Thursday, December 13, 2018
the Top 10 Black Metal Albums of 2018
It is that time again. Black Metal is in a weird place this year. There is no lack of it, as the sub-genre has left it's stain on almost all forms of metal, it is the attitude that finds it's self being compromised and watered down. Hateful was one of the best days once used to described it's sound and now that is being apologized for due to the current political climate.So here are some band's who help make black metal hate again. The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking , but also how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album.An album can have all the critical acclaim in the world but if it does not inspire multiple listens then how good can it actually be ?
While the top ten lists for other genres leaned more heavily on the side of new blood for black metal is was the more well established acts who put out the greatest quality albums . Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top 10 black metal albums of 2018.
10-Mutilation Rites - "Chasm"
Many of New York's black metal bands come from the hipster circles of Brooklyn. They bring elements of punk, post-rock and avant garde indie rock into the mix. Mutilation Rites separates themselves by only bringing more metal into the equation. Most of the improvements come from the production end, as they might weigh in on more of the death metal side of their sound, but the identity of the band is firmly intact even with line up changes.
9- Hegemone- "We Disappear"
While this album originally scored lower than Mutilation Rites , it grew on me and I listened to it more. It's woeful blackened Sludge that throbs against scathing screamed vocals . Occasionally the vocals drop down into a lower growl. There is a weird almost industrial pounding breaking down mixed with post- rock , so these guys are not afraid to step out and experiment. They have the dark sonic intensity that I am on the look out for in heavy music.
8-Curse Upon a Prayer -"Three Woes"
Make Black Metal hate again.This band from Finland has the balls to not give a fuck and this album lashes out at Islam. Now there is a political slant since aside from the hippies in Sweden, the rest of Scandinavia tries to be fairly isolationist.Thundering double bass, blast beats and tremolo picked guitar all do their part to make this black metal as fuck.Their are hints of melody in the guitar. They passion with which they throw themselves into their music compensates for anytime they might not be the most original band on the planet.
7-Cultes des ghoules-"Sinister"
The fourth album from the Polish black metal band finds , an almost more Urfaust sound . The vocals are more sung in a resonate bellow on the first song , than howled or screamed manically. They continue to get darker , though perhaps not heavier.It's a mature effort on their part and finds a balance between making fans of true black metal happy as their grim souls can be, without getting stale and embracing experimentation.
This album came out in April and almost breezed by under the radar which would've been a damn shame. They hammer into their songs with a meaner sneer than the bulk of the so called "black gaze' bands despite being not far removed from Deafheaven sonically. Most of the songs are strong and they take what could be a tired bandwagon and freshen it up.
5- Nachtmystium- "Resilient"
These guys are one of my favorite black metal projects. They are not all blast beats. In fact it's just a dark tortured pulse. Very similar to depressive suicidal black metal, though Judd is just not being melodramatic about it and has tried to kill himself in other ways than the most obvious , which I think is also a metaphor for his music. Better than most black metal acts have mustered since it is not at all redundant.
4-Craft - "White Noise and Black Metal"
Right from the smoother guitar tone of the first song it's obvious things are now very different for this band. The sonic sprawl of their sound allows them to get away with more blast beats than before It is however not as hateful as I hope which took at period of adjustment for me, but in the end it did grow on me. It's less confrontational and more mature, a phrase that might not seem to be praise in many black metal circles , but here it works for what they are doing.
3-Wayfarer "World's Blood"
This band from Colorado creates some dark brooding metal that makes you forget they are from the States. The vocals are a lower growl that leans more in the death metal direction. When they pick up the pace there is the shadowy feeling looming with a more black metal influence. So regardless of genre there is a great mood and atmosphere coating this album. Some songs ebb and flow into clean passages like more kinetic version old Agalloch. This album grew on me in the best ways possible thanks to it's well balanced sense of dynamics and a great dark guitar tone.
2-Watain-"Trident Wolf Eclipse"
Watain are back with a renewed venom on their 6th album. They hit you with a thundering combative thrashing dialed way up. There is more of a blasting fury colored feral rawness yet retaining the more nuanced accents of their songwriting. In tone compared to "the Wild Hunt" proves this to be a much more straightforward black metal album, as they return to their more mean spirited roots. They band could have easily said "This album is going to be a return to our heavier more punishing sound, and they would not have been lying.
1-Totalselfhatred - "Solitude"
7 years since their last album, they once has a more aggressive take on depressive black metal,but it is hard to complain about what goes down as it's so well done. My ears can not escape the fact that the first song falls neatly into the depressive black metal box, where their earlier work had more of a unhinged feral quality to it. I also don't remember synths and piano playing as big of a role as they do here. The album really needed to be played loudly in order to soak in all the layers. Maturity is one of this album's characteristics. Gone are the rock god solos, but everything well played, with no doubt they are excellent musicians who have grown up to serve the song. They are little more mellowed with time, but with a wider depth of emotion.