To say that I'm getting burnt out is a massive understatement. By the time all is said and done I will have done 191 reviews in the course of a week and a half, but it is an endeavor that I love every single year as I get to show off the positive things in the world, even if some of the music showcased is depressing. With this list, we are passing the half way mark of the Top 100 list and really getting deeper into that good ol' nitty gritty. Let's get to it after a recap of the rules:
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.
And now...albums 60-41!
60.) Aborted- Terrorvision
FFO- Brutal Death Metal, Deathgrind, Horror
Easily my favorite Aborted album to date. With this album, the band really expanded their horizons in their style by adding so much more melodies, harmonies and layers of atmosphere. It's the most dense album to date in their catalog but that means with every listen, you'll discover something new. A sheer masterpiece of extreme music.
59.) Vessel of Light- Woodshed
FFO- Heavy Metal Occult Rock
A new formation between members of Hades and Ancient VVisdom leads to a heavy, evil, and such a catchy LP of tunes. This is a collection that just works so perfectly well together with it's shared goal of dark music done in such a catchy way. A complete joy to listen to and worth checking out immediately.
58.) Lords of Black- Icons Of The New Days
FFO- Power Metal, Heavy Metal
The third album from this fantastic band brings the band to their most cohesive and catchy collective of songs to date. Combining all of their best and memorable moments but filtering it to make it extra catchy. It's amazing how this band has yet to lose any power in their soul, and this album proves that that fire is staying strong for ages to come.
57.) The Sea Within- S/T
FFO- ALL Star Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal
Featuring members of Pain of Salvation, The Aristocrats and The Flower Kings, this band represents the best abilities that every member has available and created some of the best, dark, and memorable prog songs of the year. A great example of collecting some of the best musicians in prog and creating something that lives up to the hype. So...so good!
56.) Memoriam- The Silent Vigil
FFO- Old School Death Metal
The sophomore album from this UK unit continues down the warpath brought on by last year's debut album.Focusing even more of the war and political themes in this ever growing erratic times, this is a perfect soundtrack to the sad state of the world today. To me, it also fills me with hope as others see this as well, and it may lead to better things if it's not too late. If it is too late, may whoever finds this planet after us comprehend this album and see that we tried. Oh yeah, the music is pretty righteous as well!
55.) Deceased- Ghostly White
FFO- Death Metal, Thrash Metal
This album started getting some incredible recognition for, sadly, sad reasons as their drummer Dave Castillo passed way shortly before the album's release. That said, he gave one last incredible performance on this album, as well as the rest of the band. Taking the death and thrash metal tropes, but adding such great moments of left of center thinking between main riffs; be it NWOBHM leads, blackened atmospheric overtones, or just showing off that this style can have some progression you hadn't heard before. This album deserves all the recognition it gets and a silver lining in the loss of the band is that it opens the doors to more people discovering how great of a band Deceased truly are.
54.) Haken- Vector
FFO- Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock
Easily the band's heaviest and darkest album to date, and also, the band's shortest. No grandiose epics to display here (besides the band's playing). The band focused more on writing to the point songs this go around and that led to a bit of a watershed moment for the band, some thinking it's their best work and others just not seeing it. As for me, it's not my highest ranking Haken album but I love it and it's the perfect album at the perfect time. And the perfect gateway album to a new fan.
53.) Beyond Creation- Algorythm
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
A band that continues to let their prog sides shine with every passing album. This is one of the most comprehensible BC albums to date, while still maintaining the technical and brutal moments that has made up the band's signature sound. The musicianship on this album is jaw dropping to say the least and really can inspire you to try harder at your craft, especially if that craft is music. A completely solid album that truly makes you think.
52.) Tomb Mold- Manor of Infinite Forms
FFO- Death Metal, Dark Souls/Bloodborne
A Canadian band writing about nerd stuff? Where have I heard this before? But in all seriousness, this album absolutely slays (yeah, pun intended). A band that takes the love of the Soulsborne games and makes the perfect metal soundtrack to the series of games, what's not to love? The vocals are that perfect sound of a stone tomb opening and the music hits that evil, horrendous sound that makes playing along with the games work even better (I actually play Bloodborne while listening to Tomb Mold, it seriously works). A killer band that is worthy of your attention.
51.) Orphaned Land- Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
FFO- Progressive Metal, Power Metal, Folk Metal
I have had this album since October/November of 2017, so this totally still feels like a 2017 album to me and I occasionally forget it came out this year. Though I feel that is a testament to how good this album is that I can consistently listen to it and love what is displayed. Even with all the ebb and flows, ups and downs, positive and negatives this band has gone through; they are going stronger than ever with this album and and it truly shines. A band that just hits all the right spots for what is being performed and continuing that great message that we are all one. How can you not love that? Go check it out if you have nowt done so already.
50.) Skull Fist- Way of the Road
FFO- Speed Metal, Heavy Metal
Showcasing everything the band is about, but done through a more mainstream and catchy filter. This Canadian metal band keeps the spirit of heavy metal alive with fast riffs, memorable leads, and soaring vocals; but again, this time around it is the catchiest and most radio friendly to date. A band that deserves all the love you can give them and then some.
49.) Against The Grain- Cheated Death
FFO- Heavy Metal, Rock and Roll
Seeing these guys open up for Night Demon a few years back at a hole in the wall bar in Minneapolis with maybe 20-30 other people was one of my favorite shows I have seen (with the exception of Night Demon getting a 20 minute set due to too many local bands on an already packed touring bill, but that's a different story for a different day) Against The Grain captures that great love of heavy metal with the rock and roll attitude. The easiest comparison is to Motorhead, but there is so much more to that. There is the Lemmy atmosphere, but it's just solid, original and overall fun music, especially live. Go check them out live, buy this album and experience a set of music that you are just not seeing anywhere else in this age in time.
48.) The Crown- Cobra Speed Venom
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
The severe under-appreciation of The Crown here in the states is simply devastating to me. The Crown helped perfect the melodeath sound, and unlike bands who went a different way, kept up their intensity, their thrash roots, and continue to put on some of the best metal music in the world. Also, this is one of the coolest album covers of the year, bar none. If you somehow ever missed out on hearing this band, remedy that now and check out the best thrashy melodeath band around.
47.) Warrel Dane- Shadow Work
FFO- Power Metal, Progressive Metal, Dark Metal
In complete honesty, I was against this album coming out, as I had originally thought it was just unfinished material that shouldn't have seen the light of day after Dane's passing. I was completely wrong. This truly is a completed masterpiece and one of the finest works that Dane's voice ever got to be on. It has that Nevermore intensity, yet shines with his ENTIRE vocal range in check. It still hurts me as a fan that Warrel Dane is gone and though it was quite short, he was one of my favorite interviews I ever got to conduct. I wish he was around to see how much people love this new album. Thankfully, these last words will live on.
46,) Alice In Chains- Rainier Fog
FFO- Heavy Metal, Sludge Metal
WOW! This is easily the heaviest, thickest and most metal Alice In Chains album ever. While I am a complete unapologetic fan of all AIC albums and love that they have continued on as they have; this album just struck a nerve that I didn't know needed to be hit. I honestly didn't think that the band would be channeling their inner Gojira, Mastodon, and Baroness on this album while keeping their signature sound in tact. An album that really went under the radar but deserves any and all attention it gets.
45.) Horrendous- Idol
FFO- Old School Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
This is easily the best and most consistent death metal bands of the decade. This latest release captures more Cynic influenced mixed in with their early Death, Pestilence, and Massacre styled sound. They are the fire that the OSDM scene needs today and no one does it better, especially of the new crop of bands. Go pick this one up!
44.) The Atlas Moth- Coma Noire
FFO- Atmospheric Metal, Sludge Metal, Post Metal
There is a new fire light under this band and I didn't realize how much the band needed that. There is a complete sense of passion throughout this album that is undeniable. The variations and dynamics make this such a killer album experience that really needs to be heard from start to finish. WHile I do love the band's previous material; this is easily their best album to date and I'm already comping at the bit to hear the next album.
43.) Glass Lungs- Imperenance
FFO- Post Rock, Dream Pop, Shoegaze, Progressive Rock
Despite the completely dark overtones that shadow this album, lyrically, this is one of the most joyous sounding albums on my list this year. When you follow the concept of the album, it's really a tearjerker of an album, but it is one that needs to be talked about. But the music fills me with such hope musically and gives me a great out of body experience that everyone deserves to have at least once in life not caused by hallucinogenic materials. Seriously, give this a spin!
42.) Mournful Congregation- The Incubus of Karma
FFO- Funeral Doom Metal
There is simply no other band that does funeral doom metal this good. There just isn't! And to continue to drive that point home, Mournful Congregation knocks another album six feet under the grave with a morose, tearful, and spectacular epic masterpiece. If you are not familiar with the style, this album and band are the perfect gateway. Just make sure you are in a good headspace while you listen. This album will bring you down... a lot. But I strongly feel that is a great way and deserving of every listen you give it.
41.) Kataklysm- Meditation
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Canada's best melodeath band have returned with their best album since Serenity in Fire. The songs are beyond top notch, the production is the cleanest and most profound and the overall vibe of the album is something I've wanted to hear from the band for so many years. They are at the top of their game and if they keep this up, I know it will only get better.
And there it is, folks. Another 20 albums down and another completely solid look at 20 albums that deserve your attention. Join me tomorrow as we hit the top 40 with That Drummer Guy's Top 100 Albums of 2018 Part V: 40-21!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)