05) Skeletonwitch, Devouring Radiant Light (Prosthetic)
Devouring Radiant Light is Skeletonwitch’s first full-length album since 2013’s Serpents Unleashed and another first with Adam Clemans on vocals who replaced Chance Garnette. A new vocalist is always tricky for devoted fans to accept. However, this is another record I fell in love with after the first song, “Fen of Shadows.” Once again, it sucked me in from the beginning and after my first listen, I knew it would be one of this year’s best. One could say, it gives a fair unpredictable blend between the disarray and slow-moving beats.
Key Track(s): “Fen of Shadows” “The Vault”
04) Jungle Rot, Jungle Rot (Victory)
The album may appear a little short as it is less than forty minutes. However, this is by far the best death metal album of 2018. The merciless beats continue to topple over as the overall production quality remains pristine. Nothing feels forced, standardized nor predictable. It’s a high quality record from start to finish.
Key Track(s): “Send Forth Oblivion” “A Burning Cinder”
03) Sirenia, Arcane Astral Aeons (Napalm)
Sirenia had me since 2002’s At Sixes and Sevens. They’ve gone through countless of lineup changes while delivering a somewhat reconstructed Sirenia after each album. While their style is somewhat there, each LP is different from the next. My least favorite is 2016’s Dim Days of Dolor. Now, saying a “least favorite” doesn’t mean that I necessarily hated it. I just expected more. When Arcane Astral Aeons arrived, I knew why there was a Dim Days of Dolor. I consider that a warm up period for the group as they recruited Emmanuelle Zoldan as a full time member as she replaced Ailyn back in 2016. Of course this wasn’t the band’s first singer change but 2016 did mark their next chapter. With that being said, I have a lot of love for Arcane Astral Aeons. Even though “Aerodyne” sounds like it belongs on Dim Days of Dolor, the record includes a lot of experiments. Zoldan spoke in her native French language in tracks such as “Nos Heures Sombres,” while the band went to a more upbeat/popish tempo with “Into the Night.” Additionally, they moved in a heavier direction with songs “The Voyage” and “Glowing Embers.”
Key Track(s): “Into the Night,” “Love Like Cyanide,” “The Voyage,” “The Twilight Hour”
02) Witherfall, A Prelude to Sorrow (Century Media)
Witherfall’s A Prelude to Sorrow was a very close call to making the number 1 spot. If you want to know what perfection is, this album is just that. As being the perfectionist/overthinker that I am, I knew a lot went into this record. I mentioned this before on my top 5 concerts of 2018, I’m impressed by Joseph Michael’s vocals. The group’s sophomore album goes deeper and darker as the loss of their drummer Adam Sagan is pretty much there from beginning to end. This album is for everyone that has lost someone. We’ve all had a “Moment of Silence,” realized that compared to the universe, “We Are Nothing.” As depressing the music is, it’s also a realistic picture of us humans. Sadly, there are people who forget that we don’t live forever. Musically, it gives a fair balance between heavy and soft as each track successfully kept me on my toes. Listen to this record, buy it, enjoy it, and make sure you have a bottle of red near when you’re done.
Key Track(s): “We Are Nothing,” “Moment of Silence” “Shadows” “Vintage”