DR. MALITY’S TOP 20 of 2018

As both 2018 and Wormwood Chronicles wind down to their end, I thought I would take a different path for the usual “Best Of”.  We have been gradually closing up shop and I’m about the last to blow out the light, so I thought the list this time around would be mine alone, but expanded to a Top 20 and fleshed out more than I usually do.
So here’s the last “Best of” list, courtesy of your humble servant, Abner Mality

1. DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN         “And You Will Obey…”
Simply amazing grind/death metal with ultra-catchy riffs and a Dr. Who fixation, courtesy of Dave Ingram. Stands with the best of other acts Dave has been involved with like Benediction and Bolt Thrower.

2. IMMORTAL                                             “Northern Chaos Gods”
Everybody was wondering if Immortal could survive the loss of the iconic Abbath. Well, here’s your answer…a great, raw and stripped down album of pure Immortal riffery, with Demonaz easily filling in for Abbath.

3. FIEND                                                       “Seeress”
This one came roaring into December to blast its way into my Top 5.  An incredible sonic journey through extremely heavy and unpredictable music, ably combining doom, industrial, thrash and psychedelic into one badass record.

4. RODENT EPOCH                                      “Rodentlord”
Coming out of nowhere was this band of filthy and rabid black metal terrorists. An album of ferocious anger against God and the church….the essence of black metal. Raw and heavy!

5. BLOOD OF THE SUN                               “Blood Is Thicker Than Love”
This is king of the hill as far as ass-kicking 70’s inspired retro rock goes. Screaming guitar and keyboard solos all over the place and a feeling of energetic  fun that will bring a smile to your face. Musically coming from a place totally different than Rodent Epoch, yet just as intense in its way.

6. AKERCOCKE                                             “Renaissance In Extremis”
Comeback of the year and oh, how we needed Akercocke to come back. This is what progressive extreme metal is all about…a dizzying but note perfect mix of technical thrash, super guttural death metal, prog and Goth!

7. OUTRE TOMBE                                        “Necrovortex”
After Down Among the Dead Men, the best and purest oldschool death metal album of the year. Absolutely rotten and putrid and free of any outside influences. An almost flawless release.

8. JUDAS PRIEST                                          “Firepower”
Tom Allom returns as producer and gives the band the kick they need. The best Priest album since “Painkiller” and British metal to the core. For a band around almost 50 years, a great achievement.

9. STRANGLE WIRE                                      “The Dark Triad”
Definitely one of the sleeper death metal albums of the year. Extremely well written, produced and played, with a nasty streak worthy of Cannibal Corpse.

10. MONSTER MAGNET                                “Mindfucker”
These guys come roaring back with their most rocking and intense record yet. Lots of high energy almost punk-flavored hard rock mixed with the psychedelic touches the band is known for. A real high water mark for Monster Magnet.

11. TORTURE RACK                                        “Malefic Humiliation”
Just a super fun and sleazy old school death metal album of rotten riffs, zombies and gore. Not progressive in any sense of the word, but just a real fun album for folks who remember DM circa 1992.

12. HOUSE OF ATREUS                                  “From The Madness of Ixion”
A killer record from a sorely underrated band. Riff after great riff in the style of Bolt Thrower, God Dethroned and Asphyx, with cool lyrics and imagery based on Greek mythology.

13. MATTERHORN                                          “Crass Cleansing”
Hailing from Switzerland, the home of Celtic Frost, these guys are definitely paying tribute to early Frost. Raw, gooey and groovy heaviness without the Goth and prog touches of Celtic Frost. Heads down all the way!

14. THY CATAFALQUE                                 “Geometria”
The latest adventurous offering from Hungary’s Tamas Katai. Unpredictable and sweeping soundscapes mixing electronic, folk and metal elements. Nobody can make such a mix work better than these guys.

15. LEGEND OF THE SEAGULLMEN           “Legend of the Seagullmen”
The real ringer of 2018. A goofy yet totally entertaining collaboration of members of Tool, Mastodon, Dethklok and movie director Jimmy Heyward. Bizarre nautical lyrics and hard rocking progressive tunes. A delightful surprise!

16. URIAH HEEP                                            “Living The Dream”
Like Judas Priest, a band around for decades, but arguably never better than now. This is classic British hard rock with more hooks than a tackle box, great vocals and a real forward drive.

17. LAPIN HELVETTI                                      “Lapin Helvetti”
Raging thrash mixed with metallic hardcore in the vein of Cro-Mags. Goes for the jugular from the first note and doesn’t let up. With members of Finnish punks Terveet Kadet. 

18. WINDHAND                                             “Eternal Return”
The foremost practitioners of dream-doom return with another haunting example of thundering heaviness and bewitching female vocals. A band that’s carved out its own territory and rules it.

19. WITCHTHROAT SERPENT                       “Swallow The Venom”
Crushing Electric Wizard inspired doom metal that’s actually better than the Wizard themselves. Absolutely punishing low end doom to turn your bowels to water…

20. DEAD RIVER RUNS DRY                           “Hierophants of the Storm”
Quite an interesting record from Australia that mixes thrash, black metal and death in an unpredictable way. Sadly overlooked as many new bands are.

THANK YOU! for reading Wormwood Chronicles! This concludes our run...hope to see you somewhere else down the road...