Monday, December 17, 2018

Favorite Albums of 2018

Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t watch as many movies since I put the Cleveland Movie Blog to bed at the end of 2017, and therefore had more time to listen to tunes. Or maybe this was just a really good year for music. Either way, I found a lot of music to like in 2018, and picking my top 10 wasn't easy. Many of my honorable mentions could just as easily rank in the number 9 or 10 spot depending on my mood.


10. The Breeders – ‘All Nerve’
Nineties alt rock seems to be having a resurgence of late, but this excellent album is too good to write off as a mere nostalgia trip.  Bonus points for covering Amon Duul II’s “Archangel’s Thunderbird”. 

9. Ihsahn – ‘Amr’,
Emperor’s frontman delivers an ambitious and adventurous album’s worth of prog metal. It’s rich and complex, but also catchy, at times reminding me of Stephen Wilson at his best. 

8. Amorphis – ‘Queen of Time’
This Finnish folk/progressive metal band is so consistently good it’s easy to take them for granted. This release is one of their best.

7. A Place to Bury Strangers – ‘Pinned’
Although I’ve liked APTBS in the past, it always felt like something was missing. Turns out that “something” was drummer Lia Simon Braswell, whose backing vocals add a welcome new dimension to the band’s psychedelic sound.

6. The Night Flight Orchestra – ‘Sometimes the World Ain’t Enough’
Eighties AOR as reimagined by a bunch of Swedish metal guys. It’s got all the cheesiness you’d expect from the genre, but the quality of the musicianship and songcraft are undeniable. 

5. Lucifer – ‘II’
Vocalist Johanna Sadonis left behind the straight forward doom sound of Lucifer’s debut album, and ditched her entire band, to boot. For her second album she collaborated with ex- Hellacopters main man Nicke Andersson and wound up with a broader sound with bigger and better hooks.


4. Carpenter Brut – ‘Leather Teeth’
After 3 eps, Carpenter Brut delivers a full album’s worth of pounding synthwave with this soundtrack to an imaginary eighties horror film. 

3. Ghost – ‘Prequelle’
Both the band’s most ambitious and accessible work to date, ‘Prequelle’ is a concept album about living life to the fullest in the face of death. A few filler tracks keep it from ranking higher, but it’s still an excellent album. 

2. Screaming Females – ‘All At Once’
Heartfelt vocals, stellar guitar work, and great songs prove there’s still life in straight ahead guitar rock.


1.      Janelle Monae – ‘Dirty Computer’
This album leaves behind the sci-fi concept of Monae’s previous work. It also tones down Monae’s rock influences while playing up her poppier side. But as this album proves, pop doesn’t have to be a dirty word.


A Perfect Circle – ‘Eat The Elephant’,
Alice In Chains – ‘Rainier Fog’,
Behemoth – ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’,
Black Salvation – ‘Uncertainty Is Bliss’,
Church of the Cosmic Skull – ‘Science Fiction’,
Civic – ‘New Vietnam’,
Clutch – ‘Book of Bad Decisions’,
Czarface & MF Doom – ‘Czarface Meets Metal Face’,
Dimmu Borgir – ‘Eonian’
Father John Misty – ‘God’s Favorite Customer’,
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Always Ascending’,
Fucked Up – ‘Dose Your Dreams’,
Gruesome – ‘Twisted Prayers’,
Gunship – ‘Dark All Day’,
Hank Wood and the Hammerheads – S/T
Harlan T. Bobo – ‘A History Of Violence’,
Harlot’s Grip – ‘Harlot’s Grip’
King Tuff – ‘Psycho Star’
La Luz – ‘Floating Features’,
Loma – ‘Loma’,
MGMT – ‘Little Dark Age’,
Monster Magnet – ‘Mindfucker’,
Mudhoney – ‘Digital Garbage’,
Neko Case – ‘Hell-On’
Octopus – ‘Supernatural Alliance’
Oh Sees – ‘Smote Reverser’
Persistent Aggressor – ‘Persistent Aggressor’
Powerwolf – ‘The Sacrament of Sin’,
Preoccupations – ‘New Material’,
Rik & The Pigs – ‘A Child’s Gator’
Shannon and the Clams – ‘Onion’
Starcrawler – ‘Starcrawler’,
The Sword – ‘Used Future’,
Voivod – ‘The Wake’
Zeal And Ardor – ‘Stranger Fruit’,

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