Santtu Pesonen’s Top 10 of 2018

It’s that time of the year again – 2018 is drawing to a close in a week, and I should share 10 of my favorite things to come out/happen/etc. this year.

This year was a crazy one, to say the least. Between everything that happened around the world – including shit like the EU conceiving Article 13 – and some less-than-pleasant events that occurred in my own life, it’s been a time with no shortage of drama. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I’ve had a hard time thinking up 10 things to include in this year’s list. But let’s see if I can do this.

Also, I’m going to update the format a tiny bit as compared to previous years – instead of counting from “best to worst”, I’ll be counting from “worst to best”, and I’m also going to give brief explanations as to why those things in particular made the list.

Without further ado, let’s kick this off with…

10. playing in my first steady lineup

Chances are you’ve read the story regarding this one – in fact, you needn’t scroll too far down if you haven’t and wish to do so – and that story is the reason this is at the tail-end of the list. That said, I did find enjoyment in being a drummer in my first steady band, and the experiences I got through it were all great in their own right. It was certainly fun while it lasted.

9. finishing and releasing my first book

While it may not be the kind of literary work I ever intended to conjure up, I’m still proud of Assorted Ramblings of a Different Young Adult, if for no other reason than it being the first book I finished and shared online. Writing it was certainly an adventure in its own right – lots of shit happened during that time, both pleasant and unpleasant. And anyone curious enough can read what were my thoughts on those events at the time.

8. Psyonysus – Interbeing

I didn’t realize how much I actually wanted new music from psytrance producer Psyonysus until his new album, Interbeing, came out. I grew very fond of his previous musical effort, Unity, and the new album did a commendable job tickling my semi-regular psytrance itch. Even so, though, it wasn’t quite as awesome as the 7 other things yet to come on this list.

7. Machine Head – Catharsis

I’m not one to let a bunch of “0/10 the frontman is a dick” reviews dictate my own opinion on Machine Head’s latest album. I thoroughly enjoyed Catharsis. While I can’t deny that Robb Flynn’s lyrical inclinations may have gotten unnecessarily political, I didn’t let that bother me. The musical side of the thrash quartet’s ninth studio effort is no less badass than it was four years ago on Bloodstone & Diamonds.

6. the CD release of the DOOM ’16 soundtrack

But wait, didn’t the latest mainline DOOM game come out in 2016? Yes, it did, but the soundtrack album was released in physical form this year. And since I’m a sucker for anything DOOM and Mick Gordon, I simply had to get my hands on a CD. So I did. And frankly, Mick Gordon did a phenomenal job with the soundtrack for my favorite game of 2016, which alone warranted the purchase.

5. BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman, I dare argue, is one of the most important movies of the past decade. The Spike Lee-directed film, based on true events, tells the story of a black police officer that infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. The movie sends a pretty important message to its watchers – that racism is a serious issue to this day. Oh, and it’s also a well-made movie.

4. Tuska 2018

Now granted, I was at the Tuska metal festival for only one day, but I did get to see two bands I quite dig – Leprous and Meshuggah. I would’ve loved to see Gojira as well, but alas, I’d bought a mere one-day ticket a week prior to them being announced. The thought still depresses me. Anyway, Leprous and Meshuggah were fucking killer. Of course that’s not to say that the rest of the bands were bad by any means, least of all Arch Enemy.

3. Bohemian Rhapsody

Queen was an undeniably influential band back in the day, and Bohemian Rhapsody is an iconic song that still holds up. The 2018 movie, conveniently named after the song, was also great. It was not only an intriguing look into the life of Freddie Mercury but also a film so finely crafted that I dare argue it serves as a lesson in cinematography as well.


I believe I initially heard of the 90s-style FPS game DUSK back in 2016, and I’d eagerly kept an eye peeled for it ever since. And on December 10th of this year, it finally saw its full release. The end product is a near-perfect tribute to FPS games of the old – fast-paced gameplay, captivating level designs, eye-catching visuals and a kick-ass soundtrack to top it all off. And the final boss… Goddamn, what a way to end one of the finest FPS games in recent years.

1. Haken – Vector

It’s no secret at this point that Haken is at least my favorite prog-metal band, if not my favorite band of all time, so naturally the British sextet’s fifth full-length album would snag the #1 spot on this year’s list. I swear these guys keep finding ways to outdo themselves despite not necessarily needing to. The musicianship, the production, the mixing – everything about this album is simply top-notch.

With that, have a great rest of your 2018, and see you next year.

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