Vick’s EOTY Picks of 2018: Part I

Unless you’ve been camping out under a rock this whole year, 2018 has already been an incredible year for new releases. And if I were to compile this whole list in December, noone would get through the whole thing. I wouldn’t even have the motivation to write about everything I currently want to. So the most logical thing to do is break it up into pieces. Ridiculous, I know.

Even though there are literally dozens of albums I want to tell you about, I’m limiting myself to the ones that I find myself listening to the most (for now). Of course, other releases will pop up, and I might find myself jamming some other recent releases more in the coming months. But for now.. in no particular order….

Slugdge; Esoteric Malacology– Whereas I can’t tell you how to pronounce Slugdge, I can tell you that this one is the most played album on this list. Their lyrics combine all that are slimy with the cosmos and the Lovecraftian influence is very clear. The puns are pretty good, too. Vocalist Matt Moss‘s range is rather impressive; though deeper mid range growls take precedence, Matt’s deep singing voice brings an eerie yet epic feel to all of the tracks. Guitarist Kev Pearson has gracefully combined progressive, black and death metal throughout the eight tracks. Regardless of how progressive and technical the instrumentation is, the riffs are groovy and catchy enough to find themselves wormed in your brainwaves.
Slugdge are very much on their way towards forging a cult-like following, if they haven’t already.  Limus enim omnia vincit.
Favourite song: I will never be able to pick one. Because all of them.

Demonstealer; The Last Reptilian War–  Sahil Makhija, the Demonstealer himself, continues to raise hell with the newest release of his solo project. Whereas his other project, Demonic Resurrection, channels a wider range of subgrenres but has a much more melodic, folky feel, Sahil’s solo work is much heavier and technical. The fast paced riffs, solos, blast beats and mid -tone gutturals persist through the first six tracks. But come to a halt at track seven, the title track, which boasts a much more classic metal vibe where Sahil’s raspy cleans finally make their appearance. The tempo picks back up with the closing track, “Rebel in Space”. As an added bonus, you’ll find quite a few guest spots on this album, including the likes of David Diepold (Cognizance) and Romain Goulan (ex Necrophagist).
This isn’t the first time one of Sahil’s projects has made one of my lists, and it certainly won’t be the last.  The Demonstealer is surely a force to be reckoned with, and it would be most wise to check up on him every now and again; I’m willing to bet he’ll be up to something new in no time.
Favourite song: “The Human Pestilence”

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Inferi; Revenant– With their first album in four years, Inferi is back to prove that melodic death isn’t just Arsis and The Black Dahlia Murder. “The album begins with a thunderstorm and a somber orchestral piece in “Within the Dead Horizon” before it slams you full force into the epic power that stands consistent throughout. There are very few calm moments throughout the album; a handful of respites from the vigor and might that is the behemoth, Revenant.” Inferi have managed a couple of guest spots as well; “Through the Depths” features guitarwork by James Malone (Arsis), and “Behold the Bearer of Light” features guest vocals from Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder).
I don’t always review albums, but when I do… You can catch my whole review of Revenanthere, if you’re interested.
Favourite song: “A Beckoning Thrall”

Alterbeast; Feast- Alterbeast has also released their first album in almost four years. Feast has everything you could possibly want in a melo-tech album; relentless blast beats, plentiful sweeping solos, and a solid range of vocal tones. The riffs are technical, yet groovy enough to hold one’s attention. And ohhhhh! that sweet little whammy echo on the second track! This record is easily the most headbangable on this list. Forging common ground with melodic black metal fans, Alterbeast absolutely dominates their cover of Dissection‘s “Where Dead Angels Lie”. Though only under forty minuets long, Feast is truly unforgiving, and certainly earns a spot on all EOTY lists.
Favourite Song: “The Maggots Ascension”. And “Feast”. And “Apex Night Eclipse”

You can catch Alterbeast with Inferi next Wednesday, 6/27, here in Buffalo! Don’t miss out!

Rivers of Nihil; Where Owls Know My Name– With their third full length, Rivers of Nihil has released their most mature and experimental album to date. A Saxophone solo craze has washed over the tech/prog community, and Rivers is one who’s gotten caught in the current. But that’s definitely not a bad thing- the sax solo in “A Silent Life” offers a brief respite from the blast beats with a sultry, jazzy ambiance.  They make a very solid effort to increase the poignant aura of the record, specifically “Cancer” and “Capricorn”, the opening and closing tracks. They’ve even included cleaning singing on this album, for the first time in their discography. Other than that, the base of the Rivers of Nihil sound hasn’t changed; swift blast beats, nasty riffs, beast solos and vocalist Jake Dieffenbach‘s discernible vocals.
Rivers continues to do a superb job at demonstrating that death metal can be thoughtful and emotional and still be epic and brutal all the while.
Favourite song: “The Silent Life”

Actually, you can catch Rivers of Nihil, Alterbeast AND Inferi all on the same tour beginning 6/28. And that, kids, is how you promote your new albums.

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And last, but not least…
Galactic Empire; Episode II-  It’s no secret that the only reason I know anything about Star Wars is because of the borderline obsession of my better half. And this one, I gotta give it to him, taking me to see these guys last year was pretty phenomenal. Though I do love (most) vocals, I do also love the extra layers that instrumental bands get to showcase without them. GE is no exception, especially when it comes to showcasing the complexity of the original compositions. And they’ve certainly done an exceptional job taking dark, ominous sounding classical music and making it metal, thus showing that metal is classical’s modern counterpart.
I have no intention of watching any of the Star Wars movies, at least not until Galactic Empire covers all of the songs, and thus allowing all of the original instrumentals to be dubbed over completely with the covers.
Favourite song: “The Emperor” and “Into the Trap”

Like I said, 2018 is only half over, and there are plenty of new releases coming up that we should all be excited for. Including, but not limited to, Revocation, Obscura, Beyond Creation, Between the Buried and Me, Weaponex, Soreption, and tons more! Be sure to keep an eye out, you don’t want to miss a single one!

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