Top 10 EP's Of 2018
“Big things come in small packages” isn’t just something your girlfriend tells you to feed your ego. Extended Plays or “EPs” for short sadly get overlooked far too often. They serve many purposes. A first release for a new band to get their name out. A holdover record to satiate fans between full lengths. An experimental record to try something different. Whatever the case they’re worth a listen. And here’s our picks for some of the best of the year.
10. “Sleep It Away” By Brojob (Metalcore)
While Brojob made a name for themselves throughout 2017 releasing track after track of brutal deathcore with the comedic twist of hilariously juvenile and sexually explicit lyrics, 2018 saw the band release a serious EP with a more melodic approach. Sleep It Away focuses on the topic of experiencing and fighting through depression and suicidal thoughts. The music stays heavy while focusing on atmosphere aided by wall of sound production. And incorporates a lot of post-hardcore elements including melodic singing. The title track and “Give Up” are highlights and show that Brojob can stand on pure musical merit without the need for humor.
9. “What Did You Think When You Made Me This Way?” By Nothing But Thieves (Alt Rock)
Britt band Nothing But Thieves had one of the top records of 2017 in Broken Machine. While their music normally leans towards soul, R&B, and pop aided by the powerful voice of Conor Mason, the band’s new EP puts out more pure rock energy than they usually do. This is exemplified in “Forever & Ever More” which is lead by swaggering, 70’s-esque guitar and a bouncing energy. “Take This Lonely Heart” also stands out and acts as a showcase for Mason’s wide vocal range. “Gods” gives off a strong Muse vibe, and “You Know Me Too Well” has a nice laid back vibe, and a groovy wah-filled guitar solo.
8. “Epica Vs. Attack On Titan Songs” By Epica (Symphonic Metal)
Metal and anime are two of my favorite things. And having them mixed together is a wonderful treat. With this EP Epica reworks the songs from the popular anime series Attack On Titan’s soundtrack into their brand of epic symphonic metal. And they do it excellently with the show’s opening theme “Crimson Bow And Arrow” being a highlight, getting blistering guitar solos, double bass drums, and Simone Simons operatic voice infused into its already high energy composition.
7. “Dark Days Ahead” By Iron Reagan (Crossover Thrash)
To hold you over to the next full release, Iron Reagan released an EP of five blistering songs that only run seven minutes in total. As always the band keeps things direct and to the point with “Authority” being an opening punch to the face that grabs your attention. “Patronizer” is lead by a dark and catchy main riff with group shouts, and “Watch You Die” is little over a minute of thrash fury with a defiant message.
6. “The Book Of Suffering-Tome II” By Cryptopsy (Technical Death Metal)
Cryptopsy unleash the second edition of their “The Book Of Suffering” EPs and it’s just as much of a barn burner as the first. Opener “The Wretched Living” is highlighted by some dexterous, sweep picking guitar work, “Sire Of Sin” is a dynamic balance of technique and groove, “Fear His Displeasure” has more “accessible” parts than the rest of the record, and “Laws Of The Flesh” features a haunting opening, short but sweet guitar solo, and sections of ambiance to split up the unrelenting assault of instrumentation.
5. “Bad Witch” By Nine Inch Nails (Industrial Rock)
The third of the trilogy of EPs NIN announced back in 2016, Bad Witch is easily the best of the bunch. It’s much more focused and energetic than its predecessors and takes some experimental risks such as use of saxophone and a different singing style from Trent Reznor on some tracks that were influenced by David Bowie’s final album Blackstar. It’s a welcome mixture of expected NIN elements and the avant-garde that seems much more confident in its direction than Not The Actual Events or Add Violence showed.
4. “Teeth” By Vile Ones (Mathcore)
A hidden gem that came in the first week of the year, Teeth is the debut EP by Vile Ones. It takes the chaotic metalcore approach of bands like Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan with highly dynamic and fully realized songs delivered in tight three minute packages. The band brings riffs aplenty with violent aggression and technical prowess across six tracks. The favorite however is closing track “Dantzig 1808” that breaks formula with an eerie guitar lead and lines of clean singing that is effectively chilling.
3. “House Of Doom” By Candlemass (Doom Metal)
Doom pioneers Candlemass released a tight four song package in the appropriately titled House Of Doom. Opening tracks “House Of Doom” and “Flowers Of Deception” are exemplary of the band’s style with heavy riifs and dramatic vocals interspersed with dark atmosphere to give off feelings of doomy dread. “Fortuneteller” takes a break from heavy to deliver a forlorn acoustic ballad. And “Dolls On A Wall” closes things on a dark and heavy instrumental built around some of the most evil sounding riffs the band could muster.
2. “The Hurt Will Go On” By Code Orange (Metalcore)
Possibly the biggest breakthrough band of last year, Code Orange kept their hype train rolling strong in 2018. First by releasing the excellent single “Only One Way” in February. Then following that with EP The Hurt Will Go On in June. The EP features the frantic “3 Knives” that mixes the band’s use of harsh industrial elements with their muscular hardcore attack. And also “The Hunt” that features a big guest spot from Slipknot/Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor on a driving, rage filled track that’s on the more accessible end of Code Orange’s material despite featuring no clean vocals. If the band can continue releasing material on this high a level they’ll be around for a good long time.
1. “Beautiful Ruin” By Converge (Metalcore)
The writing sessions from Converge’s The Dusk In Us were so prolific that even the leftover parts from it used for this EP are top notch. Four blazing songs that fly by in six minutes. It contains all the wild fury you want from the band. Opener “Permanent Blue” infuses some melodic guitar leads over frantic punk drumming. “Churches And Jails” is swift visceral fury driven by Jacob Bannon’s distinct vocals and buzzsaw guitars. “Melancholia” provides a mid tempo, headbanging groove that gives off a lumbering swagger. All before the closing title track reaches peak fury complete with more buzzsaw guitars, blast beats, and a satisfying breakdown to close out the record.