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

Good Tiger – We Will All Be Gone

Release date: 9 February 2018. Label: Blacklight Media/Metal Blade.

It’s not easy to pigeonhole GOOD TIGER, and that’s part of their appeal. While listening to second album We Will All Be Gone, one word does spring to mind – nostalgia. With its emotive melodies, lyrics and riffs, you just can’t help but be reminded of bands like CIRCA SURVIVE. GOOD TIGER no doubt would appeal to the teenagers of a decade ago, but they also have a progressive factor, thanks to featuring ex-members of TESSERACT, THE FACELESS and THE SAFETY FIRE amongst others. If SAOSIN had a love child with SKYHARBOR, then it would probably sound like GOOD TIGER. Dripping in blissful melodies and warm, fuzzy feels We Will All Be Gone is is a beautiful follow-up to 2015’s stunning debut A Head Full Of Moonlight.

Things blast off with an energetic start with The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking with Coleman expertly executing THOSE highs. Like the last album, there is a hint of HE IS LEGEND with those edgy grooves. One of the best tracks on We Will All Be Gone, this is an absolute killer of an opener. This is followed by the mesmerising Float On which is one of those songs that reminds you of simpler times. There is something about the chorus…something very warm and comfortable…that…sound. This sound shouldn’t work in 2018, but it does and it sounds as fresh as ever.

Such A Kind Stranger has a bit of an old school pop punk vibe, but with an intelligent approach in the same vein as THE AUDITION, or the slow tempo moments of EMANUEL. The twinkling guitars make GOOD TIGER sound so damn shiny, along with the organic feeling of the production completing their irresistible compositions. This shiny, organic goodness continues in Blueshift, an exciting track of slow burning verses with intense choruses (think PVRIS). It would be deceiving to say GOOD TIGER are upbeat, as there are a lot of brooding moments on the album, but there is a strong pulse of strength and positivity running throughout.

Halfway through We Will All Be Gone we are rewarded with two of the strongest tracks of the record; Salt Of The Earth and Grip Shoes. The former is already a contender for best chorus of 2018. You can see it now, everyone trying to sing along but either ending up shouting or going massively out of tune. Further proof Elliot Coleman needs to be recognised as one of rock’s most talented vocalists. Grip Shoes is an absolute shimmering stunner of a track. It’s what you would imagine a proggy TAKING BACK SUNDAY would sound like – bloody wonderful. The glorious and spine-tingling middle eight once again will remind you of the heart-wrenching melodies of CIRCA SURVIVE, but GOOD TIGER collapse into such a melodically heavy state, they’re well on their way to being the King’s of progressive-post-hardcore-rock-emo-metal-whateveryouwannacallit.

The prog shines through on Just Shy; the verses could easily fit on a CALIGULA’S HORSE track. Chilled vibes with vibrant bass charms the listener before another killer chorus storms in. This song is anything but shy. The same goes for Nineteen Grams, which is another delight for the ears. The pop-rock sound is strong with this song, giving an indication that GOOD TIGER could easily smash into the mainstream. The band calm down a bit in the short but sweet Cherry Lemon, a shoegazey wonder which the likes of MY VITRIOL would be proud of. With this track GOOD TIGER prove that it is not just Coleman who is the most talented member. Drummer Alex Rüdinger demonstrates his technical ability with his tight beats, and guitarists Derya Nagle and Joaquin Ardiles remind fans of when they first fell in love with them in THE SAFETY FIRE. The ending of the track fizzles out in an OPEN HAND-esque haze. Blissful and mesmerising.

This bliss sees us through until the end, with album closer I’ll Finish This Book Later. The hushed beginning sounds very JONAH MATRANGA; wonderful and mature like your favourite cave-aged cheese. The epic finale brings We Will All Be Gone to a soaring close. A suitable ending for a pretty spectacular album. GOOD TIGER might boast some of progressive metal’s brightest talents, but this second album should hopefully mark the beginning of recognising the band as an important influence on modern metal. 2018 could very well be the year of the tiger.