Top 50 Metal Albums Of 2018
It’s interesting to see how the years in metal stack up against one another. On last year’s 2017 list death metal reigned supreme with seemingly every notable death metal band having a strong release. This time for 2018, black metal dominates the list with ten albums related to the genre all to be found here. But the list is still very diverse with prog, death metal, and doom all having strong showings as well. Did your favorites make the list? Be sure to leave a comment about who should (or shouldn’t) be on here.
Our Raw Heart (Post Metal/Doom Metal)
49. At The Gates
To Drink From The Night Itself (Melodic Death Metal)
48. Bleeding Through
Love Will Kill All (Blackened Metalcore)
47. Impending Doom
The Sin And Doom Vol II (Deathcore)
Steelfactory (Traditional Heavy Metal)
45. The Ocean
Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Progressive Metal)
44. Funeral Chic
Terminal (Stoner Doom)
Operation Misdirection (Thrash Metal)
For The Cause (Heavy Hardcore)
Existential Void Guardian (Sludge Metal/Doom Metal)
Helix (Power Metal/Melodeath/Melodic Metalcore)
The Outer Ones (Technical Death Metal)
37. All Hail The Yeti
Highway Crosses (Sludge Metal)
Lifehunger (Black Metal/Black N’ Roll)
35. The Spirit
Sounds From The Vortex (Black Metal)
Spirit Crusher (Black Metal)
Desolation (Doom Metal)
I Loved You At Your Darkest (Blackened Death Metal)
31. Pig Destroyer
Head Cage (Grindcore)
30. High On Fire
Electric Messiah (Sludge Metal)
Palo (Melodic Death Metal)
One Nation Underground (Blackened Groove Metal)
Overtures Of Blasphempy (Death Metal)
26. Judas Priest
Firepower (Traditional Heavy Metal)
25. White Wizzard
Infernal Overdrive (Traditional Heavy Metal/Progressive Metal)
Carved In Time (Sludge Metal)
Feast (Technical Death Metal)
Terrorvision (Death Metal)
20. Letters From The Colony
Vignette (Djent/Progressive Metal)
Newcomers Letters From The Colony set themselves apart from the djent pack by leaning towards groove and death metal influences rather than metalcore. Putting them closer to Meshuggah rather than Periphery. Unlike Meshuggah however, they instill a great deal more melody with their proggy progressions giving them a unique mix of styles. It’ll be interesting to see how the band builds on this strong foundation in the future.
19. Jungle Rot
Jungle Rot (Death Metal)
Jungle Rot’s thrashy brand of death metal is at peak quality on their new self titled record. High energy, hard charging, and unrelenting, this album is pure mosh pit fuel that brings the riffs in spades.
Oblivion (Gothic Metal/Melodic Death Metal)
Crematory are masters of dark melody. The tracks on Oblivion are dramatic and epic with well placed keys and symphonic elements countering driving guitars and growled vocals. Not to mention the distinct melodic vocals providing arena-level choruses and allowing for borderline mainstream tracks like “Stay With Me” to be possible.
17. Gama Bomb
Speed Between The Lines (Thrash Metal/Speed Metal)
Gama Bomb don’t take themselves seriously. And that’s for the best because Speed Between The Lines brings a level of fun to thrash-revival only matched by the likes of Municipal Waste. A refreshing switch up from the growled extreme thrash over-saturating the genre today, the band’s front man can hit the high notes like few others today and provides crowd sing a longs on tracks like “Give Me Leather” and “666Teen”. All between some of the tastiest thrash licks heard in a while.
16. Light The Torch
Revival (Melodic Metalcore/Heavy Metal/Hard Rock)
Howard Jones is likely the only modern metal singer who can get away with going more melodic and it being embraced by fans. While Light The Torch’s previous records as Devil You Know were solid, the band has come into it’s own on Revival by going against the grain of metalcore and putting melody before aggression. The result is a refreshing take on the genre that allows the songwriting and Jones’ powerful voice to take center stage.
The Sciences (Stoner Metal)
Sleep’s return is a welcome one with The Sciences possibly being their greatest work. The energetic “Marijuanaut’s Theme” is a driving banger. “Sonic Titan” is an epic, sludgy riff fest, and “The Botanist” shows the band’s more melodic side while letting each band member shine on the track.
Errorzone (Nu-Metalcore/Industrial Metal)
While comparisons to Converge and Slipknot abound, Vein are their own monster. A technical and abrasive attack peppered with harsh industrial moments and unexpected melodic singing, the band offer a fresh take on the chaotic brand of metalcore popularized by acts like the Dillinger Escape Plan and others.
Down Below (Gothic Metal/Black N’ Roll)
Tribulation’s latest offers a unique blend of gothic rock and black metal on Down Below. Driving tracks that don’t need to let off the energy to have atmosphere thanks to well placed piano sections and melodic guitar harmonies. The vocals are sung in a blackened rasp but are discernible enough to understand and add to the atmosphere with the storytelling lyrics. The record is dark and epic while having a relative sense of fun and accessibility.
12. Between The Buried And Me
Automota II (Progressive Metal)
While Automota I came off lackluster with its straightforward and relatively simple approach, BTBAM truly shine on its second half. Throwing conventional songwriting to the wind for the complex prog the band made its name on. “The Proverbial Bellow” is a thirteen minute epic that fits many ideas that transition seamlessly in its run time. Closer “The Grid” nails the melodic and direct approach Automota I was going for by blending in more dynamics, and “Voice Of Trespass” is the record’s crown jewel with its jazzy, swing sections acting as a quirky foil to the track’s sludgy and shredding sections. .
11. The Atlas Moth
Coma Noir (Post-Metal)
Each track on Coma Noir has an entertainingly unique identity. Combining doom, prog, black metal and more into a distinct mash of excellent songwriting and heavy riffs that will have you replaying the record for a long time.
Holy Hell (Progressive Metalcore/Post-Hardcore)
Architects continue to be a force in the modern wave of metal. Being able to take their technical brand of metalcore and infuse it with heartfelt emotion and arena level hooks that can position them as the next big metal gateway band. It’s a rare and difficult balancing act for a band to have this level of accessibility while gaining the approval of those in the underground.
This full length debut from Aussie metalcore act Lycanthrope will remind many of the genre’s rise with stylistic echoes of bands like As I Lay Dying and Unearth. While showcasing vocal talent on par with genre leaders Killswitch Engage. The band takes many hints from the genre’s forebears while establishing their own sound. A hard feat to accomplish in a style watered down by so many bland copycats.
Avatar Country (Avant-Garde Metal/Groove Metal)
Avatar remain one of the most eclectic bands in music today with this concept album centered around songs worshiping a king. Built around the quirky groove metal the band is known for the band included an anthem for the album’s royal centerpiece along with two epic instrumentals to close the record. The band continues to find ways to make metal that is artsy, odd, heavy, and accessible all at once.
7. Rivers Of Nihil
Where Owls Know My Name (Progressive Death Metal)
Rivers Of Nihil have likely found the maximum amount of atmospheric melody that you can instill into a death metal record while remaining unquestionably heavy. The production of the album has a “wall of sound” quality adding to the record’s epic feel. And in its more proggy sections the band never crosses into over-indulgence. Plus any metal record that can work in saxophone solos deserves kudos.
X: Varg Utan Flock (Progressive Black Metal)
The true feat on Shining’s latest record is in its song arrangements. Each track is lengthy but beautifully put together. Giving a smooth ebb and flow between its abrasive, thrashy black metal, and dark atmospherics that allow for swelling melodies. “Han Som Lurar Nom” is an album favorite that exemplifies this with the tension of its aggressive sections building to the release of its melodic parts.
5. Harms Way
Posthuman (Metalcore/Industrial Metal)
Harms Way sound like a whole new band on Posthuman. Fully embracing their industrial experimentation and tightening their sense of riffs and groove, the band have gone from being just another hardcore act to being worthy as one of the new faces of metalcore along with bands like Code Orange, Vein, and Knocked Loose. The production from Will Putney makes Posthuman sound as polished as ever while keeping their brutality as well.
Amr (Progressive Black Metal)
While Ihsahn still keeps his feet planted in black metal, the unique way he expands on the genre remains engaging and impressive. Heavier than its predecessor Arktis, Amr blends the raspy voiced aggression and crooning melodies in a more balanced way this time around. While keeping the grand symphonic tendencies that make Ihsahn’s solo work unique.
3. Dee Snider
For The Love Of Metal (Traditional Heavy Metal)
The unlikely team up of Dee Snider and Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta resulted in an exceptionally strong record that appeals to metalheads young and old. Bridging the gap between the anthemic melodies of classic metal and the heavier, thrash-leanings of modern metal, For The Love Of Metal lives up to its title by having zero filler and a sense of fun not often heard anymore in the metal of today.
Sangue Cassia (Doom Metal/Gothic Metal)
Portugal’s Sinistro take the slow, heavy guitars of doom and lay a heavy dose of beautiful atmosphere over it. The haunting, cabaret-esque voice of Patricia Andrade is a focal focal point. Giving the band a style that brings to mind Portishead as well as Candlemass. Sangue Cassia balances beauty and darkness in a way few others in heavy music can.
1. Zeal & Ardor
Stranger Fruit (Avant-Garde Metal/Post-Black Metal/Soul)
Stranger Fruit does everything you want a sophomore album to do. It takes the unique ideas of it’s predecessor Devil Is Fine and builds on them to create an even stronger beast of an album. The songs are more confident and are able to have more accessible, conventional structures without losing the unique base of its black metal/soul blend. It’s a wholly unique record unlike anything else in the metal world today. And in today’s internet age where it seems like everything has been done, Zeal & Ardor stands on their own island apart from the pack.