2018 was an incredible year for metal. Even though I didn't wind up reviewing very much on Metal Elitist this year (2018 beat me down in just about every way possible), ole duder kept his ear to the ground throughout. What did I hear? An embarrassment of riches! I started this list with 58 albums that were all legitimately great in one way or another. It was one hell of a challenge to cut then down to just 25, and harder still to rank them against one another. But the result is truly the definitive best metal albums of 2018 list. Worship it! Forsake all others! These are the best albums of 2018, goddammit!
Note: I'm including Bandcamp players for easy reference. But don't take that as an excuse to be a Scrooge. Pay up, cheapskate, and support these incredible artists. They probably deserve your money more than you do.
(25) Monotheist—Scourge (Prosthetic)
Brooding, sinister tech death with tasteful orchestral interludes from Florida.
(24) Gruesome—Twisted Prayers (Relapse)
Delicious Spiritual Healing tribute from Death tribute band out of (of course) Florida.
(23) Hate Eternal—Upon Desolate Sands (Season of Mist)
Aggressive, straightforward extreme death metal from (again!) Florida.
(22) Revocation—The Outer Ones (Metal Blade)
Surprisingly catchy guitar virtuoso tech death out of Boston.
(21) Gaerea—Unsettling Whispers (Transcending Obscurity)
Modern, entrancing black metal from Portugal.
(20) High On Fire—Electric Messiah (Entertainment One)
Punky biker sludge tribute to Lemmy from California.
(19) Skeletonwitch—Devouring Radiant Light (Prosthetic)
Blackened thrash with emotional heft from Ohio.
(18) Drudkh—They Often See Dreams About The Spring (Season of Mist)
Beautiful ethereal, post-rock influenced black metal from Ukraine.
(17) Obscura—Diluvium (Relapse)
Proggy tech death from Munich.
(16) Nightmarer—Cacophony of Terror (Season of Mist)
Frightening blackened death from Florida.
(15) Gorod—Aethra (Overpowered)
Mind-bending tech death from France.
(14) Panopticon—The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (Nordvis)
A charming tour through Americana, folk, bluegrass, and black metal. Minnesota by way of Tennessee.
(13) Rivers of Nihil—Where Owls Know My Name (Metal Blade)
The most progressive progressive death metal you're likely to hear. Just spectacular. Out of Pennsylvania.
(12) Sleep—The Sciences (Third Man)
A wonderfully cheeky outing from the archetype of stoner doom out of California.
(11) King Goat—Debt of Aeons (Aural)
Depressing doom with powerful vocal performances from England.
(10) Vanhelgd—Deimos Sanktuarium (Dark Descent)
Sinister Swedish death metal of the non-melodic variety.
(9) Augury—Illusive Golden Age (The Artisan Era)
Spectacularly showy technical death metal from Québec.
(8) 1914—The Blind Leading the Blind (Redefining Darkness)
Heart-wrenching Ukrainian black metal concept album about the horror and stupidity of war.
(7) Visigoth—Conqueror's Oath (Metal Blade)
Cheesy, rousing power metal out of Utah with fantastic riffs and hooks.
(6) Behemoth—I Loved You At Your Darkest (Metal Blade)
Beautifully composed Satanic blackened death from Poland.
(5) The Ocean—Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (Metal Blade)
Nerdy af dreamy prog metal out of Germany.
(4) Barren Earth—A Complex of Cages (Nuclear Blast)
A bizarre, compelling journey winding through power, prog, and death metal from Finland.
(3) Horrendous—Idol (Season of Mist)
Eclectic yet catchy avant-garde death metal from right here in Philadelphia.
(2) Michael Romeo—War of the Worlds, Pt. 1 (Mascot)
An outrageously catchy honest-to-god symphony featuring wild guitar antics and maybe the current most-talented vocalist in metal.
(1) Slugdge—Esoteric Malacology (Willowtip)
Outstanding progressive death metal paean to the cosmic slug god Mollusca (you read that right). This album is so much better than it has any right to be given its subject matter. And yet, it really is that fucking good--the best album of the year!
There you have it folks. Thanks for reading. So long, 2018. Hail, 2019!