The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

Am I missing any albums? Do you agree?

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The bands and albums featured are:

Sadistik Forest – Mordbid Majesties
At The Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself
Amorphis – Queen of Time
Nekrokraft – Servants
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
LIK – Carnage
Gluttony – Cult of the Unborn
Totalselfhatred – Solitude
Svederna – Svedjeland
Svavelvinter – Mörkrets Tid
Avslut – Deceptis
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
Raven Throne – I miortvym snicca zolak
Skinless – Savagery
Unflesh – Savior
Demonical – Chaos Manifesto
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers
Depravity – Evil Upheaval
Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy
Begat The Nephilim – I: The Surreptitious Prophecy / Mother of the Blasphemy
Kataklysm – Meditations
Ingested – The Level Above Human
Organectomy – Domain of the Wretched (went off the Unique Leader Records release)
Arkona – Khram
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse
Augury – Illusive Golden Age
Mordant Rapture – The Abnegation
Chelsea Grin – Eternal Nightmare
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Abolishment of Flesh – The Inhuman Condition (Death Metal)

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A new challenger has entered the death metal stage and they are looking for the abolishment of flesh. Hailing from Texas, USA, the band was founded in 2006 but under the name Abolishment. The debut came out 2008 and was named Abolishment of Flesh which later on became the bands new name after numerous member changes. Meaning even though this is Abolishment of Flesh debut album the foundations were there already in 2006. Nowadays the band consists of two members, Ramon Cazares on guitar/vocals (while recording drums and bass as well) and Izaak Chaves on guitar.

Alright this album is one I find very strange to review. Want to know why? It’s due to the fact it is very inconsistent. A reason for this is that they are a bit all over the place and with various results. Abolishment of Flesh showcase a wide range of different styles be it technical, brutal, melodic and classic death metal, which is good however I can’t help to think some of these tracks are somewhat of a snooze fest. They can go from an absolute killer track to one I just want to press skip on. The vocals is one of the things that does that to me. I say keep the brutal growling, let go of the screeching vocals as when that comes in it kills some songs for me as it feels out of place. In “Inhuman Anatomy” it works fine but on the follow-up “Lack of Emotions” I would much rather they’d left it out and the song overall leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s the same way when listening to Cattle Decapitation though, the vocal style doesn’t always work for me and I am really picky when death metal switches style like that. Which is a big shame because when Abolishment of Flesh get it all going they are incredible and provides some of the best extreme metal I’ve heard all year.

You have your classic Suffocation sounding tracks like “Morbid Imagery” that provides solid death to the masses, your massive guitar solos with some Dying Fetus vibes on “Servitude of Endless Suffering”. Then you got my personal favorite “Slaves of Animosity” which is simply a monster of a song that’s doing a great job showcasing the bands melodic and technical side, yet keeping it brutal. Almost a bit like older In Flames, which is probably why I really enjoy it. Tracks like those proves the band got diversity, can play both polished melodeath and the more extreme kind with ease when it works which alone keeps the score on a good level. I just hoped the album was more consistent as the duo are definitely talented musicians that can produce some pummeling headbang crazy material. All in all this is a debut album and it sure got me interested in the band. I will follow the band closely, looking forward to hear what they come up with next. Who knows this might just be the first stepping stone into greatness?

Label: Unholy Anarchy Records
For fans of: Suffocation and Cattle Decapitation
Release date: April 20th, 2018
Favorite song: Slaves of Animosity
Score: 3/5

Mors Subita – Into the Pitch Black (Melodic Death Metal)

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Mors Subita have been around for awhile. Being one of Finland’s prime melodic death metal bands who is probably often overlooked in the shadows of Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum and the likes. The creator Mika Lammassaari is one of many guitar Gods from the country of thousand lakes as he is also features in Eternal Tears of Sorrow and Wolfheart. Into the Pitch Black is the bands third full-length since the formation in 1999.

Let me be honest and saying I wasn’t too keen on this album. Sure it has its moments with “I, God” and “Into the Pitch Black” having some killer riffs that keeps the aggressive modern melodic death metal spirit going. “As Humanity Weeps” brings me back to the days I listened to Threat Signal which was actually kinda fun as I’d almost forgot about that band. Overall though I find the album lacking in some key areas like songwriting, it’s a tad too repetitive and boring which loses my attention in the end. Which might just be me having grown out of this type of melodeath as I used to devour this kind of music ten years ago. Heard this many times before but done better in all honesty. I can’t help to think with an lineup consisting of members from Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Wolfheart and Thyrane this could be so much better.

I am sure many melodeath fans will have a good time with Into the Pitch Black and fans of Mors Subita gets more of the same music they’ve done in the past. Personally this isn’t really up my alley though and it feels a few years too late to be on my radar. It does leave me with a couple of good songs and mixed feelings once I’ve done my journey into the pitch black. A decent album that I feel could be better but one that a younger me might have appreciated a lot more. Sometimes it just doesn’t click like you’d hoped.

Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: Threat Signal and Deals Death
Release date: April 6th, 2018
Favorite song: I, God
Score: 2.5/5

Wormlight – Wrath of the Wilds (Melodic Black/Death Metal)

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Lets get straight to it. Wormlight plays melodic black and death metal the way it has been played for years. Nothing wrong with this at all! Not as memorable as the releases from Necrophobic, Avslut and Nekrokraft have been to me but Wrath of the Wilds is certainly a good album that I enjoyed. It’s 90’s melodic black/death metal worship the Swedish way and I get some Naglfar, Dissection and Unanimated vibes for sure. Seeing as we won’t hear any new material from those bands any time soon (or ever) I say this is a perfectly good album to get your fill! There is no need to reinvent the wheel and Wrath of the Wilds is not only a good debut album, it is also a big step forward from the band since their EP Bloodfields came out in 2015.

The mid-range death growls together with the energetic hellfire the band unleashes is enough to make fans of melodic black metal be pleased with this release. There isn’t really something to point out as bad on this album and the 55 minutes go past with a feeling of satisfaction. However if you do put Wormlight against previously named bands and the new releases from for example Necrophobic then it lacks that extra punch to become an album I want to revisit instead of those. Either way I know a lot of you are like me and can not get enough quality black metal and Wrath of the Wilds certainly does fall into that category. If you only want to try out a couple of tracks it should be “Vittramark” with its icy atmosphere, piano outro (which they do use on several occasions though) and overall a great sounding song. That song along with “Invocation (intro)” leading to “Feast of the Mountain Kin” is a perfect example how to finish an album on a high note.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Unanimated and Necrophobic
Release date: April 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Feast of the Mountain King
Score: 3.5/5

At the Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself (Melodic Death Metal)

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When you are one of the main bands to create a whole sound and an era for Swedish metal music, hell an era for melodic death metal all over the world then you’re bound to have a nice reputation going for you. They are one of the creators of what is called “the Gothenburg sound” during the early 90’s and At the Gates needs no further introduction as their legacy is one everyone should know by now.

With At War With Reality the band made a great comeback but didn’t really dare to try something new. Who can blame them though, they had been broken up for years so for the comeback album I would play it rather safe as well. It was basically what was expected from them and they delivered. Then comes To Drink From the Night Itself. Not only do they go back to their roots and you get a lot of tracks that got that Slaughter of the Soul feeling to it but they also manage to develop their sound this time around. You can almost say this album consists of two parts, Der Widerstand to In Nameless Sleep is classic At the Gates then with The Colours of the Beast and onwards you hear more songs that brings in elements of doom and heavy metal. More atmospheric in many ways and it’s a welcoming experiment along with their core sound. The new guitarist Jonas Stålhammar (The Lurking Fear) is a great addition to the band and he is a key factor when the band is moving forward in my opinion.

An album like this is funny to review. One side of me want At the Gates to only give me the Slaughter of the Soul sound all over again, then there is one side of me who wants something new and different. To Drink From the Night Itself manages to do a bit of both. So here I am digging the title track To Drink from the Night Itself (Blinded By Fear version 2), which is really catchy and been stuck in my head for days, like I am having just as good of a time with for example The Colours of the Beast where they try something new. At the Gates were together with In Flames and Soilwork the bands that got me liking this genre and I am happy to say that they are still kings within the genre where some have faltered.

Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and In Flames
Release date: May 18th, 2018
Favorite song: To Drink from the Night Itself
Score: 4/5

Inferi – Revenant (Technical Death Metal)

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It’s been a lot of tech-death for me this month and while I got the heat up why not keep going? From Rivers of Nihil to Augury and now Inferi there’s definitely been some hyped up albums coming closely after each other. While Augury presented a great comeback into the scene Rivers of Nihil dropped one of the best albums of the year. Question is what does Inferi have in store for us?

I am going to be honest, I’ve found Inferi a bit overrated and never truly understood the hype this band has. In my ears they’ve been a more technical version of The Black Dahlia Murder to dumb it down. Which isn’t bad in any way but me not being too keen on TBDM either it just doesn’t work as well with me as it does for many others. Inferi is tech-death but they go a complete separate way than the likes of Beyond Creation or Obscura does, which in all honesty is a good choice and makes them create their own sound which is more similar to Arsis. That’s exactly where it all “went wrong” for me too as I am a leaning a lot more towards Beyond Creation than Arsis for example. Here is the funny thing though that made me start to change my mind on Inferi. With last year’s TBDM album I started to get a liking for Trevor Strnad and the way they play melo-death, making me spend quite some time with the bands discography last year. Now when I get Inferi’s latest offering Revenant I all of a sudden get it. I can now get behind and dig to these vocals I had such a hard time listening to in the past. The more I listen to the album the better it gets which in itself shows I am changing my musical taste somewhat. This happens every know and then in all honesty, just five-six years ago I couldn’t stand black metal if it wasn’t very symphonic or melodic and I still listened to metalcore. Now I can put on a Darkthrone album and actually enjoy it while I dislike most metalcore, times change and taste in music change, some gets better some gets worse.

Revenant is in many ways a complete album. The nine songs are all really solid and blasts you with jaw-dropping riffs regularly while at the same time changing the pace from brutality to melodic tech-death when needed. I am still not a true believer of the core sound Inferi represents but hey if I’d review this album two years ago I would give it a very average score, while now I find them being a band where I can put their albums on a spin every now and then. It’s hard not to get captivated by the relentless assault Inferi offers and fans of the band might even call this the album of the year. Who knows I might too in the end if it keeps on growing on me and I will change this score to something higher.

Label: The Artisan Era
For fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder and Arsis
Release date: April 21st, 2018
Favorite song: The Menacing Gaze
Score: 3.5/5

Thousand Eyes – Day of Salvation (Melodic Death Metal)

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Isn’t melodeath lovely? There are few subgenres that I like as much as melodic death metal. Maybe it’s due to me being Swedish and it’s in my blood and bands such as In Flames, Sonic Syndicate, At the Gates etc got me into the whole metal scene. I don’t know but something in me makes me go bananas when melodeath is on. So what about Thousand Eyes? Actually I’d never heard about the band before I visited Tokyo last year. After getting to know a fellow metalhead he invited me to his home to grab some beers and listen to music. There he presented Thousand Eyes to me, a Japanese band who prior this album had released two albums named Bloody Empire and Endless Nightmare. After hearing some from both albums (while I shared some Swedish death metal obviously his way) I got hooked. It’s nothing original but as I said before, melodeath is in my blood and when it’s done well I am not one to complain.

Thousand Eyes offer the listener a lot of energy, aggression and class riffs. Granted I think there are a few too many on the album as it almost becomes a power metal album in that sense. Too much melodic too little death metal if you get what I mean. I know Thousand Eye’s guitarist Kouta both write and produce the albums so it’s not strange there is a lot of emphasis on the guitars, which I am sure their fan base love mind you. Each to their own I guess but there can be too much of the sweets in my opinion. Like a Soilwork, Disarmonia Mundi (I think the singer sounds quite a bit like Björn Strid actually) and Mors Principium Est mix. At times there are almost a bit of thrash elements to it as well.

All in all this is a well produced album, production have become a lot better since Blood Empire in my opinion, that a lot of melodic death metal fans will devour and enjoy. Compared to what I’ve heard coming this year from giants like At the Gates they are a few numbers short though. Thousand Eyes continues fine-tuning their sound and even though I don’t agree with the direction they are going 100% it’s still a good album that will please their fans.

Label: Bloody Empire
For fans of: Soilwork and Mors Principium Est
Release date: February 21st, 2018
Favorite song: Day of Salvation
Score: 3/5