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

Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence

Label: Debemur Morti Productions. Release date: 24 August 2018.

Norwegian experimental/electronic metallers MANES have always a bit of an elusive band to me. I first discovered them when they released their third studio album How The World Came To An End through Candlelight Records. I heard Deeprooted on a sampler and it stood out amongst the rest of the extreme metal and after that I was trying to find out more about them and find their music. This was before the majority of bands were on social media and before Spotify was easily accessible so I could never find out much about them. They were a mysterious entity to me and that’s one part of why they’re exciting. Now in the age of all the information of the world being at our fingertips I’ve discovered more about them and their music. However having said this, they’re still a mysterious and unpredictable band and MANES continue to exude this with Slow Motion Death Sequence, their fifth album.

I’ve always relished in the intensity of MANES. Their compositions have always been a brooding and tense affair but with such a clever and expertly executed delivery that makes the tense atmosphere subtle at the start until you’re too late to escape from the enveloping darkness. Slow Motion Death Sequence is no different. It took a few listens for the album to ‘click’ but when you can give it your full attention it is easy to succumb to its cinematic ambience.

Slow Motion Death Machine opens with the haunting Endetidstegn. MANES always have superb climatic songs and this opener is no different. The build up slowly fills your ears and lapses into a hectic ruckus. An atmospheric frenzy also occurs towards the end of Scion, the track which arguably has the best intro of the album. The song itself is an unsettling, dramatic electronic extravaganza with its 80s vibes and textural depth.

Chemical Heritage is a little treat. Opening with a dreamlike sequence and soothing bass, the vocals grate less on this song giving it a warm tonality. The guitar tone is also glorious and makes for a brilliant guitar-driven break in the middle of the song. Things go a bit old school in Therapism. At the start it sounds like it’s going to go full-on 90s club music, but MANES reign it in and let the atmosphere slowly escalate. The band also show once again how effectively they use spoken word samples (I’m thinking again of Deeprooted).

After a slow ‘ballad’ in the form of Last Resort (think ARCADE FIRE mixed with a bit of BOWIE) things get interesting with Poison Enough For Everyone. With it’s unsettling, whirring intro, it sprawls into an experimental mass of clunky NINE INCH NAILS style notes, crooning vocals and OPEN HAND-like use of layered female vocals. This is MANES at their stirring best.

Building the ship of Theseus sounds suspiciously upbeat on the surface, with its bold riff and melodic start. It’s one of the band’s straight up rock songs, but it doesn’t sound out of place on the album as it is still expertly composed and delivered with a MANES flourish. The mystery and intrigue return in bucketloads in Night Vision with its unnerving piano and heavy guitars. One of the masterpieces of the album, this song is oddly addictive to listen to.

Slow Motion Death Machine is at serious risk of exposing MANES as heavyweights in experimental music and a sublime album such as this needs a spectacular finale. Luckily Ater is the brooding conclusion this record deserves, with its atmospheric textures and echoes and haunting vocals it makes for a superb ending. The Norwegians have once again outdone themselves, their mad genius is hard to replicate, ensuring their sound is uniquely MANES.