I can't believe it's that time of year again. I've never had a year fly by so fast in my life. Usually every year feels like it's drags on and on and on, but this year has brought on many changes for me and everything past by so fast and it's already the holiday season and I awaken my fingers for the massive undertaking that is The Top 100 Albums of The Year. This year has has some absolutely phenomenal albums of all styles that deserve your love and attention.
Before continuing on, look again at the meme attached to this list. It's important. During this epic journey, I will be covering 140 different albums that came out in 2018. There is not a single album mentioned that I don't enjoy. Nothing here in my eyes sucks or doesn't deserve promotion. My duty every year is to cover as much ground as I possibly can so YOU...YES, YOU!!! can discover some new music. Your favorite album of this year could be my favorite as well. It could be number 26 or 53 or 79 or 100 or in the honorable mentions. You won't know unless you check them out and if an album is of interest to you, you give it a shot. I'm just the messenger bringing you the details.
That said a few notes as I do every year and will be listed again when the full list starts:
1.) These are albums that I have personally checked out this year that I have either bought, streamed or was sent to me via promo.
2.) The order of the Top 100 is just based on my own enjoyment. I do not feel any album here is worth overlooking, otherwise I wouldn't take the time out of my day to talk about it.
3.) When the full 100 list begins it will be 20 albums per list. Starting with 100-81 and going 20 by 20 till the Top 20. The honorable mentions will be in Alphabetical order as I'm already ranking 100 albums, 140 is pure insanity.
4.) My list is not your list. There is bound to be a a few albums that show up on this list that you either hate seeing listed or you will ask why I don't have it on mine. It comes to either I didn't hear it enough, I didn't enjoy it enough, it's not my bag...baby, or I simply haven't heard it. The following 140 albums is not the be all end all list of 2018 rock and metal albums, but it does give a great representation of what came out this year.
5.) The entire purpose of these lists are to have you discover some new music and prove that every year, great music comes out from brand new bands, bands just hitting their stride, classic bands, and anything in between. If any band is of interest to you, go check them out, play a song on youtube, stream their stuff on Spotify, buy their albums if you dig them, go see them live if there is the opportunity; just go support music in any way you can. It's what a music lover's life is all about.
Now...let's show off these Honorable Mentions!
Behemoth- I Loved You at Your Darkest
FFO- Blackened Death Metal
The band continues to grow with every passing year and every year Nergal continues on proves that it is possible to survives life's worst moments. This new album is a natural successor to their previous album, The Satanist. It's shorter, it's more orchestral, and features an evil children's choir. The band continues to flourish musically and to rousing ovation. Despite any feeling you may have about Nergal or the band in general, you gotta admire that someone can get back into their passion after battling and successfully defeating cancer.
Brimstone Coven- What Was and What Shall Be
FFO- Occult Rock
One of the best and underrated bands in occult rock, Brimstone Coven returns with new evil tales that are catchy, hooky, and memorable. If you want that evil classic rock sound and the evil imagery to back it up like your grandparents warned you about back in the day. This is the band for you.
Circuitry- Untouched By Human Hands
FFO- Modern Progressive Metal
It's always great when a band can come out and take a new spin on an ever expanding genre. Circuitry takes the ideals of Modern Progressive Metal and makes the brutal breakdowns more brutal, the experimental moments more experimental, and the hooky riffs even more memorable. It's just a really fun listen for those that want more from your Periphery, TesseracT, Animals As Leaders type bands.
Coffinrot- Retribution Divine
FFO- Old School Death Metal, Black Metal, Thrash
Twin Cities born Coffinrot released their debut album this year and it is a fantastic throwback to classic Death Metal, Black Metal and Thrash. It's a unique take on it as well, carving their own path of the past. If you are in need some new underground extreme metal, check out Coffinrot!
Coheed And Cambria- The Unheavenly Creatures
FFO- Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal
Coheed is back and heavier than ever. This whole album feels like the heavy prog album I always wanted from them. Of course the signature C&C pop influences still shine through, but it's great to hear them actually embrace their progressive metal influences shine. If I had more time with this album it'd probably be in the Top 100 list. It's also a return to The Armory Wars story, which I've noticed is quite the divisive decision for the fanbase. I just know I love what's going on with this album and hope they keep up this intensity.
Culak- Without A Purpose
A mix of Deftones, Devin Townsend, and Deafheaven. It's a fantastic mix that showcases what can still be done in the Blackgaze genre and it's stellar songwriting. I will say that the cymbal production is a bit peaky (meaning that it crackles) but if you get past that, there is great songs to behold. Solid stuff!
Cult Leader- A Patient Man
FFO- Chaotic Hardcore, Crust Punk, Proggy Moments
The latest album from Cult Leader continues to get more brutal, yet more intriguing. The songs feel tighter, the production is stronger, and the band is just at the top of their game. It captures so much of what I love with experimenting with genres and you just may enjoy it as well.
Exmortus- The Sound Of Steel
FFO- Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal
A different, but natural progression for Exmortus. With the band basically coming back from the brink of collapse to to reform with a new lineup, The songs focus more on the strengths of the new lineup and keep everything you love about the band in check. It's more of a straightforward album than previous album, but that just means it's the perfect album to start with if you are new to the band.
Grave Digger- The Living Dead
FFO- Heavy Metal
One of the best bands to ever come from Germany has returned with a brand new album that is such a great, horror influenced tour of where Grave Digger is in 2018. It's heavy, it's actually quite poppy, and just an overall fun listen. That's all I ever want out of a Grave Digger album.
Hate Eternal- Upon Desolate Sands
FFO- Technical Death Metal
Hate Eternal arrive back after three years with another onslaught of death metal brutality but this time, they have the legendary Hannes Grossmann on drums. Everything feels tighter than ever with the band's sheer sonic assault. Everything you love about the band is here in strides to progress to being even better than ever. Hate Eternal is so consistent that they can never let you down; if you know the formula, they will deliver!
Hatesphere- Reduced To Flesh
FFO- Thrash Metal, Death Metal
This Danish band is already on their tenth album! I still remember when 2004's Ballet of The Brute came out and loving their unique blend of thrash and melodeath hitting me so hard. Over the years, the band has become more and more thrashy and that is definitely not a bad thing. The songs hit you hard, the songwriting feels very inspired, and the passion of the band is still felt throughout the entire album. Considering the band celebrated 20 years this year; they have earned the right to do as they please, and they are doing it well.
Helion Prime- Terror Of The Cybernetic Space Monster
FFO- Power Metal, Progressive Metal, Sci-fi
This album is filled to the brim with Sci-Fi goodness with a prog power mix of Primal Fear, Sonata Arctica, and oddly enough, Tool. It's a very cool mix and really makes the band stand out in the world of power metal. This album is meant to be a great time and that's exactly what you get here.
Henry Derek Elis- The Devil Is My Friend
FFO- Tom Waits, Dax Riggs, Outlaw Country, Satanic Folk
One of my favorite albums that I wish I could have checked out just a tad bit more. I know it would have made the Top 100 list had I just had more time. This album is a loving tribute to folk and country of the past, while giving it the spooky, evil, and satanic imagery that really feels appropriate for a lot of olden day country and folk. If your not familiar with Elis; He is the lead singer of the bands Act of Defiance and Thrown Into Exile. SO it was quite shocking to hear this take on what he can do in a completely different style. It works so perfectly and is easily one of the most evil albums of the year, in the best way possible.
FFO- Modern Progressive Metal
I know what I said in the EPs list about having this go along with their Fight or Flight EP, but this album is too good not to talk about (and in keeping up with my rules I'm giving it an Honorable Mention list, had the EP not come out this year, this would be a top 10 album. HEY...MY RULES!) Anyways, this band's debut album is such a great display of what Modern Progressive Metal could be with nods to King's X, Dream Theater, Periphery, and mixing them into a catchy, heavy, proggy and fantastic listening experience. This band is going to get huge in time and by the time of the next album, you'll be seeing them everywhere.
Imperial Triumphant- Vile Luxary
FFO- American Blackjazz
Nick Cave meets Blackjazz era Shining (NOR) meets Deathspell Omega. AN absolute mindbender of a musical listening experience and not for the faint of heart. This will be an album that you can understand the power of and love it, or you will think it's absolute noise. I've yet to see a "meh, they are ok" quote about them. Purely love or hate. I am in the love category. And this album deserve all the attention it can get. It's pure chaos, but it entirely makes sense if you can comprehend it.
Johnny Gioeli- One Voice
FFO- AOR, Hard Rock
This album would 100% be in my Top 100 list if it wasn't for the fact that it doesn't come out for another week and I just simply have enough time to really digest it enough to fairly call this a Top 100 album. This album is the feel good album I really needed in my life and came into my inbox at the right time. Sometimes you just need an album that is just rockin' enough but with such a great positive message. As you can tell from my lists, I do love a lot of dark and depressing music, but for the sake of having a clear conscious; you need some happy music that makes you feel like you can accomplish something in life. That's what this album does for me and hey, it might for you too.
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
One of the most underrated bands in melodeath. Their impeccable songwriting skills of melodeath, thrash and hints of power metal make them stand out in ways that should make them one of the biggest bands in the business. But for the diehards like myself and others; Palo is just the latest reason why Kalmah is worthy of any praise they get. If you dig melodeath and never heard Kalmah, you are doing yourself a disservice by skipping out in these guys. Remedy that now and check this album out.
Letters From The Colony- Vignette
FFO- Modern Progressive Metal
One of, if not the very first album I received for 2018 promos. This debut album showcases this Swedish band showcases a mix between Meshuggah, BTBAM, and Gojira done in a way that is so pleasing to the senses. Without question, this album chugs, but in the case of this album, it is a complete and utter benefit. and when it doesn't chug, the music stands out so much more. A complete heavy delight to listen to.
Lithium Dawn- Gravity Waves
FFO- Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock
A heavy blend of Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and Tool, sees this prog outfit exploring what can be done in the atmospheric world of progressive music. Their latest album combines their greatest attributes and continues to make their own signature sound of heavy, proggy, atmospheric, rock, and metal. Another great band to explore if you are not familiar already.
FFO- Symphonic Death Metal
The third album from this Dutch powerhouse shows the band maturing and exploring more of what's possible in symphonic death metal. With lyrics that are personal and positively inspiring than the previous two album. Th music matches the powerful positive message shown throughout. It's an odd thing to think about considering how heavy this music can get, but it completely makes sense as you listen and you should listen. Epica's Mark Jansen can do no wrong.
Monstrosity- The Passage of Existence
FFO- Death Metal
One of the more underground, but one of the most important Florida death metal bands returns after quite an extensive hiatus to release some of their best music to date. Covering the spread of death metal from the most brutal to the most thrashy to the most thought provoking and a production that should be a bar that other death metal bands strive for. a stellar album.
Nightmarer- Cacophony of Terror
FFO- Extreme Metal
Absolutely living up to the band's namesake and album namesake; This band and this album is filled with terror, dread and nightmares. The music is beyond intense and gives you such dark imagery that plays in your mind as you listen. If you want a more palatable version of a band like Portal, but just as intense, check out Nightmarer. It's extreme done right.
Opus of a Machine- Stray Fire
FFO- Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock
It's really great to hear a modern prog band that isn't focused on the most dropped tuning and brutal breakdowns matched with odd time signatures. Sometimes you just need something that strays (no pun intended) from the norm. That's what this band is. A mix of Opeth, Haken, and Oceansize takes the alternative route to prog rock and prog metal and makes it completely their won and it works so wonderfully well.
Outer Heaven- Realms of Eternal Decay
FFO- Death Metal
Old school death metal with some of the most absolutely ferocious vocals I've heard in my years of enjoying metal. Seriously every word sounds like a dragon breathing fire at you and it's magnificent. It's a short, sweet, and brutal take on Death Metal and exactly what we need.
Pig Destroyer- Head Cage
FFO- Pig Destroyer
It's almost futile to put labels on these guys other than extreme. They can be grindcore, doom metal, noise, hardcore or punk at the drop of a hat and it will all make sense in context. Continuing to keep making the music they want to make, Pig Destroyer has no intentions of backing down and continuing to show why they are such an intense experience both live and on record.
FFO- Progressive Metal, Hard Rock, Alternative
Unique, not just a great phrase to describe Poem, but a great album. Mixing flavors from bands like Katatonia and Paradise Lost but adding hard rock tinges from bands like, I dare say, Alter Bridge. It is such an intriguing mix that I keep going back to and I had I not discovered it so late, it would be in my Top 100. If you want your music dark but catchy, this is a band you need to know about.
Powerwolf- The Sacrament of Sin
FFO- Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Another complete love or hate band. Powerwolf knows exactly what they are making dark and gothic inspired power metal with symphonic overtones and songs that are meant to be fun and sung at the top of your lungs. This latest album continues that trend wholeheartedly. whether it is at full speed or a dirge paced ballad, they cover it all and make it such a fun experience. Completely and utterly solid.
QFT- Live In Space
FFO- Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Outer Space
Literally named after Quantum Field Theory, this debut album showcases Linnea Vikstrom spreading her wings from Therion and fronting her own band and talking about what is beyond Earth; all while making it a great album in the process. I'm pretty such this album will help you pass Advanced Physics in college if you are stuck in a bind, haha. But seriously, this is just a great, fun record and if you appreciate the field of science, you'll appreciate it even more.
Realm of Wolves- Oblivion
FFO- Atmospheric Black Metal
If Blackgaze is too happy sounding for you, but you like the atmospheric overtones, Realm of Wolves is the band for you. Keeping that evil, haunting black metal tinge, while appreciating soundscapes in the process; this album covers so much ground in this style that needs to be heard in 2018. A jaw dropping experience.
Septic Tank- Rotting Civilization
FFO- Punk, Hardcore, Metal
Do you miss Lee Dorian singing faster songs? I think we all do, and it sounds so great hearing him sing over these songs filled with social depravity that is toxic to today's world (which is accurately portrayed by the album cover). Simply, if you want a short, sweet, and rotting punk album; this is for you.
Set and Setting- Tabula Rasa
FFO- Instrumental Metal, Post Metal
AN absolutely solid release from this band that continues to expand upon what is possible in the instrumental post metal realm. more ambience, more evil riffs, and some of the best songwriting done in this style. While instrumental music is a hard sell for some people, I highly advise giving this band a shot. It's well worth the shot.
Sinsaenum- Repulsion for Humanity
FFO- Blackened Death Metal
The long awaited sophomore album from the powerhouse group featuring past and present members of Slipknot, Dragonforce and Mayhem (no, you didn't read that wrong). The songs are even more diverse, more brutal, more evil and so great to hear done this well. A fantastic album that proves that humanity sucks, but it's done in such a great way that you don't mind as you listen...but maybe try to better yourself after listening to it.
FFO- Thrash Metal, Groove Metal, Death Metal
Death metal Max Cavalera is the best Max Cavalera, even if it's diverse death metal. Hearing the intensity Max and Co. bring on this album is so great to hear and it's so great to hear that revitalized intensity flourish throughout this album, no matter what tangent it follows. Plus it has a song about Hellraiser, so yeah, automatically a great album!
Spock's Beard- Noise Floor
FFO- Progressive Rock
The catchiest, poppiest and easy going Spock's Beard album to date. It is such a strange thing to comprehend, but I really think it works. Sure, it's not for everyone and for some, it's not even for long time fans. But if you look at it as it's own entity, it perfectly makes sense with where the band is at in 2018 and I'd rather have an authentic look at the band than forcing a prog induced album they didn't want to make. Right place, right time, right album.
Ted Poley- Modern Art
FFO- Rock of All Styles
I may dare say that Ted Poley has put out some of my favorite songs and albums over the last few years by simply being himself. While other bands of the 1980s make rehashed albums with no authenticity or becoming just a soft rock band; Poley makes rock of all styles, it gets heavy, it gets poppy, it gets emotional, and it's 100% authentic as it's what he wants to do. And what a welcome change that is to hear in today's age. If you're expecting Danger Danger songs or something, you'll be disappointed. If you are looking for a new adventure of what is possible in rock in 2018, check this one out!
FFO- Modern Progressive Metal
This album really.....REALLY needed to happen. I thoroughly enjoy the band and the first two albums I feel are spectacular pieces of work, but it started becoming quite...well...stale after a bit. Thankfully Sonder freshens things up again and is not just songs that in the same tempo and rhythm patterns. It's diverse, its ever growing and exactly what the band needed. I am so thankful for that.
Therion- Beloved Antichrist
FFO- Symphonic Metal
To be 6 years between albums and come back with a 46 track, 3 disc, metal opera; to say that is ambitious is a gigantic understatement. To put it simply, if you enjoy Therion, no matter what era of the band, you will find something to love in this triple album. It's a massive undertaking clocking in at around 3 hours total. Even if you listen to it in small doses, it's well worth the investment in time.
Tremonti- A Dying Machine
FFO- Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
It's insane to think about how consistently solid Tremonti is with his solo albums. Every single album is filled with metal, rock, emotion, and completely personally driven in a way that's hard to find in other bands that can be considered radio friendly. It's such a welcome change and it's great to hear another album that is stellar from start to finish from Tremonti.
Twitching Tongues- Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred
FFO- Hardcore, Metalcore
Another short, sweet and beautifully chaotic trip in the world of Twitching Tongues. No matter the speed, no matter the content, no matter the message; this album slays on all levels and makes you hate the world around you, but also try to make it better. That's the sign of a great album!
22- You are Creating
FFO- Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock
Feeling like a mix between Muse, Mew, Minus The Bear, and Oceansize; 22 returns with a double album based on limbs, with both sides giving very distinct styles and attributes. This is an ambitious album that really showed off what was possible with proper creativity and poise. It can be quirky, it can be thought provoking, it can just be great music. What ever your take away from this album, you can't deny the catchiness and power that can come from this outfit.
And there we go. 40 Fantastic Albums from to18 (That Just Happened to Be Honorable Mentions). This was the most work I've put into a list in just one sitting and it feels great to show off 40 albums that just may be worth your time checking out.
Starting Monday, the monolith, the megalodon, the mammoth, the "I Can't Believe You Have That Mush Time To Listen To Music" list begins with That Drummer Guy's Top 100 Albums of 2018 with Part II: 100-81!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)