Best Rock Albums Of 2018 (So Far)
Halfway through the year, it's time to look back at some of the best rock we've heard so far. And by rock we mean with actual guitars. Distorted ones preferably. Any who, we've squeezed this list down to our ten favorites in no particular order. What did we miss? What shouldn't be here? We know you got opinions so drop a comment and let your voice be heard.
Korn's Jonathan Davis definitely showed a different side to his musicality with Black Labyrinth. Drawing from his gothic and new wave influences coupled with some world music experimentation, the singer's debut solo effort ventures into some enjoyably unique sounding territory while still having the familiar elements of Davis' distinct voice and quality hooks. Having Korn drummer Ray Luzier help out definitely didnt hurt either.
Knowing What You Know Now
Marmozets showed no sign of a sophomore slump with Knowing What You Know Now. While they dropped a lot of the more aggressive elements from their debut album, they tightened their songwriting with more complex choruses and kept their punk energy and buzzy guitar fuzz. Tracks like "Play", "Habits", and "Major System Error" are instantly infectious cuts that you can sing along to as well as bang your head.
Year Of The Tiger
Myles Kennedy knocked it out of the park for his solo debut. While the album cover gives off the vibe of a simple singer/songwriter acoustic record, the production behind Kennedy's compositions give each track a lot of drama and power with its string sections and booming percussion. Venturing into the worlds of folk and country as well as acoustic rock, each song is buoyed by Kennedy's well known vocal talents and songwriting strength. And with the inspiration for the record coming from the passing of his father, there's plenty of emotion behind this album as well.
Over The Rainbow
Aussie upstarts Captives are a hidden gem from the land down under who take the high energy pub rock the country is known for (AC/DC, Airbourne, Jet) and put their own swagger filled stamp on it; avoiding sounding like an AC/DC clone best of all. Any track off this record could start a party but some favorites lie in "Paint It In Blue", "House Parties And Black Balloons", and "OK And Automated".
With the band's instrumentalists having a bigger role on this album, Big Tings is a resurgence in quality for Welsh ragga-rockers Skindred. It keeps the high energy, party vibe the band is known for and drives that energy into some unique musical directions beyond reggae rock such as the hard rock of "Machine", the electronic rock of "Alive", and the dance ready "That's My Jam".
Long Distance Calling
Being an instrumental band, Long Distance Calling use their music to convey imagery as well as emotion. Rather than go the virtuoso route of many popular instrumental acts, their work is more akin to soundtrack music. Every track could work as a backdrop to a movie scene as the songs have movement to them with unique sections giving off different moods. And are engrossing enough to let your mind wander and build your own scene out of the compositions. A difficult thing to pull off without uttering a word.
Too Far Gone
Nu-Metal has been finding its way back to popularity with it being an influence on the sound of many modern bands. But Cane Hill is one of the first bands to make a pure record in that vein that can hold a candle to the first wave heyday of the genre. The album holds the funk-inspired heavy grooves that made nu metal popular with catchy hooks driven by the distinct vocals of Elijah Witt. Even the strongest nu metal haters could find something to like on Too Far Gone.
We Will All Be Gone
Similar to the aforementioned Marmozets, Good Tiger dropped the heavier aspects found on their debut to double down on quality song craft for their second LP. There's still some technical instrumentation here and there on We Will All Be Gone but it definitely has taken a back seat to the powerful voice and melodies of frontman Elliot Coleman. The band's sound may be in a similar proggy post hardcore vein like Circa Survive and Dance Gavin Dance but Good Tiger have their own style that stands apart.
All At Once
The bluesy garage rock of Screaming Females is in high form on All At Once. "Glass House" is a hell of an opener with its slow build of tension into a wall of sound at the song's end. "Agnes Martin" brings some slick funk riffs into the mix. And closer "Step Outside" has some echoes of Jimi Hendrix in Marissa Paternoster's guitar work. The album is a strong example of raw musicality without most of the production bells and whistles in most modern music. Especially coming out of the alternative rock scene.
With an eight year gap since their previous album it's no surprise Underoath's latest record Erase Me would sound a little different from their earlier material. Moving away from their established metalcore leanings in favor of a rock centered sound, the band also instills industrial elements making the album sound almost like a different band. There's flashes of their old heavier sound in tracks like "On My Teeth" and "Hold Your Breath" but more prominently there's melody that's best displayed on songs like "Rapture", "ihateit" and "Wake Me".