2018 came and went in the blink of an eye, leaving a pile of albums I have yet to give my full attention. Therefore before I start my Top 10 I want to mention a few albums that didn’t quite make the cut.
- Behemoth ‘I Loved You at Your Darkest’. Dark and powerful but it just missed the Top 10.
- Tribulation ‘Down Below’. I loved their previous album ‘Children of the Night’, but this just didn’t live up to my expectations.
- Ministry ‘AmeriKKKant’. I always have a soft spot for Uncle Al and Ministry, so although there were some moments on this album, it missed the mark.
- Stone Temple Pilots ‘Stone Temple Pilots’. As their first release without Scott I was hesitant of this album, however I was nicely surprised and enjoyed it a lot more than the latest album from AIC ‘Rainer Fog’ (which just fell flat on its face).
- Burn The Priest ‘Legion: XX’. A mighty mix of covers with all the energy of punk rock. Of course it is basically a Lamb of God album, so it got a big thumbs up from me.
- Lastly there is Dance With The Dead ‘Loved To Death’. I have fallen massively in love with darksynth in the last few years and although this was good, there were better albums from the genre.
10. Ihsahn ‘Ámr’ – Is another atmospheric mix of black metal, electronic and heavy grove guitars. Whenever I listen to one of his albums I always get a sense of darkness and ice cold winds, as if he is painting a portrait with the music. His previous album ‘Arktis’ was a favourite of mine in 2016, with its guess vocals and all round solid sound. ‘Ámr’ doesn’t quite out shine that album but it is still one I keep coming back to.
9. Shining ‘X – Varg Utan Flock’ – I have always had mixed feeling about Shining albums, as I have found them hard to connect/get into. However ‘X…’ did change that earlier this year, with a mighty opening track in the form of ‘Svart ostoppbar eld’. The guitar grabbed me from the start and kept me hooked all the way through. Plus the bonus track ‘Cry Little Sister’ (original by Gerard McMann from The Lost Boys soundtrack) was a surprising addition to the album, plus it surpassed Marilyn Manson’s recent attempt at the song.
7. The Prodigy ‘No Tourists’– A band that always makes us wait a while for a new album (not as long as Tool I might add), but it was all worth it. With the collision of ‘ Music for A Jilted Generation’ and ‘The Fat of The Land’, The Prodigy delivered a catchy, upbeat and phat album. A pleasure to the senses, it left me wanting to go out and dance the night away.
6. Judas Priest ‘Firepower’ – The boys are back and showing the youth of today how it is done. Halford and co. have delivered a fine piece of heavy metal, with all the trimmings! With a mighty performance at Bloodstock this summer, I was blown away with how well this albums material comes off live. So many people were singing along and going hell bent for leather (forgive the pun), that it reminded me how good Judas Priest are.
5. Manes ‘Slow Motion Death Sequence’ – A band I had never heard of before this year, but were formed back 1992 in Trondheim Norway. Their sound has taken many directions over the years, described by themselves as “a bastardization of rock and electronica with influences from jazz and metal”. I can’t put into words what it is about this album that grabbed my attention so much, except to say that it created emotions in me. It has a depth of soul, a catchy playfulness in the darkness.
4. Gost – ‘Possessor’ – All the snippets and teasers for this album had me curious, as it showed a departure to the previous album ‘Non Paradisi’. With black metal vocals and singing from Gost himself (who has a lovely voice), I was taken back with the start of this album. With tales of Satan worshipping and people being sacrificed, the black metal influence was strong! However the traditional electro beats, dancing movements and everything I love about Gost still present I did get into it. A couple of live performances (Roadburn was especially amazing) also helped to allow this album to grow on me. If you don’t get it the first time, please try again.
3. Alien Weaponry ‘Tū’ – A debut album that totally blew me away from the first listen, due to its power and pure metal roots. These young lads from New Zealand have kicked off quite a storm with a heavy amount of touring, which is still ongoing. They recently just finished a tour with Ministry, Carpenter Brut and Igorrr. The energy is what struck with this album, it has so much to give. From catchy riffs, to head banging drums and just good musicianship. Their performance live was one of my highlights of Bloodstock this year. I really hope they can produce a second album that’s just as solid.
2. Ghost ‘Prequelle’ – With all the trials and tribulations this band have gone through, it was nice to just focus on the music. Which is some thing Tobias (we all know its him) does extremely well. The 70’s prog and stadium vibe of this album is mighty. If your looking for him to produce another ‘Opus Eponymous’, that isn’t going to happen. He is taking Ghost to the top of the catchy metal/rock charts, with sing along anthems and fun antics. This album continues this journey, with its fun, foot taping numbers and outlandish solos. It was a fantastic listen from start to finish, plus the Pet Shop Boys cover of ‘It’s a Sin’ is genius.
1. Carpenter Brut ‘Leather Teeth’ – An album that sees the French synthwave master Franck Hueso, produce an album that stole 2018 for me. With guess vocals from Mat McNerney (Grave Pleasures & Hexvessel) and Kristoffer ygg (Ulver), the whole album bleeds 80’s horror movies. From the music, lyrical content (plus song titles) and visuals. My only critical comment would be that it was too short, I wanted more! Carpenter Brut live is magnificent, the power on stage and whole vibe is just something to behold. He is joined by guitarist Adrien Grousset and drummer Florent Marcadet, who both do an amazing job to produce this live.