Daniel Cordova's Top 15 Albums of 2018
Greetings folks, and welcome to another year-end list from the Weekly Injection guy.
These are the albums that I either returned to the most, were unique listening experiences, or just plain made me happy to hear. So, I'm sure I left off your favorites and that's fine. This is my list.
Anyway, to the metals…
15. Sarah Longfield – Disparity
This one wound up being a late edition, but I’m really feeling it. This is a melodic, guitar tapping, proggy good time with lots of twists. Longfield typically gets coverage with her covers, but I wouldn’t sleep on her solo stuff.
14. Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart
While Longfield was a late edition, Oceans of Slumber was a sleeper album for me. Initially, I felt like it was an epic doom-influenced album, which is cool but not something I typically come back to much. However, the layers of this are kind of insane. It’s one I became more and more enamored with on repeat listens.
13. Huntsmen – American Scrap
This album was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting to dig it on paper since it’s pretty slow with some Southern touches, but it works so well together. The almost Mumford & Sons harmonies that are peppered through this provide a nice contrast to the heaviness. It winds up having a lot of ear worms.
12. Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Technicality, melody, atmosphere, saxophone, crushing heaviness, AND OWLS? Sign me up.
11. Thy Catafalque – Geometria
It’s funny to me that Sigh released an album recently, and it’s not the most all over the place album I’ve heard this year. For me, that album is this one. Like a Sigh album it features an absurd number of different sounds and genre blends, but the basis of the sound is a more unique one. It is still a blackened core, but a progressive blackened one. So one with a grim hue, I guess.
10. Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest
Hot take: this is my favorite Behemoth album. It’s experimental without feeling bloated, yet still very much a Behemoth album. I love a lot of Behemoth songs, but this is the only Behemoth album I’ve enjoyed start to finish. Yes, even the choir of children.
9. Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses
I always have one of these sorts of gloomy, but not really metal albums on my list. There has been so much growth for her since her last album, but remains one of the saddest sounding releases I’ve heard all year. It’s not HEAVY, but the moments when it gets loud are devastating when paired with the overall tone of the album.
8. Haken – Vector
I feel like by the time this list actually gets posted (greetings from November) that this album would have ranked higher for me. Initially, I was a little bothered that this didn’t have the quirkiness of their last record, but I still kept coming back to it for some reason. I still really liked the album, then I saw them live and fell in love with many of these songs.
7. Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It
This album was my introduction to this band, and what an intro it was. They album reminds me of Iwrestledabearonce, but a classier version. It’s likely just the fact that they are British. Solid hooks, awesome moments of chaos, and over all a very dynamic record.
6. Coheed & Cambria – The Unheavenly Creatures
I liked The Color Before The Sun, but it lacked what makes a Coheed record a Coheed record for me. Unheavenly Creatures has everything I’d want and more. Clocking in just under the maximum capacity of a CD (yup, I’m the one guy still getting CDs), it would be hard to not exceed expectations in some way.
5. Between The Buried and Me – Automata
First off, this is one album. I’m willing to concede that a “double-EP” release doesn’t have the same ring as a “double album” or that they called it Automata I & II “albums” for the same reason that Trent Reznor called the Nine Inch Nails release Bad Witch an album (TLDR version: EPs get lost on digital platforms). However, the band already released an EP that is about as long as each part. Anyway, this is a great proggy tale that shows the band branching out with a song like “Voice of Trespass” and excelling with their usual sound on the instant classic “Condemned To The Gallows.”
4. Clutch – Book of Bad Decisions
Clutch is an old faithful, and this album is very much a Clutch record. However, there are a lot of new sounds and tricks on this album that propelled this one beyond the last few for me. The track "In Walks Barbarella" alone gets this album on my list.
3. Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit
I have never heard anything like this album. I did wind up discovering that this was the second Z&A album though. So, I got the first album as well and it doubled the joy I had for this artist. Regardless, the pairing of blues and black metal that's fueled by Manuel Gagneux's raw emotion is unreal. Strange juxtaposition is often my favorite type of metal, but this one was the most odd and, to me, the most successful.
2. Azusa – Heavy Yoke
This supergroup was destined to be great with folks from Air + Sea, Extol, and The Dillinger Escape Plan. It’s almost not fair how stacked this lineup is, but we benefit from it as it is so great. The perfect sum of all their parts. I hope this isn’t a one-off project because I need more of this band in my life.
1. The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic
I’ve been looking forward to this album for years now, and when I heard the first single, I knew there was no topping it. It’s a return to form of sorts for the band as they are slowing things down for the most part, but everything that made me love Pelagial is still here. My only gripe with the album is that I have to wait until next year to hear the rest of it.
Alice In Chains – Rainier Fog
Grayceon – IV
Journal – Chrysalis Ordalias
Obscura – Diluvium
Opus of a Machine – Stray Fire
Powerglove – Continue?
Galactic Empire – Episode II
Them Moose Rush – Don't Pick Your Noise
Khorada – Salt
Fucked & Bound – Suffrage
Top Non-Metal Records:
- Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer
- Natalie Prass – The Future and The Past
- St. Vincent – MassEducation
- The Family Crest – The War – Act I
- Boygenius – Boygenius
- Chvrches – Love is Dead
- Mitski – Be The Cowboy
- Murder By Death – The Other Shore / Songs In The Key of Robocop
- Father John Misty – God's Favorite Customer
- Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today
- Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
- Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
- William Fitzsimmons – Mission Bell
- Gorillaz – The Now Now
- The Black Queen – Infinite Games
See you twits on the other side!
Keep up with all of our Best of 2018 Coverage here.