Top 10 of 2018
Heyyyyy! What’s up ladies and gents? I hope all is well and you had a Merry Christmas and that you have a Happy New Year! Today, I’m going to give y’all a little list here of my 10 favorite albums and EPs of this year (I got real ambitious last year with 20 releases). Y’all should go check these picks out!
10. Exalted Saviour - Blood Sacrifice
Release date: August 30th/September 14th
Record label: Independent/The Bearded Dragon Productions (re-release)
- Enarxis (Intro)
- The New Satanic Altar
- The Sifting Process
- Mortuary Light
- My Angels, Lucifer and Phosphorus
- Communion and Apolysis (Outro)
Exalted Saviour joined on with The Bearded Dragon Productions earlier this year, marking the first signed act that was not my own project (heheheh). The project officially released their sophomore album this year, following up their 2013 release - No Tolerance, No Compromise. The project exhibits a raw, atmospheric doom and black metal style. Go check this out! (#shamelessplug)
9. TIMŌRĀTUS - 7 Deadly Sins
Release date: February 1, 2018
Record label: Independent
This EP was the first good thing I had heard from this year. Absolutely destroyed! As soon as I heard it, I fell in love with it. Especially “Pride”! Man, this EP just floored me. I think was the first official release with Courtney Napier on Vocals, as David Napier had performed all of the Vocals up to this point. The band has many more great things to come.
8. ZAO - All Else Failed (Re-release)
Release date: June 13th
Record label: Steadfast Records
- In Loving Kindness
- Growing in Grace
- In These Times Of Silence
- A Simple Reminder
- All Else Failed
ZAO has always held a place in my heart, even after they departed from the Christian message. I loved Blood & Fire and Self-Titled. I liked tracks off of Liberate, Splinter Shards, Parade of Chaos, Funeral of God, Fear, and Awake? and I loved (LOVED) Well-Intentioned Virus. The entire lineup has shifted since this release. Shawn Jonas went on to be in Symphony in Peril and become a youth pastor. Mic Cox went on to play in To Live As Sons. Roy Goudy went on to play with Times After Dusk. And Jesse Smith formed his own solo band called Jesse Smith and the Holy Ghost. There are two different Zao’s - There’s All Else Failed and Splinter Shards-era and then there’s Blood & Fire-era. I happen to love both, obviously leaning more towards Blood & Fire-era. All Else Failed just reminds me of Unashamed, Strongarm, Focused, Overcome and many of the old spirit-filled hardcore bands.
7. Shadow Puncher - Shadow Puncher EP
Release date: February 23th
Record label: Nosral Recordings
- Lord of Lords
- The Belt of Truth
- The Agony
- No More Suffering
Shadow Puncher finally kicked off his year with the release of his label debut with Nosral Recordings. I’m extremely proud of this release, and not necessarily from a musical standpoint. I love this release musically, yes, but there’s more to it than that. I was the one who got Shadow Puncher on Nosral Recordings, and with this milestone, the project finally debuted. And when “Shekinah” kicks in, it KICKS IN your teeth.
6. Dawnbreaker - Deus Vult
Release date: May 25th
Record label: New Templar Records
- Vileness Exalted
- To Jerusalem
- Burnt Offerings
- Deus Vult
- Armor of Light
- New World Crusade
Dawnbreaker just came out of left field for me. Literally. I heard of them on Bandcamp one day and literally a day later, Cullen Toner, founder of the project sent me the link to his album and asked me to review it. And it blew me away! I thoroughly enjoyed this album, despite the fact that I don’t enjoy black metal much, I loved this release. It more or less was a death/black metal combo, but nonetheless. Go check out this release. Thoroughly recommend.
5. My Place Was Taken - Imparables EP
Release date: March 9th
Record label: Rottweiler Records
- Cordero y Leon
- Mi Familia
- Guerra Interna
- Sociedad Demente
My Place Was Taken was a band that I had heard of last year, when everyone heard of them. I was able to listen to “Imparables” (the track) and instantly fell in love with the heaviness. When I finally got to check out the EP, it was amazed with how heavy it was and how little it bothered me I could understand the Spanish. It actually was all I listened to before I took my trip to Mexico this year, which was an amazing trip. “Guerra Interna” is probably my favorite track on the EP, but all of the tracks are amazing. Great EP. Definitely worth a listen.
4. My Epic - Ultraviolet
Release date: March 30th
Record label: Facedown Records
- Of Wilderness
- So Be It
- In Absentia
- Two Nights
My Epic. Ultraviolet. Oh. My. God. Amazing EP!!! I fell in love with My Epic this year and got several of my friends who usually don’t listen to my music into them. I went from not caring to owning four CDs and finding their demo online (I have an addiction)! This EP just is an atmospheric piece of abstract art with soothing vocals just layered over top. Definitely the softest entry in this list, but a big favorite of mine.
3. Death Requisite - Thernody
Release date: June 29th
Record label: Rottweiler Records
- Primogeniture (Orchestral Version)
- Tormentor (Orchestral Version)
- Thernody (Orchestral Version)
Death Requisite has held a dear place in my heart for years now. I knew of them in 2015 when they put out Revisitation or at least the demo version. But since that time, I’ve listened back to Prophets of Doom and Second Death and have fallen in love with both. The band, which really consisted of Dave Blackmore on Guitars and Symphonic instruments and Will Lee on Drums, put together an insane EP here, getting four vocalists to contribute to the EP - Tyrannus (who was on Prophets and Second Death), Vincent St. James (who was on Revisitation), James Lewis (NOMVDIC), and Johanna Fincher. I love this EP! The orchestral versions of the tracks are just as intriguing as the tracks themselves. “Tormentor” is by far my favorite track. Great choice for a single!
2. Impending Doom - The Sin and Doom Vol. II
Release date: June 22nd
Record label: eOne
- The Wretched and Godless
- War Music
- Paved With Bones
- The Serpents Tongue
- Devils Den
- Everything’s Fake
- Run For Your Life (She Calls)
Ok. So Impending Doom. No one is surprised by this entry on a Top 10 list. What I was surprised with, was their seeming departure from a lot of their more “popular” sound. Still a lot of breakdowns. Still a lot of the same vocal style. But the Guitars were tuned way down lower and the thing that threw me instantly was Vocalist Brook Reeves pig squeal at the beginning of “The Wretched and Godless”. I dig this album immensely. HEAVY album. Had this in my truck’s radio for like weeks straight.
1. Children of Wrath - Supernatural Dimensions
Release date: August 3rd
Record label: Nosral Recordings
- The Eternal Conflict
- Have You Not Known
- Dead Idols
- The Seventh Seal
- Wheels Within Wheels
- Supernatural Dimensions
- The Prayers Of A Weak Man
Children of Wrath again takes place #1 on the list, with Supernatural Dimensions. I mean, what can I say? Luke Dinan destroys any expectations from the last record except the fact that it’s heavier than the last one. There’s even some chugga chugga metalcore parts here and there, mostly on “Dead Idols”. Which is one of my favorite tracks. “Have You Not Known” hit my ears before most everyone else and I thought ‘This is incredible!’. I listened to the first 8 tracks hundreds of times, because I was able to get the album as it came in. At the last minute he added two newer songs, “The Prayers of a Weak Man” and “The Seventh Seal” and still nailed the album out of the park. “Prayers” is a track of interest, because it’s like 10 minutes long and features a lot of synth and digital elements.
- Taking the Head of Goliath - Self-Titled EP
- Fit for a King - Dark Skies
- Cruentis - Alpha & Omega
- Bismoth - Psalmic Peace
- Enoch - Killing Starts Where Hate Begin
Old albums have always been my jam. This year has been heavily jammed with Symphony of Heaven, Children of Wrath, Death Therapy, and Dire’s old releases from last year. Darkness Divided’s self-titled was also heavily played this year for me. DEAF is a band I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this year too. I knew about them solely through Vision of God Records’ compilation (the one that everyone had a copy of) and eventually found their EP. Not bad stuff.
Embodyment’s Embrace the Eternal, Vengeance Rising’s Human Sacrifice, Living Sacrifice’s Reborn and Strongarm’s Advent of a Miracle have been probably the oldest releases and some of the best releases I’ve enjoyed this year. Flactorophia’s album, Redemption of the Flesh, was on heavy rotation earlier this year, as I wanted to check it out before I put it out. Hand of Fire’s Nuclear Sunrise and Hands’ Give Me Rest have also been surprising listens for me this year. And pretty much the three releases of My Epic that came out before this year (I have four) were on constant rotation (Behold is currently in the CD deck of my truck as of my writing this).
Really, I’ve not heard many previews. I’ve gotten to hear Proven Existence’s next release as its recorded. I’ve gotten to hear Timōrātus’ tracks for the Black Metal split with Symphony of Heaven and Bismoth coming out next year. I’ve gotten to hear Reserction’s new EP we’re releasing. And I’ve gotten to hear Death Force - a project of Luke from Children of Wrath’s, which I will be featured on as a Vocalist. I got to hear some Altarfrye, a project of Dave Kruse's, formerly of The Covenant Metal Show. Oh, and Mystic Winter’s new stuff. But that’s not that important (mwahaha).
Anyways, guys, I hope you enjoyed my list and I hope you check some of these out if you hadn't already. 2019 is going to be an amazing year with some fantastic music. We'll also have plenty of music coming from The Bearded Dragon Productions as well. Enjoy and have a Happy New Year! God bless!
The Bearded Dragon