Nov 282018


As part of our annual LISTMANIA series we re-publish “best album” lists from some of the the few surviving print publications that cover metal, and from a handful of “big platform” sites that include metal in their coverage, along with a range of other music genres and other aspects of popular culture.

Of course, as soon as you see the words “popular culture” you know there’s not going to be too much attention devoted to the kind of music we cover at NCS. But it’s still amusing, and sometimes even edifying, to get a glimpse of what the above-ground world is seeing acclaimed as metal’s best releases.

The day before yesterday Revolver magazine published their list of “The 30 Best Albums of 2018” on-line. Revolver claims that “millions of passionate consumers” visit their website and view their videos across desktop and mobile; that the print edition is the “biggest hard-rock and metal magazine in North America,” with a subscriber base that’s three times larger than the next biggest U.S. metal print publication”; and that they have a “highly engaged social following with over 1B impressions per month across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”

If you happen to be unfamiliar with Revolver, you’ll notice from one of those quotations that they cover hard rock as well as metal, which will be equally evident from a perusal of this new list. And don’t go into it expecting to have your eyes opened to some new underground gem you haven’t heard of. And try not to groan too loudly when you come to Revolver’s pick for album of the year.

To see Revolver’s brief characterizations of each album (with links to reviews) and explanations for the choices, go HERE.

30. At the Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself
29. The Black Queen – Infinite Games
28. Underoath – Erase Me
27. Tribulation – Down Below
26. City Morgue – City Morgue Vol. 1: Hell or High Water
25. Candy – Good to Feel
24. Horrendous – Idol
23. Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses
22. Old Wounds – Glow
21. Ghostemane – N/O/I/S/E
20. YOB – Our Raw Heart
19. Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms
18. Cane Hill – Too Far Gone
17. Harm’s Way – Posthuman
16. Nothing – Dance on the Black Top
15. High on Fire – Electric Messiah
14. Kaelan Mikla – Nott eftir nott
13. Pig Destroyer – Head Cage
12. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
11. Cult Leader – A Patient Man
10. A Perfect Circle – Eat the Elephant
9. Gouge Away – Burnt Sugar
8. Behemoth – I Loved You at Your Darkest
7. The Soft Moon – Criminal
6. Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit
5. Sleep – The Sciences
4. Judas Priest – Firepower
3. Turnstile – Time & Space
2. Vein – errorzone
1. Ghost – Prequelle

  33 Responses to “LISTMANIA 2018: REVOLVER’S 30 BEST ALBUMS OF 2018”

  1. Whenever Revolver sponsors one-off shows in NY they are nearly always can’t-miss events, like the back-to-back Gatecreeper and Spirit Adrift shows earlier this year. I think the editors know what they are doing. But it looks like they are skewing towards a much younger and decidedly less metal/ extreme audience. (And I don’t read the mag, so really now idea lol.)

    Hardcore is back in a big way in 2018, which is great, but it is, and has always been, primarily for the kids. Good for them, let them have their moment.

  2. Can I just say that I’m a loser and still sunscribe to Decibel’s print monthly magazine, and I got this month’s copy yesterday. Seeing Deafheaven on the cover looking all gay and Deafheaven-y holding flowers and shit, that I almost lost my lunch. Just wanted to get that out there. Fuck, I feel better now.

    • What, exactly, does “gay” look like, Benjamin?
      Metal should be welcoming and nonjudgmental.
      Are you metal, Benjamin?
      Or a retrograde prejudiced posevr?

      • My current hypothesis is that unreasoning hatred of Deafheaven causes knee-jerk homophobia in the same way that Ambien “causes” racism.

      • Wow, that’s your response? I didn’t pin you as the type, but, alright. I guess I’ll just say that I’ve been visiting this site daily for quite a few years, and I’ve made jokes before here in the comment section. I’m an addictive reader but a sparse commenter. So, basing my comment, which I will iterate again, was a joke, on the mood of the above article, which pokes fun at the “not-so-metal” bands on the list, I thought I would make a joke about the cover of the Decibel magazine(which has already been mentioned as part of “listmania”) that I saw yesterday. Sure, is “gay” a divisive word to use in any context in the current climate? Yeah, I’ll give you that. But, I didn’t expect such an aggressive response from someone I’ve had occasional casual conversation(i,e. comment replies) with whose tone I’m pretty familiar with considering the articles you’ve authored. I’ll defend my right to make a joke on a metal blog if I need to, I guess. But, let’s be real for a second here. For you to act like what I said was anything but a joke is totally asinine. I’ll cop to my part and say a better word could have been used than gay, but unless one is totally isolated and socially inept, they know what I meant. People are thinning their skin and putting way too much stock into details rather than intention, and I hoped that this place wasn’t that way. I guess was wrong. If people are unable to look past something they disagree with to see actual intent rather than making a big deal about it and being aggressive towards that person, then maybe I’m not “metal enough” for this website and just a “retrograde prejudiced posevr”. You probably think I’m making too big a deal out of this, but this is a serious problem recently. You may think it’s uncool use of the word gay, but I see people making situations divisive by choice left and right just because they don’t happen to agree with something. It separates, not unites people. It’s a choice to either see the joke, or be offended by it. I suppose I’ll reconsider the websites I frequent. I’ll see myself out.

        • Dude, overreaction to the extreme. Use your mind, have some empathy, pick better words. It’s not just an “uncool” use of the word, it’s derogatory and a pejorative.

          If it was a joke, it was a really lame one.

          “People are thinning their skin…” says the guy reacting the way he did to a request to be more considerate with his language.

          You know better and you know you know better. Take a breather, reflect on it, and come back a better person tomorrow. Be the person your friends and family are proud of, not some selfish whiner.

          • the reason you’re a loser Benjamin is not beacuse of why u probably think it is… more to do with how easily u let a bands incidental appearance on a magainze cover affect you emotionally, and how out of touch with said emotions (and language) you are – made obvious by how easily triggered you are – I imagine that actual gay/lgbt ppl are more emotionally self-connected than you will probably ever be, in spite of the “offhand” reflections the world projects on them like you originally did. its fucking abysmal dude

            • Im not going to read all these comments, but Id like to say that using the word ‘gay’ to describe anything is just not funny. Benjamin’s reaction, Im sorry to say without knowing him, feels like a poor attempt at covering his tracks after finding out his ‘joke’–which, apparently, was an obvious joke we should have spotted–was not accepted. Callme a justoce warrior all you want, but words matter–and being an adult, too, for that matter. Growup and use a different vocabulary

              • Oh My God…You ALL need to shut the hell up!

                If I wanted to read about a bunch of self-righteous assholes calling out a bunch of knuckle dragging shitheads I’d go hang out on twitter.

                This is why no one likes ANY of you people. Every time you pop up, no matter where it is, you make everyone miserable because NONE of you can stop the constant bitching. “OMG the SJW’s wont let me be a dick”…”OMG twenty people have already told him to fuck off, but I need to get in on it too”

                Ben, if you’re too goddamn stupid not to use the word “gay” as a pejorative in this day-and-age, you probably shouldn’t be on the internet unsupervised.

                Everyone else, it’s over. No one cares about how holy and righteous you are compared to Ben. If you feel the need to jump in after this, you’re doing it simply to sniff your own farts

                This site has thankfully been almost completely free of this kind of stupid shit for the last nine years. Let’s fucking keep it that way

    • While using the term gay to describe something is sooooo 90’s, in Deafheaven’s case, yeah, fucking gay. Gayer than Andy sitting on Islander’s face while blowing Vince over at MetalSucks. If that makes you whine, you can suck my dick, and we can both get over it. No really, I need a blowjob, getting desperate over here.

      All stupid shitty jokes aside, fuck you all and fuck the internet. The real news is any so called top metal albums of the year list that does not include Primordial is bullshit. You are not a metal fan if you did not dig that shit. You may like some metal, that’s cute, but you’re not a fan. Because fuck you that’s why.

  3. This list is pure lip service. Wonder how much it costs to be #1.

  4. My groan was probably heard across the universe. Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind, I guess this list ain’t all bad.

    • I agree that it isn’t all bad — there are some worthy selections to be found in it. But it does have that aroma of orchestrated configuration designed to serve objectives that go well beyond picking the BEST albums of the year.

  5. Gruesome’s Twisted Prayers gets shunned again. Am I the only one who thinks this album is old school death metal bliss?

  6. What I find most interesting about lists like these (apart from the way in which some people seem to take them as a personal affront) is how clear the methodology behind them is.

    A certain level of exposure or fame or column inches guarantees you a space (Ghost, Behemoth, Z&A), regardless of quality, then there’s those entries which are clearly decided upon by what sort of demographics need to be represented (Cane Hill, Judas Priest, Sleep) or as a vague hand-wave towards “underground” credibility (“look, we’ve heard of Tomb Mold too, and we totally name-dropped At The Gates”).

    And I’m not necessarily criticising them for it – I’ve never run a major music magazine and so have no experience trying to manage the exigencies of catering to a specific audience (or audiences) like that. I just find it fascinating how formulaic and predictable the whole process is. Granted, there’s a few surprises in there every year, but I can tell you now that we (the NCS crew) predicted that the vast percentage of these names would be included, for better or worse, way back in March.

    • The range of musical styles reflected in the list is so broad that the process might seem to be an apples-and-oranges comparison. I don’t think such a process is impossible or would necessarily have to be arbitrary, if you were (for example) trying to compare levels of achievement within genres, e.g., Band X reached a level of achievement in death metal that exceeded the accomplishments of Band Y in some other genre, that would make sense. But that’s definitely not what happened here. And some of the selections just seem random. As you notedTomb Mold seems like a conscious effort to say, “you see? we pay attention to obscure underground acts too”. But although I think Tomb Mold’s album really was good, why they picked that one rather than dozens of others that would check off the same box and were as good or better is a mystery.

      • “But although I think Tomb Mold’s album really was good, why they picked that one rather than dozens of others that would check off the same box and were as good or better is a mystery”

        Because there’s buzz around it. Just like two years ago when everyone and their brother was desperate to throw Blood Incantation onto their year end list. It’s not just about “what we like” it’s also about “what are people talking about the most”. That’s why the majority of these year end lists from more mainstream places almost always look the same, and why it’s so easy to guess which albums are going to pop up months ahead of time

  7. I was happy to see High on Fire (shoulda got Higher) but besides that….. yep… that was about it..

  8. I like Ghost, but, yeah, serious eye roll at their #1 ranking. When I see year end lists, most often, I compare the tastes of the albums in there I do know and love to see if I want to check out the writer’s other recommendations in it because of our similar tastes. In this one, the only album I want to check out that I haven’t is that new Cult Leader, but only because I have seen it covered elsewhere. Otherwise, no thanks, I’m all right. I’ll wait for the personal lists from the writers here. Looking your way, Andy Synn.

    • You’ll be pleased to know that the first list, the “Disappointing” albums, is scheduled for… holy crap, the 10th… which is only two weeks away. And I’ve got a couple of last-minute reviews AND another Synn Report to fit in before then. I should really get onto that asap if I want to get all the round-ups AND my “Critical” and “Personal” lists up that same week!

      • That’s too long! I look forward to the “Personal” top 10 the most because our tastes seem to frequently align, and I haven’t exactly had my ear as close to the underground this year as in years past, so I am looking for some gems.

  9. For Revolver…this is downright impressive

  10. Though I don’t agree with most of the albums listed, I was pleasantly surprised by the new Priest album. It’s a really solid release!

  11. The main thing that strikes me is how many of the larger, more established bands released lackluster albums this year. At the gates, Behemoth, High on fire, Pig destroyer…

  12. Hey I really dug that ‘vein’ release. But on closer analysis I kinda find that it was more towards the nostalgic appeal of the genre that it kinda dabbles in.

  13. I’d never heard Harms Way before, so I can thank this list for that, super satisfying industrial chug. I think it’s funny how personally these lists get taken – what’s most important is YOUR list, all the others are just slices of the music world for you to sample.

    The pay-for-play accusation is true all over the place, and it sucks that we live in that world. However, since there’s less money in metal overall, it’s probably not as vicious as the pop/hiphop payola.

  14. man i have some thoughts about that ghost album

  15. Certainly much to roll ones eyes over (and a good chunk of “who?”) but happy to see the Kælan Mikla album listed here.

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