Mon. Mar 1st, 2021

Tuonela Magazine’s annual recap: 2018 edition.

A recap of 2018, containing our top albums of the international metal scene, Finnish scene and the local band scene in Finland. Read what our editor picked out as the best of 2018.

2018 has left a strong mark on the history of metal. Many great albums have been released throughout these 365 days, and we were happy to be part of such an active, outstanding year. We have had a lot of unique opportunities this year as a webzine. 

Even though our webzine has only been around for two years; we have gotten a lot of supporters and managed to grow even more. Therefore, Tuonela Magazine would like to thank everyone who made 2018 as marvelous as it was: supporters, followers and the many bands who have created something unique and magical in 2018.

2018 was an amazing year, that brought us many great albums. In fact, so many that it was really difficult to pick a few. As you know, our magazine supports the local scene as well, that’s why we also have separate categories for the smaller independent bands.

New releases include among others Judas Priest, Kamelot, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Korpiklaani, Amorphis and many others. Let’s take a quick look around some of our personal highlights in the metal scene of 2018. Let us know what your favorite albums were in the comments!

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2018 had an amazing amount of critically acclaimed albums worldwide of different genres within the rock and metal scene. Picking a top 5 like we did last year, turned out to be impossible, instead we turned it into a top 10, but to us, there is only one winner: Judas Priest with its latest “Firepower” making an explosive aspect to our top 10 of international albums. Here are the rest of them in alphabetical order.

Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest
Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
Haken – Vector
Judas Priest – Firepower
Kamelot – The Shadow Theory
Mantar – The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze
Obscura – Diluvium
Powerwolf – The Sacrament Of Sin
The Night Flight Orchestra – Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough
Warrel Dane – Shadow Work

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The Finnish music industry also didn’t remain silent. 2018 brought a lot of outstanding album, this is our top 10 of Finnish metal and rock albums of 2018 in alphabetical order. To us, the winner was clear: Amorphis rearranged their whole sound and came up with their most innovative album as of yet. “Queen Of Time” is definitely the strongest Finnish album coming out this year, but here is our top 10 in alphabetical order. 

Amorphis – Queen Of Time
Arion – Life Is Not Beautiful
Euge Valovirta –  Easy Does It
Fear Of Domination – Metanoia
Korpiklaani – Kulkija
Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold
Shiraz Lane – Carnival Days
Stam1na – Taival
Turmion Kätilöt – Universal Satan
Wolfheart – Constellation Of The Black Light

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Our magazine also supports smaller bands, therefore we also have picked out our top 10 favorites of local bands in Finland for you. Out of all these albums, the album that convinced our crew the most was “Riitti” by the black/folk metal act Paara. These were our other favorites of 2018 in alphabetical order.

Dyecrest – Are You Not Entertained
Mors Subita – Into The Pitch Black
Paara – Riitti
Profane Omen – Ooka
Psychework – Karelian Hills
Spiritraiser – Inspiral
Suotana – Land Of The Ending Time
Tocornal – Before the Satellites
Unborn Generation – Vøid
Xenoverse – The Fall: Part 1

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Some bands in the Finnish music industry did not release a full album but did treat us with very outstanding EPs. Even though it was very hard to pick between these bands, because it is like comparing apples to pears, the EP that we enjoyed the most this year was “Decedents – Enshrined”by Frosttide. Here’s our top three of the ones that we enjoyed the most in 2018, again in alphabetical order. Don’t forget to read our interview with Frosttide.

Frosttide – Decedents – Enshrined
Leverage – The Devil’s Turn
Wheel – The Divide

best concert

The best gig in Helsinki was difficult to pick, we get the feeling every gig we attend is better than the other one. But The Night Flight Orchestra’s first show in Finland at On The Rocks definitely was something else. We have never seen an audience so dedicated to celebrating together with the band, who even stayed afterwards to dance their feet to 80s music. Well done!

best live act

Picking out the best live act for 2018 is definitely not a simple task. Not only have there been an awful lot of albums this year, but there was also a majestic amount of shows that we have been pleased with in the Helsinki bubble. For me, a couple of bands could make the cut, but not every band manages to play at a soldout Hartwall Arena or even better, Wembley. The best live act of 2018 goes to Nightwish with their “Decades” tour.

best local gig

Thy Row is a new hard rock act from Helsinki. The band had their first show ever in August at Bar Loose. The evening deemed to be quite of a historical moment, as their very first show already led to a sold-out venue! That doesn’t happen a lot with an unknown band. During the evening the band showed us their potential by playing us hard rock that blew us away.

best newcomer

Best newcomer to the scene is definitely Oceanhoarse, who created a mystery around their band and securing a slot as Beast In Black’s opening act without anyone really having heard their music(a first single was released a bit before the gigs). Oceanhoarse consists out of some well-known names in the industry, with their heavy groove metal they manage to open up circle pits, make every single person bang their heads. The band so far has released a couple of singles, but we are still waiting for their debut album. Oceanhoarse recently welcomed a new singer Joonas Kosonen in their midsts, we are looking forward to hearing some new material of the band soon. Don’t forget to read our interview with Oceanhoarse.

best local music video

Music videos are still an important part of any release, and can definitely show a consistent picture of a band when done right. These music videos by local bands definitely deserve a shout out. Even though they all stand out to us, one, in particular, did also to a lot of critiques “Six Feet Saviour” by Bloodred Hourglass, won a lot of prizes globally with their music video, and therefore is our winner for this category.

Bloodred Hourglass – Six Feet Savior
Spiritraiser – Sun
Suotana – Into The Ice

best lyric video

Nowadays, next to actual music videos with storylines or the band playing, bands also release lyric videos. These are the lyric videos we were most impressed with in 2018. The simplicity of Parasite Inc.‘s “Headfuck Rollercoaster” grabbed our attention the most.

Amorphis – The Bee
Frosttide – Tranquility
MaYan – The Rhythm Of Freedom
Parasite Inc. – Headfuck Rollercoaster

best music video

When we look at the best music videos globally, these 5 videos managed to grab my intention the most, with the most outstanding one being Auri’s “Night 13”. Here’s our top 5 in alphabetical order.

Auri – Night 13
Beast In Black – Sweet True Lies
Behemoth – God = Dog
Swallow The Sun – Lumina Aurea
The Night Flight Orchestra – This Time

best song

With a lot of outstanding albums, a lot of great songs came to be. It was difficult to select a couple of them, but we made a selection for you of what we think the 5 best tracks were in the Finnish metal scene of 2018, “The Bee” of Amorphis, is the single we chose as a winner for this category, but here is the list in alphabetical order.

Amorphis – The Bee
Euge Valovirta ft. Jules Näveri – Triggered Boulevard
Flat Earth – 
Omnium Gatherum – 
Refining Fire
Turmion Kätilöt – Sikiö

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Best singles in the local scene this year were tricky again to select, but I think we managed to select three very powerful singles. These albums yet have to be released, but we are definitely looking forward to them. Winner of this round is Brymir’s “Chasing The Skyline”. Here’s a top three in alphabetical order.

Brymir – Chasing The Skyline
The Blanko – Electric Desire
Thy Row – The Round

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Usually, songs that come out in December are a little bit forgotten in these tops, nevertheless here is a selection of great songs you still should check out, if you haven’t done so yet!

Avantasia – Ravenchild
Beast In Black – Sweet True Lies
Brymir – Ride On, Spirit
Children Of Bodom – Under Grass And Clover
Myrath – Dance
Swallow The Sun – Lumina Aurea

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The best albums, have also the best visual team behind them, and often have great collaborations with visual artists who work on their cover art. These are in our opinion the finest design of cover art of 2018. The winner of this category, in my opinion, is Mantar with “The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze”. The cover art is a relief by Bernhard Hoetger, and picking this cover art might be shocking to some who know the history behind the piece, but it happens to be a well thought out appropriation with a strong concept. Read the history about the work here, and why the band chose it as their album cover.

Arion – Life Is Not Beautiful
Amorphis – Queen Of Time
Ghost – Prequelle
Judas Priest – Firepower
Mantar – The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze

by Claudio Bergamin
by Jean ”Valnoir” Simoulin
by Zbigniew Bielak
by Claudio Bergamin
“Der Lichtbringer” by Bernhard Hoetger

Yes, 2018 has been a very interesting musical year and it has been very difficult picking out a few moments to highlight, but we are sure about one thing: 2019 is going to rock the metal, blow our minds and going to be even more legendary. Happy New Year!



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