ThisIsNotAScene founder, Ross Allen, weighs in with his Top 10 Albums of 2018 along with a few honorable mentions. 2018 was such a strong year for new music, it was a difficult process to narrow down this list, it could have been a hundred or more long!
Møl – Jord
Danish band Møl have been around for a few years but many, including myself, were not introduced to them until this year and their phenomenal debut album “Jord”, released through Holy Roar Records. “Jord,” with its blend of post-rock and shoegaze, transports the listener through a roller-coaster of emotions, from euphoric highs to desperate lows, drifting from atmospheric soundscapes to explosive beats and screamed vocals.
Svalbard – It’s Hard To Have Hope
Bristol, UK, quartet followed up their 2015 debut album “One Day All This Will End” with this year’s “It’s Hard To Have Hope,” released through Holy Roar Records. It’s a no holds barred punch in the face both musically and lyrically. Svalbard are not afraid to throw punches whilst at the same reaching out to comfort you. A socially charged opus that will have to banging you head and thinking about today’s society all at once.
Soft Kill – Savior
Another band that has been around for a some time that had so far eluded me was Portland, Oregon’s Soft Kill. Their latest offering “Savior,” released through Profound Lore Records, proudly wears its post-punk influences for all to hear. It has melodies aplenty but more than enough melancholia to keep you well grounded but your heading WILL be bobbing and your feet tapping along throughout the album.
Sleep – The Sciences
Sleep need no introduction, despite this being the first new long player in well over a decade, they still have a cult following and have garnered legendary status in the metal world. “The Sciences,” via Third Man Records, carries on where the 2014 Adult Swim Singles Series release “The Clarity” left off. Lumbering bass lines, distorted guitar, slow, deliberate drums, 10 minute plus songs and more weed references that you can point a blunt at. It’s Sleep, what more could you want?
A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant
Another band to return with a new record in 2018 after an extended hiatus were A Perfect Circle. “Eat The Elephant” is the band’s first release sine 2004’s “Emotive” and a much welcome return to form after a somewhat lackluster “covers” album. The big difference is that “Eat The Elephant” has a more complete vibe to it, a stable line up and Maynard James Keenan contributing full force again. A series of singles released prior to the album launch whetted the appetite of rabid fans eager to hear new APC music. They weren’t disappointed, “Eat The Elephant” delivered on the early promise of the singles ‘The Doomed,’ ‘Disillusioned,’ ‘Talk Talk’ and ‘So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.’
River of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Back with their third full-length album, “Where Owls Know My Name,” via Metal Blade Records, progressive death metallers River of Nihil have come of age. The third in a series of concept albums, representing Fall, with Spring and Summer being represented by the first and second albums respectively. Blending soaring aural landscapes with ferocious death metal barrages and tech metal prowess, that puts some others to shame, has elevated Rivers Of Nihil above their peers and leaves us all wanting to hear the next installment.
Jesus Piece – Only Self
In a year that has seen releases from some of the Hardcore scene heavy-weights, Madball, Sick Of It All and Harm’s Way, it’s Philadelphia newcomers Jesus Piece that stole the show with their debut album “Only Self,” released through Southern Lord Recordings. Blend hardcore ferocity with Death Metal brutality and add a little more than a dash of industrial to the mix and you have Jesus Piece, the new kids on the block are more than a force to be reckoned with!
Architects – Holy Hell
The heartbreaking events surrounding Architects last release “All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us” are well documented and many wondered if they would ever be the same again. With the release of the track “Doomsday,” in September 2017, the answer was a resounding YES! Josh Middleton had now become a full-time member of the band and they were working on a new album. The result, “Holy Hell,” is without doubt an Architects album, the hallmarks are there for all to hear. Tom Searle may be gone but he was very much part of this album with several tracks co-written by him before he lost his fight to cancer.
TesseracT – Sonder
2018 was a solid year for UK progressive metallers, TesseracT. Their latest album “Sonder,” released through Kscope, was their highest charting release in the UK and they sold out show across the UK and Europe. Proof, if any were needed, that TesseracT are on top of their game as they head to North America to conquer it as they have with Europe. TesseracT with Dan Tompkins at the helm just seems right, that’s not to downplay the contributions of previous vocalists, but Tompkins’ range and versatility is the perfect compliment to the musical proficiency TesseracT displays.
Conjurer – Mire
British extreme progressive metallers, Conjurer, cemented their place in this year’s Top 10 with their debut album, “Mire,” released through Holy Roar Records. Belying their Years, Conjurer have produced a bleak, dark and ferociously heavy album that could easily sit with the likes Opeth in their heaviest days without being out of place. Those that decry the current state of British metal have clearly been looking in the wrong place!
Here are a few albums that I also wanted to be in the Top 10 but 15 just doesn’t go into 10!
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Wrong Creatures
Ghost – Prequelle
Deicide – Overture Of Blasphemy
Alice In Chains – Rainier Fog
Judas Priest – Firepower