THKD’s year end extravaganza will be published on Monday, December 17th at midnight both here and over at the THKD YouTube channel. But as a prelude to the madness that’s about to be unleashed, I’ve decided to list out five noteworthy albums that were just a hair shy of making the cut. So without further ado and in no particular order…
1. Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram (Century Media)
Sweden’s Necrophobic have been killing it since 1989, pioneering a melodic brand of blackened death metal that continues to be influential to this day. Indeed, Mark of the Necrogram, their first album in half a decade, finds them still firing on all cylinders; as heavy and catchy as they ever were. Perhaps the band was re-energized by the return of vocalist Anders Strokirk, who sang on their legendary debut The Nocturnal Silence, but whatever the case, Necrophobic continues to be the best band doing this style twenty-five years later.
2. The Crown – Cobra Speed Venom (Metal Blade)
After releasing a few albums that are best described as not so good, The Crown, Sweden’s masters of death thrash riff-o-rama have finally managed to recapture their mojo and it is goddamn glorious. Seriously folks, I’d put this one right up their with the mighty Deathrace King and it pleases me to no end to see these guys back at the top of their game. Bulldozing riffage, catchy refrains and a drum performance from newcomer Henrik Axelsson that can only be called inhuman make Cobra Speed Venom an absolute blast to listen to. So be forewarned, The Crown are back and this album was so close to making the top twenty, it’s painful.
3. Ingested – The Level Above Human (Unique Leader)
Ingested almost had the slam album of the year on their hands with The Level Above Human, that is until Internal Bleeding laid the smack down with Corrupting Influence. But hey, releasing the second best slam album of the year ain’t no bad thing and Ingested’s fourth full length displays a previously unseen level of songwriting sophistication. Featuring some of the best slams of the band’s career and a skull-crushing production job from Stu McKay (Acrania, Annotations of an Autopsy, etc), The Level Above Human is an ungodly heavy piece of work.
4. Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned (Century Media)
In the annals of death metal few bands if any do overwhelmingly fast and heavy better than Krisiun. Scourge of the Enthroned sees the brothers from Brazil returning to their roots after the releasing the entertaining but uneven Forged in Fury back in 2015 and its an absolute joy to hear them getting back to doing what they do best. After nearly three decades in the game, the band remains absolutely uncompromising in their vision and tracks like “Demonic III” “Slay the Prophet” and “Abysmal Misery (Foretold Destiny)” are Krisiun at their brutal, blasting best.
5. Green Druid – Ashen Blood (Earache)
In a year when YOB and Sleep grabbed all the doom headlines, Denver Colorado’s Green Druid quietly released an album that gave the genre’s elder statesmen a run for their money. Ashen Blood might not have garnered the same level of widespread attention, but make no mistake, this up-and-coming quartet can hang tough with the best of ’em when it comes to slow ‘n’ low. The opening trio of songs, which represent the band’s most recent recorded material, are a heady brew of crushing doom and eerie psychedelia; indeed, the craftsmanship on display throughout the album’s first thirty-five minutes is beyond impressive.
Other 2018 releases worth mentioning:
MDMA – Chemical Obliteration (Realityfade)
Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross No Crown (Nuclear Blast)
Ye Goat-Herd Gods – Ashes Shall Be Made of Them (self)
Sleep – The Sciences (Third Man)
Jungle Rot – s/t (Victory)
Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back (Candlelight)
Ihsahn – Amr (Candlelight)
Thy Antichrist – Wrath of the Beast (Napalm)
Tribulation – Down Below (Century Media)
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse (Century Media)
Knelt Rote – Alterity (Nuclear War Now!)
The Feeble Savior – And Darkness Fell (Hells Headbangers)
At the Gates – To Drink from the Night Itself (Century Media)
Pig Destroyer – Head Cage (Relapse)
Ghost – Prequelle (Loma Vista)
Deicide – Overtures of Blasphemy (Century Media)
Aborted – Terrorvision (Century Media)
Melvins – Pinkus Abortion Technician (Ipecac)