In hindsight, 2018 hasn’t been a particularly positive year. Leading on from the events of previous years, it’s been yet another twelve months of equal socioeconomic downfall and upheaval, with the times yet to come only continuing on this global downward spiral. Yet, with this in mind, this has proven to be the catalyst for an incredible year of music; potentially the best year for the music scene as a whole for some time. In turn, this only makes the near impossible task of compiling my top ten releases of the year even more troublesome. To kick off the list, here’s some honourable mentions.
Spanish Love Songs – Schmaltz
Turbowolf – The Free Life
Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit
Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams
Leeched – You Took The Sun When You Left
Orchards – Losers/Lovers
Between The Buried And Me – Automata I & II
Haggard Cat – Challenger
Kagoule – Strange Entertainment
Architects – Holy Hell
Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
The Wonder Years – Sister Cities
Palm Reader – Braille
Idles - Joy As An Act Of Resistance
Delta Sleep - Ghost City
10. Black Peaks – All That Divides
After releasing their debut Statues in 2016, many where concerned that Black Peaks wouldn’t be able to successfully top such a masterpiece. Of course, in true vein of Black Peaks, All That Divides saw the band intensify all the elements that made their debut so tantalising in the first place. Intensive and mature, All That Divides saw Black Peaks double down on their progressive sensibilities and craft a record that was technically incredible and a towering achievement.
9. Itoldyouiwouldeatyou – Oh Dearism
A wonderful excursion into left-field experimentation, Oh Dearism is a record that shimmers with ingenuity and originality. A math tinged saga of youthful dynamics, it’s a deeply beautiful release that’s unapologetically eccentric and embodies the progressive ideologies of the band. Potentially the most authentically human record released this year.
8. Svalbard – It’s Hard To Have Hope
Svalbard don’t just have their fingers on the pulse of current affairs with It’s Hard To Have Hope, they’re digging their nails in and drawing blood. The record is a scathing and relentless assault on a broad range of issues that plague our generation. However, whilst 2018 has been an incredible year for politically charged records, It’s Hard To Have Hope stands out due to it’s interpersonal fury and the masterful incorporation of ethereal post-rock structures.
7. Press To MECO - Here's To The Fatigue
When Press To MECO signed to the industry giant that is Marshall Records, many where a bit concerned that such a partnership might signify the end of their homegrown intricacies. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. Here's To The Fatigue is a collection of 11 flawless bangers that just radiate charm, skill and musical charisma. A wonderful release that only amplifies their homegrown sensibilities and their genre bending traits.
6. Tiny Moving Parts – Swell
When compared to Tiny Moving Part’s previous releases, Swell is clearly a more melancholic and wistful outing than it’s predecessors. However, it still radiates the group’s warm charm and stands as the group’s most focused and concise record to date. A wonderful example that shows the math tinged emo revival is far from slowing down.
5. MØL – Jord
Where to begin with this record. Upon it’s release Jord revitalised the global blackgaze scene and thrust it into the spotlight. An absolutely blinding triumph that’s simultaneously apocalyptically intense and ecstatically elegant, Jord is 40 minutes of perfect glacial hellfire. Whatever heights MØL may swell to in 2019, they deserve every single achievement to come.
4. Nervus – Everything Dies
Sometimes great struggles are the incentive for incredible art. This is certainly the case with Everything Dies. Inspired by mental health problems, the persecution of the LGBT community and encountering social injustices, Everything Dies is an absolute gem of a record. With it’s intoxicating riffs, danceable melodies and it’s pure and uncensored emotion, Everything Dies is a great source of sonic comfort for anyone who requires a musical pick me up.
3. Conjurer – Mire
There’s a reason why this record is present on so many AOTY lists. Mire is easily of the year’s greatest offerings and without a doubt one of the best and most groundbreaking debuts for quite some time. Monstrously heavy but never indulging in bullshit cliches, Mire is just 45 minutes of doing that thing when you scrunch your nose up when hearing something particularly gnarly. With it’s constant riffs and adrenaline inducing bellows, this record is proof that metal is far from dead.
2. Muncie Girls – Fixed Ideals
When Muncie Girls released their debut in 2016, many where immediately anticipating a follow up. Thankfully, Fixed Ideals isn’t just a suitable successor to From Caplan To Belsize, it expands on the record masterfully. With a more tight and broader sound, Fixed Ideals see’s Muncie Girls comfortably experiment with their sound whist emphasizing the pacifying, educated and idyllic nature found originally within their output.
1. Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
Despite kicking around for the best part of a decade, Rolo Tomassi have not truly received the renegotiation they have been deserving off. All of this changed however with Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It, a near perfect record which saw them become a global sensation. Celestially magnificent yet divinely malicious, Time Will Die see’s Rolo at their best and stands as their most accomplished, atmospheric and spellbinding offering to date. Whilst hundreds of records where released this year, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It is one of the few that will be discussed in 10 years time.