Best Albums Of March 2018
March was a bit of a slower month for ear catching releases. While there were plenty of solid and good albums there were only a handful we ran across that were true gems that we'll still be jamming throughout the year. This list is nothing if not diverse though with bands and projects old and new having a strong chance of making the year end best of lists.
"Revival" By Light The Torch (Melodic Metalcore/Heavy Metal)
Light The Torch, formerly Devil You Know, had two solid albums under their original moniker. While Howard Jones-era Killswitch Engage fans were glad to have Jones back fronting a band, the material didn't quite stack up to the quality of Jones' KSE or Blood Has Been Shed output. However, after some drama with their original drummer resulting in the name change, the band had a longer amount of time to work on new material. And the experience also spurred a new musical direction. Revival goes in a much more melodic direction that borders on traditional heavy metal. And with the melodic focus the strength of Jones' vocals are put to the forefront. The result is the best album the band has crafted to date with catchy melodic hooks, headbanging riffs, and a new level of accessibility that doesn't sacrifice quality. This is the album fans of the band's previous projects have been waiting for.
"The Silent Vigil" By Memoriam (Death Metal)
Memoriam's The Silent Vigil finds an enjoyable balance between the styles of its members previous bands. It has all the hardcore-flavored, death metal groove of Bolt Thrower's best material but contains enough pure thrash elements to set it apart with memorable riffs that give the record a shredding quality not heard in a lot of groove focused death metal. It's brutal while keeping a certain level of fun in its riffs. And is sure to please death metal and thrash fans alike.
"Where Owls Know My Name" By Rivers Of Nihil (Progressive Death Metal)
There's a goddamn saxophone in some of these tracks yet the band makes it work. Rivers Of Nihil have a great mastery of musical atmosphere and it's more polished than ever on Where Owls Know My Name. There's brutality as well as beauty and it's all done with a surprising level of accessibility compared to the usual prog metal record. It's rare to fall in love with a progressive album on first listen but this one is an exception. The complexity is more in the musical layering and arrangements than the technique. Making peeling back the details of this album a joyful stroll more than an arduous lesson.
"Year Of The Tiger" By Myles Kennedy (Singer-Songwriter)
Often when a front man goes solo for the first time there's a dip in musical quality as they get their feet wet writing material without their long time collaborators. Not the case for Myles Kennedy as he delivers a prime and pristine twelve track effort that utilizes his soul bearing voice to the fullest. Folk, country, blues, and other styles can all be heard with top tier production that adds to the unique atmosphere and pushes the album beyond your typical acoustic record. Using the death of his father for inspiration, Kennedy has crafted an album that is all at once haunting, emotive, and beautiful.
"Used Future" By The Sword (Stoner Rock/Psychedelic Rock)
Used Future continues The Sword's journey into experimentation with their sound.further planting their feet in pure rock rather than the metal they made their name on. Compared to previous albums of theirs, Used Future is a lot more spacey and atmospheric. There's a higher number of instrumental tracks and synthesizer use and it's done with more confidence than their previous studio album High Country had. While fans of The Sword's earlier material will still clamor for the Sabbath-emulating heaviness this album stands on its own two feet as a strong new identity for the band.
"Firepower" By Judas Priest (NWOBHM)
At long last metal pioneers Judas Priest have released an album that stands up to their classic material. Firepower is an excellent record start to finish with well structured songwriting, blistering riffs, and arena hooks aplenty all buoyed by Rob Halford's trademark vocal style that has yet to lose a step. From blazers like the title track and "Flame Thrower" to the anthems of "Never The Heroes" and "No Surrender" Judas Priest hasn't sounded this powerful since the Painkiller era.
"Over The Rainbow" By Captives (Garage Punk)
Australia's Captives play a high energy brand of punk rock influenced by bands like Fear, Queens Of The Stone Age, and The Bronx.The riffs are pure, dirty, rock and roll fun and frontman Aaron Damon's charismatic swagger and howls add to the band's distinct identity. The band balances out their raucous energy with catchy hooks that give them the fire of an old school hardcore band but the accessibility of a radio act. Over The Rainbow is a rock record you'll return to time and time again and is not to be missed.