The 50 best metal albums of 2018 (so far)

Legend Of The Seagullmen – Legend Of The Seagullmen

We said: “Instantly infectious, the opus is heaving with some delicious cheese and the likes of the bullish, Murder City Devils-tinged title track and the hulking, hammy, heavy metal tour de force that is Rise Of The Giant will have fans falling for their obvious charms hook, line and sinker.”

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Lik – Carnage

We said: “At times, this is almost comically exciting: listen to Only Death Is Left Alive at maximum volume and you may shit yourself with pure death metal joy.”

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LLNN – Deads

We said: “There’s no respite; every dark-ambient passage stacks up the tension before throwing you into crushing, painful heaviness on the bass, grinding riffs and skin-flaying grotesqueries in every wound-raw scream.”

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Møl – Jord

We said:Storm and the title track also keep the atmospherics centre-stage through enchanting interludes to even out the otherwise destructive insanity that Jord relishes in. This is a black metal/shoegaze combo predominantly crafted for the extreme shred-loving headbanger.”

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Monotheist – Scourge

We said: “During a central trio of 10-minute epics, Monotheist pull out all the stops, several kitchen sinks and at least one warped nod to King Crimson, as they transform into cosmic prog metal warlords, skulls bursting with skewed but brilliant ideas.”

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Necrophobic – Mark Of The Necrogram

We said: “Instantly catchy and straightforward yet epic, to young, untrained ears this will sound like a perfect mix of the trademarked mid-90s Scandinavian death metal sound with blackened harmonies, like a heavier and less mystic version of early Dissection if you will. But to the initiated, it just sounds like Necrophobic, with each chorus delivered with a towering confidence, as if Anders was declaring a war to end all wars.”

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Oceans Of Slumber – The Banished Heart

We said: “Born of personal loss and anguish, The Banished Heart is an achingly honest masterpiece fraught with both upheaval and hope that connects both band and listener to a primal sense.”

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Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back

We said: “Like every Orange Goblin album, The Wolf Bites Back’s heart is in the past, though this time they’re moving beyond the usual Sabbath/Motörhead axis without completely throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

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Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs

We said: “There are a handful of moments that threaten to spill over into Eurovision Song Contest territory but The Cave, Like Orpheus and My Brother’s Keeper are among Orphaned Land’s finest achievements so far.”

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Parkway Drive – Reverence

We said: “The tone and pace of much of this album is eerily reminiscent of the album that turned Metallica into the biggest metal band of them all. We’re not suggesting that Reverence will pop in quite such a way, but, with an album that will doubtless continue their relentless march towards metal’s upper echelons, expect Parkway Drive to reap the deserving rewards of their sonic gambling.”

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Portal – ION

We said: “Whether the daring ION is a glimpse into Portal’s future direction or merely an experimental side-step is unclear, but at the very least this enigmatic band should be praised for having the temerity to utilise divergent thinking when they could have easily remained time-trapped within their crepuscular grandfather clock.”

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Primordial – Exile Amongst The Ruins

We said: “An ambitious and arresting opus, Exile Amongst The Ruins firmly states that Alan Averill and co still have plenty to say.”

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Shining – X - Varg Utan Flock

We said: “Shining have put out a record that crowns their second decade as effectively as Halmstad did their first, deploying their best signature tricks to maximum effect; X - Varg Utan Flock resolves that elemental battle and finds confluence, bipolar wavelengths cohering with unified force and direction.”

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Svalbard – It’s Hard To Have Hope

We said: “This isn’t your standard metal record; this album means something, and while focusing on the negatives of society, it offers a message of hope – something severely lacking right now.”

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Tesseract – Sonder

We said: “An intricate and beautiful piece of work, it was arguably the final piece in the puzzle for many prog fans formerly daunted by the band’s more aggressive tendencies. As a result, Sonder may be viewed as a partial reclaiming of that original territory because – and there’s no other way of putting it – the riffs on this thing are fucking enormous.”

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The Body – I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer

We said: “The opening procession of tracks, from the morose strings-and-static of The Last Form Of Loving to the tribal synth pummel of Partly Alive will sound familiar to those who picked up their collaborations with Full Of Hell, but it’s during The West Has Failed where things get weird; it’s a distorted, trip-hop banger, complete with vocal samples of dub-reggae MC Eek-A-Mouse!”

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The Faceless – In Becoming A Ghost

We said: “Bound together by a narrative that weaves in daring, vicious instrumentation and gorgeous vocal melodies that prog metal visionaries Enslaved would be proud of, In Becoming A Ghost really delivers on its startling scope and absorbing nature, propelling the band from the ‘what might have been’ to ‘what next?’”

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The Good, The Bad And The Zugly – Misanthropical House

We said: “Whether clattering along at full pelt on short, sharp stabbers like Mindlessness and Going Nowhere Fast or delivering immaculate hardcore anthems like International Asshole or Vig Bak Meg Satan, this is exactly the kind of punk rock album that metalheads will embrace and that, Satan willing, will get the effusive acclaim it deserves.”

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Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath

We said:Conqueror’s Oath features eight slabs of pure heavy metal joy that draw on the epic 80s tradition of American metal – Manowar, Warlord, Medieval Steel – as well as classic Maiden.”

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Voices – Frightened

We said: “For those who found London to be an exemplary modern progression upon their blackened death metal template, Frightened may be a step too far, but it’s a bold and accomplished broadening of Voices’ horizons that retains much of their intricate extremity within an expanded emotional and sonic framework.”

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Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse

We said: “From the pendulous swagger of Teufelsreich to the rampaging grandeur of Furor Diabolicus, and on to A Throne Below’s skewed melodic thrust and feral, heads-down canter, it’s an album that eschews traditional atmospheric ebb and flow in favour of an all-out assault.”

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Will Haven – Muerte

We said:Muerte’s exquisite bleakness is Will Haven at their doomsday-heralding best. Give yourself over to the fear.”

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Winterfylleth – The Hallowing Of Heirdom

We said: “It’s this album’s honesty, both in its execution and, significantly, in the unaffected purity of the band’s unified voices, that makes it so irresistible.”

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Yob – Our Raw Heart

We said:Our Raw Heart is an album that boasts as much ingenuity, charisma and excoriating emotion as it does skull-powdering heaviness.”

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Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit

We said: “Instead of the heavy noise of chains weighing you down, Stranger Fruit elevates the listener with the sound of chirping birds and dripping water – all while keeping up the eerie, morbid and devil-worshipping vibe that made Zeal & Ardor so intriguing in the first place.”

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