El Cuervo’s and Diabolus in Muzaka’s Top Ten of 2018

El Cuervo

You didn’t click on this list to read my semi-philosophical and self-obsessed musings on the year passed (you can read my previous years’ lists for those) so I’ll crack on with the musical commentary. While there were plenty of quality metal releases from 2018, I feel there was dearth of outstanding ones which would truly merit recognition in the shortlist for Album o’ the Year. This is reflected in my ensuing list which features a couple of left-field picks. In fact, rather than discussing trends and themes, I thought it may be more entertaining and useful to our valued readers to write a quick summary of my favorite older discoveries which occupied more of my time than new ones.

My journey along Camel’s discography yielded the poppier-than-ever but endlessly enjoyable Breathless with its effervescent melodies and delightfully light tone. Speaking of not-quite-pop pop, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love1 had a significant impact on my listening rotation through its more subtle hooks and interesting integration of somber, atmospheric tracks which would go on to feature more heavily in her work. My other great atmospheric discovery was the Risky Business soundtrack composed by Tangerine Dream, a synth-driven ambient album with quietly infectious motifs; you’ll scarcely realize you’re loving the music until 25 minutes have passed and you immediately want to replay them. While on the subject of soundtracks, Goblin’s work for Dario Argento’s suspenseful thriller/horror Profondo Rosso is more creepy and evil than the most trve of corpse-painted black metal bands in its sparse narrations of the movie’s key sequences. You want something with more rock? You probably got there before me but I finally connected with Blue Öyster Cult through Agents of Fortune. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” offers particularly famous advice (plus cowbell) but also don’t miss the deeper cuts on this great, rocking album. Finally, Arizona’s Ashbury walks a sweet line between 70s hard rock and 80s heavy metal with their oft-overlooked 1983 debut called Endless Skies. Check it out alongside their cool new album from this year.

#10. Marillion // F.E.A.R – What’s that you’re saying? F.E.A.R isn’t a 2018 release? It’s not a metal album? Or even a hard rock one? Silence, I command thee, naysayer. For I have decreed that there was a dearth of outstanding releases from 2018 and I fear that F.E.A.R may have been underappreciated by myself and others on its release in 2016. It took over a year from that point but my most listened-to album in the past 12 months has been this gem. It truly is a career highlight from a band whose storied discography also includes outstanding releases in every decade since the 80s. Steve Hogarth’s vocals are typically soulful and emotive but it’s the subtle and evocative soundscapes conjured by Steve Rothery’s superlative guitar and Mark Kelly’s amazing keyboard which tie this record into the progressive masterpiece it is. I do not use that word easily; but it assuredly merits it as a top 5 record from the 2010s, in any genre.

#9. Amorphis // Queen of Time – One thing that has confounded me about Amorphis of late is the inability to succinctly describe the music they currently make. Opening their great tale (from the thousand lakes, naturally) with old-school death metal and journeying through melodeath, folk metal, and prog, they have now arrived at 2018’s Queen of Time. It touches on all of these elements but the real takeaway is that you can never doubt the extraordinary quality and consistency of these Finns. This record may be their most direct and melodic yet, boasting supreme choruses and low-fat song lengths. If you fail to engage with “The Bee,” “Wrong Direction” and particularly “Amongst Stars,” you have objectively shitty taste and need to spend more time reading my reviews.2

#8. VOLA // Applause of a Distant Crowd – It’s rare that the poppiest version of anything is the most innovative or unique. And yet VOLA this year take both of these crowns on my list for their singular vision of catchy, pop music executed with groovy djent and melodic electronica. Leaving aside the obvious comparisons with their own debut from 2015, Applause of a Distant Crowd is terrifically inventive and outrageously hooky, embarking on a never-ending quest to ruin your repeat button through buttery-smooth vocals, headbangable guitars and keyboard melodies which embed within two bars. The most “fun” I had with metal this year.

#7. Un // Sentiment – There is a lot riding on Un as the sole purveyor of real brvtality on my 2018 list. And a mighty purveyor it is, indeed, as a crushing example of American death / doom metal. Sentiment is a ponderous record but the monolithic riffs and shifts through lighter passages with harmonized guitars revitalize the four tracks throughout their lengthy durations. If you simply have to be more upset than you currently are, pop this bad-boy on and experience the devastation.

#6. Barren Earth // A Complex of Cages – This entry may be that which I identified most immediately as something which would be likely to make my list. A Complex of Cages is a progressive metal album wrapping death metal riffs, doomy atmospheres and smart song-writing into a cohesive whole which treads further from the doom-influenced Opeth / Amorphis crossover of On Lonely Towers, great though that record also was. My first run-through was engaging and enjoyable but it was the finale “Withdrawal” which brought the package together through its subtle crescendos and the ridiculously great vocals of Jón Aldará. From this, the record worked its way backwards into my memory, creeping up my short-list of favorite 2018 records. A worthy addition to an already accomplished discography.

#5. Eneferens // The Bleakness of Our Constant – You know how sometimes a piece of music just clicks and you know, from the outset, that it will be amazing? Such was my first experience with Eneferens and their third full-length entitled The Bleakness of Our Constant. The opener, “Leave,” is literally the best four minutes of atmospheric black metal I have heard this year and a striking marker of the intensely emotive, melancholic, and, ultimately, memorable forty minutes which follow. 90% of the best-selling metal releases on Bandcamp are irredeemable trash masquerading as atmospheric black metal but albums such as this one (just) justify the swathes of dreck through which one must wade to reach the quality. It’s certainly more melodic than furious on the scale of black metal but its impact is all the greater for it.

#4. The Night Flight Orchestra // Sometimes the World Ain’t Enough – Two albums in less than two years in this era ordinarily either indicates of a creative streak or precisely the opposite; a band refusing to develop by repeating themselves3. While Sometimes the World Ain’t Enough still boasts tasty retro rock apparently heralding 1975 through 1985 as the greatest decade ever, it actually walks the line between these two ideas, as another genre is integrated this time: that of disco. I hope the line is drawn here as I’m unsure that punk, the burgeoning rap scene and Eurodance from that same decade would add much, but the album is at least stylistically differentiated from its predecessor. This influence is heard but is not over-bearing and I’m pleased to report that NFO still stand tall as the premier throwback band. I can also now confirm that they are an absolute delight to experience live.

#3. The Midnight // Kids – Riffs. Brutality. Darkness. Evil. These are just a few of the things festering at the core of this monumental work of heavy metal. It should be considered a landmark release in the genre and I implore you spend time wallowing in the pain it induces.4

#2. Weedpecker // III – Who would have guessed that Weedpecker would feature so highly on my list in January? Not me, even with the glowing 4.0 with which I awarded III. But they say it’s the growers that are the keepers and that maxim rings true here. Clenching with memorable, stoner riffs but then releasing for its passages of psychedelia, I’ve found few records so thoroughly engrossing as this one. I generally prefer metal which is not tethered to one particular musical motif on a track, and III deftly but dynamically blurs ideas in a long-form, painterly fashion. It’s just as great in the moment-to-moment and up close as it is from a distance, which is a marker of wonderful art.

#1. In Vain // Currents – The justification for the award of an Record o’ the Year can become very academic. But it ultimately turns on that visceral feeling; that deep stirring where feelings are inspired and you can’t help but love the music. Currents by In Vain has that in spades. It invokes a soaring heroism where I feel ten feet taller than I am in its consummate bombast and excellent climaxes. Such bombastic swells are principally achieved through exemplary harmonies, both of the vocal and guitar types; Currents is a ridiculously epic album, gilding all of its key melodies with layers of vocals and guitars. Subtle embellishments to the core blend of black, melodic death and progressive metal, and which contribute to the grandiosity, also include judicious orchestral instrumentation and a finely-balanced blend of harsh and clean vox. It’s diverse, memorable, but most importantly, has been my Record o’ the Year since January. I confer this award with absolute assurance in its longevity.

In Vain - Currents

Honorable Mentions

  • Witxes // Orients – Simultaneously incredibly expansive and introspective, Orients sees Witxes perusing ambient, electronica and synth in their exploration of life. Truly a moving release.
  • Rivers of Nihil // Where Owls Know My Name – I actually agree with all of Kronos’ criticisms: the riffs can be very uninspiring, the progressive elements aren’t neatly integrated, and it’s spotty for quality. But what can I say? I’m a sucker for wild sax solos.

Disappointments o’ the Year

  • That Marius Strand still still hasn’t released another The Fall of Every Season record.5
  • Panopticon // The Scars of Man Upon the Once Nameless Wilderness – Where to from one of the best, atmospheric black metal and folk metal releases from the past few years? In some ways the decision taken by Mr. Austin Lunn was not all that surprising: splitting his release into two discs, one principally featuring black metal and the other pure, acoustic folk. But partitioning the two has robbed his greatest strength in dynamics as the two styles inter-wove. Even taking the two separately, I found the melodies forgettable an overarching blandness. To fall from greatness to long-winded mediocrity is nothing if not disappointing.

Song o’ the Year

In Vain’s “And Quiet Flows the Scheldt” – This is the first year since 2014 when my individual Song o’ the Year has derived from my Album o’ the Year. But the strangest element of this selection is that it’s not even on the regular edition of Currents;6 I am particularly delighted to feature “And Quiet Flows the Scheldt” as many listeners of In Vain may not have even heard it. This track truly has it all: riffs, harmonies, baritone Scandy chants, sax solos and a huge chorus. It assuredly sits further towards the melodic end of tracks from this album but this is no problem when all these sounds coalesce into such a sweet, sweet, musical blend; in other words, these are the best eight minutes of music from 2018.

Diabolus in Muzaka

A pile of untouched promo rots in the AMG Bin, providing not just cleaning jobs for n00bs between floggings and pro-Jørn indoctrination but a symbol of just how much stuff we inevitably missed this year. Somewhere in that pile may have been my favorite record of the year. It’s too late to find that now, but it’s high time to appreciate the glut of music I actually did hear this year and my favorites that emerged. I found that, on balance, 2018 produced a ton of “Very Good” records. The hardest part of this list was the “Honorable Mentions,” of which there are a scandalous amount of below. I didn’t have space for Revocation’s The Outer Ones, which is the one record of theirs that really clicked with me, or Funeral Mist’s Hekatomb, which provided some icy and effective black metal held back only by the stupid child vocals in the finale. Cemetery Urn’s worthy latest record just missed inclusion too, as did “Very Good” records by Unearth, Kraanium, Saxon, Ingested, Internal Bleeding, Parius, Lik, The Absence, Judicator, and Cist. Even that list is woefully incomplete; there was just too much good (read: “Very Good”) stuff to make anything close to a proper list of what could be considered the decisive best of 2018.

My solution to this quandary was to just not attempt that kind of list. What I’ve tried to do here is compile the releases that, for one reason or another, excited me the most as a fan instead of as a reviewer. Throwing scores and credibility to the wind, I’ve made a list of albums that I was excited to show my metalhead friends, and that I was excited to score a copy of. What you’re about to read is highly subjective, arbitrary, and likely offensive to your tastesas any good year-end list should be. In the business of writing reviews, we’re essentially preparing a “thesis”Album by Band is worth ?.?/5.0pleading our case as to why an album is great, terrible, or somewhere in between. Here, it’s about what I put on the stereo the most in my “down-time” between reviews. It’s about what I was most excited to dive into again and again, lyrics in hand. It’s about stuff I like, for one reason or another, sometimes independent of the scrutiny afforded to records I review. It’s about those records that helped make 2018 special.

Before diving into this monstrosity of a list, a few words of thanks are commensurate with the occasion. First, thank you to our tireless, thorough, and brilliant editors for making the unstoppable machine of AMG well-oiled, and the ship as tight as can be. Second, thank you to all of my fellow writers for constantly raising the bar that we all try to reach with our pieces here, and being all-around good folks to boot. Special thanks to the n00bs for taking stuff I don’t want to write about as well, and being great sports about everything here. Finally, thank you to everyone who reads and comments here. The deep dives into Bandcamp’s darkest chasms for gems, the attention obviously paid to the writing which is humbling and keeps us putting our best work forward, the sheer quality of discussion, and the endless stream of unicorns and inside jokes make for a delightful little community that I’m overjoyed to be a part of. Everyone above has made 2018 the best year for AMG yet, and 2019 is poised to be even better. Enjoy the list below, and see how many of your favorite records are missing from it.

(ish): Agonal Breathing / Gangrenectomy / Pit of Toxic Slime / Traumotomy // Rampage – The Rampage split is the most disgusting slam you’ll hear all year. The Agonal Breathing snare sounds like St. Anger on steroids and it rules. This is no B-side graveyard; each band brings fresh choice cuts. The meat tenderizer is used on the listener instead of the beef, with each band taking a fifteen-minute turn across four songs each. Rampage is packed to the brim with gutturals, gurgles, barfs, pinch harmonics, the filthiest chugs, obnoxious drums, and general effrontery. This bucket of gore, grime, and vomit is lovingly crafted, and there’s a spirit of fun competition throughout. Each band tries to be the heaviest one on Rampage, and everyone sounds absolutely stoked to be recording the grossest musical menaces to polite society they can muster. A great split that deserves all the recognition it can get.

#10. Outre-Tombe // NécrovortexOld-school death metal bands seem to come off the assembly line nowadays. While I’m certainly not bored of the genre, fewer and fewer releases seem to actually stick; most are a Post-It note in the rain after a few spins. Outre-Tombe bring nothing new, in a sense, to the table. Instead, they load the table with your favorite dishes. What’s more, they’re fans of those dishes too and seem to understand how they’re made, adding just the right amount of spices and, of course, their own spin on it. It’s still recognizable, it still tastes great – better than you remember, even – but it’s just better than most other times you’ve had it. Dig in and enjoy, because it certainly won’t always be this good. While some bands bring more and more prog into old-school death to the delight of some, bands like Outre-Tombe bring nothing more than high energy and great riffs. I prefer the latter approach.

#9. Voivod // The Wake – I’ve never been the biggest Voivod fan because I never “got” what they were doing. The Wake changed that. The campy sci-fi theme and the weird but still unmistakably metal riffs make for a combination like cold beer and juicy burgers. The Wake is kept from being pretentious by being a lot of fun, having a playful tone that much modern metal lacks. Voivod impresses technically not by playing a thousand notes per minute, but rather by showing just how many cool things you can do with guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. They show you all of this in real, honest-to-goodness, well-written songs. I was lucky enough to see Voivod live this year, and throughout their set they all had these huge smiles on their faces. When I started spinning The Wake and really digging into its many treasures, I looked the same.

#8. Abysmal Torment // The MisanthropeThe Misanthrope is the best tech-death record of 2018. Abysmal Torment have effectively cut out the genre’s pretensions (no jazzy outbreaks, vocoder, bad clean singing, or excessive bass noodling here!) and delivered a record equal parts pulverizing and precise. Out of ten tracks, two are interludes/intros and they still rule. This sounds like what Decapitated probably should if they weren’t busy making boring djent or whatever Blood Mantra and Anticult were supposed to be. That The Misanthrope is about half an hour long means that it never overstays its welcome and begs for incessant replays. Weirdly, it’s easier to listen to The Misanthrope twice in a row than it is to sit through fifty minutes of similar stuff. That’s probably because Abysmal Torment are exemplary songwriters. I had an unhealthy compulsion to listen to this since its release, and it’s still exciting to pop in the tray and be bulldozed by tech-death riffsreal, proper riffsagain and again.

#7. Hate Eternal // Upon Desolate Sands – I wasn’t a metalhead when Hate Eternal formed. Up until 2008’s Fury and Flames, I’d only heard their discography in retrospect. This means I’ve now had four Hate Eternal records that could be “my” Hate Eternal record, in the sense that I was “there” when it came out. Contemporaneity is an underrated factor when it comes to music; when we’re around as metalheads for the release of an album and we care about it (or stumbled across it and were blown away), that album takes on a special meaning. It represents a moment in time, it can be “linked” to something personal. It’s more than an historical artifact; it’s part of our personal history with the genre. With all of this considered, I think I may have been “there” for the release of Hate Eternal’s best record, eagerly anticipating it after the solid Infernus. Upon Desolate Sands is a triumph in songwriting, performance, and production. It’s the product of years of work, refinement, and success. It’s the best lineup of the band working with Erik Rutan at the current peak of his production powers. Whatever the future may hold, Upon Desolate Sands is a high note in a career full of them. It will be tough to top, but we can be sure Mr. Rutan will try.

#6. Sulphur Aeon // The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos – I’ve put way too much thought into justifying where Sulphur Aeon should be on this list, and have concluded that it doesn’t matter. Could it have been at or nearer to the top if it came out months earlier? Probably, but how could I know that? The big takeaway here is that, in a year chock full of very good records, Sulphur Aeon barreled in at the eleventh hour and delivered a great one. The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos has the best melodeath melodies of the year, but also has some of the burliest death metal riffs I’ve heard in the last twelve months. Nobody sounds like them, and for good reason; their sound is a brilliant combination of heft and majesty, of crushing weight and soaring melodies. The addition of clean vocals was a benefit too, as they’re used atmospherically for a creepy Cthulhu cultist chanting instead of a cheap chorus crutch. Essential stuff that raises the bar for next year early.

#5. Them // Manor of the Se7en Gables – It ain’t easy being spooky. It’s pretty easy scoring a high spot in Diabolus in Muzaka‘s Top Ten though! All you need is a charismatic vocalist whose falsetto is off the charts good, a story that carries over multiple records, the best Iced Earth riffs since at least Horror Show, and Blind Guardian’s gift for excellent vocal harmonies. There’s also more hooks than your button-mashing jabroni of a friend throws when they somehow beating you in Mortal Kombat. Perhaps all that isn’t so simple after all, but Them made it look easy on Manor of the Se7en Gables. Spooky fun for the whole family! Unless you have a weird cousin who’s only into Deafheaven and whatever “Cascadian Black Metal” is. Upon hearing the rip-roaring “Circuitous” he would cry to the void (or Instagram) “O fun, what horrors have been wrought in thy name!” instead of listening to “Circuitous” three more times right away like a normal person. For everyone else, crank it up and enjoy the spookiness!

#4. Monstrosity // The Passage of Existence – My most anticipated death metal event of 2018 did not disappoint. Monstrosity’s return makes a whole lot of death metal unnecessary this year, because much of what the genre is doing is just done better on The Passage of Existence. There are still times when I’ll mentally exit whatever I’m doing for a moment and think about how perfect the “Kingdom of Fire” chorus is. As far as “pure” death metal goes, this is easily the best release of 2018. If this is curtains for Monstrosity, they’ve gone out on a note so high that King Diamond would be jealous. If they continue onward, The Passage of Existence is an Olympic-level high bar to clear with their next release. I thought the same about Spiritual Apocalypse, but now The Passage of Existence has replaced that record as my go-to Monstrosity. If you still haven’t listened to this yet, you’ve made a grievous error in judgment and taste. I don’t often believe pre-release hyperbole, but drummer Lee Harrison was right to call this the best record of Monstrosity’s career.

#3. Visigoth // Conqueror’s OathVisigoth is a steely oasis in the middle of a crowded metallic metropolis. Few bands are as metal in the classic 80s sensethe same way Conan the Barbarian is ridiculously metalas Visigoth. Who doesn’t want to listen to forty-odd minutes of songs about swords and conquering? Conqueror’s Oath is as catchy as the plague in a rat motel for its entire runtime. There’s a song about Highlander and it’s one of the best songs of 2018. “Salt City” is a great, weird B-side in a sense I haven’t heard in ages. I quite liked Firepower, but Visigoth’s “Traitor’s Gate” is the best song with that name from 2018. Granted, Visigoth isn’t likely to make you popular with the ladiesunless you turn the insatiable urge to conquer and pillage into pillaging the heavier dumbbells or plates and conquering your bench press stats, in which case Conqueror’s Oath is a great boon. Getting Visigoth songs out of your head is like not being King Arthur and trying to remove Excalibur from the stone: you look and feel like a chump, and they’re not going anywhere until something truly special comes along. Conqueror’s Oath is great, catchy, concise, well produced, and will probably make you happier after hearing it. Apart from a bonus edition with two extra tracks and an actual broadsword, what more can you ask for?

#2. Anaal Nathrakh // A New Kind of Horror – Obviously, I disagree with the insightful review Grymm wrote about A New Kind of Horror. Anaal Nathrakh have, to my ears, made a triumph of a record with their best subject-matter to date. Everything I like about the band is here, and each song, instead of trying to cram it all into one, represents some of that. Dave Hunt’s incredible clean vocals drive “Obscene as Cancer” and “New Bethlehem/Mass Death Futures,” while Mick Kenney’s excellent ear for melody renders “The Apocalypse is About You!” and “Vi Coactus” unforgettable. Nearly everyone missed the brilliance of “Forward!” as well: bursts of machine-gun fire introduce us to the soldiers in the trenches, ceasing when the simple pleasures of home are remembered, only to return when the soldier snaps back to reality with his commander’s shout of “Forward!” This thematic success comes with one burly, awesome groove too. “Mother of Satan” hearkens back to older, colder Anaal for a moment, scratching that Codex Necro itch. The simple, repetitive rhythm underlying “The Horrid Strife” is perfect for its lyrics (an excerpt of D.H. Lawrence’s “Kisses and Horrid Strife”), giving Hunt a blank canvas to emphasize the words and phrases he wants to from the poem. A New Kind of Horror may not be the absolute best Anaal Nathrakh record, but it’s certainly their most profound and meaningful.

#1. The Crown // Cobra Speed VenomCobra Speed Venom is why I love heavy metal. Riffs got me into this whole thingI still remember maniacally playing air guitar to “Hit the Lights” when I was in sixth grade – and riffs sustain my fandom. The Crown go absolutely bonkers with riffs on Cobra Speed Venom, throwing down what would take the average band three careers to accomplish in a little over forty minutes. It’s more than just the riffs thoughit’s unadulterated fun. Cobra Speed Venom is a celebration of what makes metal greatriffs, energy, wild solos, vicious vocals, and a real elan that, above all else, makes metal sound like metal. Plenty of records miss that mark, but Cobra Speed Venom does not. It’s a tour-de-force, a massive demonstration of musical power that shocks, awes, and sticks in your craw. Every song here is highlight, each having two absolute barn-burner riffs at minimum. The Crown owned 2018. Nothing else came close to the absolute triumph of, and I don’t say this lightly, their peak as a band. I underrated Cobra Speed Venom when I reviewed it; this is heavy metal perfection. 2018 was a solid year overall, but nothing came close to The Crown.

Honorable Mentions

  • Mental Cruelty // Purgatorium – If you like Abominable Putridity, you’ll like this a lot, especially if you think a dash of blackened melody would improve their sound. The vocals are absolutely unhinged in the best way too.
  • Soulfly // Ritual – Max Cavalera riffs again, and he riffs hard. Ritual was a wonderful surprise, a camo stocking stuffed full of beefy riffs and fat grooves, and even a dash of smooth sax courtesy of “Soulfly XI.”
  • Tech N9ne // Planet Tech’s flow is basically what Dave Lombardo’s drums in Slayer would be if they were vocals. Also, the production rules and there’s a song about mosh pits.
  • Kataklysm // Meditations – Came close to cracking the proper list, but Meditations is essentially business as usual. Business is booming though, chock-full of big riffs and great tunes.
  • Blade of Horus // Obliteration – Ever wonder what would happen if Obscura or Gorod listened to a whole bunch of Vulvodynia and said “hey, let’s try our hand at this!”? Well, here’s your answer, and it rules.
  • Sargeist // Unbound – Sometimes beautiful, sometimes haunting, sometimes morose, but always unabashedly black metal, Sargeist did a great job with Unbound.
  • Kill Everything // Scorched Earth – It slaps, it bangs, and it chugs harder than a dude at a kegger. Scorched Earth is quality slam that’s not to be missed if you’re into throwing hammers and zombie circle pits.
  • Rumahoy // The Triumph of Piracy – Hands down the stupidest thing I’ve heard this year, Rumahoy makes some seriously fun folk metal. Plenty of hooks and “yarr” in this here vessel.
  • Psycroptic // As the Kingdom Drowns – A dizzying riff tornado with tight and concise songs. For whatever reason, I could never get into Psycroptic before this despite numerous attempts. Stellar cover too!
  • Deicide // Overtures of Blasphemy – The first time in a decade a Deicide record has stuck with me. They’re playing quality riffs again, and there’s some fire behind them! Production is nice, dirtier than the last two snooze-fests.

Disappointment o’ the Year

Behemoth // I Loved You at Your Darkest#ILYAYD is a disaster. The title, a paraphrase of Romans 5:8, is symbolic. While the Devil could quote Scripture to nefarious effect, Behemoth can loosely paraphrase it in a way that appeals to goth jailbait. Conveniently, edgy teenagers seem to be the intended audience here, as #ILYAYD is as pretentious as a French cafe and as heavy as a feather pillow. The sad joke of “God=Dog” takes inspiration from The Okkult Writings ov Doktor Zeuss lyrically and what sounds like the Forbidden Magick of Ambien musically. Behemoth’s well of truly controversial material has run dry, so while they still incessantly pilfer from Aleister Crowley like insatiable babies at an okkult teat, they’ve decided to make something musically divisive to keep their iconoclastic image going. #ILYAYD is indeed musically divisive; it divides the average listener from consciousness by being utterly devoid of riffs. #ILYAYD has provided me absolutely no material that I find worthwhile as a fan of Behemoth and death metal generally. RIYL: doodling inverted crosses on your math homework, Sephora, upsetting your parents, the “Spirituality and Occult” section at Chapters.

Song o’ the Year

The Crown’s “Iron Crown”

Show 6 footnotes

  1. Jørn-approved
  2. And probably spend less time reading Steel Druhm‘s reviews, the simian poser.
  3. Or your name is Vardan. – Steel
  4. Have the editors looked away now? What Kids actually entails is the best synthwave release of the year, brimming with warm synths, fuzzy nostalgia for an era I never lived through and the immaculate vocals of Tyler Lyle. Sure, they may have unveiled three of the best tracks prior to release which spoiled my first play-through but the absolute magic of “Lost Boy,” “America 2” and “Explorers” ensures that I can easily overlook this. My only complaint is that I want more; only six of the tracks are proper songs compared with twelve on 2016’s Endless Summer. If you question its presence on this list, I omitted the Nocturnal EP in 2017 and refuse to make such an omission again.
  5. It’s been over seven months since his last Instagram post, the little cock-tease
  6. In a fit of questionable genius, the band took the decision to release two versions of this album, one featuring two less tracks than the other.
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