Now that we’ve officially moved into 2019, I wanted to note that 2018 was a great year for metal. New bands emerged, and some old bands came back. Several bands had a breakout year in 2018.
I realize that music is subjective. That’s why I didn’t call this a “best of” list. It’s my favorite records of 2018. I’m interested in yours. I read Victor Ruiz’s and Leo Scheben’s favorites on TalkingMetal.com and I recommend that you do as well.
Here are my Top 10 + 1 Albums of 2018:
- Skeletonwitch – Devouring Radiant Light
I have liked Skeletonwitch for some time now. With the release of this record, I love them! Skeletonwitch parted ways with their original lead singer and brought in Adam Clemans (Wolvhammer). This change took the band away from their death metal roots to a more progressive and textural black metal.
Favorite song: The Vault
- Vessel of Light – Woodshed
Prior to this record, I was not a Doom Metal fan. After this release, I can’t say that anymore. These songs got into my head and won’t leave! I first heard about this album from Mark’s interview with Dan Lorenzo, lead guitarist for one of my favorite bands, Hades. Dan’s guitar work blends nicely with the vocals of Nathan “Opposition” Jochum (Ancient VVisdom).
Favorite song: Son of Man
- Tribulation – Down Below
Tribulation started out as a death metal band, but they have evolved into something new. This album is a perfect blend of death metal and theatrical goth metal. I saw Tribulation live in Atlanta and they created an atmosphere that blanketed the crowd. This was my favorite show of 2018.
Favorite song: Nightbound
- Judas Priest – Firepower
I don’t need to explain further other than to say – Juda Priest! These guys have been at it for 50 years and they sound as good today as they did then. If you love metal, this is a record that you must check out.
Favorite song: Lightning Strike
- Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
Uada is a melodic black metal band from the Pacific Northwest. They burst onto the scene in 2016 with their first LP Devoid of Light. Their new record, Cult of a Dying Sun, shows that there is no sophomore slump with these guys. Like Tribulation, Uada can weave and layer an atmosphere over you.
Favorite song: Snakes & Vultures
Favorite song: Snakes & Vultures
6. At the Gates – To Drink from the Night Itself
My favorite album by At the Gates is Slaughter of the Soul, but this record is still fun. Don’t believe me? Just read the song titles: To Drink from the Night Itself, Daggers of Black Haze, and A Labyrinth of Tombs. At the Gates has found their groove and I’m glad they are sticking with it.
Favorite song: To Drink from the Night Itself
7. Black Viper – Hellions of Fire
Norway is best known for its black metal scene. Yet, most people don’t know that Norway has a thriving thrash and speed metal scene as well. Black Viper is the latest band to come screaming out of Scandinavia. This record is steeped in classic 80’s speed metal. This record was a pleasant surprise when I found it.
Favorite song: Metal Blitzkrieg
8. Dödsrit– Spirit Crusher
If you like your hardcore punk music to be tinged with melodic black metal, the Swedish band Dödsritis for you. This LP only has four (4) songs, but they don’t fall into the trap of monotony that many long songs do.
Favorite song: Ändlösa ådror
9. Haunt – Burst into Flame
I read a description of Haunt: “imagine Thin Lizzy reborn as a shred-happy Eighties metal band and you’ll get a good sense of the staunchly retro, unabashedly over-the-top appeal of Haunt.” I couldn’t agree more. These guys make me want to break out my patch-covered denim vest.
Favorite song: Looking Glass
10. U.D.O. – Steelfactory
Much like Firepower, I only have to say one name to explain why you should listen to this album – Udo Dirkschneider (Accept, U.D.O.). This record is clearly influenced by Udo’s time with Accept, which is not a bad thing.
Favorite song: One Heart One Soul
11. Ross the Boss – By Blood Sworn
Ross the Boss is Ross Friedman, former guitarist for Manowar. This album is pure, straight-ahead, old-school metal.
Favorite song: Among the Bones
Well, there they are. My Top 10 + 1 records of 2018. That was a great year for metal, but I think 2019 will be even better.
I am Mark Morris and I don’t dance – I headbang! I am a longtime metalhead, going back to the early 80’s. I love all types of metal – classic, power, thrash, and death metal are my favorites. I love conversation with interesting people and I can be found on Twitter at @marknotjohn. Rock on!