This Gregorian cycle saw the birth of an innumerable amount of metal releases, and many of which were pretty stellar. So naturally, we’re going to number them. Here’s a listing of my personal top 10 full-lengths of 2018.
10. Extremity – Coffin Birth
2018 was definitely the year of old-school death metal. Well, besides any one of your picks between 1987 and 1991 of course. This list actually features a fair number of old-school acts, but that’s probably a result of my skewed favour towards the style.
Extremity’s debut premiered on 20 Buck Spin which most likely afforded them the proper platform to springboard their careers with Coffin Birth. Showing an adept skillset regarding album creation, the albums sports interlude tracks alongside top-tier death metal numbers to ultimately make it onto this list by a near margin. While certainly a solid effort, I will admit that this one could have been replaced with a lot of other releases, given my relative mood.
9. Diabolic Force – Praise of Satan
Praise of Satan marked Diabolic Force as one of the leading groups within the speed/black/thrash locale. These Brazilian freaks come from a region that hosts a long line of metal pioneers, and have subsequently proven that the new boys can rock just as hard as our grandfathers.
For anyone into first-wave black metal to the likes of Venom and Celtic Frost, make sure to give some love to our friends down South.
8. High on Fire – Electric Messiah
Electric Messiah is definitely the most mainstream of releases on this list. This notion, however, is not necessarily derived from the music, and rather stems from the stellar marketing campaign which vaulted High on Fire into leagues above with this album release. The music is quite good, too.
Operating as an homage to the late Lemmy Kilmister, Electric Messiah rumbles through track after track, delivering dirty sludge metal anthems with a passion. These boys have been in it since ’99 and have proven that they’ve still got it. Catch ‘em on tour, I hear Pike’s toe has been sewn back on.
7. Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
I will admit that I slept on Devouring Mortality for a decent period before the album “clicked” for me. Well, I’ve always enjoyed the record, I just never felt a reason to go back to it for some reason. Following my attendance at the group’s live set during Quebec Deathfest, I grew a new appreciation for the band, for whatever reason, and I’ve been spinning this one heavily since.
Devouring Mortality is just a fun and catchy death metal album. It doesn’t try to do too much, and otherwise stays within its roots of inspiration, those being anything ranging from Demolition Hammer to Morbid Angel. This one definitely deserves a spot on the list.
6. Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth
Oh, boy. Another swirling old-school death metal fury. I need to expand my music horizons.
David Mikkelson has once again proven that he is the leading metal pioneer of the modern age. This dude lives and breathes filthy death metal. His main act, Undergang, has been making a name for themselves within the genre for the past decade, of which David is the vocalist. While Undergang didn’t see a full-length release this year, David’s side project released one of the better death metal albums of 2018. All hail Hyperdontia; plummet into the Nexus of Teeth!
5. Torture Rack – Malefic Humiliation
We’re getting into the top 5 here. Portland’s aptly-titled Torture Rack has been a project festering within the state’s murky waters for a few years now. While 2015 saw the group’s decent debut, Torture Rack have proven themselves as more mature musicians with their 2018 release, however weird that sentence sounds.
Clocking in at a little over 30 minutes in length, Malefic Humiliation delivers a wholesome handful of old-school death metal numbers, most of which are gruesome, murky, and oddly catchy. This is just another fun record that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
4. Ulthar – Cosmovore
Also debuting on 20 Buck Spin, Ulthar’s Cosmovore cemented itself within the metal realm as a result of its maniacal blend of blackened death metal. So many aspects of this release just work so well. From the various thumping beats, swirling riffs, and back-and-forth dual vocals, there’s a lot packed into this full-length, and thus a lot to enjoy. I can’t wait to see what these guys have in store for us within the future, as Cosmovore meanders through the competition with ease.
3. Taphos – Come Ethereal Somberness
Top 3; you still with me? Come Ethereal Somberness slots in to begin our terrifying trio of albums, of which reign supreme within the realm of 2018.
I was really impressed with the compositional elements of this release. The song-building throughout the album is fairly strong, and I find myself appreciating each track as they each take turns offering a different sonic flair. There’s also a handful of short ambient tracks on this one that successfully create a mystifying aura around the full-length, which ultimately pair nicely with the songs themselves.
2. Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms
I will admit that the following two podium positions are copout picks as they are stereotypically hailed within various metal communities around the internet. Such praise is undoubtedly deserved, however.
Tomb Mold debuted in 2017 with their maniacal take on Finnish death metal. Featuring swirling riffs, lead guitar doodling, and odd song structures, the Toronto group has certainly mastered their craft this year. This time endeavouring into further realms with Manor of Infinite Forms, Tomb Mold cements themselves as a household name around these parts as everyone’s favourite Canadian metal band. The atmosphere on this one is unparalleled and certainly trumps their past material. Look at these good boys go.
1. Ripped to Shreds – 埋葬
While operating within the same arena as other Californian death metal outfits to the likes of Phalanx, Necrot, and Draghkar, Ripped to Shreds is the only solo project pertaining to that specific scene, at least to my knowledge.
Andrew Lee incorporates elements of his foreign heritage with second-generation Western struggles on 埋葬 to ultimately deliver a uniquely-flared death metal record. While derivative in the sense that it borrows a lot of elements from older bands like Terrorizer and Bolt Thrower, Andrew’s assembly on the project’s debut is top-notch. This effort is certainly deserving of its placing on this list, and if those reading have heard it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.