Metalmance’s Top Releases of 2018: 10 to 1

The final 10. The all important No. 1.

Here it is! My final instalment of Metalmance’s Top Releases of 2018. Thanks for joining me on my Top Releases of the Year journey, it’s been fun! I won’t delay you any further, I’m sure you’re dying to know who has won my top spot! You may proceed. See you next year!

10

NIGHTMARERCacophony of Terror

One of the heaviest, darkest, most terrifying releases of the year, I’ve been besotted with Cacophony of Terror by NIGHTMARER since its release back in March. The dissonant tones and insanely heavy riffs are what keeps me coming back again and again. The seamless transition between opening track The Descent and Stahlwald has got to be one of my favourite album moments of 2018. These two tracks together are mindblowing and the ridiculous riff and crushing atmosphere in the latter will leave you chuckling at just how heavy NIGHTMARER are. Read more of my [dark] thoughts on Cacophony of Terror in the roundup below.

Roundup – May 2018

9

SKYHARBORSunshine Dust

It’s been a strong year for progressive metal releases and one big surprise this year has been SKYHARBOR’s new album, Sunshine Dust. Usually TESSERACT and MONUMENTS lead the way in the progressive metal/djent scene, but for me SKYHARBOR have risen high above the rest this year with their new release. New vocalist Eric Emery plays a big part in this with his terrific warbles, but the songs as a whole are more focussed and melodic compared to their previous releases. Standout tracks Out of Time, Synthetic Hands and the phenomenal title track will leave you dreaming for days. Fantastic stuff. Read my full review via the link below.  

Skyharbor – Sunshine Dust

8

ABORTEDTerrorVision

The Belgian death metal/grindcore Kings are back and with TerrorVision, their 10th studio album, they’ve unleashed their most blackened release yet. TerrorVision is everything I wanted the new BEHEMOTH to be. ABORTED have achieved an album so punishing, so unforgiving, so relentless it is a ferocious ride from start to finish. It’s amazing how something that sounds so polished can still sound extremely brutal and I think that proves the beastly talent of these Belgians. 

7

WITHIN DESTRUCTIOND E A T H W I S H

There’s a mad genius to D E A T H W I S H, the third album by Slovenian deathcore/slam band (there I’ve said it) WITHIN DESTRUCTION. This album is exceptionally brutal but it’s executed remarkably well making it an incredibly enjoyable listen. You know it must be a good record if Unique Leader Records picked the band up after the album was released in March. The title track is a slab of perfection, with brilliant guest vocals by VULVODYNIA’s Duncan Bentley. The pace, the riffage, the aural assault of the track is superb and sets the tone for the remainder of the album. Tracks like Extinction and Darkness Swallows Life demonstrate the awesome vocal talent of the band’s frontman Rok Rupnik, but I find penultimate track Death Awaits Us All is their most mature offering on D E A T H W I S H. The darkness of this song is suffocating and guarantees an enthralling listen. Do not ignore this album.

Roundup – April 2018

6

VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGEOdyssey: The Founder of Dreams

When I first listened to Odyssey: The Founder of Dreams and included it in my last roundup, I quite liked it but I didn’t realise how much I’d end up loving it and having it on repeat since. When this album clicked after a few listens, the sheer brilliance of the songwriting and lyrics was completely overwhelming. The delicate riffs and considered components of each song results in an absolute winner of an album. It’s rare to hear a record with not only heart-wrenching lyrics, but vocals too that make you believe every single the word. On this album, vocalist Ashe O’Hara ensures listeners feels the pain, the hope, the despair, the passion. It’s an unforgettable rollercoaster and singles Nine Levels and Vestibule of Hell are surprisingly heavy which fills out the album to be the perfect package. The real deal.

Roundup – November 2018

5

HARM’S WAYPosthuman

This is the CD I’ve played the most in my car this year; beefy, bold and hella heavy, no I’m not just describing HARM’S WAY frontman, I’m talking about how Posthuman is one of the most brutal records on the planet. Released way back in February, this album is guaranteed to make you pull the filthy riff face. For months nothing surpassed this record for me, and no matter how many times I listen to it, it never loses its punch. It’s not just any hardcore record though, no no, the industrial elements of tracks such as Last Man and the powerviolence thread that runs throughout makes Posthuman stupidly addictive to return to.

Roundup – April 2018

4

VOLAApplause of a Distant Crowd

I absolutely adore VOLA’s first album InMazes so I’m ashamed to admit my expectations weren’t too high for their second album as I thought it wouldn’t match its predecessor. How wrong I was. Applause of the Distant Crowd blows everything VOLA have previously done out the water. Thankfully the band have dropped most of the djent and have released one of the best progressive records of the year. With this album, the band have shown the world how good they are at creating stunning soundscapes. Applause of a Distant Crowd shimmers with dreamy notes and haunting vocals. There are still lots of heavy lil nuggets and surprises along the way. For me the best moment of the album is the KATATONIA-esque Still, which is an utterly mesmerising track. The songs Alien Shivers, Ghosts and Smartfriend are some of the best singles of the year, yet the album is still full of stunning moments. Believe the hype.

3

AVASTMother Culture

I know what you’re thinking. Who?? Who are AVAST? In October I reviewed the Norwegians’ debut album Mother Culture and I’ve been slightly obsessed ever since. 2018 has seen the rise of blackgaze bands and AVAST are still extremely new on the scene but my word, they’re one of the most intense and blissfully beautiful blackgaze bands around. On the more black metal end of blackgaze than shoegaze, the songs sound like WINTERFYLLETH if they gazed at their shoes a bit more. The mesmerising soundscapes AVAST also produce are captivatingly beautiful, if I listen to this album I have to make sure I’m not doing anything else. This album requires your full attention and concentration. I don’t want to say too much more about it as my full review below and the album as a whole speaks for itself. But promise me you’ll check it out, it’ll be one of the best things you do this year.

Avast – Mother Culture

2

EXOCRINEMolten Giant

After WITHIN DESTRUCTION’s D E A T H W I S H came out I wasn’t sure there was enough room in my life for another monster-themed album this year. I was wrong…again. French progressive death metal group EXOCRINE entered my life with their blistering new album Molten Giant and I haven’t looked back since. What I like about EXOCRINE is they leave all the bullshit out and get on with it. Molten Giant is a superb accomplishment and each song is of the highest calibre of prog death. It’s been fantastic to see the band really gaining momentum in the tech and prog death scene, and rightfully so. Tracks such as Scorched Human Society, Backdraft and Flamewalkers really showcase just how technically magnificent and brutal EXOCRINE are. Congratulations to EXOCRINE on releasing my favourite death metal album of 2018!

Exocrine – Molten Giant

1

MØLJord 

Here it is! My album of the year. I’m sure this doesn’t come as a shock to most of you considering I’ve been singing the praises of MØL since they released their debut album Jord back in April (I may as well change my name to Mølmance while I’m here). Throughout these Top 40 Releases of 2018 posts I’ve mentioned how my wanting to return to albums has been a factor in where I’ve ranked releases. Jord is the opposite. Jord is one of those albums where you savour every listen and limit yourself to how often you experience it so you avoid becoming bored of the record or over listening to it. Below you can read my full review of the album as well as my interview with the band which they did before their very first UK show at The Black Heart, Camden.

At first I wondered if it was just me who felt an over-emotional response to Jord, but after seeing other people’s reactions during the year and seeing the band fill the room to the brim at Damnation Festival, it’s safe to say I’m not alone. There is something truly special and unique about MØL. From their powerful blackgaze tunes and their mesmerising sound, to their phenomenal live show (it’s becoming legendary) the band are storming on all fronts and remaining humble with it. They get the balance between black metal and shoegaze just right, resulting in stunningly deep textures and soundscapes. I could rave on all day about how much I admire this band but an analysis will never do their music justice. Jord isn’t just an album, it is an experience. Jord is my Top Release of 2018.

Møl – Jord

INTERVIEW: MØL


Roundup – May 2018

My top 3 albums of the past month as well as other records that have captured my attention.

May has been another corker of a month, with releases from notable bands such as IHSAHN, AMOPHIS and of course SVALBARD who I have featured a lot in my blog this month. I’ve selected three bands and releases you need to watch, as well as what else I’ve been listening to and an album I’ve been discovering all over again. See you in June!


 

Metalmance Top 3 Albums from May

1

CALLIDICE – Anthem For Resistance. Release date: 18 May 2018.

Callidice

I’ve put CALLIDICE in the top spot as I’ve been looking forward to seeing how this Finnish metal would progress their sound for their debut album Anthem For Resistance and I was not disappointed. I really liked their EP Scarlet, released in 2016. I heard potential but it was obvious they still hadn’t quite anchored their sound or focus. With Anthem For Resistance they’ve achieved a beast that sounds like the love child of INSOMNIUM and SONIC SYNDICATE. It may not be the most original sound but it is a hugely enjoyable listen. CALLIDICE brilliantly mix synths into the mix and still sound impeccably heavy. The song Scarred is a gem, with an IN FLAMES Come Clarity vibe, while Brotherhood of Bastards is more SOILWORK mixed with IHSAHN. Basically, if you’re not a fan of Scandinavian metal then you should steer clear of CALLIDICE. If not, you could do a lot worse than giving Anthem For Resistance a listen.

2

SERAPHIM – Shades Of The Future. Release date: 25 May 2018.

Seraphim

Another severely underrated band, SERAPHIM have surpassed all their previous material with this brilliant effort, Shades of the Future. What’s so exciting about this band from Michigan is their ability to meld an array of metal styles into one gloriously flawless sound. Tech riffs? Check. Screams? Check. Djent? Check. Progressive elements? Check. Massive melodies? Cheeeeeeccccckkkkk. Their transitions from soaring melodic vocals to their heavier moments are seamless, they’re exactly what you always wanted ISSUES to be. The production on this album is the icing on the cake, enabling all of SERAPHIM’s components to shine. Songs like Unmask The Enemy sound a cross between DEAD BY APRIL and PERIPHERY, and it’s this mix of tech and melodic metal that gives their music that much needed modern crunch. An unsigned band with heaps of potential, SERAPHIM should be on everyone’s radar.

3

DREAM ON DREAMER – It Comes And Goes. Release date: 25 May 2018.

Dream On Dreamer

A friend of mine actually recommended this band to me. A friend whose musical opinion I trust and he didn’t let me down again. DREAM ON DREAMER are a band from Melbourne, Australia who seamlessly mix soul and metal together yet still sound heavy and avoid sounding like a teeny-bop band. My first thought is they sound like a metal PVRIS with their catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics, but they could also be compared to bands like VOICES FROM THE FUSELAGE and SAOSIN because of the beautiful combination of heavy components and euphonious vocals. Last track Tell Me Why could easily be a radio hit with its YEARS AND YEARS vibes, yet opener Let It In reminds me of the atmospheric moments of LOATHE and the djent goodness of NORTHLANE. Don’t be surprised if you hear more of these guys this year, DREAM ON DREAMER have the talent and capabilities of being bloody huge.

 


 

On the playlist…

NIGHTMARER – Cacophony Of Terror. Release date: 23 March 2018.

Nightmarer

Definitely the heaviest band I’m featuring in this month’s roundup. NIGHTMARER is an apt name for their devastatingly heavy music. Formed in 2016, the band includes former members of bands such as GIGAN, THE  OCEAN and WAR FROM A HARLOTS MOUTH. Cacophony of Terror is definitely a contender for most crushing album of 2018. Suffocatingly heavy, it seems to suck the soul and light from all that is nice in the world and belches them out into a pitch black filth. Dissonant death metal at its finest, you try and think of bands to compare NIGHTMARER to but you’re stumped to find a band who melt all the gnarly ingredients into the same kind of morbid beauty NIGHTMARER exhumes. If you were to describe extreme metal to someone, then Cacophony of Terror would be the record you’d introduce them to. Spectacular stuff.

 

TURNSTILE – Time & Space. Release date: 23 February 2018.

Turnstile

Time & Space has been playing in my car all month, it is an absolute gem. When I found out these guys had signed to Roadrunner Records I knew this album was going to be special. I remember seeing these guys in Norwich in 2015 supporting THE STORY SO FAR and the stage diving and crowdkilling was on another level! I hadn’t even heard of them until that night and I didn’t really hear about them again until their signing announcement. I love how old school they sound and their live show firmly lodged them in my memory. Time & Space shows a more ambitious direction for TURNSTILE, I think it’s absolute gold. The songs I stick on repeat the most are The Real Thing, Generator and Right To Be. I love the grooves, the pacing, the switch from hardcore to metal riffs. It makes me want to dance and mosh at the same time. TURNSTILE are one of those bands I’d see live again in a heartbeat, it’s great to see them finally getting the recognition they deserve.


 

Rediscovering…

HOPESFALL – A Types. Release date: 2 November 2004.

Hopesfall

At the beginning of 2018, HOPESFALL announced they had reformed (finally!) and they will be releasing new album Arbiter in July! After the recent reunions of EIGHTEEN VISIONS, BLEEDING THROUGH and THE AGONY SCENE, I was absolutely thrilled to hear about HOPESFALL too. In my early teens I used to have their third album, A Types on heavy rotation. I had actually picked it up on a whim in a charity shop after I saw the Trustkill Records logo on the CD. Being a fan of EIGHTEEN VISIONS and BLEEDING THROUGH I trusted Trustkill and bought the CD. HOPESFALL were quite different, more post-hardcore than metal but they do have some quite progressive sections, especially on their album Magnetic North. This album is where it all started for me with HOPESFALL and it is still such a charming record. From the catchy It happens to the spellbinding Per Sempre Marciamo, HOPESFALL take you on a little journey through delicate melodies and intelligent songs. Songs like Champion Beyond Blessing and Icarus reek of that glorious early 00’s sound that make you feel nostalgic for the days of emo and post-hardcore. I’m incredibly curious to see what direction HOEPSFALL have gone in for their forthcoming release. One thing’s for sure, it’s sure to blow everyone away.