Metal Days – The End Times

We’ve come to this. The end. The final 7 albums, recommended as Best of’s in 2018. This week, we’ll be looking at a few different sub-genres, all of which were recommended to me, the same as last month, by my friends. Let’s take a look, shall we! 

Previous Reviews: one, two, threefourfive, six

Here are the final albums

Grave Digger – Healed by Metal Speed – Metal/Heavy Metal
Kreator – Gods of Violence – Thrash Metal
Havoc – Conformicide – Thrash Metal
Ayreon – The Source – Prog Metal
Alestorm – No Grave but the Sea – Folk/Power Metal
Annihilator – For the Demented – Technical/Speed Metal
Red Fang – Only Ghosts – Stoner Metal

Let’s do it. Sprint to the finish with me! 

Grave Digger: Healed by Metal

Gravedigger has been around for a while, but I’d never really paid them any mind, but when it was recommended to me as a best of in 2018, I gave it a solid shot. Turns out, they are pretty great. They aren’t some form of revolutionary metal or some new sound that I’d never heard, but the songs are pure, excellent solid metal. I really enjoyed a number of them. They start out in something I want to call Hair territory, and they swing back in there time and again, but its worth it for the music, overall. I really liked it when they got the vocals out of that high pitched hair range and bring it back down to standard metal. Definitely Worth listening to. 

Notable Tracks: o;&o;:,&o;&o;:&o;kill ial, hanman ee, hen nih fall&o;">Kill Ritual, Hangman’s Eye, When Night Falls. Healed by Metal, Lawbreaker

Personal Rating: 

Gravedigger is solid, speedy metal. They reach into grindy, heavy metal from time to time, and they really scratch that old school metal itch. They definitely take influence from hair metal, but they are still good more than they are not. It was a fun, solid listen and I recommend it to most metal listeners. 

Kreator – Gods of Violence

Can I tell you how much I like Hail to the Horde? Because it’s a LOT. It’s an homage to metal fans, it’s a pounding tune, and its an anthem for solid metal. This album is one of the few from the list that really sticks around. The album really feels like thrash metal. they rock out like monsters, and they keep it going through the whole album. I love the singer’s vocal style, and its right about where I want my metal lyrics to existing. Gravelly, but not garbled and singing not shouting. I really recommend this album. It’s great and has a bunch of great songs. As I said, one of the albums I still listen to. 

Notable Tracks: Hail to the Hordes, Totalitarian Terror, Side by Side, Army of Storms

One of the best of the year simply because it hits all the notes I want in metal. its thunderous, pounding, headbanging metal through and through. Its got the right amount of vocals to music to head-pounding awesome. I just like it a lot. More like this, all the time! 

Havok- Conformicide

Havok is great to listen to, musically, but they are strong and hardline political metal, which I am not really into. I like a touch of politics in my metal, and I want to come to it on my own. Havok is strong, libertarian metal. While this will be great for some as anthems to rock out and headbang to in order to show their rebelliousness, I just don’t dig it. Its cool to listen too, which is something, right? 

Notable tracks: Masterplan (its instrumental)

Personal Rating: 

While there are a lot of good things about Havok, I just cannot get behind both their message and their vocals. It’s just not my type of music. I can understand liking their music because its really solid, but their overt lyrics make it hard to listen to without feeling like its subverting me. Sometimes, though, I guess that is the point. 

Ayreon – The Source

What a weird, weird album. I don’t know that I’d call it metal, but its pretty cool. Its a concept album about the death of a planet and all the songs revolve around the story of that said dying planet and the rise of the machines, the resulting escape, and remaking of society. It’s a cool concept, and each singer in the album represents a separate and distinct character. The only problem with this album is that I don’t really want to call it metal. It wanders all over the place, not settling on a single form. Its good, though, and I like the variety of songs and a number of them are humorously dour. 

Recommended Tracks: Everybody Dies, Run, Apocalypse, Run

Personal Rating: 

Solid enough, with both galloping tracks, lilting amusing ones, and depressed ones, its good fun in an album, but it’s not anything to write home about, metal-wise. Its good, and I think people will like it if they listen to it, but it is hard to label the album as metal, despite all the metal singers lined up. 

 

Alestorm – No Grave but the Sea

If you’ve heard Alestorm, you need no introduction. If you’ve not heard Alestorm, there is little I can say. What is not to like about Heavy Metal Pirates? It’s great. I mean, its nothing groundbreaking or absolutely mind-blowing, but it is really really fun speed metal. It’s headbanging good times, and it’s clearly meant for people like me who take their metal with a grain of salt but also have specific tastes. 

Notable Tracks: Fucked with an Anchor, Pegleg Potion

Personal Rating

Fucked with an Anchor really makes this album get more of a rating than it should. I’m a sucker for well-done vulgarity, and this is one of my favorites. The rest of the album is a high, fast, with a great vocalist and amusing themes. I feel it occupies that same spot as Dragonforce, Powerwolf, and Gloryhammer. Great, fun, metal! 

Annihilator – For the Demented

Annihilator is an interesting band. Its clearly on the softer end of metal, but it is metal. I like a lot of the songs that are in the album, but they are fairly non-descript, however, so I forget many of them after the album is finished. The one that I don’t, though, is Pieces of You. One of the creepiest and most shiver-inducing songs I’ve ever listened to. 

Notable Tracks: One to Kill, Phantom Asylum

Personal Rating: 

Solid and rocking, there are worse decisions that people can have for an album. The lyrics are right on point, the vocals are strong and don’t make me want to yank out my ears, and the musical talent is good. I like the album, but I don’t really reach out to hear any of their songs. 

Red Fang – Only Ghosts

The final album this year, Red Fang occupies a strange place. It’s not really the metal I listen to, and it’s not really something I won’t listen to. Its good music, but much like Annihilator, nothing sticks out to me as a great, unique stuff. I like it, I just don’t have a lot to say about it, honestly. It’s really close and styled like Clutch, so if you like that type of music, go for it.

Notable Tracks. Cut it Short, Shadows

It’s good enough, it’s not heavy and it’s not really metal, but it is clearly not as offensive as some of the insanity early on in this list. I don’t have any heavy feelings one way or the other, which probably means its good.   

 

Well! the metal albums, the best of 2018 from a number of different sources, have come and gone. Next month, I’ll do a final dissection, look at what I did and didn’t like, and rank them all from highest to lowest. 

Until next time!