The last time our year-end LISTMANIA series included a “Best Metal” list by Pitchfork was in 2015. I can’t remember why I didn’t include their list in the following two years, but most likely because I just didn’t notice it. This year, my comrade DGR alerted me to the publication of their list of “The Best Metal Albums of 2018“, and so here we are.
Pitchfork obviously qualifies for the part of our series devoted to re-publishing lists by “big platform” cross-genre music sites. Founded in 1995 by recent high school graduate Ryan Schreiber in Minneapolis, it has been based in Chicago since 1999 and has been owned by the Conde Nast conglomerate since 2015. From its humble beginnings, it now boasts an audience of more than 7 million monthly unique visitors.
It’s fair to say that most of those visitors aren’t metalheads. The site’s reputation historically was closely associated with independent underground music, and in the last 10 years their Album of the Year award has gone to Kendrick Lamar three times, as well as other hip-hop artists. This year it went to Japanese-American artist Mitski. But, as you see, Pitchfork also publishes a list of the year’s best metal.
This year’s metal list includes 21 albums, arranged in alphabetical order rather than ranked numerically, preceded by album descriptions written by Jeremy D. Larson, Kim Kelly, Grayson Haver Currin, Sam Sodomsky, Stuart Berman, Andy O’Connor, and Matthew Schnipper.
Of those 21 albums, a grand total of two appeared on Pitchfork’s list of the 50 best albums of 2018 across all genres — Sleep’s new one at No. 43 and Deafheaven’s new one at No. 28. So I guess we might infer that if the separate list of 21 metal albums had been ranked, those two would be in the top two spots. But I don’t know for sure, since I don’t know how either the cross-genre list or the metal one was determined.
The metal list includes names that by now will be quite familiar to those of you who have been following our re-posting of lists from other big-platform sites. It also includes, for about the third time in these lists, an album by The Armed, which I’m on record as questioning whether it should be classified as a metal album (and I’m now starting to become insecure about that observation). And it also includes some surprises, for such a big site.
You’ll see an album by Norway’s Black Viper, which has completely eluded my own attention (you can check it out here), as well as records by The Body and Ghastly, and the albums by Ilsa and Sumac are relative rarities as well. Lots of places have listed Thou’s album Magus, but Pitchfork instead jumped out of left field for Thou’s split with Ragana.
But perhaps the biggest, and for me the happiest, surprise was the inclusion of Rebel Wizard’s Voluptuous Worship Of Rapture And Response. I’ve been a big fan of Rebel Wizard‘s creations for years, including this new album (which I reviewed here), and so it’s personally gratifying to know that this list will introduce it to some new listeners.
I’ll also add that I enjoyed the written descriptions accompanying these records (including the one about Rebel Wizard), which you can find HERE. And with that, I’ll leave you to consider this list, and to add your Comments about it.
The Armed – “Only Love“
Black Viper – “Hellions Of Fire“
The Body – “I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer.“
Convulsing – “Grievous“
Deafheaven – “Ordinary Corrupt Human Love“
Dödsrit – “Spirit Crusher“
Ghastly – “Death Velour“
Horrendous – “Idol“
Ilsa – “Corpse Fortress“
Mammoth Grinder – “Cosmic Crypt“
Pig Destroyer – “Head Cage“
Portal – “Ion“
Rebel Wizard – “Voluptuous Worship Of Rapture And Response“
Skeletonwitch – “Devouring Radiant Light“
Sleep – “The Sciences“
Sumac – “Love In Shadow“
Thou/Ragana – “Let Our Names Be Forgotten“
Tomb Mold – “Manor Of Infinite Forms“
Vein – “Errorzone“
Voivod – “The Wake“
YOB – “Our Raw Heart“