Metalmance’s Top Releases of 2018: 30 to 21

The second instalment of Metalmance’s Top 40 Releases of the year.

Welcome to my second instalment of Metalmance’s Top 40 albums of the year! Hopefully you enjoyed Albums 40-31, you’re in for a treat with this list! Let’s get down to business then and proceed with the next 10 albums on my list…

30

THE FIVE HUNDREDBleed Red

These lovely lads from Nottingham (via Gibraltar) released this magnificent debut album back in August and it’s a melodic tech metal delight. Coming to the fore of the UK tech scene, the band also wear their metalcore influences on their sleeves with Bleed Red as there is a definite KILLSWITCH ENGAGE streak running throughout (especially on the self titled track and Smoke and Mirrors). This is an album which makes you eagerly anticipate the next release! Great stuff. Check out my full album review from August by following the link below.

The Five Hundred – Bleed Red

29

BROKEN GIRLS FROM ALLFUENT BACKGROUNDSFiction Will See Us Through

This little gem was released back in May and it’s an EP I’ve been returning to during the remainder of the year. I adore bands who throw in shoegaze and post-rock influences and this progressive rock act from Phoenix, AZ throw oodles of the stuff into the pot. There’s a delightful sense of nostalgia when listening to BROKEN GIRLS FROM AFFLUENT BACKGROUNDS. I won’t spoil them for you, they’re a band you’ll have to listen to yourself. Fingers crossed for a full length album soon!

Broken Girls From Affluent Backgrounds – Fiction Will See Us Through

28

SVALBARDIt’s Hard To Have Hope

Hardcore black metal band SVALBARD have caused some serious waves with the release of their latest album It’s Hard to Have Hope. Featuring serious themes such as the bleak job prospects for the youth of today, revenge porn and backlash against feminism, SVALBARD tackle these issues by writing equally urgent songs. You can hear the grit, desperation, anger and passion in frontwoman Serena Cherry’s vocals and it makes for a very intense listen. This album is proving to be somewhat of an underground hit, but don’t just take my word for it, have a listen and hear for yourself. Below are links to my full album review, my live review of their album release show and a Q&A with the band.

Svalbard – It’s Hard To Have Hope

Q&A with Svalbard

Svalbard/Møl/Group of Man

27

UNPROCESSEDCovenant

Djent may be seen as a bit of a stale genre these days but German progressive metallers UNPROCESSED are pushing the boundaries of the style with their latest album Covenant and I’ve been smitten ever since. There are some serious grooves on this record and the riffs sound refreshing in an over-saturated scene. There is an extraordinary depth to their music and with each listen, new snippets are discovered. Read more of my views of Covenant in August’s roundup via the link below.

Roundup – July 2018

26

MANESSlow Motion Death Sequence

No album of the year list would be complete without at least one avant-garde album. That album for me is Slow Motion Death Sequence, by Norway’s art rock band MANES. It’s been said this is their most accessible record but I find it to be one of their more intense efforts. There is a menacing darkness and sense of unease which runs throughout the record and makes for an unnerving-but spectacular- listen. Haunting, electrifying and still unpredictable, MANES will never be boring.

Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence

25

ARSISVisitant

If you read my November Roundup from last month you might remember me harking on about my love for tech death veterans ARSIS. New album Visitant takes a couple of spins to really sink in but after their classic albums A Celebration of Guilt and We Are The Nightmare, this album has a lot to live up to. Thankfully the band haven’t lost any of their momentum and this record is as fast and ferocious as ever. The tech death legends have returned and will show the young un’s exactly how it’s done!

Roundup – November 2018

24

DISTORTED HARMONYA Way Out

Israeli prog metallers DISTORTED HARMONY already had the hard task of writing an album to rival their last release Chain Reaction, without  adding two new members to the dynamic as well! A Way Out felt like a long time coming but it’s been worth the wait. The album would have ranked higher if the chemistry of the music was flawless, in my eyes Chain Reaction was perfection so perhaps I’m being too harsh. I adore the melodic intensity DISTORTED HARMONY achieve and their technical flourishes. This band are still too unknown, this needs to change next year.

Distorted Harmony – A Way Out

23

SICKONESFind Energy

When I witnessed this brilliant hardcore punk band live earlier in the year, I was completely blown away; their unforgettable performance, the messages in their music and their sense of fun were ridiculously addictive and incredibly unique. SICKONES are a truly special beast and this year saw the release of their new EP Find Energy, which is also sadly the last record they will release with frontman Ben Curd now he has left the band. Despite some serious song topics, SICKONES ooze such a sense of fun and optimism and I hope that remains. You can read more of my words about this magnificent band in the links below.

Roundup – June 2018

Cancer Bats/SickOnes/Walk In Coma

22

GOOD TIGERWe Will All Be Gone

Released way, way back at the beginning of February, alternative metal supergroup GOOD TIGER released the beautiful We Will All Be Gone and it’s just as exciting now listening to it as it was on first listen. The post-hardcore elements and the stunning vocals of Elliot Coleman make We Will All Be Gone a glorious piece of art. The irresistible melodies and sun-kissed vibes never fail to warm the soul.

Good Tiger – We Will All Be Gone

21

TEMPLES ON MARSSelf-titled

This album has been a grower on me this year. When I reviewed TEMPLES ON MARS’ self-titled album back in April I enjoyed it but could never have predicted how much I’d end up loving it. Their progressive rock is catchy, intelligent and mature and their songs are incredibly majestic. I enjoy the creativity of the album and the spacey vibes which result in a quite a few epic moments throughout the record. Radio friendly, riffy and catchy this is an album you’re safe to play to your normie friends and enjoy as well.

Temples On Mars – Self titled

The Five Hundred – Bleed Red

Label: Long Branch Records. Release date: 17 August 2018.

If you’ve been following my blog since its beginning you may have seen I namedrop THE FIVE HUNDRED here and there as I have reviewed a lot of their contemporaries and it’s hard not to compare certain bands to this promising Nottingham mob. However, the band’s contribution to the British tech scene is only set to get bigger. If you read my Tech Fest review you will know THE FIVE HUNDRED absolutely smashed their set and the new music they are about to unleash unto the world is HUGE. Their previous EPs Winters and The Veil have a dark and brooding techy vibe to them but with their debut album Bleed Red the band are ready to take risks and it’s gonna pay off!

The album kicks off with the title track but on the first listen you’re flabbergasted at this progression in sound. Who is this band?! This track is a bit of a departure from the darkness of their older material. Bleed Red is larger than life and possesses a confident sound, its energy is infectious and boundless. The LAMB OF GOD-like gang vocals were an unexpected opener. Can we also talk about how much vocalist Johnathan Woods-Eley has improved? His melodic vocals always carried the EPs but with this first track he’s utterly surpassed all that he’s done before. THE FIVE HUNDRED project themselves as a truly unstoppable force.

Second track Smoke and Mirrors is possibly my favourite on the album, purely because of its incredible KILLSWITCH ENGAGE-esque vibes. The guitars and gigantic melody would not sound out of place on As Daylight Dies. It’s one thing wearing your metalcore influences on your sleeve but you also have to deliver. Luckily THE FIVE HUNDRED do, the song is absolute gold. The triumphant riffs, the sheer passion, the crushing breakdown… this is a winner. Trust me, this song is one you’re going to have stuck in your head for hours.

More delicious riffs greet us at the beginning of Buried. The verse reminds me of something MATCHBOOK ROMANCE would conjure, that kind of irresistible, melodic darkness. There’s a hint of TESSERACT here and there with the ambitious moments, and you know what, Woods-Eley pulls it off. Oblivion is another stomper, the screams and lyrics are IHSAHN worthy. THE FIVE HUNDRED have always managed to create a certain mood with their music, like there is an underlying darkness present. This has always given their music an edge. Although it’s not quite as evident in Bleed Red, a starker contrast is made between the bold moments and the brooding passages.

The Noose proves to be an absolute belter. Older fans may claim the band are selling out for a quick buck but no way. THE FIVE HUNDRED is now a more focused entity who has pulled its collective strengths into a blistering release. This track actually ends up being one of the grooviest and one of the heaviest on the album. The Noose has it all.

Reclusive and Seduced by Shadows make up riff city, both accompanied by more superb vocals and memorable choruses. But it is The Narcissist which is the standout track in the second half of the album. A sombre piano plays which is soon joined by atmospheric electronics and this gothic edge remaining throughout. I was trying to avoid liking this song to MOTIONLESS IN WHITE but The Narcissist definitely has that electronic sense of doom and mystique. The metallic guitars and big chorus also adds to the dramatic tone completing this mammoth of a track.

If you are wondering what the heaviest track on Bleed Red is, then look no further than I Am The Undead. As you can probably tell by the ghoulish song title, this song is demonically heavy. Those groovy riffs never let up, ensuring your head will bang for all eternity. The sheer brutality of this track sounds like the aural equivalent of being scalped. THE FIVE HUNDRED have always had their disgustingly heavy moments but this one obliterates them all. With all darkness there comes light and I Am The Undead is contrasted by Circles, the album’s finale. A melodic and brooding track, there are some unexpected doom riffs and mesmerising melodies. They started Bleed Red with a bang and decided to close the album with a stunningly epic track. THE FIVE HUNDRED may not be boasting the most original material but their talent and drive and progress between releases is something to be desired. A band who are constantly growing and constantly improving, THE FIVE HUNDRED remain one of Britain’s brightest metal hopes. I’m already looking forward to album number two.