Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Top 10 Albums of 2018

It is that time again. This lists takes from the best of lists from all genres and lets the artists in the top slots slug it out. The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking , but also how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album.An album can have all the critical acclaim in the world but if it does not inspire multiple listens then how good can it actually be ? While the top ten lists for other genres were more balanced this list leans heavily on the side of new blood. Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top albums of 2018.

10-Street Sects - "the Kicking Mule"

The Texas duo returns with a more aggressive effort, even when the vocals are not harshly screamed the sneering death rock like tenor spits out dirty pictures of humanity in his lyrics. More manically frantic the songs effectively merge chaos and songwriting. So creepy in it's intent the results are what I imagine to be the soundtrack to a serial killer's internal dialogue.

9-Voices- "Frightened" 

 Former members of Akercocke formed this progressive metal band. The dark sense of melody further into this album with each listen . It has a wide array of vocal colors. The metal core of what these musicians creates from doesn't hamper it from bringing other elements ranging from post-punk to post- hardcore, though I guess these post-men aren't just ringing twice as any other post-sub genre can also be found. This album is very impressive, when I got it back in April it was what I thought to be one of the first contenders for album of the year as I could not imagine someone bringing it in the dark and aggressive fashion these guys do, but alas three other bands did in fact do it better.

8-Ilsa- "Corpse Fortress"

 This band is refusing to hold back on  on their debut for Relapse Records. The band's 5th full length finds them continuing to hammer skulls in with the sheer density of their blown out sludge. Dirty and squealing with feedback. The vocals are phrased in a way that that give the coarse scathing shouts almost more of  sung feel. The lyrics cut through better with this delivery. They shift back into more of a low end pounding that owes more to doom when it comes to the ominous rumble as the momentum continues to build. The flatulent bass can be heard in the din at times, but it generally hits you as one frequency. This album earned multiple listens I think it is a huge step forward for the band

 7-Dead Can Dance-"Dionysus" 

 It works more of the hypnotic atmosphere. It is not unusual for their songs to have this more sound track like quality. It is a wild juxtaposition to their previous album which was more accessible in it's song structure. "Liberator of Minds" does have a more serpentine groove that you could dance to if you were into touch with your more sensual primal side. In other words when it begins to move I immediately thought, my girl friend could dance to this.

6-Hangman's Chair -"Banlieue Triste"

 This French band has been around for 13 years, so I am not sure how they have eluded me. In terms of conventional metal, they might not fit neatly into the box. They are heavy in the bleak mood they create. This depressing mood brings them closest to doom if they have to defined. The vocals are the key selling point for me as not a note is wasted and they really sell me on the lyrics. They are in a similar zip code as "Viva Emptiness" era Katatonia, but carrying even more despair. The reason they beat Evoken is while "Hypnagogia" is a beautiful album, it's so dense and grandiose, the songs don't hook me in to demand as many listens as this album did which what I need when I forget to take my meds in the morning.

5-Pianos Become the Teeth - "Wait For Love" 

 There fourth album is another picture of this band's dramatic evolution. If you go back and listen to their first album it doesn't even seem like the same band. Gone is the explosive energy and the screamed vocals. They are capable of going at it with an almost Jawbreaker like drive on "Charisma". The vocals are plaintive, but well placed. The guitar don't told much in terms of distortion and works off of a dream like jangle more often than not. While other albums might have scored higher on the initial listen this one earned it's place in heavy rotation and I actually listened to it more than the other albums.

4-Emma Ruth Rundle - "On Dark Horses" 

 It's not as dark and it's more of a straight up rock album. However over time this album grew on me. Sometime it made me think of Jimi Hendrix playing country music. In other words Dave Navarro. Loose jazzy jam quality, the vocals are a little moodier. I am open to her expanding her sound as I certainly didn't want her just to re-hash "Marked For Death". The least driving album on the list, but the most emotionally layered.

3-Chrvches- "Love is Dead"

 This band was my methadone to ween me off a violent addiction to Taylor Swift's "1989" album. For the most part it worked only to get me hooked on their sugary electro pop. Things are only getting worse in the best possible way from there. Lauren Mayberry has lost the goth trappings of her look, and this album might not be the same shade of gray we have heard from them previous.It's well crafted and stays true to what they do without coming across like a sell out. It has more balls than most of the pop these days and doesn't skimp on the sugar.

2-Pale Waves- "My Mind Makes Noises"

 I've; described this band to friends as a mix of Taylor Swift with the Cure. The opener is pretty bubble gum, but well done for what it. You don't get to hear the meat of what they do until "There's a Honey". The hook in the chorus is subtle, but I've woken up at 4 AM with it in my head as I stumble to the bathroom. It's songs like this one that have provided a soundtrack to my summer and navigating the first feelings of a new relationship.This band proves Brit pop doesn't have to have anything to do with the Beatles.

1-Strvngers- "Amor Noir"

 Beating out well known goth icons, this new act out of Canada claimed the throne this year due to the hooky nature of their songs. The dynamic range of this albums goes from future pop to bouncy anthems coated grandiose and cinematic swathes if apocalyptic majesty. A pornographic kink them drips from the bump and grind of the more often darker industrial strength shadow stomp that rocks the dance floor.

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