Best Albums Of April 2018
"Big Tings" By Skindred (Reggae Rock)
Welsh ragga-metal band Skindred have always been a unique act in the metal world but even so, their distinct blend of reggae, EDM, and metal was beginning to grow stale. In comes their latest album Big Tings and suddenly Skindred are sounding fresher than ever. In interview about the album, frontman Benji Webbe stated that the instrumentalists of the band wrote most of the music for their seventh effort rather than the usual process of himself writing the lion's share. The result is a diverse array of fun bangers like groovy party tracks "That's My Jam" and the title track, hard rockers like "Machine" and "All This Time", the EDM-rock blend of "Alive", and even ballads in "Tell Me" and "Saying It Now". This makes for a consistently interesting record that's one of the best in the band's career and is primed to get any party started.
"The Sciences" By Sleep (Stoner Doom)
April 20th is like Christmas for stoners. And what better gift could be asked for than a surprise album from stoner metal legends Sleep? Not only is The Sciences the first album by the band in 15 years but it's possibly the best of their whole career. It's more psychedelic and spacey than most of their work and has a lot of diversity in its six tracks. "Marijuanaut's Theme" is a driving stoner rock classic that begins, fittingly, with the sound of a bong rip. "Sonic Titan" is built on one of the meatiest and soulful doom riffs you'll ever hear. And closer "The Botanist" adds some melody in its relaxing instrumental nature with plenty of guitar fuzz and solos. The Sciences is a stoner/doom fan's delight and will be hard for anyone else in the genre to top this year.
"The Shadow Theory" By Kamelot (Symphonic Metal)
Kamelot continue their excellent blend of symphonic beauty and grandiosity with heavy metal's grit on latest album The Shadow Theory. The anthems are out in full force on every track with highlights on "Phantom Divine" and "Kevlar Skin". And Once Human frontwoman Lauren Hart has some key guest spots with her growls on "MindFall Remedy" and melodic vocals on "Phantom Divine". It's equal parts beauty and beast on a record deep with quality that will stand as one of Kamelot's best efforts.
"Oblivion" By Crematory (Gothic Metal/Melodeath/Industrial)
While Crematory drummer Markus Jullich raised a stink with fans by chastising them into buying the new album, Oblivion is still a quality record worth picking up. It's got all the dark, gothic beauty the band is known for with plenty of catchy hooks in tracks like "Salvation" and "Ghost Of The Past". The album even shines when it goes to it's heaviest moments like the driving "Cemetery Stillness" and it's softest on mainstream-flirting ballad "Stay With Me". If Oblivion does wind up being the last Crematory record, at least it would end the band's near 30 year history on a high note.
"The Spark That Moves" By Cancer Bats (Hardcore Punk)
Speaking of surprise releases, Cancer Bats are another band who decided 4/20 was a good day to drop a record unannounced. Sixth album The Spark That Moves continues the band's brand of hardcore punk infused with rock & roll swagger. Opener "Gatekeeper" is a borderline stoner metal, bass-heavy stomper. "Space And Time" is a gritty, high energy rocker. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for this record. All killer, no filler, and riffs aplenty to keep your taste for heavy music satiated.
"Palo" By Kalmah (Melodeath)
Long running Finnish metal band Kalmah have crafted an excellent album in Palo. Their unique blend of melodic death metal, power metal, and folk make for a rousing style that holds the beautiful melodic guitar work of classic metal and the aggression of modern melodeath. While there's plenty of bells and whistles in the classical sounding piano and symphonic elements, the guitar work is the real treat. Whether it's the heavy chugs of "Evil Kin", the heroic harmonies of "Into The Black Marsh", or the speedy riffage in "The World Of Rage" brothers Antti Kokko and Pekka Kokko make for a formidable guitar duo that make this album truly special.