Best of 2018

Mathcore Index’s Best of 2018

There were so many incredible releases this year I was having a bit of anxiety about leaving some stuff out, so apart from my top 10 full-lengths I also did a comprehensive roundup of EPs and honorable mentions that I believe deserve just as much attention as the LPs listed below. Finally, this list was determined by a combination of Bandcamp, Spotify, and (go ahead and laugh, charted 10+ years of listening) and naturally my level of enjoyment, so rest assured your boy gave this a lot of thought. Let’s go.

Read the full list after the jump.
10) Vein – “Errorzone”
This is such an obvious choice, and although I might get some hate for including something that is supposedly nu metal tinged (one breakbeat does not nu metal make), this is a really fun album with some great moments that translates to an incredibly energetic live show, and it cannot be ignored.
9) Ken Mode – “Loved”
I slept on this album for far too long, and the moment I decided to give it a chance it very quickly began working its way into my top 10, especially after hearing that instant classic of a chant: “Stop giving me hope.”
8) Cult Leader – “A Patient Man”
7) The Armed – “Only Love”
The story behind this album alone is the stuff of legends, and with the help of Ben Koller of Converge, The Armed very successfully reinvent themselves in a fashion similar to that of Genghis Tron, bringing forth 11 tracks of all enveloping, wall of sound electronic driven metal that should be allowed to wash over the listener at max volume.

EDIT: should also mention the extremely powerful visual aesthetics of their music videos, which are not to be missed.

6) Carnival Ghosts – “Charitable Design”
I said from the beginning that Carnival Ghosts, the new project from Paul Hundeby of Arms and City of Ifa, would be releasing the sleeper hit of the year, and here we are. Hundeby, who also engineered the album, teams up with longtime friend Christian Starr of Charleston’s Innerout to bring 10 tracks of emotive and technical post-hardcore with highly memorable and infectious lyrics. Beautiful album art by our very own Karl Frandsen, who has graciously lent us his art to all 5 of our compilations.
5) NoiSays – self-titled
Alright, so full disclosure: I helped put out this record, but I absolutely love it this much. Baltimore’s NoiSays are at the forefront of their flourishing local scene, and have frankly breathed new life into the mathcore scene itself with absolutely next level musicianship and compositional prowess. If you’re a fan of the eclectic mathcore / grind /screamo / post-hardcore stylings of The Number Twelve Looks Like You, The Heartland, and The Fall of Troy, this is about to be your new favorite band. The CD has also not left my car since receiving it, so you can catch me on the 101 slapping out “Honey, Cops Killed the Dog.”
4) Sectioned – “Annihilated”
Pedram Valiani is a busy person. Apart from writing and recording music with Frontierer, he also writes music for Sectioned, a sister project which, in a live setting, is comprised of 4/5 members of Frontierer. Despite sharing a similar lineup in a similar chaotic and metallic context, Sectioned manages to distinguish itself just enough from Frontierer, with a slightly less bombastic and over the top sound in favor of more straightforward passages and breakdowns. Even if you disagree with everything I just said and think the projects sound identical, I would say to you it doesn’t matter, because the feedback breakdown in “Our Starved Lives” alone is enough to give this album a chance.
3) Frontierer – “Unloved”
“Loved,” “Only Love,” and “Unloved.” Noticing a trend here? You’re probably not surprised to see this following the previous album, and for good reason. Mesmerizing, explosive, and full of memorable hooks, “Unloved” does not attempt to reinvent what we heard on “Orange Mathematics,” but rather continues to punish us with more even more abrasive and jagged rhythms. Valiani not only proves here that he is an anthemic and chaotic riff producing machine, he also shows us his versatility as a producer, peppering even more electronic elements and interludes for what one might consider a more complete “album experience.” Fans of Meshuggah, Car Bomb, and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza should be following this band closely.
2) Delta Sleep – “Ghost City”
Here I am again, showering Delta Sleep with praise. They’ve become an essential part of my life and listening habits since discovering them, and last month I had the distinct honor of interviewing what has become one of my favorite bands.
1) Daughters – “You Won’t Get What You Want”
This might seriously surprise some of you, as I didn’t really attempt to hide my initially less than favorable reaction. However, after spending time with the album, and especially after seeing the material performed live in San Francisco, my appreciation has grown immensely. Daughters yet again reinvent their sound, or at least expand greatly on the direction of their previous self-titled effort, adding elements of no wave and industrial and embracing what I would consider a more minimalist approach. This is everything self-titled should have been, with far better song writing and flushed out ideas that overall feel more complete. The throbbing opener of “City Song,” which initially turned me off with its industrial elements, now seems to fit perfectly before the mesmerizing “Long Roads, No Turns,” and “Satan In the Wait.” The album hits a slower pace with “Less Sex” and “Daughter” (which recall Nine Inch Nails), but they are ultimately much needed breathers from the terrifying intensity displayed on tracks like “The Flammable Man,” “The Lords Song,” “Ocean Song,” and the album’s near-perfect finisher, “Guest House.” The true brilliance of “You Won’t Get What You Want,” however, is not just in the music, it’s the message so artfully embedded in the lyrics of “The Reason They Hate Me” and the album’s title itself:
“Don’t tell me how to do my job / you gimme gimme son of bitch.” 
Daughters are here to uncompromisingly create the art they want to create, and they will not be slaves to the convention of releasing a homogenized catalog of similar sounding albums. If you’re expecting another “Canada Songs,” you won’t get what you want.
Some EPs I really enjoyed:
MouthBreather – “Dollmeat”
standards – self-titled
Arms / Seizures split
SeeYouSpaceCowboy / secondgradeknifefight split
The Central – “Sick and Dying”
Fero Lux – “Cheap Funeral: For You / For Me”
Euclid C Finder – self-titled EP / “A Standard Basis For the Set of All Discontent”
Accident Prone – “Deep Wound Red”
Faus – “Apestate”
Shame – “Failure to Understand the Human Condition”
Fawn Limbs – “Towing Heads” / “Languor” / “Thrum”
Good Game – “Good Luck, Have Fun”
Invalids – “Fulfillment” EP
meth. – “I Love You”
Chamber – “Hatred Spoken Softly” / “Final Shape / In Search of Truth”
Potion – “Diaphonized”
thecheeseburgerpicnic – “Venom”
Coarse – “I”
Sense Offender – “I”
Goshen – self-titled
Goner – “My Experience Has Molded Me Into the Failure You See Before You”
Czar – “Minus”
Juan Bond – self-titled EP*
A Dozen Black Roses – “Mental Threshold”
Lower Automation – “Shoebox Companion”
Jesus Horse – “It Was the Blurst of Time”
Clavel – “Monuments of Grief”
Instrumental, adj. – “Reductio ad Absurdum”
The Lord’s Winning Team – “Honey, I Know It’s The End of the Last Quarter and We’re Down a Few Points, But God’s Gonna Throw Me a Hail Mary Pass, and When I Touch Down, I Know You’ll Be Waiting For Me in the Endzone of​.​.​.”
Slug In the Sun – “Memoirs of Misfortune”
The Unnecessary Gunpoint Lecture “Aberrant Synaptic Plasticity”
Aberrant Phase – “End Is Near”
Carnivores at Grace – self-titled
Nesh – “Rat Race”
The Threats – “Saboteur”
Seimugen Houtai – “喪失 (The Loss)”
Stress – “Misery Fatigue”
Wanderer – “Abandoned”
Worry – “Humilation Pslams”
Zvleta – “Melancolía”
*came out December 30 2017, but who cares? It’s a fucking banger.
Honorable Mentions / Some Bangers You Might’ve Missed:
Journal – “Chrysalis Ordalias”
Rolo Tomassi – “Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It”
Black Matter Device – “Modern Frenetics”
Soaked In Disillusion – “Counter”
ATKA – “Untitled Album 1”
Forests – “Spending An Eternity In a Japanese Convenience Store”
Closet Witch – self-titled
Koenji Hyakkei – “Dhorimvishka”
Infernal Coil – “With A Forgotten World”
LeftyFish – “Hello Kitty Spank”
Coilguns – “Millennials”
Yashira – “Shrine”
Dead Empires – “Designed to Disappear”
Noise Trail Immersion – “Symbology of Shelter”
Femur – “Red Marks”
Geisterfahrer – “Demolition Fetish”
Secret Cutter – “Quantum Eraser”
Hemwick – “Junkie”
Sunflo’er – “No Hell”
Bind Torture Kill – “Viscères”
Contwig – “Autobahn 8”
Exits – “The Waste Class”
Intercourse – “Everything Is Pornography”
Snakehound – “Imitation Crown”
Baring Teeth – “Transitive Savagery”
Cortez – “No More Conqueror”
The Dawn – “TWWKIG”
Five Pound Pocket Universe – “Brain Bubble Party”
Great Falls – “A Sense of Rest”
Greyhaven – “Empty Black”
Irk – “Recipes From the Bible”
Kangarilla – “Happy Naked”
Limbs – “Exquisite Corpse”
Pool Kids – “Music to Practice Safe Sex To”
Portal – “Ion”
 Portrayal of Guilt – “Let Pain Be Your Guide”
The Sound That Ends Creation – “Roses and Thorns and Dead Unicorns”
Zapruder – self-titled
10) Cult Leader – “A Patient Man”
I had such a hard time placing this on my top 10, but it had to be on here. It took me time to warm up to it but still very grateful for every track these guys poor their hearts into though.
9) Infernal Coil – “Within A World of Forgotten”
This is anti music.
8) Graf Orlock – “An Examination of Violent Cinema”
This is a strong comeback. The inserts are amazing while the songs are the same ripping Graf.
7) Mouthbreather – “Dollmeat”
Milk/Shit/Dirt. Enough said.
6) NoiSays – self-titled 
5) meth. – “I Love You”
Relentless and dark.
4) Good Game – “Good Luck, Have Fun”
This is by far my most listened to EP in 2018. I love the beautiful math rock this group creates.
3) Daughters – “You Won’t Get What You Want”
This album has grown on me. I was one of the individuals still missing the days of “Canada/Hell Songs,” until this album. It took seeing them perform most of these songs live in San Francisco to really appreciate them.
2) Vein – “Errorzone”
What a fucking strong full-length from this band. We are definitely fans of their live videos on YouTube for years due to the energy they had. Basically was not surprised that this album kicked me in the dick.
1) Delta Sleep – “Ghost City”
This is everything math rock should be. Damn near makes me tear in joy from the lyrics and musical composition. Thanks for existing guys.

10) Greyhaven – “Empty Black”

Are you pissed that Every Time I Die didn’t release an album this year? Do you miss “Redeemer”-era Norma Jean? Okay now do you wish both those bands had Rob Thomas-sounding choruses? Me too! Please listen to Greyhaven.
9) MouthBreather – “DollMeat”
Pretty Cool that we got 11 minutes of MouthBreather this year instead of the 7 minutes that we got last year (make more music, goddammit). Once again, these guys just absolutely pack mad heat, and I can’t get enough of it.
8) The Hirs Collective – “Friends. Lovers. Favorites.”
Stop ignoring this band. Some of the sickest grindcore and powerviolence I’ve ever heard, AND there’s slam breakdowns. What more do you want???
7. Gillian Carter – “…This Earth Shaped Tomb”
While I would call this album “bi-polar” in that it doesn’t know when it wants to be a deafheaven album and when it wants to be a Pageninetynine album, that’s almost what makes it so awesome. Gillian Carter deserves way more attention.
6) NoiSays – self-titled
I (very lovingly) call this album “Mongrel #2”. I truthfully have no idea what the fuck is being pumped into the tap water NoiSays drinks, but I would like to also drink said tap water.
5) Portrayal of Guilt – “Let Pain Be Your Guide”
The most replay-able album of 2018. 22 minutes of screamo-influenced black metal. Or maybe…black metal-influenced screamo? Who cares. I love this album, and all of its weird mixing choices.
4. The Threats – “Saboteur”
Alright, so I just toured with these boys, so I might sound Biased, but this EP hits all the right spots for me. If it was 4 songs longer, it’d be my AOTY. Brilliant songwriting and dynamics from ex-members of The Chariot and Listener.  
3. Carnival Ghosts – “Charitable Design”
Paul Hundeby brings us another brilliant project. The riffs on this one just hurt my heart, in the same way that early pianos become the teeth reminds me of my heart getting broken in high school. 
2. Daughters – “You Won’t Get What You Want”
I don’t think there’s a genre called “perfectly timed harsh noise”, but if there was, this would be the album that pioneers such a sub-category. I’m thrilled to have Daughters back, and I can’t wait to see what they do next. 
1. Rolo Tomassi – “Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It”
Everything about this album is innovative. I was worried that Rolo’s constant stylistic changes on Time Will Die would get old or age poorly, but I was relieved to discover that this record is incredibly re-playable. This record affects me on all emotional levels. A perfect album.

Honorable Mentions:

KEN Mode – “Loved”
NESH – “Rat Race”
Frontierer – “Unloved”

10) Imperial Triumphant – “Vile Luxury”

9) Secret Cutter – “Quantum Eraser”
8) Sumac – “Love in Shadow”
7) Deafheaven – “Ordinary Corrupt Human Love”
6) Portal – “Ion”
5) Ken Mode – “Loved”
4) Delta Sleep – “Ghost City”
3) Daughters – “You Won’t Get What You Want”
2) Retortion Terror – self-titled
1) Polyphia – “New Level New Devils”

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