Best Albums Of August 2018
As summer comes to a close the month of August was light when it came to releases from blockbuster names. That just means it was the perfect time for you to discover something new and explore some out of the box bands. It was tough to narrow our best of the month list down to the six here. So honorable mentions are in order. Alice In Chains stayed consistent with their new Ranier Fog album. Former Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider kept classic metal alive on Steelfactory. Black Tusk brought the sludgy fun on TCBT. Newcomers Trappist give a hardcore ode to beer on Ancient Brewing Tactics. And strong releases came from Mantar and Leeched as well. Now onto the main list.
"Slaughter Monolith" By Abhorrent Deformity (Death Metal)
North Carolina quartet Abhorrent Deformity might be the grooviest death metal band I've heard in a while that doesn't dip into core territory. Yet they balance the groove well with technical bursts, especially for having only one six-string player. The style bears comparison to the likes of Suffocation and Deicide with a stand out performance by drummer Matthew Green. And the production is clean but raw with the vocals bearing no overdubs which will make the underground purists happy. With nary a weak track, Slaughter Monolith is a prime cut of pure death metal violence that shouldn't be missed.
"Headstorm" By Abandoned By Bears (Easycore)
While A Day To Remember are the reigning kings of "easycore", there's a number of other bands out there that employ the weird juxtaposition of happy pop punk and aggro hardcore worth checking out. Sweden's Abandoned By Bears is one of them who, while not innovating the genre much, execute with precision with infectious hooks on tracks like "So Far Gone" and "Borderline". They even put heavy at the forefront on closer "Greyscale" and come away with a win.
"Sounds From The Vortex" By The Spirit (Black Metal)
While black metal has evolved immensely in recent years with many artists mixing progressive tendencies into the style, sometimes you want some good old-fashioned, blasphemous brutality. And Germany's The Spirit are bringing that in spades with a sound that hearkens to the early days of Immortal and Mayhem, albeit without the make up. The Spirit bring icy atmosphere, speed, and strong guitar work while the raw production keeps things harsh enough for the purists.
"Annihilation Of Mankind" By Stillbirth (Slam/Death Metal)
The kiddoes sure do love arguing over slam these days. Regardless of whether you think Stillbirth is "true slam" or not, if you like heavy, groovy, extreme metal then this album's for you. A lot of slam shares the problem of being repetitive with monotone, indiscernible, sink disposal vocals. Not the case for Stillbirth as frontman Lukas Swiaczny gives a dynamic performance and the band provide enough tempo and style changes to keep things interesting front to back on this record.
"Misery" By The Amity Affliction (Post Hardcore/Electronicore)
The Amity Affliction is a band I've honestly slept on as emo-leaning post-hardcore is a genre that's real hit or miss for my tastes. The band however brings quality work on Misery with emotional lyrics that feel earnest and adeptly mix pop and electronics into their sound making for a record that covers a lot of sonic ground and moods. All while having some earworm hooks that elevate Misery to one of the best rock records of the year.
ALBUM OF THE MONTH: "Audiodope" By Dropout Kings (Rapcore/Trap Metal)
Arizona band Dropout Kings are positioning themselves as the poster boys for a new genre dubbed "Trap Metal". A mixture of today's polarizing trap hip hop and metalcore. And they nail this mix of styles with flying colors. Right from the get go on Audiodope you can tell this isn't your typical rap rock band. Opening cuts "Something Awful" and "Burn1" lean more towards hip hop than metal. With the rapping performed with a higher level of technicality than both trap and most rap rockers. Yet they keep a youthful, brash attitude that matches the aggression of the instrumentation. Speaking of which, the hip hop production and live instruments are blended seamlessly creating a true rap/rock hybridization. Tracks like "20Heads" and "Street Sharks" lean more towards hardcore but with rap's party vibe. And "Scratch & Claw" is a radio-ready hit showing the potential for mass appeal. Dropout Kings have modernized rap metal and have brought something truly new to the genre and are definitely a band to watch.