Our Picks For The Top Metal Albums Of 2018 (So Far)
Tyler Hersko's Top 5 Albums Of 2018 (Thus Far)
Blanck Mass – Odd Scene/Shit Luck
Last year’s World Eater might’ve been a predominantly electro-industrial record, but its heavier segments of blisteringly harsh noise and feral screeching blew most extreme metal bands out of the wayer. Odd Scene/Shit Luck is a deep dive into Blanck Mass’ heavier elements and the results aren’t far off those of the project’s 2017 near-classic.
Both songs freely and fully channel the industrial rage that gave World Eater it’s edge. “Odd Scene’s” repetitive, almost hypnotic pounding gives the music an almost blackened edge, which is certainly further honed by Benjamin Power’s animalistic vocal performance. “Shit Luck” is a more straightforwardly aggressive and especially heavy slice metal that just begs the question of what a full Blanck Mass album of this material could be. World Eater absolutely didn’t need to be heavier, but this tantalizing 12” just leaves me craving more.
Panopticon – The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (I and II)
This is a tricky one. On one hand, the blackened first half of the record is some of the most passionate and genuinely beautiful metal music I have ever heard. On the other, Austin Lunn’s songwriting is almost peerless but it’s still not enough to make me fully overcome my extreme distaste for country music. All of the music works incredibly well as standalone pieces, but I also feel like the album’s country half is no less important to the overall album. I’m probably not the best judge, but the metal part of this two-hour epic is unarguably masterful. So, that’s gotta count for something.
I’ve been slowly absorbing this record for awhile now but I imagine it’ll take a few more months before it all entirely sinks in. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up calling this record a classic.
Knelt Rote – Alterity
Alterity is 21 minutes of sheer adrenaline and cataclysmic heaviness being mainlined into your veins and ears. From start to finish, Knelt Rote warps elements of grindcore, black metal and death metal into a sonic force that hits harder than an atomic bomb.
The record’s initial impact was genuinely staggering but Knelt Rote’s latest has continued to hold up
admirably months later. Though I’ve already written more than a few words about this album, Alterity really just needs to be experienced. It’s a punishing wave of gritty chaos quite unlike anything else released in recent memory.
This is a true heavyweight among heavyweights.
Sectioned – Annihilated
So many A-listers have already released impressive music this year and that’s not about to let up in the next six months. And yet, this comparably unknown band from Scotland will almost certainly stand heads and shoulders above most of its contemporaries. Jesus Christ, this album is unreally heavy.
It’s like Nails recorded a 43-minute record, but not quite as unbearably exhausting as that probably sounds. Still, this is a borderline oppressively heavy record for its length, but replay value has held firm on many subsequent listens and I’m still finding numerous new standout bits to enjoy. This band is going to be a must-follow.
Altars of Grief – Iris
Who knew that blackened funeral doom could soar like this? I showered this band with effusive praise in my review and Iris has continued to enthrall me months later.
The vocals—especially the awe-inspiring cleans—are still nigh matchless and although I’ve long since dissected all the instrumentation, it still sounds nearly as fresh as it did on the first few listens. This is undoubtedly one of the best records to ease into funeral doom or convert naysayers, but it’s also an essential listen for established fans of the subgenre. The next six months will need to see back-to-back modern classics to knock this one off any sensible end of year list.