Robert Garland

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05.11.20 Recs For Daniel #104.03.20 Nocte's 2020 Quarter No. 1
12.03.19 Nocte's Top 50 of 2019 05.13.19 Nocte's 2019 So Far
12.23.18 Nocte's Best Albums Of 2018 03.29.18 March Madness 2018 Final
03.25.18 March Madness: The Fantastical Four03.22.18 Nocte's Q1 2018
03.21.18 March Madness: Round 4: Crazy Eights!03.18.18 March Madness Sweet 16: Round 3
03.15.18 Sputnik's March Madness Round 2: Final 03.13.18 Sputnik's March Madness Round 1: Divisi
03.11.18 Sputnikmusic's March Madness: Round 1, 02.22.18 Nocte's 2/12 2018
09.22.16 Album Of The Year Contenders?02.27.15 Nocte's 2/12 of 2015 Report
10.10.14 Nocte's 2014 So Far08.19.14 Funeral Obsession
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Nocte's Best Albums Of 2018

I think you guys/gals and tugboats know the drill by now. 2018 has been a big year, full of hugely positive releases and its share of disappointing albums. Despite this 2018 somewhat rivals those so-called big years in music. Here's what I've been listening to in a somewhat un-ranked list.
1Clouds (INT)

The funeral doom supergroup to end all supergroups. Tracks of longing and loss fill the void between halls and caverns alike. With its roster made up of Shape of Despair and Eye Of Solitude members (as well as others) there's appeal to those that appreciate the more accessible but completely gravid forms of doom.
Esoteric Malacology

My usual misgivings to anything musically thematic is now a thought to the wayside as Esoteric Malacology takes over my self indulgent mind and fills it with slime filled fantasy. The death metal is fierce, on point and casts no doubt as to what species is the superior.

Death metal has had a big year indeed. There was controversy (not to mention a staple of saxophone parts), but no controversy could outmatch the fierce and unwavering sonic assault of Idol.
4Sul ad Astral

A quick look through sput's rating's says that this guy hasn't had too many spins or received anywhere near the attention it deserves. The immersive space between post metal and natural progression. Admittedly, it's a slow grower and at times a hurdle but the journey is as rewarding as the album itself.
5Funeral Tears
The Only Way Out

Doom metal has taken a definite backseat to the powerhouse of death metal this year. That's not death's fault, rather the likes of Clouds and Mournful Congregation just couldn't match the quality and quantity of albums popping up every week. Funeral Tears is another slow moving display of melancholy and not quite as memorable as the other acts mentioned above.
6Arkona (RUS)

It's early release date hasn't aged Arkona's latest too well, namely because it's been forgotten about. Another quality album that got buried all too quickly.
Nebula Septem

Nebula Septem is admittedly the weakest offering Monolithe has dressed up in their career. It's not bad, per se. Rather the motif of "seven" doesn't carry well enough into the songwriting to give validation to the fact that Monolithe turn everything to doom filled gold.

Erdve dropped the debut of the year. There I said it.
9Horizon Ablaze
The Weight Of A Thousand Suns

Yeah the love child of Gojira and Emperor is heavy, interesting and all over the place in the best possible way. It may not be as heavy as the title suggests but it's one of the year's more interesting metal releases.

Another genre bender blender. More focused on the band's previous releases and all the quality to match. The 'jazzier' elements run parallel to the death metal grandiosity. It's hard to see how the band will move forward after the death of their drummer shortly after the album's release.
11Rolo Tomassi
Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It

This album has been popping into general discussion throughout the year and deserving of the praise it has been receiving everywhere.
12Judas Priest

Leather jackets, flame throwers and an aging legacy that can still bring shame to the kids trying to be like their idols. We all have heroes, we just don't want to see them go.
13Barren Earth
A Complex of Cages

With a bit more polishing these guys could be the next Opeth (the heavier version, not the hippy prog version). The clean vocal work takes some getting used to for sure but there's merit to be found here every day of the week.
Exile Amongst the Ruins

Man crushes are okay for Primordial right? The 'black n' roll' approach of their latest album left a few heads being scratched when one considers the band's past works but Primordial are going to do what they want, even if it's dragging its listeners to the Hangman's Noose.
15Can Bardd
Nature Stays Silent

A few production issues but Can Bardd are on the way to becoming Saor-tier.

A short blackened folk piece for Atari. Gentle, smooth and pleasantly bringing the Swedish mountain.

When metalcore started letting everyone down this year Caliban were just waiting in the wings with their stock standard formula and occasional banger.

People got on the hype train quickly for Tesseract, and then got off at the next stop once the album dropped. It's not fantastic, but it's not bad either.

All hail Ihsahn
20Letters From The Colony

It's a tech death album with a saxophone, you work it out.
Liquid Anatomy

One of the year's more contentious death metal albums. More cohesive than the band's last offering, Liquid Anatomy is a highlight, even if you don't agree.
22Ghost (SWE)

All hail the apocalypse, the world's ending and of course cheese.
23Joan of Arc

I'm not one to waver too far from what's normal and known to me, but I couldn't help appreciate the quirk, the minimalism or the outright abrasive smoothness of Joan of Arc's experimental pop.

Blackened thrash that doesn't suck or blow. It's over quickly enough to ensure no one becomes sick of it, plus the art's pretty.
Sun Dethroned

Amon Amarth-core
Permanent Destitution

Profound Lore have a knack for signing the bands we should be keeping more of an eye on. Hissing's brand of death metal is their own but hearkens both Portal vibes and death revival.
27In Chasms Deep
The Realm Between

Death, Decay, And Magick Foul.
28Ghastly (FIN)
Death Velour

Yet another solid release to add to death metal's 2018 tally.
The Passage of Existence

Nothing new, but everything to see here. Another top-tier release from the Monstrosity camp.
Cinereous Incarnate

Another definition of a slow grower, Abstracter provide doubt on whether they're moving from strength to strength but this shouldn't be missed on a whim.
31Until Death Overtakes Me

I've always followed the long winded funeral dirges that seep slowly into the mind penetrating the subconscious and reinforcing why it's okay to not be okay. Missing may not have the same potency as A Prelude To Monolith but carries the same vibes.
32Anaal Nathrakh
A New Kind of Horror

The same kind of horror, but cleaner and less vehement than the album's predecessors.
33Beyond Creation

Death metal consistency appealing for supremacy.

Roots, Bloody Roots! Turns out Max has some fight left in him, he just has to remember the good ol' days to bring back the relevancy of Soulfly's groove based mainstream thrash.
The Phobos / Deimos Suite

Cavern built tech death that doesn't feature the use of a certain saxophone.
Panoptic Horror

Thrash/death. I wish I had more to say about this apart from it does exactly what it's supposed to and I'm definitely okay with that.

Another contender for death metal supremacy circa 2018. It comes from nowhere and leaves nothing left when it's done.
The Last One

Why is this so god-damn fucking catchy?
Cenotaph Obscure

Another contender for death metal supremacy circa 2018. Horrendous tier as far as the year's efforts in metal are concerned.
40Northern Crown
Northern Crown

41Burial Invocation

Solid, albeit meandering death metal.
42Glacial Tomb
Glacial Tomb

Thirty five minutes of solid deathened glory. Overshadowed by its peers, but in the best possible way.

Gorod equals god? No wait, don't answer that.
Hollow Earth

Dewi reviewed it because I told him to. He loved it like I knew he would and you should too.
45Devouring Star
The Arteries of Heresy

This is beautiful, but dank.
The Hallowing of Heirdom

Why did you guys stop talking about this? Folk you can leave on repeat with a glass of wine in hand.
47The Ocean
Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

I don't think I could get away with posting a 2018 list without mentioning what actually is my Album Of The Year. Luckily I reviewed it so I don't have to keep repeating myself.
48Entropia (PL)

Suffocating, entrancing and everything in between. Entropia can keep genre hopping, I'll just try and keep up with it all.
Empty Black

While mainstream metalcore may have been a let down this year, the left of field stuff is exceptional.
Into The Eternity A Moment We Are

Doom metal that can sit on the shelf right next to my Eye Of Solitude collection. The female led vocals are a nice deviation from the standards the genre now finds itself falling into.

Another album that suffered from an early release date. Forgotten too early in a year filled with solid to excellent releases.
Under Ether

Smooth tones hide a dark secret.
Survive Sunrise

Let the love flow through your locks, caress your back and whisper sweet nothings into your ear.
54The Atlas Moth
Coma Noir

Another early album which to be fair found itself overrated slightly, but only slightly.

Straightforward black metal, up tempo and fierce.
I Loved You At Your Darkest

A quick glance over a few others' lists and I'm wondering why this isn't getting a similar recognition from when it was released. Regardless, it's deserving of the praise.
57Bleed From Within

While Rob Flynn was disappointing us with Machine Head's latest, Bleed From Within were releasing the album metalcore desperately needed this year.
58 Boar

Sit back, grab a beer and stop giving a fuck.

60Chaos Echoes

Disruptive and pleasurable noisy death al a Portal
61Coram Lethe
In Absence

Another death metal album inviting hell on its unwitting victims only to be spat out a shell of their former selves.
62Crippled Black Phoenix
Great Escape

Album of the year potential. Built with grace and beauty.
63The Crown
Cobra Speed Venom

If you like metal (at all) this is a must listen for 2018.
Overtures of Blasphemy

Glen Benton and co. cookie monster their way through one of their better releases in the last few years.
65Destroyer 666
Call of the Wild

Call of the metal fan.
Self​-​Annihilating Consciousness
The Colder The Night

Such pretty music.
68Encircling Sea

Completely overlooked as far as the year's better music goes. There was a lot that was better, even more that is worse.

Lost tales of a fallen soldier wrapped into a less than succinct of funeral doom. Sign me up.
The White Witch

71Glorior Belli
The Apostates

Gators rumble, Apostates quake.
72God Is an Astronaut

Not the best thing ever, but we needed more God Is An Astronaut this year.

Not quite as good as everyone was making out, but it's definitely still great.
74Hands Of Despair
Well of the Disquieted

Well Of The Disquieted runs rampart, building on a foundation that is melodic, deathly and venomous enough to qualify in the realms of black metal. It's forgettable, and unfortunate in design.

Epic, straight forward and everything we love about Kalmah.
76King Goat
Debt Of Aeons

Drudging along disquiet.
77King Witch
Under the Mountain

They tried for full Sabbath, fell short of copycatting.
Sea of Duress

Fans of Erdve's debut should give this one a go. I seem to have misplaced my wine.

More pretty music from another act that's been left back at the start of the year.
Ancient Shadows of Saturn

Atmospheric Black Metal
81Lunatic Soul
Under The Fragmented Sky

An acquired taste.
82Marsh Dweller

Pretty lo-fi black metal, genre hopping stuff.
83Noise Trail Immersion
Symbology of Shelter

What is a genre tag for?
84Oceans of Slumber
The Banished Heart

Cammie Gilbert is quickly becoming one of my favourite vocalists. Her dexterity bridges genre gaps and puts heart back into stagnation. The Banished Heart is all the more emotional because of her vocal performance and is a legitimate highlight of the year.
85Orphaned Land
Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs

Despite being released way too early in the year to be remembered recently, Orphaned Land has made one of their career highlights, rivaling even that of the legendary Mabool.
86Palm Reader
The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness

So magnificent it needed to be shown in two parts The Scars Of Man... should be a feature of many music fans end of year lists.

Portal toned down the swarth and released an album that can appeal to a slightly larger audience. With repeated listens ION even matches the band's best performances.

Admittedly, the songwriting here is missing that little something that woulld allow Riverside's newest offering to transcend the classifications and be the album it deserves to be.
90Rota Fortunae

Campfires, Trees and a cold winters' night all leave us with how great this little EP is. Solstice is over too soon.

Obligatory Saxon mention.
Sangue Cassia

Robert Davis-core
93Skeletal Remains
Devouring Mortality

Death metal revival, pure and with no frills.
94Sleep In Heads
On the Air

For fans of Alcest and Lacuna Coil simultaneously.
The Shadowed Road

"We're taking the Hobbits to Isengard"

Beauty, refined.
With Doom We Come

"We're taking the Hobbits to Isengard" with less production values.
Come Ethereal Somberness

Another genre bender bridging the gaps between black, death metal.

This year is truly the year of Thou. Three EP's and a full length, all top quality. Us plebs can only dream of being that good.
100Thy Catafalque
101Tomb Mold
Manor of Infinite Forms

Filthy death.
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