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2018: Let's Get It On! (Jul-Dec)

I'll be spending 2 months in the US so probably won't manage to beat the 130-odd albums I heard in the first half of the year, but I'll do my best.

Created by: musclassia | 09.07.2018

1. Dirge - Lost Empyrean
2018 [8.8] - Last minute entrant to the AOTY race, and is probably the only serious challenger to Rolo Tomassi's album. Picking up where they left off with Hyperion, Dirge bring the same atmospheric nous, but with perhaps a slightly warmer sound here than on past efforts. Excellent work again.
2. Ingrina - Etter Lys
2018 [8.8] - A highly satisfying post-metal album that follows the usual dynamic cues of the genre, but has a sound that deviates from the Isis/Cult of Luna clones that can bog down the diversity of the genre. Some really neat lead guitar playing spices up some of the songs, whilst some of the atmospheric approaches taken on the album help it to stand out from the pack.
3. Between The Buried And Me - Automata
2018 [8.4] - I'm counting the two albums as one as it was a stupid idea to release them separately. As a complete package, it's not entirely consistent, but there's a lot of the things that make BTBAM one of my favourite bands, and the second 'half' in particular has some excellent music on it. As much as their most extreme moments have been my least favourite parts of their sound, I'm glad the band brought back the intensity that almost completely disappeared on Coma Ecliptic. Time will tell whether I end up preferring this to Coma Ecliptic, but whilst it doesn't quite match up to the Colors-->Parallax streak of music, it's still a solid addition to this band's fine discog.
4. King Buffalo - Longing To Be The Mountain
2018 [8.3] - Not 100% sold on the vocals, but loving the grooves, riffs, guitar melodies, psychedelic sounds that are going on with the rest of it. Didn't care much for track 2, but the rest was consistently enjoyable.
5. A Forest Of Stars - Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes
2018 [8.3] - Another cracking effort from these bizarre and brilliant old-timers, with perhaps a bit more of an atmospheric slant than on Beware The Sword You Cannot See. Not much to say that hasn't already been said, amazing creativity, enthralling vocals across a spectrum of approaches, and great songwriting and instrumentation.
6. Meridian Sun - The Curse
2018 [8.3] - A single 20-minute song, takes a bit of time to get going, but goes from strength to strength before culminating in a fantastic conclusion, this is some excellent proggy stoner/doom.
7. Jon Hopkins - Singularity
2018 [8.3] - Discovered this artist on a Boards of Canada YT mix containing Open Eye Signal, but have come to see that he is equally capable of blissful ambience as he is of mellow downtempo techno. I would probably say I prefer this to Immunity, which had long stretches of near-silence, whilst the softer parts of this album are more substantial. However, it does still contain some of those techno songs, with Everything Connected a clear spiritual successor to Open Eye Signal.
8. Bast - Nanoångström
2018 [8.3] - Manages to be gnarly whilst still carrying some emotional gravitas, really accomplished.
9. Subnoir - A Long Way From Home
2018 [8.3] - A really effective display of the typical components of post-metal, with the dark and light side performed and combined excellently.
10. The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic
2018 [8.3] - Not quite Pelagial, and no huge surprises, but new The Ocean is always welcome. Looking forward to the second part to see how they come together.
11. Spaceslug - Eye The Tide
2018 [8.3] - Another of the current batch of quality Polish stoner metal groups. This album's a bit heavier (a couple of moments with blast beats and extreme vox in a couple of songs), and not quite as hypnotic as Time Travel Dilemma, but it still provides a satisfying listen.
12. Below A Silent Sky - A View From Afar
2018 [8.3] - One of the better post-metal releases I've heard this year (albeit I haven't heard many full stop), has a mix of the expected post-rock/metal features, along with some doom moments (particularly on Tartarus), a desert rock guitar tone and groove to some song segments, and a generally consistently high compositional level throughout.
13. Chasing Dots - Past.Present.We
2018 [8.3] - A short but delightful proggy/djent instrumental release in the vein of David Maxim Micic, very upbeat and melodic, and not overly technical. Honestly just wish it was a bit longer.
14. Entropia - Vacuum
2018 [8.2] - It's been a bit since I listened to Ufonaut, but I don't remember it being quite this over the shop. Within 3 minutes the intensity has shot up into full-on black metal, and then fallen back into a bizarro electronics-led swingy groove, and it just shoots over the place from there on out. It's a really effective mix of intensity, atmosphere, and wackiness.
15. Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows - Hymns
2018 [8.2] - Really solid atmospheric psychedelic rock, with some great percussion grooves and tonal variety.
16. Emma Ruth Rundle - On Dark Horses
2018 [8.2] - Really haunting and emotive dark rock by ERR; Darkhorse is particularly effective.
17. Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
2018 [8.2] - Considering my disinterest in Roads To Judah and Sunbather, Deafheaven have convincincly won me over with New Bermuda and this latest album to their particular brand of blackgaze. The shifting between delicate playing, shimmering euphoric BM parts, more sinister-sounding segments, and effective use of guitar leads and solos culminate in a really well-balanced and moving outcome, albeit one that has the occasional tendency to drag on.
18. Vola - Applause Of A Distant Crowd
2018 [8.2] - Really good mix of progginess and accessibility, with some moving and catchy vocal melodies and tasty keyboard work.
19. High On Fire - Electric Messiah
2018 [8.2] - A groovy yet raging demonstration of power, with vicious roaring vocals from Matt Pike. The long tracks are beasts, as is God Of The Godless.
20. Behemoth - I Loved You At Your Darkest
2018 [8.2] - Thought this was actually pretty damn good, not a huge departure from The Satanist but perhaps a bit more atmospheric? Really liked Havohej Pantocrator.
21. Antimatter - Black Market Enlightenment
2018 [8.2] - This was really good, felt like the collision point between Anathema, Riverside and Pain of Salvation, really enjoyed the acoustic guitars, the hard rock side, the evocative vocals, all comes together delightfully.
22. Windhand - Eternal Return
2018 [8.2] - Not quite as monolithic as Soma, with more penetrable run times, but manages to sustain the same ploddy, haunting stoner doom, a bit more effectively than Grief's Infernal Flower.
23. Sulphur Aeon - The Scythe Of Cosmic Chaos
2018 [8.2] - Probably worth revisiting, modern-leaning, quasi-dissonant and proggy but hefty and engaging death metal, with a good mix of intensity and atmosphere, drifting quite effectively between blast beats and slow murkiness on a moment's notice.
24. Erra - Neon
2018 [8.2] - My only previous experience with Erra is 2013's Augment. Based on first listens, this doesn't have a song as memorable as Crimson or as epic as Dementia, but still has a similar combination of evocative soaring cleans mixed with effective harsh screams, complex songwriting, and technical lead guitar parts. Possibly songs will stand out more with repeated listens, but on my first run through it felt like an album without a clear 'wow' moment, but a consistently enjoyable listening experience throughout.
25. Horrendous - Idol
2018 [8.2] - More quality modern-OSDM from arguably the most relevant death metal band currently around. This one felt a bit more tech-deathy than I remember past efforts bring, but that might be down to the bass playing. Still it rips, and manages to mix up tempos effectively.
26. Night Verses - From The Gallery Of Sleep
2018 [8.2] - Varied and enjoyable instrumental prog, shifting from djenty or Plini-seque stuff, to really heavy or more ambient/soft sections, all done smoothly, and with samples doing a good job of occasionally standing in for the lack of vocals. The last song was the one that stood out most to me.
27. Sear Bliss - Letters From The Edge
2018 [8.2] - What sounds in the opening minutes like just another black metal album reveals itself to be surprisingly varied, with everything from grim BM sections, to more upbeat melodic parts, to proggier Arcturus-esque moments, and with interesting use of non-metal instruments, particularly trumpets (used to great effect on the likes of Abandoned Peaks and The Main Divide). I also really enjoyed the outro of Shroud, where the melodic guitar, clean vocals, and trumpets all come together before an explosive finale.
28. Aphex Twin - Collapse
2018 [8.2] - Of the few recent Aphex Twin releases I've heard recently, this one has probably been my favourite. There's a few times where the glitchiness gets a bit irritating, but for the most part, the ambient vibe effectively pulls me in, and the additional sound effects propel the music forwards.
29. Dead Can Dance - Dionysus
2018 [8.2] - Actually enjoyed this a fair but. I liked Anastasis but hadn't fully meshed with earlier DCD. I liked the more instrumental vibe of this one compared to Anastasis, and the gradual layering and build-up of the music, particularly on the opening track.
30. Kingcrow - The Persistence
2018 [8.2] - Enjoyable and pleasantly easy-listening melodic prog with significant ambient stretches.
31. Witchkiss - The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes
2018 [8.2] - A bit rough around the edges compositionally, this is a really impressive debut album. The mix of stomping, trudging sludgy doom and ferocious vocal roars on songs such as the opening track, the acoustic-driven atmospherics of the likes of Death Knell (bringing to mind The Mantle by Agalloch, and the impressive closing track from Wayfarer's World's Blood), big groovy stoner/doom riffs, tasty melodic lead guitar lines, and vocal interplay between the aforementioned bellows and the female vocals that brought to mind the Windhand vocalist, all culminate in a diverse sonic pallette held together with an impressive aptitude for mood and dynamics. Definitely worth revisiting.
32. Morag Tong - Last Knell Of Om
2018 [8.2] - Starts off unassumingly enough, but gradually emerges as a powerful trudge through murky stoner/sludge doom swamps. The guitars are big, menacing, and yet sorrowful, and the drums sustain momentum despite the slow pace.
33. Gaerea - Unsettling Whispers
2018 [8.2] - Melodically-inclined black metal with sludge and hardcore elements included. Varies from the song-oriented Absent (actually made me think a little bit of The Physics Of Fire-era Becoming The Archetype at times) to the atmospheric-driven Whispers without missing a beat.
34. Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want
2018 [8.2] - This is pretty hellish-sounding, with palpable tension throughout, whether within a maelstrom of sonic chaos, or in the midst of vocal agony, extremely accomplished outcome, but not something I have too much appetite to re-listen to.
35. Tons - Filthy Flowers Of Doom
2018 [8.1] - Murky, heavy sludgy/stoner doom, summoning thoughts of Ufomammut amongst other bands. Cool use of samples, and the harsh, high-pitched vocals just about did the job.
36. Khanus - Flammarion
2018 [8.1] - Ritualistic death metal that alternates between solid DM riffing, creepy shamanic clean vocals, and symphonic elements, all fitting together naturally and producing an appropriately sinister atmosphere.
37. Bongripper - Terminal
2018 [8.1] - Thick, heavy, sludgy instrumental doom with fat, slow riffs and hazy atmosphere.
38. Besra - Anhedonia
2018 [8.1] - Solid post-metal in the semi-cold, monolithic vein, takes some time to build up momentum, but Pariah and particularly Next Chapter are compelling. Not a huge fan of the vocals, the harsh ones are fine but the cleans are a bit rough, not a huge detriment to the experience however. They're at their best when raging as the intensity continually ratchets up in the closing minutes of Pariah.
39. Seventh Wonder - Tiara
2018 [8.1] - I still haven't been able to properly buy into the Mercy Falls hype, and I've been increasingly disappointed with each Karevil Kamelot effort, but this is probably the best power metal I've heard in 2018 (albeit there hasn't been that much). It's very long, but sustains momentum over its runtime and tbh I thought it had a bit more pathos behind it than a lot of Mercy Falls.
40. Crippled Black Phoenix - Great Escape
2018 [8.1] - A neat atmospheric proggy album, has some songs which are female-led muted, melancholy pieces, and a couple of others made me think of Ulver's Assassination of Julius Caeser. And even more terrain is covered in the two-part, 20-minute title track. It has it's ups and downs but generates an effective and consistent atmosphere even with the variation in approach.
41. Psychonaut - Unfold The God Man
2018 [8.1] - A pretty hefty and satisfying post-metal album, with psychedelic and stoner metal influences - certain songs brought Rintrah a bit to mind. However, the main focus, is long, dynamic beasts but from the post-metal cloth, albeit with some Eastern elements to some melodies, and some other parts with proggy leanings. Thoroughly likeable, if not revelatory.
42. Owl - Nights In Distortion
2018 [8.1] - Intriguing atmospheric doom, nowhere near as extreme as I was expecting from what I've heard of their previous work, this was predominantly brooding, synth-laden, and sometimes groovy, sometimes slightly Gothic-sounding. I enjoyed the vocals, which were a bit rough on the edges (at least the cleans), but felt very appropriate for the music they were accompanying.
43. Abhorrence - Megalohydrothalassophobic
2018 [8.1] - My only awareness of Abhorrence is the cover of Vulgar Necrolatry on Amorphis' The Karelian Isthmus, but you can definitely see the footprint of that sound here, in a tasty rampage of OSDM.
44. Sigh - Heir To Despair
2018 [8.1] - A band that I appreciate when I listen to them, but which I never feel too much of an incentive to listen to. Kinda more of the same here, this is really good but I'm not desperate to return to it. I enjoyed the moodiness of Heresy I, and the folk elements of later songs on the album.
45. Nug - Dark Mass
2018 [8.1] - Punchy yet melodic sludgy music, with hooky riffs, neat lead guitar melodies, and satisfying Bossk-style harsh vocals.
46. Chapel Of Disease - ...And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye
2018 [8.1] - The previous one was pretty upper-tier modern death metal, but they've tried some real new stuff out here. One song sounds very Dire Straits, and another is pretty Sisters Of Mercy-esque, really diverse for a death metal album and deserves a lot of kudos.
47. Carpenter Brut - Leather Teeth
2018 [8.1] - I haven't really dabbled in the synthwave sound aside from Perturbator, but this seems more upbeat and bright-sounding than that one, as well as more consistently energetic (Perturbator obviously has its moments, e.g. Neo-Tokyo, but is more happy to mix up the tempo). Also, some of the songs turn into full on rock, such as Monday Hunt, which adds a cool twist to proceedings.
48. Automaton - Talos
2018 [8.1] - An impressive venture across doom, psychedelic, stoner, black, and other terrains. The soundscape is ever-changing from song to song, from laidback psychedelic flows on Giant Of Steel (somewhat hindered by a well-meaning but overbearing spoken word passage, I appreciate the point they want to make but it firmly disrupts the vibe of the music), to ponderous chugging doom on Talos Awakens, and sharp-edged aggression on The Punisher.
49. Svartidauði - Revelations Of The Red Sword
2018 [8.1] - Found myself rather enjoying this on the whole, a bit of dissonance in there but nothing too overwhelming, and enjoyed the tom-heavy drumming.
50. Yawning Man - The Revolt Against Tired Noises
2018 [8.1] - Mix of instrumental and vocal-containing lush, soft desert rock tracks. The opening track in particular has some delightful instrumentation, with strings woven into the mix to great effect. The vocal-containing tracks hold their own too, with a restrained yet occasionally powerful lead vocal performance. Quite the dreamy release, but with moments where it pushes the heaviness, resulting in arguably greater emphasis on those (relatively) heavier parts.
51. Sandrider - Armada
2018 [8.1] - Rambunctious stoner metal with fast, pummelling riffs and enough hooks to keep the listener entertained throughout.
52. Wowod - Zemlya
2018 [8.0] - Some solid post-black, that shifts from gnarly blast beats, to post-y atmospheric build-up, to metalgaze shimmering within the first song, and continues on with that variety in approach whilst firmly operating within the post-black musical sphere. Slows down a bit after the first song and focuses more in murkier, punchier slower riffing for a lot of the rest of the album.
53. Infestus - Thrypsis
2018 [8.0] - Doesn't quite live up to the atmos-black brilliance of Exist and The Reflecting Void, but remains a worthwhile listen in its own right, with a slightly different approach that seems to borrow from death metal at times.
54. In The Woods... - Cease The Day
2018 [8.0] - This one seemed to be a bit more BM-focused than I remember Pure being, but on the whole it was very well put together, with the mix of BM, prog, the rich Nordic clean vocals, and more.
55. Soulfly - Ritual
2018 [8.0] - I've never really been into Soulfly and I've come to not expect much from Max, but I gave this a go and really enjoyed it. It's energetic as hell, has some cool tribal parts, has some punkier parts, and the song featuring Randy Blythe sounds made just for him, just rips. Really quite fun.
56. Warrel Dane - Shadow Work
2018 [8.0] - A solid farewell to a regrettably gone-too-soon vocalist, which demonstrates his abilities one more time. It's not the greatest work he's graced, but it is something like an improved vision of what The Obsidian Conspiracy could have been, with some of his more mainstream leanings combined with the heaviness and gothic tendencies he was associated with in the past.
57. The Lion's Daughter - Future Cult
2018 [8.0] - A very peculiar album, predominantly black metal with sludge and hardcore elements, but with some curious use of electronics and synths, some of it very 80's-inspired, and particularly at the beginning of the album. Some of the experiments are more successful than others on this front, but the rest of the album is solid and varied blackened sludge.
58. Violet Cold - Sommermorgen (Pt. III) - Nostalgia
2018 [8.0] - I'd suspected this final entry into the Sommermorgen trilogy might've been the heaviest out of the three, and this is certainly the most 'blackgaze/metalgaze' of the trio. The music is still instrumental, and keyboards/electronics still prominent, but the tremolo guitars, double bass/occasional blast beat drumming, and metal guitars are far more prominent than on the previous two albums.
59. Goat Explosion - Rumors Of Man
2018 [8.0] - The stoner rock parts are a bit run of the mill, but the doom parts are rather effective, and the vocals, albeit sometimes being a bit off, are generally evocative.
60. Keor - Petrichor
2018 [8.0] - An interesting generally soft prog rock album with bursts of heaviness. Made me think of Damnation-style Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, and metalgaze at different points.
61. Vein - Errorzone
2018 [8.0] - Nu metal-influenced heavy metalcore (occasionally with modern melodic elements, such as the title track, but often on the harsher, metallic hardcore end of the spectrum) with a real punch to it.
62. Manes - Slow Motion Death Sequence
2018 [8.0] - I really liked the songs where it felt like a heavier modern Ulver, and I appreciated the variety and range of guest vocalists, but there were a few moments I felt it lost some momentum, and the lead singer has his good and slightly less good moments.
63. Skuggsjá - Hugsjá
2018 [7.9] - The previous collaboration between these two creative forces behind Enslaved and Wardruna respectively, Skuggsja, has gradually become one of my favourite albums from the past few years, a perfect infusion of Wardruna's nordic neofolk style with more rock/metal-oriented writing over the more ambient works of Wardruna. This second project is lacking the metal side that Enslaved brought to the role, and doesn't quite have the same dark ambient feel of Wardruna, coming out as some kind of neofolk rock. It's a thoroughly enjoyable listen with its strong moments (I found the second half of Nattseglar particularly captivating), but in my opinion it lacks a little bit of the memorability and emotion that made Skuggsja so compelling.
64. Sithu Aye - Homebound
2018 [7.9] - A satisfying follow-up to the extensive but enjoyable Set Course For Andromeda, with more of his technical but lush and melodic playing on display. One of the earlier songs made me think of Corelia, actually.
65. Riverside - Wasteland
2018 [7.9] - I think it might be a bit better than LFATTM, but I'm hoping repeated listens lift up my opinion of it, as although there's some nice stuff on here (River Down Below, Wasteland), it lacks that intense emotionality of the first 4-5 albums, and doesn't have the memorable hooks of their heavier stuff either. Not entirely sure what to make of it.
66. Hæster - All Anchors No Sails
2018 [7.9] - Has some interesting keyboard activity going on at times in contrast to the trudging, venomous post/sludge activity. Had some cool sci-fi dialogue samples to accompany the softer, more melodic stretches of songs. Likeable but a bit too nasty at times, gets a tad draining.
67. Opera IX - The Gospel
2018 [7.9] - I briefly checked this band out a LONG time ago, and wasn't particularly enthralled, but tried this just for the hell of it and quite enjoyed it, nothing too out there but a decent folk/black metal mix, with Gothic and symphonic patches as well.
68. Violet Cold - Sommermorgen (Pt. II) - Joy
2018 [7.9] - Uplifting post-rock/shoegaze with a heavy dose of electronics (ambient and more song-oriented), and a further indication of a departure from blackgaze for this project, although there is still one more effort in this trilogy of albums to come. It makes for very pleasant and rather varied listening, although it very much follows in the footprints of more prominent post-rock and indie rock artists of the past couple of decades.
69. Orange Goblin - The Wolf Bites Back
2018 [7.9] - Perhaps surprising given my affinity for stoner rock/metal, but this is my first time listening to an Orange Goblin album. However, whilst I was somewhat underwhelmed when I had a similar debut listen to Corrosion of Conformity's album from earlier this year, I was fully on board with this. The band is clearly a well-established genre veteran and it shows, as whilst the sound is very typical for the style, it is more than made up for by the quality and subtle variety in the songwriting. Just a really fun record.
70. Bloodbath - The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn
2018 [7.9] - A really solid, murky chunk of OSDM, a big improvement on the previous record with Nick Holmes.
71. Coheed & Cambria - Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures
2018 [7.9] - C&C are a bit of a hit-and-miss band for me; IKSEE:3 and GAIBS4 are a couple of my favourite albums, but there's only been a handful of great songs since NWFT. This latest album isn't up with those couple of albums, but it's the strongest thing they've done since NWFT. Despite its extreme runtime, it stays engaging throughout, and whilst it lacks a killer song like Domino The Destitute or Gravity's Union, it's more consistent than the Afterman albums.
72. Nachtmystium - Resilient
2018 [7.9] - Found this surprisingly enjoyable actually, so much so I instantly re-listened to it. Having said that, now I come to write about it I can't remember what it sounded like exactly. Ho hum.
73. Madder Mortem - Marrow
2018 [7.9] - An intriguing discovery, I really like the female vocals, rich, colourful and evocative, and the doomy Gothic sound mixed with the softer prog rock sections all come together to make quite a distinctive and moving sound. Didn't love it throughout but generally rather liked it.
74. Lowen - A Crypt In The Stars
2018 [7.9] - Female-fronted psychedelic/stoner/doom, not a significant departure from the many other bands currently active within this general sphere of music, but the eerieness of the imperfect vocals carry some heft, and the tone can go from fuzzy groove to more emotive heaviness, such as in the stretch of music in the middle/later sections of The Fortress Of Blood, arguably the peak of the album.
75. Potion - Women Of The Wand
2018 [7.9] - Very tasty stoner doom, just wish there was some more of it, too short for my liking.
76. Mayash - Naim
2018 [7.9] - Tasty psychedelic rock, nothing revolutionary but plenty enjoyable.
77. Omnium Gatherum - The Burning Cold
2018 [7.9] - Continues in the line of Grey Heavens in steering away from the lengthy, epic tracks such as Nightwalkers and White Palace which helped make Beyond and New World Shadows stand out, but delivers slightly superior songs to GH. Keys are a bit OTT at times, but there's a fair share of hooks and compelling segments on display here.
78. Panegyrist - Hierurgy
2018 [7.9] - Very interesting and highly adept progressive black metal, with a variety in approaches and sounds throughout. In addition, the production and musicianship are both of high quality. The only reason this isn't higher is that, for the most part, it never really gripped me; this is more of a respectful appreciation than unabashed enjoyment.
79. Cult Leader - A Patient Man
2018 [7.8] - Starts off with some real venom, but before too long it's playing something that could've been from the Huntsmen album that came out recently, and then other songs are virtually doom, impressive diversity.
80. The Atlas Moth - Coma Noir
2018 [7.8] - I'll be honest, I'm not sure how to appropriately describe it. It's kinda sludgy and thrash-y I guess. It's also pretty good, although I don't quite love it.
81. Convulsing - Grievous
2018 [7.8] - Predominantly mid-tempo, semi-atmospheric groovy black metal with its fair share of infectious stretches of sinister tremolo groove, punctuated with less interesting full-on BM outbreaks.
82. Ancestors - Suspended In Reflections
2018 [7.8] - Interesting heavy, doom-y post-rock, with stretches of string-accompanied high-pitched post-rock tremolo melancholy accompanied by vocals with a sense of longing, occasionally interrupted with stoner- and doom-influenced bouts of metal. Very nice idea, but could be dull in some moments.
83. Deltanaut - Part 1
2018 [7.8] - No surprises here, just good-quality psychedelic/stoner rock with some really neat instrumental work. However, at 80 minutes, it is a colossal venture, and perhaps a bit excessive for this particular musical style.
84. Kontinuum - No Need To Reason
2018 [7.8] - More of the same melancholic prog/post-rock from Kyrr. No songs that stand out in quite the way Breathe did on that album, but the likes of Lifelust and Low Road should satisfy those who have enjoyed previous work from the band.
85. Virgin Black - Requiem - Pianissimo
2018 [7.8] - Hadn't listened to Virgin Black before, but now their notorious part 3 has come out to the Requiem trilogy I decided to do them all back to back. To be honest, I probably liked this one the most, but whilst the scope and the classical 'epicness' are impressive, I did find it tended to drag and lacked that something to drag me in. At times it felt like a lot of fanfare without the driving substance to fully match.
86. Madvro - Invocation of High Wizard
2018 [7.8] - A band that brings in a fair few influences across the stoner and doom spectra, typically revelling in Black Sabbath/Electric Wizard worship, but has some more intense moments, as well as some more melodic or atmospheric (got Weedpecker vibes at points on the final song). Pretty nifty.
87. House Of Atreus - From The Madness Of Ixion
2018 [7.8] - Manages to be savage and catchy at the same time, it's a very cool sound, but not desperate to listen to that much of it.
88. Bend The Sky - Expanse
2018 [7.8] - It's been a long time coming for a follow-up to the impressive Origins in 2012, but they are very much recognizable as the synth-dominated instrumental djent band. It delivers the same euphoric vibe mixed with djent-y groove that one would expect, so if you were looking for more of the same you won't be disappointed. However, they do pull out a few different riffing patterns to distinguish itself from being a complete retread.
89. Alice In Chains - Rainier Fog
2018 [7.8] - A bit more inspired than The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, with some cool approaches, such as the stoner rock on Drone and the lengthy and emotionally charged All I Am. Still not at the level of the Staley-era music, and not as memorable as Black Gives Way To Blue.
90. Gaupa - Gaupa
2018 [7.8] - Doomy psychedelic stoner rock lifted by the Bjork-esque lead vocals, opens with a fantastic song, but the rest of the EP doesn't fully live up to that early promise.
91. Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster - Truth Escapes
2018 [7.7] - Neat snippet of fairly regular TNBD.
92. Guðveiki - Vængför
2018 [7.7] - Violent, punishing, chaotic black metal that sounds like demons ascending from hell. The relentless sonic maelstrom is impressive and at many times engaging, and the ability to shake up the tempo from time to time keeps it somewhat fresh throughout, but it does get a bit much from time to time.
93. The Flower Kings - Manifesto Of An Alchemist
2018 [7.7] - I've heard the name before, but not listened to the band before. Not entirely sure what's going on with the group, as this album is apparently by the Flower King. Anyway, it's very long, but fairly pleasant modern-retro prog rock, with an abundance of America-related lyrics and samples.
94. Pronoia - Mimesis
2018 [7.7] - Interesting heavy instrumental prog, doesn't quite follow the lead of the many guitar wizard instrumental projects currently dominating prog, and has some weird twists and turns.
95. Red Lama - Dreams Are Free
2018 [7.7] - Modern-day The Doors worship, but a bit more up my street than The Doors, probably due to the more modern sound.
96. P.H.O.B.O.S. - Phlogiston Catharsis
2018 [7.7] - A bit repetitive on first listen, but I can appreciate the cold, misanthropic, stompy industrial pulverising sound of this.
97. Stoned Karma - Inner Chaos
2018 [7.7] - Instrumental stoner rock varying from soft and contemplative to more driven and rocky. Generally, I found the heavier it got, the less interesting it became, and in its quieter and moodier moments, I was rather won over by it.
98. Thrawsunblat - Great Brunswick Forest
2018 [7.7] - Purely acoustic, I thought this was pretty pleasant on the whole.
99. Evoken - Hypnagogia
2018 [7.7] - Very accomplished funeral doom, but it's just not something I'm massively keen on, which is why it's not higher.
100. Hazy Sea - Death Trip
2018 [7.7] - The second Hazy Sea album out this year, this particular batch of instrumental stoner rock is more up my street than the last one, with some really pleasant instrumentation and arrangements, giving this laid-back voyage a real chilled groovy vibe.
101. Black Helium - Primitive Fuck
2018 [7.6] - The more typical rock parts were nothing special, but when they went more psychedelic and atmospheric (particularly on one song in the middle of the album, can't remember which) they conjured some really pleasant sounds.
102. Deathbell - With The Beyond
2018 [7.6] - Fuzzy stoner doom, with some Windhand vibes coming from the hazy female vocals. The pounding outro riffs of Over The Rim were a particular highlight.
103. Carpe Noctem - Vitrun
2018 [7.6] - Effective, semi-dissonant, creepy BM.
104. Green Desert Water - Solar Plexus
2018 [7.6] - Decent psychedelic hard rock with some stoner rock drving riffs in between the classic psychedelic vocal style.
105. Manticora - To Kill To Live To Kill
2018 [7.6] - Solid standard US-style power metal with a rough side and the odd growl. Highlight was the slightly Blind Guardian-esque ending of Revival Of The Muse.
106. Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods
2018 [7.6] - Abbath is gone but the sound is very much the same. Clearly following in the sound of mid-era Immortal (Where Mountains Ride in particular got me thinking of Solarfall), it's predominantly mid-tempo but has its share of faster moments. Demonaz is a more typical BM vocalist compared to Abbath's croaks, and I think the music benefits from the conventional approach. However, when all is said and done, it's a well-done album, but not one that really adds to what has been done in the genre in the past 20-odd years.
107. Servants Of The Apocalpytic Goat Rave - Queen Of Darkness
2018 - A very intriguing black metal/glitch electronic combo that is generally satisfying, if not as enthralling as Netra's Ingrats. Mortal Bodies was a highlight.
108. Modern Day Babylon - Coma
2018 [7.6] - Decent instrumental djenty stuff.
109. Parius - The Eldritch Realm
2018 [7.6] - A brief foray into some decent technical melodeath, with a pecular BTBAM-esque Circus vibe to stretches of the lengthy final track Crashing Black Moon. Between Hell & I adds some variety with its softer segments.
110. Red Sun Atacama - Licancabur
2018 [7.6] - I generally liked this album, but I wish more of it was like the lush psychedelic instrumental jam section on the second half of opening track The Gold, rather than the somewhat meat n' potatoes desert rock that makes up most of the rest of the album.
111. Into Eternity - The Sirens
2018 [7.5] - It's actually pretty decent, but suffers a bit in the production and lacks the memorable hooks of The Scattering Of Ashes to really lift it up. Still, I never expected to hear anything new from the band so it was quite nice.
112. Author & Punisher - Beastland
2018 [7.5] - Solid stompy industrial music made by an innovative artist, but would say I found it a bit less compelling than P.H.O.B.O.S.'s effort from this year.
113. Son Of The Morning - Son Of The Morning
2018 [7.5] - Fairly typical fem-fronted retro stoner doom.
114. Turtle Skull - Turtle Skull
2018 [7.5] - I wasn't always entirely won over by this psychedelic rock debut effort. However, the classic fuzziness of Eden is fun, and I enjoyed the psychedelic, atmospheric nature of the closer Empty Ships.
115. Mudflinger - Psychonaut
2018 [7.5] - Solid Kyuss worship, with some nice switches in dynamics from heavy riffs to softer acoustic passages during the album.
116. Mare - Ebony Tower
2018 [7.4] - I liked this, but I feel like it only has some recognition because of it being a landmark debut after 15 years, as apart from some neat atmospheric ambiance towards the end, it feels like very typical black metal, that's been done very similarly a thousand times before.
117. Suidakra - Cimbric Yarns
2018 [7.4] - Following in the footsteps of Wardruna and Thrawsunblat, another stripped down affair from a heavy folk band, in this case going from folk metal to just folk, but with a similar melodic approach. Overall it's pretty pleasant to listen to - sounds a fair amount like the opening to Waldschrein by Equilibrium before it becomes metal as a bit of a reference point, at least tonally.
118. Converge - Beautiful Ruin
2018 [7.4] - Just over 5 minutes of fun and furious condensed Converge, nothing here will surprise but it's appropriately energizing.
119. A Perfect Circle - Eat The Elephant
2018 [7.4] - I'd only really heard Judith from APC before, but my new housemate is a huge fan so I've had a bit of exposure, and decided to give this a go. I enjoy it with some reservation; I generally appreciate the electronic-infused slightly indie-ish atmospheric hard rock kinda thing going on, and Keenan's vocals are obviously great, but there are some tracks or parts that slightly irritate me, and not really much that truly compels, except perhaps The Doomed. Still, it's a fairly nice listen.
120. Nadja - Sonnborner
2018 [7.4] - An interesting album, composed of a 30-minute opening track dominated by repetitive emotional strings, and four short, dense industrial rock/metal songs. Not entirely sure how I feel about it.
121. Bosse-De-Nage - Further Still
2018 [7.4] - One of the more prominent names in the blackgaze scene, they're notably heavier than Deafheaven, particularly in the vocals, but don't quite have enough variety or peak moments to match up to the other band's release from this year.
122. Mr Plow - Maintain Radio Silence
2018 [7.4] - Absolutely nothing you haven't heard before if you're in any way acquainted with the stoner/desert rock scene, but consumately done.
123. Saint Karloff - All Heed The Black God
2018 [7.4] - Solid but middle-of-the-road stoner rock, but had a couple of really nice acoustic instrumental bits.
124. Craft - White Noise And Black Metal
2018 [7.4] - I think this is one of those albums where black metal fatigue begins to emerge. It sounds perfectly good and likeable for what it is, but there's not really much to distinguish itself from the past 25 years in the way that Sear Bliss and Gaerea have scope for standing out. There's nothing here that makes me think I would enjoy a second listen any less, but nothing that indicates it would reveal anything else to what sounds like something I've heard 100 times before.
125. Myrkur - Juniper
2018 [7.3] - Very short, but quite sweet. Bondend Og Kragen is very much just the haunting acoustic folk side, but the title track builds up some intensity towards the second half, and it works very nicely. Wouldn't mind more of the same.
126. Pig Destroyer - Head Cage
2018 [7.3] - Often felt more like thrash or hardcore than grindcore, pretty light and accessible for the genre. Fun little romp but nothing too memorable.
127. Obscura - Diluvium
2018 [7.3] - Not sure anything highlights my declining interest in tech-death more than my declilning interest in Obscura. Omnivium was an exhilarating discovery when it came out in 2011; these days, they're putting out music with a very similar template and characteristics and I'm struggling to amass any real interest in it, despite there being no clear decrease in the quality of songwriting in that time.
128. Clouds - Dor
2018 [7.2] - Very melancholy doom, it's got some pretty good parts, but the semi-spoken word sections don't really have the most compelling lyrics, and it gets a tad tedious at times.
129. Ripis - Shadow Dies In Morning Light
2018 [7.2] - There were moments when I found the shimmering, glacial riffs of this quite compelling, but there were a few too many moments when the soporific vocals and crawling pace became something of a drag to get truly into it. Sadly a bit closer to Warning than 40 Watt Sun.
130. Nine Inch Nails - Bad Witch
2018 [7.2] - NIN are a band I've drifted in and out of the catalogue of without really ploughing through it, so it's hard for me to properly compare this to recent or more classic material, but it seems a bit more atmospheric than most of the material I'm aware of by them, being a relatively subdued electronic rock release. Nothing too exciting but pleasant background music.
131. Death Will Tremble - Departures
2018 [7.1] - Hardcore-infused post-metal, has a nice satisfying build-up during its midsection but is a bit of a drag throughout other parts.
132. Wardruna - Skald
2018 [7.1] - A very intimate effort from an artist who I much prefer when attempting for a larger, more epic feel. However, it's still a pleasant listen, although the 15-minute climax is a bit much for one acoustic man to carry.
133. Down With The Gypsies - Kassiopedia
2018 [7.1] - Found this a bit hit and miss, with most of the misses coming from the slightly irritating flute. At the moments where it was more moody and dominated by the Jefferson Airplane-esque vocals, it was quite moving, but the flute parts were kinda irritating.
134. Currents - I Let The Devil In
2018 [7.0] - Night Terrors and Delusions were possibly my most played songs in 2018, but I wasn't all that keen on the rest of The Place I Feel Safest. This is a decent EP, but nothing here matches up to those two songs.
135. Chrch - Light Will Consume Us All
2018 [7.0] - Album that runs the gauntlet of different doom approaches; minimalist, glacial single string guitars and atmospheric ambiance, to plodding doom riffs with semi-ethereal female vocals, to the heavier, more intense moments with extreme vocals and churning guitars. It does all of it competently, but the only times it really piqued my interest where during the semi-heavy parts with the soft vocals and pleasant lead guitar melody lines. Either extreme (soft or heavy) fails to really convey the emotion it is clearly aiming for.
136. Bort - Crossing the Desert
2018 [7.0] - Generic but hooky desert rock.
137. Sumac - Love In Shadow
2018 [6.9] - A monstruously long album, and the third in a row from Sumac that has failed to match up to Old Man Gloom, let alone Isis. They definitely have improved from the mess of the debut, but there's still too many parts where it goes off the rails through annoying or uninteresting patches, and the better parts aren't strong enough to compensate.
138. Xenward - Xenward
2018 [6.9] - Interesting ambient/space-themed black metal, but the mixture of lo-fi recording, somewhat cheesy keyboard tone, and monotony on some tracks made it feel a bit underdeveloped, even though I expect those choices were deliberate for the atmosphere. I was most receptive towards the more melodically inclined closing song Turned by Valtiel, although the drums feel awkward at times in the song.
139. Monuments - Phronesis
2018 [6.9] - Hmm, I don't know what to make of this. I kinda enjoy listening to it, but it's such a drop from The Amanuensis in terms of groove, hooks, power, and interesting song twists. The poppier approach isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not wholly convinced by any of the songs, even though I kinda dig some of the Michael Jackson style choruses. Will have to see if it improves with additional listens, as very unconvinced on first listen.
140. Khôrada - Salt
2018 [6.9] - I was hoping that 3/4 of Agalloch working on a quirky prog/post-metal album would deliver something fascinating, but I spent most of this kinda bored. I'm not particularly keen on the vocals, the sound feels muddy and takes the impact off of quite a lot of the music, and the songs regularly go in directions that I just don't find interesting. It's a shame because there's definitely a number of parts which approach what I was hoping for, but as a complete package I just found it a bit underwhelming.
141. Corpselium - Storm Of Shadows
2018 [6.8] - On the one hand, I can appreciate the skill going into developing the atmosphere of some of the songs on here, they definitely have clear compositional skill. On the flip side, there were parts of it that I unfortunately found a bit irritating, most notable certain vocal parts.
142. Offerbeest - Afrika
2018 [6.8] - I prefer this to most of Mories' stuff that Ive encountered, I can appreciate the subdued hellish electronic vibe he's gone for here, but I still found it was a bit of a chore to listen to. I would've appreciated it more if it had one or two moments where it gave explosive pay-off to the relentless ominous build-up throughout it.
143. Neurotech - Prototype
2018 [6.8] - I've very much enjoyed some previous work by Wolf, particularly Infra Versus Ultra, and I like techno music, but I found this honestly a bit grating a times, albeit enjoyable at others.
144. Stoned Jesus - Pilgrims
2018 [6.8] - Certainly has its good moments, but is dragged down by the irksome vocals and some unsuccessful musical detours from their established stoner rock sound on the likes of Thessalia. A real shame, cos they can pull out some great stuff when they go back to what made them so good (the outro of Water Me is excellent).
145. Toadeater - Demo
2018 [6.8] - Generally fun but limited crusty black demo.
146. Hoth - Astral Necromancy
2018 [6.7] - Totally reasonable black metal, but I found it largely uninteresting outside of the decent melodic guitar solos.
147. Amaranthe - Helix
2018 [6.0] - I enjoy both The Nexus and Massive Addictive, but I think they've gone too pop for me now. This is better than the very insipid previous effort, but the rap-screaming that pops up on a couple of songs is difficult to handle.
148. Bullet For My Valentine - Gravity
2018 [5.0] - Even as a metalcore fan, I never really got into BFMV, not even with Scream Aim Fire or The Poison. I didn't expect to like this, and I didn't particularly, but it wasn't horrible for the most part, aside for some of the lyrics and more electronic/voice-manipulated moments (The Very Last Time is a pretty tedious ballad track). Some of the more straight up rock/metal tracks don't add anything new, but are listenable enough. No desire to check it out again though.
149. Grind Insides - Sir, You Are Dead
2018 [1.0] - This is the standard by which all '1' votes should be judged.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments: 19   Visited by: 64 users
11.07.2018 - 17:48
What are you talking about? Sir, You Are Dead is a masterpiece!
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
11.07.2018 - 18:25
Written by RaduP on 11.07.2018 at 17:48

What are you talking about? Sir, You Are Dead is a masterpiece!

I'm genuinely impressed they managed to find a less pleasant and more overbearing snare sound than St. Anger's
05.11.2018 - 20:03
Update this, you schmuck
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
05.11.2018 - 20:27
Au Pays Natal
I should probably try #21 again...I didn't like it at first listen. Never know...
11.11.2018 - 16:30
Written by RaduP on 05.11.2018 at 20:03

Update this, you schmuck

I've been on a road trip in the US since September 15th and haven't checked out any new music. Have just returned to the UK and regained possession of my laptop... looks like there's a lot of shit to catch up on! I see there's new Aphex Twin and Jon Hopkins out, so I can boost up the non-metal contingent a bit.
11.11.2018 - 16:49
Written by musclassia on 11.11.2018 at 16:30

Written by RaduP on 05.11.2018 at 20:03

Update this, you schmuck

I've been on a road trip in the US since September 15th and haven't checked out any new music. Have just returned to the UK and regained possession of my laptop... looks like there's a lot of shit to catch up on! I see there's new Aphex Twin and Jon Hopkins out, so I can boost up the non-metal contingent a bit.

So you're looking for some non metal stuff?

How about:

Emma Ruth Rundle
Marissa Nadler
Tropical Fuck Storm
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Julia Holter
Melody's Echo Chamber
Kero Kero Bonito
Thought Gang

I'm sorry I'm burdening you, but how dare you have a life outside of this website
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
11.11.2018 - 16:55
Written by RaduP on 11.11.2018 at 16:49

So you're looking for some non metal stuff?

How about:

Emma Ruth Rundle

Was already on the agenda, love Salome by Marriages. Will look into the others if I have time, but got a lot of metal to catch up with as well, and might even try a review or two if I find the time between preparing for my phd viva. And I know, truly scandalous on my part
11.11.2018 - 17:15
Written by musclassia on 11.11.2018 at 16:55

but got a lot of metal to catch up with as well, and might even try a review or two

metal doesn't matter lol

but yeah, we def need you to write reviews again
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
11.11.2018 - 17:20
Written by RaduP on 11.11.2018 at 17:15

but yeah, we def need you to write reviews again

I might try the new Monuments album, I've seen some mixed responses to it and haven't been blown away by the advance songs I heard before I went away in comparison to their previous work, so might be a good opportunity to practice a less positive review if the rest of the album follows in the same footsteps
11.11.2018 - 17:23
Written by musclassia on 11.11.2018 at 17:20

might be a good opportunity to practice a less positive review if the rest of the album follows in the same footsteps

I gotta practice less positive reviews too, but I rarely feel inclined to give attention to something I don't like, or to listen to it enough times for a review
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
26.11.2018 - 22:46
Listen to more music, you doofus
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
27.11.2018 - 10:05
Written by RaduP on 26.11.2018 at 22:46

Listen to more music, you doofus

Sorry, been sticking to music I already know whilst preparing for my phd viva, should be free to check out new stuff from tomorrow
02.01.2019 - 13:29
Listen to more music, you doofus x2
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
03.01.2019 - 21:16
Written by RaduP on 02.01.2019 at 13:29

Listen to more music, you doofus x2

I feel like I've doubled the number of albums on the list last month, gosh you're so demanding :p
03.01.2019 - 21:34
Written by musclassia on 03.01.2019 at 21:16

Written by RaduP on 02.01.2019 at 13:29

Listen to more music, you doofus x2

I feel like I've doubled the number of albums on the list last month, gosh you're so demanding :p

Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
03.01.2019 - 22:03
Just stuck 6-7 new ones on, and today was the day for the big hitter albums from my faves I'd been holding off listening to (The Ocean, Behemoth, Coheed & Cambria, Riverside, Monuments), albeit with not all of them fully pleasing me
08.01.2019 - 12:09
Where's your 2019 list already
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
08.01.2019 - 22:11
Written by RaduP on 08.01.2019 at 12:09

Where's your 2019 list already

I might start it tomorrow actually, I listened to the last albums I had tagged for 2018 today. I'm sure more will pop up but given 2019 ones have started coming out I guess I should get on it soon.
08.01.2019 - 22:32
Written by musclassia on 08.01.2019 at 22:11

Written by RaduP on 08.01.2019 at 12:09

Where's your 2019 list already

I might start it tomorrow actually, I listened to the last albums I had tagged for 2018 today. I'm sure more will pop up but given 2019 ones have started coming out I guess I should get on it soon.

Good. Listen to this
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

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