Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Top 10 Rock Albums of 2018


t is that time again. Rock for the sake of this list is anything that is not truly metal, there are some hard rock albums on here, there are also albums that rock to hard to be indie rock 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 leaned more heavily on the side of new some of these are the more well established acts who put out the greatest quality albums .  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 rock albums of 2018.

10- Black Foxxes -"Reidi"

  I really loved 2016's "I'm Not Well" so expectations are somewhat high. I want them to give me more emotive blues edged grunge. Their front man Mark Holley went to Iceland to write this album. The opener finds them remembering who they are but with a lusher sound that in it's androgyny reminds me more of Placebo than the last album did. It is suitably dynamic with smart melodies. Though it doesn't have the same raw urgency. There is more of a radio alternative rock feel.

9-Crippled Black Phoenix-"Great Escape"

 This project of Justin Greaves the drummer for Iron Monkey and Electric Wizard, typically embarks on a more psychedelic rock vein. Here it's in the 70s rock zip code. Melodic vocals and a bong laden mood, they coast with the relaxed Pink Floyd like vibe. Sometimes blending kraut rock with Queens of the Stoneage like grooves, they often works off of a space age tension.

8-Lizzy Borden- "My Midnight Things"

 His voice sounds great. Though I had too find what is really him by searching through layers of vocal overdubs. His vocal is little lower , perhaps with age but "Long May They Haunt Us" sounds like a more rock n roll version of who this band used to be. This might not measure up against the classics , but his voice is holding up and it's a better comeback than I could have hoped for.

7-Interpol- "Marauder" 

 These guys had to grow on me. When I first heard them I tried to write them off as a Joy Division knock off. I gave them a chance and heard differently. Now I find myself wishing for more Joy Division to be injected back into their sound as 2014's"El Pintor" was just not dark enough for me. I don't want these guys to be happy. Things do start off differently. The vocals are higher, floating without the sardonic starkness to their narrative. I am willing to compromise with the groove presented on the opener, but I don't want them to perk up much beyond this point.Over all it's a good return to form .

6-Black Salvation- "Uncertainty is Bliss" 

 Former In Solitude and Grave Pleasures drummer Uno Bruniusson. But each member of this trio is highly talented. The guitarist Paul Schlesier handles the vocals. He gives the band a darker sound with a croon not unlike that employed on In Solitude's "Sister" album though more Jim Morrison than King Diamond. It had been sitting in my in-box so I am glad the fact the In Solitude connection caught my eye. While these guys are not metal, fans of In Solitude will find enough common ground to enjoy this one.

5-Clutch - "the Book of Bad Decisions"

 The bar was held pretty high after "Psychic Warfare" . It grooves in that way that is consistent with what the band does, there might be a little more atmosphere. I guess it feels like Fallon's delivery is not as urgent. When the songs are strong that are powerful like the funk of the albums best song "In Walks Barbarella" is hard to deny.Sometimes it feels like Fallon's hooks are just being dialed in a little and they are working more of a formula, but overall their formula works. The Drumming and guitar playing are so great they can easily carry this album.

4-Hopesfall- "Arbiter"

 Never really paid any attention to these guys , but a friend told me Hopesfall just put out a new Hum album. I can hear that in the guitars and eventually the apathetic sounding Hum like vocals come in. Sometimes the pace picks up and it gets more aggressive in a Helmet like fashion. The melodic sections ebb down into fall into place in a similar fashion as what the Deftones are known for though less dark and brooding.Since I only know these guys from when they were more of a Myspace sensation this seems like a mature step.

3-Scars on Broadway- "Dictator" 

 Much like his first solo album, this is more rock n roll and less nu-metal than System of a Down. I have always like Malakian's vocals with System of a Down , perhaps more than Serj's. This album touches on a great deal of the h darker tension to that recalls some of System's best moment. It seems like this song was probably written for the next System of a Down album that never happened, as his takes on a lower croon that has more in common with Serj's vocal style. It might not hit as hard as the first album but is really well done.

2-Alice in Chains - "Rainer Fog"

 This album finds them back closer "Black Gives Way..." with a few moments that are a little more upbeat , but not a miss step , just songs that had to grow on me. Often heavier with a huge crushing dark riffs and vocals slithering out of the shadows, which is everything I could want from this band.Not always shoulder to shoulder with the Layne albums, unless with are talking about the self titled one. It might be better than that one. Much Like "Black Gives Way" it's hard to tell where Cantrell's vocals begin and DuVall's end, so DuVall works better as a tribute singer than showing too much of his own personality in these songs. I am glad that they have taken a turn back to a darker direction

1-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.

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