Most Anticipated Albums Of 2018 Part II

author AP date 11/08/18

Earlier this year, our writers jotted down records coming out in the first half of 2018 that they were most looking forward to checking out, and the article came with a promise to do the same for the second half of the year. Due to our intensive festival coverage and summer vacations, we are somewhat delayed with this — but long at last, our lists have come together (due to the delay, some of the efforts have already been released, but look forward to our reviews of those to surface in the coming weeks).

As we predicted, the first six months of the year brought with it a host of excellent new rock and metal, with Zeal & Ardor’s highly anticipated “Stranger Fruit”, Night Verses’ “From the Gallery of Sleep”, Greyhaven’s “Empty Black” and Call Me Malcolm’s “I Was Broken When You Got Here” all taking our breath away. And as we have been catching that breath, our inboxes have filled up with news of forthcoming releases, both expected and those that took us by surprise. You can browse through our selections of the records we think will make a difference before the end of the year below and as ever, we ask you to keep an open mind and perhaps make note of an album or two from a genre that is unfamiliar to you — you might find yourself positively surprised or, at the very least, with convincing arguments when it comes to discussing what we think will have turned out to be the best releases of 2018 at the end of December.

Aleksi Pertola (AP)

Alice In Chains - “Rainier Fog” (released on August 24th)

A new record from these heavyweights of grunge has been a long time coming, and after the slightly disappointing form shown by the Seattle, WA-resident group on their latest outing, “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”, they are likely to return with a vengeance. Since the band’s reunion in 2005, Alice in Chains has been notoriously meticulous about writing hew material, resulting in just three studio albums — including this upcoming effort, “Rainier Fog” — across the past 13 years. So at the very least, the quartet has had plenty of time to chew on these latest slabs of groove, which are almost certain to turn out as some of the heaviest tunes that 2018 will have to offer. Certainly all of the three singles released thus far point in that direction, just as did the group’s performance at Copenhell earlier this summer.

Ancestors - “Suspended in Reflections” (released on August 24th)

As the least recognisable band in my list, Ancestors have something as rare as a clean slate upon which to build their case as an exciting prospect. The Los Angeles, CA-born post-metallers caught my attention immediately when they gave “The Warm Glow” its début in June, presenting a soundscape in which the cinematic drama of post-metal mingles seamlessly with elements of progressive rock and even doom. That the quintet is signed to the iconic Pelagic Records — the brainchild of The Ocean’s guitarist/vocalist Robin Stapps — makes the allure of the looming record even greater, and if the entire opus pans out like the lead single, we just might have one of the most unexpectedly fantastic releases of the year on our hands.

Thrice - “Palms” (released on September 14th)

For a devotee such as myself, the return of Thrice from hiatus in 2014 was a celebratory occasion — and so was the subsequent release of ninth studio album, “To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere” in 2016. Unfortunately, that record raised some questions regarding the future direction of the band, presenting roughly a 50/50 split between the emotive and hard-hitting alternative rock of old and a newfound arena-rocking style which was not to my liking at all. It thus remains to be seen whether the forthcoming “Palms” will lead the Irvine, CA-based band back from astray or further into the mainstream — the dice is very much in the air, though the first single, “The Grey” does seem to herald a return to the darker and heavier style that immortalised 2005’s “Vheissu” as one of my favourite rock albums of all time. The bar is set high, but Thrice has garnered a reputation for raising it time and time again. Fingers crossed!

SUMAC - “Love in Shadow” (released on September 21st)

It took its time for me to become accustomed to the noisy and abrasive style of post-metal practiced by SUMAC on their sophomore album, 2016’s “What One Becomes”, and to find the beauty in the supergroup’s music. But once the epiphany came, it was as though another cornerstone had been added to the genre alongside Isis and Neurosis, with all of the twists and turns and jagged song structures that laid the groundwork for the genre making a comeback via the ideas of guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (who, incidentally, also founded Isis) and his two cohorts, Russian Circles bassist/guitarist Brian Cook and Baptists drummer Nick Yacyshyn. And judging by “Attis’ Blade” — the first single off this upcoming album, those ideas have found even more expanse now, in compositions that seem to consist of several individual, yet interconnected songs each with their own mood, intensity and tone. That song is a challenging listen and I would expect nothing less of “Love in Shadow”, which has the potential to be remembered as one of the very finest releases of 2018.

Behemoth - “I Loved You at Your Darkest” (released on October 05th)

Four years ago, Behemoth released one of the best metal albums of the decade in “The Satanist”, setting the bar nigh unreachable for its eventual successor, which has now been confirmed to arrive in the autumn this year. Yet according to the band’s legendary frontman, Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski, the new record, deceptively titled “I Loved You at Your Darkest”, promises to be the most blasphemic effort from the Polish blackened death metallers yet — and the recently premiered first single, “God = Dog”, certainly seems to support that suggestion in both titling and style. Whether the album will succeed in dethroning its predecessor remains to be seen, but with a visionary artist like Nergal at the helm, it is difficult to imagine how this new opus could not, once again, push the envelope of extreme metal in terms of both creativity and controversy.

High On Fire - “Electric Messiah” (release date October 05th)

Matt Pike has been keeping himself busy of late; first, he issued the magisterial “Sciences” with his original band Sleep much to everyone’s surprise, and since, he has announced the imminent release of High on Fire’s seventh studio album, “Electric Messiah”, as well. Advertised as paying homage to the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, the album seems to herald a return to the punky discharges of the band’s early years at the beginning of this century — if the title track is anything to go by at least. This is good news for those of us that do prefer High on Fire at their most intense, though it would be a shame if the stoning influences that reigned so strongly on 2012’s “De Vermis Mysteriis” and 2015’s “Luminiferous” have been shaved off completely as well. What “Electric Messiah” will bring remains to be seen, but the signs are there that old-school devotees will receive their fix of steamrolling sludge metal come the first Friday of October.

Kristoffer Witt (KW)

The Pineapple Thief - “Dissolution” (released on August 31st)

The addition of Gavin Harrison to their last release “Your Wilderness” was one of the best things that could’ve ever happened to this almost 20 year old progressive rock band. Harrison is simply just one of the best drummers out there right now, and “Your Wilderness” ended up being one of my favourite releases they have put out. However, apparently Harrison was only included late in the writing process of that album and as such didn’t have as much influence on the songs. This time around it seems this will be different and the excellent track “Far Below” is proof of that. It sounds like the closest we’ll get to a new Porcupine Tree release. Man, that statement also just makes me sad really.

Black Peaks - “All That Divides” (released on October 05th)

Black Peaks released one of my favourite albums of 2016 and one of the most impressive debut records I have ever heard with their “Statues” release. A potent blend of progressive, alt rock, mathcore and sludge, these guys possess the ability to write songs that are not only incredibly catchy but also relentlessly heavy and complex. Will Gardner is blessed with one of the best metal voices of our generation, with such emotional power and range, that he almost reaches Devin Townsend levels of amazing and if the two tracks that are already out are anything to go by, this one could end up being just as great as “Statues”.

VOLA - “Applause of a Distant Crowd” (release date October 12th)

Finally getting to see VOLA play a fantastic show (as they play here in their home country of Denmark way too little) at this year’s UK Tech-Fest was one of my highlights of the festival. At the show, they also decided to play one new song from the upcoming album, which is currently being mastered by Andy VanDette (Porcupine Tree, Devin Townsend, David Bowie). I had some worry that their heavy, Meshuggah style elements would maybe take a back seat to their more melodic side, but those worries were swiftly obliterated by hearing that new track, a track which is one of the heaviest mastodons they have ever written. Getting to hear this with what seems to be stellar production this time around has me excited, but also whether the album can keep the same consistency as their debut, “Inmazes”, which cemented them as one of my absolute favourite metal bands in Denmark right now.

Silent Planet - “When the End Began” (release date November 02nd)

I never knew progressive metalcore could be this poetic, before Silent Planet grazed my ears last year. It’s a band I have been massively sleeping on before a friend threw a recommendation my way and I have to say: “Everything Was Sound” is almost as good as it gets in that genre in my opinion. A thoroughly chilling release, which can be largely attributed to lead singer Garrett Russell’s emotional vocal deliveries with some of the best lyrics I have heard in a while, and to the post-rocky soundscapes over Architects sounding metal riffs. Their new tunes seem to follow this effective formula once again, with “Northern Fires (Guernica)” coming in as one of the heaviest outings the band has produced as of yet. I am expecting yet another modern metalcore masterpiece with this one.

Humanity’s Last Breath - TBA (release date TBA)

If you’re not familiar with these guys, they are basically one of the heaviest bands I know of. Over-the-top, ridiculous deathcore with a Vildhjarta-esque taste in the best way possible, Humanity’s Last Breath rely on pitch shifting effects to reach both extremes of pitch, creating a thoroughly ugly, yet highly entertaining sound. If you’re a fan of CABAL, I am fairly certain they have gotten quite a bit of inspiration from these guys. I have been waiting for a new full-length for about 5 years and now it seems we’re finally getting it sometime later this year, with the band recently signing to Unique Leader Records. About a year ago, we got a standalone track in “Abyssal Mouth” which was just as hideous as I had come to expect, but also showcasing a darker black metal vibe into the mix. It will be very interesting to see if this is a general new direction for the band.

Lærke Fenger (LL)

Foxing - “Nearer My God” (released on August 10th)

This emo/indie rock band from St. Louis, Missouri have been one of my favorites since the release of their heart-wrenching and post-rock-influenced sophomore album "Dealer" back in 2015. Now they're finally back with an ambitious third album produced by Chris Walla (ex-Death Cab For Cutie) that opens up their sound even further than before. Their development since their first much more raw emo release has already been a joy to follow and the further push that is evident in their two new singles "Slapstick" and the expansive title track "Nearer My God" is enough to make me very intrigued for a full new album to dive into by these emotional geniuses.

Mitski - “Be the Cowboy” (released on August 17th)

The Japanese-American indie rock singer-songwriter Mitski from New York City appeared in my world with her critically acclaimed third album "Bury Me at Makeout Creek" but it wasn't until her fourth release "Puberty 2" that I truly understood her universe and became a huge fan. She always manages to approach her songwriting in a manner that unifies somewhat experimental or unusual melodies with catchy riffs and a punk sensibility. That exact mix is what made her last album my very favorite of 2016 so needless to say, I have high expectations for this fifth album. The first singles to appear from it have been more poppy and danceable than what we're used to. This is especially true of the latest one called "Nobody" while the previous "Geyser" seems more like a link between that and her previous album. Nevertheless, her music has taken me a while to get into before so I'm just looking forward to another rewarding listening experience with "Be The Cowboy".

Idles - “Joy as an Act of Resistance” (released on August 31st)

The British post-punk group Idles majorly surprised me with their 2017 debut record "Brutalism" as they manage to keep a high pace while constantly evolving their songs in a super dynamic way that keeps it more interesting than what is typical for the genre. For their sophomore record, they have dropped the five-minute "Colossus" and the very Protomartyr-sounding "Samaritans" but it's the catchy and fun track "Danny Nedelko" that has really caught my attention so far. They continue their sardonic style with vocals that at the same time sound flat and energetic and with the longer track times so far, they seem to be only further honing their craft. I really hope it works for the entire album and am excited to hear it in full soon!

Thrice - “Palms” (released on September 14th)

Alternative rock band Thrice from Irvine, California are one of my all-time favorite groups so naturally, I'm excited for their upcoming ninth full-length "Palms". Even more so because they have been mentioning in interviews and press material that they're aiming for a more raw sound this time than on their somewhat lighter last album "To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere". The only released single so far, "The Grey", has a delicious sound and a somewhat chaotic undercurrent that particularly shines in its syncopated verses. Along with the band's comments, it makes me very hopeful for this upcoming release that I hope will take up a solid spot in their discography.

Vennart - “To Cure a Blizzard upon a Plastic Sea” (released on September 14th)

Since I first heard the progressive post-hardcore band Oceansize's "Frames" album, I have been a sucker for everything the British vocalist and guitarist Mike Vennart touches. Especially since his more indie-oriented 2015 solo album, "The Demon Joke", I have been waiting impatiently for new material. Finally, it is here, and the first two singles carry on his special vibe that always sounds a little bit off and is rarely simple and easy to listen to in depth. Still, he also has a knack for good melodies that bind everything together and that is also evident on "Donkey Kong" as well as the more expansive "Immortal Soldiers" that have been released so far. Vennart seems to be maintaining his very personal style while at the same time constantly expanding his palette of genres and as it always makes for an interesting blend of elements, I have total faith that this new release will live up to everything I hope for it.

We Were Promised Jetpacks - “The More I Sleep the Less I Dream” (released on September 14th)

This Scottish indie rock group has mostly been in the very fringes of my music radar but with their newest single "Hanging In" they have certainly caught my full attention. It has a kind of tingling math rock sensibility to it even as it waltzes forward at a relatively comfortable pace. The way it's structured leaves lots of space for their lead singer's gorgeous voice to impress with his Scottish dialect, and on top of that it moves dynamically through several more hard rocking parts towards a rewarding release at the end. It's the group's fourth album overall and as far as I can tell, it pulls them more in a post-rock-ish direction than what has previously been the case. Anyway, if you're like me and haven't properly checked them out before, get on the train with this album!

Makky Hall (MAK)

Fair Do’s - “Leopards” (released on July 27th)

Manchester skate punks Fair Do’s are about to release one of 2018’s most exciting albums in UK punk in the form of “Leopards”. Blending skate punk with metallic and melodic hardcore, Fair Do’s will produce an album laden with high energy, crunchy riffage and a catchy upbeat atmosphere full of singalong anthems that are balanced out by beastly breakdowns and shouting hardcore style vocals. “Leopards” will appease those that love their Darko and A Wilhelm scream, heavy skate punk at its finest.

Crossfaith - “Ex_Machina” (released on August 03rd)

It was just a few months ago that I reviewed “Wipeout”, the three track EP from Japanese synth metalcore crew Crossfaith, which I stated the few tracks are going to push Crossfaith up the food chain in rock and metal, tracks which are laden with the hardest riffs and the biggest stretch from pop influences to “core” characteristics. That was clearly just a taster of what to expect from “EX_Machina”, this could be a whole new beast.

Eat Defeat - “I Think We’ll Be Okay” (released on August 03rd)

Just a couple of years ago I reviewed “Time & Tide” by Leeds based pop-punk outfit Eat Defeat and it stood out to me as a fun EP that used skate punk to keep the overly poppy side at bay against being too cheesy or too alike most other UK pop-punk acts. Now the word down the grapevine of those that have heard this new album already have stated this could be one of the best albums in the sub-genre this year, having seen some new tracks live including the lead single, ‘A Little Less Than OK’, which is open about the topics of depression, I’m inclined to jump on the hype train, what I’ve heard so far is highly enjoyable and exciting for pop-punk.

The Bar Stool Preachers - “Grazie Governo” (released on August 03rd)

Brighton ska punks will follow up their successful 2016 debut album, “Blatant Propaganda” with “Grazie Governo”, translated as, “Thank You Government”. Primed for the summer, this is expected to be chirpy and uplifting, combining two-tone happiness with some melodic punk influences. Musically, this will be the type of album to get you skanking and to sing your heart out, however, topically the Preachers will unload on political angst with passionate lyricism like they always do.

WSTR - “Identity Crisis” (released on August 31st)

Early last year, WSTR unveiled their album “Red, Green or Inbetween”, which stood out to me for its pure honesty about dealing with the hangups of breaking up with someone and other downbeat things in life that plenty of pop-punk acts sing about. It felt fresh compared to plenty of the UK peers in the genre. I’m intrigued how this Liverpudlian crew will follow that up, will they continue to stand out in UK pop-punk or get lost in the mix. From what I’ve heard it’s very cheerful so far, not quite as angst-ridden, but we shall see.

Rune Bøgelund (RUB)

Pig Destroyer - “Head Cage” (released on September 07th)

Having not released a new album in six years, this new record from the American grinders is bound to turn heads, and hopefully it will still sound how grindcore should. Quite fittingly, it’s their sixth full-length as well, and even though the latest albums haven’t quite been able to reach the former glory of their first few records, it’s still very noteworthy and worth looking forward to. Hopefully this will bring about a tour with a stop or two in Denmark, because their style of music just screams chaos and madness and translates into an absolutely intense show in an intimate and cramped setting.

Deicide - “Overtures of Blasphemy” (released on September 14th)

Boy, was I happy when death metal legends Deicide announced the release of their twelfth studio album, “Overtures of Blasphemy”. The band has been pretty consistent in releasing albums over the last decade or so, but it has been five years since their latest release, “In the Minds of Evil”. Even though they did not reach the legendary status of their first couple of records, the last couple of outings from the band have actually been really good. And with a name like “Overtures of Blasphemy”, the infamous Glen Benton is sure to resurrect the controversy, outcries and hatred towards Christianity once again.

Aborted - “TerrorVision” (released on September 21st)

The Belgian group Aborted, too, has been very consistent in terms of releasing albums. Every two years, they have issued one great deathgrind album after another, and it would seem that they just keep getting better and better. With their latest outing, “Retrogore”, they definitely hit a high mark, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep that going. One can only hope that this will take the group to the next stage of their career, and perhaps land some bigger headlining tours on their own — because damnit, they deserve every last bit of it!

Anaal Nathrakh - “A New Kind of Horror” (released on September 28th)

With the release of “The Whole of the Law” in 2016, the Birmingham-based duo of Anaal Nathrakh kept on going strong with their take on industrial black metal and grindcore, and took it to a whole new level of insanity. Their maniacal approach to the genre, which features both clean vocals and insane shrieks, just keeps on amazing me with its intensity and extremity even a few years down the line. And that is truly key here: extremity. Hopefully they will keep it both extreme and technical when they release their tenth album late in September.

Revocation - “The Outer Ones” (released on September 28th)

OK, September will be a pretty busy month, holy moly. The technical thrashers of Revocation have already booked a slot in Denmark for their upcoming tour, and with a new album on the way, this should be sure to draw in a huge crowd. This is also due to a very high level of consistency — both when it comes to the release of new albums, and quality of the band’s songwriting and musicianship. Their last three or four releases, if not more, have been rock solid technical thrash records, and people have obviously taken notice of this, as they’re headlining the aforementioned tour — their first-ever headlining run in Europe.

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