Welcome to Ride Into Glory’s year end round up! The year is rapidly coming to an end and it’s time to look back and reflect on this year’s metal releases. For those new to the site, Ride Into Glory focuses on just traditional metal which means just derivatives of doom metal and classic heavy metal. On this list you’ll only find bands that loosely fit into that descriptor. There’s been quality album after quality album in 2018 so there’s quite a bit for us to sink our teeth into this year!

The Top 10 Trad. Albums of 2018

(10) Black Oath

Black Oath play a style of doom metal that lies at the intersection between the haunting Italian sound of bands such as Black Hole and Paul Chain and the epic brand of bands like Candlemass. Behold the Abyss marks Black Oath’s fourth studio album in 12 years. Throughout their time, they’ve been an incredibly consistent band and this year’s album is no different!

(9) Wytch Hazel

See full review here
Wytch Hazel combine the 70s hardrock style of bands like Jethro Tull, Wishbone Ash, and Thin Lizzy with the early NWOBHM and molds it into their own. The killer lead guitars, heartfelt acoustics, and beautiful vocals found on II: Sojourn are sure to win you over!

(8) Angel of Damnation

See full review here
From the heart of Germany, Angel of Damnation are a doom metal band that takes the early sound of groups like Pentagram and bring it into 2018 with modern production and epic vocals. The band’s latest offering, Heathen Witchcraft, is a fifty minute journey into the occult and may be the band’s best offering yet!

(7) Ironflame

See full review here 
Ironflame are quickly establishing themselves as one of the best new American power metal bands. Their sound is a perfect blend of elements from both the rougher, riff-driven side of power metal and the melodic, chorus oriented one. Somehow just one year after the band’s debut, they’ve managed to release another album titled Tales of Splendor and Sorrow.  Ironflame’s latest album builds upon the foundation of the first to deliver an even more cohesive record.

(6) Outlaw

See full review here 
Outlaw are the latest in a string of high energy, high quality traditonal metal bands hailing from Finland. The band’s debut album, Marauders, combines the twin guitar approach of 80s Judas Priest and blends in the USPM style melodies. With its killer riffs, varied song structures, and infectious choruses, this album is undoubtedly one of the year’s best.

(5) Black Viper

See full review here
Determined to unleash a speed metal onslaught, Black Viper released Hellions of Fire back in September and I am still not over just how great this debut album really is. The band lived up to their killer demo and then some. If you’re a fan of bands like Agent Steel and Savage Grace then do not pass this one up!

(4) Satan

See full review here
The living legends are back at it again with the their third post-reunion album. It might as well still be 1983 for these guys because they’re intent on playing metal the old-school way. With fifty minutes of ace songs, Cruel Magic proves that Satan have still got it. 

(3) Sacral Rage

See full review here
Sacral Rage play a unique blend of metal that fuses technical thrash with United States style power metal to create their own deadly blend. Their second album, Beyond Celestial Echoes, further explores their thrash tendencies and takes them in an even more extreme direction. It’s a never-ending flurry of riffs that fans of Helstar, Agent Steel, and Watchtower are sure to enjoy!

(2) Lethean

See full review here
Lethean combine victorious epic metal riffs with haunting female vocals to deliver one of the most unique albums of the year. Lethean’s debut is a bold and innovative journey through the epic and melancholic – I have no doubt in my mind that I will be listening to this album in my regular rotation from now on. This is absolutely essential listening.

(1) Solstice

See full review here
It’s finally here. Twenty long years since Solstice’s last album, they’ve graced us with White Horse Hill. It’s everything you would expect from solstice – crushing doom metal riffs, beautiful folk acoustics, and massive, triumphant vocals. The whole epic doom metal package is here without a doubt. Album of the year!

Honorable Mentions

Shoutout to the countless bands that released quality albums this year but didn’t quite make the list! There’s a lot more good metal out there that I encourage everyone to check out – including, but not limited to: Sign of the Jackal, V.O.J.D, Night Gaunt, Hitten, Dawn of Winter, Manacle, The Skull, Gatekeeper, Convent Guilt, Weaponlord, BattleroaR, Road Warrior, Seven Sisters, Haunt, Idle Hands, Storrsson, White Magician, Visigoth, and many others!

Featured EPs and Demos

Below you’ll find the various EPs and Demos from 2018 that deserve to be mentioned right alongside the spectacular full length albums. Many of the releases below highlight promising bands that are set to release albums next year, be sure to watch out for them!


Chevalier – Chapitre II

The masters of speed metal are back with another EP this year to prime us for their 2019 debut. Everything that you would expect from Chevalier is here – blistering fast leads, non-stop riffs, dungeon-like production, mountains of reverb, and powerful vocals. 

Vultures Vengeance – Lyrids…

See full review here
Vultures Vengeance bring together epic metal influences like Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, and Dark Quarterer into one awesome mix. Despite being just two tracks, Lyrids is one of the year’s best releases and shows off a band that is destined for something great. Watch out for their debut next year!

Shelton/Chastain – The Edge of Sanity

See full review here
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. David T. Chastain and Mark Shelton (RIP) recorded kickass material together back in the late 80s and it was resurfaced this year. It’s a perfect blend of the two musicians and serves as a testament to their musical prowess. Fans of either musician owe it to themselves to check this one out!

Royal Orphan – Royal Orphan

See full review here
After decades of inconsistent activity, Royal Orphan have finally released their debut offering. The self-titled EP is a throwback to the days of old-school, progressive US power metal – think Heir Apparent, Fates Warning, and Titan Force. It’s an uncommon sound nowadays, but it’s refreshing to hear it in 2018!

Attacker – Armor of the Gods

See full review here
The last two albums have proved that Attacker have still got it and this year’s Armor of the Gods EP is no different! The band still has that signature aggressive edge they’ve had since the 80s. There’s nothing innovative here, but you know what you’re getting with Attacker – straightforward and aggressive power metal.


Traveler – 2018 Demo

See full review here
Wow. Words really don’t to this demo justice at all. Killer guitar riffs, powerful vocals, catchy melodies, varied song structures – it has everything I could possibly ask for. Drawing influences from a number of sources including Judas Priest, Riot, and Manilla Road, Traveler’s 2018 demo is simply one of the best. I haven’t been this excited for a band in years! 

Throne of Iron – 2018 Demo

Ignore the incredibly unoriginal name for just a moment here, I assure you that Throne of Iron are one of the year’s most promising newcomers. These guys aren’t here to recreate the wheel and the music isn’t particularly complex – you get straightforward epic heavy metal riffs, memorable melodies, and kickass vocals. Do you really need anything else? Fans of Eternal Champion are sure to enjoy this one.

Smoulder – The Sword Woman

Smoulder play a style that draws influences from epic heavy metal acts like Tales of Medusa and combines it with the Finnish style of doom metal bands such as Reverend Bizzare. Sarah’s vocals are absolutely some of the most breathtaking I’ve heard this year and add another dimension to the sound. The Sword Woman is a very promising demo that you’ll surely not want to miss!


Founding member and primary author and editor of Ride into Glory. Traditional heavy metal maniac intent to bring heavy metal to the world!


James · December 18, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Thanks for providing such a great list. I also enjoyed the releases from Wytch Hazel, Throne of Iron, Solstice, Vultures Vengeance and Satan (it was good to see the latter live too), so I am looking forward to investigating the other items on here.

If I might make a further suggestion: I really loved “The Firebreathing Giant of the Icy Seas” by Doublegeddon (easily found via Bandcamp) from February of this year.

    Marco · December 19, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Hey James, I think you’ll enjoy a lot of the other bands on the list! I checked out Doublegeddon earlier this year but to be honest I was off-put by their focus on humor. Admittedly, the music is still pretty good so here’s to hoping they pull together a strong album!

Tobi · December 23, 2018 at 11:28 am

Some very cool stuff you put on here! I’m especially grateful to you for sharing Traveler. What a cool Demo, featuring Gatekeeper’s Jean-Pierre Abboud!

    Marco · December 23, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    It’s fantastic for sure! The new album comes out February 22nd, 2019 so I’m excited for what the future holds for these guys. If you haven’t already, I recommend checking out Jean-Pierre’s previous project, Borrowed Time. Their 2013 self-titled album is one of my modern favorites for sure and sounds quite a bit like Traveler!

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