Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Well it's that time of year when everyone and their mother are making their top album of the year lists. As a female metalhead I advocate for not only camaraderie amongst metal fans in general but especially amongst women who are metalheads. So I reached out to some of my favorite female metalheads to find out what album they enjoyed most in 2018!
Mallika Sundaramurthy : Vocalist for Abnormality, Vegan, Animal Advocate, Artist and Illustrator.
My favorite album of 2018 is Obscura's "Diluvium'. It is a very interesting album in all regards. The concepts (the final chapter of a four-album story), top quality music, lyrics, and production all make this a solid record. The band again mixes progressive, technical, and melodic elements with impressive compositions that build to one epic album.
Jelena Kiric : Guitar Shredder.
I discovered Gorod back in 2013 on the Bloodletting North American tour and I was completely blindsided by how awesome they were. I had never heard of this band before and they were performing live at the Airliner, which was packed, and I was in the front row. It was the most epic way possible to hear this band for the first time because they absolutely killed it live! Their music speaks to me because they are brutal technical death metal but somehow still groovy at the same time. Their technical ability is awesome but their musical genius is evident as well - the note choice is simply tasty! There's not a lot of modern metal bands that I think can be techy AND groovy AND catchy at the same time. I have been hooked ever since. After that night, I bought all of their albums and keep buying every time they release a new one because they outdo themselves every time and I am never disappointed.
Judas Priest 'Firepower'
Laureline Tilkin : Tuonela Magazine, Cerulean Midnight, Photographer.
After careful consideration, I decided to pick Judas Priest's 'Firepower' as the best metal album of 2018. I have been listening to Priest since I was a kid and this album in my opinion is on the same level as 'Painkiller' which is hands down one of my all time favorite albums! The band hasn't released an album like this in almost 30 years! It's simply brilliant.
Behemoth 'I Loved You At Your Darkest'
Amanda Kathleen : Academic, Scholar, PhD Student. Published works include, Horror Studies issue 7.2, Metal Music Studies issues 2.2, 3.1, 4.2 and book 'Childbirth and Parenting in Horror Texts: The Marginalized and the Monstrous'.
I have selected ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ by Behemoth: and not only because of the devastatingly heavy blast beats. I was diagnosed with cancer this year. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love I received from my friends in the heavy metal academic community. I also want to say that Alex Skolnick is an incredibly nice man, as he took the time to reach out to me upon hearing my diagnosis, and he did not have to do that. This legion (my own personal army of darkness) is literally loving me at the darkest time in my adult life. Nergal is also a cancer survivor, and I’m wearing Behemoth merch throughout my chemotherapy. Additionally, ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ advises us that we are all barreling towards inevitable oblivion, and that we as individual people are responsible for own salvation. Two of my favorite tracks are ‘Wolves Ov Siberia’ (those who have read my publications will not be shocked about that one) and ‘Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica’. This album is the soundtrack to the reclamation of my life and my health as I battle this cancer at the end of the year, and for this reason, it’s my favorite heavy metal album of 2018.
Author & Punisher 'Beastland'
Avril Che : Keyboardist/Vocalist for Dead Register, Awesome Chef, Music Video Visionary.
It is rare to find music that invokes a sense of poignant satisfaction deep in my gut. Enter Author & Punisher. Eight albums deep into 'Beastland', and he still continues to hit with the emotional and intellectual stimulation that hooked me since the beginning. The expressive layers of massive tones, pulsing low end, organically crushing metallics rising from his hand-engineered machines are sincerely gorgeous. There’s real substance that pummels into my icy blackened ticker. In conclusion, I use my faux doctor’s badge to recommend systematic dosages A&P for optimum circulatory health.
Rivers of Nihil 'Where Owls Know My Name'
Lyndsay Helfrich : Independent Metal Scholar/Renegade Soap-maker. Published in Metal Music Studies issue 4.2.
This album really hit the spot for me when it dropped. It is a really complex album with lots of instrumental elements that include jazzy pieces which pair nicely with Rivers of Nihil's signature crushing tech death. I also enjoyed the use of atmospheric elements and clean vocals. Overall it has a really diverse, interesting, and epic sound that keeps you hooked from start to finish.
Runner Up Favorite: KEN Mode's 'Loved' album. It was really hard to pick between these two.
The Ocean Collective 'Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic'
Chaney Crabb : Vocalist in Entheos and All Around Bad Ass
My favorite metal release this year was 'Phanerozoic I : Palaeozoic' by The Ocean Collective. From the instrumentals to the vocals and lyrics, this record completely captivated me from the very first listen. The songs are a thoughtful, yet catchy juxtaposition of brutality and beauty —they’re the type of tunes that, once you hear, you find yourself struggling to picture a world where they didn’t exist. To me, this is a blend of atmospheric progressive metal at its finest. I’ll be jamming this record for years to come.
Pearl Kacew : Drummer for band Mordatorium
I like Swedish death metal and these guys do it well plus their lyrics are pretty hilarious sometimes. Also, the riffs and the drumming on this album are awesome. If you like Dismember, you will most certainly like this band.
Homewrecker 'Hell is Here Now'
Lauren Melody : Homesick Promotions
There were a ton of great albums that came out this year, both in the mainstream and the underground. The one that stands out the most to me is Homewrecker's ‘Hell is Here Now.’ This is a band that has paved the way for death metal to enter hardcore seamlessly, taking influence from bands like Death and Code Orange to create a uniquely heavy sound. The riffs in the new album are as catchy as they are unrelenting, and the drumming is unlike anyone else’s in the scene today. 'Hell is Here Now' is full of blast beats and breakdowns that form the explosive genre of death metal punk. This album was a crucial release for other bands to use as inspiration.
Omnium Gatherum 'The Burning Cold'
Emily Harris : Photographer, Filmmaker, Independent Scholar, Blogger, Dancer and sometimes Performer, Slave to Metal. Published thesis available at Scad.edu and Metal Music Studies issue 4.2.
Over the years and many trips to Finland, I have found myself obsessing over Finnish music. The musicianship and dedication the Finns have for their craft astounds me. I guess if it was dark half of the year and freezing cold, I'd be focused hardcore on a craft too! That being said I really enjoy this album and I really dig a lot of the guitar riffs on it. I think 'The Burning Cold' is a solid next step from their last album 'Grey Heavens'. I love how the album takes you into different little journeys with melodies but also guttural vocals. They are lucky Insomnium didn't release an album this year or I would have been extremely torn. I wasn't as impressed with Amorphis's new release this year either. I am not biased at all with Omnium Gatherum because they are nice guys and let me arm wrestle them, I swear. ;)
And as my close 2nd Runner up I have to give props to my hometown buddies, Dead Register for 'Captive'. After listening to this, their second release, I am extremely captivated. I've confessed my slavery to them over the years for music videos, art collaboration, being tied up in bondage rope, performing on stage, and just general beatings. HA HA! They have a sound unlike no other band which is why I've willingly handed over my body and mind to help their art. They make something unique through their 3 piece which consists of a bass guitar, a keyboard and a drum kit. And although they are not exactly 'metal' and have more of a gothy sound, they are crushingly heavy as stone. Chvasta's deep bass tone is prominent and assists in the moodiness of the music. You can sense pain in the lyrics in songs like 'Heresy': "I can feel you slipping away. The silence is overwhelming". As a dancer it's difficult not to get caught up wanting to move my body to their music. Go check them out! DO it!