2018 Favourites: (just over) half-way edition

So, we’re a bit over halfway through 2018, and there’s been some excellent records released. Most notably, 2018 is shaping up to be an excellent year for death metal – bands such as Tomb MoldOur Place of Worship is Silence, MemoriamSlugdge, and practically everyone on the Dark Descent Records roster are killing it with top-tier death metal. Things aren’t quite so grand when it comes to black metal, but the new Immortal is pretty note-worthy, and there’s been a few other strong releases in the underground – including the final release by Cosmic Church.

Here, I’ll pick out ten of my favourite records released so far this year, in alphabetical order. Hopefully you’ll find something new here to enjoy, or be reminded of something you were in to earlier in the year. Enjoy!

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Five of the Best: Anti-fascist black metal bands

When people think of black metal and politics, odds are they think of bands who are on the far-right of the spectrum. It’s no surprise. Fascist imagery abounds in black metal, to the extent that it’s considered utterly normal by some, and there’s a long history of some of the big names of the genre espousing authoritarian, prejudiced views; and this is to say nothing of the whole NSBM sub-genre. But recent years have seen more and more bands making explicitly anti-fascist black metal. There’s always been those who have had views we would now recognise as anti-fascist – most notably Summoning – but that’s not always come across in their music. So, here are five bands playing various styles of black metal, where you won’t need to follow up on interviews to know their anti-fascist leanings.

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Review: Vile Creature – Cast of Static and Smoke

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Label: Halo of Flies (North America) / Dry Cough (UK, EU)

Before we go too far in to this review, let’s make one thing clear: Vile Creature are one of the best, most vital doom bands active today. Their music is filled with a sense of pain and emotion that is deeply personal, which lends it an importance and that raw, cathartic edge that is to be found in practically all the best doom. Latest album Cast of Static and Smoke builds upon the foundations laid by debut A Steady Descent into the Soil and 2016 EP A Pessimistic Doomsayer to construct a world of apocalyptic, dystopian fiction that is only one button-press away from our own, its tale told through some of the most searing, emotionally charged metal you are likely to hear this year.

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August Blasts

I mentioned last month how excited I was over SubRosa coming to the UK, but that excitement has been matched this month by the announcement of a new Planes Mistaken For Stars record. I honestly never expected it to ever materalise, ever though the band have been playing shows for years since reforming. There’s few bands I hold in higher regard than those guys, so I’m very excited.

But, that’s for the future. For now, we have Bloodshed Remains offering up some hardcore Peace; Austrian D-beat/hardcore/grindcore band Six Score with Lebensräume; metallic French hardcore bruisers Pallass and their Devotion Of Souls; Yūgen from atmospheric black metal act Ashbringer; UK anti-fascist black metal band Dawn Ray’d with A Thorn, A Blight; and the pumelling split between Sea Of Bones and Ramlord. Oof!

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