My 10 favourite musical releases from 2018

I had a quick look at a list of all the major metal albums released in 2018 today. It reminded me of the music I discovered and loved this year while also letting me know how much I missed. I haven’t been as dedicated as I have been to my love of music this year. Hopefully this post will do two things. One; let anybody who is reading know the music that I loved this year. Two; remind me how much I love music so that 2019 can have an improved focus on what is important.

So, in no real order, here are the albums/releases I loved and a brief description of the release and why it caught my attention.

Bullet For My Valentine – Gravity

If you read the comments for each single released on YouTube for this album, Bullet For My Valentine have let fans down. They’re not as metal as they should be. Sorry … I don’t buy that. Is this as metal as their previous releases? Nope. Are there screaming lyrics and ripping guitar solos? Nope. Are there songs you can listen to repeatedly for musical enjoyment? For me, yes there are. I thought it was a solid release and follows an obvious path they’ve been heading down.

Do I hope the next release get’s heavier? I sure do. But I gave this album quite a few listens this year. It rocks in my opinion. Here’s one of my favourite singles from the album.

Bullet For My Valentine – Over It

A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant

In this day and age of trickled releases, the latest release from A Perfect Circle probably began in 2017 with the track The Doomed. The album though has a 2018 release date.

I never know what to expect with anything Maynard is contributing to. Listening to this album the first time through was more of a journey than any other album I listened to in 2018. Very few bands these days will take you on a listening journey like A Perfect Circle. Eat The Elephant was absolutely like that for me. I loved the experience.

I’m always happy to have a visual to go with something this band releases too.

A Perfect Circle – Disillusioned

Architects – Holy Hell

One of my work colleagues got me into Architects. We started comparing band names this year when we had that “Wait … you like metal too?!” moment. When the Holy Hell album dropped, I was keen to listen.

Their music is an awesome blend of orchestral moments in tracks like Death Is Not Defeat and metal—in every track they release. The mix of what I call screamy and singing has really grown on me in recent years and Architects do it incredibly well.

The guitar playing is absolutely brutal and feels very technical to me. I could—and did—listen to this for days.

Architects – Death Is Not Defeat

Stand Atlantic – Skinny Dipping

This release threw me to be honest. It’s more pop than metal, but it has solid guitars and a vocal style I just love. I’m a sucker for a female vocalist that has that something unique about her voice. Bonnie Fraser has that in spades.

The fact that Stand Atlantic is an Australian band was icing on the cake for me. Lactose free icing—I have a dairy issue. Anyhow, when Google Play Music recommended the band’s latest release, I was intrigued enough to try it. I’m still glad I did. It rocks.

Stand Atlantic – Lavender Bones

Dead Letter Circus – Dead Letter Circus

Sticking with Australian bands, when I saw that Dead Letter Circus was releasing a new album in 2018, my only thought was “Please let this be as awesome as their previous releases”.

It is.

I’m not aware of too many bands with a sound like Dead Letter Circus and this self-titled album sticks to their unique and powerful sound. Every band member brings their best and owns their instrument. Owns as in “plays it like nobody else could” not as in “they paid for it”. I assume they are all using bought instruments.

I hope this band continues to release albums like this. This band’s sound will never get old for me.

Dead Letter Circus – The Armour You Own

Fight The Fury – Still Breathing

I’m a fan of Skillet—the band, not the kitchen utensil. When a work colleague—not the one I mentioned earlier—told me that John Cooper from Skillet had formed a new side band, I was excited. I like a good side band. Fight The Fury didn’t disappoint me.

Although it’s an EP release and not a full album, I was grateful for the new music. It’s like Skillet, but heavier and with more moments for the lead guitarist to shine. I will always be OK with that.

I hope there are future full albums to come. I can imagine a tour of Skillet, Fight The Fury and Ledger. John and Jen might get tired though. Jen who you may ask? Well, read on …

Fight The Fury – My Demons

Ledger – Ledger

Did I just mention Ledger? Coincidentally, they released an EP in 2018 as well. Ledger is the band that gives Skillet drummer/vocalist Jen Ledger a moment to shine in her own right.

I absolutely love the tracks of Skillet‘s where Jen gets the opportunity to bring light to the dark that John brings to their songs. They’re a perfect vocal combination in my opinion. But I digress.

In this release, all tracks showcase how powerful Jen’s vocals are when there’s nothing else competing—or complementing most likely—for the spot light. As I mentioned with Stand Atlantic, I love a strong female vocal style. Ledger is now one of my favourites in that field. I look forward to more from this band.

Ledger – Not Dead Yet

Light The Torch – Revival

Light The Torch was another new discovery for me that Google Play Music recommended for me. I guess I really should pay close attention to the recommendations in 2019 and stop doing what I did most of this year—continually listening to the awesome albums from my youth.

This is the style of heavy metal that I’ve listened to most of my life. It’s melodic and the vocal styling is mostly singing. There are occasional screamy moments—I’m sticking with screamy as a real word by the way—but the songs are songs you can sing along with in a true metal way. It’s powerful and the guitars are awesome.

I’m sure many drivers on my route to and from work saw me screaming along to this album this year. You’re all welcome.

Light The Torch – Die Alone

Sevendust – All I See Is War

The track I’ve embedded below is one that YouTube recommended to me this year. I’ll be honest … I’ve heard of Sevendust before, but I’m not sure I gave them a serious listen. That changed this year. This album—All I See Is War—had me checking an extensive back catalogue and loving it.

The vocals in this release are just … epic. This is absolute power. The guitars are awesome, but it’s rare for me to notice vocals over them because I have such a guitar fascination. This is a great powerhouse find that I’m glad I finally recognised.

Sevendust – Unforgiven

Bury Tomorrow – Black Flame

I know I said this post wasn’t a top 10 list, and it’s not. But, and I know it’s poor form to start a sentence with that, this album is without doubt my favourite release of the year. I haven’t repeated an album this year like I did with Black Flame—the album or the single of the same name to be totally honest.

I am still relatively new to the screamy vocal styling in some heavy metal bands—Megadeth and Metallica are still my go-to bands—but after listening to this album once, I was determined to get more into it. The combination between the screamy styling of the main vocalist—Daniel Winter-Bates— and the singing style of the guitarist—Jason Cameron—is phenomenal. Their styles suit each other perfectly and the music is flawless.

Every track is a non-skipper on this album and every song had me screaming in joy as I drove to and from work. My car is basically my personal space where I pretend I know how to sing in an epic heavy metal band. This year, I sang this album a lot. Nothing more than the title track.

My favourite song of 2018—Black Flame.

Bury Tomorrow – Black Flame

There you have it. I know the other bands I listened to in 2018 that I haven’t included in the list. I couldn’t include them all. I liked plenty, but these ten were the ten I listened to the most.

So … What did you repeat more than anything else this year?

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