|2018 : A Fight Riff Retrospective|
2018 was a great year for the riffs, here's some that made me want to kick someone in the chest. If you feel like I missed anything, recs are welcome!
Manor of Infinite Forms
Abyss Walker - 2:40. Coming straight out of an already banging riff with the double kick and then they pick it up towards the end.
Realms Of Eternal Decay
Echoes From Beyond - 2:15. This whole album is fight riff city and this song in particular is chocked full of stuff you can ruin someone's day to but when this chunky slowdown happens out of nowhere in an already mid tempo song its a neck breaker.
No Light Below
Despised - 2:15. This release almost snuck by me. They quietly released it last month after not a whole lot of promotion and it's just nasty metalcore with blackened and grind tendencies. This song has a great riff towards the end but def recommend the whole thing to anyone that likes riffs.
Red Laces - :10. This band rules. They've melded into such a cool blend of crossover hardcore and black'n'roll. This album is mostly breakneck speed but they slow it down for this cut so when it comes in it's especially dirty.
Good to feel
Human Target - 1:55. One of the most criminally underlooked releases this year on Sput is Good To Feel. This is my hardcore AOTY no contest. Touches of Japanese hardcore, crossover, and just a splash of power violence. This song is slower than most of the album and the particular riff is slow and chunky and then seemingly out of nowhere with some vocals and a nice drum fill, they speed it up and kick it into high gear and really initiate the pit.
Excalibur - 2:15. Mindforce is the crossover band hardcore kids needed in 2018. Circle pits, leftover slayer riffs, and explosive live shows, this band has a very bright future. Triple B is really killing it this year.
Demise Automaton - :58. This one isn't really a riff so much as just a nice homage breakdown to bands of metalcore past. But then again that's what makes everyone so excited about this band right? Dillinger and Spitfire fans rejoice.
Feathers & Lips - :26. I had admittedly slept on this band until basically this year (like an idiot) but I'm so on board now. After some brief noisy tension building, this little two-step will send you reeling.
Cenotaph Obscure - 2:23 and again at 2:35. Obliteration released a banger this year and while typically no nonsense it's approach, the title track hits you with a nasty d-beat straight into one of my favorite DM riffs this year.
No Dreams - 2:35. Just another chunky one. Great hardcore/metalcore record.
|11|| ||Red Vision|
Stake Your Claim
Morality Complex - 2:00. Some nice crossover hardcore from right here in Richmond dropped their debut LP this year. Some great riffing on this one too, but this in particular got my blood pumping.
Punish - 2:17. This band perplexes me. This record is full of sludgy downtuned metalcore that would be at home on an Acacia Strain record 10-15 years ago, only for some reason in my late 20's I still vibe with it. Who knows, just play it loud.
Bodies Set In Ashen Death
Bodies Set In Ashen Death - :19. Ex-Dead in the Dirt members playing death grind. Mostly crazy fast, but they take some time to make you bang your head from time to time too.
Blood Splatter Eclipse - 4:10. The first time I heard this song my jaw dropped. The whole thing is riffs on riffs but then it suddenly just gets very deathdoomy and you're treated some very low dirging cleans. Honestly this song made the rest of the album fall short to me because it was just so fresh and impressive, not to say that its a bad record, it's just they started with such a bang on this track that it didn't maintain it for me. But still peep it, the whole thing is very solid.
Annihilated - 1:00. This is an album that to me is a perfect example of influences that are all good not meshing well. I love crusty feedback heavy hm-2 hardcore. I love meshuggah. I generally enjoy metalcore breakdowns if used properly. These things do not mesh well all packed into one bag for me. However, there are still some very cool moments on the record and this one is a great example.
Of Damnation and Abyssal Terrors
Crimson Thirst - 2:40. This album is full of some good head banging. Straight out of a solo and a nice transition riff into this bad boy.
|17||Portrayal of Guilt|
Let Pain Be Your Guide
Your War - 1:08. This record was sick too, excited to see where these guys go with their influences because they're clearly still carving out their sound. This track drops into a disgusting sludge breakdown at the drop of a hat with some face melting guest vocals from Dylan from Full of Hell. Love the closed hi-hat on this one.
Surmise - 0:00. The latest Good Fight pickup sounds like it would be more at home on Southern Lord. This record genre bends from its inception, the closest band I can think of to them is Yautja. Off the bat this song kicks you in the chest.
Time and Space
High Pressure - 1:08. Turnstile is a band that for years got lots of praise and hype for mostly no reason other than being highly accessible. However in 2018 they dropped an absolute surprise gem on me. Far and away their best work. Like the way the drums build this into a nice little 2-step.
Friends. Lovers. Favorites.
Last Acrylic Nail in the Coffin - :20. This record rips. Great PV/sludge with a strong message. This one in particular is like being smashed over the head with a tire iron.
A Patient Man
Share My Pain - 0:00. This record hurt a lot of people's feelings but I think the backbone of the band is still the same. When this kills, it still kills and harder than ever. After Craft of Mourning closes out this riff dropkicks you in the fucking chest.
Melancholia - 0:00. Converge doesn't do two-steps much, especially post-Jane Doe era. But when they do that shit goes.
You Took The Sun When You Left
Rope - 0:30. I expected a lot from this when I saw they were touring with Full of Hell. What I got was a little different than I was expected but some noisy crushing sludge is still nice when I'm in the mood for it.
Hell Is Here Now
One With Torment - 2:55. This record was a little hit or miss for me as well, but when it hits it hits you with moments like this song. The end is just a nasty breakdown that lasts just long enough to put your fist through another person's dreams. Love the vocal break too.
Order Of Torment
Conquered and Disposed - 3:22. Do you like Bolt Thrower? Another great fight riff filled DM release. Hype these guys are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Great hardcore influence in this stuff.
One More Enemy - 1:45. These dudes haven't left their base since their inception and what they do is a little low brow but it hits the spot sometimes. They know their audience and they deliver at least a little bit I can vibe to on every record.
|27||Harms Way (USA-IL)|
Sink - 2:32. While I admit I long for the days that Harms Way was a sick PV band and even more so for the days when they were playing Entombed inspired hardcore I still also have to admit they're doing this whole tough guy metalcore thing pretty well.
Need For Death - 0:00. This list was in need of a nice death metal inspired pogo beat and that's what this song gives me. This band touts members of Baptists, SUMAC, and 3 Inches of Blood and released probably my favorite crusty death metal influenced grind album of the year. This shit is just filthy.
Army of Cops - 1:38. Everyone that knows me knows that I think PD's glory days are behind them. The breakneck speed, the wild inhuman vocals, it's all gone. With every album since Terrifyer they've incorporated more and more sludgy fight riffs and less actual grind. While I think the mix was amazing when done well (Phantom Limb), it does leave me wanting more. Head Cage is a collection of great riffs with no a whole lot of spirit and JR's most pitiful vocal performance to date. HOWEVER, some of these songs still slap.
|30||Of Feather and Bone|
Bestial Hymns of Perversion
Hymn of Perversion - 3:36. This band came out as a weird albeit fun death metal band with chuggy metalcore breakdowns. Then they slowed to a halt for a while and released a demo tape of some promising straight DM. This year they came back out as a reinvented tour-de-force of filthy death metal stylings. The metalcore influence is entirely gone and replaced with neck snappers like this song.
Dunwich Whore - 6:25. This record came out of nowhere for me. 20 Buck Spin has released some amazing doom and death albums this year but for some reason I didn't expect one of my favorites this close to the years end. Dunwich Whore is an absolute mammoth of a song clocking in at over 13 minutes and it pulls in all the stops. It may very well be my DM song of the year.
The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn
Bloodicide - 1:39. Yeah, thats a shitty album name and an even shittier song name. But these death metal legends still have enough in the tank to cook out some very quality tunes. This song is full of fight riffs as well but in the first third it hits you with something that makes the 18 year old in me want to spin kick my friends.
By The Time I Get To Pennsylvania - 1:59. Coming in on this list as the band I never expected to see reunite much less start churning out new (and quality music) in 2018 is Racetraitor. This new stuff is very much still written by the same band that penned the brutal grindy and political charged metalcore of the late 90s, only now it seems even more cohesive than back then. Not to mention Mani sounds better than even. A great blend of blackened, death, and grind influences all over this record but this particular riff is just a perfect throwback late 90s metalcore banger.
Your Reason - :57. SPINE has been one of the most solid unsung hardcore bands out there since their inception. Originally sticking out thanks to vocals by none other than John Caution of Weekend Nachos, they switched him over to strictly drums and got one of the scariest motherfuckers I’ve ever seen to take over vocal duties. On their Bridge 9 LP debut, you’re getting equal parts Floorpunch and early No Warning and a whole lot of asskicking.
Outside of Outsiders - :52. If you had asked me in 2016 who the heir to American Nightmare’s legacy was I would have told you True Love. But 2018 saw AN return to stake their claim in hardcore, and True Love had to find their own way. The Pact is a darker, heavier, and much more aggressive record than their past releases and on the opening track they show you exactly why people are talking about them.