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 (in no order whatsoever)
Pounding the Pavement
Another superb release from a band that has seen and done it all. Everything you’d expect from Anvil and more!
Although I had heard a few Saxon songs in passing, Saxon was just one of those bands that I never gave the time of day to. But after watching Biff and company blow the legendary Judas Priest off the stage I decided to give this album a fair listen… Aaaaaaaaand it stayed on my turntable for over a month!
Opening Fire: 2008?-?2014
While I am almost never a fan of compilation albums or greatest hits, Power Trip’s Opening Fire defies the status quo and presents a bunch of unreleased material, expertly remastered by the band’s long time producer.
Once again Cauldron manages to do the impossible and one up themselves. I’ve been following Cauldron for years and every album manages to surpass the previous in every way. They’re constantly evolving as a band, but they never stray too far from their path to become lost. I honestly wish this band could get the recognition it deserves, as I would place the album in JUNO contendership.
For a band that has spent the last five years releasing some of the most amazing hard rock albums to ever come out of Canada, opened for Deep Purple and toured the globe, Monster Truck brings the noise every step of the way.
Bound by Fire/Legion of Flames Reissues
It has been FAR too long since we’ve heard anything from The Heathen and Company. Ten long years have passed since the band’s previous release and I’m glad to see them back and worse than ever! I am BEYOND excited to get my hands on the next reissue!
Ocean Machine: Live At The Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
Quite possibly one of the most underrated musicians in Canadian history. This live release goes to show just how far he has come since he was pulling his shorts over his head and singing for Steve Vai. Nothing less than an amazing listening experience.
Way of the Road
Another one of those Canadian bands that seems to defy expectations at every turn. They’ve been beaten, broken down and scarred, and they’re back with their strongest album to date. There must be something in the water in Toronto this year!
The Pursuit Of Vikings: 25 Years In The Eye Of The Storm
I’ll start off by admitting I’m a sucker for three things: Metal, Vikings and music documentaries. Quite possibly one of the BEST combo packs released since Lamb of God released Killadelphia in 2004. Really hoping I get the chance to catch them in Ottawa with Slayer, Cannibal Corpse and Lamb of God.
Album Cover of the Year
Show after show, tour after tour, day job after day job, Anvil have been the embodiment of the Canadian Metal Spirit since day one. Pounding the Pavement – cover art and art direction by Christoph Schinzel – fits perfectly among this legendary bands back catalogue.
Best Gig of 2018
I’m gonna break this down to arenas and bars.
Best live arena act was Saxon, who managed to out gun the firepower of Judas Priest at TD place in Ottawa March 25th.
Best live bar act was hands down Ottawa’s own Thündërkök, who opened for Psychostick at Mavericks June 6th.
Bonus Category – Best Worst Live Act
Pussy Goblin at Mavericks June 6th. The band’s album debut and final show all wrapped up into one snot crusted hobo hankie of a set.
Favourite Physical Item Purchased
My years been plagued with far too many purchases for me to chose a single one, so here’s my spin on this category.
Favorite vinyl purchase – Annihilator – Alice in Hell (Road Racer Records) Old school pressing of my favorite album of all time. The LP release has been my Holy Grail for a few years now.
Favorite CD/Cassette purchase – Managed to snag cassette copies of both of Thunderkok’s last two releases “Trigger Warning” and “Kokaine”.
Favorite non-audio purchase – Managed to trade my old Pantera Back Patch to an awesome dude in Mexico for his Infernal Majesty super strip patch!
Most Anticipated Album(s) of 2019
I would hands down choose Tool’s currently untitled work in progress if I had any hope of seeing it in 2019. This doesn’t really bother me, because Tool is one of the few bands that could be worth this kind of wait. Inside the realm of reality, I’m excited to see if Zimmers Hole is planning a new album after they’re done with this years stellar reissues!
My 2018 in Metal
Thank Beelzebub that 2018 is almost over! Started the year off with tickets to see Judas Priest, Saxon and Black Star Riders. Managed to get there early enough to get front row against the barricade! After getting laid off three days before the concert, I decided to refocus my energies into my writing and photography. Caught another Anvil gig in another shitty bar in Kingston (there were people there this time, the first time I saw them before the movie there was me and two of my friends in the crowd). From there I was off for my first live event shoot with Psychostick, Urizen, Thunderkok and Pussy Goblin. A handful of reviews later and here I am, making another one of those year end lists that I never bother to read.
Looking Forward To in 2019
I’m looking forward to some of the projects I want to bring to life in 2019, seeing Iron Maiden and hopefully shooting Slayer’s final Ottawa show and Heavy MTL.
Metal Person of the Year
I’d probably nominate my role model and friend, Dahlila “Sister D” Kriheli. She is perhaps one of the most talented, down to earth, dedicated rock photographers out there. She helped encourage me to follow my passions for photography and metal music! So thanks D!