Kingcrimsonprog Albums Of The Year List 2018 (AOTY)

Readers who have known me for a while will have noticed a sharp decline in my frequency of posting this year, which a bit of behind the scenes information for you, which is due to a change in jobs and both not having the time, and now working with computers I don’t want to look at screens or use my wrists to type after work.

But nothing will stop the frequency of me listening to music. Its in my ears on every walk, every road trip, every commute, while I sleep, while I get ready, basically as much as I can get away with.

This year, I haven’t been focusing as much on getting new releases as I have been filling out gaps in old collections (like finally getting into ’80s Kiss and ’90s Saxon). However, that being said, here were my 10 favourite new release studio albums from 2018…

 

10.  Machine Head – Catharsis

Probably the most controversial album on the list, a lot of people were let down by the change in musical direction which added in a bit on modern pop music flourishes, by the lyrics which hearken back to the Supercharger days and by the very out of character folk punk trump bashing anthem ‘Bastards.’

I’ll admit, it is not as good as any album since Ashes’ and it took me a lot of listens to wrap my head around it, but I really, really enjoy this record. I loved seeing tunes from it live and I’ll happily include tracks from it in any future MH compilation or playlist.

It may not be for everyone, but it is for me.

Best song – ‘Volatile’

09. Architects – Holy Hell

An album with a very tragic backstory, but it is more than just a pity vote due to bereavement, this is a dam fine album easily among the top 3 of their entire career. Great melodies, great songwriting, superb lyrics and the heavy bits kick your teeth in.

Best song – ‘Modern Misery’ and ‘Doomsday’

08. Marmozets – Knowing What You Know Now

I was a bit late getting a copy of this, but when I did I fell in love.

Its a lot more polished and toned down than their debut, which I do prefer, but what it lacks in heaviness it makes up for in catchiness. This is one hell of a fun sing along record.

Best song – ‘Major System Error’

07. Judas Priest – Firepower

2018 and the Priest is back. I liked the last Priest album, but this one is just better for some reason. It took everything that worked last time but just delivered a better set of songs, a better production, a better flow and a much better performance.

I can see why they wanted to include the word ‘fire’ in the title, given how fired up the performance is. Its the kind of shot-in-the-arm enthusiasm boost Queensryche got when Todd joined the band. Maybe we can thank Andy Sneap?

Best song – ‘Rising From Ruins’

06. Clutch – Book Of Bad Decisions

Definitely the most fun album on the list. Apart from the more ’90s throwback first three songs, this album is a rocket ride of wacky characters, strange situations and musical exploration. It has unforgettable choruses, riffs for days and variety out the ying yang.

Best song – ‘How To Shake Hands’

05. Tesseract – Sonder

Short, sweet, tasteful and understated. Tesseract’s Sonder is a quiet Masterpiece, it doesn’t need to get in your face about it, it just sits there, perfect, and if you put in the time to uncover its hidden gems, you really reap the rewards.

Best song – ‘King’

04. Ghost – Prequelle

Square Hammer was the warning shot, alerting the world that Ghost were going to make a run on the big time.

Prequelle takes that promise and delivers upon it, unquestionably. A foot stomping, toe tapping, dance along of that sounds like every band you loved from the past and yet somehow urgently and vitally ‘now.’

Best song – ‘Witch Image’

03. Saxon – Thunderbolt

Old reliable. What else can be said? Its a Saxon album. Of course it was going to be good.

That being said, I didn’t expect it to be this good. Like Accept and Priest, they’ve got a fire up their ass and they’re just flooring the competition.

Best song – ‘They Played Rock And Roll’ and ‘Roadie’s Song’

02. Corrosion Of Conformity – No Cross No Crown

My most anticipated album of any on the list. I couldn’t wait for a new album with Pepper in the band and they did not disappoint. They cover a good cross section of their previous styles from the Pepper years and follow up well. Older, wiser, but still kicking maximum ass.

Best song – ‘Wolf Named Crow’

01. Parkway Drive – Reverence

Was the best moment at Download Festival 2018 seeing Guns N’ Roses with Slash and Duff back in the band? Was it seeing Ozzy say good bye?

No. It was Parkway Drive blowing a fucking hole in the festival with material as explosive as their excessively pyro fueled stage show.

Like Ire before it, Reverence is Parkway stepping outside of the subgenre’s rules and regulations and truly blossoming into their own band.

The material is so good its difficult to describe. The band are just on absolute top form. You would never have heard a song like ‘Shadow Boxing’ on albums like Horizons and Killing With A Smile and yet it so perfectly encapsulates everything Parkway are about, and why they are so much better than so many of their peers.

This album is an absolute triumph. Its got the style and the substance. Its got the flash sure, but you can really sink your teeth in to it too, and I cannot listen to this without dancing and grooving my neck along in the heavy parts.

Best song – ‘Chronos’

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