Another year on the books, another year packed with excellent metal in every style. And while we didn’t see any significant trends emerge this year, you will notice if you look at our collective lists that there’s very little overlap in our picks. The new releases from the old guard, the standard bearers, and the heavy hitters of death, black, doom and beyond only make up a fraction of what’s offered here – everything else is new arrivals and recent rising stars. No matter where you find it, metal has never been so prolific or diverse, and that is great news for all you out there who are black of heart and hard of hearing. So get ready to dig in and get lost in the deepest bowels of the metal underground – when you come up for air, it’ll be 2018.

by Staff

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Kevin E.

I have to say that overall this was one of the weaker years in metal, with not a large number of releases that I was really crazy about, and good bit of ones I was excited for that turned out to be quite disappointing.  That made the hunting a little harder, but the reward for a good find that much sweeter.


  1. Dying FetusWrong One To Fuck With (Relapse) This album was just catchy as hell, and once I popped it in the CD player it just wanted to keep playing over and over again.
  2. Hideous DivinityAdveniens (Unique Leader) Absolutely crushing album with an amazing production, and a phenomenal add to the Unique Leader lineup.
  3. Left BehindBlessed by the Burn (Unbeaten) Finding downtuned, crushing, moving hardcore like this is rare, and Left Behind (along with Harm’s Way) are 2 of the best.
  4. Decrepit BirthAxis Mundi (Nuclear Blast/Agonia) It was a long wait, but a phenomenal return for one of the tech-death gods.
  5. OriginUnparalleled Universe (Nuclear Blast) Time doesn’t slow them down whatsoever, and they just keep blowing you away with what they can do. I just wish the production (esp. on the drums) would have been a bit better on this one.
  6. CytotoxinGamageddon (Unique Leader) A great mix of brutality and technicality wrapped up in an awesome production.  Man I love Unique Leader.
  7. First BloodRules (Pure Noise) Another hardcore band that needs more recognition as they keep getting better and better.
  8. Hour Of Penance Cast The First Stone (Prosthetic) One of the OG tech-death bands who put out an album much better than their last one.
  9. Maggot ColonyVile Reincarnation (Rising Nemesis) Earth-moving slam-death band out of Japan, which seems to turn out some diamonds in that genre.
  10. Inanimate ExistenceUnderneath a Melting Sky (Artisan Era) A quick turn-around on this album and a new lineup, but this pseudo-melodic death metal band has put together another gem.

Most Disappointing Albums of the Year:

  1. The Kennedy VeilImperium (Unique Leader) Their last one was awesome, but the new vocalist just killed this one.
  2. The Acacia StrainGravebloom (Rise) I’m a big deathcore fan and they were one of the originals, but it looks like their ship has sailed.

Best Brutal/Slam-Death Albums of the Year:

  1. Maggot ColonyVile Reincaration
  2. Cranial EngorgementHorrific Existence
  3. Rendered HelplessEntities of Transdimensional Emergence

Most Anticipated Album of 2018:

  1. Harm’s WayPosthuman. Along with Left Behind they’re one of my 2 favorite hardcore bands, and hoping their new signing to Metal Blade doesn’t diminish their sound at all. Luckily I only have to wait until February.


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  1. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    Killer list, although i don’t get Bell Witch at all.

  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    amped to see Tetragrammacide and Godflesh getting some love here.

  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    The Godflesh is great

  4. Commented by: Don Roberts

    you didn’t like the albums from Immolation, Incantation or Cannibal Corpse ?

  5. Commented by: ben orum

    Thanks for the Oblivion love!

  6. Commented by: M Budziszewski

    Spectral Voice and Dying Fetus would’ve been my
    11 and 12 but I didn’t really have a solid 13-15. I’d rather agonize over a limited 10.
    Didn’t finally listen to the Dying Fetus until last
    month but haven’t been on a brutal death metal kick since earlier in the year.

  7. Commented by: EmmersonBiggins

    Don’t understand the love for a band as mundane as spectral voice… You mongos be sure to check out azarath, ascended dead, tomb mold, Acrimonious, degial, lluvia (for fans of Swedish DAWN)

  8. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    The Spectral Voice is interesting, not quite Bestial Blackened Death, not Funeral Doom, not quite OSDM…just a huge atmospheric sound world.

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