Sorting through my Bandcamp collection in preparation for my best of year list, I found it impossible to narrow down to a measly ten releases – and unfair to pit three song EPs against fully-fledged albums. So, to start things off, here are my ten favorite EPs of 2018:
10. Outer Head – Outer Head (Demo)
Thick slabs of beefy doom drenched in a heady psych broth and served in a grimy stoner bowl, this killer demo oozes potential. A full-length from these UK trippers should be something to look forward to.
9. Gudger– Hell or Ohio (split)
As indicated by the title, this four-way split showcases four of Ohios finest underground bands, Mississippi Bones, Race of Devils, Hells Fire Sinners, and Gudger. The three songs by the latter are the best of the bunch – which is saying a lot, as the whole album is pretty darn good. This is stoner rock riffage par excellence!
8. De Forbandede & Måneskjold – Split
My favorite Danish band ever De Forbandede return on a split with fellow psych rock raiders Måneskjold and prove their flair for writing catchy stoner songs that capture your eardrums and ensnare your heart. These guys can do no wrong in my book.
7. Psychic Hit – Promo 2018
This promo EP by Bay Area newcomers Psychic Hit is part metal, part prog, part doom, part psych, and all glorious. Opening track The Fool is a successful amalgam of all the aforementioned genres and a fair indicator of the band’s high ambitions. If this promo is anything to go by, there will be great things to come from this talented quartet.
6. Alunah– Amber & Gold
On last year’s album Solennial, Alunah introduced new songstress Sían Greenaway, and her commanding, evocative voice is a perfect match for the band – something demonstrated even further on this EP of powerfully intoxicating and spellbinding doom. The title track makes the hairs on my arms stand up as I’m writing this, and their version of Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game is a shoo-in for song cover of the year. Alunah weave a wondrous magic indeed.
5. Dream Tröll – The Witch’s Curse
Close yer eyes and let Dream Tröll spin an epic yarn of swords, sorcery,and sacrifice, their mighty metal magic conjuring up scenes of battle, bravery, and betrayal. The Battle for Enki’s Tower is as goosebump-inducingly epic as heavy metal gets. A sweeping musical tale for the ages!
4. Green Lung – Free the Witch
Stoner rock riffs? Check. Weed smoker imagery? Check. Occult lyrics? Double check. This release has no business sounding neither fresh nor original, but somehow manages to do just that AND kick ass at the same time. If rifftastic stoner metal laced with crushing bass lines gets you high, you’d be insane to pass on this heavy joint.
3. Order of Chaos – Night Terror
2018 has been an amazing year for metal, for power metal in particular. This three song EP by The Order of Chaos is an amazing thrill ride that sends my blood racing from start to finish. When I found out these guys were touring North America with fellow Canadians (and some of my firm favorites) Unleash the Archers and Striker, I almost booked a plane ticket on the damn spot. Here’s hoping for a European leg in 2019!
2. True Believer – My Satan
First riff hits, I’m hooked. Vocalist comes on, I’m excited. By the time the chorus rolls around, I’m hitting purchase. This unbearably short release of occult heavy metal slash 70s hard rock does everything right and hits me right in the sweet spot. The title track is hands down my favorite song of the year and one that I can listen to on endless repeat. So stoked to see what the future will bring from True Believer.
1. Vuil – Hell
Arguably not the most inventive release ever, but positively the most exhilarating and fun record of my 2018! Vuil are all about balls-out speed metal, but never sacrifice melody for mindless aggression. Vocals, riffs, and drumming are all impeccable, and there’s beautiful artwork to go along with it. This year I had the good fortune of seeing Vuil on stage too, and they were every bit as kick-ass live as their recorded material. This is metal AF! \m/\m/