Compared to last year, the first part of 2018 has been extremely interesting for metal music and we actually had the opportunity to appreciate many different sub-genres. In particular, as you will see from this first edition of the TOP TEN METAL IN 2018, there have been many groups that managed to win our interest through refined, experimental and sophisticated styles of music.
Before starting with the chart, I’ll go with the usual recommendation for those of you who landed here via a search engine: please check if this is the most recent edition of the chart, you can easily browse the most recent publications in the metal section of the blog. This list is the first one released for 2018 and it refers to the LPs released in the first 45 days of the year. Enjoy!
#1) VARG UTAN FLOCK by Shining
(Experimental Black Metal, SWEDEN)
VARG UTAN FLOK is the new album by Shining, from Sweden, which is one of the most regular and longeve bands in black metal. This work presents almost the same winning formula of their previous albums: an interesting version of depressive and experimental black metal which often incorporates many elements from thrash and, less frequently, other intriguing inserts from jazz and rock. You can read the full review of this album from here.
#2) SLOWGOD II by Grajo
(Psychedelic Doom Metal, SPAIN)
SLOWGOD II is the debut full-lenght album by Grajo, from Spain. The band plays a doomish version of stoner rock that manages to move with great ease between trippy moments and more abrasive sections. The LP consists of 6 tracks, all of them interesting and deep, with a couple of peaks which elevate the album among the best things we heard so far in 2018. I’ve been particularly impressed by Malstrøm, the epic sludge song which closes the album and that features 8 minutes of pure atmospheric beauty. Full review is available here.
#3) UNSUNG PROPHETS AND DEAD MESSIAHS by Orphaned Land
(Oriental Metal, ISRAEL)
UNSUNG PROPHETS & DEAD MESSIAHS is the last album by Orphaned Land, the Israeli metal band that many define as “the pioneers of oriental metal”. The LP is one of the best things they released in the recent past and it shows an impressive stylistic consistency across the entire album. The LP features the usual fusion between different genres and cultures, and we can appreciate how the specific elements of Middle Eastern music are guiding the development of the song, both in the riffing sections and the choruses. Full review is available here.
#4) BOUNDLESS by Long Distance Calling
(Post Metal, GERMANY)
BOUNDLESS, the new album from German post metal quartet Long Distance Calling, offers a sensational sequence of epic instrumental songs filled with suspence and sonic explosions. What differentiates this music from your typical post metal album is the incredible smoothness between the various stages of the development of the songs and also the beauty of the melodies and the riffs that we find, of first quality. Full review is available here.
#5) SANGUE CASSIA by Sinistro
(Post / Doom Metal, PORTUGAL)
SANGUE CASSIA, by Portuguese band Sinistro, is an album for those who have time. Time for long songs, time for repeated listens, time to get rid of distractions and be carried away by the incredible music played by this group. The members of the band use to describe their music as “cinematic”. And in fact they managed to create here extremely evocative atmospheres and suggestive soundscapes, on top of which we have one of the most beautiful voices of the current days. Full review is available here.
#6) ASTRALA by Unshine
(Gothic Metal, FINLAND)
ASTRALA is the new album by Unshine, a gothic metal band from Finland that is active since 2001 and which arrived, with this new release, to the fourth entry in their interesting discography. The band declares to play “druid metal”, but in the end their songs bring inside all the main elements of gothic music, in particular for what concerns the melanchonic, soft and feminine characters that we may appreciate in their music.
#7) KHRAM by Arkona
(Black / Folk Metal, RUSSIA)
KHRAM is the new full-lenght entry in the long discography of Arkona, a Moscow-based black metal formation, The album is a concentrate of obscure atmospheres and pagan music, with songs that manage to leave a mark of gloom in the listener’s soul. The LP features long and articulated tracks such as Tseluya zhizn’, which is an epic song of more than seventeen minutes of dark beauty.
#8) ARSON by Harakiri for the Sky
(Post Black Metal, AUSTRIA)
ARSON is the fourth album from Harakiri for the Sky, which is a very interesting band from Austria. They initially started as a studio project with only two members playing all the instruments but eventually become a complete line-up ready for the stage. The new album shows a few important elements of innovation in their sound, in particular for what concerns an increased recourse to melodic and clean sections.
#9) FOOTPRINTS IN THE ROCK by Trespass
(Heavy Metal, ENGLAND)
FOOTPRINTS IN THE ROCK is the most recent release by Trespass, a band born and established during the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and which went through a number of changes in the line-up and also a few periods of stand-by. The music played in the current days by Trespass is a blend of classic heavy metal with many rock influences. The band features three guitarists and the resulting effect is an hurricane of rock which releases healty doses of electrical energy, engaging riffs and tight rhythms.
#10) DEFY by Of Mice & Man
DEFY is the new album from the American metalcore band Of Mice And Men and it concludes a challenging period that the band suffered since a couple of years ago when the band had to face the departure from the formation of their charismatic lead singer, Austin Carlile, who was also one of the two founders of the group back in 2009. The remaing members decided to move on and this LP sees the band performing in the form of quartet, with the tasks of “unclean” vocalist taken in charge by bassist Aaron Pauley.
Since you are here, you may be interested in:
- METAL MILITIA, THE MIXTAPE WITH THE BEST OF NEW METAL which features many of the bands that are part of this chart, together with other groups that released their latest LPs in the early part of 2018.
- POST, a breathtaking compilation with the best of Post Metal and Post Rock, featuring – among the others – Harakiri for the Sky and Sinistro, two bands that were included in the current Top Ten for metal.
- MUSIC FOR THRASHERS, the new series of mixtapes with the best of modern thrash metal.