The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2018

“Chasing a dream as I go higher
Playing it mean, my heart’s on fire
Living my life, ain’t no pretender
Ready to fight with no surrender.” – No Surrender, by Judas Priest

Another year goes by and, as usual, we lost a lot of good people, including family and friends. In heavy music, 2018 was the year several amazing musicians passed away, such as Dave Holland (former drummer of Judas Priest), Ralph Santolla (former guitarist of Iced Earth, Deicide, Death and Obituary), Vinnie Paul (the talented drummer of Hellyeah, Pantera and Damageplan), Jill Janus (the stunning vocalist of Huntress), and “Fast” Eddie Clarke, one of the meanest guitarists in history and the last of Motörhead’s “Three Amigos”, signaling the definitive end of Motörhead’s classic lineup. Not only that, we also saw the one and only Glenn Tipton, the iconic lead guitarist for Heavy Metal giants Judas Priest and one of the most influential guitar players in the history of metal, opening up about his ongoing fight against Parkinson’s disease and, as a consequence, having to pull out of the 2018 tour due to his health issues. However, as the Metal Gods themselves sing in their new ass-kicking song No Surrender, we can’t surrender and should keep on fighting with our heads high, always listening to our good old Heavy Metal to inspire us to face our daily struggles.

Enough said already, how about we show the world that we metalheads are still here, always ready for a fight, and that metal music is alive and kicking with The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2018, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums? From classic bands like Judas Priest, Behemoth and Immortal, to underground bands from all four corners of the earth like Ukraine’s 1914, Australia’s Rise of Avernus and Canada’s Altars of Grief, we can say that 2018 was a damn good year for our beloved Heavy Metal, pointing to a promising future for all its genres and subgenres and proving once again that metal unites us all it doesn’t matter where we live, our culture, language, race or religion. So, get ready to raise your horns and bang your heads nonstop to our selection of best metal albums of the year, and always remember… NO SURRENDER!

1. Judas Priest – Firepower (REVIEW)
The Metal Gods are firing on all cylinders with their majestic new album of pure and highly inspired Heavy Metal.
Best song of the album: Firepower

2. Blaze Bayley – The Redemption of William Black (REVIEW)
What does the future hold for Mr. William Christopher Black? Enjoy the dramatic conclusion to Blaze’s stunning Infinite Entanglement Trilogy.
Best song of the album: The Dark Side of Black

3. Behemoth – I Loved You at Your Darkest (REVIEW)
Poland’s most blasphemous metal institution returns after four years with a much more melodic and dynamic approach than before.
Best song of the album: Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica

4. Dragonlord – Dominion (REVIEW)
Exploring themes of darkness, here comes Eric Peterson’s Symphonic Black and Thrash Metal project with their first album in 13 years.
Best song of the album: Northlanders

5. Primal Fear – Apocalypse (REVIEW)
The Teutonic eagles of Power Metal return with another sensational opus showcasing the perfect amount of creativity and melody.
Best song of the album: The Ritual

6. Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods (REVIEW)
The Gates of Blashyrkh have finally opened again to the sound of the pulverizing new album by the Northern Chaos Gods of Black Metal.
Best song of the album: Mighty Ravendark

7. 1914 – The Blind Leading the Blind (REVIEW)
It’s time to head into the battlefields of the Great War together with these Ukrainian Blackened Death and Doom Metal infantrymen.
Best song of the album: Passchenhell

8. Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau (REVIEW)
Here come Australia’s own Rise of Avernus with their most symphonic, heaviest and darkest opus thus far.
Best song of the album: Eigenlicht

9. Altars of Grief – Iris (REVIEW)
A superb album of Canadian Blackened Doom narrating a tragic story of a deeply flawed man and his dying daughter.
Best song of the album: Broken Hymns

10. Marduk – Viktoria (REVIEW)
A furious and aggressive fusion of Marduk’s classic Black Metal with their more contemporary warlike sound.
Best song of the album: Viktoria

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Stormzone – Lucifer’s Factory (REVIEW)
12. Motorjesus – Race to Resurrection (REVIEW)
13. Borgne – [∞] (REVIEW)
14. SynlakrosS – Malice Murder (REVIEW)
15. Xenoblight – Procreation (REVIEW)
16. Kaoteon – Damnatio Memoriae (REVIEW)
17. Tamerlan Empire – Age of Ascendancy (REVIEW)
18. Coiled Around Thy Spine – Shades (REVIEW)
19. Chthonic – Battlefields of Asura (REVIEW)
20. NovaReign – Legends (REVIEW)

In addition, how about another round of awesome albums released this year, this time presenting to you our Top 10 EP’s of 2018? Those shorter-than-a-regular-album but still heavier-than-hell releases are like going to a fancy restaurant, where you might not get a humongous amount of food, but what’s served on your plate is more than enough to please your palate (or your ears, in this case). And, of course, you leave the place eager for more of that tasty and exquisite metal music.

1. Violent Life Violent Death – Come, Heavy Breath (REVIEW)
2. Strangle Wire – The Dark Triad (REVIEW)
3. Godless – Swarm (REVIEW)
4. The Black Swamp – Witches (REVIEW)
5. Progenie Terrestre Pura – starCross (REVIEW)
6. Lebowskii – Liquidators (REVIEW)
7. Geisterwald – Geisterwald (REVIEW)
8. Soul Dissolution – Nowhere (REVIEW)
9. Dark Archive – Cultivate Our Blood in Aeon (REVIEW)
10. Forte Ruin – Rebuilding the Machinery (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2018? Once again don’t forget to check Antichrst Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2018 (Editorial Staff), tune in to Timão Metal every Tuesday on Rádio Coringão for a sensational fusion of metal and soccer, and to The Headbanging Moose Show every Thursday on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of the underground and independent metal scene!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2019!

And last but not least, if you want to support Glenn Tipton and everyone else on their personal battles against Parkinson’s, you can purchase the official Glenn Tipton Parkinson’s Foundation Charity T-shirt by clicking HERE or make a direct donation following the instructions found HERE. You can always help your family, friends and fellow metalheads, as simple as that, and who knows, maybe we can make this world a better place to live.

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Album Review – Godless / Swarm EP (2018)

Committed to pure, unadulterated, lightning-fast, ear-shredding, thrash-influenced Death Metal, this promising Indian act is ready to kill with their crushing and groovy sophomore EP.

From their inauspicious origins in 2015 in the city of Hyderabad, the capital of southern India’s Telangana state, within a very exotic metal music scene, Death/Thrash Metal squad Godless slowly rose to the very top of the country’s Death Metal class thanks to their unapologetic commitment to pure, unadulterated, lightning-fast, ear-shredding, thrash-influenced Death Metal. Comprised of Kaushal LS on vocals, Ravi Nidamarthy on the guitars, Abbas Razvi on bass and Aniketh Yadav on drums, Godless had an amazing year in 2018, having won the Wacken Metal Battle India, having played at the iconic Wacken Open Air as the great prize of the competition won, and having released their sophomore EP, a thrashing and groovy beast entitled Swarm.

Featuring a dark and devilish artwork by Khaos Diktator Design, Swarm deals with controversial themes such as zombification, cosmic horror, reanimation of the dead, occultism and religion. “We actually started to work on the Swarm EP right after our debut EP Centuries of Decadence. We didn’t really have any direction in mind but wrote the song Infected by the Black. Things naturally took on a more aggressive, thrashier and faster direction, and we just continued the flow from there on for the rest of the EP,” commented the band about their new album, inviting us all to slam into the pit and roar together with them on their quest for extreme music.

The soothing sound of water blended with cryptic, otherworldly noises in the intro Exordium set the stage for Godless to decimate our senses in Infected By The Black, blasting a more demonic version of the already heavy-as-hell Trash Metal by their countrymen SystemHouse33, and with Kaushal barking and roaring like a beast in a true Death Metal style while Aniketh pounds his drums frantically and with tons of groove. Following such pulverizing start we have From Beyond, another brutal tune blending the most electrifying elements from Thrash, Death and Groove Metal where Ravi’s riffs sound as metallic and piercing as possible, accompanied by Abbas and his menacing bass punches.

Then growling deeper and deeper like a rabid creature, Kaushal leads his henchmen in the fulminating Deathcult, presenting a crisp and thunderous sonority thanks to the fantastic sync between Abbas and Aniketh, not to mention Ravi’s incendiary guitar lines. Put differently, this is old school Thrash Metal infused with the most carnivorous elements from Death Metal, for the absolute delight of fans of extreme music. And last but not least, with the help of guest guitarist Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschlager (Obscura, Despotic, NYN), the quartet unleashes hell upon humanity with the thrashing and infernal tune Empty Graves, where Kaushal goes full Death Metal on vocals while Aniketh sounds like an unstoppable stone crusher on drums, bringing total chaos in the form of music to end the EP on a high and visceral note.

All the devastation and groove brought forth by Godless can be better appreciated by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, by listening to more of their music on Spotify, and obviously by purchasing Swarm from their BandCamp page or webstore,  as well as from iTunes or Amazon. Because you know, whenever you feel the urge to slam into the circle pit and scream like a beast to the sound of crushing Death and Thrash Metal, you can count on this promising Indian act to provide you the perfect soundtrack to that.

Best moments of the album: Infected By The Black.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Exordium 0:51
2. Infected By The Black 3:33
3. From Beyond 3:44
4. Deathcult 3:24
5. Empty Graves (feat. Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschlager) 3:50

Band members
Kaushal LS – vocals
Ravi Nidamarthy – guitars
Abbas Razvi – bass
Aniketh Yadav – drums

Guest musician
Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschlaeger – guitars on “Empty Graves”

Album Review – Endzeit / Years Of Hunger EP (2014)

Are you hungry for some high-end old school Black Metal? These guys from the land of ice and snow are here to provide you all the apocalyptic madness and derangement you want to listen to.

Rating5

Endzeit Years of HungerHeavy music in Finland has become famous and respected worldwide due to the Melodic Power Metal by Stratovarius, Nightwish and Sonata Arctica, the Hard Rock by Lordi, the Melodic Death Metal by Children of Bodom, the Dark Rock by HIM, among other great bands and artists. However, If you want to listen to some really badass raw Black Metal, that’s not the best place to go according to what most people say. You should try your luck in other Scandinavian countries like Norway or Sweden, right? Well, let me tell you the beautiful land of ice and snow also has some high-quality extreme metal to offer you, a million light-years more brutal than any of the aforementioned bands.

Founded in 2012 in the city of Lahti, located around 100km from the capital Helsinki, Finnish Raw Apocalyptic Black Metal band Endzeit couldn’t sound more Black Metal than this, with absolutely no shenanigans or any type of soft stuff added to their musicality. Dealing with controversial subjects such as religion, the apocalypse and the absence of an optimistic future (triggered by the decay of the city of Detroit, where modern capitalism has failed), their debut EP entitled Years Of Hunger might be relatively short, but it’s a 100% ruthless metal feast that will leave you totally disoriented, which of course is a good thing in Black Metal.

And there’s no “calm before the storm” in Years Of Hunger: the intro Inception is already apocalyptic (were you expecting anything different than that?), setting the stage for the obscure Hunger, with its traditional Black Metal riffs and drums at the speed of light creating that characteristic somber and chaotic atmosphere found in extreme music, intensified by the excellent demonic vocals by singer Schwarz. In other words, it’s perfect for diehard black metallers searching for new bands but with an old school approach. Following that havoc, we have Godless, slightly heavier than the previous track due to its awesome disturbing riffs, and especially due to the insane drumming by Samuli.

Endzeit bandThe last original composition by Endzeit is the amazing song Life?, where a dark choir in the background “beautifully” complements the intense tremolo picking riffs, creating an even more frightening atmosphere. Besides, I guess I don’t need to say how pessimistic and acid the lyrics are, right? Anyway, an awesome thing about Endzeit is that they manage to play the most deranged type of extreme music you can imagine, but it’s so professional and melodic you actually feel good listening to it. That’s corroborated by their sick cover version of The Dawn No More Rises, originally recorded by Swedish Black Metal icons Dark Funeral in their classic debut album The Secrets of the Black Arts (1996). I personally find this track an awesome “bonus” Endzeit offer us in this EP, very honest to the original but with the band’s own modern and diabolic touch to make it unique.

In my humble opinion, if Enzeit release a full-length album as good as Years Of Hunger EP, available at their official BandCamp page, the “map” of Black Metal might suffer a few changes in a near future, even moving its “capital” to the city of Lahti. Years Of Hunger will surely satisfy your current hunger for high-quality old school Black Metal and, of course, leave you eager for more of Endzeit’s apocalyptic brutality directly from ice cold Finland.

Best moments of the album: Hunger and Life? are truly kick-ass songs.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Inception 1:08
2. Hunger 4:58
3. Godless 5:29
4. Life? 6:42
5. The Dawn No More Rises (Dark Funeral cover) 3:52

Band members
Schwarz – guitars, vocals
Polaris – guitars
Pyry – bass
Samuli – drums