Top 3 Metal Albums of 2018

Top 3 Metal Albums of 2018

Nicholas Timoshenko, Editor

Welcome to Bonkers (Nekrogoblikon): What happens when the goblin-like race of orcs from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings mixes with a group of elite musicians? Another kingdom in comedy metal forms—Nekrogoblikon. A play on words between “necro,” a stem word relating to death, and the last name of their fictional mascot, Mr. John Goblikon, this band combines comedic elements with skillful music to create elements rarely seen in modern metal. The album’s production was easily a step above anything they’ve produced before, clearly showing a great evolution in sound. The band explores the life and backstory of their main character John Goblikon throughout the album, most notably in the track Dressed as Goblins. Also, tracks such as Dragons and Mold demonstrate the higher level of songwriting Nekrogoblikon has recently risen to. For the most part, the album’s lyrics are, and should be taken as, a joke. The Many Faces of Doctor Hubert Malbec centers around a fictional character the band made up just for the song, while The Magic Spider may (or may not) be a metaphor for higher powers.

 

Where Owls Know My Name (Rivers of Nihil): A rising name in technical death metal, Rivers of Nihil have been improving and perfecting their unique sound ever since they formed back in 2009. Three of the five band members, Jake Dieffenbach, Brody Uttley, Adam Biggs, are originals who add a strong backbone to the group with lead vocals, guitars, and bass with backing vocals, respectively. Their first album, The Conscious Seed of Light, was a good start, setting the stage for their growth and development (standout tracks from this album are “Rain Eater” and “Soil & Seed”). The Monarchy, their second album, showed a substantial level of improvement in their musicianship. Their albums center around the seasons, with The Conscious Seed of Light representing spring and The Monarchy representing summer. With Where Owls Know My Name representing fall, the band revolutionized their sound through heavy-hitting tracks such as The Silent Life and Subtle Change (a song broken into the Forest of Transition and Dissatisfaction Dance). The Silent Life, just the second track on the album, breaks out into a saxophone solo in the middle of the song. The additions of elements of jazz into their songs makes Rivers of Nihil a standout band amidst the often cluttered subgenre of technical death metal.

 

Prequelle (Ghost): Grammy Award-winning Swedish heavy metal group Ghost packs quite the punch in their fourth studio album. The album features two instrumental songs, Helvetesfönster and Miasma, in its 10-song masterpiece. After snatching the 2016 Grammy Award for “Best Metal Performance” with their song “Cirice,” Ghost has been nominated for two more Grammy awards this year based on Prequelle. Ghost’s song Rats has been nominated for the 2019 “Best Rock Song,” and the album Prequelle has been nominated as the 2019 “Best Rock Album.” Between their extremely catchy choruses and their experimental implementation of instruments—such as the saxophone in Miasma and the synthesizer featured throughout the album—Ghost is a great introduction to metal music. Tobias Forge’s powerful voice wonderfully compliments the musicianship which makes this band so unique.