#10. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY – No Cross No Crown: Bands often build up to something for several years and it fails to deliver, but in the rare cases that they actually succeed, it sends ripples through the entire genre. Such was the magnitude of the buildup and hype that Raleigh NC legends Corrosion Of Conformity had generated, surrounding the return of iconic frontman Pepper Keenan. It finally happened, and this year, C.O.C. released a new album, No Cross No Crown, with Pepper at the helm. Yes, the stoner metal incarnation of C.O.C. is back with a bang and firing on all cylinders. The album is everything it was expected to be, and more. Countless bands pursue the same genre but no one can boast of the kind of magnetism C.O.C. possesses, as evident from this album. No Cross No Crown is a hearty dosage of quintessential stoner metal, nothing more, nothing less.
#9. REVOCATION – The Outer Ones: One of the most talented metal bands of this generation, Boston MA technical death metal group Revocation released their new album The Outer Ones this year, making it a whopping total of seven albums in merely ten years. Their output rate remains prolific but the band invariably succeeds in refining their musical craftsmanship with every album, and their newest release takes them a step further in their path destined to greatness. What separates Revocation from the rest of the tech-death pack is the seamless transition between brutal fast-paced segments to chilled-out jazzy, proggy passages. The Outer Ones expresses this trait with awe-inspiring brilliance and presents Revocation in a form even more dynamic than what has been witnessed through past albums. This one is a tech-death masterpiece that will be listened to and remembered for a very long time.
#8. TRIBULATION – Down Below: Swedish group Tribulation has enjoyed a rapid rise in fame and popularity in recent years, and for valid reason, because they’ve clearly struck the right chord among listeners worldwide with their intriguing brand of heavy music. The band explored various styles and sub-genres on their 2015 album The Children of the Night, to undisputed success, but their 2018 follow-up is an even better effort in every sense. On the new release, Down Below, Tribulation soak themselves heavily in a glorious blend of gothic rock, traditional heavy metal and extreme metal, creating a distinctly recognizable sound of their own, a style of music that they have truly put their signature on.
#7. WITCH MOUNTAIN – S/T: Portland, Oregon doom stalwarts Witch Mountain had plenty to prove on their new album, with it being their first release featuring new vocalist Kayla Dixon. It was the classic case of a band burdened by their own past. A change in vocalist often implies a change in sound for many bands, but Dixon adapts and moulds herself beautifully to do complete justice to the songwriting of founding members, drummer Nate Carson and guitarist Rob Wrong, and helps maintain Witch Mountain’s longstanding identity. Much to the delight of the band’s fans and indeed fans of all things sonically heavy, Witch Mountain have begun this new chapter in their career in a successful manner, with a magnificent set of tunes that comprise the aptly self-titled 2018 release. The best doom metal album of the year, without any doubt.
#6. ASG – Survive Sunrise: Wilmington, North Carolina stoner metal group ASG is probably one of the easiest bands to listen to and like, in all of heavy music. They have taken a while to come up with the follow-up to their splendid 2013 effort Blood Drive, but it has turned out to be well worth the wait and then some. ASG’s new release, Survive Sunrise, hits it home with 13 short, concise, expertly crafted songs that altogether stay within the 50-minute duration. Over the past 17 years of their existence, ASG has clearly honed their ability to express themselves in this genre, and Survive Sunrise is a glowing representation of what the band stands for. Rich in melody and catchiness, Survive Sunrise is pure magic.
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