This was a tough year to choose from as I decided to break the rules and expand to a Top 20 best metal albums of 2018 instead of 10. If you read through it all, you will discover a diverse set of honorable mentions at the end followed by an awesome playlist. Personally, 2018 has been a rocky ride. Despite personal turbulences, you can always find solace in music. Let’s face it, metal saves. All lists we’ve seen thus far have been different from each other, which only proves what a great year it has been for new albums.
Here’s my top 20 metal albums for 2018:
20) Wolfheart, Constellation Of The Black Light (Napalm)
Between its atmosphere, mood, and battle-esque beats; Wolfheart’s Constellation of the Black Light left a mark. Despite the personal challenges members were going through during the recording process, they pulled it together for one of the best melodic death metal albums of the year.
Key Tracks: “Everlasting Fall” “Breakwater”
19) Yob, Our Raw Heart (Relapse)
The moment you hear “Ablaze,” you are instantly hooked. Yob’s Our Raw Heart is one compelling and hypnotic record. While it feels organic and raw, it also has unpredictable moments, which makes it one of this year’s best.
Key Track(s): “Ablaze” “The Screen” “Beauty in Falling Leaves”
18) Behemoth, I Loved You at Your Darkest (Metal Blade)
These Polish blackened death metal masters had me at “Solve.” While the introduction sucked me in, the outro “Coagvla,” made me ask for more. There’s moments of extreme intensity to questionable silence as the melodies remained unpredictable. Whether you were anticipating another 2014’s The Satanist, think again. However, it’s another piece of Behemoth greatness as I couldn’t stop listening to the haunting track “Havohej Pantocrator.”
Key Track(s): “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica,” “Havohej Pantocrator,” “Coagvla”
17) Summoning, With Doom We Come (Napalm)
With Doom We Come is one of those albums that you could see yourself playing on repeat not realizing eight hours have passed. It’s the Austrian atmospheric black metal outfit’s first full-length album in five years and maybe it was the record’s release date that made it miss the radar on these year-end best of lists as it arrived on January 5th. Regardless, it’s a powerful LP worth listening to.
Key Track(s): “Silvertine” “Carcharoth” “Night Fell Behind”
16) Alien Weaponry, Tu (Napalm)
These New Zealand young heavy metallers have given us a bold sound that we’ve all been waiting for. Finally, something unique has arrived as they combine familiar styles such as groove and thrash by incorporating their New Zealand ancestry with lyrics written in the Māori language. Of course, that’s not all and you should listen to the album to find out.
Key Track(s): “Ru Ana Te Whenua” “Kai Tangata”
15) Amorphis, Queen of Time (Nuclear Blast)
At one point, I thought Amorphis’ Queen of Time would make it to the top five. I lost count how many times I listened to this record, especially one of my favorite-overplayed songs of the year, “Wrong Direction.” When I first listened to the LP, I was drawn from the beginning with “The Bee.” If you haven’t listened to it yet, what are you waiting for?
Key Track(s): “Daughter of Hate” “Wrong Direction” “Amongst Stars”