Saturday, December 29, 2018

Dan's Favorite Heavy Metal of 2018

I'm wrapping up a two year stint as a reviewer for having reviewed nearly one hundred albums, and have contributed my 2018 "best of" radio show, which will air on New Years' Eve. Here's a sneak peak of my favorite releases of the year:

13-11. Judas Priest--Firepower, Dee Snider--For The Love of Metal, Lizzy Borden--My Midnight Things. I cheated and made my top eleven a top thirteen, putting these battle-scarred veterans and their commendable releases in a three-way tie for 11th.

10. Fantasy Opus--The Last Dream Complexly layered, epic in scope, reminds me of late Arch-era Fates Warning while sounding nothing like them.

9. Last Pharoah --The Mantle of Spiders A very NWOBHM sounding debut from an American band. Lots of fun and what a great title and an especially great title track.

8. Against Evil!--All Hail the King! A thrash band from India that has some sonic similarities to Death Angel, one of my favorite bands, all time. Punchy.

7. Sonic Prophecy- Savage Gods Another fun band with a classic metal sound. "Night Terror" is an especially good track.

6. My Regime--A Peek Through The Pines I fell in love with My Regime with last years' Deranged Patterns. This one is a bit less Slayeresque, sounding somewhat in between Deranged Patterns and last year's Shadows Remain from Band of Spice, ringleader Spice's other current product. He's had a prolific and varied career; check out Spiritual Beggars as well.

5. Witherfall--A Prelude To Sorrow Their second album; get last years' Nocturnes and Requiems also. Intricate, expertly crafted metal that reveals more nuance with repeated listening. "Portrait" off their debut was one of my favorite songs of the year.

4. Dark Hound--Dawning American stoner/thrash metal; seek out their first couple independent releases. Hard hitting and heavy.

3. Sin Theta--"No Allegiance" My #3 pick isn't for an album at all, but an unreleased demo track that I just happened to run across in the metalexpressradio folders. Eight minutes of metal bliss, stellar performances at every position in a song packed with great ideas and riffs. I must have run twenty miles on the treadmill this year just listening to this song. 2019 should see them release their debut EP.

2. Ascendant-A Thousand Echoes  Debut album from a Dubai-based band, three members of which grew up in Syria. Unbelievably good songcraft from a new band whose emotive power and song structures hearken to Powerslave-era Iron Maiden. Lindsay Schoolcraft lends vocals on the haunting "Morning Light", a standout track (a ghost story!) on an album utterly devoid of weakness. I can't recommend this one enough.

1. Voivod--The Wake Their best album, especially when packaged with the Post Society EP of a few years ago and a live set. The spirit of Piggy is strong in this one, an endlessly thrilling album from an iconic and sui generis band.

Thanks to all at for some great times and great music!

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