Well 2018 has most definitely been a year that has not disappointed on the music front!
Once again it was a difficult task to pick my top ten albums of the year and I can assure you that it has changed a number of times in the past few weeks. You can see what a great year its been by the fact that the excellent releases from the likes of Witchsorrow, Yob, The Skull, Bast, Sleep, Svalbard, Windhand, Garganjua, Morag Tong, Black Peaks and Orange Goblin don’t make my top ten!
However, one thing that is not in any doubt is that Holy Roar Records have been the label of the year. With five of their releases in my top ten and a number of others in consideration, Holy Roar have truly “smashed the ball out the park” this year and continue to release great albums from all ends of the rock/metal/punk /etc. spectrum! Well done guys – keep it going!
So with no further ado and in reverse order, here are my top ten albums of 2018.
10. Famyne – Famyne
Canterbury doom merchants Famyne prove that patience is indeed a virtue with the release of their superb self-titled debut album.
9. Khemmis – Desolation
Album number 3 sees Khemmis upping the ante once again with their brilliant doom infused heavy metal sounds. Big shout out to Sam Turner for another incredible album cover too. A UK tour would be nice please chaps!
8. Skeletonwitch – Fen of Shadows
Skeletonwitch have once again evolved their sound and headed in a more melodic black metal direction. There are so many amazing riffs on this album but “Temple of the Sun” takes the award for riff-fest of the year in my opinion!
7. Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die & Love Will Bury It
In at number 7 is the first Holy Roar release in my top 10. TWD&LWBI is Rolo Tomassi’s most expansive and complete work to date. This album pulls off the difficult task of being brutally heavy in places and then beautifully melodic in others. It truly is a work of art and has not been off my turntable since it was released.
6. King Buffalo – Longing To Be The Mountain
Ever since seeing King Buffalo play a blinding set at Desertfest London earlier in the year I have been eagerly anticipating the release of this album. Carrying on where the superb EP “Repeater” left off this is another slab of heavy psychedelic stoner rock that sees King Buffalo taking their sound to a new level. I have to mention the amazing artwork by Adrian Dexter too.
5. Mol – Jord
In the year that Deafheaven released a new album I thinks it’s fair to say that Danes Mol have most definitely stolen their shoegaze post-black metal (whatever you want to call it!) throne. From the very first listen this album had me hooked and is a simply incredible assault on the senses from start to finish. In many ways expansive, Mol’s debut will take you on a thrilling roller-coaster ride of brutal ups and emotional/melancholic downs that will keep you hooked all the way.
4. Conan – Existential Void Guardian
Caveman Battle Doom heroes Conan once again produce the goods and more on album number 4. In my opinion this is their most progressive and complete album so far and is in parts their most melodic and brutally heavy offering to date – even adding a dose of grindcore to the proceedings with the blastbeat endorsed assault of “Paincantation”. Hail Conan!
3. OHHMS – Exist
Fellow Kent lads OHHMS deliver the goods and more on their second album “Exist”. Released only just a year and a half after stunning debut “The Fool”, this album is a real statement of intent and pushes the boundaries once again on the progressive front. Opening track “Subjects” is a 23 minute leviathan of a song that sets the tone superbly for the whole album and leaves you wanting more. And more we get with the remaining 3 tracks, “Shambles”, “Calves” and ”Firearms” continuing to develop the animal rights theme and leaving the listener totally entranced with their prog-influenced post metal – marvellous stuff guys!
2. Boss Keloid – Melted On The Inch
Boss Keloid’s “Herb Your Enthusiasm” was my album of the year in 2016 and was undoubtedly going to be a tough act to follow. However, with “Melted on the Inch” the Wigan lads have most definitely produced another belter of a release. Clocking in at about a third shorter than its predecessor, MOTI has a great flow to it and is more progressive in nature than HYE. Boss Keloid truly are a unique and creative band and should be rightly applauded for the approach that they take. Make sure that you check out the live at Alien Studio recording of the full album, which gives proof (if you needed it!) of what a superb band they are.
1. Conjurer – Mire
From the very first listen of “Mire” I was totally blown away and have continued to listen to it on a very regular basis since its release. I’m proud to say that I’ve known the Conjurer lads for quite a while but even I was not expecting a debut album this stunningly good! Both their songwriting and sound has moved on a huge amount since their first EP “I”. Blending a number of heavy musical styles that keep you on your toes at all times, Mire is one of the best and most brutal metal releases of the past few years and has quite rightly received a number of accolades already this year. These Rugby lads are also amazing in the live environment, which was aptly demonstrated by their superb performance to a packed Sophie tent at Bloodstock this year – I should know as the bruises were there as a reminder for quite a while!!