Dec 072018


Stereogum easily qualifies as one of the “big platform” web sites whose year-end lists of metal we perennially include in our LISTMANIA series. Of course, the site appeals to an audience of music fans much larger than devoted metalheads (they have, for example, a list of the “50 Best Albums of 2018“, across many musical genres), but its staff includes a talented and tasteful group of metal writers who among other things are responsible for the site’s monthly “The Black Market” column, which has been a great source of discovery for extreme music for six years running now.

It follows that Stereogum‘s annual metal list is one I especially look forward to seeing every year, and the 2018 edition appeared yesterday — though it’s a shorter list than I recall from past years.

As Aaron Lariviere wrote at one point in the column that rolls out this Top 10 list, “There will be no Thou. No Yob, Panopticon, Horrendous, Slugdge, At The Gates, Dödsrit, Deafheaven, High On Fire, Sleep, none of it. Not even Deicide.” Instead, he, Ian Chainey, and Wyatt Marshall “made a collective decision to eschew grand narratives and editorial coherence, and instead give you our unvarnished favorites — the things we loved most (or hated least).”

There’s a lot of interesting writing to be found in this year’s annual summing-up by that trio, which you can find here, but rather than attempt to summarize all the topics they address, including the the reasons for their selections, I’m just going to present the list — and of course invite our readers to Comment at will.

(I will say that I fuckin’ loved their No. 1 pick. Don’t know if it would have been my own No. 1 if I could be bothered to make a list, but just seeing it here put a big smile on my face, as did many of the others.)

10. Ritual Necromancy – Disinterred Horror (Dark Descent Records)
9. Sear Bliss – Letters From The Edge (Hammerheart Records)
8. Tanith – Citadel (Self-released)
7. Unfelled – Beneath Distant Skies (Cold Ways)
6. Délétère – De Horae Leprae (Sepulchral Productions)
5. Fórn – Rites Of Despair (Gilead Media)
4. Mournful Congregation – The Incubus Of Karma (20 Buck Spin)
3. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods (Nuclear Blast)
2. Agrimonia – Awaken (Southern Lord Recordings)
1. Fluisteraars / Turia – De Oord (Eisenwald)


  1. One of the reasons I fervently read the Black Market is because of Ian Chainey’s writing. If I were to picture him, he’d be this kid around the block, jumping about and exclaiming, “have you checked this? this other band???” . But in a very articulate tone and tenor, that one could scarcely avoid. It’s wonderful I must admit. The very antithesis of what’d you’d imagine a discourse around metal would be like. In many ways, it sure does nonetheless sound old school in a very personal sort of way. The way it hearkens back to a time when metal was just really “Hey man! Have you checked this band???”. Pretty cool I’d say.

  2. Some good stuff on here

    Ritual Necromancy slayed this year and I really liked that Délétère release

    immortal’s new one was good solid stuff. Way better than anyone expected

    • I am still SHOCKED by just how much I love the new Immortal.

      I don’t think I could justify calling it one of the ten “best” albums of the year, but it’s most definitely one of my favourites.

      • Well with the one-two punch of a mediocre album in All Shall Fall and Abbath leaving, I think pretty much everyone thought the band had put it’s best days behind them…

        I probably wouldn’t go so far as to name it as one of my personal best, but it’s a damn good album. Definitely a case of low expectations meeting an above average album

  3. I’m excited to see Tanith on there! They were amazing at Frost and Fire this year.

  4. Pretty interesting list! Ive weighed in on all but 3 of these. Will have to give a look.

    More concerning is that I somehow stopped checking Black Market early this year and somehow never go back to remembering it. Parenthood is weird. Haha.

    Deletere. Hmm. I liked that one. Id posit that Cantique Lepreux was the best Quebecois metal to come this year.

    Sear Bliss. For some reason Im thinking “Moonreich” if it were to be my list.

    Super surprised at the number one slot though! Namely because Fluisteraars is one of my favorite metal bands and this happens to be the one song by them I haven’t fallen in love with. Turia side was pretty good, but even still, a split as the top of the year. Im for it! Just not this split. Maybe that 3way split from Greece a few years back. End, Vacantfield and Awe.

    Great shit. Now to make sure I resume visiting Black Market monthly.

  5. Sear Bliss 9 places too low…

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