Another year, another list. Music never stops. I like to think of these lists as snapshots in time, because I just found out Outre released an album that I missed, plus I haven’t been able to listen to the new Svartidaudi or Tomb Mold that much either! The blasphemy. Nonetheless, this list is a very good approximation of what has taken up a lot of my listening time this year. If I had to summarise it somehow, I’d say there were a lot of great death metal releases this year. Oh yeah, Sulphur Aeon comes out after this is published. Looking forward to that. Anyway, I digress. As usual, the stuff I like the most is either black metal or weird noise stuff. Enjoy. Or don’t. Whatever.
The Top 20 Albums of 2018
- Minaret — XX
Russian emo band. It’s awesome. Apparently the tag is emoviolence, I think it’s pretty apt. Cannot understand a single word but boy oh boy is it good.
- Kriegsmaschine — Apocalypticists
I can say that Darkside is easily one of my favourite drummers; the opening track about halfway in has the grooviest use of crash and ride this side of the Void. Anyway, this album is your pretty classic black metal style done wonderfully.
- Bosse de Nage — Further Still
One of the most poetic albums of the year. Every song is a short story I wish I had written. My advice is go to Bandcamp, check the lyrics and be amazed. Full on throat shredding screams; blackgaze done right.
- GosT — Possessor
This guy, with Perturbator are my first two synthwave finds, and they’re generally the best. Possessor goes hard as a motherfucker. A lot of black metal influences paired with some sweet, sweet production.
- Gaerea — Unsettling Whispers
It was a slow month when this came out I remember correctly. Which is good. Listened to this a LOT. Black metal again with a sinister touch of something else. Hard to pinpoint it but it’s intoxicating to say the least.
- Snakefeast — In Chaos, Solace
I don’t quite remember where I found this but I’m glad I did. Saxophone in metal is the coolest shit ever (see Conjurer). This is really unique though; kind of like instrumental metal but it does have a vocalist… I don’t know. It’s great dinner party music anyway.
- High Tension — Purge
Saw High Tension right after the album released and it made me appreciate it way more. The vitriol that runs through this sludgy masterpiece is so poisonous I’m sure a slight touch will reduce you to a slobbering mess. Either way, my living room is a slobbering mess whenever I put it on.
- Coheed and Cambria — Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures
I really fucking love this album. Their previous double album was a high point in their career for me, but this is very, very close. Brings back all the things they learned writing cool rock songs, with all the proggy stuff they learned being young. A perfect symbiosis.
- KEN Mode — Loved
What an album. Static and guitar tone on this will deafen you if you put it on past 30% volume. Jazz and noise for eternity. KEN Mode have really outdone themselves on this release. It’s fucking filthy.
- Møl — Jord
I dedicated a lot of time to this album. This is kind of what I think Deafheaven wanted to sound like three albums ago. The title track has a riff that also vaguely reminds me of a Gojira song… Which is cool. I just love this album. It’s dynamic. Beautiful.
- Lingua Ignota — All Bitches Die
Terrifying. Just terrifying. Hayter is filled with an unending, apocalyptic rage. Jangling bells, plodding bass, and the screams that would make Satan cut his own wrists. This album is a masterpiece.
- Spectral Wound — Infernal Decadence
This here is like old school black metal. Emperor old school. Really fucking liked it. From the first two seconds (it’s an anguished scream growl) to the last two seconds (a fading chord, obviously) I was never once bored.
- Uniform — The Long Walk
You could dance to this easier than any pop song on the radio. It seriously makes you want to get moving. Then shower, because the production is disgusting. Every song is a noise rock spectacle and is an actual joy to listen to. Brings a smile to my face every time.
- Slugdge — Esoteric Malacology
The unfortunate thing about this album being so good is I failed to really give the new Alkaloid and Rivers of Nihil a listen. This album is SO good you probably won’t need any other death metal album in your life, or at least the next decade. So what if all they sing about is slugs.
- The Armed — Only Love
Hands down the weirdest album on this list. The Armed are just all over the shop. They don’t give a fuck what you’re thinking because they’re just as unknown as you are. Hardcore done whack as fuck. It’s auditory party chaos.
- Wayfarer — World’s Blood
Ever wondered what black metal would sound like if it was filtered through country music? Me neither. But I’m glad Wayfarer did. This album is somber and morose and introspective. A perfect accompaniment to a rainy day and bad whiskey.
- Thou — Magus
It’s hard to explain how groundbreaking Thou are. Releasing three EPs in a year as a prelude to an album is fucking insane. How does one band have so many perfect ideas?! Anyway, this is doom/sludge perfection. So many moments on this album that make you go ‘What the… Woah.’
- Behemoth — I Loved You At Your Darkest
If The Satanist was righteous anger, this one is righteous blasphemy. Takes all the antichristian elements of yore and turns them on their head. It’s just frankly a cool fucking album. Love all the songs. Love the direction. Love the progression.
- The Body — I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer / O God Who Avenges, Shine Forth. Rise Up, Judge of the Earth; Pay Back the Proud What They Deserve
These guys released two albums this year so I thought I’d just smash them together because I couldn’t decide (probably the first but fuck it). The first is diverse, stripped down and bare. Lots of guests. The latter is more akin to earlier The Body; a bass line sounds like shattering glass, dreams.
- Rolo Tomassi — Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It
What is there to say really. Rolo Tomassi are easily some of the most talented musicians around. The way they seamlessly blend their mathiness and heaviness with dreamlike inducing atmosphere is otherworldly. They’re just a cut above the rest. Time Will Die… is unique in the sense that they’ve balanced the two aspects of themselves better than ever before. Ecstatic to put it at #1.
The Top 5 Songs of 2018
Unfortunately, there are not enough numbers on a list to capture all the music I really enjoyed this year. However, in saying that, these five songs were instant classics for me. You know when you’re listening, but not really listening, then you hear a riff or a scream and your head pops up like a meerkat in charge of scouring the desert for eagles or coyotes? That happened with all these. Especially that Daughters song; an astoundingly cool riff paired with the sickest guitar tone ever. Erdve and Tomb Mold also fall into that category; instantly loved the riff.
- Pagan — ‘Blood Moon’
- Zeal and Ardor — ‘Ship On Fire’
- Tomb Mold — ‘Blood Mirror’
- Erdve — ‘Isnara’
- Daughters — ‘Less Sex’
The Top 5 Album Covers of 2018
I thought this would be a good addition last year, so I’m adding it. If I can say anything about the art that I like, it’d be; I really like impressionistic and abstract forms or; monochromatic, old style etching and sketching. Take Jacob Bannon for the former, or Vania Zouravliov for the latter. All these covers are either, or, and they’re the ones that really stuck with me all year. Especially Thou. When I saw that album cover I couldn’t help but fall in love.
5. The Black Queen — Infinite Games
4. Harakiri for the Sky — Arson
3. Kosmogyr — Eviternity
2. Sumac — Love In Shadow
1. Thou — The House Primordial
The Top 5 Music Videos of 2018
Personally, I don’t watch a lot of videos; I’d rather just listen. But I of course do so on occasion. So here are the first five that came to mind. Xiu Xiu routinely make weird reality questioning video clips and Behemoth routinely make short arthouse movies. So what’s not to like? I really like that La Dispute one as well; never have I felt so attached and so emotionally affected by a cartoon deer. Eat your heart out Bambi.
5. Wiegedood — ‘Parool’
4. Imperial Triumphant — ‘Swarming Opulence’
3. La Dispute — ‘Rose Quartz / Fulton Street’
2. Behemoth — ‘God=Dog’
1. Xiu Xiu — ‘Scissssssors’
The Top 3 Gigs of 2018
3. Amenra @ The Factory Theatre, Sydney
This would be second were it not for the fact that Rise of Avernus opened for this show. I like them, but there wasn’t a blemish on the other two ahead, so that was the deciding. Amenra were definitely life changing though; I basically zoned out in pure ecstasy for their entire set.
📷: Charlyn Cameron @chuck_stuff
2. Hymns to the Dead @ Odeon Theatre, Tasmania
Portal, Batushka and Numenorean. Three bands I never thought I’d see in my life, let alone in one show. Fucking incredible. Blasphemy also played but they played last, and I’m not a fan so I just left. Anyway, the evil of Portal and the suspense of Batushka blew my mind for days. (Review Here)
1. Borderlands @ Mac2, Tasmania
Merzbow, Pan Daijing, William Basinksi and this guy called Roly Porter. So glad I went to this. It was transcendental. At one point, the strobe lights were so bright we were told to close our eyes lest we go blind. So unnecessary but I loved every single second. It was almost an outer body experience.
Fav Band Discovered in 2018?
A friend showed me a band called The Locust. The album is something like two decades old and it’s some of the most forward thinking and coolest grind music out there. Works in a lot of weird electronic stuff too, kind of like Mr. Bungle, but yeah, grind. Also fucking Diploid’s Everything Went Red blew my teeth out through the back of spine. I’m paralysed now. Thanks Diploid. Also also, I clicked onto a band called Holy Fawn thinking it was a new Death Spells album. Wasn’t. But it was a great discovery nonetheless. Makes that dream rock you hear on the radio sound like a bad cover song played on a trash can and a one string banjo.
Most Looking Forward To In 2019?
Altarage, Xiu Xiu and La Dispute are releasing a new album in January, February and March respectively, so that’s crazy. If Gojira release a new album later in the year, that’d be crazy too. I hear Gesaffelstein is meant to release a new album as well, so I’ll be pumping that crazy single until then. I hear The Body are doing more collaborations on top of coming to Australia to tour; crazy crazy crazy.
Written by — Dylonov Tomasivich