Deck the hails, we’re back again with Part Two of our LISTCRUSH series. You know the drill – a whole heap of BMD‘s favourite artists, labels and contributors all share their thoughts on which releases clawed their way scratching and howling to the top of the heap in 2018. The only rule they were given was: no rules. No genre restrictions, list as many or as few as they liked, in any format they chose.
As you can imagine there’s some seriously great selections to be found below (if you missed Part One, check that out here) and some surprising choices; all of which give you great insight into the minds behind some of our favourite releases. So grab yourself another glass of eggnog or whatever and read on... there’s plenty more to come yet.
RICHARD MCMASTER (Mar Mortuum / Impure Sounds)
In no particular order:
Svartidaudi – Revelations of the Red Sword
Essenz – Manes Impetus
Hissing – Permanent Destitution
Abigor – Hollenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition)
Urfaust – The Constellatory Practice
Chapel Of Disease – And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye
Mare – Ebony Tower
Ascension – Under Ether
Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence
Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
Best Australian releases:
Golgothan Remains – Perverse Offerings to the Void
Ploughshare – In Offal, Salvation
Graveir – Cenotaph
Encircling Sea – Hearken
Convulsing – Grievous
Nocturnal Graves – Titan
Grave Upheaval – Untitled
1: Archgoat – The Luciferian Crown
2: Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
3: Master – Vindinctive Miscreant
4: Craft – White Noise And Black Metal
5: Harakiri For The Sky – Arson
6: Sathanas – Necrohymns
7: At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
8: High On Fire – Electric Messiah
9: Fu Manchu – Clone Of The Universe
10: The Pineapple Thief – Dissolution
The traditional exercise – but never done so far – of listin’ audial efforts of the current but dying year.
Necros Christos – Domedon Doxomedon
“A very long -and abyssic- journey into ruin. One of the most monumental and fulfilled release to date.”
Taphos – Come Ethereal Somberness
“A very powerful old-school death metal album, highly surprising efficiency.”
Portal – ION
“Fuzzy logic and Non-monotonous death wave.”
Messa – Feast for Water
“A real dive into nightmarish depths. Cold flowing darkness.”
Windhand – Eternal Return
“Ether sounded massive vibrating hallucinations.”
Abigor – Höllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition)
“Well, in respect to all their works. Don’t need to put word on this.”
Craft – White Noise and Black Metal
“Unconventional dissonances and pulses. Excellent opus.”
YOB – Our Raw Heart
“Heavy weighted, you need to dig into this.”
Notes and remainders for coming year:
Temple ov Perversion
22XII18 – asknt/DSKNT
SIN NANNA (Striborg)
1: Penance Stare – Scrying
2: Lycia – In Flickers
3: Ash Code – Perspektive
4: Selofan – Vitrioli
5: Soft Kill – Savior
Here’s the records from 2018 that I think will stand the test of time.
Titles only… it will force people to research and find these gems themselves…
– Disinterred Horror
– Mandy (score)
– Ancient Records comp II
– The Incubus of Karma
– Deep Blood
– Sinister, O.T.D.P.
– Maniacal Winds
– Into Vermillion Mirrors
– Black Metal Warfare
– Upgrade (score)
– Upon Desolate Sands
– Permanent Destitution
– Goring Christ
– Vertical Helix Scan
– Lustful Vengeance
– Surging Throng of Evil’s Might
– Tranquility of Death
MICK KENNEY (Anaal Nathrakh / Feto Records)
“All I’ve listened to this year is Elvis and that’s it.”
1: Crawl / Leviathan – CRAWL/LVTHN Split
2: Mavorim – Silent Leges Inter Arma
3: Farsot / Coldworld – Toteninsel
4: Devouring Star – The Arteries of Heresy
5: Knokkelklang – Jeg Begraver
WEST MADDOX (Ovnev)
When I pick my favorite black metal albums of the year I run them through three categories:
1. How it makes me feel
3. Musical skill
Feel is the most important because I can forgive bad production and skill if the band has the ability to make me feel something strongly. If all of these categories are met then I determine if every single song on the album is great and it doesn’t have any filler. The more filler that I think is in an album, the lower it is on the list. The majority of these barely have any filler though. These are my top 50 based on that criteria.
Honorable mention for In the Woods… – Cease The Day since it technically is not black metal but has black metal roots. Awesome album.
1. Eneferens – The Bleakness of our Constant (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
2. Wilt – Ruin (Black/Doom Metal)
3. Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About The Spring (Atmospheric Black Metal)
4. Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence (Traditional Black Metal)
5. Krahnholm – Granting Death (Atmospheric Black Metal)
6. Paths – In Lands Thought Lost (Atmospheric Black Metal)
7. Cosmic Autumn – Cosmic Autumn (Atmospheric Black Metal)
8. The Nightly Disease – Smell of Burning Wood (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
9. Wayfarer – Worlds Blood (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
10. Elderwind – The Colder the Night (Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal)
11. Avslut – Deceptis (Traditional Black Metal)
12. Dewfall – Hermeticus (Melodic Black Metal)
13. Trna – Earthcult (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
14. Midnartiis – With Reverence and Will… (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
15. Pure Wrath – Sempiternal Wisdom (Atmospheric Black Metal)
16. Runespell – Order of Vengeance (Traditional Black Metal)
17. Infernal Coil – Within A World Forgotten (Blackened Deathgrind)
18. Soul Dissolution – Stardust (Atmospheric Black Metal)
19. Dauþuz – Des Zwerges Fluch (Traditional Black Metal)
20. Cân Bardd – Nature Stays Silent (Atmospheric/Epic Black Metal)
21. A Flock Named Murder – An Appointed Time (Black/Sludge Metal)
22. Ungfell – Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz (Folk Black Metal)
23. Mourning by Morning – Mourning by Morning (Atmospheric Black Metal)
24. Deus Vermin – Monument to Decay (Black/Death Metal)
25. Realm of Wolves – Oblivion (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
26. Cantique Lépreux – Paysages Polaires (Atmospheric Black Metal)
27. Rebel Wizard – Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response (Black/Heavy Metal)
28. Choria – Black Secret Beyond of Nature (Atmospheric Black Metal)
29. Morrow – The Weight of These Feathers (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
30. Sargeist – Unbound (Traditional Black Metal)
31. Firtan – Okeanos (Pagan Black Metal)
32. Convulsing – Grievous (Black/Death Metal)
33. Windswept – Visionaire (Atmospheric Black Metal)
34. Nachteule – Bergdorf (Atmospheric Black Metal)
35. Oubliette – The Passage (Melodic Black Metal)
36. Antlers – Beneath Below Behold (Atmospheric Black Metal)
37. Archgoat – The Luciferian Crown (Black/Death Metal)
38. Panopticon – The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
39. Windfaerer – Alma (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
40. Afsky – Sorg (Depressive Black Metal)
41. Verheerer – Maltrér (Traditional Black Metal)
42. Solitvdo – Militia (Melodic Black Metal)
43. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods (Traditional Black Metal)
44. Black Reaper – Celestial Descension (Melodic Black Metal)
45. Czort – Czarna Ewangelia (Traditional Black Metal)
46. Anicon – Entropy Mantra (Progressive Black Metal)
47. Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun (Melodic Black Metal)
48. Wild Hunt – Afterdream of the Reveller (Post Black Metal)
49. Untamed Land – Between the Winds (Epic Black Metal)
50. Октябрь – Октябрь (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
– West Maddox
GIUSEPPE D’ADIUTORIO (Batrakos / Deathvoid / Thecodontion / Xenoglossy Productions)
At first I just wanted to pick 10 albums, but I couldn’t decide so I ended up with 40. Also most of the positions are rather random after a while, since I suck at making “best of” lists. I’ve mostly listened to non-metal music this year and I think it shows in this list (especially for the first place!). Many thanks to Aaron for reaching out and giving me the opportunity to write this article, it means a lot.
40: HISSING – Permanent Destitution (experimental black/death metal)
– Profound Lore Records –
Chaotic and swirling riffs, like a noise band gone death metal.
39: SELVANS – Faunalia (atmospheric black metal/progressive rock)
– Avantgarde Music –
A huge step forward from Lupercalia. It sounds like a Morricone movie soundtrack mixed with progressive/atmospheric black metal, in the best way possible.
38: PORTAL – Ion (experimental black/death metal)
– Profound Lore Records –
An improvement over Vexovoid, although Swarth is unbeatable. Actually, I want a Portal album made entirely of songs that sound like the 7th track on here, Spores. This track shows that Portal has the potential to excel in raw black metal too.
37: TIM HECKER – Konoyo (experimental/electro/ambient)
– Kranky –
Not as good as 2016’s Love Streams, sadly, but Tim is a man of absolute talent and it shows even when he’s slightly less inspired.
36: AEVANGELIST – Matricide in the Temple of Omega (experimental black/death metal)
– I, Voidhanger Records –
Honorable mentions to their other 2018’s full length Heralds of Nightmare Descending, their compilation of re-recorded songs Veneration of Profane Antiquity and the reworked version of their debut Oracle of Infinite Despair, it has been a very productive year for the duo, both quantity and quality-wise. It was difficult picking between Heralds and Matricide… actually.
35: CONVULSING – Grievous (experimental black/death metal)
– self-released –
Unexpected and much awaited follow up to Errata, and an excellent one too. A desperate and dark black/death metal emotional rollercoaster.
34: MALTHUSIAN – Across Deaths (black/death metal)
– Invictus Productions –
If Antediluvian (Haasiophis did the cover art by the way) is “prehistoric chaos”, this is the equivalent of Earth cracking open and swallowing everything at the end of the world.
33: AKSUMITE – Vinegar Perimeter (punk/black metal)
– Colloquial Sound Recordings –
Furious punk metal. I love Colloquial Sound Recordings’ output and it’s a bit of a shame they slowed down with the amount of releases over the years, they have many interesting oddballs in their roster. Honorable mention to DM‘s main project A Pregnant Light‘s compilation Lucky All My Life/Devotion Unlaced.
32: SVARTIDAUDI – Revelations of the Red Sword (black/death metal)
– Vàn Records –
Excellent follow up to Flesh Cathedral. The melodic leads and passages in the riffing are superb on this.
31: DAGGER LUST – Siege Bondage Averse to the Godhead (black/death metal)
– VRASUBATLAT/Invictus Productions –
Notable mentions for the other VRASUBATLAT material out in 2018 as well: Utzalu, Pissblood, Filth Column, Adzalaan and Serum Dreg, but Dagger Lust‘s album was the one that impressed me the most. Furious primitive black/death metal, as brutal as its title.
30: PANDISCORDIAN NECROGENESIS – Outer Supernal (experimental black metal)
– Gilead Media –
Improvised black metal played all simultaneously, courtesy of Ephemeral Domignostika (also a member of Mastery and Pale Chalice). And it almost sounds like a full band! Notable mention to PN‘s EP Eigenwelt, also out in 2018.
29: MAMALEEK – Out of Time (experimental rock)
– The Flenser –
Mamaleek has become something similar to an experimental rock band by now, but I really appreciated their progression during their career and this album is so damn weird and uncategorizable.
28: ALTAR OF PERVERSION – Intra Naos (raw black metal)
– The Ajna Offensive –
Three hours of black metal are a tad too much to endure in the long run, but this album is so damn ambitious and grandiose.
27: DAVID GARLAND – Verdancy (experimental folk)
– Tall Owl Audio –
This is four hours long experimental record, but’s a damn beautiful experience. Absolutely check out the different versions of the CD packaging, great choice of colors and “verdant” aesthetics.
26: SLUGDGE – Esoteric Malacology (melodic/progressive death metal)
– Willowtip Inc. –
Surprisingly good melodic death metal with clean vocals. It’s also about SLUGS!
25: JUTE GYTE/SPECTRAL LORE – Helian (experimental black metal)
– I, Voidhanger Records –
It’s more of a collaborative album than a standard split for its ambition. Jute turns all he touches into mictrotonal gold.
24: CALIBRO 35 – Decade (funk/jazz)
– Record Kicks –
Their music is inspired by Italian ’70s crime movies, their most recent albums have some space-rock elements as well. You should absolutely check them out.
23: BARST – The Endeavour (drone/experimental rock)
– Consouling Sounds –
Layered, multi-formed and ever transforming during the course of its 43 minutes, while keeping its “drone jam” quality.
22: BODIES ON EVEREST – A National Day of Mourning (experimental/industrial rock)
– Third-I-Rex –
The description on their Bandcamp reads “Dedicated to a car park in Sarasota FL, a wall in Harrisburg, PA, a chlorine tank, a photograph of a fishing net, a fire extinguisher, a lawyer at a railway station, a section of the pacific ocean near the coast of Chile” and the album is the experimental/industrial equivalent of these evocative vignettes.
21: HIMELVARUWE – Hemelpoort (raw black metal)
– self-released/The Throat –
Notable mentions to his two EPs also out in 2018 as well: Zwaluwenvesting and Het Okenbare. This is a project of the mastermind behind Kaffaljidhma, with an unique aesthetic and a weird approach on raw black metal.
20: SOLAR TEMPLE – Fertile Descent (atmospheric black metal)
– Haeresis Noviomagi/Eisenwald –
Notable mentions to Haeresis Noviomagi‘s other two major outputs this year: Iskandr‘s Euprosopon and Fluisteraars/Turia – De Oord. All of them are great but I think I like Solar Temple‘s “sunny” take on atmospheric black metal the most.
19: EHNAHRE and HADEAN – Rites for Winter (freeform/experimental rock)
– self-released –
Collaborative mini album, with lyrics adapted from the eponymous poem by Weldon Kees. A continuation of the recent Ehnahre dissonant jazzy style like on The Marrow, which I loved last year.
18: SUMAC & Keiji Haino – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On (noise rock)
– Thrill Jockey –
Notable mention to SUMAC‘s Love in Shadow, also out this year. It was hard picking between these two, but I think I like Keiji Haino‘s crazy noise input a bit more.
17: HERE LIES MAN – You Will Know Nothing (psychedelic rock/afrobeat)
– RidingEasy Records –
Afrobeat mixed with psychedelic rock. Weird, but I’ve never heard something like this before. These guys are criminally overlooked.
16: ASSUMPTION – Absconditus (funeral doom metal)
– Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Everlasting Spew Records –
A proggy and even more atmospheric take on dISEMBOWELMENT, which I love, so I like anything inspired by them almost by default. Best Italian metal album this year.
15: ANICON – Entropy Mantra (melodic black metal)
– Vendetta Records –
Impeccable mixture of melody and technicality in black metal. Great drumming by Krallice‘s Lev Weinstein.
14: S U R F I N G – INCUBO (vaporwave)
– self-released –
Vaporwave did its time by now, but I wasn’t expecting a comeback album from S U R F I N G. They mostly work with original material without relying on samples and manage to avoid vaporwave’s usual trappings, so this doesn’t feel like a “meme” album at all, quite the opposite.
13: SLEEPWALKER – 一期一会 (experimental rock/metal)
– Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Annapurna Production –
New Sleep? More like new SLEEPWALKER! This is the real deal, an insane fusion of psychedelia, progressive/kraut-rock, jazzy passages and dISEMBOWELMENT. Many things I love condensed into 24 minutes.
12: DAUGHTERS – You Won’t Get What You Want (industrial/noise rock)
– Ipecac Recordings –
Everyone is talking about it and rightfully so, it’s that good.
11: DEATH GRIPS – Year of the Snitch (experimental hip-hop)
– Third Worlds/Harvest Records –
Another unpredictable album by the guys. This time they even throw in a dose of krautrock for a change.
10: ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER – Age Of (experimental/electro)
– Warp Records –
Sadly it’s a huge step back from Garden of Delete and it’s not some of his best material, but it’s slowly growing on me and when it works, it’s stellar.
9: SAINTE MARIE DES LOUPS – s/t (raw black metal)
– Fallen Empire Records –
Raw black metal album of the year hands down. The ending of Sermons Sanglants might go on forever for all I care.
8: ZEAL AND ARDOR – Stranger Fruit (r’n’b/spirituals/metal)
– MVKA Music –
zealandardor.bandcamp.com/album/stranger-fruitManuel Gagneux really knows how to make a catchy chorus and make the improbable mix of metal and spirituals/r’n’b work.
7: TETHERS – It Bows By Day (guitar ambient)
– Lurker Bias –
These guys deserve more credit and exposure. Their guitar-ambient perfectly recreates the melancholic serenity and desolation on the cover artwork.
6: KNELT ROTE – Alterity (grindcore/black/death metal)
– Nuclear War Now! Productions –
An ultraviolent equivalent of a brick to the teeth. A shame these guys split up (the album is posthumous, actually), but that’s an excellent way to end your career on a high note. It’s probably going to be a landmark on the subgenre for years to come.
5: RANDALL DUNN – Beloved (electro/ambient)
– Figureight –
Beautifully soothing album. Plus it has Zola Jesus and Frank Fisher from Algiers as guests, what’s not to love?
4: IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT – Vile Luxury (jazz/black/deathmetal)
– Gilead Media/The Alchemy Lab Records –
Oh man I love jazz mixed with extreme metal, A swirling mix of black/death metal and saxophone madness. Their Metropolis-influenced imagery of vintage New York goes along perfectly with the music.
3: TOBY DRIVER – They Are The Shield (experimental/ambient rock)
– Blood Music –
I really like the direction Toby has taken both with his solo project and the most recent Kayo Dot albums. Delicate yet intricate. Notable mention for his darksynth side project Piggy Black Cross‘s Always out of R.E.A.C.H. with Bridget Bellavia.
2: CHAOS ECHOES – Mouvement (jazz/black/death metal)
– Nuclear War Now! Productions –
An instrumental black/death metal album that plays like a free-jazz jam. Ornette Coleman goes blasting. Notable mentions for their collaboration EP with Mats Gustafsson and OCRE‘s s/t 7″, a collaboration between bassist Stefan Thanneur and Michel Langevin from Voivod.
1: CLARENCE CLARITY – Think: PEACE (experimental pop/r’n’b)
– Deluxe Pain –
Same as 2015, the first position belongs to him. While probably not as good as No Now, and also less layered and more accessible, Think: PEACE is a super catchy, yet complex pop album. Clarence Clarity is once again the absolute master of choruses, every single one got stuck into my brain for days. It’s nice to hear mini-suites, guitar solos and prog-rock-like reprises in r’n’b.
… Parts One and Two down. Stay tuned for part Three. Hails.
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