Aaaallrighty then, this would be the very first time ever in my life that I chose a top 10 album list of the past year. Mainly because of the fact that GRIMM asks it at the end of the year from all the writers here and I felt kind of peer-pressured, BUT I had a great time doing it anyway! However I also had a bit of a struggle with it, you see next to being a terminal hardhead, I also try to be the best father I can be towards my baby girl and husband to my wife. Next to that 2018 has been a very busy year for me in general and I just can’t wait for it to be over. So you’ll probably get that I did not get the time that I wanted to focus on the hard and heavy releases of 2018, however after a couple of weeks of thinking it through I managed to put together my top 10 list.
Head editor and metal guru here at GRIMM: Vaim noticed it was quite original so he asked me if I wanted to write an article about it. About why I think YOU should check out every single one of these albums and what they meant to me in general. I am dead sure that a lot of readers will disagree with it on many levels, but frankly… I couldn’t care less. So if you are an open-minded maniac like me… come… and take a walk with me through my world of brutality, melancholia and tradition as we count down from 10 to 1…
10. Carnation – Chapel of Abhorrence
Probably one of the most anticipated releases of 2018 in the Belgian death metal void was definitely Carnation’s Chapel of Abhorrence. And the butcher boys did a magnificent job on it, it is truly a sick, ruthless and skull-pounding old school death metal record which they can be very proud of… The only reason why I put them last on my list is because of the fact that Simon‘s voice reminds me a little bit TOO much of Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and musically they remind me a little bit TOO much of Fleshcrawl (especially the as blood rains from the sky era). But that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to bring their rage! A hard and fierce death metal record that doesn’t think twice when it comes to brutality, but don’t expect anything new or uplifting here… old school is their law! I didn’t catch them live yet but I can’t wait till I do… A vicious bunch of long-haired savages, except for Simon as far as the long hair goes, but he makes up for that with his utterly brutal performance, he is a fucking beast!
9. Infernal Execrator – Obsolete Ordinance
This album blew me away when I let it conquer my ears for the first time, black/death metal in a very pure and uncut form. Chainsaw-gutsfucking guitars, possessed and rotten vocal chords and pounding kalasjnikov drums. Infernal Execrator are a fearless pack of wolves hailing from the hell trenches of Singapore, where blackened death metal is made at it’s finest! Again nothing original but an album that sweeps you of your feet from start to finish, entirely hard to the core. The only issue here is that they remind me a bit TOO much of Watain, but nevertheless they know perfectly how to bring their anti-christian message. I really enjoyed this album, very raw yet clean sound and old school as the fuck, GOD ENDS HERE! Also read my full report on this album right here.
8. Hetze – bedbugs
Three bulldozing broads and a battering maniac. Hetze brings you bedbugs, bedbugs the size of your fucking head gnawing and festering a way to the center of your skull. They are definitely one of the most uprising bands in the Belgian hardcore scene of 2018. At first I wasn’t the biggest fan to be honest with y’all, but their total lack of remorse really grew on to me. Some say they’re hardcore, some say punk… I say: blackened fastcore. That’s right “blackened”, as punk and pissed as Eva’s voice can be, the music has a relentless black metal vibe to it, perfectly mixed with their own blend of powerviolence and hardcore. I fucking LOVE the backing vocals on bedbugs and Eva’s screaming sounds so incredibly pissed off… it is quite the sensation. Personal favourites Routine Abuse, Bedbugs and No Control leave you battered black and blue and that counts for the rest of the album in general. This hard hitting record made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, something that doesn’t happen that often to me these days, terrific stuff! And I can’t wait for the next recording to hit the vinyl! Also I wouldn’t recommend showing up at their shows as a macho-sexist-cunt… they will literally rip your head off and shit down your throat, such… venom.
7. Diss Guy – Self
Another stomping band that chose to do a “Geronimoooo” in the Belgian hardcore pit is Diss Guy. They already stole my heart with the Diss EP release that came out in 2017, but now with their full-length called Self they have embraced it. With their 12 tracked arsenal of tools and absence of mercy they drag you into their twisted psyche and total fucking hatred towards society! Sometimes grunge, often punk, ALWAYS HARDCORE! A very determined band with lots of potential and a concrete sound, this album is a fist aimed at the center of your face. Grooving, fierce, fast and also very much danceable, the perfect soundtrack for any non-conformist! Check out my full review about this proper release here.
6. Clench Your Fist – Repulsive Indulgence
Clench Your Fist from Genk, Belgium… at their signal, unleash hell. One of the albums on my list that some might disagree on (especially the full blown metalheads amongst y’all), but fuck that shit… I love this fucking record. With the Break the Jaw release they did, a declaration of war that mixes hip hop with the most brutal of hardcore like it’s nothing. They already stomped off their mark and with the EP Threat of Life that followed after that they couldn’t have stomped it off any harder. With that, a very clear statement that they wanted to create their own brand of serious beatdown. Now with Repulsive Indulgence they have accomplished that. A beatdown band that managed to step aside from the horde, very rough vocals, hard guitars, pounding drums and off course a serious amount of brutal breakdowns. To quote Blaine from the “Predator” movie: “This stuff will make you a god damn sexual tyrannosaurus, just like me”. A very powerful album, and I am very much looking forward to their next release!
5. Watain – Trident.Wolf.Eclipse
This was just a perfect way to start the year for me, considering the fact that this black metal masterpiece came out on the 5th of January starting this year. I was very happy to hear that they parted ways from their antics on The Wild Hunt, I really was not the biggest fan of the doom and progressive touch they had put in that album. But with Trident.Wolf.Eclipse they unleashed pure fucking mayhem! An ode to the old school and former heavy sound they evoked, this sixth studio assault of Watain striked me so fucking hard… I can still feel the concussion. With the sound they chose for that satanic straightforward Swedish black metal terror they had already mastered of their own. I couldn’t be any more fond of this record, I have always been a big fan of their work and with this album they have given me NO reason NOT to be one. They destroy all that which is good, so that all that which is pure evil may flourish. Truly a magnificent curse.
4. Raw Peace – Total Death
Another Belgian hardcore release, and definitely not the least and my personal favorite of 2018. Raw Peace delivered a disgusting slab of pure D-beating hardcore. Combining the best of Japanese and Scandinavian hardcore while adding the experiences of their own, they have managed to create a hard album that excites from the beginning until the bitter end. The sound is just perfect and they all know exactly what they are doing, saying, playing… shredding really. Pulling the trigger on gods and masters, full of darkness and danger they are. Make sure to add this one to your collection, it will NOT disappoint you, but when you press play… hold on to your butts! And remember: If you want peace, prepare for war! Check out my full review on this album here!
3. Brawl Between Enemies – Forever Enemies
Another one of those albums that few might frown upon, but that goes for beatdown hardcore in general I guess. Believe me when I say that I myself am not a big fan of the ninja moves and the crowd killing… And another thing that is frowned upon is the utter macho tough guy image that is almost every time there, and I assure you Brawl Between Enemies is no exception. But then… why do I love this album and the band in general as well? Simple really, whenever I listen to BBE I feel like Arnold fucking Schwarzenegger in the movie “Commando”, like no one is going to fucking fuck with me! This album isn’t quite as powerful as the previous one Pure Rawness but still hard and merciless enough to catch my personal top 3. Brutal, raging, bitter and cold hip-hop/beatdown hardcore with no strings attached what so ever. Simple, raw and straight to your face, JUST the way I like it! Ever since it came out I’ve been enjoying it every day. Wise people can learn more from their enemies, than a bunch of tools from their friends, heavy stuff!
2. Dödsrit – Spirit Crusher
The reason why this one surprised me is because I normally am not a fan of the melancholic, atmospheric black metal releases or bands, and when a song takes longer than 10 minutes I usually don’t spend any interest on it. But from the moment I had put on Spirit Crusher by Dödsrit, I was completely hooked on it. Filled with goosebumps I listened the album in its whole without giving any attention to anything else around me and it left me flabbergasted. It is a brilliant piece of work which I enjoyed every second of, from the silent yet severe building up parts to the callous, ferocious Neanderthal crust passages. The voice that reminded me a bit of lifelover is also very luring, and the harsh sound of the package in its total… savage. The best black metal album of 2018 for all I care, this band I will never lose my eye upon!
1. Ice War – Manifest Destiny
Allright, here we are then, my number one of 2018, and yes… another one of those albums that many will not understand why I chose this one as my personal favorite of the year. Probably because there are albums in my list that are way better produced, mixed, mastered and whatever… But we can’t all be totally in love with the new Behemoth album can we? The reason why I chose Manifest Destiny from Ice War is for me very simple actually… Jo Capitalicide’s dedication, devotion and strength through simplicity.
Growing up as a little rocker I used to listen a LOT of NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal), early Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Satan and so on absolutely ruled my world. It has been a genre that became very popular (all over again) almost at the same moment as the beloved thrash metal revival anno 2006/2007. Whilst there were a lot of new school thrash metal bands I really enjoyed, there was not one band doing something in the alley of NWOBHM that really thrilled me except for the classics that had already thrilled me a long time ago, not until I got to listen to Ice War last year! Hailing from Canada, Jo Capitalicide breathes and lives the 80s, so off course he wanted to make Ice War sound as if he started out in 1980 and released his first proper release in 1982, and he did a great job on that. And being active in the punk scene as well this also reflects on the traditional, epic new wave of Canadian heavy metal he rocks out, creating a sound that makes me feel nostalgic instantly! His voice for me sounds like a mixture between that typical old school heavy metal vocals and the darkest of new wave, every second of this album is a constant reminder of how true metal used to be and still can be, even though this is a recent band creating these barbarous recordings. If you like it old school and traditional, then buying this record is complete mandatory. But don’t get me wrong here, even though this is a perfect release for those who worship the ancestors, it frequently sounds as if Jo took a little bit too much on his plate trying to master every instrument and vocals himself (as Ice War is an army of one). So there are definitely some flaws here and there which a lot of typical commerced heavy metalheads would not appreciate, but allow me to convince you…
The reason why I think YOU should try out this album and Ice War as a band is because I think it sounds honest and real, and at the end of the ride you will find every song on this (to me FANTASTIC) record nestled in your head and going nowhere, extremely catchy! It is a record that deserves some attention if you ask me. And therefor I didn’t doubt for one second to make this one my number one of 2018. Surely something a lot of you will disagree with, but like I said in the beginning of this article: I couldn’t care less, this is just my honest opinion of how I experienced this album and the nine others before this one. I’m very sorry nowadays Rob Halford, Steve Harris and whomever… THIS is how I want my heavy metal to sound!
So there you have it, my top 10 of 2018, thank you for taking your time to read my articles and if I convinced you of checking out at least one of these (to me) great albums that would already mean a lot to me. Have a beautiful 2019 everybody, may the releases kick you into oblivion, the festivals be very hot (but not toooo hot) and the beers extra cold!