RE-ANIMATION: 20 Albums Left for Dead in 2018


Here I present a random blast of 20 albums from the annuls of 2018. Consider it a penance for the forgotten, a trail of dead bodies each with their own uniquely scented rot and fungal heap forming. A truly dead parade of corpses upon spires, bloated with worm and showering purulence. An easy way for that nagging ‘incomplete’ feeling that I get when I have a backlog of albums to cover in addition to the hollow, unfeeling corpse I wear fresh skin upon. If you’re confused what the fuck this is, it is a stand-in for the usual Ten From the Tomb article, which’ll return in normal form next week. Most of these albums made it here to because I couldn’t manage the time for a long-form review or because I really didn’t have more than a paragraph or two worth of insight beyond banal description. Some just came at inopportune times, and hey: [Stop releasing everything in October/November every year!]

If you’re not sure what direction this list is going in terms of genre or sub-genre, it’ll be a mix of mostly extreme metal, some prog metal, a few pure heavy metal hits, and some weird outliers. Thanks for reading, skim through try a few and let me know if you loved any of ’em.  I’m not going to likely write about any more 2018 releases, so please do not send any thing pre-2019 unless it is a reissue or remaster. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. I’m too old and bored with people to care.


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Artist Coffinbirth / Gravestone
Title [Type/Year] Demons from the End of the World Vol. II [Split LP/2018]
Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp! | CDbaby

Two old school death metal bands from Rancagua, Chile that’ve signed to Australis Records. The first side is Coffinbirth, a newer band that serve up an incredible blending of thrashing death that touches upon the classic British scene of the late 80’s as well as Finnish death metal while serving the death/thrash attitude that Chilean death metal history has long provided. Coffinbirth should have a full-length out this year as they’ve solidified a line-up for it since the release of this split. Gravestone are a bit better known as they’ve released many demos since 1997 and their first full-length released in 2014. These guys are no less traditional but they pull from more brutal tracts of early 90’s death metal, their attack has hints of early Deicide and that general thrashing rip you’ll find in most non-brutal/black metal focused Chilean death metal acts. Two fantastic bands and both raw as fuck old school death!


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Artist Crypteria
Title [Type/Year] Crypteria [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Crypteria is an independent technical/progressive death metal band out of Jacksonville, Florida. Their approach is definitely driven by modern death metal sounds and the production and songwriting here veers heavily into groove/death metal territory. Y’all know that is not my shit at all but, I wasn’t offended by this record. They don’t fuck around with mosh metal silliness too often and I’d say they’re gonna make modern Decapitated, Soreption, and Aborted fans happy enough. The themes and groovy precision within are well worth a listen.


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Artist Death Beast
Title [Type/Year] The Onslaught [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

I definitely missed a handful of great Super Sargasso releases last year and the return of Atlanta, Georgian Death Beast‘s blackened heavy thrashing madness was a glorious one. Their debut was released way back when the indomitable Barbarian Wraith was still around releasing records and ‘The Onslaught’ took me back right away. Their style is that gnarly pre-brutal thrashing kind of nutso-smasho speed metal a la Blood Feast, Coven, Slaughter, and Nasty Savage. Fucked up stuff that says whats on its mind and always in the key of annihilation. The vocals are shrieked, the drums sound like a machine, the guitars are crumbling, and the whole thing is always right on the verge of insanity as it plays. Filthy and ‘old school’ nuts.


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Artist Desire of Pain
Title [Type/Year] Immensity [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [2.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

The second album from this progressive melodic death metal band from Santiago, Chile is the original band of current Timecode vocalist Sebastián Silva. The production is exactly as generic as you’d expect looking at the cover of the album but it isn’t a bad listen. If you liked the latest Target (Chile) album or Timecode this won’t be too much of a stretch though it falls in line with a lot of modern progressive metal from start to finish. Silva‘s vocals are accomplished and everything is extremely professional and I’d not reviewed it because it comes too close to ‘linkin park’ produced prog metal for my tastes. I’m not the market for it but it was not offensive.


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Artist Dezaztre Natural
Title [Type/Year] Asfixia [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Although I am going down an alphabetically arranged list, yes this is yet another Chilean band and this one a crossover/thrash metal act from Santiago. Dezaztre Natural appear heavier and even more mature on this third full-length from the band since forming in 2009. This time around I’d say they’ve gone full-bore thrash but a sort of post-Municipal Waste kind of ‘fun’ thrash despite the very serious subject matter. The hardcore influence is still there of course with gang-shout vocals, a big and grinding bass tone, and many lightspeed parts but you’ll feel the modern thrash sound immediately. A nice professional album that could benefit from a bit more barbarism.


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Artist Distorted Force
Title [Type/Year] Curves of Sidereal Cosmos [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] Distorted Force website!

Here we’re treated to a truly underground and very independent release from Thessaloniki, Greece with the third album from progressive metal band Distorted Force. They’re not ultra-modern nor are they an odd power metal band as you might expect. ‘Curves of Sidereal Cosmos’ is akin to early Depressive Age, Thought Industry, and perhaps post-’88 Fates Warning in that they work a massive, well-considered concept into ornate and riff-oriented heavy metal structures. They touch upon death and thrash metal guitar and vocal work as they slash through extended performances that are clever and in the tradition of true progressive metal that isn’t all about pompous performance or cheesy slick production values. The death metal growls and twisted riffing reminded me of Disciples of Power when they were transitioning from a thrash band towards a prog-death style but with a lot more melodrama and less drug-induced paranoia. This was a very limited self-release, I think less than 100 copies, so check it out while it is still possible.


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Artist Dødsferd
Title [Type/Year] Diseased Remnants of a Dying World [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

More progressive minded music from Greece but this time an Athens based band that has been around nearly two decades as an anti-human, anti-Christian black metal project that’d dabbled in depressive suicidal variations over the years. I found this album incredibly challenging as Dødsferd bring these incredible progressive black metal moments at every turn but it occasionally felt like they’d go a step too ambitious and soil a major section of a pretty involved song. I really love the folkish, defeated tone of “My Father, My Wrath!” but the song that follows has some vocal work that really pulls me out of the muck of it all, in a bad way. It is an odd balance because the vocal variety really adds a lot of personality, it just never worked for me beyond the first song. I think there is a really fantastic dark metal album in the back of their minds that almost expressed here. More dedicated depressive black metal listeners will likely disagree with me, so give it a try yourself.


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Artist Entropia
Title [Type/Year] Vacuum [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] LISTEN on Bandcamp!

The mushroom cloud of psychedelic, outrageous escapism obliterates all into the siphon of ‘Vacuum’, a knee-jerked and drugged-to-Hell blackened post-metallic danceable force of ruin. Modern and post-whatever as this Polish blackened post-metal band may seem, theirs is a unique and adventurous sound that feels connected in an intimate way as if they’d jammed together so often that they could anticipate every move and the compositions appear as a recording of their attempts to surprise each other with new vibes and line-up together with old tricks. Entropia‘s take on psychedelic metal is almost too revisionist to stick with many folks, it is a bit ‘krautrock’ in that sense, where it is a departure into something minimalist in rhythm but soaked in sonic LSD. It is unfortunate that I’d missed this record until recently because it sort of gives one extra band to recommend when someone wants something else like Waste of Space Orchestra.


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Artist Genuflexión
Title [Type/Year] Apoteosis Fallida [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Belarussian label Handful of Hate have an excellent record of picking extremely fine releases to license and Buenos Aires, Argentina black metal project Genuflexión is one of their best finds to date. Deeply spiritual and aligned with philosophical thought there is an inspiring amount of detail in the darkly underground black metal found within their second album ‘Apoteosis Fallida’. This is the sort of album that stops me dead in my tracks as I preview releases that I am compelled to listen to in full. I spent quite a while translating some of their Spanish lyrics into English so that I could grasp what they were saying but, I feel like there is a poetic intelligence that I miss as I am not a native speaker. The music is tense and existential suffering, a mountain that’d ache for its own enormity and erosion, and I eventually found myself resigning to not review this album because I felt I’d not do it justice. This was meant to be in my top 100 best of 2018 but I’d lost it in the shuffle of post-October releases at the time. At the very least listen to the guitar work on the title track and see if any interest sparks from there.


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Artist Hell’s Guardian
Title [Type/Year] As Above So Below [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [2.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

A second epic melodic death metal record from Hell’s Guardian who predictably hail from the ever-dramatic landscape of Italian heavy metal. The production is ultra-modern, the performances are progressive tinged and very light on death metal aspects. It is a very mainstream Euro-metal reaching sort of material that has completely bored me since it became so prevalent in the late 90’s thanks to labels like Century Media and Nuclear Blast. Every moment of this album is a cliche and though they are quite professional it is painfully average. I know that is a bit harsh but I don’t think they’re pushing themselves to be anything more than accessible.


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Artist Intrcptr
Title [Type/Year] II [EP/2018]
Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Los Angeles, California duo Intrcptr are an instrumental stoner-jamming, post-metallic project featuring 5ive guitarist Ben Carr and Pelican drummer Larry Herweg. Together they basically sound like Torche without a vocalist and a fistful more of a math-rock’d touch in their guitar work. These two tracks blow by quickly and the whole thing is just over ten minutes but you’ll ‘get’ the groove and the bluesy roll of their jam immediately.


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Artist Iskandr
Title [Type/Year] Euprosopon [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

One of my biggest black metal regrets of 2018 was not doing a full review of ‘Euprosopon’ from Iskandr, a fiery modern atmospheric black metal record that cut right to point and revels within their own unique style throughout this second album. They remedy every detail of ‘Heilig Land’ (2016) that went wrong and instead find a dramatic, melodious, and rapturous black metal sound that undoubtedly has post-black metal techniques in hand but does something seemingly very unique with them. It feels accessible and obscure at once, a cleanliness that dives into the morass right when it counts every time. I found this record so mystifying I would freeze up anytime I sat to review it and not for any lack of ideas or inspiration but with some fear that no matter what I’d come up with it wouldn’t represent the album itself because I hadn’t yet wrapped my head around it. It is one part Drudkh, early Aeternus, a folkish atmo-blackened listen capable of shifting into almost rollicking darkness more appropriate for black n’ roll at times. Each song is extensive and immersive, rife with huge atmospheric changes and bounding warmth. A must hear if you’re into wildly organic permutations of modern black metal.


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Artist Lethal Vendetta
Title [Type/Year] No Prisoners, No Mercy [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [2.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Spotify!

A sort of Bay Area sounding power metallic thrash metal band from Sydney, Australia Lethal Vendetta make their debut with ‘No Prisoners, No Mercy’ and… Yep, this is that sort of trad metal/melodic thrash metal that cropped up in the mid-90’s as bands like Testament sought to expand their horizons beyond riffs. It really isn’t my thing, as much as I like classic thrash, and unfortunately I never made it past the second full listen. As much as I’d like to be thoughtful about everything I encounter, I still have next to nothing to say about this one. It just kinda feels like an AOR bar band trying to make a thrash record.


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Artist Living the Fire
Title [Type/Year] The New One [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [2.75/5.0] LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If you’re a fan of NWOBHM and especially early Iron Maiden and Overkill there are some wild pure heavy metal moments along those lines on this otherwise kind of freak of a traditional heavy metal record. These Dresden, Germany based fellows don’t get all -that- weird on ‘The New One’ but they definitely do their own ‘over the top’ thing with a classic metal sound that feels one part alt-rock and another classic metal. I like that they’re a bit too weird and shrieking to really set within the status quo but I think most trad metal revivalist fans will appreciate that they’ve taken a few changes with this sound. Some of the spoken parts on the first handful of songs are strange, and the song “ManPussy” is uh… Man, I don’t know what that was. Rap-rock/power metal?


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Artist Negativa
Title [Type/Year] 03 [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

This, along with Iskandr and Genuflexion, was among the most underrated and personally overlooked black metal records of 2018. You missed it too? Its funny that so many folks missed the hype on this one despite the fact that Wormlust mastermind H.V Lyngdal provided vocals for its entirety. Negativa‘s songwriting and conceptual force is guided entirely by Spanish musician D.B. (see also: Délirant). I see his work in Negativa as a sort of deep underground futurism, and I don’t mean it is some kind of robotic or trendy ‘scene’ trash but that the music he writes feels as if it would inspire others more than it is inspired itself. Odd statement, I’m sure, but all that I mean is that the compositions on ’03’ are affecting and enthralling, the sort of black metal that appears as mastery in the mind once you’ve wrapped your head around it. This is helped quite a bit by the Urfaust-esque vocal performance from Lyngdal who adds a great deal of character and variation to the experience that Negativa‘s usual vocalist doesn’t typically bring. Consider it a higher evolution of what Austere were doing and what they’d do after, if you don’t mind the reductive description.


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Artist Morgal
Title [Type/Year] Morgal [EP/2018]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Of course I am most often stuck when faced with a mound of black metal releases to soldier through because each evokes so much that I get caught up in the details rather than power through. There evolves a weird disparity where I’ll care more about a piece of music than the musician themselves and I don’t think that’d be the case with Finnish upstarts Morgal because from the very first riff you can tell they are dead serious about black metal. Brutal battery, razor-slashed guitar work, and fast-burning compositions that imbibe the spiritual ferocity of blackened speed metal and the rapacious cult of early second wave instrumentation. The future of true Finnish black metal would do well in the hands of heathen such as this. If anyone ever asks you to find them black metal with riffs, throw this EP at them.


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Artist Pagan Reign
Title [Type/Year] Once More [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If you’re a lover of pagan black metal or Russian folk/black metal you likely already know who Pagan Reign are. They were initially very active from the late 90’s until the late 2000’s when they’d split up until 2012 and it took many years but we finally got their comeback album ‘Once More’. It was released late in the year and without much notice for folks here in the states so, I feel like a lot of folk metal circles missed this one last December. This is a natural evolution of where Pagan Reign left us back in 2006 with plenty of acoustic sections, epic pagan metal with plenty of grand arcing melodies and their more subtle use of keyboards. They recall my favorite early 00’s period of folk/black metal hybridization when bands like Moonsorrow and Falkenbach were at their peak.


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Artist Serpent Lord
Title [Type/Year] Towards the Damned [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Here is an epic heavy metal gem from the musically rich Thessaloniki, Greece with Serpent Lord who straddle the line between late 80’s and early 90’s epic heavy/power metal jogs. ‘Towards the Damned’ is satisfying for its melodramatic compositions and just ‘over the top’ enough vocals but the sort of ‘old school’ sounding production (think 1988 with clearer bass drum sound) helps this quite a bit; Interestingly enough that production comes from G. Stournaras (Mass Infection) of all places, and he deserves some credit for the sound of this album. It is a fine debut and no doubt the band will refine this approach in the future, though I hope they keep that sort of ‘classic’ heavy metal grime on their sound. I think if they took it one half-step closer to an album like ‘Nightfall’ they’d be in just the right spot.


 

Artist Obsecration / Putrefied Remains
Title [Type/Year] Aeternam Inferni / Unborn Hate [Split LP/2018]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Here is an interesting prospect in that it is a split full-length from Greek death metal band Obsecration and Malaysian deathsters Putrefied Remains but all of the material is essentially previously unreleased material. Putrefied Remains contributes their 2012 and 2017 EP tracks plus their split 7″ with Obsecration and Obsecration includes splits with Slaughtered Priest and Soulskinner along with four unreleased tracks. No doubt these are early Obsecration songs because their sound changed a fair amount after the classic-but-forgotten ‘The Inheritors of Pain’ LP in 1996. There is over an hour of material here and I’d say these two bands are remarkably well paired as Putrefied Remains have that old school melodic Greek metal style and the Obsecration tracks still hold that spirit even in their brutal 2017 incarnation. Definitely an awesome collectors item and a good introduction to both bands.


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Artist Osmed
Title [Type/Year] Territory of Warfare [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Hailing from South Jakarta, Indonesia almost pre-determines what death metal band Osmed might sound like before even hearing a single note of their music. You know it is going to be savagely brutal and focus heavily on big, stinking breakdowns. Now I’d normally skip this type of brutal death metal unless it has something ‘extra’ to stand out from the crowd but this time I’m really just impressed at how much they sound like early Disavowed and that kinda kicked me into a nostalgic moment while I was listening. Yes, it is just incredibly sterile and brutally sledged death metal chugging but that is the whole point. Angry, impossibly brutal pit music.


Did I miss your favorite 2018 album? Send me an e-mail and tell me about it. It is always worthwhile to speak up for the lesser known stuff. Please remember you can contribute to my Patreon @ only $1 USD per month ($12 a year) to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.

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