We already posted our 50 favorite albums of 2018 (Tribulation, Windhand, Thou, Anna Von Hausswolff & Daughters included) and five overlooked albums of 2018 (Dödsrit included), both of which included some metal, but now let's talk even more about the best metal of 2018 (including more 'Best Of' lists submitted by artists at the end of this post).
Our metal sister site Invisible Oranges ran a series of 'Best of 2018' lists from individual contributors (including yours truly). The albums that popped up the most were Tribulation's Down Below, YOB's Our Raw Heart, Slugdge's Esoteric Malacology, Tomb Mold's Manor of Infinite Forms (possibly the most hyped new death metal band right now), Thou's Magus, Sumac's Love In Shadow, Pig Destroyer's Head Cage, Voivod's The Wake, Judas Priest's Firepower, Jesus Piece's Only Self, Chapel of Disease's …And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye, The Armed's Only Love, and not a metal album but Low's Double Negative (which was #2 on BrooklynVegan's Top 50). Sleep and Deafheaven, who you'll find on many year-end-lists around the internet, also occasionally made the cut. You can check out all the lists and read commentary for each one HERE.
We also posted year end lists from some metal, hardcore, and metal-associated musicians, including Integrity, JR Hayes (Pig Destroyer), Nate Newton (Converge), Phil Caivano (Monster Magnet), Michael Berdan (Uniform), Alan Robert (Life of Agony), Lou Koller (Sick Of It All), Wes Eisold (American Nightmare, Torsten Kinsella (God Is An Astronaut), and not a metal musician but you'll find tons of great metal on The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle's list. We've also got even more lists from metal musicians -- including members of The Obsessed, Evoken, CHRCH, Thou, Khemmis, Outer Heaven, Necrot, Spirit Adrift/Gatecreeper and SECT/Cursed -- below.:
THOU'S FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
SRSQ - Unreality
Silent Servant - Shadows Of Death and Desire
Miserable - Loverboy/Dog Days
Special Interest - Spiraling
Un - Sentiment
Moloch - Shame
The Body - I Have Fought Against It, Blah Blah Blah
Cloud Rat - Discography 2
Rage Against The Machine - Evil Empire
False - Last Laugh
REID RALEY'S (THE OBSESSED) FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
Dirty Streets - Distractions
Memphis. REAL DEAL.
The Skull - The Endless Road Turns Dark
Smokin’. Songs. Bigly.
Voivod - The Wake
The only French I speak is Voivod.
Cedric Burnside - Benton County Relic
Just ‘cause it ain’t metal, don’t mean it ain’t heavy.
C.O.C. - No Cross No Crown
Ain’t a dud in the discography.
Alice In Chains - Rainier Fog
Earthless - Black Heaven
Ya can’t punch a hole in it.
Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Brant Bjork - Mankind Woman
Less is more.
Venom - Storm the Gates
I got two words for ya: CRONOS.
EVOKEN'S FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
Ereshkigal (Mexico) - Intolerance
Lucifugum (Ukraine) - Infernalisitica
Voivod - The Wake
Tomb Mold - Manor of Infinite Forms
Amorphis -Queen of Time
Dead Can Dance - Dionysus
At the Gates - To Drink from the Night
Mournful Congregation- The Incubus of Karma
Jonas Reinhardt - Conclave Surge
Author & Punisher - Beastland
KHEMMIS' FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
Zach's Top 10
Deadbird - III The Forest Within the Trees
Fotocrime - Principle of Pain
Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams
Iceage - Beyondless
Mare - Ebony Tower
Sleep - The Sciences
Un - Sentiment
Colter Wall - Songs of the Plains
Wayfarer - World’s Blood
Yob - Our Raw Heart
Ben's Top 10
10. Corpsessed - Impetus of Death
9. Fister - No Spirit Within
8. Tomb Mold - Manor of Infinite Forms
7. Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light
6. Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions
5. Of Feather and Bone - Bestial Hymns of Perversion
4. Colter Wall - Songs of the Plains
3. Wayfarer - World's Blood
2. YOB - Our Raw Heart
1. Un - Sentiment
AUSTIN HAINES' (OUTER HEAVEN) FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
Hate Eternal – Upon Desolate Sands
Obviously, it's no secret that we worship at the altar of Morbid Angel. So, it should come as no surprise that Hate Eternal follows up right alongside Morbid for us. From the man who contributed in part to the most brutal era of Morbid Angel, comes the most CRUSHING, yet complex death metal record of the year. If you say you love riffs, but don't enjoy every second of this record, I'm calling you out you fucking POSER!
Horrendous – Idol
Having always been a fan of these guys, I am absolutely loving the direction they took with this new record. The transition they've taken feels to me, almost like the direction Death took between Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic. Seriously catchy riffs and melodic death metal that would tame even the most brutal death metal freak.
Tomb Mold – Manor Of Infinite Forms
The first thing that always catches my ear with these guys is the production on their records. It has this powerful, yet bleak sound that I feel not many bands are getting right now. Aside, from having one of the most brutal drummers in modern death metal, they are also an absolutely crushing live band. Intensity and technicality in a perfect blend.
Ulthar – Cosmovore
This was one of the several records this year that really caught me off guard in the best possible way. Coming out of the gate late into 2018, this slid its way into my Top 10 with ease. I love a death metal band that appreciates H.P. Lovecraft, that also sounds like it was record in the cold, dead vacuum of space.
Hyperdontia – Nexus Of Teeth
I had written about this record earlier in the year, and it has still held up for me through the end of the year. An absolutely out-of-this-world debut for these Danish death metal maniacs. Definitely in the running for my favorite pieces of album art this year as well.
Mortuous – Through Wilderness
Every year you get a couple bands who come out and put a fresh twist on OSDM. For me in 2018, that was definitely what Mortuous has done with “Through Wilderness”. Solid as hell guitar playing, laced with chunky riffs for any fan of the old school. Hoping to catch these guys on the east coast in 2019.
Evoken – Hypnagogia
If you've ever listened to any older Outer Heaven material, you know that we are certainly no strangers to the realm of DOOM. Luckily for us, after many years these titans of the genre have returned to beat us into submission. One thing I really loved about this release in particular was the lead guitar playing. It really helped elevate a lot of the already intense riffing on this beast.
Hooded Menace – Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed
Obviously, no true death metal fan can deny their love for records that sound like they were literally recorded in a cave. Crushing, melodic doom that sits right up beside the best of them. Also, some of the meanest vocals around!
Torture Rack – Malefic Humiliation
This record pulls you in and doesn't let go until you're a bloody pile of shit on the ground. KILLER thrashy-old school death! The pacing of this record is where it really shines. Just a non-stop assault of death and gore. This was one of my blind buys from 20 Buck Spin this year that paid off in a big, big way.
Scorched – Ecliptic Butchery
The DELAWARE DEATH METAL TITANS and our BROTHERS!! After sharing Side B of the 4-way split with these guys, we all knew they would become a force to be reckoned with. Pumping some serious life into OSDM, these guys definitely don't forget their roots. I think it might be time for 4-way SPLIT PART TWO!!
NATE GARRETT'S (SPIRIT ADRIFT/GATECREEPER) FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
Deadbird - III: The Forest Within The Tree
I cannot overstate just how much this band has impacted me. They’re about as important as it gets for me not just musically, but personally and even spiritually. Spirit Adrift probably wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to have the guidance of Deadbird when I was in Arkansas. Everything they’ve put out is phenomenal, but this is their strongest record to date.
Hooded Menace - Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed
Lasse Pyykkö said in an interview that he was listening to a lot of bands like Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Dio, and Scorpions when he was working on this album. It’s no secret I’ve been in the same type of mindset lately (but sub in Priest for Maiden). It’s fascinating to see how two different people can produce two completely different sounding records, even though the inspirational sources are similar. The guitar work on this album is stunning, as is the songwriting. Really, everything about it kicks ass. I feel like this is their best and most memorable album.
High on Fire - Electric Messiah
High on Fire is the most consistent metal band of all time. I thought Pike was bullshitting when he kept saying this is their best record, but it just might be. It’s hard to pick a favorite when every single record is great. The ultimate goal as an artist or band is to stay fresh and exciting without sacrificing the soul and identity of your art. High on Fire are the masters of that. They figure out how to keep things interesting on every record, but you immediately know it’s them as soon as you hear the first note.
Mournful Congregation - The Incubus of Karma
A massive, ambitious masterpiece.
Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure
This will fly under a lot of radars because it came out so late in the year. Good ole Chase Mason clued me into this just a couple of days ago. It’s the only album I’ve heard that nails this style since Morbus Chron put out Sweven. Sweven is one of my favorite records of all time and Morbus Chron broke up too soon, so it’s awesome to hear something that scratches all those same itches. This is my favorite type of death metal. Memorable but unpredictable, catchy but insane and progressive.
Turnstile - Time & Space
I like old hardcore. Bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Void, Poison Idea, Negative Approach, Cro-Mags and that sort of thing. This band (in addition to Mizery) is the first I’ve heard in a long time that puts off that same type of urgency and energy.
Windhand - Eternal Return
Slowed-down, fuzzed-out nirvana. There’s no attempt at doing anything fancy or reinventing the wheel, and there doesn’t need to be. These songs are catchy and super heavy. Gatecreeper played the same night as Windhand in Austin on our last tour, and we were able to catch their whole set. It was killer.
Ataraxy - Where All Hope Fades
I found myself returning to this record a lot this year. Powerful atmosphere and great songs. Scary but also beautiful.
Tomb Mold - Manor Of Infinite Forms
There’s riffs on this album that are some of the greatest riffs I’ve heard in my whole life. These guys are doing whatever the fuck they want and it rules.
Earthless - Black Heaven
Definitely the record that The Dark Cowboy and I listened to the most on tour this year. It just ain’t fair how talented these guys are. Isaiah Mitchell is a bad motherfucker. Who knew that one of the best living guitar players can also sing like he’s fronting The Allman Brothers or Free. He’s the type of genuine musician I strive to be.
CHRIS COLOHAN'S (SECT/CURSED/LEFT FOR DEAD/etc) FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
Windhand - Eternal Return
Daughters - You Won’t Get What You Want
Kool Keith as Dr.Octagon - Moosebumps
Tragedy - Fury
Ilsa - Corpse Fortress
S.H.I.T. - What Do You Stand For?
Here Lies Man - You Will Know Nothing
Tomb Mold - Manor of Infinite Forms
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats - Wasteland
Deicide - Overtures of Blasphemy
*All The Ones I’m Gonna Remember Later:
None - Life Has Gone on Long Enough
KEN mode - Loved
Hot Snakes - Jericho Sirens
Null - Act of Love
Uniform - The Long Walk
Mammoth Grinder - Cosmic Crypt
Cadaver Dog - Dying Breed
CHRIS LEMOS' (CHRCH) FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
1. Yob - Our Raw Heart
Yob is the best band in the world, in my opinion. From their musical output, to the vibe they can curate, seemingly without effort, that flows from record to live show and grows every time I see them. We were bestowed with the honor of opening for them on a short west coast tour in September of this year and those shows really solidified how much I love and appreciate this band, both their music and the people that create it.
2. Soft Kill - Saviour
I have too much to say about this record, so I'll keep it at this - listen to Soft Kill. This record is next level from anything they've done previously and I can't wait to see what's next. God damn this record rules.
3. Mammoth Grinder - Cosmic Crypt
This band can do no wrong in my eyes. Since day one they've been slaying and this new record is no different. The recent line up change only furthers the amount they can rip, and god damn do they rip on this one.
4. Forn - Rites of Despair
Amazing people playing amazing, moving doom. This album still gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. Wish they would play in the area a little more often but I'll take what I can get.
5. Tragedy - Fury
Sick as always. Tragedy rules.
6. Hooded Menace - Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed
This was probably my most listened to record this year. I got the CD the day it came out at my local record store and it didn't leave my car stereo for six months haha. Full of absolutely brutal riffs, amazing songwriting, haunting vocals, everything you want in a Hooded Menace record, or a solid death metal record in general.
7. Un - Sentiment
One of the best doom albums of the year. So much emotion behind this one, and you can feel it coming through the speakers when it's playing. Dave Otero also killed it on the production of this record (as usual), and Kelly Schilling's vocal part in "Pools of Reflection" gives me chills every time. All around amazing album.
8. Zeal and Ardor - Stranger Fruit
A very late discovery for me this year, but I didn't stop listening once I did. The seamless blend of old time-y gospel blues with modern atmospheric black metal is some next level shit. I know I'm going to be spending a lot more time with this record in the future, which is totally fine by me.
9. Fister - No Spirit Within
If Hooded Menace is my most listened, this one is right behind it. Heard them play this shit every day for almost a month and it was sick. One of the nastiest records that came out this year, no doubt.
10. Thou - Rhea Sylvia
Of all the amazing Thou releases this year, Rhea Sylvia caught my attention the most. Maybe it was just the mind set I was in when it came out, or how they effortlessly blend so many types of heavy music (probably both). Either way, Thou rules and this EP kind of blew my mind for a little while this year.
I also listened to a lot of Bong, Dead Meadow, Khemmis, Unearthly Trance/Primitive Man split, Khorada, Wayfarer - great year for music.
CHAD GAILEY'S (NECROT/MORTUOUS) FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2018
1.) Sulphurous “Dolorous Death Knell” (Night Shroud/Dark Descent)
This album came out in November but was my favorite album this year because it never ceases to let up from their constant barrage of savage Death Metal! Anyone who heard the demos knew how sick this band was. “Dolorous Death Knell” completely confirms that.
2.) Taphos “Come Ethereal Somberness” (Blood Harvest)
Been a fan of Taphos since I heard their demo two years ago. They had one of the best sets I was able to see at KillTown Death Fest this past September. “Come Ethereal Somberness” was a powerful album throughout.
3.) Deathgrave “So Real, It’s Now” (Tankcrimes)
My best buds from Oakland released this insane record of theirs the same day Mortuous released our record. All of Deathgrave’s material rules but “So Real, It’s Now” really packed a punch this year. Each song completely guts your current state of mind but leaves you with a feeling of the most infectious gratification you don’t want to get rid of
4.) Hyperdontia “Nexus of Teeth” (Me Saco Un Ojo/Dark Descent)
I was given a copy of Hyperdontia’s “Abhorrence Veil” by David before we started the Undergang/Necrot US tour in July of last year. Really loved the record but it was only a taste of what was to follow with “Nexus of Teeth”. A truly destructive record from start to finish. Hyperdontia is also composed of members from other really awesome bands like Phrenelith and Sulphurous. I was also fortunate enough to see their first show ever at KillTown Death Fest in September.
5.) Ataraxy “Where All Hope Fades” (Me Saco Un Ojo/Dark Descent)
I hadn’t been able to listen to Ataraxy before “Where All Hope Fades” but I’m glad I checked this album out. “Where All Hope Fades is a really solid Death/Doom record that doesn’t get drawn out. Highly recommended!
6.) Hate Eternal “Upon Desolate Sands” (Season of Mist)
Really wasn’t sure what to expect on Hate Eternal’s new record but damn does it crush everything! What a monster of an album.
7.) Deiquisitor “Downfall of the Apostates” (Night Shroud/Dark Descent)
Perfectly executed Death Metal. Each track flows seamlessly into each other. Very technical where it counts but not overbearing.
8.) Torture Rack “Malefic Humiliation” (Parasitic/20 Buck Spin)
Torture Rack’s newest record “Malefic Humiliation” is tough as fuck! Anyone who saw them live this year knows that they bulldozed each and every show they played. No question. My favorite track from the record is “Masked in Leeches”
9.) Ritual Necromancy “Disinterred Horror” (Dark Descent)
Portland powerhouse, Ritual Necromancy, prove once again with “Disinterred Horror” that they are a force to be reckoned with. Their set at the 2017 edition of Famine Fest really impressed me and I was really looking forward to hearing their next album ever since. Love the nod to “Abolishment of Immaculate Serenity” on the title track “Disinterred Horror”
10.) Infernal Coil “Within A World Forgotten” (Profound Lore)
Bought this album from Streetlight Records in San Jose a few months back because I kept hearing good things about it. Glad I did because the rumors were true! “Within A World Forgotten” is a very dark and ominous record. Really liked the production and the overall atmosphere it invokes throughout.