Who made the cut, and who took the Number One spot?
We polled our entire team of critics, and the results are in: here are the 50 albums that defined your year
Step this way for our countdown of THE bEST 50
ALbumS OF 2018 while CARPENTER BRUT, IMMORTAL, WATAIN, ROLO TOMASSI, CONJURER, A PERFECT CIRCLE and more look back on the year that was.
50 SOLSTICE White Horse Hill
Rewarding our patience after a 20-year gap between albums, the UK’s most epic metal veterans swooped back to victory with this windswept and thunderous true doom masterpiece, fervently steeped in arcane legend and rustic folk-horror atmospheres. The distinctive, rugged duelling harmonies and elemental riffs of founding guitarist Rich Walker galloped and trudged like armour-plated warhorses on a rain-lashed heath, while the acoustic songs seemed to reach eerily across multiple centuries.
49 PALM READER Braille
On their third album, Braille, Palm Reader stepped it up a notch. Interspersed with the intricacies and razor-sharp erratic nature of gut-punchers Swarm, Internal Winter and Like A Wave, tracks like Coalesce and A Lover, A Shadow experimented with space and melancholia, pushing their sound into a brand new dimension. Braille was the moment the band perfected their brand of jagged hardcore and began to grow into something much bigger.
48 DIMMU BORGIR Eonian
Having traversed numerous setbacks in an eight-year studio absence, the Norwegian symphonic black metal overlords threw subtlety to the wind for Eonian, creating one of the most grandiloquent albums in metal history. Through typically robust attention to detail and opting for the ridiculous over revolution, the likes of Alpha Aeon Omega and Council Of Wolves And Snakes conjured a glorious cauldron of seething atmosphere, audacious scope and righteous metallic might.
White Noise And Black Metal
SEASON OF MIST
After a seven-year wait, the Swedish masters of bleak atmospherics returned with their most hypnotically discordant album so far. While maintaining the grooving tempos of previous work, the experimental leanings of White Noise And Black Metal made this release the band’s boldest and most satisfyingly unique work so far. Ambitious and sophisticated, Craft once again further deviated from the strict ‘kvlt’ regime that often keeps black metal stuck in a rut.
The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze
Satyricon on a sludge bender. Black metal Motörhead. Crust-era Darkthrone going goth rock: all epithets to describe Germany’s Mantar, and all selling them short. The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze was the duo’s catchiest, most muscular effort to date, Age Of The Absurd and Anti Eternia slapping Hanno Klänhardt’s juicy guitar leads over piles of primal, treacle-thick filth. Only three albums and six years deep, Mantar’s golden streak has been solidified.
45 CANCER BATS
The Spark That Moves
When Cancer Bats pulled the double power-move of surprise releasing an album and doing so independently, fans were willing them to succeed.
They were not disappointed. With tribute act Bat Sabbath having provided an outlet for their stoner tendencies, the Canadians blazed back onto the scene with a heavier and more straight-ahead take on punk-metal. Ignore the purists; the game here was evolution over stagnation, and The Spark That Moves delivered by the barrel.
44 TRIBULATION Down Below
Tribulation’s journey from death metal to dead metallers has been nigh-on cinematic. Released in January, their fourth album, Down Below, saw Stockholm’s sordid four-piece fly further away from their underground roots, taking the blueprint of In Solitude and adding more blood-sucking, gravel-gargling grimness. It helped that Nightbound was the band’s strongest-ever song
– a legitimate anthem – and the rock’n’roll vampirism of The Lament and Here Be Dragons finally gave Tribulation the immediacy they craved.
43 VEIN Errorzone
CLOSED CASKET ACTIVITIES
Ever wondered what it would sound like if Code Orange covered the first Slipknot album? Well, wonder no more! The Boston hardcore crew’s debut album hit like a breezeblock to the face, throwing around chainsaw guitars and stabbing instrumentals, smothered in barbed wire vocals. Fuelled by an uncontrollable bounce, Errorzone explored what it meant to be heavy in short, vicious attacks that never failed to nail you right in the cerebrum.
42 RIVERS OF NIHIL
Where Owls Know My Name
With their third album, Pennsylvania’s Rivers Of Nihil entered the realm of prog metal magnificence usually reserved for such beloveds as Between The Buried And Me and Gojira. Where Owls Know My Name was what would happen if Pink Floyd made death metal, wowing through its mix of intense vitality with jazz fusion and ludicrous songwriting.
Also, let it be known that Hollow was an absolute banger.
41 BEARTOOTh Disease
On which metalcore’s great young hopes showed us where they’re really headed. Caleb Shomo has made no secret of his love of rock, and by collaborating with Foo Fighters’ producer Nick Raskulinecz and songwriters including Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden, he found a way to truly hone Beartooth’s sound for a mainstream audience. This was undeniably the same band who captured people’s hearts with Disgusting, but with a slicker sound and huge songs to match.
Knowing What You Know Now
The Yorkshire mob continued to turn (and bang) heads with their much anticipated follow-up to 2014’s The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets. Operating under a less-ismore mindset – by their standards, anyway – they deftly sidestepped the all-too-real difficult second album syndrome and delivered a record full of sharper hooks, spellbinding fretwizardry and fiendishly addictive choruses, while pushing their genrestraddling sound in a bold new, mainstream-bothering direction.
Sleep made their long-awaited return to (un)consciousness in 2018, as The Sciences dropped in surprising fashion, like an asteroid-sized hot-rock from an intergalactic blunt. Their recognisable sativa-stained riffs and mantric grooves sounded as potent as ever, and on Giza Butler, the trio not only had the most on-brand songtitle you heard all year, but the intoxicating track itself confirmed Sleep as the only true natural successors to the Sabbathian dopethrone.
38 ANNA VON hAUSSWOLFF DEAD MAGIC
No other artist brought such a potent sense of otherness into 2018 as Germany’s Anna von Hausswolff. Dead Magic didn’t stop time in its tracks so much as switch it to a different, celestial gear. Anna’s voice, a mix of ghostliness and invocatory presence, rode an undertow of funereal organ and made reference to Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Julee Cruise and Swans, but sounded as though something revelatory and ineffable was coming into being.
37 UNCLE ACID
& ThE DEADBEATS Wasteland
The fifth Uncle Acid album nailed 2018’s vibe with unflinching accuracy. A concept piece for the darkest of days, it conjured a dystopian nightmare where humans are slaves to propaganda-spewing screens, robbed of thought. The fervently melodic and densely psychedelic songs boasted unforgettable riffs and that wonky Uncle Acid vibe gluing the whole trip together. A stunning soundtrack to a shit future.
36 ThOU Magus
After experimenting with new sounds and textures across a trilogy of EPs, Thou tied it all together on Magus, one of the year’s most sprawling and inventive doom LPs. Pairing dynamic acoustic sections and a keenly grungy sense of melody with their planet-crushing heaviness, songs like In The Kingdom Of Meaning were among the most memorable, effective and heartfelt pieces Thou have unleashed to date.
35 CARPENTER BRUT Leather Teeth
Mixing videogame references and dark dystopian visions with a neon-noir aesthetic and the insinuation of danger, synthwave resonated with metalheads despite having its roots in EDM. But with a cinematic sheen, metallic undertones, pulverising bass and a swirl of macabre killer beats, Franck Hueso – aka Carpenter Brut – upped the ante on the über-80s horror electro-schlock of his debut, making Leather Teeth the dance-metal album of 2018.
34 IMMORTAL Northern Chaos Gods
If Immortal’s ninth album was indicative of anything, it’s that neither the inevitable thrust of global warming and climate change nor the subtraction of former vocalist/guitarist/public face, Abbath Doom Occulta, from the line-up was going to impact the climes of the Norse legend’s entirely made-up hinterland of Blashyrkh. As melodically vitriolic and scathingly frosty as ever, Northern Chaos Gods broke a near-decade of silence with a sharpened icicle of superior blackened metal fury.
33 MOURNFUL CONGREGATION The Incubus Of Karma
The Incubus Of Karma was a masterclass in funeral doom. Slow, processional drums and crushing, droning death/doom riffs were laden with some of the most stunning leads and spiralling guitars solos ever laid to tape. Not only that, Mournful Congregation’s solemnity and deep emotional resonance unfolded in myriad expressive ways across the double album’s captivating run-time. The bleakness, desolation, solitude and suffering was tangible… and entirely relatable.
32 SLUGDGE Esoteric Malacology
Slithering from beneath a potted plant up north, Lancashire duo Slugdge blew the tech-death scene away with this tongue-in-cheek, Lovecraftian nightmare full of biting social commentary. The musicianship was simply outstanding, making Esoteric Malacology a progressively punishing, baroquely melodic death metal record for the modern age. With Black Dahlia Murder drummer Alan Cassidy onboard for album five, we can’t wait to see what they do next.
31 ANAAL NAThRAKh A New Kind Of Horror
Soundtracking the repugnance of modern society by visiting the bleak slaughter of World War I, the four-legged Brummie hate machine refined their already savage metal maelstrom into a more sinister, lethal and poignant entity. Dripping with perverse electronics and Dave Hunt’s barbarous vocals while imbued with their bombastic overtones and dementedly irrepressible riffs, A New Kind Of Horror brought the darkest recesses of human nature kicking and screaming into view.
30 ORANGE GOBLIN The Wolf Bites Back
Well into their third decade, Orange Goblin still sound like mad-eyed, diehard metalheads on an unstoppable rampage. The Wolf Bites Back lived up to its title; this was balls-out heavy fucking metal that snapped and snarled with slavering, lupine jaws. From Sons Of Salem’s Sabbathian shitstorm to the snarling country doom of The Stranger, every last song hit the target like an arrow hewn from purest British steel. OFG, baby!
29 SKELETONWITCh Devouring Radiant Light
On their fifth studio outing, the Ohio metallers unveiled a breathtaking new vision that owed as much to melodic death metal as to the fist-pumping blackened thrash for which they’d made their name. Their most mature effort yet, it also marked the debut of versatile new vocalist Adam Clemans. Stacked with piercing dual fretwork, raging choruses and enough blastbeats to rattle the Earth’s core, Devouring… thrilled critics and earned a legion of rabid new fans for America’s extreme metal legends.
28 NINE INCh NAILS Bad Witch
Yet more proof that Nine Inch Nails are an impossible band to pin down. With an unusually brief run time, Bad Witch took Trent Reznor’s bleak nihilism and twisted it into sickeningly disorientating, electronic soundscapes and avant-garde, sax-heavy jazz freak-outs. Even this deep into a career with one of alternative music’s most inspiring back catalogues, Bad Witch was further evidence, not just of Trent Reznor’s genius, but of how his relationship with Atticus Ross has beautifully blossomed.
27 PIG DESTROYER Head Cage
By integrating anchoring bass and ramping up the groove elements of their explosive grindcore,
Pig Destroyer displayed a greater sense of controlled chaos on Head Cage. JR Hayes, meanwhile, once again proved himself as one of the most versatile vocalists/lyricists in extreme metal today, as his poetry took a socio-political rather than psycho-sexual angle, while his rabid screams remained at the forefront regardless of the nasty, twisting tempos beneath him.
26 ThE BODY
I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer
Constructed largely of samples of their own work, The Body completely razed their sound and rebuilt it from the ground up. I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer was simultaneously a harrowing and empowering industrial fever dream that embraced the cold, stark sense of closure in finality. Consistently surprising, this album managed to incorporate harsh noise, doom and dancehall samples into one of 2018’s most intense listening experiences.
25 ALICE IN ChAINS Rainier Fog
Melodic fragility. Bludgeoning riffs. Raw introspection. With Rainier Fog, Seattle’s elder statesmen explored the ongoing conflict between darkness and light to deliver an album that contained all the hallmarks of an instant classic. Beautiful yet brooding, honest tales of struggle, loss and recovery were conveyed through myriad musical styles, from psychedelic
TRIDENT WOLF ECLIPSE
Released like a shot of sulphur and adrenaline into the veins of 2018, Watain’s sixth album relinquished much of the slow-build and textural expanse of 2013’s The Wild Hunt, aiming direct for the jugular instead. A feral, yet martially disciplined statement of intent, Trident Wolf Eclipse roiled and flared like the surface of the sun, but with a mastery of dynamics and seething vision that recharged Watain’s status as black metal standard-bearers.
18 SATAN Cruel Magic
It’s been joyous to observe the unexpected rejuvenation of these ace Geordie NWOBHM survivors. Thirty years ago it felt like Satan had been cruelly passed over; in 2018, however, the band’s reunited 1983 line-up are three LPs deep into a dazzling comeback that still floored jaws on Cruel Magic. A masterclass in no-compromise, blood-and-thunder trad metal, Satan’s trademark thrusting momentum and diamond-hook savvy remained, augmented by spacious melodic elegance.
17 ARChITECTS Holy Hell
Tom Searle’s tragic passing cast what many would assume to be an interminable shadow, but with Holy Hell, Architects used that darkness to craft a body of work that shone as a result of its startling and intricate musicianship. Serving up scathing vitriol and anthemic heft, the prolonged hype was to be believed – and the band’s position within the upper echelons of modern British metal confirmed.
Our Raw Heart
Lucky to survive a lifethreatening illness, Yob frontman Mike Scheidt poured every ounce of his emotion into the band’s eighth album from his hospital bed, forging a record whose affective intensity was writ large over every song. Masterfully balancing doom-laden heaviness with gorgeous light and introspection, the marathon Ablaze, title track and Beauty In Falling Leaves seemed to pass by in moments, leaving a sense of cathartic calm in their wake.
15 ROLO TOMASSI
Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
There’s no debate about it, Time Will Die And Love
Will Bury It is the best Rolo Tomassi album – a glorious, shimmering display of soaring vocals and ethereal electronics intertwined with blistering chaos and untamed aggression. Embracing clean singing and ambient soundscapes, it was an aural downward spiral into the pits of despair, littered with flourishes of hope and pristine fantasy. A triumph for the British underground.
14 CONjURER Mire
Breaking down the boundaries of genres to create a swirling sonic maelstrom, what Conjurer delivered with Mire was nothing short of outstanding. Delicate and ominous atmospheric passages allowed brief moments of respite, before colliding with thick, sludge-tinged riffs that packed the power of a nuclear bomb. The level of quality was absolutely staggering and in a year where British metal has utterly excelled, Conjurer are among the elite.
13 BLACK PEAKS All That Divides
It was obvious from debut Statues that Black Peaks were capable of something remarkable. That something was All That Divides, which took everything the band did previously and achieved something resembling its final form. Though their walls of mathy guitars and grooves were as mesmerising as ever, Black Peaks’ not-so-secret weapon was Will Gardner. On All That Divides, he was three of the best vocalists in modern British rock. Phenomenal.
12 MØL Jord
Together with Deafheaven, Møl ensured 2018 was a great year for blackgaze. Jord was an astonishingly accomplished opening statement, enchanting and devastating in equal measure. While serrated guitars and frostbitten vocals clawed and scratched on Ligament and Jord, the Danes proved their eye for tone and texture with atmospheric hues on Bruma and Storm. This was exactly how you nail a debut album.
11 TESSERACT Sonder
This was the album Tesseract had always threatened to make. Combining the knotty technicality and meaty grooves of their earlier material, together with the ethereal dreamscapes and accessibility of 2015’s
Polaris, tracks like King and Juno showed both sides of their ever-developing tech metal algorithms. Sonder felt like the progsters’ most balanced album yet and a step deeper into their cerebral labyrinth.
Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
In 2018, Deafheaven once again were the band that showed everything metal can be aside from heavy guitars, blastbeats and ferocious vocals: the sheer beauty and grace of it that’s way too often overlooked. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love took up where Sunbather left off five years before, as nothing short of a tour de force of haunting melancholy, enchanting guitar leads and, yes, even crushing euphoria at times. The intensity of atmospheres and moods the five-piece conveyed here was simply unmatched in the last year. These eclectic songs – soaked not only in post-rock and shoegaze but the likes of dream pop, emo and classic rock – served as the ultimate proof of the Californians breaking free from any stylistic constraints. Deafheaven are not a (post-)black metal band, maybe they’re not even a blackgaze band anymore. But whatever you want to call what they do, nobody does it better.
09 IhSAhN Àmr
Part of the joy of following Ihsahn’s post-Emperor career has been in the methodical and episodic nature of his evolution. From 2006’s maiden voyage The Adversary to the crazed experiments of 2013’s Das Seelenbrechen, each album has felt like a snapshot of an artist in perpetual motion. In that respect alone, Àmr was more of the same. Where 2016’s acclaimed Arktis was windswept and expansive, Ihsahn’s seventh full-length was intimate, claustrophobic and emotionally discombobulated; the heightened presence of synthesisers and eerie ambience drawing often-opaque ideas into the sharpest of focus. Big on melody – Sámr, in particular, had a chorus of spectacular hugeness – but gently, persistently unsettling, these were songs that still felt connected to black metal on some spiritual level, even though the Norwegian’s music has long since evolved beyond genre limitations. Àmr was one of his most distinctive statements yet.
08 PARKWAY DRIVE Reverence
Parkway Drive’s sixth studio outing was a masterwork of modern metalcore. Realising their full potential and reaffirming their commitment to the mosh-friendly maraud, they turned in an album that carried the weight of their past with anthemic sensibilities. The forward-thinking extremity of Reverence, performed in a swell of pyro-laden shows, catapulted the Aussies to dizzying new heights, cementing them as the genre’s leading lights. The crushing powerhouse of Absolute Power was worthy of any metal club night’s A-list but the sombre, darker insights into Parkway Drive on Cemetery Bloom and the splicing of rock, folk and old-school metal timbre on some of their most sticky riffs to date revealed a band in a state of transformation, thrusting them towards greatness. The evolutionary potential of these Aussies was always apparent, but on Reverence it’s been brought to a head, opening up pits and a whole new legion of fans.
07 TURNSTILE Time & Space
Clocking in at just over 25 minutes, the Maryland natives’ reputation-making second full-length was a rousing short, sharp shock to the system. A bruising statement of intent that bristled with ambition, Time & Space not only helped give the somewhat stagnant US punk scene the kiss of life, but it saw them live up to the considerable hype, too. Muscular and, at some points, as mean as the Hulk with the mother of all hangovers, their debut for Roadrunner opened moshpits and eyes, laden with a raft of pleasingly prickly choruses, riffs that could level a mountain and oodles of odd interludes and goosebump-inducing outsider anthems. Bolstered by appearances from Sheer Mag’s Tina Halladay, dance producer Diplo and Lauryn Hill backing singer Tanikka Charraé, the likes of I Don’t Wanna Be Blind were explosive efforts that affirmed their status as one of the most exciting acts on the planet.
06 A PERFECT CIRCLE Eat The Elephant
After 14 years without an album, there was some serious anticipation for new music from A Perfect Circle. If the weight of expectation was there, it was a hurdle they leapt over with consummate ease. Eat The Elephant was exactly the kind of wonderfully weathered and classy return you’d hope for from a veteran band.
Over the album’s running time, frontman Maynard James Keenan reflected on a series of topics, from social media to political divisions, his world-class vocal
talents articulating his typically unique worldview, while Billy Howerdel and the rest of APC created glorious, vast landscapes of sound that perfectly complemented their enigmatic singer’s words. From the lurching but sombre
The Doomed, to the industrialised, mechanical stomp of Hourglass, to the otherworldly, Beatles-esque mystique of the already classic So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, this was an album of rare and bewitching quality.
Book Of Bad Decisions
Proving yet again that the only certainties in life are death, taxes and Clutch making awesome albums, the Maryland rock trailblazers making it all so easy might be boring if it weren’t for their delivering such joyously thrilling results. Charged with pugnacious riffs aplenty, Neil Fallon’s bug-eyed narratives and songs that coolly glided into the forefront of your mind and made themselves comfortable, Book Of
Bad Decisions was all things to all men, women and children everywhere. Whether it was Gimme The Keys hotfooting it out of the blocks, Emily Dickinson indulging in full-on blues pomp, or
Neil laying down his imperious political manifesto on How To Shake Hands, here were songs that had enough panache and skill to easily go toe-to-toe their with the finest of Clutch’s extraordinary 12-album career. One of the most unique, consistent and downright unstoppable forces in our world doing what comes naturally.
04 ZEAL & ARDOR Stranger Fruit
In 2017, Manuel Gagneux, the one-man powerhouse behind Zeal & Ardor, released his debut album, Devil Is
Fine, and was met with an armada of hype. Metalheads worldwide were floored by the project’s unique mixture of extreme metal and AfricanAmerican spirituals, while the album itself received continuing acclaim and clocked in on many an end-of-year list. Devil Is Fine’s 25-minute running time left fans desperate for more, which they finally got this summer with the follow-up, Stranger Fruit. A true sequel, it outshone its predecessor by both expanding upon and streamlining it;
Stranger Fruit cut the electronic interludes of Devil Is Fine so that it could further explore Zeal & Ardor’s enigmatic dichotomy of exotic melodies and bruising metal. Avant-garde anthems like Don’t You Dare, Row Row and Servants were extremely captivating, drawing in the listener with archaic hooks before blasting them with dissonant guitars and furious percussion.
03 jUDAS PRIEST Firepower
What does heavy metal sound like? It sounds like Judas Priest, circa 2018. As they approach their 50th anniversary, the legendary Brits could easily be milking the nostalgia circuit, but Firepower confirmed that they are very much still in the business of showing everyone else how this shit is done. Produced by Tom Allom and
Andy Sneap, Priest’s 18th studio album sounded fantastic: the perfect blend of contemporary crunch and old-school clarity. More importantly, this was the strongest collection of songs the band had written in decades. Preview single Lightning Strike made a lot of people very excited, but it wasn’t even in the top five songs Firepower had to offer. From gnarly, malevolent anthems like Evil Never Dies and Necromancer through to the midpaced pomp of Children Of The Sun and Sea Of Red’s epic melodrama, Rob Halford sang it all with steely authority and these veterans sounded, once again, like true metal gods.
02 BEhEMOTh I Loved You At Your Darkest
Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski admitted that their resurrection album The Satanist, Hammer’s
2014 album of the year, was almost impossible to follow up. It took him taking a step back from extreme music to find the inspiration to return; and what a return
I Loved You At Your Darkest proved to be. A bold step into pastures new, while still effortlessly channelling their original, pitch-black wellspring of power, it’s a modern extreme metal record in every sense, Nergal fast becoming the Godhead of the underground’s darkly magickal depths. A public figure in his native Poland, he’s as adored there by some as much as he is reviled by the church. Songs like the accessible God=Dog, a straight-up two fingers to their outmoded oppression, and the likes of the gang shout that is Wolves Ov Siberia were offset by the deeper, darker charms of the haunting Bartzabel and the cryptically punishing Havohej Pantocrator. ILYAYD effortlessly wielded the rockstar swagger of their inimitable frontman while fuelling extreme metal’s black flame for years to come.
Prequelle LOMA VISTA
2018 was a monster year for metal and among its crop of superb new releases, none stood taller than Ghost’s fourth studio album, Prequelle. Released in June, it delivered everything that fans love about the Satanic Swedes: instantly hummable melodies, warm, polished production and the sort of towering, anthemic choruses that people love to shout at festivals until their voices grow hoarse. Beyond the spooky grooves and trademark themes, what cemented Prequelle’s classic status was its fiery sense of ambition, playing out in stunning instrumentals, emotionally wrought ballads and the band’s most pointed lyricism yet. By July, Prequelle had topped the Metal Hammer Readers’ Poll as the best album of 2018 and its momentum never let up. Critics and fans across the globe united in their praise – Prequelle was a masterpiece.
With their playful pastiche of OTT Satanic imagery, each album has seen the band fronted by a ‘new’ version of popeinspired singer Papa Emeritus – the alter-ego of band founder Tobias Forge. With Prequelle, they replaced Papa with Cardinal Copia and set the songs and lyrics in the context of the Great Plague. In today’s turbulent landscape, the apocalyptic themes struck a chord among listeners. Consequently, Prequelle was Ghost’s most personal album yet, forgoing much of the theatrically evil posturing of prior albums and instead hitting fans straight between the eyes with real-life themes of death, suffering and loss. Of course, Luciferian references abound, too.
Sonically, Ghost reignited their love affair with late-70s and 80s rock, heard in full-tilt bangers like Rats and the addictive, hip-swiveling rhythms of Witch Image and Dance Macabre. Blue Öyster Cult had long offered an obvious reference point for Ghost’s sound, but Prequelle revealed a far broader spectrum of influences, from the sturdy metallic hooks of Judas Priest to the campy bombast of King Diamond, to the sugary stylings of Swedish pop. Fans lost their minds at the first taste of Miasma, the synthy space instrumental at the album’s halfway point. As the song thunders to its breathtaking crescendo, the guitars rip into an unmistakable Michael Jackson reference before a goddamned saxophone drops in and catapults the outro into a whole new realm. Sandwiched between the belters were gorgeous tracks like See The Light, a rapturous affair with lush harmonies dovetailing into stunning, piano-driven verses and a rousing, singalong chorus. For a band who’ve made their bones crafting stupidly addictive hard rock anthems, the album’s closers proved wonderfully fresh — a spectral instrumental, Helvetesfonster, paying unashamed tribute to the Eagles’ Journey Of The Sorcerer (perhaps best known as the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy theme), followed by Life Eternal, a grand showcase of pop-infused balladry that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the band’s finest moments. Prequelle fast became Ghost’s highest-charting album, peaking at No.3 on the Billboard 200 and notching the band’s highest sales yet.
Prequelle didn’t redefine heavy; it challenged metalheads to look beyond genre alliances and to expand their palate – a hallmark of all great art. One of those rarefied albums that grows stronger with each listen, its scale and depth ensure that it’ll enjoy swivel-eyed popularity for many years to come. Indeed, long after we’ve all returned to the dust from whence we came, Prequelle will continue to pop up on playlists, radios, car stereos and on whatever devices humans are using to listen to music 50 or 100 years from now. In other words, Life Eternal.
Beartooth: bandanas are coooooooool
alice In chains: so good we can even forgive Jerry’s hat
“hey what’s goin’ on on this side?”