Best Albums Of May 2018
While there's been plenty of good albums the past few months many of the high profile releases haven't met fan expectations. May was a different story however with many of the bigger name releases being quality along with some gems from the smaller names. We compiled our seven favorites of the month below but have to give some honorable mentions. Supergroup Bad Wolves and all female retro rockers Thunderpussy both had some quality debuts. Parkway Drive explored new territory on Reverence to their success and Lamb Of God metaled up some punk classics under their old Burn The Priest moniker. Lords Of Black served up some quality power metal and Lordi pushed buttons and tantalized ears with the anthems on Sexorcism. Now on to the main list.
"All I See Is War" By Sevendust (Alt Metal/Hard Rock)
Being neck deep in the underground music world it's easy to forget that bands with a more mainstream approach can put out some quality work. And Sevendust is one of the few bands that often get the nod of approval from staunch metal elitists. Twelfth album All I See Is War shows a resurgence in quality from the band with the aid of lauded producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette. The album is a streamlined example of the band's blend of aggression and melody with strong tracks in "Dirty", "Medicate", and "Risen". The more ballad leaning track "Not Original" is also a stand out. After nearly 25 years in the biz Sevendust is still able to turn heads and are staying worthy of their title of "most underrated band in rock".
"To Drink From The Night Itself" By At The Gates (Melodic Death Metal)
Melodeath pioneers At The Gates delivered one of the most anticipated albums of recent history with 2015's At War With Reality coming 20 years after their historic classic Slaughter Of The Soul. And despite losing founding lead guitarist Anders Bjorler the band has delivered once again with To Drink From The Night Itself. Sticking with their more thrashy brand of melodeath compared to their peers, the new album delivers hits in the title track, "Palace Of Lepers", and "In Death They Shall Burn". Reminding the metal world of why the "Gothenburg Sound" became so popular in the first place.
"House Of Doom" By Candlemass (Doom Metal)
While Black Sabbath are retrospectively credited with founding doom metal, it's Sweden's Candlemass that gave the genre its name and pushed the style forward. The appropriately titled House Of Doom EP is a pure example of the genre as well as a quality listen. The title track and "Flowers Of Deception" feature the dark, heavy riffs and dramatically powerful vocals the band has built its name on. "Fortuneteller" switches things up by going acoustic and is a beautifully emotive and haunting track. And "Dolls On A Wall" is a simple, instrumental track of crushing, face squinting riffage. The doom is strong in the house of Candlemass and this EP packs a heavy punch in a tight package.
"Love Will Kill All" By Bleeding Through (Blackened Metalcore)
After supposedly breaking up, Orange County core kids Bleeding Through returned with new record Love Will Kill All. Much to the delight of fans with it's interesting blend of hardcore brutality and symphonic black metal atmosphere and blast beats. All with melodic vocal hooks to ease the listener in. There's many highlights across the album but favorites include the dramatic "Fade Into The Ash", the group shouting "Set Me Free", and the moshworthy "No One From Nowhere". While only a part time band now, there's no sign of half-assedness on the musical front for the band quite yet.
"Black Labyrinth" By Jonathan Davis (Gothic Rock/Alt Metal)
Korn frontman Jonathan Davis got to explore his gothic and new wave influences on debut solo effort Black Labyrinth. While sticking with a dark atmosphere, there were some upbeat sounding tracks as well as some experimentation with indigenous tribal instruments making for a unique sounding record separate from what he's known for. But there were still some guitar driven songs that were well aided with the help of Korn drummer Ray Luzier. Davis got to show another side of his artistry and succeeded with flying colors. Hopefully he finds the time to make some more solo records in the future.
"Queen Of Time" By Amorphis (Prog Metal)
Progressive metal veterans Amorphis deliver a beautifully epic work in Queen Of Time. Along with the traditional instrumentation to be expected, the band makes strong use of strings and acoustic elements to add layers of folk into the metal aggression. The tracks are surprisingly accessible for a progressive record with it's melodic choruses and often straightforward compositions. These features make for a happy balance of complexity for prog fans and accessibility to reel in newcomers. All without sacrificing artistic integrity.
ALBUM OF THE MONTH: "Amr" By Ihsahn (Black Metal/Progressive Metal)
With the consistently high quality of music Ihsahn releases it can almost be taken for granted that a new release will be enjoyable. With his forward thinking, progressive take on black metal the Emperor frontman's solo albums are diverse, exploratory affairs. Amr continues that trend by having a black metal base but livening things up with melodic vocals, electronic passages, and theatrical song compositions. Whether it's the rhythmic riffage of "Arcana Imperii" and "Marble Soul", the balladry of "Samr" and "Twin Black Angels", or the industrial edge of "In Rites Of Passage", Amr is an album that keeps you guessing and deeply entertained across its nine tracks. And will definitely be remembered many years from now fondly.