Haken – Vector
A band like Haken could easily rest on their laurels, release the same album over and over, and I still would be a fan. Such is not the case with Vector. This time around Haken crafted a decidedly heavier and darker affair. There were no real “silly” type songs akin to “Cockroach King” or “1985”, and while I love those songs, this album is all the better for not having anything like those. They also seemed to take a more song-oriented approach, with a more direct and succinct writing style opposed to just crafting prog for prog’s sake…which they are certainly good at doing! The album feels, dare I say, short? In my eyes this is welcome since as soon as Vector ended, I felt the urge to start it right back up again. Highly Recommended!
Hamferð – Támsins likam
Desolate. Haunting. Crushing. Devestating. These are all words that come to mind when trying to describe Támsins likam. As beautiful as it is heart wrenching, Hamferð crafted an amazing record that should be given much more attention than it has received. Highly Recommended!
Shining – X: Varg Utan Flock
Niklas Kvarforth keeps enduring and consistently releasing great suicidal black metal-ish rock-ish albums. X: Varg Utan Flock continues this tradition and while it’s not changing anything stylistically, that’s not necessarily a detriment. X is most definitely a solid record that seemed to be overlooked!
AHTME – Sewer Born
Some of the nastiest and catchiest death metal I’ve heard in a long time. The grooves come fast and hard. They don’t stop until your neck snaps and slacks over unable to bang any further.
Tribulation – Down Below
Looking for the catchiest, sexiest, chunk of blackened rock n’ roll? Look no further than this incredible record.
Obscura – Diluvium
Just when you thought Tech-Death couldn’t evolve, Obscura’s Diliuvium up the ante by infusing raw musicality instead of technical chops. That’s not to diminish the chops this band possesses because, holy shit, these guys are frightening behind their instruments. Perfectly paced, technical, but also musical as hell and memorable, this could easily be their best work yet.
Arsis – Visitant
After a five-year hiatus, Arsis deliver the goods with this masterful record of techy-thrash flavored metal. Visitant finds their sound matured and refined that honestly rivals for their best work to date. This record could be the definitive Arsis record, and in my humble opinion, it freaking rips.
Psycroptic – As the Kingdom Drowns
Following up to a game changing record is tough. Equaling one is even tougher. Psycroptic return with an album chock full of majestic passages, hooks, and brutalz all in one delicious epic package.
Gorod – Aethra
This Record is nuts. Gorod keep pushing the boundaries on technical death metal pushing it to musical heights. The fantastic guitarwork continues to impress spin after spin. These guys are doing something special and I will most certainly be listening to Aethra well into 2019.
Craft – White Noise & Black Metal
While “Fuck the Universe” will always be my favorite Craft record, WN&BM is a worthy entry into the bands bleak catalog. The more “rock” styled tunes were my favorites, but any fan of misanthropic/nihilist BM should check this record out.