Metalmance’s Top Releases of 2018: 40 to 31

The first instalment of Metalmance’s Top 40 Releases of the 2018.

Welcome to my first instalment of my Top Releases of the 2018. I decided to not only have albums in the list, but EPs too, purely because of the wealth of fantastic ones released in the past 12 months. I will post 10 albums at a time, so without further ado enjoy my Top 40 to 31 albums of the year!

40

VEXESAncient Geometry

Released back in February, it feels like a long time since VEXES released their debut album Ancient Geometry yet it hasn’t lost any of its punch. The album has a shimmering nostalgic, progressive rock tinge, with a large helping of DEFTONES-esque melodies and ambiance. Featuring past members from a variety of established bands, VEXES bring all their skills and expertise together in this impressive record. Do not sleep on this album. My full review is linked below.

Vexes – Ancient Geometry

39

PSYCROPTICAs The Kingdom Drowns

Still a relatively new album as it was only released last month, As The Kingdom Drowns is the seventh album by Austrailian tech mertallers PSYCROPTIC and it’s making enormous waves in the tech death scene. It’s been a cracking year for tech death with the likes of BEYOND CREATION, INFERI and OSBCURA releasing albums, but for me, this effort by PSYCROPTIC surpasses those others as it’s the one I feel compelled to return to again. The instrumentation is absolutely stellar on this album, proving PSYCROPTIC are only getting better with each release. Cracking stuff.

38

WALK IN COMABlur The Line of Fiction and Hate

Here is the first of the EPs I have included in this year’s list. Southend’s WALK IN COMA are establishing themselves as one of Essex’s most promising metal acts with their EP, Blur The Line of Fiction and Hate. The band produce strong, in-your-face metal with good hooks and enough riffs to keep a PANTERA fan happy, but it is the second track Through Your Eyes which proves to be something very special indeed.

Walk In Coma – Blur The Line Of Fiction And Fate 

37

ORPHANED LANDUnsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs

Way back in January, Israeli progressive metallers ORPHANED LAND released the stunning Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, and we need this album more than ever. The band have always flawlessly tied oriental elements in with their metal foundations and it always creates a spectacular result. Much like most of their back catalogue, ORPHANED LAND stresses the importance of equality, acceptance and love. The topics and themes feel a lot more urgent on this release, copying the state of current affairs in the world today. If you want an album where you feel you can unite with humanity, this would be it.

Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs 

36

TESSERACTSonder

When I reviewed Sonder, the fourth album by British prog metallers TESSERACT, back in April, I said it’s nowhere near the band’s best album but it could potentially worm its way into album of the year lists. Unfortunately the album didn’t stick with me throughout the remainder of the year, hence its low placing in my album list. Sonder has lots of good songs but it doesn’t maintain momentum or interest for me, compared to albums released by their contemporaries this year which have ranked higher. It’s still a strong album but I’m not convinced it will stand the test of time in the long run.

Tesseract – Sonder

35

WOLF KINGLoyal To The Soil

WOLF KING sound like what I always wanted TRAP THEM to become. They boast filthy, blackened hardcore along with strenuous screams that make their debut album Loyal to the Soil absolutely disgusting – in a good way! WOLF KING sound like the aural equivalent of a full day down the mines; dark, suffocating, dirty and forever plunging into the depths. An incredibly underrated debut release this year, I’m hoping Loyal to the Soil will eventually be celebrated as one of the finest slabs of blackened hardcore to date.

34

JESUS PIECEOnly Self

Speaking of filthy hardcore (oo-er!) Only Self is another breathtaking debut released this year…breathtaking in the winded kinda way. JESUS PIECE are rapidly emerging in the hardcore scene thanks to their CODE ORANGE-esque riffs and their 90s-inspired beats. This year has seen a lot of hype for JESUS PIECE’s contemporaries VEIN, but personally I think the former have the edge. The brutality, the ferocity and downright filth is both crushing and considerably impressive for a debut release. Expect big things. You can read more on what I have to say about Only Self in the link to the Roundup below.

Roundup – August 2018

33

MECHROMORPHSelf-titled EP

I couldn’t write my top 40 releases of the year list without including a quality band from my hometown. Slam metal band MECHROMORPH are the best metal band to burst out of Clacton since…well…ever. The band are proving their worth in the scene, having played shows all over the country and lighting a fire under other local bands. Their self-titled EP features old school sounds along with contemporary slam elements in the same vein as VULVODYNIA, INGESTED etc. Once the band have established their sound there is no reason they couldn’t also prove to be an unstoppable force.

Mechromorph – Self-titled EP

32

BLEEDING THROUGHLove Will Kill All

I always thought any new BLEEDING THROUGH album would be in my Top 10 albums of the year, so I’m surprised with myself for placing the band’s comeback album fairly low in the rankings. The metalcore darlings ended their career on a high with 2012’s The Great Fire and frontman Brandan Schieppati released a brilliant solo album as THE IRON SON in the meantime, but unfortunately Love Will Kill All didn’t quite live up to expectations compared to their peers ATREYU and THE AGONY SCENE who released better quality albums this year. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a solid album, and last track Life is positively stunning. Check out my BLEEDING THROUGH retrospective I wrote earlier in the year for my low-down on each of their albums.

METALMANCE RETROSPECTIVE: Bleeding Through

31

VALIS ABLAZEBoundless

This mesmerising debut album by Bristolians VALIS ABLAZE is the album I’ve moved around the most whilst compiling this Top 40 list. Boundless is an awesome progression from the band’s EP Insularity, but it’s an album I’ve struggled to return to throughout the year which is why I haven’t placed it higher. There are several particularly stunning tracks on here such as Lumen, Afterlight and Frequency which prove VALIS ABLAZE are one of the leading lights of British progressive metal. Choosing Paradox as their lead single might not have been the wisest choice as it doesn’t show the band at their most original, but bloody hell the potential is there for greater things.

Valis Ablaze – Boundless

Roundup – October 2018

After a much needed break I am back and ready to share all the kickass metal that I was enjoying in October. I know I’m a little late, but better late than never eh? In this roundup I feature my top 3 releases from last month and other notable releases I’ve been particularly fond of for the past few weeks. See you throughout November for more awesome music and my Damnation review!


 

Metalmance Top 3 Releases from October

October saw awesome releases from the likes of VOLA and BLOODBATH but it also welcomed records from lesser known bands, some of which are featured below. The nights are drawing in and music is also getting darker. I’ll also be thinking about my AOTY list. Stayed tuned!

1

AVAST – Mother Culture. Release date: 26 October 2018.

789119

You may remember Mother Culture by Norwegian blackgaze metallers AVAST was my last full review on here. It is also the album I am still heavily rotating since my review and a definite contender for my album of the year. This is one of the most stunning debut albums of 2018, with its intense black metal riffs and blissful releases of shoegaze and melody. On the more ferocious end of the blackgaze spectrum, Mother Culture is a relentless work of art, with its title track and Birth of Man being two of its standout songs. The atmosphere is suffocating throughout, making for an fierce listen. Read my review below for a better insight into this phenomenal debut.

Avast – Mother Culture Review Link

 

2

MYCELIA – Apex. Release date: 12 October.

527991

Describing a band as ‘djent’ these days results in the rolling of the eyes. However, Swiss metallers MYCELIA somehow avoid being pigeonholed as a bog-standard djent band as so much happens in their fifth full length, Apex. If you dig SIKTH, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN then this band is for you, as the mix-mash of elements creates a thrilling experience which is also downright heavy. The instrumentation is extremely impressive, especially the blistering riffs and jazz flourishes. This band are not afraid to be ambitious and it pays off. Tracks such as the single Eight Milligrams and the brilliant Slip-Along Jack McTravis, boast the talent on display. There are a few amusing moments in the same vein as CARNIVAL IN COAL and the theatrical moments of DILLINGER, but nothing is more surprising than Cromulon and the absolute beast of a track it is. You could do a lot worse than check MYCELIA out.

 

3

AS EVERYTHING UNFOLDS – Closure EP. Release date: 19 October.

ClosureHigh Wycombe post-hardcore/alternative outfit AS EVERYTHING UNFOLDS have dropped the storming Closure. A record so full of emotion and energy, the potential of this young band oozes out of each track of this glorious EP. Vocalist Charlie Rolfe carries the band with her fantastic warbles, I really hope they don’t get lumped with the PARAMORE tag based on there being a young female vocalist in the band, because AS EVERYTHING UNFOLDS absolutely slay with a ferocious energy. Songs such as 17:10 and Divided (featuring Sam Stolliday from THECITYISOURS) prove the band can hold their own with their melodic songwriting and their metallic stance. If they keep releasing fantastic material such as this, then they run the risk of becoming Britain’s next big thing.


 

On the playlist…

Just a short section this month as I’m catching up with a lot of music but below is another notable mention from October and an album which I have discovered and fallen head over heels with…

SOUL DISSOLUTION – Nowhere EP. Release date: 18 October.

artwork - cover

Post black metal is really thriving at the moment, and after two full length albums, Belgian experimental metallers SOUL DISSOLUTION released new EP Nowhere in October, and it is a brooding and crushing delight. Only featuring two songs, this EP is a beautiful and chilling affair with many spectacular moments of sheer intensity and ferocity which erupt into euphoric passages. First track Road to Nowhere has some glorious black metal moments which are perfect for these dark, wintery nights. Second track Fading Darkness is a slower affair that creeps along in an eerie oscillation of blackened goodness. The soaring black metal riffs resonate from the rich depths of the music. Influenced by bands such as AGALLOCH, ALCEST and KATAONIA, you can get the idea of the brooding black metal paradise the band aim to create. Spectacular stuff.

 

THE SHIVER – Adeline. Release date: 4 April 2017.

ShiverIn October I saw my childhood favourites THE RASMUS play in Norwich and beforehand I wasn’t holding out much hope for the support bands. How I was wrong. One band in particular, THE SHIVER, an alternative rock band from Italy, completely blew me away. Their last album Adeline is a spectacular mix of hard rock, shoegaze riffs, metallic moments and sheer brilliance – I’ve been left wondering where this album has been my whole life! Featuring some strong storytelling (the title track sometimes reminds me of LEPROUS) and MY VITRIOL-esque riffs, I feel like I have discovered one of the most underrated European bands of all time. Confident, talented and full of passion, everything THE SHIVER play feels like a genuine outpour of love. Couple this with the fact that they’re very nice and approachable people and you’ve got yourself a band that have captured my heart.