This year has been full of releases with a tonne of big names and evener bigger albums. As usual this list is extensive and hard to squeeze only 10 bands into. Firstly some honourable mentions in list form or you will be reading this post for days:
Bad Wolves - Disobey
State Champs - Living Proof
Black Stone Cherry - Family Tree
Good Charlotte - Generation Rx
You Me At Six - VI
Pale Waves - My Mind Makes Noises
Beartooth - Disease
Now let’s get into it...
10. Breaking Benjamin - Ember
Sometimes sticking to what you know is a fantastic move. For Breaking Benjamin, who have a rather large following, are far past their make or break point and could be playing around with their sound if they wanted, but here on album Ember they have quite simply stuck to what they know taking their melodic goodness and raw heaviness and have amped both up to 11 to create an album that is full of bangers.
9. Deaf Havana - Rituals
Deaf Havana may win an award before their time is up having ticked off a significant number of music genres as a band. Latest addition Rituals is no exception taking the bands melancholic melodies to a more bubbly and poppy place. The songwriting is still there and as poignant as ever but this does require the listener to listen past the intentional catchiness. It may not have had the same response as All These Countless Nights, especially as that album will likely go down as their best, but Rituals does add some huge numbers to and already strong set list.
8. Casey - Where I Go When I Am Sleeping
Sophomore albums can often be make or break and what we have here is a band that has gone away and crafted an album that is such an improvement on the debut it has thrown Casey to new heights. Raw, emotive, honest and passion-filled with some of the best songwriting of 2018 that can be uncomfortable as well as comforting and brings an aura of pain sprinkled with hope. An absolute masterpiece.
7. Panic! At The Disco - Pray For The Wicked
Panic! At The Disco are right back at it. This time they have taken the their success from cinematic influenced Death of a Bachelor and carved it into a tighter, well-rounded pop album. Brendon Urie is on point and further pushes the boundaries in terms of his vocal ability.
6. Bury Tomorrow - Black Flame
A lot of people may argue that Bury Tomorrow plateaued after album one... to those people we say, you need to listen to this damn album. Bury Tomorrow have jumped from strength to strength and have taken us on a journey where we have witnessed them refine and expand on their creativity. This is metal at its best. Sleek, smooth and heavy with a release that would make the likes of Killswitch and early Bullet quake in their boots.
5. Parkway Drive - Reverence
Reverence sees Parkway Drive taking their newly coined take on power metal style riffs and melodic atmospherics found in previous album Ire and have amped them up to 11. This is a showcase that Parkway Drive are now an arena conquering monolith whilst not compromising on their metalcore roots. Breakdowns aplenty and solos to boot Reverence stands as the bands strongest effort to date. If you are an old school Parkway fan you may not like this album... Get over it, it is great.
4. Colter Wall - Songs of the Plains
Colter has returned taking the success from debut self-titled album and venturing further into his old time country roots. Songs of the Plains feels like it fell out of a time long forgotten and arose from a bar in some Kentucky cowboy town. With the success being seen here globally you would expect some tracks that cater as his “singles”... not the case. What we have instead is a straight up country album that doesn’t enter the over-saturated market of country pop so much so that it almost feels like it fell out of the wrong era. The songwriting is so fantastic it rivals Springsteen and the way in which you are transported to the story being told is nothing short of phenomenal.
3. Of Mice & Men - Defy
With the fanbase Of Mice & Men have, losing your frontman and deciding to continue onwards without him is a bold move. One that 9 times out of 10 does not pay off... though this is the exception. Defy propels OM&M to new heights showcasing both Aaron Pauleys incredible vocal talent as well as showing the band still have what it takes to make solid heavy and melodic music. This album boasts banger after banger and is a promising new beginning.
2. Mike Shinoda - Post Traumatic
Proof that a fantastic album can come from a place of raw emotion and pain, Shinoda has wasted no time in releasing his debut album as a solo artist (Fort Minor doesn’t count). Full of honest songs about coping with the death of Chester, moving on etc this may hit people right in the feels or even make fans angry that he had “moved on” so quickly. This is not to be mistaken for that and instead this body of work is more of a coping mechanism for a very talented individual that has an incredibly creative mind and music is the outlet. We are just lucky enough that it is also a great listen start to finish.
1. Architects - Holy Hell
Arguably the best metal album of the year Architects have also honed their brilliance off the back of raw pain and emotion. Holy Hell is smoothly crafted, heavy yet melodic and full to the brim of bangers whilst somehow including some serious elements of technicality. This is a world class album from a world class band. Incredible, nothing else to say.