The Be(a)st of 2018 – J’s List


EOY 2018 Header 9C

Every year is an interesting trip around the sun.  New music comes and goes like the ebb and flow of time, and some albums hit us harder than others.  2018 for me was a very rich year in metal, yielding tons of great material from all over the heavy landscape.  There was a lot I enjoyed, so sorting the wheat from the chaff for this year has been enjoyable and fairly difficult, which is a testament to all the bands putting out great albums this year.  Below is my top 15 list for this year with a brief explanation with each album as to why I picked them.  Feel the misery (wait, that wasn’t this year?!). 

1.  Eternal Helcaraxe – In Times of Desperation Technically this album came out on December 29, 2017, but that just means it would be best of 2017 and 2018 for me, honestly.  I’ve been a fan of these guys since the To Whatever End EP, and they’ve made huge strides on each release, but In Times of Desperation is their absolute defining moment (at this point).  It’s uplifting, aggressive, melodic, pissed off and rife with some of the best black metal I’ve heard in a very long time, well fucking done!


2.  Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram:  Honestly, Necrophobic could half ass it and they would still probably make my list just because I have such an affinity for these guys and their premium lineage.  Mark of the Necrogram is the best thing they’ve done since Bloodhymns and with the return of original vocalist Anders Strokirk, and amazing guitar duo Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergeback, this one finds the band back to full strength. And a welcome return it is.

Realm of Wolves - Oblivion


3.  Realm of Wolves – Oblivion:  This Hungarian troupe blind sided me with their fantastic mix of melodic black metal and post rock material.  Realm of Wolves manage to create a sincere link between Storm of Lights Bane-era Dissection, Forefather and the atmospherics of Saor.  A gem worth every second of your time.


4.  Hinayana – Order Divine:  Like melodic doom/death metal that sounds kind of familiar yet will blow your socks off?  If so, Hinayana is your band and Order Divine is your album.  Order Divine is breath taking.  These guys are on to big things.


5.  Aborted – TerrorVision:  I’ll be honest, this kind of death metal usually isn’t my thing, but god dammit is this album fantastic.  It’s creepy, riff laden, brutal and catchy all while crafting something wholly unique and worthy of repeated listens.  


6.  Skeletonwitch – Devouring Radiant Light Much like Aborted, I kind of wrote these guys off as beer/thrash/black rehash which left me uninterested.  Man, I was fucking wrong.  Devouring Radiant Light is a fantastic release that is emotionally huge with a heady dose of old school Swedish black metal crossed with heavy metal.  I hope these guys stay on this path from here on out because I’m hooked.

tribulation down below


7.  Tribulation – Down Below:  Premium death rock black metal at its best.  There’s plenty of bands playing Tribulation’s older style of death metal better, but few bands play this kind of ‘ghoul’ metal better.  Give this album a spin while wearing a fringe tutu and twirling like a maniac while Suspiria plays in the back ground for ultimate results.


8.  Wolfheart – Constellation of the Black Light Wolfheart make another massive Death and Doom slab that hits you right in the soft bits yet still holds you up to weather the storm.  Wonderfully done Vikings.

Bloodbath - The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn


9.  Bloodbath – The Arrow of Satan is Drawn:  ‘Old Nick’ really hits his stride on TAOSID and sounds like a reanimated corpse flanked with the best house band Hell has to offer.  Best thing they’ve done since the Unblessing the Purity EP.

evoken - hypnagogia


10.  Evoken – Hypnagogia:  Atmospheric doom and gloom of the highest caliber.  There’s a lot to peel back with this onion, and it’s worth every second.  Let’s hope these guys put out another one before the end of the century because “Valorous Consternation” is a masterpiece.


11.  Giant of the Mountain – Nature’s Wrath Giant of the Mountain are a Texas treasure, plain and simple.  They mix literally all metal genres seamlessly and Nature’s Wrath is their best album to date, hands down.  It’s black, it’s death, it’s prog, it’s…fucking fantastic.  Get in to this yesterday. 


12.  Soul Dissolution – Stardust Epic, melodic atmospheric black metal.  Little frills, but maximum enjoyment on a cold winters night with a stout beverage.


13. Valdur – Goat of Iniquity If you like your death metal blackened, or black metal deathened, Valdur have the album for you. Goat of Iniquity is filthy Archgoat-ish/Beherit love that will definitely up your necromancer game to the next level.

Thou - Magus


14.  Thou – Magus Thou are fucking weird, and that’s a compliment.  They mix everything metal-ish together and Magus is a glaring monster that hates you, but demands you listen to it again and again.


15.  Night Demon – Live Darkness Night Demon are bad-ass.  Night Demon live, are really bad-ass.  This is Night Demon live on an album, it’s really bad-ass.

So there it is folks in all it’s loud, rapturous glory, my ‘best of’ list for 2018.  I always look forward to the end of the year and writing these lists, not just for myself, but to anyone who reads these kinds of things and obsesses over them, looking for the hidden gems they may have missed.  I hope you may find anew one or two of those albums in the above mentioned listing, and if not, then may your searching continue well into 2019, where we’ll do this again next time, cheers.   

– J


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