With another calendar year of stellar heavy, alternative and progressive music behind us, we continue our countdown of the best of the best albums, as voted for by the Ghost Cult global team. People Power Part I took us from 70 through to 26, Part II took us down the back straight, ticking off albums 25 to 11, and now we come round the final bend and as Part III presents the albums that charted 10 through 2 of the Ghost Cult Albums Of The Year, 2018.


10. ZEAL & ARDOR – Stranger Fruit (MVKA)

“For the converts, this second album raises obvious questions about how you follow up a debut of such distinction. For the naysayers, perhaps it’s a chance to dive back in again. With Stranger Fruit, both camps are going to be warmly and pleasantly satisfied. Stranger Fruit is a much rounder and more accomplished record than its predecessor; where styles may have jarred on the debut, here the alliances seem much more comfortable and insightful. What some regarded as cleverness to the point of contrived meddling on the debut now sound as if they should have been bedfellows a long time ago”. Review here


9. RIVERS OF NIHIL – Where Owls Know My Name (Metal Blade)

“Despite sounding like an ornithologically themed episode of TV show Cheers, Where Owls Know My Name is based entirely around the season of Autumn (or Fall for US readers), and follows on from their Spring themed début album The Conscious Seed of Light, and Monarchy (all Metal Blade) which represented Summer. Whereas their first two full-lengths were solid slabs of modern Technical Death Metal, Where Owls… sees Rivers of Nihil not giving two hoots (sorry) to convention, ripping up their rule book and throwing everything from clean singing, ’70s prog, electronica, and smooth jazz into the mix basically just to confuse everyone”. Review here


8. PIG DESTROYER – Head Cage (Relapse)

“And the master is in fine form on Head Cage. Like Book Burner and Phantom Limb, Hull and his boys take grindcore as the driving engine and liberally apply thrash, hardcore, groove, noise and sludge, and hone it down to a finely tuned killing instrument… We don’t deserve Pig Destroyer. Even after twenty years and no real dip in quality the band chooses to march forward and to create new art in defiance of fickle fanbases and changing trends.” Review here


7. YOB – Our Raw Heart (Relapse)

“Acclaimed Oregon Doom trio YOB has returned from the very brink with their stunning eighth album Our Raw Heart. Following a well-publicized near death experience owing to a particularly awful battle with diverticulitis Yob mastermind Mike Scheidt has channeled the experience into a very personal emotive record, which resonates with the listener both musically and emotionally. More immediate than Clearing the Path to Ascend, more psychedelic than Atma, there’s a delicate balance struck throughout the album. Aggressive but not angry, this is a cathartic, densely layered and quite visceral journey”. Review here


6. SLEEP – The Sciences (Third Man)

“The Sciences (Third Man Records) opens with just a squonchy squelch of feedback as the title track, and you are immediately reminded that Sleep is home-base for so many bands; the alpha and omega name in doom metal that places them in league with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin as one of the most imitated, unfuckwithable bands of all time. Capped off with an epic bong rip, the album opens in earnest with ‘Marajuannaut’s Theme’. Every song title on this album rules so hard. The music too, as the hypnotic riffs, the wall of crunchy bass and slick drumming just fills your ears. All the waiting, all the wondering dissolves in an instant as the anticipation of mana received turns into tube amp melting tears of ecstasy.” Review here