Kicking off this new year with steel capped boots, we’re back with the third and final installment of the Listcrush 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors series… and boy, is it a fucking doozy. A heap of lists came in late so they’re all crammed into one monolithic, heaving mass of impeccable music recommendations you can spend hours pleasuring your ear holes with (in private, preferably – nobody wants to see that shit, you sick fuck).
Sincerest of thanks to all the incredibly talented and driven artists, label owners and writers who contributed to these pieces and allowed us a little insight into what they enjoyed in 2018; we’ll be back shortly with the official Black Metal Daily lists of Splits, EP’s and Albums and then return to our regular scheduled programming for another year of glorious sonic wretchedness and terrible writing. Hails.
1: Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
2: Low – Double Negative
3: Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
4: Alice in Chains – Rainer Fog
5: Of Feather and Bone – Bestial Hymns of Perversion
6: Lead Into Gold – The Sun Behind the Sun
7: Idles – Joy As An Act of Resistance
8: Portrayal of Guilt – Let Pain Be Your Guide
9: Nothing – Dance on the Blacktop
10: Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword
11: Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury
12: Ken Mode – Loved
13: The Body / Uniform – Mental Wounds Not Healing
14: Mirrors of Psychic Warfare – I See What I Became
15: Evoken – Hypnagogia
16: Convulsing – Grieving
17: Secret Cutter – Quantum Eraser
18: Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence
19: Corpsessed – Impetus of Death
20: Chapel Of Disease – …And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye
1: Red Apollo – The Laurels Of Serenity
I am so impressed by this album! Melodic and powerful, masterfully composed and engineered… I’m not actively seeking out bands with such heavy hardcore influences, but when it works, it can be mind-blowingly good! This one will stay on heavy rotation in my playlist for a while!
2: Eneferens – The Bleakness Of Our Constant
This album feels very musical, mature, and exudes great beauty. Some people compared this to Opeth, and yeah, I can see the analogy. I really can’t imagine myself ever being growing tired of this album. Simple yet deep. Truly a masterpiece in Atmospheric Black Metal!
3: Stryvigor – Lifelong Journey
Perfect illustration of why I love the Ukrainian scene so much. I absolutely adore this kind of catchy, mid-paced Atmospheric Black Metal, and they nailed this style perfectly on this album! Bonus points for the powerful vocals, love it when black metal singers go into a lower register.
4: Un – Sentiment
There’s not much doom on my list this year, as it’s just not what I’m looking for these days… but this album is just too good to pass by! It feels fresh and authentic, and definitely stands strong among the swarm of Melodic Death/Doom bands that tirelessly recreate the same sound over and over again.
5: Panopticon – The Scars Of Man On The Once Nameless Wilderness
I was not immediately sold on this 2-hours long monolith of an album, but in the end it certainly deserves the praise it has been receiving. This one feels like the perfect embodiment to the artistic vision behind Panopticon, or at least that’s what I like to believe. The combination of Atmospheric Black Metal with Bluegrass-type music works very well, and cements the album’s very own identity. A true monument! (I could do without the “political rant” song though, but that’s just me)
6: Severoth – When The Night Falls…
Very high quality Ambient Black, not much else to say. Bonus points for the bass though, which is not only unexpectedly audible, but also sounds really cool! One more gem from the Ukrainian scene!
7: Elderwind – The Colder The Night…
Highly melodic and epic. The vocals get a bit tedious at times, and the album sure is long. But overall they kept the songwriting simple and straight to the point, which makes it more memorable. A really enjoyable album!
8: Hegemone – We Disappear
Not the kind of Black Metal I’m used to hearing from Poland, in fact this is closer to some French bands on Les Acteurs… Nevertheless, they have obviously mastered this style, and graced us with a top notch album!
9: None – Life Has Gone On Long Enough…
I have had zero interest in DSBM antics for a number of years now, but this album has been a really nice surprise! This feels much more atmospheric and elegant compared to other DSBM albums… a very solid piece of work.
10: Kly – Szczerzenie
Kinda the odd one on the list here, this album has a very unique aura to it. I wouldn’t exactly call it a “solid” album by any means… but damn, some of these songs are extremely addictive! Polish Black Metal mixed with post-punk?! Certainly a bit weird, but so damn enjoyable!
Altars of Grief – Iris
Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About The Spring
Amorphis – Queen Of Time
Vilkacis – Beyond The Mortal Gate
Vermilia – Kätkyt
1: Tropical Fuck Storm – A Laughing Death In Meatspace
Alternative noisy rock that made me remember how good alternative rock can be.
2: Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence
Thought this was boring at first but kept coming back to it for some reason, and after a while I was hooked. Don’t know how to label this but I get the same feeling as from David Bowie‘s late works.
3: Ungfell – Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz
Black metal done right.
4: Thom Yorke – Suspiria OST
Always loved Thom and Radiohead and this doesn’t disappoint. Weird mood mixed with some great Yorke-y tunes.
5: Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
Well it’s not really black metal anymore, but who cares. Just lovely.
6: Drowse – Cold Air
Dreamy, atmospheric shoegazey stuff that blows your mind.
7: Vilkacis – Beyond The Mortal Gate
9: Bosse de Nage – Further Still
Intellectual and arty bm. We need more groups like this.
Turia / Fluisteraars – De Oord
Turia / Vilkacis – Split
Moenen Of Xezbeth – Ancient Spells of Darkness
Top releases of 2018 that I could remember:
Judas Priest – Firepower
Ghastly – Death Velour
Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence
Craft – White Noise and Black Metal
Antlers – Beneath.Below.Behold
Lago – Sea of Duress
Lychgate – The Contagion in Nine Steps
Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About the Spring
Esoctrilihum – Inhüma
Sear Bliss – Letters From The Ledge
Cantique Lépreux – Paysages Polaires
Dödsrit – Spirit Crusher
Mammoth Grinder – Cosmic Crypt
Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword
Summoning – With Doom We Come
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Winterfylleth – The Hallowing of Heirdom
Hissing – Permanent Destitution
Glacial Tomb – Glacial Tomb
UADA – Cult of A Dying Sun
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Délétère – De Horae Leprae
Gevurah – Sulphur Soul
Outre-Tombe – Necrovortex
Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About The Spring
Akitsa – Credo
Sargeist – Unbound
Arkona – Khram
Judas Priest – Firepower
Ungfell – Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz
1: Ascension – Under Ether
2: Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword
3: Dysylumn – Occulation
4: Kenosis – Consecrationem
5: Voidescent – Eleven into Nox
6: Nihilifer – Subterfacto Declive
7: Cultum Interitum – Temple of Triumphant Death
8: Selbst – Secular Compendium
9: Mortuus Umbra – Omnipraesent
10: Acherontas – Faustian Ethos
Talking my five favourite songs of the 2018 season!
1: Vltimas – ‘Praevalidus’
I was totally shocked by the official news from Season of Mist that one of my most fave guitarists and singers joined forces for this new project. VLTIMAS hit the internet with the only song called ‘Praevalidus’ in fall 2018, and I must admit that listening to this track makes my day almost every day. Can’t wait for their debut album. Blasphemer along with David Vincent – I suddenly cannot remember their previous bands ‘cause I’m becoming devoted fan of VLTIMAS! Prrrrraevaaaalidus!!!
2: Immortal – ‘Called To Ice’
I belonged to the 99% of Black Metal sceptics who buried IMMORTAL once Abbath left the band. Now I have to say that Sons of Northern Darkness are back and they did it! ‘Called To Ice’ is one of their best songs ever and the whole new album sounds fucking great. Huge respect to Demonaz with Horgh for their effort and freezing attitude!
3: Marduk – ‘June 44’
They usually bring a hit song with every coming album and this time it’s ‘June 44’ probably. I love that Mortuus’ vocals phrasing reminds me of some commercial pop music refrains. Quite brave in this extreme music. The lyrics concept is clear, of course 😉
4: Lindemann – ‘Mathematik’
Rammstein´s leader came with the brand new song and absolutely perfect video clip. Needless to say any words while watching this magnificent short movie with really catchy chorus theme 😉
5: Behemoth – ‘Bartzabel’
Nergal’s blasphemous division got me surprised with their fresh stuff. I saw them live so many times and know all their full lengths plus EPs, DVDs… But yes: ‘Bartzabel’ is a very original hymn in their discography and maybe that’s why I like this song. “Come to me Bartzabel…”
2018 was a great year for music, despite what a bunch of grumps on the internet have said. These are some of the black metal albums I spent the most time with this year (aside from anything the label put out):
Kroda – Selbstwelt
Ungfell – Mythen Mären Pestilenz
Runespell – Order of Vengeance
Elegiac – Pagan Storm
Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins
Autarcie – Sequenia
Stryvigor – Шлях завдовжки у нескінченність (Lifelong Journey)
Elderwind – The Colder the Night
Drowning the Light – Cursed Below the Waves
Vargrav – Netherstorm
Akitsa – Credo
Aorlhac – L’esprit des vents
I also continued to ingest a steady stream of Type O Negative, Rome and Gabrielle Aplin throughout the year, but those are mostly not new and also not black metal now are they?
1: Kroda – Selbstwelt
2: Sorcier Des Glaces – Sorcier Des Glaces
3: Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence
4: Nusquama – Vuurslag (single)
5: Fluisteraars / Turia – De Oord
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Afsky – Sorg
Sadness – Leave
Severoth – When The Night Falls
Oscult – The Sapient – The Third – The Blind
Hoth – Astral Necromancy
Wayfarer – World’s Blood
Nachteule – Bergdorf
Blyh – Transparent To The World
Trollheims Grott – Aligned With The True Death
John Zorn – The Book Beri’ah
Infernal Coil – Within A World Forgotten
Barús – Drowned
Ihsahn – Ámr
Convulsing – Grievous
Ulthar – Cosmovore
Pyre Of Descent – Pyre Of Descent
Ploughshare – In Offal, Salvation
Urfaust – The Constellatory Practice
Esoctrilihum – Inhüma
My top 30 of all genres for 2018. It should be noted that while the general region of each albums placement is fairly accurate, the order should be thought of in terms of quantum principles (haha). In other words, they are constantly shifting around depending on mood and context, and therefore the number assigned to them is to some degree arbitrary and represents more where they would tend to be placed and no album has a definitive location.
1: Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
2: Antlers – Beneath.Below.Behold
3: Wayfarer – World’s Blood
4: Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology
5: Chapter V:F10 – Pathogenesis
6: Unreqvited – Stars Below The Sea
7: Windfaerer – Alma
8: Temple of Perdition – Tetragrammaton
9: Sworn – Dark Stars and Eternity
10: Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
11: Embra – Abjection
12: Mortuorial Eclipse – Urushdaur
13: Void of Silence – The Sky Over
14: Skan – Death Crown
15: Borgne – ∞
16: Solitvdo – Militia
17: Stortregn – Emptiness Fills The Void
18: Reverorum Ib Malacht – Im Ra Distare Summum Soveris Seris Vas Innoble
19: Oubliette – The Passage
20: Acherontas – Faustian Ethos
21: A Forest of Stars – Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes
22: Irreversible Mechanism – Immersion
23: Anaal Nathrakh – A New Kind Of Horror
24: Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest
25: Entropy Created Consciousness – Impressions of the Morning Star
26: Orchestra of the Drowned – Opening the Secret
27: Nattravnen – Cult of the Raven
28: Order ov Riven Cathedrals – Gobekli Tepe
29: Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
30: Kriegsmaschine – Apocalypticists
HONORABLE MENTIONS: These are albums that have caught my ear for huge potential, would almost certainly place somewhere, and could easily bump others off of the above list – but I simply have not given them enough time to determine if and where.
Selvans – Faunalia
Qafsiel – The Trve Beast
Barren Canyon – World of Wounds
Acathexis – Acathexis
Carpe Noctem – Vitrun
Convulsing – Grievous
Esoctrilihum – Inhüma
Nott – Nott
The Monolith Deathcult – V2 V’ergelding
Second to Sun – The Black
Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence
Délétère – De Horae Leprae
Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers
Outre – Hollow Earth
Order of Apollyon – Moriah
Crow Black Sky – Sidereal Light, Volume One
Goddess – Raped Into Being EP
I’m putting my own music on this list because our current politics is completely fucked. I wrote an EP about the abuses that animals go through in our society, and the so called ‘journalists’ didn’t want to cover it because I used the word rape in its correct context. Journos I came to find out were in fact vegetarian animal rights virtue signallers… but quite literally didn’t read more than one word. I won’t name names, but fuck them.
Also, imagine setting up a release with 4 labels a year in advance and nobody does anything they said they would do. Art is dead and so is this industry, let’s pat ourselves on the back while our world burns around us…
Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
A new discovery for me, it’s like the atmosphere of black metal without the cliches. Like hearing a whole new take on a genre you thought you knew. Atmospheric, musical, interesting!
Voices – Frightened
These guys are nuts! After two of the coldest, most inventive extreme records of recent years they decide to bludgeon us with melody. A total lateral move and it’s been on repeat for me!
Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury
Included on everybody’s lists this year. Nothing more needs to be said. Original and interesting.
Gazorpazorp – S/t EP
My favourite band in Belgrade at the moment. Very young, yet very mature music! Not metal but a great listen!
Apsurd – Derealizacija
Another wicked Punk/Hardcore band from Belgrade. A newer band with veteran players, they tear it up live too!
Eva Ras – Proliferation Of Broken Dreams
A noise/powerviolence/hardcore/emo solo project that is pretty interesting. Not something I’m usually into but I like people trying something different. His solo label also puts out a load of music, so checkit!
Replicunts – Safe Place EP
And to complete a list of pretty much not at all metal releases of 2018, some solid melodic old school punk!
All around my social media people are saying that 2018 was an amazing year for music and when Aaron asked to do a top list I felt I hadn’t listened to anything new in ages. Much like Scott Williams from Vahrzaw I have focused on old releases, and I must admit that a lot of them are jazz and fusion records from Herbie Hancock, Uzeb, Weather Report, Marcus Miller, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and others. As I have put my mind on some more mainstream related artists and genres I’ll start with what may not appear on other lists. If you only care about your cold steely metal you can bypass the first two entries of this numberless list.
● Anderson .Paak – Oxnard
Anderson .Paak first seduced my ears with the track ‘Come Down’ from the 2016 album Malibu. It’s catchy and I do recommend to you the NPR music Tiny Desk concert with Paak on drums. The first thing one notices when looking at the tracklist is that there is a shit-ton of featurings in Oxnard. For fuck’s sake, I think there are only 4 songs without a guest and I must confess I did not know most of them. But to think that Snoop Dog sounds 20-year younger is freaking incredible. The amount of different collaborations enables Paak to explore different atmospheres. You get a very old school feeling with ‘Brother’s Keeper’ for example. Don’t get me wrong, Paak doesn’t need to feature Kendrick Lamar to be relevant – the track ‘6 Summers’ is a pretty good demonstration that his flow doesn’t need back-up. Overall, what’s most important is that through this album the quality of song-writing doesn’t go full roller-coaster. You always get funky bass lines, interesting rhythmic patterns and some insightful lyrics : “the revolution will not be televised but it will be streamed live (…) on your mobile device”. I’m a French young fuck that gets to witness the street of Paris crowded with demonstrations, so this feels pretty real. ‘Anywhere (feat. Snoop Dogg)’ clearly is the highlight of the album for me. But tracks such as ’Tints (feat. Kendrick Lamar)’ and ‘6 Summers’ will satisfy your groovy appetite.
● Marc Rebillet – S/T
Let me ask you a question: when is the last time an album made you laugh? And I don’t mean when did you last laugh AT an album, nor when did you sang along with Scorpions’ ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ in French like a stupid animal. When is the last time an album made you laugh while you enjoyed the quality of its music? Well, to me it goes back to Marc Rebillet’s self-titled album. Marc Rebillet is a beat maker whose recipe is intertwined with the use of a loop station and being a good improviser. And as much as we have a lot of respect among the metal scene for « one-man band projects » I do respect a guy that can take a step further and reproduce, alone, live and step by step, all the tunes he composes. This guy actually goes beyond that point as he sometimes improvises beats during a show with any subject the audience will give him. And this is where the magic begins.
Marc Rebillet can take the most down to earth theme and make a catchy tune out of it: Android phones vs. Iphones, weird people on social media, the end of a relationship and butts. We’re talking about song titles like ‘Look at That Ass’ with lyrics such as “nice job on your butthole”. What makes it worth the listen is the quality of the beats and the unpredictable song-writing. Rebillet takes us to unimaginable levels of cringe with ‘Dinner’, literally four minutes of a couple arguing about mortgage at a restaurant, with no beat to support the experience because fuck you and yes, he is doing all the voices. ‘Blackbeard’ and ‘You Broke My Heart’ are the album’s highlights in my humble opinion. This is the kind of artist you get into for a good laugh but that makes you stay because of the genius of the beatmaker. I realize part of the amazement I feel towards this guys is due to the fact I discovered him through his youtube channel where he recreates all his songs live: his energy is contagious and you just naturally develop a liking for this crazy composer. Marc Rebillet gives us the ability to share music, his music, with a different perspective: hey, this guy is very funny but that’s not all there is to it. And his Loop Daddy EP confirms it with tracks like ‘I Need You’. This is a talented beat maker that you definitely need to check out.
● Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
This album raised some pretty high levels of drama this year. Being a petty queen, I did partake in it because fuck you. Did I wait for this album like a messiah just to say “Immortal doesn’t need Abbath and if you disagree go fuck yourself”? Yes. Throw rocks at me, I don’t care. Ever since the Abbath album came out I constantly said Demonaz’ solo Heavy Metal record was better because I’m a dick. And God was I pleased with this come back! On the one hand I wonder what would have happened if Abbath had left the ship sooner and on the other hand I’m glad things turned out this way: savage riffs for the mountain climbers. And I realize that it’s hard to talk about this record without the context it was released in. This is more than a record. It’s a fucking statement: Immortal are still relevant and they are able to release some fast guitar riffs that make you shiver. And if this isn’t the best record of the year for me, I believe it is an important album in the history of the Black Metal scene. A record I clearly needed to hear that didn’t disappoint my expectations. I hope they manage to build a live line up to witness The Mighty Ravendark spread around the globe.
● Birds In A Row – We Already Lost The World
“Love me, hate me, we already lost the world”. I don’t care what you think: these are the best lyrics written this year, and it is so because they have been written by the band that released the best album that came out his year, no matter which genre you listen to. I got to see Birds In Row in the city of Roazhon during the first edition of the Neuronoise Festival just a few weeks before the release of this album and they gave us one of the best shows I have ever witnessed. 15-38 is the best track written in 2018. I could kill myself listening to it and I’d be happy. Same goes for Fossils. With this album Birds In Row have taken their song-writing to another level, and this is something to be taken seriously because their discography is flawless. 15-38 isn’t your average punk hardcore track. It’s an anthem for a generation. And that is why these guys are so good: everything they write about is relatable. This music is human. It is down to earth and ethereal at the same time. I can’t even say we deserve this music, because depending on who you are you deserve – or think you deserve – very little. Myself included. We are witnessing the rise of one of the best bands of the genre and I’m fucking happy about this.
● Archgoat – The Luciferian Crown
Archgoat has found the recipe to brew the most devilish records. It’s raw, savage and makes your blood boil. The ingredients may seem simple as there are no big scale changes, no incredible rhythmic choices, just fast guitar riffs with cavernous growls and some keyboards here and there. But the genius of Archgoat is that they connect on an animalistic level with their audience. I feel this band gives people the feeling of being part of something. If there was an Unholy Black Metal Temple somewhere these bad boys would certainly guard the keys of its hidden mysteries. The Luciferian Crown is a great offering to the horned one and this contribution keeps proving that the core of the genre will never disappear. Black Metal will continue to evolve into different shapes, but its bestial roots will remain. And I think it’s very clever for Debemur Morti Productions to have them signed while they release a lot of experimental and more modern takes on the genre. ‘The Obsidian Flame’ is both a martial hymn and a satanic procession that leads to complete and utter madness. Definitely a highlight of the year.
● Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
The return of Swedish Black Metal warmongers Funeral Mist did come unnoticed this year and did raise some questions. This band is actually one of the inspirations of Acedia Mundi alongside Bethlehem, so we were fucking happy. A lot of people have compared this record to Marduk’s work and I got the feeling part of the scene believe it is a “conservative” album for Funeral Mist. It may not be as experimental as some of their previous records but if the insanity of the opening solo of Cockatrice doesn’t make you wet, chances are you’ve been using lube for a long time now. What’s not to like here? The guitar riffing is crazy, the keyboard appearances are well balanced and do serve the songs, the bass sounds metallic and not too muddy, Mortuus’ vocal range is very interesting… This tornado hit me in the face and I asked for more. Its skin ripping riffs are just what I was expecting. There are some pretty interesting rhythmic patterns in this record from beginning to end. Just listened once again at the intro of ‘In Nomine Domini’: the guitar riff enters just after the first time of the measure. A basic rhythm in theory but it gives that extra spice to the song. The band also plays with our expectations in ‘Naught but Death’ where a simple drum beat abruptly gets to breathe. And boy do they serve us martial riffs for a bare-knuckle fist fight! Hekatomb is a great comeback that proves Funeral Mist are better than Marduk.
● Ssanahtes – Kumaru
Being a musician allows you to know and appreciate certain bands to a whole new level. I have had the pleasure to tour with this Sludge Post-whatever band from Bordeaux and their first full-length clearly is the record I have listened to the most. Their debut EP had already shown the world their obsession for loudness, noise and chaos. With this self-titled record Ssanahtes have upped their game and it’s fucking amazing. Listening to Ssanahtes is like taking a bath through the ether whilst being physically tormented. Your body moves abruptly whilst these sludgy puppeteers serve you gritty bass lines, dissonant melodies that slowly embrace your pain and harsh vocals for your mind to blow. The first track ‘Kumau’ featuring el Famoso “Bozo” from Baculum is very symptomatic of the craziness they have pulled out. Every goddamn track on this record deserves your attention. Can’t wait to hear what these guys have in stock for us next year!
● Ancst – Ghosts Of The Timeless Void
It is very hard to keep up with German Black Crust collective Ancst as they have already 21 releases in barely 6 years. These guys are so productive they might become the Agathocles of the genre! Writing these lines, I just remembered they released another full-length this year. Why Ancst is so great may be because they are one of the RABM affiliated bands with an actual good sound. Quality of sound is something the genre gets criticized a lot for and I found it pretty ironic.
But that’s not why you’ll get into this band. Their modern take on the genre is interesting in its development. This is the anti-Archgoat. Ancst is a Black Crust band looking into the future. They serve us intense vocals, memorable riffs and well-written tunes. I feel GOTTV may not be the better introduction to the band: in my case I had to listen to this record a few times before it grew on me. Actually, one of the odd things about Ancst’s music is that it makes you feel good. Don’t get me wrong: it’s fast and brutal. But I can’t help but feel some kind of “hope” embrace me when I hear the main melody of ‘Dying Embers’. Given their political stance I’d say that is pretty well done.
● Coilguns – Millennials
I haven’t listened to this album enough to get a proper opinion other than « it’s a Coilguns album therefore it’s good ». I discovered them live and I couldn’t forget the experience. Their singer fucking bit me. He bit my fucking arm. That’s wild animal levels of performing on and off stage for ya Black Death Metal kvltits. Learn from these punx, they figured it all out. If you are into genre mixes and enjoy some HxC blended with Sludge, Post-ish, math-stuff and all, you’ll be amazed by how these guys rock.
● Chance The Rapper – The Man Who Has Anything
OK, this one is a bit of a cheat as it’s only a single released in November. Yet, it has kept growing on me since I first heard it. If you think all modern rap has to offer is an ego trip I really recommend you this tune, it’s a good way to get interested in Chance. This tune is the antithesis of the “money, weed & bitches” topos. Chance’s single gets turns the image upside down: « I got everything you and I can fucking imagine, now what? ». Because in the end, buying a golden toilet is just a way to fill the immensity of the void you have instead of a soul and it’s good to hear “I don’t need this shit and it’s getting boring” in times like these, especially when a lot of people are obsessed to climb to the top of the social ladder. Here we get to hear someone from that very top and say “go back, nothing you’ll find here will fulfill you”. I may be fucking naïve but the chorus echoes in me: “love me forever, that’s all I ask of you”. Of course, the message isn’t revolutionary nor is it the first time this kind of stuff has been said. But I guess I needed to hear something simple and efficient message on a chill beat. Hope a new album will come out next year!
● Black Oath – Behold The Abyss
Now, I can’t be objective with this band. I opened for them back in 2016 when they came to Paris with Riti Occulti and own most of their records. These Italian doomsters released their fourth full-length this year and as their previous albums it is a delight for the ears. One of the bands significant features is the quality Alex’ clean vocals pulls out. We all know a pretty good Doom band whose songs are ruined by clean vocals: this is not the case here, believe me. I have pretty high standards when it comes to clean vocals (my mother being a Coloratura Soprano) and Alex never goes out of tune. This peculiarity is no coincidence, as the band clearly has a very great sense of melody. Mixing Doom with some Rock and Roll, Black Oath present a solid record. The occult themes are treated with seriousness. We are far away from Abysmal Grief – that I do adore as well – and more focused on a dark, epic and melancholic spiritual journey. On the other hand, I believe Behold the Abyss isn’t as striking as their third act To Below and Beyond which is why I put it in the “honorable mentions” section. Still, you definitely should check it out.
Thanks to Black Metal Daily for having me as a guest to put up my personal Top 10 Black Metal Albums of 2018. These rank as the top 10 according to my taste and criteria, which of course may differ from the reader’s. I accompany every album with a short comment. Here you won’t find soft atmospheric music, you’ll only find abysmally dark music. Having said that, let’s begin.
10: Whoredom Rife – Nid: Hymner Av Hat
Probably the least “dark” in sound on the list, but this is compensated by the majestic textures it conveys throughout its entirety. I always appreciate when music transports me into its own world, this is precisely how I fell in love with black metal when I was a troubled kid and as an artist I can say it’s a pretty hard task to pull off, a lot of effort has to go into it. As the album advances through its hymns of hate, it absorbs me into its own dimension.
9: Acherontas – Faustian Ethos
An introspective album, emotive at times and full of dark textures. There’s no long ambient interludes here as in some of their previous albums, just transcendental black metal art with lyrical depth and proficient songwriting.
8: Chaos Invocation – Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond
A prime example of orthodoxy in black metal. Strictly satanic lyrics, riffs that spit evil, slow to frenetic drums, ritual-like passages and dissonant arpeggios. The album has an epic feel and balances the traditional with the more modern styles successfully, reminding me of the recent works of the mighty Acrimonious and Thy Darkened Shade, my favorite Greek bands. Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond is an album that reflects how the black flame that fuels black metal (and black arts in general) is alive and burning hot.
7: Trollheims Grott – Aligned with the True Death
13 years of silence passed and I’d never thought there would be news about one of my favorite late 90s/early 00s Finnish bands. Trollheims Grott has this black metal style where the guitar parts are usually fast dissonant riffs with dynamic drumming and industrial elements added. This was a very unique characteristic, I can only think about Aborym and Funeris Nocturnum doing something similar at the time, but not quite enough. Now they have returned with their style refined and way darker lyrical themes.
6: Devouring Star – The Arteries of Heresy
Think about colossal darkness, dense and slow passages with reverberated dissonances. This is a grand work as a whole that takes the listener to an isolated void. Some would describe it as cryptic, but I’d use that adjective for some black death bands like Grave Upheaval and Aethyrvorous. This is purely abysmal black metal that ranges from mostly slow to fast sections. The audio production doesn’t do justice to the compositions though, it deserved better. Focusing on the deep dark feeling here is the key.
5: Esoctrilihum – Inhüma
Esoctrilihum is the solo project of Asthâghul, a very young French artist who lives in isolation, however, his mind is a universe of ideas. Since 2017 he has released three full length albums through I, Voidhanger Records (the same label that released my split Metamorphosphoros!), a label that only releases high quality material and has gained quite a respectable status. Inhüma has surpassed the two previous albums. It is better musically crafted and produced, it sounds more brutal and has what I like to call a psychotic atmosphere, at times revealing the influence of early Abigor. There’s riffs, arpeggios, solos, clean parts, and occasional real string instruments like a viola and a cello if my ears don’t deceive me. The structures are very experimental, adventurous. Every song feels interconnected and if the entire album was a single song, it would’ve worked the same way. Dynamics, ornaments, brutality and darkness.
4: Mare – Ebony Tower
Mystical, primitive, classic and even moody at times. This is the Nidrosian sound at it’s peak, the culmunation of years of cultivating their music. It’s ironic how this record sounds minimalist but there are so many parts of pure brilliance in it, from haunting vocal choruses to sudden background keyboards and an acoustic guitar in one section. Everything is well crafted here. A genuine treat for the mind and soul to us, who belong to darkness.
3: Kriegsmaschine – Apocalypticists
What this band is doing is innovative not only for black metal, but for music in general. It is the first band that I know that instead of using the typical metal beats and blast beats, they use exclusively fill-beat hybrids. This was not always the case, in their early days their style was traditional black metal. After their other band (Mgła) gained massive success, they decided that Kriegsmaschine would take this innovative approach, and they do it so well that it makes it superior to almost everything being released nowadays and it is ironic that this is not their best-known project. The drummer’s creativity is what turns Enemy of Man and Apocalypticists into unique artistic gems, but the style of the guitar is also unusual, as it is composed mainly of dissonant arpeggio-riff hybrids and a dark feeling is omnipresent here.
2: Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword
This album is an adventure from start to finish. Irregular song structures, dissonant counterpointing riffs and catchy melodies make it an aural gem of top class refinement. Revelations of the Red Sword was funded by a cultural program of the Icelandic government. To my knowledge, this is the first time that a country directly invests in a black metal production, which was done by Stephen Lockhart (the man behind Rebirth of Nefast) at Studio Emissary. He’s one of the best in the genre when it comes to turning a recording into a world of its own and a big influence for my own work as an audio engineer, as a reference listen to last year’s albums Tabernaculum and Tchornobog. Svartidauði’s Flesh Cathedral was the album that defined the sound of modern Icelandic black metal and with Revelations of the Red Sword they have taken that genuine essence and added a balance of catchiness and more dynamic composition.
1: Altar of Perversion – Intra Naos
Intra Naos is an almost 2 hour long album filled with dark spiritual lyrics and a fitting production. Rich in conceptual substance and uncompromising musical approach. It’s composition isn’t made for the regular black metal listener, only for the truly immersed, nonconformist listener. It is evident that the creation of this album throughout it’s more than 12 years of cultivation had a more transcendental purpose than to make attractive black metal music, it is a channeling of dark energy coming from the other side and your senses will perceive it. There’s no hooks or recycled riffs here, just epic darkness. The pure audial art progresses along with the lyrics and demands full attention. An essential characteristic of the genre is being against the norm and this album breaks any set of rules. This act of rebellion, combined with the lyrical revelations found in it make me conclude that it is the truest black metal album of the year.
Special mentions go to: Abigor, Abstracter, Adaestuo, Alghazanth, Ars Magna Umbrae, Ascension, Atroce, Avslut, Balmog, Burial Hordes, Dead Moon Temple, Devathorn, Dysylumn, Embrace of Thorns, Glorior Belli, Gontyna Kry, Heretic Cult Redeemer, Imperial Triumphant, Inferno, Malthusian, Misotheist, Numinous, One Tail One Head, Outre, Paragon Impure, Slidhr, Summon, Svartkonst, The Order of Apollyon, Totenmesse, Tractatus, Valkyrja and Vulturine. All of these bands released excellent material in 2018, worthy to listen, and if possible, to own.
LISTCRUSH 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors complete. Check out Part One and Part Two if you missed them, and stay tuned for the official BMD best of 2018 LISTCRUSH. I promise it will all be over soon.
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