I know I say this every year, but holy shit: 2018 gave us some fucking great metal, across all genres, from every inch of the globe. Over the past 12 months, we've witnessed spectacular comeback efforts by heavy-metal legends Judas Priest and the almighty stoner doom lords Sleep (just in time for 4/20, naturally); forward-thinking fusions of black metal with gospel (Zeal & Ardor) and big band (Imperial Triumphant), and enough scorching-hot slabs o' death to make a hellish, 21st century Stonehenge — and I say this as someone whose whole job is to listen to this stuff day-in and day-out.

The most rewarding aspect of being a metalhead in 2018, as ever, has been the constant, ceaseless process of discovery associated with fandom. PR or no PR, this list would not have come together had it not been for all those sources of scene insights: Bandcamp tags, message-board discussions, impassioned chats with fellow fans at shows, online, and on the street (I like your band shirt! And your band shirt! And your... well, you get the idea), my trusted friends and peers, Revolver magazine, and the like.

To that end, I'm a little dumbfounded (and wholly flattered) by the opportunity to share this list with you all. Onward, my comrades, into the drones!


25. Scorched - Ecliptic Butchery

24. Conjurer - Mire

23. Moss Upon The Skull - In Vengeful Reverence

22. Sigh - Heir to Despair

21. Judas Priest - Firepower

20. Bongripper - Terminal

19. Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

18. Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light

17. Infernal Coil - Within A World Forgotten

16. Died - Anonymized Internal Criminals


14. Ilsa - Corpse Fortress

13. Lucifer's Child - The Order

12. Wayfarer - World's Blood

11. Imperial Triumphant - Vile Luxury

10. Horrendous - Idol

9. Tomb Mold - Manor of Infinite Forms

8. Varathron - Patriarchs of Evil

7. Ulthar - Cosmovore

6. Thou - Magus

5. Siege Column - Inferno Deathpassion

4. Satan - Cruel Magic

3. Chapel of Disease - ...And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye

2. Zeal & Ardor - Stranger Fruit

1. Sleep - The Sciences


More From Invisible Oranges