My Top 20 metal albums of 2018
01. Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
Even though there are bands in my list that I am more obsessed with, Dimmu Borgir’s 2018 album comes to the top this year as I’ve been consumed by this album, the band, their videos, etc. in 2018. Many supercilious black metal puritanicans are no longer into the band as they’ve grown beyond the militant narrow defined boundaries for what is considered black metal. But for me, as a fan of varied styles of metal, this is great. The black metal vocals, blast beats, and furious tremolo picked single note riffs are all over the place but so are choirs, symphonic elements, plus diverse song structures and tempos that has kept this album fresh to me for many months. Possibly this is Black metal for Nightwish fans!? But I love Nightwish and consider that a compliment to the band.
02. Judas Priest – Firepower
The legends still have it! Halford is a vocal force to be reckoned with. The songs and style of this album defines heavy metal, something the band has done for decades. Getting an album from a older band that is their best since Angel of Retribution or perhaps Painkiller is high praise.
03. Primal Fear – Apocalypse
One of my fav bands! They never disappoint – powerful traditional metal mixed with power metal and soaring vocals from the best current vocalist in metal. If you are fan of this band, you get exactly what you seek, and for most of us that’s a great thing.
04. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
My expectations for this album were low – Immortal without Abbath? Was this even possible? However, I remained open to the idea and pre-ordered the album ahead of release without knowing what to expect. What they delivered is brilliant black metal blasting masterpiece that is not at all a step down in quality for the band. I don’t know if they will ever tour again as there’s only two members, but just maybe they will, and if not, hopefully they continue to release studio albums of this calibre more often.
05. Saxon – Thunderbolt
Such a solid and underrated band. The’ve been delivering high quality albums forever.
06. U.D.O. – Steelfactory
Another legend, great to hear him on an album this strong in the twilight of his career. Long live Udo!
07. Tribulation – Down Below
Another accidental discovery thanks to random plays on YouTube. When I jurst saw theor videos for this album, it reminded me a little of Moonspell’s gothy black metal vibe. Great stuff!
08. Brainstorm – Midnight Ghost
For fans of darker power metal, Brainstorm, fronted by vocal god Andy B. Franck, are always a sure candidtate for my my albums of the year. Now if only they would to a co-headline tour of North America with Primal Fear.
09. Manacle – No Fear to Persevere…
A lot of traditional 80’s styled speed/power metal bands have been in my regular rotation in recent years (Skull Fist, Striker, Cauldron, Emblem, etc.). Manacle was a new band to me in 2018 thanks to their unexpected visit to the far east of Canada where I got to see them live two times. I bought the record and learned the only remaining member from the recording is guitarist Inti Paredes. That didn’t slow them down any as the replacements are all on their game re-creating live what is on this great classic metal record.
10. Warrel Dane – Shadow Work
While not Warrel’s best work, it’s still great stuff and a painful reminder of the loss. R.I.P.
11. Into Eternity The Sirens
12. Skull Fist – Way of the Road
13. Einherjer – Norrøne
14. Metal Church – Damned If You Do
15. Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins
16. Kamelot – The Shadow Theory
17. Amorphis – Queen of Time
18. Angra – Ømni
19. Snowy Shaw – White Is the New Black
20. Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin
Some honorable mentions: Voivod – The Wake, Monstrosity – The Passage of Existence, Gama Bomb – Speed Between the Lines, Impellitteri – The Nature of the Beast, Warkings – s/t, Burning Witches – Hexenhammer, and many more.
Best Metal DVD/Blu-Ray
Moonspell – Lisboa Under the Spell: Amazing to hear my 3 fav Moonspell albums preformed live.
Jon Schaffer’s Purgatory – Purgatory
Helloween – Pumpkins United tour, Montreal September 12, 2018.
Seeing Kai/Kiske/Deris on the same page was jaw-dropping. Their only Canadian date. I feel very fortunate to have finally seen this live.
Best New Band
Manacle are such a great band, hopefully the new line-up can create a followup album as cool as No Fear to Persevere.
Runner up: Warkings. Yes they sound derivative of Dream Evil but their songs are just so damn catchy.
My Favorite Discovery of 2018 was…
Firtan with their album Okeanos. I stumbled onto their music video for ‘Nacht Verweil’ in one of my “let youtube auto-play related stuff for me” moments and it really caught my ear. I ordered the album and it is captivating with it’s atmospheric black metal style.
Best Local Band
I may be biased as I consider these guys friends, but man oh man, they are sooo good. Strong vocals, lots of awesome riffage and harmonies and speedy drumming etc. If they were based out of a larger city, I’m sure more of you would have heard of them already.
Check them out on Bandcamp.
Best comeback of 2018
Immortal! I didn’t expect them to comeback with something this good without Abbath! Well done, here’s to many more albums!!
Disappointments of 2018
Although this is typically a list of ALBUMS that we were looking forward to but didn’t measure up – my list is not for albums as there was no album that I was hyped for the bought in 2018 that let me down. It was a great year for metal!
- Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody disbands – I’m gonna miss hearing Alessandro Conti’s excellent vocals in this band. Why not have 3 Rhapsody bands? lol
- Slayer announces plans to embark on a farewell tour – I would like more studio albums and a lessened tour schedule rather than complete retirement.
- Glenn Tipton no longer able to tour. At least he places a couple songs, what a trooper he is.
- Reaction videos – Why are these a thing? I’ve watched maybe 1-2 and I fond them beyond dumb. I’ll watch the video or listen to the album and form my own reaction that doesn’t need to be filmed thank you. Maybe these are not for metalheads but may assist in turning non-metal fans into actual fans of metal – which is not a bad thing.
- The perplexing categorization of a 70’s B.O.C. style rock band as a metal band. If you like Ghost, good for you, but they have never sounded metal to me.
Hopes for 2019
- Abbath‘s second solo album. Who’s gonna play bass on this? Kinda bummed King is out.
- King Diamond‘s long overdue live album/blue-ray – and with any luck a studio album.
- A new album from Tyr.
- Turilli / Lione Rhapsody
- Soilwork – Verkligheten.
- New albums from: Avantasia, Flotsam & Jetsam, Bloodbound, etc.