Christmas is done and the end of 2018 approaches rapidly. A year of some pretty darn good releases and disappointments alike. That also means: time to pen down the lists! Many re-hashing, doubts, kicking-in and kicking-out of albums preceded these carefully put together and fully subjective lists.
We had a lot of fun in 2018 while attending the many, many festivals and concerts the flourishing metal biosphere currently cultures. This is also the point where we say: Thank you all for the fun at festivals, concerts, music and of course party. And last, but not least, thank you, the reader, for reading the stuff we pen down. Have a blasting end of 2018 and see you in 2019!
Top 6 – Erik
6. Marduk – Viktoria
5. Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
4. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
3. Abigor – Höllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition)
2. Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
1. “>Summoning – With Doom We Come
Top 10 – Wouter
10. Ultha – The Inextricable Wandering
Music is not always supposed to convey joy or beauty. On the contrary, the raw pain and bleakness of this album grips you into a not-so easy listening experience. But holy high hell, what an album Ultha have put down with this release.
9. Craft – White Noise / Black Metal
Uncompromising and raw. Craft made another brilliant black/death metal monument, with rough (and sharp!) edges for the days of confusion and aggression alike.
8. Cor Scorpii – Ruin
It took some time since Cor Scorpii released Monument, but the wait for Ruin was worth it.
7. Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Necrophobic is back and here to stay, of which Mark of the Necrogram is the testament to that statement.
6. Nahtrunar – Mysterium Tremendum
Austrian one man project Nahtrunar, after two magnificent earlier full lengths (Symbolismus and Existenz), completes the circle with this technical, filthy and brilliant opus. Allegedly his last, but who knows – I would love to hear more!
5. Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse
Not much needs to be said about Watain. Their chaos reigns supreme with Trident.
4. Bonjour Tristesse – Your Ultimate Urban Nightmare
As with Ultha, the music of Bonjour Tristesse is also painful, especially the vocals. A marvelous dirge for the dying urban world.
3. Sojourner – The Shadowed Road
If Summoning would be a spectrum, Sojourner is on the somewhat more uplifting side. The Shadowed Road is as beautiful, pure and aesthetic as its predecessor, if much organic sounding.
2. Helrunar – Vanitas
‘Of hatred and vanity’ – Helrunars Vanitas Vanitvm is a statement of musical and lyrical filthy brilliance.
1. Sylvaine – Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone
Not often have I found an album so brilliantly composed, well balanced and of such enrapturing beauty as I did when reviewing Sylvaine‘s Atoms. Competing with Vanitas for the no. 1 spot, the aesthetic of this album finally made me decide in favor of Sylvaine.
Top 10 Ingrid
I have had a very busy year and have not focused as much on new releases and music as much as the previous years. Currently, my Top 10 releases from 2018 looks like shown below. Nevertheless this might change after a while. I haven’t had the time to listen to all 2018 releases of bands that have my interest yet. Like last year my list is quite varied, with not just metal, but also Indie Rock and even some dance music. Since we are a metal webzine I tried to keep it as metal as possible but I just hád to put these albums in my list.
10. Harakiri For the Sky – Arson
9. Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
8. Vreid – Lifehunger
4. Behemoth – I loved you at your darkest
7. Marduk – Viktoria
6. Alan Walker – Different World
5. Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik – Hugsjá
3. Imagine Dragons – Origins
2. Auri- Auri
1. Anomalie – Integra (EP release, but still my favorite release from 2018)
Top 10 – Sam
2018 has been a great year for metal, and while I have to say that my top album this year is number one by a wide margin, every other album on this list could easily have taken the next-best spot. So here comes my top 10 of 2018 (also known as “how many times can Sam mention the hurdy gurdy in a year-end metal review?”).
This American black metal band’s sophomore album deserves to be on every year-end list for the track Snakes & Vultures alone; no other song sums up 2018 more succinctly. ‘Nuff said.
9) Anicon – Entropy Mantra
Brooklyn has become a hotbed of talented black metal bands, and Anicon are no exception. Their sophomore full-length is pure energy and pounding drums from beginning to end. “Entropy Mantra” is a must-listen for fans of the scene.
8) Chapel of Disease – …And as We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced the Eye
Its release date of November 23rd made Chapel of Disease’s third LP a late addition to my top 10, but wow, is there a lot going on here. Is it death metal? Black metal? Heavy metal? PROG? Who knows – and who cares? It’s awesome! It’s loaded with energy and offers something for everyone. Personally, I could listen to “Oblivious/Obnoxious/Defiant” on loop for at least an hour.
7) Afsky – Sorg
I am a simple woman: If I hear a hurdy gurdy five tracks in to a black metal album, there is a very good chance that black metal album is going to wind up on my top 10 list for the year. This blistering debut full-length from Danish black metallers Afsky goes back to the roots in more ways than one; it’s raw and unforgiving, with enchanting melodies and traditional instruments woven throughout.
6) Antlers – Beneath.Below.Behold
Antlers’ 2015 debut, “A Gaze Into The Abyss,” was already close to a masterpiece, but this Leipzig-based atmospheric black metal outfit’s sophomore effort kicks things up one more notch. “Beneath.Below.Behold” opens with the sound of rushing water, which is apt, because this is an album you can absolutely feel yourself sinking into. The entire work is crashing waves, driving drums, and throbbing bass; it works best when enjoyed whole from start to finish, like a perfect bubble in a turbulent sea.
5) Panopticon – The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (Part I)
Panopticon have always been a very special sort of band. Mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Austin Lunn often moves beyond black metal into the realms of Americana, bluegrass, and other folk, but he has really outdone himself this time. “The Scars of Man…” is a two-part album: half powerful atmospheric black metal, half hearth-warmed Americana. Part I (the metal half) also incorporates a bit of the folky side of things, which only underscores the strength of the black metal atmosphere on this album. It’s the first Panopticon record that blew my socks off right out of the gate; it’s cold and snowy and vast and mountainous, and I loved every minute of it. (Plus: Extra kudos from me for the hurdy gurdy on Part II).
4) Abinchova – Weltenwanderer
My affection for these Swiss melodic folk/death metallers is no secret, and if there’s one thing they don’t deserve, it’s the relentless comparisons to Eluveitie – their third full-length, “Weltenwanderer,” should finally put that nonsense to rest. Abinchova has clearly emerged with their own sound and so many hooky riffs and melodies that make this album difficult to switch off. The title track is my absolute favorite, but there isn’t a single song on here that isn’t brilliant and fun in its own way, and the lyrics are loaded with fantastical tales in German. It will be a crime if they aren’t booked for some sort of European tour in 2019.
3) Necros Christos – Domedon Doxomedon
This album makes me a little sad, because Necros Christos have said it will be their last. But what a way to go out: Clocking in at nearly two hours of playing time, this occult death metal opus consummates the band’s trilogy of full lengths with all the weight of a massive boulder sealing a tomb. As much as I love Necros Christos, I always sat down to listen to this album thinking, “Phew, two hours; no way I’m going to make it through this whole thing.” Then, what felt like five minutes later, I would look up puzzled when I realized the album was already over. In typical Necros Christos fashion, the brutal metal tracks are broken up by various instrumental Gates and Temples; the whole work is a meditative experience, intricately woven by a band bowing out at its creative peak. All hail this third and final testament!
2) Verheerer – Maltrér
It’s raw, it’s occult, it’s brutal: It’s Verheerer! What this northern German black metal band lacks in precision, they more than make up for in sheer energy. Maltrér is the band’s debut full-length, but when I first heard it, I would’ve sworn they were grizzled veterans of the German underground scene. It conjures all the dark spirits of the underworld and sets them on the listener in a blaze of vicious fury. If this album is a portent of what’s to come, I think we can expect amazing things from Verheerer in the future.
What else can I say about this album? It’s such an incredible work of art that it took me three months to fully get to grips with it. It’s some of the finest, hardest-driving atmospheric black metal I’ve heard in a long time, full of progressive riffs and gorgeous strings. The band also invested so much effort into the overall concept that, if you speak German, it’s really worth taking the time to sit down and see what they’ve done with some of the classics of German verse and philosophy. And if you don’t speak German, you’ll be blown away by it anyway.
Sangre de Muerdago – Noite
While not technically a metal band, Sangre de Muerdago certainly capture a dark musical spirit in their Galician folk melodies that a lot of metalheads enjoy (if the long-haired, leather-clad audience members at their concerts are anything to go by, that is!). This studio album perfectly captures that essence; hauntingly beautiful and endlessly engaging, it’s ideal music for quiet reflection. Bonus points for mastermind Pablo C. Ursusson’s stellar hurdy-gurdy playing.
Top whatever- Laetitia
2018 certainly had great releases, but getting to a top 10 hasn’t been working for me. So, here is a (short list) of whatever I absolutely adore, in various categories.
Ultha – The Inextricable Wandering – Why? I tried to write it down and THISis what I came up with.
Svartidaudi – Revelations of the Red Sword – It slays.
Hate Eternal – Upon Desolate Sands (‘Upon Desolate Sands‘ is THE (death) metal track of the year, thanks)
Because I also love these:
Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik – Hugsjá
Summoning – With Doom We Come -> It’s no Oathbound or Stronghold, but I have a weak spot for Summoning
Craft – White Noise and Black Metal -> Introduced me to to rest of the Craft discography, which I adore from A to Z.
Bonjour Tristesse – Your Ultimate Urban Nightmare for your post moods
Stuff you need to check:
Funeral Mist – Hekatomb (beating Marduk by far)
Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers (promising Portuguese stuff)
Erdve – Vaitojimas (heavy AF)
Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy (TOTALLY UNDERRATED, ‘Kernel Panic‘, is fantastic)!
I know I’ve missed a lot here, including tunes I might discover somewhere in 2019, but so be it. Also, yes this list only features metal (‘Hugsjá’ aside), I’ve hardly had the time to get out of it. ;)