It is that time again. It seems hard core is making a come back, though when we say hard core here we are not sticking to just bands that sound like Agnostic Front, but also crust, screamo and some acts that are more metallic than others including those influenced by black metal, which finds it's influence seeping into every genre these days. 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 ? This year there seems to be a changing of the guard as only once act goes back to any length of time and even then it's the 90s. So not to say more well established acts haven't been putting out albums, not warrant being on this list. 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 10 hard core and punk albums of 2018.
10- Axegrinder- "Satori"
It would be a shame to let this gem go over looked .There are a few touches of almost 90s rock shoveled into their sound. If this is the definition of crust punk then it's a genre I like more than I normally think because it doesn't rely on speed
9- Will Haven- "Muerte"
Proving they were more hard core than they were nu-metal. This album is aggressive as fuck, with a that is guitar sounds darker and more dissonant than ever. In With turns of atmosphere that make things pulse in a way that is sonically heavier. They haven't changed with the times the times changed to them.
8- Fucked Up - "Dose Your Dreams"
This album was two years in the making. It's like their version of the wall. Despite the fan fare that opens the album they remind you from the beginning that this is still very much a punk album. It's like if Murder City Devils has been happy and not dark, depressed suicidal devil worshipers. Overall these guys get props for making some punk rock, that includes the rock n roll in the equation and takes chances that pay off more often than not.
7-Gouge Away- "Burnt Sugar"
This angular screamo band carries a touch of hard core thanks to their lead singer who is a very pissed off young lady. They are very aggressive, but have more of a jangle to their guitar sound. Their are plenty of more straight ahead punk moments . While there is a female vocalist, I don't think that is what defines them. Her gender is some what neutralized, until she goes into more of a singing voice.
6- Sunflo'er -"No Hell"
This New York band blends almost as many takes on punk / hard-core as the Refused used to. Angry and metallic angular passages and jerking motion that keeps things frenetic. the attention to detail they give things is more than most punk and hardcore bands do these days.
5-Young Mountain-"Lost Tree"
Upon hearing the first single "Vacant Eyes" you might assume the hardcore stomp is a variation of Deafheaven used to do. The the actual album paints a different picture. There is still the post-rock haze of gazing, but with more of an explosive tension. If you are into atmospheric hard core then this is your jam.
4-Svalbard- "Its Hard to Have Hope"
A British band named after one of the coldest parts of Norway and they are not a black metal band appropriating this , but a hard core band with a chilling sense of isolation to their sound. The album is filled with the sweeping passages help expand the definition of hard core. This is not drill Sargent tough guy shit, but every emotive and delicately sung female vocals balancing out the more anguished bursts of rage.
3-Birds in Row- "We Already Lost the World"
This album is a matured take on what we once called emotional hard-core. I think kids are calling it screamo these days. Call it what you want it comes across much more honest in intention than the emo of the early 2000s . Despite it's melodic set up when the album gets going it explodes with hard core anger and then rages with the desperation of punk after. Overall this album returns to the days when emotion and hardcore fit perfectly together. Sometimes some of the album abrasion is a temper tantrum it has to work through, but enjoyable non the less.
2- Drug Church - "Cheer"
This band features members of Self Defense Family which got me in the door, it's the 90s flavored post-hardcore that keeps me listening. The vocals are gruff yet melodic. Somewhat in the vein of Hot water Music. The opening track is more in your face punk flavors without relying on speed and a more powerful drive. There is a dense sonic quality " that offsets what would otherwise be left of center punk rock.It reminds of the days before emo became a bad word and punk seemed to be entering an exciting new time, that would get watered down by Myspace.
Hard core might be at the beating heart of this monster. What I like most is the sonic intensity. They are brutally aggressive, but don't stop there possessing a wider scope of dynamics.Not unlike bands such as Nails or Hexis, where many different sub-genres collide. This band is powered by a dark metallic hard-core draped in cinematic ambiance.