2018 Best of Metal: #9 Tomb Mold-Manor of Infinite Forms

Release Date:  June 8, 2018

Personnel:  Payson Power-guitar, Derrick Vella-guitar, Steve Musgrave-bass, and Max Klebanoff-drums/vocals

Origin:  Toronto, Canada

This is damn near a perfect death metal album.  It’s aggressive, but not monotonously so.  So many death metal albums that are on the grittier side such as this one tend to get bogged down by a repetitive formula and it ends up being a little too much grind for the album to fully breathe.  This guys get it.  There are so many creative parts on this thing.  This is one of those albums in which I really had a hard time not listening to over and over.  The true mark of a really amazing album.

4.5 flip flops out of 5

The list so far:

9.  Tomb Mold-Manor of Infinite Forms
10.  Revocation-The Outer Ones
11.  All Them Witches-ATW
12.  Redemption-Long Night’s Journey Into Day
13.  Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats-Wasteland
14.  Panopticon-The Scars of Man Upon the Once Nameless Wilderness
15.  Arkona-Khram
16.  Agrimonia-Awaken
17.  Between the Buried and Me-Automata I & II
18.  Clutch-Book of Bad Decisions
19.  Harakiri For the Sky-Arson
20.  Behemoth-I Loved You At Your Darkest

2018 Best of Metal: #10 Revocation-The Outer Ones

Release Date:  September 28, 2018

Personnel:  David Davidson-vocals/guitar, Dan Gargiulo-guitar, Brett Bamberger-bass, and Ash Pearson-drums

Origin:  Boston, MA

The first ten we have visited so far have been fantastic.  So, you’re in store for a treat with the remaining albums.  We enter the Top 10 of 2018 with Revocation’s new one.  Revocation is another band that has been a model of consistency since their inception.  They have perfected their trademark sound of thrash/death metal hybrid.  To me, these guys will always seem like this generation’s Megadeth.  Leader David Davidson is one of the true guitar heroes going today.  He combines a great deal of technical wizardry with some very uncanny guitar riffs that form the structures of their songs.  These aren’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill guitar riffs.  They’re creative and it leads to some really interesting directions.

4.5 flip flops out of 5

The list so far:

10.  Revocation-The Outer Ones
11.  All Them Witches-ATW
12.  Redemption-Long Night’s Journey Into Day
13.  Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats-Wasteland
14.  Panopticon-The Scars of Man Upon the Once Nameless Wilderness
15.  Arkona-Khram
16.  Agrimonia-Awaken
17.  Between the Buried and Me-Automata I & II
18.  Clutch-Book of Bad Decisions
19.  Harakiri For the Sky-Arson
20.  Behemoth-I Loved You At Your Darkest

2018 Best of Metal: #11 All Them Witches-ATW

Release Date:  September 28, 2018

Personnel:  Charles Michael Parks, Jr.-vocals/bass, Ben McLeod-guitar, and Robby Staebler-drums

Origin:  Nashville, TN

This one is just a flat out rock-n-roll album with splashes of grunge, southern rock, indie rock and classic rock.  All Them Witches just falls into that category of band that provides a little something for everyone.  This is an album that I really found myself returning to time and again since it came out.

The list so far:

11.  All Them Witches-ATW
12.  Redemption-Long Night’s Journey Into Day
13.  Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats-Wasteland
14.  Panopticon-The Scars of Man On The Once Nameless Wilderness
15.  Arkona-Khram
16.  Agrimonia-Awaken
17.  Between the Buried and Me-Automata I & II
18.  Clutch-Book of Bad Decisions
19.  Harakiri For The Sky-Arson
20.  Behemoth-I Loved You At Your Darkest

2018 Best of Metal: #12 Redemption-Long Night’s Journey Into Day

Release Date:  July 27, 2018

Personnel:  Tom Englund-vocals, Nick van Dyk-guitar, Sean Andrews-bass, Chris Quirarte-drums, Vikram Shankar-keyboards

Origin:  Los Angeles, CA

Redemption saw a switcheroo in the vocalist department in 2018 with former frontman Ray Alder (Fates Warning) stepping aside and Tom Englund (Evergrey) now manning the mic.  Overall, the switch was fairly painless with Englund providing a similar delivery to that provided by Alder.  Musically, this latest album just flat out smokes.  If you are a geek for flashy guitar leads, this one should scratch that itch for you.  And it’s not all flash.  The songs are really put together well and this is definitely a bounce-back album for Redemption, who seemed to be in a bit of a rut over there past couple of albums.

4.5 flip flops out of 5

The list so far:

12.  Redemption-Long Night’s Journey Into Day
13.  Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats-Wasteland
14.  Panopticon-The Scars of Man Upon the Once Nameless Wilderness
15.  Arkona-Khram
16.  Agrimonia-Awaken
17.  Between the Buried and Me-Automata I & II
18.  Clutch-Book of Bad Decisions
19.  Harakiri For The Sky-Arson
20.  Behemoth-I Loved You At Your Darkest

2018 Best of Metal: #13 Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats-Wasteland

Release Date:  October 12, 2018

Personnel:  Kevin R. Starrs-vocals/guitar/organ, Vaughn Stokes-guitar, Justin Smith-bass, John Rice-drums

Origin:  Cambridge, England

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats saw some personnel changes recently, but main man Kevin R. Starrs is still at the helm and is steering the 2018 incarnation of the band with the same steady hand he has always used.  Wasteland just continues Uncle Acid’s consistent level of quality albums put out since their inception.  They are one of the keystones in the retro/psychedelic metal movement.  Wasteland is just a joy.

The list so far:

13.  Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats-Wasteland
14.  Panopticon-The Scars of Man Upon the Once Nameless Wilderness
15.  Arkona-Khram
16.  Agrimonia-Awaken
17.  Between the Buried and Me-Automata I & II
18.  Clutch-Book of Bad Decisions
19.  Harakiri For The Sky-Arson
20.  Behemoth-I Loved You At Your Darkest

2018 Best of Metal: #14 Panopticon-The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness

 

Release Date:  April 20, 2018

Personnel:  Austin Lunn-all vocals and instruments

Origin:  Somewhere in the woods of Minnesota

Best damn bluegrass black metal band in all the land.  Well, probably the only bluegrass black metal band in all the land.  This is one of those albums you are either going to embrace wholeheartedly and really love or it’s not going to speak to you in the slightest and you’re going to hate it.  I am firmly in the camp that loves what Panopticon is doing.  It’s another of these blending of non-metal styles of music into an extreme subgenre of metal.  In the past, Panopticon has blended the two seamlessly within the same album.  This recent release is more regimented in that it is a double album with Part I being more focused on the black metal side and Part II being all bluegrass/Americana/folk.  Underlying the whole is a lament of humankind’s wretched history with nature.  This is a special one.

4 flip flops out of 5

The list so far:

14.  Panopticon-The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness
15.  Arkona-Khram
16.  Agrimonia-Awaken
17.  Between the Buried and Me-Automata I & II
18.  Clutch-Book of Bad Decisions
19.  Harakiri For The Sky-Arson
20.  Behemoth-I Loved You At Your Darkest

2018 Best of Metal: #15 Arkona-Khram

Release Date:  January 19, 2018

Personnel:  Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova-vocals, Sergei “Lazar” Atrashkevich-guitar, Ruslan “Kniaz” Rosomaherov-bass, Vladimir “Volk” Reshetnikov-wind/ethnic instruments, Andrey Ishchenko-drums

Origin:  Moscow, Russia

Pagan metal and folk metal are a couple of sub-genres in which the line between cheese and awesome is very thin.  There are a lot of bands in these sub-genres that completely jump the shark in their embrace of a weird mixture of over-the-top power metal tropes with traditional native and ancient style instruments.  A lot of time these bands are just a little too jaunty and goofy for me to take all that seriously.

Arkona, on the other hand, deliver the goods as far as pagan metal goes.  They manage to blend traditional Russian instruments with a dark death metal sound and the result is something meaty.  Their latest album, Khram, does a really nice job of using traditional instruments and pagan tales with a forward thinking and progressive sound to the metal elements on the album.  There is a ton of diversity on this record and I really think that it is one of mine favorite all-time pagan albums.

4 flip flops out of 5

The list so far:

15.  Arkona-Khram
16.  Agrimonia-Awaken
17.  Between the Buried and Me-Automata I & II
18.  Clutch-Book of Bad Decisions
19.  Harakiri For The Sky-Arson
20.  Behemoth-I Loved You At Your Darkest