2018 was an incredible year for music. Here's my list of what I let soundtrack my year.

Best of Rap

Juice WRLD - Goodbye & Good Riddance
Spotify said I spent 56 hours listening to this album so it feels off to not have it first. How did I spend 56 hours listening to an album with a run time of 44 minutes? Especially when some of those minutes are extremely skip-able voicemail skits? The answer is Percocet. This album was made to be heard on pain killers.
Favorite track: "Used To"

Freddie Gibbs - Freddie
Gangster Gibbs. Freedie Pendergrass. This man can do no wrong. This album was great. 10 tracks, 25 minutes, it was short and sweet. Gibbs never disappoints. It's rare an artist can show so many sides of their style on one album without sacrificing anything, but he pulled it off.
Favorite track: "FBC"

Jay Rock - Redemption
The other day someone said 2018 was Jay Rock's year and I couldn't disagree. THE MAN PUT OUT A SONG WITH J. COLE THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE. That's incredible.
Only Jay Rock could do that.

Favorite track: "Shit Real" featuring Tee Grizzly

Playboi Carti - Die Lit
I waited so long for this damn album and I didn't even like it at first. It took a couple spins, but I obviously came around. It's hard to be mad once you start hearing his ad libs. This album had tracks I loved immediately though, like "Mileage" with Chief Keef.
Favorite track: "Fell In Luv" featuring Bryson Tiller

Young Nudy - Slimeball 3
This is my favorite album of the year for rap. It's flawless. In my hierarchy of Atlanta rappers, Nudy is my current reigning king. Slimeball 3 is classic Atlanta and classic Nudy

Favorite track: "Know What's Happenin'"

Father - Awful Swim
Awful Swim shows Father more nonchalant and sarcastic than ever. He injects this attitude on every track. It's equal parts funny and dark, with lines about police violence, crime, and addiction being punctuated by punchlines.
Favorite track: "Killa" / "Sephiroth"

21 Savage - I Am > I Was
Only 21 Savage could drop an album so late in the year that I still set aside time to listen to and find nothing to hate about it. I Am > I Was is just another notch on his belt that solidifies his place in the rap game.

Favorite track: "A&T"

Honorable Mentions

Future & Juice WRLD - WRLD On Drugs
This album was fucking trash except for the song "Fine China" which was so good I had to put this album on here just to say that. 

Favorite track: "Fine China"

Drake - Scorpion
The Pusha T beef was lame, just like most of this album. I actually just now realized it was 2 discs. The audacity. However, with bangers like "Nonstop", "God's Plan", "In My Feelings", and "Nice For What" running my summer, I would be ignorant to exclude this record from the list.
Favorite track: "In My Feelings"

Best of Metal

EPs and Demos


Creeping Death - Specter Of War
I got to see these guys last year and I was blown away. I had never listened to them before and I kept this on repeat for a week after the show. It's full of riffs and fantasy themes. The lyrics conjure imagery of mercenaries, castles, and Frank Frazetta paintings. 
Favorite track: "Revenge"

Superstition - Surging Throng of Evil's Might
This is a band that unearths the early evil of American Death Metal in a way so few of their contemporaries have been able to do. This album has really high replay value. I listened to it on repeat for a few hours the other day without even noticing. 
Favorite track: "Grave Portals"

Full Lengths

Hangman's Chair - Banlieue Triste
Hailing from France, Hangman's Chair play an incredibly oppressive sort of doom metal. The physical and psychological weight of the music is immense. The lyrics are romantic, like love songs to the horrors of drug abuse, depression, and distress. I love romanticized pain. 
Favorite track: "Touch The Razor"

Genocide Pact - Order of Torment
Most bands want to build "atmosphere" during their first song but Genocide Pact didn't bother. Eleven seconds into the record and you're being hit by a concoction of riffs, vocals, and drums so caustic it's jarring. The pacing of this assault never stops, either. It's great.
Favorite track: "Ascendancy Absolved"

Outer Heaven - Realms of Eternal Decay
Another band that gets the OSDM style right. Realms of Eternal Decay is awesome. The production on this album is great. There's a grimy edge on it that only adds to the experience. Some of my favorite drumming on this record, too.
Favorite track: "Sacrificial Evolution"
Tomb Mold - Manor Of Infinite Forms
This album blew my mind when I heard it. They've got a cool mixture of doom elements in with their more traditional death metal sound. Extremely heavy and the death metal side of things keeps it from being droning or repetitive. 
Favorite track: "Abysswalker"
Innumerable Forms - Punishment In Flesh
One of my most anticipated releases of 2018. The instrumental mastery and knowledge of death metal shown here is not at all surprising, especially when you look at the lineup Justin DeTore brought together for this. It's one of the best releases for the genre. 
Favorite track: "Meaning"

Mammoth Grinder - Cosmic Crypt
We got the Cosmic Crypt Demos in 2014 and four years later, we now have Cosmic Crypt. The southern influences, the punk influences, and the old school death metal influences meet in the middle here. The trio nailed it, a solid album that's all fun and no bullshit. 
Favorite track: "Locust's Nest"

Windhand - Eternal Return
This album is described as "an infectious display of song craft cloaked in alluring atmosphere, molten fuzz, eerie psychedelia and ethereal vocals" and there's no other way to put it. It's full of great lyrics that all capture their ethos: romantic doom.
Favorite track: "First To Die"

Honorable Mentions

The Gatecreeper side of the Iron Reagan Split
I don't think this split has a name. Whatever. The only side I listened to was the Gatecreeper side, obviously. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Their side of the split is just another, albeit small, tasty helping of their classic caveman death metal. 
Favorite track: "War Has Begun"

Runemagick - Evoked From Abysmal Sleep
These guys are on my Doom and Gloom playlist series. They released Dawn of the End they went on hiatus and as far as return albums go, this one can't be beat. 
Favorite track: "An Anthem Of Olden Magic"

Archgoat - The Luciferian Crown
I don't know how they manage to do this, but Archgoat is able to both refine and maintain their ever-darkening sound. This one is no exception. They've once again found the perfect mixture of black metal, primitive thrash, and vintage death metal and put it on record for the world. 
Favorite track: "Sorcery and Doom"

Best of Hardcore

EPs and Demos


Playytime - 2018 Demo
I love when a band achieves a lo-fi sound that's still listenable. Obi and Ross are two of the coolest, most hard-working dudes I know. To avoid the Bad Brains comparison that some Noisey hack would make I'll say this: "nigga" is in the lyrics, how could I not love them? 
Favorite track: "Free Me"

Bracewar - Colossal
This is how you do an EP, people. These three songs are worth more than some bands' full lengths any day. The new intro is absolutely chilling. I wish I would've been able to see it live at the release show.

Favorite track: The whole damn thing

Section H8 - Phase One
Nothing like knowing a bunch of your friends who are also some of your favorite musicians are doing a band together and being able to relax knowing it's going to kick ass. This surpassed all the expectations I had for it. I have never been impressed by a demo like this before. 
Favorite track: "Lullaby"

Dead Center - Dead Center
That fast, aggressive punk that makes you want to seal crawl across the floor at a show or headbutt someone for looking at you too long. Dead Center plays a style that I feel is truly lacking in hardcore at the moment and I hope they make it a trend.
Favorite track: "All Talk"
Criminal Instinct - Sweet Dreams
A solid follow up to Zone 6 Music. It's a continuation of the sounds we had on the full length, with all of the elements you'd expect from CI. Great bass lines and country samples abound. The lyrics have gotten more aggressive and I'd call that a plus, wouldn't you? 
Favorite track: "Smile"

Full Lengths

Vein - Errorzone
What can I even say about this album at this point? There's no one left to convince of Vein's worthiness. Anyone who doesn't like this band doesn't like good music. They've learned from the history of the subculture and use that to create original music that's packed with nostalgia and that's what makes them special.
Favorite track: "End Eternal"

Three Knee Deep - Wrong World
I remember when they only ways to hear this band were either go to a show or watch a YouTube video of a show. Their approach to beatdown has been traditional but not boring. The vocals are fucking wild. That despair-filled, hopeless yell paired with Dalton's guttural tones really make these songs stand apart in the genre.
Favorite track: "Hackin' Of Da Mindz"

City Hunter - Deep Blood
It's an album about being a murderer. Well, okay, it's about being a murderer who loves being a murderer. It's got a campy horror movie vibe I can't help but love. However, the fantasy of the music becomes reality at their shows when the singer steps out, seemingly right off the cover, masked up with knife in gloved hand. 
Favorite track: "Crimson Streets"

Purgatory - Cold Side of Reality
Everything about this is a "fuck you" to people who live in a delusional world, blind folded by both ignorance and toxic positivity. Purgatory takes tropes about beatdown and shatters them all. There's nothing better than a band who lives the way they talk about. 
Favorite track: "Down For Mine (D4M)"

Regional Justice Center - World of Inconvenience
I fucking love this album. This is the kind of music I grew up on; those bands that bridged the gap between grindcore and punk. I am constantly wondering where all these bands went. This put a little faith back in me for this sound to come back in style.
Favorite track: "Community Standards"

Regulate - In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
Seeing them play off this record at This Is Hardcore 2018 was the coolest thing ever. They've dug out a niche for themselves in hardcore that can't possibly be filled by anyone else. This record gave hardcore something it's been missing for a while: a great sing-along album.
Favorite track: "MindCrime"

Turnstile - Time & Space
Despite being released in winter, this album is full of summer sounds. Like one would expect from these titans of playful punk. This got tons of play over the summer on road trips and stuff because it's the perfect balance of high energy hardcore and poppy, melodic, and occasionally grungy/psychedelic sounds. 
Favorite track: "(Lost Another) Piece Of My World"

Honorable Mentions

Morning Again - Survival Instinct
I liked this record, just not as much as I thought would. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with it, but as a Floridian who had to listen to an album from 1998 for years it felt off somehow. I revisited As Tradition Dies Slowly and I realized it's just how the vocals sound. 
Favorite track: "Susina"
King Nine - Death Rattle
I'm sure this album's placement in this list shocks you. Again, another great record from a band I love that I had to nit-pick. I just didn't spend nearly as much time listening to this as I did the other albums on this list.

Favorite track: "Second Nature"
Heatseeker - Infected Society
A very last minute addition to this list but I'm so glad I could work it in here. This is a really cool, straight-up-no-frills punk record. I only wish I had found out about these guys sooner. 

Favorite track: "Your Choice"

 Best of Everything Else

Nicole Dollanganger - Heart Shaped Bed
I've loved her music for years, this album is no different. This album gets more beautiful with every listen. The lyrics are so painfully poignant and her voice is so haunting, like a ghost calling you back to a horrible moment in time that you somehow enjoy the pain of remembering.
Favorite track: "Heart Shaped Bed"

The Smashing Pumpkins - Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1/LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
I got to see them on the tour promoting this album and all I have to say is this: no other band that put out an album in 2018 made me cry for 3 hours straight while they played. 
Favorite track: "With Sympathy"