The definitive 15 of 2018 by Chris Briggs (Metal Revolution)
If you’re a metalhead in Miami, and don’t know Chris… Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Here are the Metal Revolution radio show host’s top picks of this brutal year! He has a beard, so he must know what he’s talking about, right? And many patches on his vests!
TOP 15 OF 2018
Putting this list together was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do this year. This, however, is just a testament to just how much incredible material was released all across the heavy metal genre in 2018. Here now though, are my picks for the top 15 releases of 2018. Notice, I say “releases” as opposed to albums. While my picks, for the most part, are full-length albums, there were also a few EP and Single releases that I just cannot ignore, some that I listened to more than many other full-lengths released this year.
1. Ritual Necromancy – Disinterred Horror/Dark Descent Records, May 25, 2018
When it comes to death metal in 2018, no label has been killing it in the genre more than Colorado’s Dark Descent Records. And while the label had a ton of really killer albums out in 2018, none could top the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated sophomore full-length Portland Oregon’s Ritual Necromancy, Disinterred Horror. Cavernous howling backed by a fog of evil riffage, thunderous bass, and artillery-like blasting makes Disinterred Horror the most disgusting and for me, best album of 2018.
Standout Track: Command the Sigil
2. Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality/Dark Descent Records, April 13, 2018
Having been a fixture in the California metal scene for around eight years, Skeletal Remains has finally honed their craft and delivered their finest offering yet with Devouring Mortality. Playing a very old-school brand of death metal that embraces the genre’s strong thrash roots, Skeletal has given us an album that sounds like it could have been released 30 years ago on Nuclear Blast or Roadrunner alongside now iconic releases from bands like Monstrosity, Pestilence, and Demolition Hammer to name a few.
Standout Track: Ripperology
3. Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms/20 Buck Spin, June 8, 2018
Completing the trinity of pure, rotten death that is my top 3 of 2018, is Canada’s Tomb Mold with their sophomore full-length Manor of Infinite Forms. Approaching the genre with a strong lyrical and imagery influence from the video games Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Tomb Mold crushes everything in sight with some of the heaviest and most disgusting death metal produced in 2018. And with a new EP already out now, and a newly announced third full-length in three years on the way, Tomb Mold can’t stop and won’t stop.
Standout Track: Abysswalker
4. Cirith Ungol – Witch’s Game/Metal Blade Records, September 11, 2018
Yes, I know this is only one song. And yes, I know this is the only thing underground legends Cirith Ungol released in 2018. None of that changes the fact that I listened to this eight and a half minute epic more than any other single song this year. Coming out of nowhere with their first studio recording since their final album, Paradise Lost, back in 1991, Witch’s Game shows longtime fans they haven’t changed a bit in 30 years, and is a perfect display of everything that makes Cirith as great as they are for new listeners that may be just discovering them.
Standout Track: This should be obvious tbh
5. Caveman Cult – Supremecia Primordial/Larval Productions, June 6, 2018
Miami’s prehistoric barbarians, Caveman Cult, return to once again top everything they’ve released in the past with their crushing new 4-track EP, Supremecia Primordial. With slightly more coherent production with tortured howls, newly added Revenge/Conqueror-esque shredding solos, and drums that punch through everything like a demonic battering ram, Caveman Cult was out for blood in 2018.
Standout Track: Metal Negro Antihumano
6. Mortuous – Through Wilderness/Tankcrimes Records, June 22, 2018
Having been around for almost a decade (a decade exactly as of 2019), California crushers Mortuous have finally unleashed their first ever full-length album, Through Wilderness. With crushing Incantation-esque death metal mixed with a few choice doomy moments scattered throughout, Through Wilderness is tried and true death metal through and through. And that’s perfectly ok, because Mortuous knows exactly what they are, and don’t feel the need to alter their straightforward approach to crushing old-school death metal one bit.
Standout Track: Bitterness
7. Gevurah – Sulphur Souls/Profound Lore Records, September 28, 2018
Returning with their more religious/spiritual take on the Luciferian side of Black Metal, Canada’s Gevurah has finally returned since unleashing their godly debut album in 2016 with their new EP, Sulphur Souls. Continuing where 2016’s Hallelujah! left off, Gevurah offers four new tracks of the same crushing yet atmospheric and haunting black metal we’ve come to expect from the duo over the years.
Standout Track: The Putrid Stench of Rotting Flesh
8. Mutilation Rites – Chasm/Gilead Media, July 20, 2018
Continuing their descent into utter, horrifying chaos, New York’s Mutilation Rites are back with their most disgusting offering yet, Chasm . Every time Mutilation Rites announces a new release, the first thought that comes to mind is that there’s no way they can get even heavier and darker than the last thing they released. And here with Chasm , the band once again stomps that thought into the mud, and will surely do so once again whenever they begin planning whatever will follow what they’ve given us this year.
Standout Track: Chasm
9. Deceased – Ghostly White/Hell’s Headbangers Records, November 16, 2018
Coming back seven long years after their last full-length, death/thrash legends Deceased are finally back with Ghostly White . Featuring an incredible final performance from longtime drummer Dave “Scarface” Castillo, Deceased continues their evolution from a straightforward death/thrash act, to what I consider to be the “most extreme heavy metal” band in existence, with King Fowley’s classic deathly roar soaring over flying Priest-esque guitar leads, and Maiden-esque galloping basslines across the near hour-long album.
Standout Track: A Palpitation’s Warning
10. Oxygen Destroyer – Betsial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death/Independent, April 5, 2018
Do you like ripping Vader-esque sounding death/thrash but wish they had more Godzilla and Kaiju themed lyrics and imagery? Then Oxygen Destroyer is the band for you with their debut full-length, BestialManifestationsofMalevolenceandDeath. WithtentracksofKaiju-themed death-thrashing chaos, Oxygen Destroyer’s debut hits with the same force as Godzilla’s tail striking a building and reducing it to rubble, and incinerates the remains with atomic breath-like intensity.
Standout Track: Atomic Breath
11. Chthe’ilist – Passage to the Xexenotth/Profound Lore Records, June 15, 2018
Summoned by the ancient cults, the slimy cosmic entity that is Chthe’ilist returns with 2-track crusher, Passage to the Xexenotth. Further honing their brand of disgusting Demilich worship, Chthe’ilist finally seems to be coming into their own in regards to their sound, while still maintaining the Demilich elements that gained them attention in the first place. With one new original and a godly new interpretation of “Beneath the Crypts by Swedish underground legends Crematory, Chthe’ilist grabs you immediately and continues to drag you deeper into their dark and hellish dimension.
Standout Track: Beneath the Crypts (Crematory Cover)
12. Bone Sickness – Theater of Morbidity/Independent, July 1, 2018
If there was any band that posed a true threat of dethroning Relapse’s Expulsion as the best Repulsion tribute act in metal, it would be Washington’s Bone Sickness with their full-length debut Theater of Morbidity. Clocking in at just over 20-minutes, Theater is half samples, and half blistering death grinding chainsaw riffs mixed with roughly barked vocals, and furious Mick Harris-style single-foot blasting, creating what feels like the closest we may ever get to a true follow-up to Repulsion’s legendary pioneering debut from the 1980’s.
Standout Track: The Man Who Was Death
13. Hyperdontia – Nexus of Teeth/Dark Descent Records, September 6, 2018)
Spawned from the same sickening scene that gave the world Phrenelith, Wormridden, and Undergang, Denmark’s Hyperdontia hit hard back in September with their first ever full-length, Nexus of Teeth. If you’re a fan of either of those three bands, then there’s no reason you won’t fall in love with Hyperdontia as well, with their brand of evil riffs, thunderous blasts, and tortured vocals.
Standout Track: Of Spire and Thorn
14. Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram/Century Media Records, February 23, 2018
Swedish black/death legends Necrophobic have returned with quite possibly their strongest effort yet in Mark of the Necrogram. Their first album with vocalist Anders Strokirk since 1993’s acclaimed The Nocturnal Silence, and with guitar duo Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergeback since their 2009 opus Death to All, Necrophobic is back with a furious hellfire that won’t be snuffed anytime soon.
Standout Track: Mark of the Necrogram
15. Outer Heaven – Realms of Eternal Decay/Relapse Records, October 12, 2018
Question: What would happen if you took Morbid Angel’s Formulas Fatal to the Flesh, added a dash of hardcore influence, and mixed it with the crushing heaviness of IVth Crusade -era Bolt Thrower? You’d get the full-length debut of Pensylvania brutalizers Outer Heaven, Realms of Eternal Decay. Rising above the replicated Swedish/HM-2 trend in modern OSDM, mixes that heavy Azagthoth/ Formulas influence with barbaric cruelty to craft something truly unique and disgusting.
Standout Track: Bloodspire
And there you have it, my top 15 releases of 2018. For anyone interested in reading more, I made a list twice as long for my radio show, METAL REVOLUTION on WVUM 90.5FM, available to read on the show’s website that includes many more releases from legends such as Judas Priest and Immortal, and underground gems from Funeral Winds, Break and Enter, and Obliteration among others. Here’s to a year packed to the brim with fantastic releases and another year ahead of us that will hopefully have even more than that.