It’s here! The moment you’ve all be waiting for! And instead of splitting it in half this year I decided to bombard you with one huge pile of word vomit featuring everything that got our goat in 2018. Enjoy! Because we definitely did (Links to reviews highlighted where applicable):
We’d be doing a disservice to Underoath, Clutch, and Middle Class Rut if we didn’t acknowledge their respective 2018 releases as a bunch of bangers but alas, they were just edged out of our main 18 (That said, you should still check them all out).
And now onto the rest!
18. Alien Weaponry-Tu: I overlooked this album not once but twice in 2018. And for that reason, I feel the need to include it on this list as my apology for skipping over such a fantastic ass heavy album. Let’s put it this way: If the Cavalera Bros made a Sepultura record today with the level and power that they’r currently playing at then Tu would be the result. Speaking of brothers, Alien Weaponry has two of those, too! And they’re just 15 and 17. What are you doing with your life again?
17. The Prodigy-No Tourists: Like a security blanket, it’s nice to know that The Prodigy is still putting out new music. Even better is when that new music is even more bangin’ than the stuff they made their mark with back in the ’90’s. That’s right! No Tourists slays! From the visceral electro throttling of “Need Some1” through to the robotic “Give Me a Signal”, No Tourists is a serious return to the “Their Law” days and a welcome electro tour-de-force.
16. Carissa Johnson & The Cure-Alls-Talk Talk Talk: Hometown heroes! Yeah, I’ma go that far. Our first guests as part of the Deathkiss Radio Show promoting this slab of awesome over on WEMF Radio (RIP) put out a record in 2018 that you’ll be hard pressed to find anything wrong with as this collection of alternative/indie/folky tunes are as earnest as they are timeless.
15. ohGr-TrickS: The ultimate album from the other half of Skinny Puppy? Possibly. TrickS is a beats-heavy record filled with bleeps and boops and all the electro goodness as the man of the hour accents it all with his macabre brand of mayhem and lyrical mastery. There’s actually too much amazeballs here to pinpoint just one or two TrackS because they are all that good.
14. Ministry-Amerikkkant: Every band says this but this one really is a return to form: Pissed off Uncle Al being political and building epic songs fueled by snarky samples and huge grooves and riffs. But it’s a slow burn, built around the concept of listening through the whole thing (Gasp!) with guests like Burton C. Bell, Roy Mayorga, and Jason Christopher adding their heavy stamp of approval to the proceedings.
13. Corrosion Of Conformity-No Cross No Crown: Another holy shit moment for us! Years in the making and the first album to give us the willies in 2018, No Cross… is the return of the Pepper Keenan-fronted quartet version of COC and their first together since 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer (Drummer Reed Mullin sat out 2005’s In The Arms Of God) and IT IS EVERYTHING YOU HOPED AND DREAMED IT WOULD BE.
12. Eminem/Cardi B-Kamikaze/Invasion of Privacy: We don’t tend to cover much Hip-Hop on here but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans! And, for us, these two albums were all that and a couple dozen bags of chips this year. Eminem came out of nowhere and lived up to all of the hype bestowed upon it after release while Invasion Of Privacy was already hotly anticipated thanks to the strength of “Bodak Yellow” and delivered on all fronts.
11. Will Haven-Muerte: Will Haven is still one of the most important, albeit underrated and overlooked heavy bands out there today and put out one helluva banger that was leaps and bounds away from anything they’ve put out since the return of vocalist Grady Avenell in 2009 (Which is saying something since both Voir Dire and Open the Mind to Discomfort are stunning).
10. ASG-Survive Sunrise: You won’t get much better rawk than the newest from North Carolina’s ASG. Revisiting their catalog recently, and it’s hard to imagine them putting out anything mediocre, and it’s apparent that ASG inherently slay and Survive Sunrise is definitive proof of that.
9. Strvngers-Amor/Noir: Their newest album was one thing but then they capped off 2018 with a mega EP featuring covers, unreleased tracks, and remixes (You can read our review of that here). A banner year for Strvngers? I’d say so. “Wanderlust” is such a banger (That’s, like, the third time I’ve used that descriptor in this post. Kinda sorry?) and will immediately have you on your feet dancing much like the majority of this darkwave dance masterpiece.
8. Emigrate-A Million Degrees: There’s so much good on the third full-length from Richard Z. Kruspe’s Emigrate project. Brutally heavy at times but retaining those Pop sensibilities that have made previous releases stand out, album number three captures all that magic and adds even more iconic voices to the guest artist roster with his Rammstein bandmate Til Lindemann and Ghost’s Tobias Forge lending their unique maws to an already solid album.
7. Ghost-Prequelle: The irony is not lost on me that I replaced faith-based Underoath with alternative faith-based Ghost here. AND that I stuck Ghost at number seven to boot (“Seven” is for the lord ya know!)! But I digress! Seeing Ghost recently solidified why this massive record had to be on here. Sure there are three instrumentals on this ten track hotly anticipated opus but one of those dittys is the incomparable “Miasma”, a sprawling rawker concluding with the best sax solo you didn’t know you needed to hear in 2018. Elsewhere, singles like “Rats” and “Danse Macabre” solidify Ghost’s penchant for writing catchy evil and crafting memorable albeit unholy perfections.
6. VNV Nation-Noire: Legends. I’m a bit late-to-the-party when it comes to VNV Nation but goddamn if the albums they’ve put out since I’ve been invested haven’t been among their best. And speaking of best, have you heard Noire??? “A Million” is modern darkwave at its’ finest from the progenitors of the genre and from there it gets even better culminating with the beats heavy “Lights Go Out” and thumper “All Our Sins”.
5. Soft Kill-Savior: The moment “Swaddle” begins I get the biggest shit eating grin on my face because I’ve listened through this album enough to know what’s about to happen. Soft Kill create the best post-rock/shoegaze music that you’re not listening to, plain and simple.
4. Jonathan Davis-Black Labyrinth: I’m a nu-metal kid, okay? My first trip as a licensed driver in the state of Massachusetts was to an out-of-the-way record store chain so I could buy Korn’s debut. I wish I could say I’m surprised by how much I loved this album but I’m really not. Davis’ Queen of the Damned songs in 2002 were a preview of what this would be and now that the results are here in a non-movie realization they are exactly what I thought they’d be: Heavy yet mystical with a heavy helping of heavy and goth. In conclusion: awesome.
3. The Clay People- Demon Hero (& other Extraordinary Phantasmagoric Anomalies & Fables): The Clay People’s “comeback” record is everything longtime fans wanted and more. Almost like a direct sequel to 1998’s self-titled, Demon Hero… is even more deep and concise and the most consistent release of The Clay People’s career (so far). It’s Industrial. It’s Alternative. And it’s heavy as all fuck. To say that you need to hear this yesterday is an understatement.
2. Turnstile-Time & Space: This weird hybrid of Life Of Agony and Biohazard with this incessant hum of melody keeping it realer than everything else, Turnstile’s Roadrunner Records debut was a breath of fresh air in 2018 and something that I kept coming back to on the regular.
1. VOWWS-Under The World: This band is capitalized for a reason! This is the one that we keep coming back to AND it holds up every fucking time we put it on. The duo of MATT and RIZZ is the only duo you should concern yourself with and in a live setting they will own you even more. From the opening drive of “You Never Knew” with their harmonies glistening through to “ESSEFF” and its’ pulsating bluster then “Burn” which had a do-over later in 2018 (Check it here) and then “Wild Wind” comes in like this grand electro Western and then “Inside Out” like a Lost Highway outtake and then….y’know what? This whole album is a series of “And thens” because it’s just that damn good.