Top Albums ov 2018 w/ Moshito, Link, & The Conductor
3 more lists for the list god.
Moshito’s Top 10 of 2018
This was a las minute addition to the list, because I was very impressed by Chapel of Disease but I feel like I didn’t have time to fully digest and assimilate everything presented on this album. If I told you to try to picture a band playing death metal through a 70s rock lens you might have a hard time doing so, but you could just listen to Chapel of Disease and go “oh, this is really cool!”. Think of what Tribulation are doing now but with a rawer production and more emphasis on actual death metal riffs.
Rolo Tomassi are even better live than on record, so when I say their latest album is amazing, I also mean that you should definitely not miss seeing them if you get the chance. If you aren’t familiar with their post-rock/shoegaze meets mathcore stylings, Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It is a good place to start. The heavy parts are grimy and packed with odd time signatures and riffs; the melodic bits are rife with lush synths and beautiful vocals, and none of it ever feels out of place.
8. Ataraxy – Where All Hope Fades
Dark Descent | Premiere
I’ve been jamming Where All Hope Fades on and off for most of the year without ever realizing the band are from literally two hours away from where I live. I feel really stupid for that, but not as stupid as I feel for not hopping on the Ataraxy train sooner: this is quality death/doom metal with an ear for eerie melodies, changes from heavy riffing to subdued clean guitars, tons of counterpoint and a very roomy, wet sound to everything that makes it blend together and resonate all the better.
7. Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology
Willowtip | Interview
I wrote about my first impressions of the album at the beginning of the year, but Mollusca tends to grow on you if you let it. Melodic death metal riffing with almost melodic black metal sensibilities that alternates between tight tremolo lines and more classic, harmonized gallops, utilizing almost ritualistic-type vocal chants to contrast the main screams. Esoteric Malacology is an exercise in precise, memorable death metal and the most well-rounded album in the Slugdge catalog thus far.
The entire time I was listening to Only Self my brain kept saying “this is Code Orange without the hype”, and I guess that’s a good approximation. Whatever you’d like to call it (HM-2 hardcore, entombedcore with harcore shouts… which I guess is just entombedcore), the meaty, groovy riffs go incredibly hard in any context I can think of, and if you’ve slept on this you’re a sucker and I’ll see you in the (metaphoric) pit.
I got a chance to catch Sinistro‘s mesmerizing live show late last year, and was anxious to hear their new album until I promptly forgot about it for a change. It doesn’t matter though, because the doomy atmosphere, subdued vocal melodies and by crushingly heavy guitars of Sangue Cássia were well worth the wait. No other doom-adjacent release I’ve heard this year sounds quite like this, so I would have been hard pressed to not include it in this list.
I was really skeptical going into A New Kind of Horror, mainly because of the lead single boasting ridiculous dubstep machine gun samples, but that song has grown to be a true banger. The rest of the Industrial-King–Diamond-Meets-Djent-with-Blastbeats that Anaal Nathrakh have morphed into over recent releases is equally as enticing, and has warranted many repeat listens pumping iron to the beat of the gun-drum.
3. Azusa – Heavy Yoke
Solid State Records | Interview
I don’t think ex-members of Extol and The Dillinger Escape Plan are capable of producing anything that could be qualified as “bad”, but I honestly didn’t expect Azusa to be this good. The Extol-isms are very apparent in the way a lot of the guitar riffs on the album are approached, but it wouldn’t be fair to just call this Extol-lite and leave it at that. Heavy Yoke is an album of contrasts, full of twisting, ever-evolving songs that are full of new grin-inducing surprises each additional time you listen to them.
I believe someone wrote about it on this here site, but with the myriad of cool things discussed in TovH it slipped through the cracks. I eventually saw it recommended on several math-related lists and man, it’s everything I wanted this year’s The Armed album to be and more: a crazy HM-2 mathcore/hardcore/grind/groove amalgamation with oppressive, grimy-but-clear production, whammy guitar deedlies and ridiculous drum fills and breakdowns. Oh and it’s NYP on their bandcamp. Yeah.
1. Harm’s Way – Posthuman
Metal Blade | Interview
As usual, an album that wasn’t even on my radar ended up being my most played and enjoyed album of the year. Harm’s Way upped their production and heaviness for Posthuman, a half hour lesson in groovy, sometimes dissonant metallic hardcore with industrial samples that has had me going very hard and very nearly breaking my neck at the gym, in the car, at work and at home for the entire year. Not much more to it than that.
I apologize in advance for this year for the trimmed end-year list. You gotta believe me that hopping from country to country is not a healthy behavior for your music listening digestion. 2018, what a weird year for all of us.
8. Satan – Cruel Magic
Metal Blade Records
I may be cheating with this one because I am barely listening to Cruel Magic since a couple of weeks ago. But, daaaaaaamn… New Satan album is perfect for those days you NEED to be constantly punched by riffs, hooks and solos. These metal legends knows how to play the game, and you should listen how they do it.
Listen to: “Into the Mouth of Eternity“.
The Swedes’ goth metal band turned their amps towards a more ambient approach injected into their melodic vintage sound. This is not exactly their best material, but there is some mystique in playing this record from start to finish in the middle of the night.
Listen to: “Nightbound“.
6. Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy
Season of Mist
Intrincate progressive metal meets avant-garde craziness. Alkaloid delivered one of the freshest records I listened this year with Liquid Anatomy. Every structure choice is deeply connected to the oozy alien vibe and the musicianship is stellar. I mean, the lineup of this band is pure class.
Listen to: “Chaos Theory and Practice“.
One of the best melodeath records executed by a non-melodeath band so far released. Clean production and sharp riffing makes this a very good sounding album. Props out to extraordinaire drummer, Krimh, for thrashing out those nice blast beats and crazy fills during the whole tracklisting.
We all thought Mark Reale’s passing would bring down this institution, but fear not, because they are still alive and carrying his legacy with Riot V. After the awesome Unleash the Fire I thought they would retire, but they still have enough gasoline in their engines. On this one, vocalist Todd Michael Hall commands this record with raw high power with catchy as hell choruses. A recommended listening for all melodic seekers.
Listen to: “Messiah“.
3. Kalmah – Palo
I was seriously hoping a “Seventh Swamphony part II” this year and the two singles released, “Evil Kin” and “Blood Ran Cold” got me very bummed. But I still gave this record a chance and it delivers most of the time what I expected from Kalmah. Watch out to the middle section of the record, this is were you find all the goodness. Fast, melodic and fierce melodeath.
Listen to: “The World of Rage“.
Such a memorable and refreshing debut for our Latino metal scene. Ravenous Spectre is an album composed with passion of everything what means this music for all of us: freedom and freewill. Pair that sentiment and honesty with the powerful Nathalie Markoch’s vocal delivery, Luis Medina’s infectious basslines and the melodic trades between guitarists Elías Checco and Carlos Rocca to get a really good melodic death experience proudful crafted in our region.
Tompa and the guys reignited their black flame, even with the loss of Anders Björler of their rank files. This is honestly my most listened record this year, it contains everything I wanted from modern At the Gates era. From the punctuated riffing to the dark metaphysical thought resonances, it have it all. Even some winks to their early beginnings in the form of “Daggers of Black Haze”.
Listen to: “Daggers of Black Haze“.
10. High on Fire – Electric Messiah
2018 was an exciting year for stoner metal fans, not only we’re they treated to a new Sleep album, the band first in fifteen years, they we’re also given a new High on Fire album to boot. While many will point to The Sciences as Matt Pike’s best release of this year, I found his thrasher side on Electric Messiah to be just the ticket for a year that was light on thrash metal releases.
9. Mantar – The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze
Nuclear Blast | Review
When I reviewed this album back in August, I wondered if this album would douse the flames of my enthusiasm for Mantar or would they set me ablaze once again. Needless to say, Mantar once again impressed me with the quality of this release. While there was one or two tracks I could have done without I still came away satisfied.
If I’m being entirely honest I’m still surprised with how much I enjoy this album. While it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Letters From the Colony is from Sweden, what should come as a surprise is that this is their debut album. While some may write this band off as another Gojira or Meshuggah clone, I think this band is more than that has the potential to become something unique. If you enjoy djenty extreme metal, than you should look into Letters From the Colony.
While there hasn’t been a shortage of bands that specialize in playing old school epic metal, Visigoth became one of my favorite when they released The Conqueror’s Oath. While Visigoth’s previous album The Revenant King suffered from bloated song lengths that diluted the album’s quality, Visigoth seems to have learned from these previous mistakes. The end result is that these heavy metal mavericks from Salt Lake City have produced an album that is mostly killer with very little filler.
I was a little concerned about this release when Pig Destroyer became the butt of countless memes poking fun at the first single “Army of Cops”. When Head Cage was finally released I found myself mesmerized by it. While some may argue that Book Burner and Phantom Limb were better releases, I find this album’s eclectic nature to be more rewarding and of course the riffs are superb.
If there were one release on this list that I felt everyone should listen to, than it would be this one. While Ireland’s Primordial has consistently released solid music, album after album, I found Exile Amongst the Ruins to be my favorite. This album’s blend of folk, Celtic and doom metal is both haunting yet tranquil. This album has me begging the question, why isn’t Primordial bigger than they are?
4. Obscura – Diluvium
Relapse | Review
Back in July I gave this Obscura album 5 out 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell, a rating which probably surprised most people, even me. While part of me wondered If I would still feel so strongly about Diluvium at the end of the year, I can still say that this album still blows my mind now.
With the release of Desolation, Khemmis showed that their take on doom metal could evolve over time. The band’s nods to the NWOBHM was a welcome surprise. The only question that this release leaves, is when can we have more?
2. Tribulation – Down Below
Century Media | Review
The most fitting way I can think to describe Tribulation and Down Below is to steal a quote from a friend who said “Tribulation is the HIM of black metal.”
1. Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Metal Blade | Review
While it may be a tad predictable to make Rivers of Nihil’s Where Owls Know My Name my number one album of the year, I can’t think of any album more deserving. After hearing this album the first time, I was blown away by it seamless blend of death metal, progressive metal and saxophone. This album was such a massive step from Monarchy that I could hardly believe it was the same band. All I can say is Godspeed Rivers of Nihil, Godspeed.