Top 10 metal EPs and split releases of 2018
The world of metal is enormous and alongside the plethora of incredible full lengths records that were released this year, extreme metal churned out an huge amount of additional material. EPs and splits can be used to bridge gaps between albums, to allow a band to experiment or to just get out into the world the music they've been working on due to large periods of creativity. This list attempts to collect some of those releases together. It is by no means exhaustive and despite wanting to listen to everything possible, it is obviously limited by time and ability to hear it all!
Combining two of the UK's most interesting death metal projects on one split is a stroke of genius and where Carcinoma are more direct, Abyssal take the cavernous route into the genre. Both contribute deathly atmosphere and the four tracks they each display are monumental.
Berlin's Ancst are one of the hardest working bands of the moment and 2018 was busy for them with two full lengths and several EPs to their credit. Abolitionist is the latest and it's a stunning showcase of just how much rage is still inside this band.
Into The Heart Of Ice
Hailing from American and Russia, respectively, Dzö-nga and Wintaar channel the frozen wastelands in their split release. Wintaar speak of the Dyatlov's Pass while Dzö-nga talk of the 1924 Everest expedition. Both are raw and pure in their own ways and together they find beauty in the harshest of landscapes.
Concept records are not unheard of in the world of metal and for Toteninsel the two German bands behind the music based their compositions on a painting by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin. Finding themselves both interested in the subject matter, Farsot. and ColdWorld both created black metal that speaks of death and the elements.
Finland's Horna have been on the black metal scene for over twenty five years but this year's split with Swiss entity Pure has shown no diminishment in their fire. Both bands play a similar style of black metal yet Pure's side is certainly the rawer of the two.
The Third Woe
Sweden's Mephorash play a style of black metal that sits firmly in the occult and with The Third Woe they brought to us a taste of their future full length and a sound that pays homage to their past.
Cosmic black metal has seen a huge upswing in popularlty in 2018 and Australia's Mesarthim are one of the band's leading that charge. Huge swells of synths, climbing guitars and desolate screams make up their sound.
Veldes precede the release of Flameless in 2019 with an EP that speaks of beauty and loss with swathes of melancholy holding it all together. Atmospheric black metal at its finest, the Slovenian band takes all that is desolate and brings glimmers of hope to the feelings of despair that lay across the landscape.
The Dreary Pale
Void Ritual released three full lengths in 2018, which is a huge amount of material to be sitting on, and somehow found the time to put out this two track EP as well. Although the bandcamp page terms it as "just for fun," The Dreary Pale is a fully realised work that brings in symphonic elements and a sense of grandeur.
While Zatokrev may not be a name as well known in the circles of sludge and post-rock that their split counterparts Minsk are, the Swiss band are by far one of the heaviest and progressive bands in the genre. Here, both groups contribute vocals to a track of each others, bringing a sense of camaraderie to the proceedings and devastating weight.