustrious vocals, heightened melodies, and so much more.  Bent Knee sounds like no other band, and I daresay this is their greatest album to date.

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4. Leprous – “Pitfalls”

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Leprous has changed so much in the last decade.  A keen ear, though, can hear that they have only gotten better with age and experience, and “Pitfalls” is the culmination of all that.  You can hear the wisdom, passion, and pure will that has shaped the band in each and every song.  This, without a doubt, is the best record they’ve every made.

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3. Evergrey – “The Atlantic”

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Evergrey finished their trilogy of albums since their big comeback a few years ago with “The Atlantic”, a display of the towering emotions, musical passion, and technical depths that the band has developed over the years.  I don’t think Evergrey is going anywhere any time soon, but even if they do, their discography is easily one of the best of any band I’ve ever heard.

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2. Mostly Autumn – “White Rainbow”

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Mostly Autumn took me by surprise in 2019.  I have always loved their folksy style of progressive rock, but “White Rainbow” represents the band firing on more cylinders than I can count.  This is an album of monolithic proportions; full of transcendent emotions, muscular guitars, and unbelievable vocal performances.  This was nearly in the top spot, I’ll have you know.

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***1. Devin Townsend – “Empath”***

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I will fully admit that I never thought I would love a Devin Townsend album as much as I love “Empath”.  Devin has always been an eccentric genius, someone that takes brains and time to appreciate.  “Empath” is the album where I finally broke that barrier.  With charm, playfulness, and colorful splendor, Devin undertook a record that fused all of those things with profound lyrics, massive scale, and tender melodies.  “Empath” does not play games.  It does not offer an easy learning curve.  It does not flirt with normalcy.  No, “Empath” is unabashedly a masterpiece of aggressive textures, lofty ambitions, and intelligent messages of love and human unity.  This is, without a doubt, the best album of 2019 for me, not to mention one of the best albums of the last decade.

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Honorable Mentions

Iamthemorning – “The Bell”

Our Destiny – “Awakening”

Omnerod – “Arteries”

Mt. Amber – “Another Moon”

Hemina – “Night Echoes”

Courtney Swain – “Between Blood and Ocean”

Retrospective – “Latent Avidity”

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3 responses to “TPM Top 30 Albums of 2019

  1. Did you forget Opeth man? 😛 Asking cause you gave it a 10 in your review but it’s strangely absent here, even from the HM’s.

    Like

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