Hokay. So…here we are at the end of another great year in Rock, Metal, and Pop. There was no yelling and screaming this time around; just a love of great music. Here are our favorites from 2018 Thank you for continuing to support us, dear readers!
THE ALCALDE: Here are my favorite albums from 2018!
1. BEHEMOTH – I Loved You At Your Darkest. This is an album that confirms that the band is probably in one of the best moments of their career, and it’s absolutely one of the best ones to enjoy either live or through some good quality headphones.
2. JUDAS PRIEST – Firepower. It’s amazing to see how one band manages to produce music and tour all over the world for so many decades and still be great at it. JUDAS PRIEST definitely had an amazing run promoting their 2018 release.
3. AMORPHIS – Queen of Time. I’m still amazed by the level of creativity that this Finnish band has. The duration of most of the songs of their latest release is quite long, but some of these tunes are easy to dig and enjoy.
4. KAMELOT – The Shadow Theory. This is an example of an album that can be definitely enjoyable in any circumstance. This album brings a different style of music to the table that can fit perfectly for any true heavy metal fan.
5. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME – Automata I, Automata II. This progressive metal band produced a double album in the same year, conserving their usual experimentation of sounds.
6. BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE – Gravity. Although there has been a large amount of criticism to this band for their change in musical direction, the outcome was much more positive than negative..
7. PARKWAY DRIVE – Reverence. This album represented a change in the band’s music style, but it still complies with the demands of heavy metal fans. This record might be hard to get into at first, but once that resistance barrier is broken, it delivers multiple enjoyable sounds for the love of metal.
8. RIVERS OF NIHIL – Where Owls Know My Name. This is one of several “HOLY SHIT” bands that I usually turn to when I need a dose of adrenaline. Where Owls Know My Name is a severely brutal release that will crack anybody’s bones in an instant, pulverizing what’s left of them to vanish through their sounds of metal.
9. GODSMACK – When Legends Rise. Most of their shows are very pleasant, and even if their musical workflow remains similar for most of their records, the level of creativity and impact of their music is much more valuable than the complexity.
10. AVATAR – Avatar Country. I completely underestimated this band before catching them live with TRIVIUM in their fall tour. AVATAR has demonstrated that they know how to engage their fans with their music, and even though their style does not fit with the typical stereotype of metal music, there’s a path that the band found to create some good magic with this release.
ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI: Here are my Top 20 Albums of 2018!
1. OMNIUM GATHERUM – The Burning Cold
2. WITHERFALL – A Prelude to Sorrow
3. SIRENIA – Arcane Astral Aeons
4. JUNGLE ROT
5. SKELETONWITCH – Devouring Radiant Light
6. PRIMORDIAL – Exile Amongst the Ruins
7. ANGRA – Ømni
8. KALMAH – Palo
9. ANAAL NATHRAKH – A New Kind of Horror
10. WATAIN – Trident Wolf Eclipse
11. THERION – Beloved Antichrist
12. CRAFT – White Noise and Black Metal
13. OCEANS OF SLUMBER – The Banished Heart
14. NERVOSA – Downfall of Mankind
15. AMORPHIS – Queen of Time
16. ALIEN WEAPONRY – Tū
17. SUMMONING – With Doom We Come
18. BEHEMOTH – I Loved You At Your Darkest
19. YOB – Our Raw Heart
20. WOLFHEART – Constellation of the Black Light
THE MAESTRO: 2018 was a very tough year for me, so I didn’t get to listen to nearly as much music as I wanted. Still, a bunch of my favorite bands released sheer greatness. Check it:
1. JUDAS PRIEST – Firepower: Fact. The Metal Gods return with one of the best albums of their career and easily the best album recorded in 2018.
2. NOW, NOW – Saved: The most emotionally searing record of the year, and an absolute masterpiece. This one is on constant REPEAT for good reasons.
3. DORO – Forever Warriors, Forever United: The Metal Queen once again asserts her dominance over the course of 25 tracks…’nuff said.
4. STRYPER – God Damn Evil: The best album from this band since To Hell With the Devil. That’s the truth.
5. IMMORTAL – Northern Chaos Gods: Best Black Metal Album of 2018. Case Closed.
6. JUNGLE ROT: These guys delivered the best Death Metal album of the year. It’s untouchable.
7. SOULFLY – Ritual: My favorite album from Max Cavalera and Co. The songs will punch you in the face!
8. WATAIN – Trident Wolf Eclipse: Another fantastic Black Metal offering, this one really hits hard where it counts.
9. KATAKLYSM – Meditations: Awesome Death Metal record that just narrowly missed being my favorite of the year.
10. LUCA PRINCIOTTA BAND – Rough Blue: The DORO guitarist flexes his muscles on an album that is absolutely flawless.
11. MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Resurrection: A celebration of a decades-long career featuring FOUR vocalists. Really, does it get any better?
12. VOODOO CIRCLE – Raised On Rock: Herbie Langhans on vocals + Alex Beyrodt on guitar = absolute greatness.
13. EXMORTUS – The Sound of Steel: The band delivered one monster of a record with this one.
14. HATCHET – Dying to Exist: Amazing album from an amazing group of thrashers, this.
15. TEMTRIS – Rapture: Without a doubt, this is the Australian quintet’s best work yet.
16. OVERKILL – Live In Overhausen: Live albums can be hit or miss, and this one not only hits, but will sink your Battleship with a quickness. If you’ve never seen them, remedy that ASAP.
17. SEVENDUST – All I See Is War: These boys can seemingly do no wrong, something that this album only reaffirms.
18. DISPLAY OF DECAY – Art In Mutilation: Aggressive, ass-kicking Death Metal from Canada that truly packs a punch.
19. BEHEMOTH – I Loved You At Your Darkest: The Polish metallers took some chances with this one and it paid off in spades. Excellent record.
20. LEATHER LEONE – II: This is Leather’s best work yet, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
21. HALCYON WAY – Bloody But Unbowed: This was worth the almost four-year wait and then some.
22. JOE SATRIANI – What Happens Next: It’s rare that an instrumental guitar album grabs me the way this one did, but the results speak for themselves.
23. APOPHYS – Devoratis: Very sad to learn this band just called it quits within the last 48 hours. The two records I have will forever be in rotation.
24. ARTILLERY – The Face of Fear: If it’s possible I love this band more and more with each new disc.
25. KALIDIA – The Frozen Throne: Power Metal album of the year, period. No cheese, and killer songwriting. Everything else pales in comparison
26. CARRIE UNDERWOOD – Cry Pretty: On this record, the songstress reaches new heights and explores new territory. “The Bullet” is easily one of the best songs she’s ever done.
27. BOREALIS – The Offering: With album number four this young band from Canada continues to impress and only get better.
28. STRIKER – Play to Win: These Canadians have released arguably their best album yet with this one. Still need to catch them live, dammit!
29. PESTILENT REIGN – Pyres: This German band delivered a Death Metal debut for the fucking ages.
30. RIVERS OF NIHIL – Where Owls Know My Name: Without a doubt, the most musically diverse album of 2018, and of this band’s career.
OMNIUM GATHERUM – The Burning Cold
BRAINSTORM – Midnight Ghost
ARCHITECTS – Holy Hell
HALESTORM – Vicious
DYNAZTY – Firesign
MARDUK – Viktoria
AMARANTHE – Helix
DIAMANTE – Coming In Hot
THE STRUTS – Young and Dangerous
RIOT V – Armor of Light
EKTOMORF – Fury
METAL CHURCH – Damned If You Do
FERAL – Flesh For Funerals Eternal
MAESTRO’S SONGS OF THE YEAR:
1. “AZ” – NOW, NOW
2. “The Silence” – HALESTORM
3. “The Bullet” – CARRIE UNDERWOOD
4. “When Everything’s Right” – LUCA PRINCIOTTA BAND
5. “God Damn Evil” – STRYPER
6. “Bartzabel” – BEHEMOTH
So there you have it, folks. Our top picks from 2018. As I’ve said before, I hope these lists inspire you to maybe go out and take in some new music that might have passed you by. And once again, from our Amps and Green Screens family to yours,
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, AND HAVE A VERY METAL NEW YEAR IN 2019!! \m/ \m/