Dec 272018
 

 

(For the fifth year in a row, we’re grateful that Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood) accepted our invitation to share with us and you a list releases from the past year that made an impact on him. His lists always provide welcome discoveries, and this year is no different.)

I have to be honest, this year I really didn’t listen to a lot of new records. I guess there’s a bunch of reasons why, each one more boring than the last. Sort of like most of the year-end lists I’ve seen on social media the last six weeks. Am I just getting too old and burned out to enjoy some of this shit? I mean that seems like a solid enough reason rather than just coming out and saying a lot of “popular” (I guess) metal this year felt disposable, and while a lot of you will rise up to tell me I’m a fucking moron I’d be willing to put a solid six or seven dollars down that you won’t be listening to the majority of your year-end list in two years.

Last year I had a massive list and I still stand by the bulk of it. 2017 was a great year for new music. 2018? I dunno, I’ve been distracted. I haven’t even listened to the new Drudkh yet. I’m sure it’s great. I’m sure a lot of great stuff happened this year and I’m sure a lot of it is under my radar and possibly yours too. I don’t want anyone to have the impression I feel like I have superior tastes to you when I do these lists; I don’t. And neither do you. We all should listen to what we enjoy without having to worry about what some asshole a few seats over is going to think. Continue reading »

Dec 262018
 

 

(For the eighth year in a row (!), our friend Johan Huldtgren of the Swedish black metal band Obitus — whose 2017 album Slaves of the Vast Machine (reviewed and premiered here) is their latest release — has again allowed us to share with you his year-end list, which originally appeared on Johan’s own blog.) Continue reading »

Dec 202018
 

 

(Here’s a Top 10 list for the year by NCS contributor Todd Manning.)

2018, a year of escalating violence, the collapse of logic, and the furthering fall of because. Can we even remember what happened from one week to the next? Narratives battle for your attention like two bikers stabbing each other with rusty screwdrivers. Is this the era Extreme Metal has always sought to narrate? I don’t know, but to paraphrase the Chinese proverb, we are cursed to live in interesting times. Here are the albums that made up my personal soundtrack. Continue reading »

Dec 202018
 

 

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. Continue reading »

Dec 192018
 

 

(NCS writer TheMadIsraeli turns in the following year-end list, consisting of 20 recommended albums.)

I made it a goal to get back to my old writing output on this site in 2018 and it just… didn’t happen.  For good reason mind you, but I do feel somewhat guilty that I wasn’t more active on NCS this year, especially with the way Islander, Andy, and DGR ground the fuck out of their writing this year. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been involved in the back door of the site in ways, and I’ve definitely kept up with music this year pretty competently.

And so, I’m gonna share my top 20 of the year, and the just kind of ramble about my reflections on the music this year. Continue reading »

Dec 182018
 

 

(Mexican maestro Jacobo Córdova has had a busy year, with great new albums released in 2018 by both of his bands Zombiefication and Majestic Downfall — both of which we reviewed, HERE and HERE — but he found time to once again share with us his lists of the year’s best metal releases (and a couple of disappointments)).

Another year, another list, and I want to thank once again No Clean Singing for giving me the opportunity to share my top albums of the year. 2018, for me, was once again a stellar year in Metal releases (will it ever stop!!!). Many highlights and great comebacks took place, but unfortunately I will just pick 10 not to bore you to death (well maybe 15). So with no further introduction, let’s get down to it. Continue reading »

Dec 172018
 

 

Our year-end LISTMANIA series usually consists of a mix of lists compiled by cross-genre sites and zines much larger than our own, and year-end favorites assembled by our own staff and guests. This next list, however, doesn’t really fall into either category, but I thought it was well worth including.

Bandcamp, of course, has become a vital platform for the digital release of music of all stripes (and eventually physical merchandise as well) since its founding in 2008. Bandcamp hasn’t yet released its annual compilation of performance statistics for 2018, but their 2017 “Year In Review” reported that 3,500 independent labels were participating on the platform, that more than 600,000 artists had then sold something through the site, and that all-time payments to artists through Bandcamp had reached $270 million. Continue reading »

Dec 172018
 

 

(Our year-end LISTMANIA series continues this week, beginning with NCS contributor Wil Cifer‘s Top 20 list.)

Yes, you can re-read the title: It says the top 20 “heavy” albums, not the top 20 “Metal” albums. I prefer for music to be heavy sonically and emotionally, more than I demand that they be metal. I think the more open-minded metal head can certainly appreciate heaviness in many forms, though those represented here are more often metal than not, since I have other platforms on which to rant about post-punk or shoegaze, and albums by Nothing or Marissa Nadler don’t belong in a conversation about heavy music even as good as those albums might be.

In 13 out 20 of these albums, screamed, growled, or otherwise tortured vocalizations are the primary method of delivery. Melody comes in many forms, for me the darker the better. No one sub-genre stole the show here; I think doom and black metal are neck-and-neck; there are also a couple of more hardcore albums, and some with a progressive leaning. The one unifying point is the dark and emotive current that runs through the bulk of these albums, which reflects the fact that I grew up a poor goth child, who was too metal for the clove smokers and too goth for the denim and PBR crowd (however, selling weed in the early ’90s made the most die-hard Cannibal Corpse fans tolerate my Type O Negative). Continue reading »

Dec 142018
 

 

(Andy Synn concludes his week-long round-up of metal in 2018 with this list of his ten personal favorites among the year’s great and good albums.)

So, after all the stress and struggle involved in putting together all my various lists which preceded this one, now it’s time to relax and turn my attention to those albums, whether “Great” or “Good”, that make up my personal favourites of 2018.

Once again I decided that I wouldn’t include any “Honourable Mentions” this year, as to do so would essentially mean reproducing a good 60-70% of my previous lists (although, that being said… do try and give Agrypnie, Disassembled, Hundred Year Old Man, The Agony Scene and Void Ritual a listen if you get chance) and instead decided to focus solely on the ten albums which I’ve listened to the most and/or which have made the biggest impact on me this year.

Funnily enough, while the actual process of working out which ten records best represented my listening habits over the last twelve months was as complicated as ever, the write-up was much easier than I expected it to be, as it just so happens that I was responsible for reviewing almost all of them! Continue reading »

Dec 132018
 

 

(Andy Synn‘s week-long round-up of metal in 2018 continues with this list of his picks for the year’s ten best albums across a range of metal genres — one of which hasn’t been released yet and is reviewed here.)

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that any attempt to craft a “Top Ten” list that represents the wide variety and near-infinite density of the modern Extreme Metal scene is doomed to failure. There’s simply too much of it, too many different competing styles and sub-genres, for a mere ten albums to cover.

That doesn’t stop me trying every year though, so what you’re about to read is my latest effort to capture a clean snapshot of the very best of the best from the past twelve months.

Interestingly this list seems to differ significantly from the various other sites and zines I’ve been keeping an eye on, though that’s not by conscious design. It also skews in a surprisingly “progressive” direction overall, which is not something I anticipated when I first began trying to piece it together, with a massive 70% of the albums featured here making use of clean vocals in some form or another.

In demographic terms, this year’s list features two entries from the USA, two entries from Germany, one from Portugal, one from Iceland, and three from the UK – which, again, wasn’t by design – as well as one international collective whose members come from all across Europe.

It also runs the gamut of practically the entire twelve-month period, with the “oldest” album on here having been released all the way back in the first week of January, while the “youngest” entry won’t even be out until the 21st of December! Continue reading »