Metalmance’s Top Releases of 2018: 20 to 11

The penultimate group of Metalmance’s Top 40 releases of 2018.

Welcome to the penultimate instalment of my Top 40 releases of the year. We’re halfway through now and nearing that all important No. 1 spot. Thank you for joining me to see who I’ve picked for No. 20 to No. 11. Hope to see you next time for the final instalment!

20

CANCER BATSThe Spark That Moves

After their uninspiring last album Searching For Zero I was just about ready to give up on my favourite punk rockers CANCER BATS. But then with no warning they dropped this terrific slab of fury. The Spark That Moves is easily their best release since 2008’s Hail Destroyer and with this new album they’ve reignited the passion of their older fans and gained new followers. The energy and fun in this album has been missing in their last few efforts and it’s so reassuring to hear the Canadians are back and better than ever. You can read below my thoughts on each of their albums and my live review of their show at Southend where I almost died (again).

METALMANCE RETROSPECTIVE: Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats/SickOnes/Walk In Coma

19

THE AGONY SCENETormentor

When I first started Metalmance, THE AGONY SCENE were one of my first ‘Bands to rediscover’ and I spoke about my love for their pivotal album from 2005, The Darkest Red. Little did I know these metalcore legends were reforming and recording their comeback album, Tormentor. Where other comeback albums released this year have fallen flat for me, Tormentor is an example of a metalcore comeback album which shows a band who have grown since their hiatus and are not afraid to add other influences to their cooking pot. Tormentor features a lot of blackened elements, tech riffs and black metal influences which results in the band sounding like THE AGONY SCENE 2.0. Let’s hope the band return again. You can read more of my thoughts on Tormentor by following the link below.

Roundup – July 2018

18

ATREYUIn Our Wake

I wasn’t expecting to like the new ATREYU album, let alone feature it in my Top 40…my Top 20! There have been a few classic metalcore bands being featured in my Top 40 this year and ATREYU unexpectedly shine brighter than the rest. The band haven’t sounded this good since 2007’s sails Paper Anchor and haven’t had this much grit since 2006’s A Death-Grip on Yesterday. The catchiness and modern elements in their tracks ensure ATREYU do not sound stale and  do not outstay their welcome. Standout tracks Paper Castle and Blind Deaf & Dumb will easily become their new anthems. Hopefully old fans feel the same as I do about In Our Wake, but if not then last track Super Hero is sure to stoke the nostalgia with guest vocalists M. Shadows from AVENGED SEVENFOLD and Matt Gillespie from UNDEROATH…

17

NIGHT CROWNEDHumanity Will Echo Out EP

It hasn’t been long since I reviewed this spectacular EP, it would have been rude not to include this blackened slab of ferociousness in my Top 40. Humanity Will Echo Out is the debut release by ‘supergroup’ NIGHT CROWNED. Truth is, the band sound like a monster and this three track record is their first brutal assault on the world. A superb EP, this is only the beginning of their pandemic. You can read my full review of Humanity Will Echo Out below.

Night Crowned – Humanity Will Echo Out EP

16

ANAAL NATHRAKHA New Kind of Horror

They’ve done it again, British black metal veterans have released yet another stellar album, A New Kind of Horror. Always ready to push the boundaries of the genre and not afraid to surpass their older material, the band are untouchable. Who could forget the genius Forward! or Obscene as Cancer? This album is full of great ideas and familiar ANAAL NATHRAKH motifs. This is bound to become another modern classic. You can read my review of their album preview show in the link below.

Anaal Nathrakh + The Atrocity Exhibit

Roundup – September 2018

15

CABALMark of Rot

Easily one of the darkest and heaviest releases of the year, Mark of Rot by Danish demons CABAL is a terrifying release of mammoth proportions. Featuring the likes of THY ART IS MURDER’s C.J McMahon and HUMANITY’S LAST BREATH’S Filip Danielsson you can gauge just how crushingly heavy this album is. What’s even more frightening is the fact Mark of Rot is the band’s debut album. What further torment will the Danes unleash later down the line? It is too horrifying to imagine. Read the full review below to learn more before the darkness consumes you.

Cabal – Mark Of Rot

14

LEECHEDYou Took The Sun When You Left

2018 really has seen the return of gritty, filthy, blackened hardcore and Manchester crew LEECHED expertly mix NAILS-style grind with their chaotic CURSED-esque hardcore to create their suffocatingly heavy sound. Their debut album You Took The Sun When You Left is a relentlessly crushing affair. Any hope and optimism you may still hold will be drained from your soul upon your first listen of this. Devastatingly heavy stuff. You can read more of my thoughts on You Took The Sun When You Left in the Roundup below. 

Roundup – August 2018

13

TURNSTILETime & Space

The first time I encountered TURNSTILE was when I saw them support THE STORY SO FAR along with DRUG CHURCH back in 2015. It’s safe to say it was an unforgettable experience and one which I was lucky to escape unscathed! They’ve since exploded in the heavy music world and released their latest full length Time & Space through Roadrunner Records! It’s not hard to see why they’ve been picked up by one of the biggest labels in the metal community, this album is chock-full of strong tunes and the band haven’t lost any of their punch. It’s almost as if the band are bringing back good old fashioned hardcore to the masses. Time & Space will no doubt become a modern classic.

Roundup – May 2018

12

LIGHT THE TORCH  – Revival

It’s always concerning when a band go through a name change. Super group LIGHT THE TORCH were formally known as DEVIL YOU KNOW and personally I think this new incarnation of the band runs rings round their original outfit. DEVIL YOU KNOW were heavy but something in the music didn’t quite gel. Fast forward to 2018 and Revival, the band’s first album as LIGHT THE TORCH is a glorious effort. This album can be likened to frontman Howard Jones’ glory days in As Daylight Dies-era KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. Hojo is back on form here and this album is a stunning piece of metal. You’d be silly to ignore Revival.

Roundup – June 2018

11

HEAD WITH WINGSFrom Worry To Shame

You might remember my reaction to From Worry To Shame, the debut album by progressive rockers HEAD WITH WINGS. My review was a bit of an emotional affair (you can read it in full by following the link below) due to the stunning melodies and heart-wrenching lyrics. The topics of the songs are not light and the duo (now a full band) delicately pay homage to the lyrical themes with beautiful songwriting and poetic tributes. This is an album where you can feel every word and every note. Spectacular stuff.

Head With Wings – From Worry To Shame

Roundup – November 2018

The last Metalmance Roundup of the year.

This roundup is a tricky one because I don’t want to write too much before my album of the year list. I’ve kept it simple for this one, my usual top 3 albums of the month but I’ve also added an artist spotlight about one of my favourite bands who released their long-anticipated new album earlier in November. Check it out! There won’t be a roundup in December as you will be treated with my album of the year post. Stay tuned.


Metalmance Top 3 Releases of November

1

COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS – Fervor. Release date: 9 November 2018.

You might remember I featured these Danes in my September roundup when I chatted about their single Canaille. This track seemed a little more melodic than their last album Course of Events, but when you give Fervor a chance you discover the band haven’t lost any of their brutality, but instead sound a lot more mature and quite unique. The album boasts the band’s progressive songwriting abilities, but it is hard to ignore one of the major selling points of COLD NIGHTS FOR ALLIGATORS is their immensely talented vocalist Johan Pedersen who really does push himself with this record. Add this to the band’s forward-thinking metal and you’re onto a winner. I’ve been saying it all year, but there really must be something in the water in Denmark judging by the quality of metal bands emerging this year, now you can add COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS to the ever-growing list.

2

NIGHT CROWNED – Humanity Will Echo Out EP. Release date: 30 November 2018.

Featuring ex-members of bands such as DARK FUNERAL, THE CROWN, NIGHTRAGE and CIPHER SYSTEM, you can probably gauge the high calibre of blackened death metal newbies NIGHT CROWNED conjure. Debut EP Humanity Will Echo Out three tracks of blackened perfection. The ferocity and intensity of this incredibly short EP is astounding. It’s one of those darkly magical releases that leaves you absolutely gagging for more – three tracks is nowhere near enough. If you’re left winded after this short EP, just imagine what impact their debut full-length is going to have. Bloody hell. You can read my full review of Humanity Will Echo Out by clicking on the link below.

Night Crowned – Humanity Will Echo Out EP

3

VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE – Odyssey: The Founder of Dreams. Release date: 9 November 2018.

Back in 2016, progressive alternative outfit VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE released the stunning Odyssey: Destroyer of Worlds. This month the band from Northampton released the second instalment, Odyssey: The Founder of Dreams. One of the most striking elements about this album is the inclusion of more cinematic moments. The first album was quite dramatic but this album takes it to the next level and sounds positively stratospheric in places. An example being the album opener Via and its epic break in the middle. Songs like Life on Titan has a mild orchestral feel giving their music an extra kick when things lull into too much safety. What I like so much about Odyseey: The Founder of Dreams is it has a bit more oomph! compared to its predecessor. First single Nine Levels hinted that this would be so, and the album doesn’t disappoint.


Artist Spotlight

ARSIS

 This month also saw the release of the long awaited new album by American technical death metal crew ARSIS, titled Visitant, and for me personally this album has been an excruciatingly long wait. The band have always seemed a bit of an elusive entity to me. None of my friends had heard of them at school, let alone listened to them and liked them, but since the rise of online metal communities I’ve learned I’m not alone and the band’s fanbase is in fact, huge. It all started way back in 2005 when I heard their song Maddening Disdain on a record sampler released by their former label Earache Records. I hadn’t heard anything like the technical metal they wrote and it’s awesome to now see them recognised as one of the fathers of the genre. Back then you couldn’t really stream music so it took me years to listen to their debut album A Celebration of Guilt, which Maddening Disdain is featured on. It’s only until now I actually own the CD! If you know me or follow me on Instagram then you’ll know I always prefer buying physical copies of albums, but to the extreme I have to buy it in person and not online. So I always thought I’d never find A Celebration of Guilt in the flesh until by surprise I found the CD for sale at a stand at this year’s Damnation Festival. I already owned 2008 album We Are The Nightmare (I bought it on a whim in HMV when it came out as I was still pining for a copy of their debut) so now I feel like I can finally start to complete my ARSIS collection. It took a couple of spins for Vesitant to ‘click’ but I’m immensely pleased they’re back with a killer record. It’s reassuring to hear the band haven’t watered down their sound at all, and with contempories such as REVOCATION and GOROD also releasing brilliant albums this year, ARSIS have made 2018 the year of the return of technical death metal.

Night Crowned – Humanity Will Echo Out EP

Label: Black Lion Records. Release date: 30 November 2018.

When you think you’re safe from the darkest of extreme metal for another year, NIGHT CROWNED emerge and launch their debut EP, Humanity Will Echo Out, to drag you to the depths of Hell. This EP is only three tracks long but it is enough to pack a punch and leave you fearing the dark. NIGHT CROWNED are a blackened death metal band hailing from Sweden. This terrifying troupe of shadow consists of members from various bands of the underground, including DARK FUNERAL, THE CROWN, NIGHTRAGE and CIPHER SYSTEM, proving NIGHT CROWNED have grown from the darkest of roots.

The seeds of menace are sown with first track No Room For Hope. The song delivers what it says on the tin. The suffocating, blackened complexity of the music smothers the listener and diminishes all hope. The opener crashes in, taking no prisoners with its symphonic air and ferocious drumming. The devilishly swift pace whips you up and spits you out in a flurry of polished guitar solos, demonic screams and epic instrumentation.

Second track Nocturnal Pulse provides the main core of the EP; the blackened riffs gallop with full force obliterating foes in its wake. The brilliant production ensures a massive sound, enabling the atmosphere generated by the band is a spectacular one. The commanding vocals are relentless, adding oodles of malice to the madness.

EP finale All Life Ends provides a horrifying conclusion. With its eerie instrumentation at the beginning, the song erupts into pure black metal perfection. Channelling their inner EMPEROR and CRADLE OF FILTH, NIGHT CROWNED demand your stamina keeps up with their unforgiving pace. Regardless, you’re left winded from the blistering close.

The intensity of Humanity Will Echo Out is unbelievable. It’s hard to accept this is a debut EP, as it sounds like the epitome of their genre. If this is what NIGHT CROWNED achieve with their first release, then what the hell are they going to conjure up for their debut album? All I know is I want to be there to witness the Armageddon. Brilliant stuff.