The Great Dividers
Our scores may have come close to each other, but ours views of 2/3 of these albums are a bit different from each other…which is something that seems to be happening a little more now. (It also makes for a good cop-out on the episode title.)
Unearth – Extinction(s) (Century Media)
Funeral Chic – Superstitions (Prosthetic)
Graven – Heirs of Discord (Negative Grade)
Here it is: my top 20 albums of 2018, starting at number 1.
1. Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs
How did it take me so long to discover this band? Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs was a revelation to me and an easy choice for album of the year. I haven’t heard anything this refreshing in metal in many years. I realize lots of people heard this type of music 14 years earlier with their release of Mabool, but I am admittedly late to the game on the distinct progressive style of Orphaned Land.
2. Between The Buried And Me – Automata I & II
I heard someone describe Between The Buried And Me as “adult contemporary death metal”. I like that. I am an adult and I am contemporary, and I like death metal, so BTBAM is right up my alley.
3. Sleep – The Sciences
Similar to Orphaned Land, I wasn’t a fan of Sleep until I heard The Sciences. This album is riffy, whereas their most well known album Dopesmoker is drone-y. And the riffs are good, very good.
4. Ghost – Prequelle
Ghost does it again with another slice of subversive pop rock.
5. Khemmis – Desolation
I feel like I want to say more about Desolation beyond that it isn’t as good as their previous album Hunted, but I’m at a loss for words other than taken on its own, Desolation is a very good album.
6. Amorphis – Queen of Time
If we were to rank bands that turn out consistently good music album after album, Amorphis would be at or near the top of that list.
7. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Who would have thought that Immortal without Abbath would still be good? Northern Chaos Gods shows that Demonaz can write some awesome riffs and proves that, for a black metal band, he can sing, at least passably.
8. Tribulation – Down Below
Tribulation’s breakout was with their 2015 album, The Children of the Night, so this year’s release Down Below doesn’t have the wow factor that their previous album did, but Down Below still delivers the goods.
9. Audrey Horne – Blackout
Audrey Horne has become a favorite of mine and Blackout comes through with their signature throwback rock. Even though this band definitely makes no bones about wearing their influences on their sleeves, Blackout expands their influences to include a wider range, from 70s classic rock to new wave Blondie to 90s era solo Ozzy.
10. Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation
10. Beyond Creation – The Algorythm
10. Gorod – Aethra
10. Psycroptic – As The Kingdom Drowns
A four way tie for 10th place! Four tech death albums that are each unique but all four ended up being very equal in quality, with said quality being quite high.
14. Gygax – 2nd Edition
Thin Lizzy-style classic/throwback rock/metal.
15. Ihsahn – Amr
I never quite know what I’m going to hear on an Ihsahn album anymore, but I tend to like his more proggy (or is it “proggier”?) albums and Amr delivers on that.
16. Judas Priest – Firepower
17. Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath
Two similar albums of classic heavy metal, one by the the masters and one by the apprentices. Both solid Metal with a capital “M”.
18. Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
19. Obscura – Diluvium
Two more tech death albums, these being rather different in style but each invoking similar feelings in me, which is that they are good but I feel like I wanted a little more from each of them.
20. YOB – Our Raw Heart
Not the album of the year, as Decibel ranked this, but it is interesting and different enough to expand beyond what you typically think of as “doom”.