Most Anticipated Albums Of 2018 Part I

author AP date 31/01/18

2018 has barely got underway, yet it has already produced a series of excellent records such as Jeff Rosenstock’s “Post-”, Watain’s “Trident Wolf Eclipse” and Pizzatramp’s “Revenge of the Bangertronic Dan”. And although we are yet to get through everything that January has brought to us, our writers, yours truly included, have begun to look forward to what’s on the horizon, compiling lists of albums that we each have high hopes for either on the basis of popular hype, past experiences or singles that have premiered ahead of their release dates.

As ever, the broad variety of tastes that make up our collective passion for rock music ensures that the individual lists are very diverse, and as such, we also recommend for our readership to maintain an open mind and perhaps note down a record or two that you would not ordinarily see yourself listening to — you might find yourself positively surprised instead of risking missing out on the stuff that could end up comprising our best-of article at the end of the year. Do note that included in this article are only the releases that are expected to or have already been confirmed to arrive in the first half of 2018 — we will post another one of these articles at the end of June in which we look into crystal ball for the second half. Now, without further ado, here are the records that you should definitely be stoked about:

Aleksi Pertola (AP)

Anna von Hausswolff - “Dead Magic” (released on March 02nd)

Despite the fact that I was unfamiliar with her music, Anna von Hausswolff managed completely to mesmerise me with her performance at last year’s edition of A Colossal Weekend. The style of her music is difficult to pigeonhole; it is an amalgam of genres ranging from singer-songwriter through dark neofolk and drone to doom metal and post-rock and as such, she bears an uncanny resemblance to Chelsea Wolfe. It is more feverish and séance-like, however, and leaves you with the impression that there is no way of knowing what to expect between one song and the next. One thing is clear though, after wooing critics worldwide with her 2015-outing, “The Miraculous”, Anna von Hausswolff is poised to deliver one of the most intriguing experimental releases that 2018 is likely to witness and if it maintains the standard of the lead single, “The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra”, all the way through, it has the potential to become the Swedish artist’s breakthrough album.

Between The Buried And Me - “Automata I” (released on March 09th)

I’m pretty sure that whenever a new album by Raleigh, NC’s progressive metal virtuosos Between the Buried and Me has loomed on the horizon, it has been among my most anticipated albums of the year in question. 2018 is no different, with the band now set to deliver an ambitious double concept album entitled “Automata”, the first volume of which will arrive in just over a month. On its predecessor, 2015’s “Coma Ecliptic”, the death metal influences that shaped the group’s identity in the early stages of their career, had all but vanished in favour of a more classic, progressive rock style paying homage to the great artists of the genre’s yonder years — most notably King Crimson and Pink Floyd — and the result was spectacular. And with the band renowned for pushing the envelope every time, “Automata I” is likely to emerge as another outstanding addition to the BTBAM’s admired repertoire. The first single, “Condemned to the Gallows”, is available to stream already and it bodes very well indeed.

møl - “Jord” (released on April 13th)

I must admit that I had written off møl after the departure of their original vocalist, but after hearing the Danish ‘blackgaze’ outfit’s brand new single and the capabilities of their new frontman, Kim Song, “Penumbra”, I soon had it playing on repeat. Very much in the vein of Deafheaven, the song is bulldozing, beautiful, intense and transcendental, and if this is the standard that we can expect from the upcoming “Jord” — the band’s début album — it has the potential to be established as one of the finest metal albums ever to be birthed in Denmark. The record also arrives at a time when post-black metal is experiencing its heyday, which is certain to make international audiences pay attention when møl unleash it upon the masses.

Dimmu Borgir - “Eonian” (released on May 04th)

Dimmu Borgir has lain dormant for a long time now, having effectively gone into hibernation after touring the world in support of their 2010-album, “Abrahadabra”. But the symphonic black metal titans recently awakened, announcing both their return to the live circuit and a forthcoming concept album entitled “Eonian”. Black metal purists and other naysayers are likely to be disgusted by the news, but those of us who were sold on the Norwegian group’s dramatic, theatrical and utterly bombastic take on the genre are of course excited as f**k. I have never been disappointed by a Dimmu Borgir album and as such my expectations for this new opus are nigh monolithic. But even if the band fails in this endeavour, at the very least we can look forward to experiencing their grandiose live performances again.

Khemmis - “Desolation” (released on June 22nd)

Khemmis was one of the greatest discoveries of 2016 for me, and although I never got around to reviewing the Denver, CO-born epic doom metallers’ sophomore album, “Hunted”, it left the sort of lasting impression on me that would have seen it feature near the top of my best-of list for that year. Not much is known about the group’s forthcoming third opus save for the release date, but fans of Pallbearer, Procession, Spirit Adrift et al. should consider themselves warned; Khemmis are preparing to stake their claim for the throne in the new wave of doom rolling across the world of late. And hopefully, once the record arrives in June, the bookers in this country will be keeping their eyes peeled for an opportunity to bring the quartet over for their Danish début.

Lærke Fenger (LF)

Good Tiger - “We Will All Be Gone” (released on February 09th)

This British technical rock band is on my radar mostly because to me they rose from the ashes of the amazing but short-lived The Safety Fire, meaning that the skilled guitarists are the same in the two bands. Their debut album “A Head Full of Moonlight” was good without sweeping me completely off my feet but so far they have dropped four subtly jazzy and pretty catchy singles from this sophomore album and I gotta say, it's sounding very good (check out "The Devil Thinks I'm Sinking" especially).

Pianos Become The Teeth - “Wait for Love” (released on February 16th)

The emotional sound of Baltimore, MD’s Pianos Become The Teeth has gone from screamo in a more atmospheric indie-like direction over the past few years and after 2014’s impressive “Keep You”, I expect great things on this follow-up. So far, I already have the churning and catchy single "Charisma" in steady rotation on my 2018 playlist.

Slaves - “Beautiful Dream” (released on February 16th)

Jonny Craig's R'n'B-influenced post-hardcore group Slaves has already released some pretty catchy albums and this third one has dropped some catchy grooving singles like “Patience Is the Virtue” and “True Colors” that I already can’t get out of my head. It’s been a full year since the first one appeared so by now, my expectations are built up and I really hope this time the release date holds water.

Turnstile - “Time & Space” (released on February 23rd)

I gotta be honest and say I was never much into hardcore but bands like Turnstile that mix it up with a distinctly ’90s kind of indie sound really intrigue me. Thus their sophomore release “Nonstop Feeling” easily made its way to my albums of the year list in 2015. The bleakness of the single “Generator”, as well as the uneasy chord setting of “Moon”, already have me absolutely hooked for this year’s new release.

Anna von Hausswolff - “Dead Magic” (released on March 02nd)

I have arrived late to the Anna Von Hausswolff party, it seems, as I only noticed her music last year even though she has been critically acclaimed since her debut album from 2010. Her experimental and dark singer-songwriter style that draws similarities to both drone and indie or folk music at the same time is something special, not least when experienced live, and on the basis of the only single so far, “The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra”, we're in for an atmospheric, grandiose and vocally wild release which all sounds excellent to me.

Makky Hall (MAK)

Senses Fail - “If There Is Light, It Will Find You” (released on February 16th)

Senses Fail caught me by surprise with their last release, “Pull the Thorns from Your Heart”, in 2015; it was much closer to a hardcore release than I expected, delivering harder riffs and less of the emotional post-hardcore that they originally made their name with. I’m thus curious about what direction this release will go.

Turnstile - “Time & Space” (released on February 23rd)

I originally struggled with Turnstile, but they grew on me as a hardcore band that pushes boundaries with interesting additional influences. Trapped Under Ice set the tone last year with “Heatwave”, and I’m sure Turnstile will respond with one of the most memorable hardcore albums of the year — much like Code Orange did last year.

Skindred - “Big Tings” (released on April 27th)

The welsh ragga metal out paves the way for one of the most unique metal subgenres out there, constantly providing huge live anthems with nearly every album. While I wasn’t overly fussed with the last couple of albums as a whole, every time Skindred releases something new, I’m intrigued with what they might come out with. No matter what, they’re sure to bring the party to the Copenhell festival, where they’ve just been announced to perform.

The Filaments - TBA (released on June 16th)

United Kingdom’s ska favourites, The Filaments have been quiet for a few years since the release of “The Land of Lions” in 2013, so there is a lot of hype surrounding the follow-up, which is due out in June. Expect gritty punk rock backed up by infectious horns and lots of singalongs. I’m already predicting this release to make my top 10 of 2018.

Traits - TBA (release date TBA)

Combining members from Random Hand and The Human Project, Traits are something of a supergroup of British punk bands that grabbed quite a lot of attention in the DIY scene during 2017 with their catchy punk rock hooks. Traits have recently just left the studio recording their EP number two and I’m quite excited to hear what’s on offer. There is no official release date yet but it’s expected to come out in the first half of 2018.

Mikkel Neubert (MIN)

Legend of the Seagullmen - “Legend of the Seagullmen” (released on February 09th)

Initially I wanted to put Tool on my list, but given the band’s reputation of postponing a deadline, I’m not fully convinced that they’ll actually release their next record this year, let alone during its first half. I thus turn my attention to Legend of the Seagullmen, the new ‘supergroup’ consisting of Danny Carey (Tool), Brent Hinds (Mastodon) and Jimmy Hayward (Canadian film director), who're releasing their self-titled début record in just under two weeks. The aquatic prog-rockers dive into an ocean of hard-hitting riffs, obscure tales of the seven seas and synths recalling the ‘70s — as of now most adequately encapsulated on the single “Shipwreck”. I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen, but I know that I want in!

Pianos Become The Teeth - “Wait for Love” (released on February 16th)

Admittedly, it took some getting used to hearing post-hardcore/scream band Pianos Become the Teeth sound less teethy (oh yes) on “Keep You” than on its predecessor, “The Lack Long After”, but once the more indie-rock oriented approach crept under your skin, the pay-off was massive (come on, if you don't feel anything once Kyle Durfey yells ”So let’s say nothing some more!” during the record’s final song, “Say Nothing”, I’m pretty sure you’re a lost cause). The two first tastes of the band’s upcoming fourth LP, “Wait for Love”, promise more of the same new direction on “Bitter Red”, but also a faster, more up-beat post-punk-revival-esque drive on “Charisma”, giving off a distinct scent of Basement. Who knows if Durfey will ever scream again, but if this band keeps churning out quality material, I won’t bother blaming him.

Titus Andronicus - “A Productive Cough” (released on March 02nd)

Although some might have considered the band’s previous record, “The Most Lamentable Tragedy”, a bit too long (clocking at approximately 90 minutes), Titus Andronicus have — in this reviewer's humble opinion — continued to release one great record after the other, and judging by the New Jersey indie-rock/punk-rockers’ latest single, “Number One (In New York)”, we’re in for yet another treat. Back when the band revealed that they were working on the follow-up to their 2015-opus, we were informed that this next record, “A Productive Cough”, would be a much quieter and less raucous affair than what we’re used to from the hands of Patrick Stickles and company. True to his words, “Number One (In New York)” is an eight-minute political piano-piece where raging guitars have been replaced with flutes, bells and horns — but fret not, for Stickles’ vocal delivery is still as spiteful and venomous as ever, and the lyric sheet is as poignant and rambling as Bob Dylan in the ‘60s. There’s still plenty of reason to look forward to Titus Andronicus’ next release, even if the bookmark ballads take the driver’s seat — but perhaps that actually makes for even more reason to look forward to this next outing?

De Underjordiske - “Flænger i luften” (released on April 06th)

A few days ago, Danish psych-rockers De Underjordiske released their first new song in over two years, “Flænger i luften”. The song nicely shoes itself in between the songs off De Underjordiske’s previous album, their début LP “Ind i flammerne”, with an almost The Doors-esque hypnosis, although without ever straying from the slow tempo. The only real difference here is that this time around, the band dares to leave the song as it is without culminating in a cathartic climax; vocalist Peter Kure never gives into temptation, although the song surely encourages vocal ferocity similar to some of the band’s previous efforts. Already now, I’m excited about De Underjordiske’s next outing - if only it’s about half as good as “Ind i flammerne”, it’s going to be pretty damn good.

Hop Along - “Bark Your Head Off, Dog” (released on April 06th)

The last two albums from Philadelphia, PA’s indie-/folk-rock band Hop Along (on the first two, working as a quartet instead of a one-person project by primus motor Frances Quinlan) were both great examples of excellent song-writing meeting passionate deliveries. With quiet/loud dynamics to match Laura Stevenson and a voice unafraid of screaming itself hoarse, Hop Along juxtaposes textual realism reflecting bittersweet everyday encounters with poppy yet jagged melodies that’ll either have you sobbing in your drink or jumping defiantly into the air. Although the lead single, “How Simple” doesn’t quite show off Quinlan’s rougher edges, it maintains the band’s flair for infectious song-writing, and if Hop Along manage to keep up this already high bar, they’ll solidify their reputation as one of the most consistent groups within the genre — if not among its torchbearers.

Rune Bøgelund (RUB)

Andrew W.K. - “You’re Not Alone” (released on March 02nd)

The party king is back! With his first album in 8 years it is bound to contain the party anthems of the year. Even though the hard-hitting “I Get Wet” from 2001 is a long way down the road, it still has some of the best hard rock and metal party-bangers ever written. Hopefully, this album will bring the party on the road once again, with perhaps a visit to Denmark — this time with the full band to back up the party.

Between The Buried And Me - “Automata I” (released on March 09th)

Being the progressive metal prodigies that they are, BTBAM will probably release an album that will rank high on many reviewers’ end-of-the-year lists. Having released some of the best albums of the genre, surely this album will be no exception. And this is not the only record that the band will release this year, given that it forms the first part of a two-piece concept album, so I believe we’re really in for a treat!

Judas Priest - “Firepower” (released on March 09th)

Apparently, Judas Priest is still going strong 18 (!!!) albums down the line. In my mind this effort will either fall completely to the ground, or be a fucking blast. After hearing the first single of the album, “Lightning Strike”, I lean towards the latter — and hopefully the rest will follow suite in being equally epic.

Ministry - “AmeriKKKant” (released on March 09th)

After Donald Trump was elected president, not only could you expect an ignition in the punk scene, but also the industrial metal heads in Ministry would probably spark a new politically charged album about inequality, anti-racism and anti-fascism — and rightly so. Indeed, less than a month after Trump’s inauguration they announced the release of their 14th studio album, “AmeriKKKant”, which doesn’t require a genius in order to figure out where the inspiration for it has come from.

Primordial - “Exile Amongst the Ruins” (released on March 30th)

The Irish extreme metallers in Primordial will release their first album since their brilliant “Where Greater Men Have Fallen” from 2014. With their blend of black metal and Celtic music, the group’s songs tend to be very epic and grandiose, whilst still maintaining a dark and harrowing tone. Surely a must-hear for every extreme metal fan out there!

Dimmu Borgir - “Eonian” (released on May 04th)

One of the torchbearers of new Norwegian black metal, Dimmu Borgir will release a new and long-awaited album; the first of its kind in eight years. Their 2007 masterpiece, “In Sorte Diaboli”, was fast and blazing as black metal should be, and if their new outing is anything like that, or even in the vein of their 2010 release “Abrahadabra”, this should really be something to look forward to.

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