Metal Awards

Alex's Top 15 albums of 2018

  1. Arkona - Khram
    Transformative album, both for the band and for the listener. So disappointed I could not catch them live on the US tour
  2. Selvans - Faunalia
    Gripping wall of emotion
  3. Primordial - Exile Amongst the Ruins
    Not capable of disappointing
  4. Judas Priest - Firepower
    I'm begging the gods I am as good at my craft when I am 65+ as this venerable band that got me into metal 35 years ago
  5. Sargeist - Unbound
    My black metal album of the year. Intensity unmatched
  6. Orphaned Land - Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs
    More commercial, no less appealing
  7. A Sound of Thunder - It Was Metal
    If you are interested in supporting both independent vision and quality at the same time, look no further
  8. Arstidir - Hvel
    Progressive folk album of the year
  9. Battleroar - Codex Epicus
    Forgot about these Greek epic metallers, so they sent me a strong reminder
  10. Scald - Will of Gods is a Great Power
    Re-release, but discovery of the year
  11. Ashes of Ares - Well of Souls
    And I didn't even know Matt Barlow was back
  12. Isenordal - Spectral Embrace
    Last year's blackened doom was impossible to beat, but this darkwave neofolk album is solid
  13. Evoken - Hypnagogia
    Funeral doom masters deliver
  14. Barren Altar - Entrenched in the Faults of the Earth
    Blackened doom album of this year
  15. Soliloquium - Contemplations
    And more epic traditional doom
Alex's Top 5 surprises of 2018

  1. Khors - Beyond the Bestial
    My favorite Ukranian beyond black metal band lives
  2. Rithiya Henry Khiev - Eviscerated Realm
    Instrumental music done so well
  3. Lutharo - Unleash the Beast
    Energy & thrash
  4. Sanctrum - Walk with Vermin
    Energy & melodic death thrash
  5. Liholesie - Fables
    Peace & ambiance
Alex's Disappointment(s) of 2018

  1. Therion - Beloved Antichrist
    Why? I couldn't wait for this triple monster to end
Alex's Joke(s) 2018

  1. Men in Metal - Let the Soul Spread Its Wings
    It's not how you name your band, it is what you play that counts
Alex's words about 2018
  1. This has not been an easy year for me, personally or professionally. I got pretty seriously sick early in the year because of all the work stress, sleepless hours, etc. The company sale, having to work with the new arrangements, all the fundamental changes running the company, almost endless expansion, personnel pressures - all took a toll on my metal listening posture. I constantly found myself looking for old acquaintances, and many of my favorite bands had 2018 releases. Thus, a lot of names on my list aren't new discoveries. Thankfully, old friends delivered and then some. Arkona, Primordial, Judas Priest, Sargeist, Orphaned Land, Khors, A Sound of Thunder made my list before, and they did it again in 2018. Only Therion disappointed (in a major way). Next, the word doom, or at least sadder music, was the word of 2018 for me. Anything doomy seemed to hit the spot. Thus, preponderance of those are probably reflected in the list as well. My older child left for college this year, and due to work I had to travel more, so I had less opportunities to listen, and missed probably a few more weeks than I normally do. Also, when you are worried about what is happening with your college freshman, the writing just doesn't flow well. Thanks a bunch to Andy and Zad, who provided the voice of sanity. What I want to promise to my two remaining compatriots that #1 - I will try sticking it with them to the end, and #2 - I need to listen to every entry on their year end lists. Thanks to all promoters, labels and bands who still keep sending the material to me. I know, I could have been doing more, but doing this for 16 years now - the times have changed and I am adapting. May 2019 bring the best of everything to everybody who continues reading MR!