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
The most underground, off the radar selection on my list comes from a bunch of Isis worshippers (uh, we’re talkin’ bout the band…) from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Yes, that Muscle Shoals, Alabama…
9. Survive Sunrise
I dunno guy, but I don’t think “sludge pop” is a thing. If it was, the soaring melodies and harmonies of ASG would put them right up at the forefront along with Torche (and maybe Red Fang?)
8. The Wolf Bites Back
Another consistent outing from one of the UK’s longest running stoner bands. I would be remiss not to include this on my list.
7. Act One
This Baltimore outfit breathes fresh life into “occult doom rock” by combining male and female lead vocals on their debut album. I wouldn’t mind if this becomes a new trend…
6. Witch Mountain
The long-awaited Witch Mountain debut of new singer Kayla Dixon definitely doesn’t disappoint – the heaviest thing they’ve done since South of Salem
5. Clone of the Universe
Speaking of epics… Fu Manchu interrupts your regularly scheduled stoner rock programming at the end of this album with a 17-minute jam featuring none other than Alex Lifeson on guest guitar solo. I am still trying to wrap my head around this!
4. Light Will Consume Us All
A relatively unknown Sacramento outfit doing sludge/doom in the vein of Yob and Neurosis, but still putting their own spin on some epic-length tracks.
3. I Live Inside a Burning House
Maybe the most impactful record I’ve heard this year – I was bummed when their East Coast tour with CHRCH fell through, as both bands gave us punishing, boundary-pushing, outstanding sludge records in 2018.
2. No Cross, No Crown
Speaking of comebacks, COC delivered us (from evil) with their best record since Bill Clinton was Commander in Chief.
1. The Sciences
If it wasn’t for Sleep, most of the bands I listened to this year wouldn’t even be here. Although it’s no Dopesmoker or Holy Mountain, The Sciences was a remarkably consistent comeback effort that crushes skulls in the live setting.
- Forming the Void – Rift
- Foghound – Awaken to Destroy
- Apostle of Solitude – From Gold to Ash
- Coffin Torture – Dismal Planet
- Age of Taurus – The Colony Slain
- Atala – Labyrinth of Ashmedai
Album Cover of the Year
Sleep – The Sciences. It took a little longer for the physical copy to arrive, but it was well worth the wait!
Best Gig of 2018
There were a lotta great gigs in Toronto this year—and a couple wicked awesome outta-towners I attended, too. But I’m still gonna hafta say Sleep @ Danforth Music Hall, July 30. I have seen Sleep six times in four different cities, and it was the first time the vocals were actually audible above the riffs! And you know how they’re playing two sets at Roadburn, one of the new album and another one of the classics? Yeah, they already did that in Toronto…
Favourite Physical Item Purchased
I didn’t buy this myself, but a buddy of mine picked up an Eyehategod flask at their gig in Pittsburgh, which I thought was some outstanding branding.
Most Anticipated Album(s) of 2019
Not sure I have a most anticipated album for next year, but I am very much looking forward to a couple tours that will be hitting Toronto in the early part of 2019: COC/Crowbar/The Obsessed/Mothership in February and Graveyard/Uncle Acid in March!
My 2018 in Metal
Although I wouldn’t say that heavy metal really rocked my world this year, a quick glance at the concerts I attended had some pretty big names on it: Eyehategod for the first time in Toronto with COC, and again in Pittsburgh with The Obsessed, The Skull plays Trouble, Udo Dirkschneider plays Accept, Uriah Heep(!), Earthless, Angel Witch(!!!), Brujeria, Mos Generator (twice!), fuckin’ Slayer, Sleep, Yob, Monolord, Monster Magnet, Clutch and Windhand, to name but a few. But one of the best gigs I saw all year wasn’t even metal. Margo Price and Tyler Childers at the Mother Church of Country Music, Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Man, I would rather just listen to this song on repeat than anything that came out on Rise Above Records this year:
Looking Forward To in 2019
I am looking forward to Gonzaga making a return trip to the Final Four, the Flames going deep in the NHL playoffs, the Raptors making a run at an NBA Final… and maybe eating some barbecue along the way. And a trip to the Maryland Doom Fest might very well be in order – this year’s lineup looks insane!!!
Metal Person of the Year
Matt Pike. Killer new Sleep and High on Fire albums in the same calendar year, plus a great double Sleep set at the Danforth Music Hall. I heard he was even caught wearing a shirt!