Pope Richard of Blackened Death Records and numerous not so subtle projects (including the controversial and excellent Gaylord, the bleak Suicide Wraith and many more) put out our selection for best comp of the year with the vital Worldwide Organization Of Metalheads Against Nazis II.
Being as polarizing a figure as Richard is usually means you might be an edge lord, but in this case it is refreshingly because Richard is doing so much right. As if writing a song called “Varg Impaled” wasn’t enough of a gift to the scene, Pope Richard also has contributed a guest blogger year end list to us here at Metal Riot this year! Hails and thanks!
Peruse below Richard’s thoughts on 2018’s metal scene, putting out the comp and what the best albums were of the year in their estimation.
It’s mid November and the nights are long and chilly. The days are short and chilly. And I’m in London, so things are /extra/ grey. But as the SADness descends upon us like a wet and fleeting snow, we have heavy metal to warm our hearts and lift our spirits.
2018 was a huge year for metal and all of its subgenres. We have had great releases from death metal bands, black metal acts, doom metal groups, and the immense push of the new wave of anti-fascist heavy metal has /really/ ramped up. For more on that you can check out Blackened Death’s releases “WOMAN” and “WOMAN II” on our Bandcamp. We managed to raise over £2000 between both comps for Doctors Without Borders due to this massive anti-fascist metal community that is pulling together. 2019 is gonna be B I G.
But that’s enough self-aggrandizing – let’s talk about some damn ass heavy metal.
2018 saw the debut release from intense war metal titans NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP. I greeted their album “WHITE NATIONALISM IS FOR BASEMENT DWELLING LOSERS” with caution, but after listening to it and digging deep into the auditory and visual tapestry the band had weaved, I was on board. Hell, the band inspired me to create my own band GAYLORD.
7) Ghost – Prequelle
GHOST’s latest offering “PREQUELLE” is the poppiest they have ever gotten. There are hooks and melodies all over this great album and whenever I spin it, I find myself listening to the entire thing a few times in a row. There are some killer riffs on this album and they are mixed perfectly with pop sensibilities and grandiose theatrics.
6) Memoriam – The Silent Vigil
This is death metal. This is what death metal should sound like. I was a huge fan of MEMORIAM’s 2017 debut FOR THE FALLEN and this year’s THE SILENT VIGIL expands and improves upon that release in every way. If you want bone shattering death metal, you have got to hear this album.
5) Voivod – The Wake
Canada’s tech-thrash titans VOIVOD have been one of my favourite bands for a very long time. There is no other band out there that sound like them and even the bands who /do/ try to emulate them end up not sounding like them at all. This year’s “THE WAKE” is a monstrous collection of fast atonal riffs, off kilter melodies, snarled yet catchy vocals, and songs that will leave you scratching your head and wondering what the Hell just hit you.
4) Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology
The. Perfect. Mix. Of. Old. School. Death. Metal. And. Technical. Death. Metal.
3) Judas Priest – Firepower
JUDAS PRIEST’S “FIREPOWER” shocked me. I was not expecting the band to release an album /this good/ so late in their career. “PAINKILLER” is an album I spin just about every week and /might/ be my number one album of all time – And while comparing “FIREPOWER” to it might dilute how good the new album is, truth be told, it’s the best thing they have released since “PAINKILLER”.
2) Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit
When I first heard ZEAL & ARDOR’S 2016 release DEVIL IS FINE I was absolutely rocked to my core. The fact that something so /new/ sounding was created by merging two very old styles of music was incredible. I listented to that album probably a hundred times the first week I found it. 2018’s STRANGER FRUIT takes the themes and concepts from the previous album and builds on them. Do not miss out on this album is you like avant garde black metal.
1) Gama Bomb – Speed Between the Lines
Ireland’s GAMA BOMB have been recording /great/ thrash metal for years. Every album has its fair share of absolute bangers. Speedy riffs, catchy hooks, silly lyrics about cartoons – Gama Bomb /is/ thrash metal and SPEED BETWEEN THE LINES is one of the best albums the band have ever released. Everything is nearly perfect – The performances of all band members, the songwriting, the production – EVERYTHING. If you are a fan of thrash, you have got to check this out – but even if you don’t like thrash and you just want some great A+ music, check out SPEED BETWEEN THE LINES.