To be honest, Death Metal has played a very minor role on my blog so far, although this genre is an integral part of my daily dose of Metal. Therefore, it was important to me, to put at least one or the other Death Metal album into my annual highlights list. This intention escalated very quickly and I had to do a stand-alone list for this genre in the end.
Here are my ten Death Metal highlights of 2018 in alphabetical order:
Carnation – Chapel of Abhorrence
Old school Swedish Death Metal from Belgium. An album without qualitative failures, played by a band that obviously has the right attitude and from which we should hear a lot more in the future.
Cist – The Frozen Casket
The band from Russia delivered an excellent old school album, which should not be simply labeled as a clone of DEATH and their “Leprosy” album. The band adds its very own sinister notes to the unmistakable style of the Death Metal inventors.
Gravespell – Frostcrown
Melodic Death Metal from the USA, which is so blackened, that for a long time I was not sure in which of my annual highlights lists I should put this album. But as it brings back memories from a time in the late nineties, when Melodic Death Metal was the center of my musical world, this nostalgic masterpiece is clearly to be put into this list.
Hated – Breathless Art
And again, DEATH worshipping from Russia. Where CIST emulate the early phase of the legendary band from Florida, HATE is more interested in Chuck Schuldiner’s technical, later works. But where DEATH incorporated Power Metal, it’s Thrash and some OPETH here.
Lik – Carnage
Boss HM-2 fetishists get more than their money’s worth from the second album of these Swedes. Whirling drums and growls from another dimension are further arguments to make an unconditional recommendation to all of those who have mourned DISMEMBER (who are actually back) and who also own one or the other record of ENTOMBED.
Nekrodeus – Moloch
The Austrians released a devouring beast with this album. Elements of Death, Black, Crust and Sludge come together here as if they had always been meant for each other. Constant variations in tempo and a sound which’s pivotal points are bass and drums, as well as the sick vocals, make this album hard to comprehend in the first place.
Obliteration – Cenotaph Obscure
The fourth album of these Norwegians is dark and vicious. At the same time also mysterious and cosmic. The slightly technical approach emphasizes the madness of the songs, without degenerating into a show-off. The album thrills from the very first moment and grows with each passage, thanks to the excellent production.
Outer Heaven – Realms of Eternal Decay
Grotesque drum grooves, twisted riffs, insane solos and growls from the deepest tomb. Old school heart, what more do you want?! And you get a great artwork on top! Of course, the Americans do not even try to reinvent Death Metal, but that’s the way it should be, when it comes to such a thoroughly convincing album.
Sulphur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos
The German Lovecraft ambassadors finally found the perfect production style on their third album. The highly melodic and extremely atmospheric material sounds much better than on the too muddy debut and its too clear sounding successor. The all-consuming darkness of the songs thus draws the listener even deeper into its cosmic horror. The band once again breaks down the boundaries of the genre, while appearing so natural and homogeneous that one hardly perceives it at first. This masterpiece is hard to put into words, except into the following: DEATH METAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR!
Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms
I’m pretty sure that you should find a lot of Stoner and Doom in the record collections of these Canadians. That is because this album is rich in groove, heavy riffs and spiral leads. And of course, because you can feel the Rock in every second of this still very morbid OSDM release.