Michael’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2018

Check out your podcast co-host Michael’s top ten best heavy metal albums of 2018!

It was a killer year for metal. There were a ton of great albums released this year. It was honestly really challenging to bring this list down to just ten albums. Even now when I go over this list I want to shuffle some numbers around or bring another album into this list that I begrudgingly had to take off. That’s how things work I suppose. Below you’ll find the albums that resonated with me this year and are my best metal albums of 2018. There’s a little black, a little melodic, a little industrial, but a TON of heavy! Let’s get into it!

10. Cypecore – The Alliance

The Alliance album art
Vaultroom Records

ORIGIN

Mannheim, Germany

THE MUSIC

German melodic industrial death metal band Cypecore brings the machines of the future to us with The Alliance. You’ll find an abundance of kill riffs, melodies, and, surprisingly, singable moments on this album.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“The Alliance”, “Reject the Stream”, “Remembrance”

9. Ministry – AmeriKKKant

Nuclear Blast

ORIGIN

Chicago, Illinois

THE MUSIC

I was leery of the album at first. It’s overtly political title and art initially turned me off. To my surprise, the album is a well crafted example of what a “political statement” album could be. The entirety of the album plays out like a single piece and I constantly felt like the whole thing was going to fall of the rails and any time. Despite the chaos the album remains steadfast.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“Twilight Zone”, “Wargasm”

8. Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest

Nuclear Blast

ORIGIN

Gdańsk, Poland

THE MUSIC

I Loved You At Your Darkest immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album with it’s opening track Solve which features a blasphemous boys choir. I mean, what did you expect from Behemoth? The very nature of the satanic subject matter of this album is heavy enough on it’s own and Behemoth manages to keep keep things intense and epic throughout. From choruses of deep choirs to classic black metal riffs you can’t be dissatisfied.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“God = Dog”, “Bartzabel”, “Havohej Pantocrator”

7. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods

Nuclear Blast

ORIGIN

Bergen, Norway

THE MUSIC

Black metal bands know how to make music that sounds cold. Every riff and every scream sounds like cutting through ice. Despite being nearly a decade since their latest release add to that the absence of founding member Abbath, Northern Chaos Gods stays true to Immortal.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“Northern Chaos Gods”, “Gates to Blashyrkh”, “Mighty Ravendark”

6. Lychgate – The Contagion in Nine Steps

Blood Music

ORIGIN

London, England

THE MUSIC

This album is an interesting ride of atmosphere and black metal. Every song has been meticulously layered with various guitar leads, keys, and soundscapes. Lychgate displays their supreme ability to craft songs that lull the listener to sleep before smashing them in the face.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“Republic”, “Hither Comes the Swarm”, “Remembrance”

5. Between the Buried and Me – Automata III

Sumerian

ORIGIN

Raleigh, North Carolina

THE MUSIC

Progressive metal titans Between the Buried and Me bring to us a double release this year. The albums were released three months apart from each which is certainly a questionable release plan. BTBAM brings excellence in song writing without sounding pretentious.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“Condemned to the Gallows”, “Blot”, “The Grid”

4. Long Distance Calling – Boundless

InsideOut

ORIGIN

Münster, Germany

THE MUSIC

Long Distance Calling is a purely instrumental band that packs a wallop. The instrumentals a completely focused on purposeful. Sing-song leads, driving bass, and atmospheric effects can all be found within. This album is a perfect complement to long drives or walks. True to it’s name, Boundless takes you on a trip of highs an lows. I find the music video for “Out There” an absolutely perfect compliment to what Long Distance Calling provides: an adventure through forests and mountains.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“Out There”, “Ascending”, “Skydivers”

3. Amorphis – Queen of Time

Queen of Time album art
Nuclear Blast

ORIGIN

Helsinki, Finland

THE MUSIC

Queen of Time is a quintessential Amorphis album; progressive, folky, and melodic. Lead vocalist Tomi Joutsen shows his worth with a supreme performance across the entire album. A wide range of instrumental layers can be found throughout including backing choirs, strings, and woodwinds. Amorphis as again proved themselves to be not only a staple of Finnish metal, but a forced to be reckoned across all metal.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“The Bee”, “The Golden Elk”, “Heart of the Giant”

2. At the Gates – To Drink from the Night Itself

To Drink from the Night Itself album art
Century Media

ORIGIN

Gothenburg, Sweden

THE MUSIC

I love melodic death metal. So when At the Gates dropped To Drink from the Night Itself this year, I was all over it. The album digs deep with it’s melodies and dual leads iconic of the Gothenburg sound. At the Gates provides a level of thrash and hardcore that it’s peers from Sweden do not. From the vocal delivery to the intense drum barrage At the Gates provides more than you standard melodeath experience.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“To Drink from the Night Itself”, “Palace of Lepers”, “The Colours of the Beast”

1. Rivers of Nihil – Where the Owls Know My Name

Metal Blade

ORIGIN

Reading, Pennsylvania

THE MUSIC

I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve listened to this album since it’s release. Rivers of Nihil has created what could honestly be one of my favorite albums of all time. The band has always shown an inclination and proficiency with technicality and intensity, but with Where the Owls Know My Name the band has found a masterful balance of complexity and simplicity. Pacing is such an important part about an album and it says a lot about the band and their skills as song writers and this record delivers. The tracks Subtle Change and Terrestria III: Wither that mark the half-way point of album provide break from the intensity and let you plunge yourself deeper into what the second half of the album has to offer.

STANDOUT TRACKS

“The Silent Life”, “Subtle Change (Including the Forest of Transition and Dissatisfaction Dance)”, “Where the Owls Know My Name”