Every year, Hellbound writers submit their top albums of the year. They all get compiled into Hellbound’s Top Metal Albums of the year (coming soon).
Top Albums of 2018
10. Manor of Infinite Forms
9. Queen of Time
7. Down Below
5. Electric Messiah
3. The Wake
2. The Sciences
Album Cover of the Year
For me it’s a toss-up between the wonderful Sabbath-inspired visual pun that makes up the gatefold photo on Sleep’s The Sciences and the ‘70s sci-fi art design of Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats’ Wasteland. I’ll give the edge to Uncle Acid because my copy of the vinyl is purple and is thus very pretty.
Best Gig of 2018
Metallica, easily. I never thought I’d ever get to see Metallica play Saskatoon again, let alone an arena with only 15,000 capacity, but it happened, and while it cannot compare to seeing Metallica in 1986 and 1989, it was still an extremely rewarding experience. With my fiancée, brother, and sister-in-law, it was a real family event for me, a spectacularly staged show that featured lots of new tunes (I’m still a big fan of Hardwired) and plenty of old stuff that had me freaking out like a 15 year-old all over again. From the pre-show beers to the post-show celebratory tacos eight hours later, it was the best time.
Favourite Physical Item Purchased
I had been eyeing my good pal Martin Popoff’s signed copy of the first W.A.S.P. album for years, and this year during our annual visit I finally cracked and said, “Okay, how much do you want for this, Martin?” Je ne regrette rien. It’s one of the most important albums of my teen years – I spent many a cathartic hour cranking this every afternoon after traumatic junior high school – and this was a collectible I needed to have. Many thanks to Martin!
Most Anticipated Album(s) of 2019
Opeth, Tool, Rammstein, Darkthrone, Amon Amarth.
My 2018 in Metal
It was a year where many artists whom I respected died: Fast Eddie, Caleb Scofield, Vinny Paul, Mark the Shark, Jill Janus, Randy Rampage, Oli Herbert. Ghost made a record that reveled in theatricality and hooks that reminded me of the heavy metal glory days of 35 years ago. Voivod made an album that sounds as great as they sounded 30 years ago. Metallica put out a hugely expanded …And Justice For All that still has me beaming from ear to ear. Bless the mighty Priest, who stared Glenn Tipton’s mortality in the face and released their best work in 28 years. Apparently it was a “big year for anti-fascist black metal” (I have no idea, I don’t keep up with that racket) but I do know that the other 99.999 percent of the global metal scene was more preoccupied with riffs, fellowship, talking about how friggin’ awesome that Maiden European tour was, and having good friendly violent fun. I loathe Trump and his fascist followers (and please, punch as many Nazis as you can!) but I’m into metal for the fun and escapism, and I implore people to remember that’s why this music exists in the first place. Big, stupid fun. So please, in 2019 listen to more Mentors, S.O.D, Shitfucker, Midnight, Hexripper, Perturbator, and anything Professor Black attaches his name to. It’s a crummy world out there, so enjoy yourself while you can.
Looking Forward To in 2019
Iron Maiden bringing the Spitfire to Canada next summer. Remove all the wheel blocks, there’s no time to waste!
Metal Person of the Year
The Mighty Matt Pike. The reigning Riff Lord of Heavy Metal not only helmed Sleep’s The Sciences, the most astonishing comeback album since Celtic Frost in 2006, but he returned six months later with the best High on Fire album since 2005. Musically, the man was en fuego in 2018, and it was so great to see such a cool and talented guy enjoy such a fruitful year creatively.