Teeth of the Divine Staff Picks for 2018

The way we do the TOP 2018 list here at Teeth is that we’ve waited until the year was actually over. That way, we’re sure we didn’t miss giving proper credit to that one album that released a minute before midnight on the 31st. So just in case some metal band from Tonga got an idea, we were ready for it. Nonetheless, every year there’s more and more material out there for us to listen to and it’s pretty much impossible to cover it all. Yet, 2018 saw plenty of albums that deserve to be remembered next year — and some being which will stick around longer. Maybe you missed something? Maybe you have your own ideas what ruled in 2018 and what should never have been released in the first place? Check our lists out, see how our picks matched up, and let’s hope 2019 doesn’t prove to be worse.

by Staff

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Mars Budziszewski


a.k.a. 10 (minus 1) records I should have reviewed this year and did not.


FAUSTCOVENIn The Shadow of Doom (Nuclear War Now)

In The Shadow of Doom is exactly the presentation I’m referring to when I make the argument, as I have done in reviews, for albums being a whole package; art that invokes a mood if not even conjures a story.  The logo is an excellent design, and the music inside delivers to match or exceed a sense of wholeness.  Upon sight I felt compelled to initiate my first Faustcoven listening experience.  Firstly, I expected wind burned melodic yet melancholic black metal.  Instead Faustcoven’s niche is black-death-doom metal.  Their flavor of doom is not a romantic rue on northern depression, nor is it the simmering, tectonic heave like that of TyrannyFaustcoven weave in bits of blues, and classic doom style guitar solo’s and leads.  The music feels like something very old, awoken with life.  Like a curious apparition releasing from a druids spellbound entombment, Faustcoven’s songs amble forth in early afternoon dusk.  Unsure of its purpose but assuredly free to roam and exercise its left hand influence upon the descendants of those druids.  The albums vibe evokes a version of 16th century Norway that never suffered the influence of Christianity but held fast to original Norse faiths and beliefs.   However, similarly dark in its effect on the culture through the ages.  What it executes more convincingly than most metal albums attempt, is atmosphere.  Equally enchanting and menacing.


KEYS OF ORTHANCDush agh Goinauk (Naturmacht Records)

A record I actually reviewed for TOTD this year.  Go read that.  Dush agh Goinauk inspires one to get seriously into tabletop fantasy gaming.  It’s true I don’t consume very much symphonic black metal let alone the next niche down which is fantasy themed but the mood and flow of this record is superbly executed.  Natural skills that can’t be taught at wizard school.  It’s an album through and through.  Listening to a song or two and not the whole record in sequence would be futile.  To gain sight and wisdom means to endure the journey.  Not enough people will ever hear this record. 


INTERNAL BLEEDINGCorrupting Influence (Unique Leader)

The mob enforcers of New York death metal had a brutal time leading up to the record with the loss of their founding drummer.  Certainly they transformed that pain into productivity, dropping their best album of the 21st century.  Even with changing membership the band still uniquely owns a type of groovy rhythm born out a shared musical DNA as New York borough classic boom-bap rap.  In 2018 I don’t think that substantiation garners a raised eyebrow.  Corrupting Influence has listenable quality to the extent I might recommend it as a modern gateway to the unaccustomed listener.  I commend the band for switching up the theme and content, which is prominently reflected in the great atypical cover art.  Addressing harmful societal implications of future-is-now tech connectivity, and its use by corporations and government.  Perhaps also making it’s addictiveness an analog to the nation’s massive opioid problem.  Their OG roots as a band ground these themes rather than coming off as thin conspiracy platform from which to launch an album. 


IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT – Vile Luxury (Gilead Media)

Imperial Triumphant is to black metal what a meaningful, and stylish super villain is to a Warren Ellis comic book.  Vile Luxury exists in a world parallel to our own.  An alternate version of America that retains the name but doesn’t resemble the version of our existence.  Imagine an America where the initial revolution wasn’t a defining success.  Instead the British and French held controlling stakes well into the 19th century.  And thus a lasting influence on America’s culture and civil landscape.  The capitalist promises of a new world gripped the most entrepreneurial.  Money and the marketplace are dominant cultural features just the same, but draped in finer cloth.  From art to architecture the dramatic flair of the French, and stoic pride of old Britain are, as to be expected, embellished and expanded upon in the ‘new world’.  However, one place in this America can be comfortably identified by feel and name.  The volatile, enchanting, and never sleeping New York City.  Not so much a ‘big apple’ as a dense vineyard.  Here New York is still New York.  Where celebrity scientists, industry titans, film stars and their wealthy drug addled children populate the exotic, constricted lanes of the city that eats dreams.  The analog to Batman’s infamous Gotham City is nearest to accurate.  That is if the city were designed by a great-great grandfather of Frank Miller.  It’s in this New York City that the band wrote Vile Luxury.  Noir jazz acts as a damp underground network of tunnels connecting gothic, brutalist black metal structures that rise far beyond the fog line. Complex, indulgent, and decadent. This is unapologetic-ally pretentious black metal.  And so be it.  


HEINOUS – The Basement (Make ‘Em Sweat)

Heinous4 Under The Floorboards ep made my 2017 short format round up.  The Basement, true to grind, is a full length at an acceptable 18 minutes.  The sewer drain slime pitchshifted vocals remain but the metallic hardcore breaks between grind parts are now more traditionally crusty d-beat parts and breakdowns.  Sliding further toward full on Dead Infection worship.  Regardless, Heinous’ twist is fusing a uniquely inner city America ‘streets raised me nasty’ sort of vibe (good luck interpreting that, ha).  This gives me everything I hope for in grind and pushes the drums a little beyond that even.  Play fast and dissolve your victims, don’t bury them.


AKITSACredo (Hospital Productions)

Far more straight ahead than I anticipated from AkitsaCredo is devoid of the full-on post-punk diversions of Grands Tyrans.  They’ve done leftfield for so long that a rather traditional, raw, yet distinctly Quebec-ian, black metal record is a surprising turn.  Akitsa can still project a refined moroseness at faster speeds.  The guitars are brittle and forceful like trying to play a cemetery gate as a violin using galvanized pipe.  The vocals are a natural, high fidelity scream as opposed to the acutely over-driven distortion heard on Grands TyransAkitsa doesn’t need cavernous reverb or any other recent tricks of the trends in low-fi black metal used to convey ‘obscurity’ and ‘mysticism’.  They are a legitimate spiritual medium amongst Tumblr account Ouija board witches. 


SIEGE COLUMNInferno Deathpassion (Nuclear War Now)

The soundtrack to porn involving possessed, World War I era armored vehicles.  I hit play with a curbed expectation that it would be a sound that has become somewhat run of the mill pummeling war metal.  My opinion was shelled to splinters with in one song.  The production is a defiant low-midrange.  Each rhythmic second is like a steam driven hammer pulverizing red glowing iron plate into the shape of a new fangled war machine.  The vocals sound like 10 marines simultaneously power lifting the bodies of dead communists.  Metal of death for subscribers of Soldier of Fortune magazine whose basements are filled with cases of expired emergency food rations. 


BOETHIAHCelestial Gateway (Rotted Life Records / Desert Wasteland)

So, Boethiah, you think you wrote an EP of music.  NAY!  This is a mini-LP.  Thus it’s being included in my Top 10 LP list.  In the last several years I’ve noticed increased use of the term ‘mini-LP’ to define and fill the gap of records created in the age of short attention which time more than 15 minutes but less than 25 or 30 minutes.  Certainly the constraints of these format terms sway depending on genre but generally hold fast and include death metal.  Throwback 90’s American death metal in this case.  Celestial Gateway nods to Nocturnal’s accepted classic The Key.  So I’ve read.  I think I listened to that record once.  The futuristic tech that Boethiah has been toying with has imbued them with post-human levels of productivity as Celestial Gateway is the bands second output of 2018, having released debut LP Invocation of the Xenolith in January.  Frankly, I gave the debut a partial listen and found it initially to be rather boring, with bland clean production that has no business in death metal.  9 months later the band moves to a starship and drops a 6 song MINI-LP of great metal with well-placed synth whirs and blips to let listeners know…this is fuckin’ sci-fi death metal.  The new theme is great fun and I hope they stick with it but the material stands on it’s own.


ROYAL JELLY – Miel De Lavende (Self-Released)

The most well composed, and unique gore noise/grind I’ve heard from the subterranean levels of Bandcamp.  The project’s incredibly niche theme is that of bees.  Royal Jelly celebrates a wealth of material over the last few years and Miel De Lavende is the best of it.  The processed vocals are a reverb heavy, drowning, honey flowage amongst chaotic, gabber like programmed drums, and what I believe is just a distorted bass.  It all coalesces into a cacophonous worship of the hive.  Even at about 12 minutes, for cyber grind, I grant it ‘full length’ status.  Keep grind short and insane.


KRAANIUMSlamchosis (Comatose Music)

A solid percentage of my listening time in 2018 was spent with low brow brutal death metal and slam that I long-windedly justify as being relatively ‘tasteful’.  Though, many of my favorites were released pre-2018, ironically the Russian Kraanium qualified for me as tastefully brutal.  This record stepped up the cover art and finally lost the beat to death theme of some biological monstrosity reaping carnage on a bunch of human victims.  The cover for Slamchosis managed to marry up a subtle humor as I assume the poor corpse is in a life critical ‘slamchosis’, which is such a fun clever title, from Kraanium’s brain mangling chugs and grooves.  So many brutal death and slam release I’ve checked out in the last 5 years sound unnaturally perfect in their heaviness.  You just hear all of the gates, compression, and processing in each instrument.  As if an engineering app set to default is being used across a whole genre.  All of the instruments sound cohesively bound in a pulsating mass.  A dark molasses slathering over the whole recording as if they passed the final digital recording through analog tape which I understand can create a darker, warmer natural compression.  My only complaint is the very sick gravity blasting parts are too quite in the mix.  “SLAM! Just shut up…”


Most Honorable Mentions

a.k.a. records I may likely regret not placing in my top ten instead


RUNESPELL – Order of Vengeance (Iron Bonehead Records)

MORTUOUS – Through Wilderness (Tank Crimes / Carbonized Records)

COSMIC CHURCHTayttymys (Kuunpalvelus / Independent)

PREZIR – As Rats Devour Lions (Godz OV War Productions)

SEROCSThe Phobos / Deimos Suite (Willowtip Records)

FORGOTTEN KINGDOMS – A Kingdom In Ruin (Dark Adversary Productions)

ORATOR Kallipolis (Independent)

VALDUR – Goat of Iniquity (Bloody Mountain Records)

Short Format Favorites (EPs / Demo’s / 7” / Splits)


Blood Tyrant / Departure Chandelier – split 7” (Nuclear War Now)

                High end low-fi black metal

InopexiaTypcial Day (Self-Released)

                The title is translated from Russian.  Siiiiiiick, perfectly executed hyperblasting goregrind.

Excruciation – The Drunk Diary (ProGuttural Production)

                Drum machine goregrind from the guy behind Perverted Dexterity

Curved Blade / Palemort – split 7” (Tour De Garde Records)

                Low-fi black metal with buried synth and I believe has New York, noise scene roots

GutlessMass Extinction (Maggot Stomp)

               Gory, heavy death metal from Australia


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  1. Commented by: Morbid

    Some good stuff in here, lots I missed or haven’t got to yet. Checked out the Aepoch and regret not looking into it earlier.

    Nice to see the Abysmal Torment mentioned a couple of times, it’s phenomenal for the genre but seems to be getting missed elsewhere.

    For me:
    Thrash AOTY (by a mile): Sabateur – Vicious Circle. Fun as hell thrash, charismatic vocals, plenty of ’80s twists, fantastic dual-guitar solos, and unlike some other late thrash albums that won’t be named, the songwriting doesn’t involve stretching 3 minute songs to 6+ minutes by spamming the chorus over and over again and re-playing build up sections. Every song is memorable and has its own character. Could be my AOTY as well, but there’s still a few things I need to check out before making that claim.

    Proggy tech death AOTY: Exocrine – Molten Giant. This album worked its way into my head and has stuck with me better than the Obscura, Beyond Creation, or Gorod, for whatever reason. Hayato is an awesome track.

    Best EP: Teleport – The Expansion. Vektor-twisted Blood Incantation-y death metal. Just got signed up with a label so interested to see what is coming up for them.

    How the hell have I not listened to this yet: Deceased – Ghostly White. Loved the rest of their stuff and part of why I’m not ready to call the Sabateur my AOTY.

    “I’m not yet sure how much I like this, but it intrigues me and I want more” award: Λ S T R Λ – (some Russian writing stuff, a pair of singles released this year). Weirdo atmospheric/avant/blackened death I guess? Their 2017 release is pretty cool too so I can listen to that while I wait.

    Disappointment of the year: Chapel of Disease – ..And As We blah blah blah. Had never listened to them before, but it was an initial AOTY leader for me when I first heard it and after a few more listens while I was working/gaming etc. Then I finally gave it a few dedicated listens where I didn’t have something else distracting me, I fell out of love with it. Too much pointless repetition that left me wishing the song would move on or just end too many times. A disappointment from initial impression, rather than something that failed to deliver on expectations… but that counts.

    Best single-musician release: Nott – The Wretched Sounds. Bleak, heavy stuff that I guess is sorta “deathcore” but that doesn’t seem quite fitting. (Honorable mention to Dysmorfectomy as well though, some good slam.)

    Most irritating song: Exmortus – Strength and Honor. Obnoxious chorus that for some reason they felt needed to be repeated over and over for a solid minute instead of just ending the song. Irritating because it makes me get up and go to the CD player to skip track every playthrough. Yes, I’m a grouch.

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