Jacob Vandergeer’s 2018 in metal

Every year, Hellbound writers submit their top albums of the year. They all get compiled into Hellbound’s Top Metal Albums of the year (coming soon).


Top Albums of 2018

Jesus Piece - Only Self

10. Only Self

  • Artist: Jesus Piece
  • Label: Southern Lord

Philadelphia hardcore is alive and thriving with the release of Only Self from Jesus Piece. Another band with a serious bone to pick this year and they pulled it off better than most. The band makes a serious statement in the form of smothering riffs and brutally satisfying beatdown style hardcore. Only Self is relentless and doesn’t leave you much room to breathe but that’s okay because you don’t want it to stop anyways. They keep you in the palm of their hand with these songs and they know it.

Aborted - TerrorVision

9. TerrorVision

  • Artist: Aborted
  • Label: Century Media

TerrrorVision is immediately recognizable as an Aborted record from the second it starts but the band seem to have really stepped up the production on this one really allowing the instruments to shine. The guitar work on this album is ridiculous and the dual guitar barrage hasn’t been utilized this well in a while. Surprisingly the band has scrapped the soundbites that we’ve become accustomed to over the years, but it only helps keep the songs from being interrupted. With the amount of material the band has pumped out in the past 3 years you’d think it would be hard for them to keep these songs fresh but somehow Aborted have managed to release one of the best death metal records of the year.

Harms Way - Posthuman

8. Posthuman

  • Artist: Harms Way
  • Label: Metal Blade

On Posthuman Harms Way have taken their near perfect recipe of hardcore and fined tuned it even more. With their overly aggressive style being taken to the next level they are able to throw their sound around like boulders destroying everything in their path. Vocalist James Pligge sounds meaner and tougher than ever but shows a little more range than he did on Rust especially on the song “Temptation.” This gives the album a little more room to breathe. Harm’s Way also play with their industrial influences a bit on this album showing that they’re still growing and progressing their sound for the better.

Sumac - Love in Shadow

7. Love in Shadow

  • Artist: Sumac
  • Label: Thrill Jockey

Veterans Aaron Turner, Brian Cook and Nick Yacyshyn are back with one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in 2018 on Love in Shadow. The band feel like they’ve hit a new stride on this album, and one can’t help but wonder if their collaboration with Keiji Haino has influenced the making of Love in Shadow. Sumac seem to have nearly mastered the improve style of song writing and built on that to create this hour long epic. It’s such a layered album that you can always find something new to admire and appreciate.

Mire - Conjurer

6. Conjurer

  • Artist: Mire
  • Label: Holy Roar

Conjurer’s debut full-length Mire is seriously impressive and raw. The way they are able to balance their heaviness with a variety of influences from other genres is powerful. Many songs on this album surpass the 6-minute mark and never lose their momentum, quite the opposite in fact. There is a refreshing mix of hardcore melodies and progressive death taking many sharp turns into obscurity but never feeling unnatural. The longer epics are full of variety in the vocal department making them feel more complete. Overall Mire is an exceptional display of song writing capabilities and Conjurer have made quite a name for themselves.

The Hirs Collective - Friends. Lovers. Favourites

5. Friends. Lovers. Favourites

  • Artist: The Hirs Collective
  • Label: SRA Records

This album is the definition of assault. From the opening crash of cymbals to the final shrieks it never slows down. It’s full of screaming and noise with blast beats occupying a lot of the drumming on this album but it couldn’t be more fitting. The Hirs Collective also recruit a long list of guests for this album and it keeps each song fresh from the last but just as devastating. There are strong themes about violence and safety in the trans community in the lyrics, but the band always seem to stay humble and let the music deliver the messages in a very powerful way.

KEN Mode - Loved

4. Loved

  • Artist: KEN Mode
  • Label: Season of Mist

It’s hard to believe that KEN Mode were capable of releasing their heaviest album at this point in their careers’ especially after the more melodic Success in 2015 but somehow, they’ve managed to tear off our skin and spit in our faces with Loved. On this album the band seem more pissed off than ever and it shows. Vocalist Jesse Matthewson delivers his lyrics in such a harsh manner it feels like he’s screaming two feet from your face. The band has such a loud and aggressive sound for a 3 piece that you can’t help but be impressed. Loved will leave your ears ringing and a big grin on your face after every listen.

Cult Leader - A Patient Man

3. A Patient Man

  • Artist: Cult Leader
  • Label: Death Wish

Utah’s Cult Leader have surpassed many of their peers in the hardcore genre with the release of A Patient Man. It’s clear from the minute the record starts that the band has hit a special groove and they’re able to sustain it in many different forms until it ends. With the help of engineering master Kurt Ballou Cult Leader takes you back and forth between unrelenting in your face riffs and growls to soul bearing epics like “To: Achlys” and the album closer “The Broken Right Hand of God.” The band’s experimentation pays off and feels natural resulting in an album that really stands out in the crowd.

Birds in Row - We Already Lost the World

2. We Already Lost the World

  • Artist: Birds in Row
  • Label: Death Wish

French hardcore trio Birds in Row took some significant steps forward on the release of We Already Lost the World. Everything about the band is so solid on this album, from the emotional messages of love and reconciliation and the frustration that comes with that to the exceptional instrumentals. What really gets the message of this album across is the mix of burning screams and occasional singing. Birds in Row have never showed so much range on an album before and they’re able to balance the madness of it all almost flawlessly.

Daughters - You Won’t Get What You Want

1. You Won’t Get What You Want

  • Artist: Daughters
  • Label: Ipecac Recordings

After being on a hiatus for eight years, Daughters returned and unleashed a beast no one saw coming. You Won’t Get What You Want is one of the darkest and eerie albums of 2018, it almost makes you physically uncomfortable at times with vocalist Alexis S.F. Marshall’s shrieking painfully honest lyrics in the form of stories. The noise’s that guitarist/ keyboardist Nick Sadler was able to create on this album are unparalleled and should be marveled for years to come.


Album Cover of the Year

Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want

Best Gig of 2018

KEN Mode, Birds in Row & Life In vacuum.

This was my favourite gig of the year because it was a stacked line up and they played a small venue (Bovine Sex Club). The sound was almost perfect and the energy in the place was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was also the first show that Birds In Row played in Canada so I was very fortunate be a part of that.

Favourite Physical Item Purchased

Wild Nothing – Indigo

Most Anticipated Album(s) of 2019

Full of Hell

My 2018 in Metal

I listened to a lot less metal in 2018 then I usually do, and I was a little disappointed by a lot of the releases I was anticipating the most. Overall it was still a great year for metal and I’m sure next year will be even better.

Looking Forward To in 2019

What the new Deftones album will sound like.

Metal Person of the Year

Kerry McCoy for getting sober and being open about his struggles with substance abuse. He also started an Instagram page dedicated to reviewing different brands of sparkling water and that shit is hilarious.