Any thoughts on Devin Townsend’s Empath?
Yeah it was seriously dull. DT is seriously prolific but a bit uneven IMO in his massive discography. I write this one off as one that didn't resonate with me, which about half of his discog doesn't. It isn't bad, but it isn't really good either. It also isn't what I'd consider metal.
Some other great ones that have come out are:
Panzerfaust - The Suns of Perdition - Chapter I: War, Horrid War
These are a local band to me, which seems to be a theme with some of the top picks. I recently met the lead singer at a couple local shows, but that isn't why I am voting for it on my AOTY inclusion list (say top 10). This is just great modern black metal and my other metal nerds discord channel seems to agree and we agree on much of nothing.https://panzerfaust.bandcamp.com/album/the-suns-of-perdition-chapter-i-war-horrid-war
Tomb Mold - Planetary Clairvoyance
another fucking kick ass Death Metal album in the OSDM style but quite a few progressive elements thrown in here and there seamlessly without called out said touches. It has some amazing solo work with some melodicism, but if you don't really dig any OSDM you may not like this. The vocals are the most pedestrian element here.
Ripped to Shreds - 魔經 - Demon Scriptures
OSDM in the Swedish style with a kick ass aceman who lives in SanFran and writes all the music but his touring entourage is in Taiwan. This is a little bit weaker than the previous LP, but still shreds.