The best albums of 2018 contains about 80 albums that I listened enough to warrant them a place in this list. Scroll further down for the best tracks as a Spotify playlist and a few pickups that I missed in 2017. Hyperlinks lead to reviews.
Best albums of 2018
Summoning — With Doom We Come – symphonic epic doom metal
Ancestors — Suspended in Reflections – doom metal / psychedelic rock
Orphaned Land — Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs – oriental progressive metal
Hamferð — Támsins Likam – doom metal / death doom
Gorod — Aethra – progressive/technical death metal
Slugdge — Esoteric Malacology – technical death metal – the beginning trilogy is 10/10, among absolute best tracks of the year but unfortunately the rest of the album is only good.
Very good (8½)
Kallomäki — Roka Ukri – dark folk metal
Haken — Vector – progressive metal
Lik — Carnage – oldschool death metal
Very good 8+
Warrel Dane — Shadow Work – progressive metal / groove metal
Doomed — 6 Anti-Odes to Life – deathdoom metal
Stam1na — Taival – progressive metal / thrash metal
Sigh — Heir To Despair – progressive metal / avant-garde metal
Snarg — Snarg II – hardcore punk / nintendo rock
Howling void / Nyss Split – doom metal / black metal
The Ocean — Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic – progressive metal / post metal
King Goat — Debt of Aeons – doom metal
Asunojokei — Awakening – black metal, post-hardcore and Japanese anime music
Muuan Mies — Elämmekö Unessa? – Finnish indie pop with reggae and rap influences
Hollywood Burns — Invaders – synthwave – When Carpenter Brut started going soft, Hollywood Burns composed this joyous hard-hitting synthwave extravaganza. It is not the most original of albums, but the quality of the tracks is high. This is the year I also ran through nearly all Perturbator albums, but Hollywood Burns overtook them all.
Thy Catafalque — Geometria – progressive metal / avant-garde metal/rock
Xenoverse — The Fall: Part I – progressive metal/rock
Eleanoora Rosenholm — Talvipalatsin puutarhassa – Finnish experimental indie pop
The Eternal — Waiting for the Endless Dawn – doom metal / melodic metal
Kovaa Rasvaa — Pahan vaimon käsikirja – hardcore punk / chaotic hardcore / metalcore
Sol Invictus — Necropolis – neofolk
A Forest of Stars — Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes – avant-garde black metal
Ultha — The Inextricable Wandering – atmospheric black metal
Craft — White Noise and Black Metal – black metal – Craft is one of the most original black metal bands today, great mixture of black metal, doom and depressive tones. I particularly love the guitarists unique style but also the way the bass stands up. Just not enough killer tracks, unfortunately.
Cosmic Church — Täyttymys – black metal
Tribulation — Down Below – blackened occult metal/rock
Slægt — The Wheel – Blackened occult heavy metal – initial disappointment wore off and The Wheel turned out to be a fine release, albeit I’m missing the black metal hues of the past that Being Born (Is Going Blind) still successfully employs.
Heptaedium — A M E N – breakcore
Magoth — Zeitgeist: Dystopia – black metal
Jpegmafia — Veteran – experimental noise rap
Omnium Gatherum — The Burning Cold – melodic death metal
At the Gates — To Drink from the Night Itself – melodic death metal
Radien — Syvyys – sludge / doom metal
Iglooghost — Clear Tamei EP – IDM, trip-hop / wonky, breakcore, dubstep / maximalist
Cryptopsy — The Book of Suffering – Tome II – brutal/technical death metal
Barren Earth — A Complex of Cages – progressive (death) metal
Amorphis — Queen Of Time – melodic metal – The c part of Golden Elk sounds like it could have been composed by Orphaned Land lads themselves, and hey some folk from the band are guesting on the album, so maybe it is! Quite a few nice symphonic touches on the album that really resemble Orphaned land, a good thing, their album is one of the best of 2018 after all. Sometimes I feel Queen of Time is a 8+ album and others sounds like another boring Tomi Joutsen era Amorphis album (7), so I settled somewhere in between.
Valkyrja — Throne Ablaze – black metal
Primordial — Exile Amongst the Ruins – heavy metal / doom metal
Converge — Beautiful Ruin – chaotic hardcore/metalcore – fierce and short, as much as I like EP’s under 7 minutes is so little. Always listening it twice helps.
Voices — Frightened – blackened melodic metal with progressive and death metal twists – Footsteps is an absolute anthem.
Rivers of Nihil — Where Owls Know My Name – technical death metal – Starts really solidly, but soon it becomes apparent that while Where Owls Know My Name is technically really solid it often reduces to chugging around with spacey melodies. I’ve heard this before.
Paperi T — Kaikki on hyvin – Finnish indie rap
Mogwai — KIN – post rock – good relaxing background music but lacks a bit of memorability and louder songs.
Hegemone — We Disappear – atmospheric black metal – Similar to Ultha but there’s even more inextricable musical wandering in the tracks. Condensing would be most welcome, Mara, Raising Barrows and Tengri have a lot of good stuff going on in the end. In most cases it takes quite a few minutes of mediocre material to reach the blissful end. Raising Barrows is a good entity and the end of Tengri one of the best moments of the entire year.
Oneothrix Point Never — Age of – experimental mellowly fucked up electronic
Empty — Vacio – depressive black metal – Strangely hooking, might prove to get better with time.
Satan — Cruel Magic – 80s heavy metal – Usually would not be to my liking at all but Satan is at best great because of solid riffs and vocalists mean enough delivery. Nearly the lone exception in 80s heavy metal department. Atom By Atom (2015) was overall a more varied and solid release.
Iglooghost — Steel Mogu EP – IDM, trip-hop / wonky, breakcore, dubstep / maximalist
Carpenter Brut — Leather teeth – synthwave
Alex Tiuniaev — The Escapist + Moon Quartet – classical pianist – I’ve never dug into classical elegant piano music, I guess The Escapist is an alright relaxing release of that sort. Moon Quartet is genuinely an enjoyable track with more luscious arrangements, violin etc.. It is not from the short The Escapist EP, but it is a perfect addon to the end. I will certainly keep my eye open for more Moon Quartet like material.
Kriegsmaschine — Apocalypticists – black metal
Mournful Congregation — The Incubus of Karma – funeral doom metal – could grow to be better, about 10 listens did not still unearth this giant. Unlike usually, I liked it more in the first listens, good album straight from the start.
Panssarijuna — Voiko tähän kuolla – Finnish indie rock / trauma blues – the trauma blues elements are considerably less prominent and the album is more polished than before.
Sea of Poppies — Sea of Poppies – experimental harsh noise / analogue
The Howling Void — The Darkness at the Edge of Dawn – melancholic doom metal
Behemoth — I Loved You At Your Darkest – black metal / blackened death metal
Machine Girl — The Ugly Art – Electro / industrial / chiptune / darkstep / Metalcore / indie / IDM – There’s so much different stuff but somehow all fit under Machine Girl’s output (I did not even mention the occasional hardcore punk vibes or rave/psytrance beats / glitchy stuff). It’s not an unclear album at all. I just wish it was better songwise and better sung. The post-hardcore-like screaming does not really appeal to me. A lot of aggression present, a rather enjoyable mindfuck with some really bright spots and constant variation. On some listens I can barely stand the album, on others I am absolutely entertained. Listeners who have a liking of post-hardcore or metalcore can easily enjoy it more then me.
Teksti-TV 666 — Aidattu tulevaisuus – Finnish post punk / noise rock / indie rock
Mörkö — Ulvova Tyhjyys – progressive/atmospheric/ black metal / electronic / ambient – I’ve always liked the weird side of Finnish black metal but Mörkö just keeps going all out ambient in the tracks. Especially the latter half of album is almost only ambient. I almost gave the album a better grade for its sheer strangeness. Probably the most puzzling release of this year, has some strange magic I haven’t yet managed to grasp completely. I might understand the album better in 2 years. I’m actually looking for coming back to it later to see if it has grown. The beginning of Sikiäminen promises so much that on first listen I was ready to deem it among best albums of the year.
Fireproven — Future Diary – progressive metal – Good live band but the album is too long and repetitive. There’s easily over 30 minutes of 8/10 material. Good amount of promise.
Hebosagil — Metsätie / Joki – Finnish noise rock – Too pleasant, where’s the mud and dirt? I gotta say I quite enjoy the new clean guitar sound though.
Jukka Nousiainen — Ei enää kylmää eikä pimeää – Finnish retro 70s jytä/purkka rock/pop – Pretty much everything is done the right way but it is not my thing. At worst such bright 70s poprock I’m glad I wasn’t yet born in that decade. But the meandering between quiet and noisier sections works delightfully, especially Aurinko paistaa romukasaan is a successful piece. Instrumentation is well played, some lyrics border great, some are quite naive, nicely airy sounds. I can imagine Jukka Nousiainen works well live, his other band Räjäyttäjät! definitely does.
Sarr — Ávitun – black metal – 3 track ep has a good title track, then it goes very repetitive and lo-fi with little ideas and a lot of length. Side-project of Nyss.
Makrofagi — Makrofagi – progressive rock/metal – In a world where Yup, Cmx or Absoluuttinen nollapiste didn’t exist, this’d be great. Technically good, atmospheric, even a quite original progressive weird rock/metal, just does not catch flight for reasons a bit unknown. All the sudden, a language change: liikaa hitaita biisejä, sanoituksiin on vaikea samaistua, aika pimeitä tarinoita. Jumalattaressa on hieno kertsi. Hyvä suomalainen häröilymusa lienee saturoinut korvani niin että vähempi kuin mestariteos ei kelpaa. Ne ovat aina liian lähellä EP:n Aavekaupunki on valitettavasti edelleen Makrofagin paras biisi.
Heptaedium — The Great Herald of Misery – djent / electronic
There’d be significantly more albums here and below, but I didn’t see a reason to find albums I did not like to listen them again for a fair grade.
Sear Bliss — Letters From The Edge – atmospheric black metal – When another metal veteran Amorphis made their best record of the 2000s, Sear Bliss who has always delivered so far did the opposite.
Watain — Trident Wolf Eclipse – black metal – Sworn to the dark pt II, this time with a lot less soul.
Therion — Beloved Antichrist – symphonic heavy metal – Listening any of the 3 albums is quite pleasing, it is the entity with not enough substance or variety that is hard to fathom.
Ronski & Satanic — Täältä tullaan kuolema! – Finnish occult rap – Cool concept and a good idea. Should be my cup of tea but the most important, lyrics, instead of being deep and esoteric unfortunately are half interesting and half sound stupid. The single track is very good, at least.
Møl — Jord – blackgaze – Professional, loudness war, serene, bright. Møl is making me understand why some people hate blackgaze.
Kalmah — Palo – melodic death metal – I can find no burn of emotion here, just casual melodeath with extremely generic melodies. I liked every Kalmah album before this. Stalker is a decent piece of a track though.
Necrophobic — Mark of the Necrogram – black metal – Mediocreness overload, it is actually hard to understand why I get no joy out of Mark of the Necrogram, I even liked it on the very first listens. Very professional record in all measurable variables.
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard / Slomatics split – doom metal / sludge – There’s quality in here, I reckon there’s a lot of people who might enjoy this kind of slightly psychedelic, slightly stoner, slightly oldschoolish sludge doom similar to Ufomammut. I don’t. Perhaps the riffs fail to find my connection or perhaps they really are generic.
Khôrada — Salt – progressive metal – There’s no way I’m listening this mess more than 1 time if it’s not a side-project of Agalloch. What a letdown. Vocals are close to incessant wailing and the song-writing is a mess. If given enough time, it might grow to be a bad album instead of very bad. I guess John Haughm was the visionary of Agalloch after all. I genuinely hope that Khôrada picks it up later, in paper they have a lot of talent.
Some albums I checked out artificially but I didn’t have enough time to properly listen them
Kiviranta — Gammasäde
Kiviranta — Dolce Vita
Över — Facing Trancendence
Anaal Nathrakh — A New Kind of Horror
Jarkko Martikainen — Aina Auki
Vola — Applause Of A Distant Crowd
Serocs — The Phobos/Deimos Suite
The Beast of Nod — Vampira: Disciple of Chaos
Hiidenhauta — 1695
Thomas Erak and The Shoreline — The Whole Story
Perfect Beings — Vier
W.A.I.L. — Wisdom Through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy vol. II – the most demanding album this year, after over 5 listens I am still unable to place this monstrous doom slab anywhere.
Best tracks of 2018
Best tracks arranged to a playlist in quite random order.
Brilliant tracks just below the first category. Except on a good day…
albums from 2017 that I found out too late to make it into last year’s top list.
King Gizzard — Murder of the Universe – progressive rock / garage rock – the darkest, weirdest and most progressive of 2017 King Gizzard albums, making it the best one.
Aether Realm — Tarot – melodic death metal
Caligula’s Horse — In Contact – progressive metal – Songs for No One jumped straight into my best progressive metal tracks of all time list.
Lauren Bousfield — Fire Songs – experimental idm / breakcore
Camerata Mediolanense — Le Vergini Folli – neoclassical
Magoth — Anti Terrestial Black Metal – black metal
Perturbator — New Model– synthwave
Aivovuoto — Dötöx – Finnish rap
Saimaa — Urheilu-Suomi – progressive rock for sportsmen
King Gizzard — Polygondwanaland – garage rock – 5 albums released 2017 and all of them quality! Polygondwanaland is a complete free download too. Not only that but it was released with a statement “This album is FREE. Free as in, free. Free to download and if you wish, free to make copies. Make tapes, make CD’s, make records.” There’s 234 different versions to date! Growth from 2017’s is 74! I also made a best of 2017 collection which I will publish later.
King Gizzard — Sketches of Brunswick East – garage rock
Venenum — Trance of Death – death metal
Leprous — Malina – progressive rock / progressive metal
Earth Electric — Solar, Vol. 1 – heavy metal / doom metal / progressive
Mustan Kuun Lapset — Saatto – dark metal
Black Dahlia Murder — Nightbringers – melodic death metal
Anathema — The Optimist – post rock / alaternative rock – Anathema’s albums nearly always have individual great tracks, here it’s Endless Ways.
OK 2017 albums I didn’t listen enough, but there were some potential
Angerfist — Creed of Chaos
Insurgency — Militant Death Cult
nishaiar — UNIVERSUM
Light of the Morning star — Nocta
Mogwai — Every Country’s Sun
Resurgency — No Worlds…Nor Gods Beyond
Deserted Fear — Dead Shores Rising
Ghost — Prequelle