And so we move into my Top 10 Albums of 2018, and what a Top 10 they are.
You can click here to find the first half of my 2018 list, along with Chris Nee’s Top 20, and listen to our AOTY podcast special to hear us talking about our album choices and interviewing the artist at the top of our lists.
We’ve also put our favourite songs of the year on our 2018 Spotify playlist.
Right then. Down to business.
10. Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It (Holy Roar Records)
I almost made a grave error with this album. I almost left it out of my Top 20. Then, I gave it a final listen – just to be sure – and it crept in at number 19. Then I gave it a final final listen and realised how much I love it. A few more listens later and here it is at number ten on my list. This album is ambitious, graceful, beautiful, soaring and brilliantly brutal. A total masterpiece. [Spotify]
9. Pijn – Loss (Holy Roar Records)
I often wonder how much higher up my list this gem would be had it been released earlier in the year. In terms of records that have made an impact in a short space of time, this is right up there – no mean feat when that record is a brooding, mostly instrumental hulk of a thing that sinks its teeth into your skull slowly and hypnotically for more than an hour. It gets better every time I listen to it. [Spotify]
8. Vein – Errorzone (Closed Casket Activities)
Vein’s transformation from a gnarly, aggro-hardcore band specialising in blasts of aggression a few seconds long into a nu-metal band living in a post-Code Orange world is quite something. I loved their early stuff and I love this stuff too. The album’s standout moment is comfortably its opener, but there’s plenty else here to feat upon. This band… they might well get big, you know. [Spotify]
7. Turnstile – Time & Space (Roadrunner Records)
It’s often a slippery slope indulging in a ‘buzz’ band, but Turnstile deserve every single ounce of the hype they’ve been given this year. Time & Space is the natural step on from their debut and captures all of the excitement and energy that this band has become known for. More than anything, this album stinks of youthful exuberance. And, well, it’s just cool, isn’t it? [Spotify]
6. Architects – Holy Hell (Epitaph)
What this band, faced with the situation they’ve been living with since August 2016, have been able to achieve on this album is nothing short of sensational. They are clearly grieving for Tom Searle, and his presence is all over this album, but they’ve also been able to continue their forward momentum. This is a record full of songs that suit the size of venue they can now headline. This album is painful and life-affirming at the same time. Quite amazing. [Spotify]
5. Marmozets – Knowing What You Know Now (Roadrunner Records)
Proof that it’s worth getting a record out early in the year, this album has been in regular rotation since January and, with the calibre of songs found here, was never likely to slip out of my Top 20. It does make me a little sad that Marmozets are clearly set to head off into the mainstream sunset, but if mainstream music starts sounding like this I won’t complain too much. This is it. They’re going over the top. [Spotify]
4. Sectioned – Annihilated (Independent)
Sometimes, you want a huge, polished, lush record. And sometimes you just want a wall of noise packed full of chaos, blast beats and defeating feedback. This album is the latter and it’s glorious. It sounds like what I imagine most work colleagues I’ve ever had think all of my albums sound like. It’s essentially noise, sure, but what a noise! [Spotify]
3. Conjurer – Mire (Holy Roar Records)
What a band Conjurer are! If you thought their scintillating EP was good in 2016, this is a whole other level. The song craft, the storytelling, the aggression and sheer heaviness, it just floors you. Having had the pleasure of seeing this lot play live a few times this year, these songs take on yet another layer when I listen back now. In terms of pure metal, capital-H heavy stuff, this is 2018’s standout release. [Spotify]
2. Black Peaks – All That Divides (Rise Records)
My second most anticipated album of the year and my second favourite too. Black Peaks have moved seamlessly on from the chaotic brilliance of Statues and returned with something that does even more than that last album, and yet sounds more refined, more thought-out and more structured. This album is packed with incredible songs that existing fans will adore, but which will bring in hordes of new ones too.
Everything has levelled up. The drums drive it, the bass has serious weight, the guitars shine through and the vocals have, quite literally, a bit of everything. It’s bigger, bolder and better than the last album, and that was my Album of the Year in 2016. Get this band in arenas right now! [Spotify]
And my Album of the Year for 2018 is…
1. Palm Reader – Braille (Silent Cult)
This isn’t the best thing to admit in a written review of my favourite albums of the year, but I struggle to fully articulate how much I love Palm Reader’s third album. From the first time I heard it – and every time since – I’ve been left stunned by its brilliance.
For a band that had already set the bar stupidly high on their previous two records, they’ve gone above and way, way beyond this time around. Musically, Palm Reader are better than any band you’d car to name as a challenger, while this collection of songs – and how they’ve been structured and ordered – is the best thing they’ve done.
‘The Turn’ floors me every time, while closing song ‘A Lover, A Shadow’ is a genuine masterpiece. Add into that the extra dimension they now have with the inclusion of more clean vocals, and you’ll start to understand why I’m so excited.
This isn’t just the best album of the year. I’d wager it’s the best album of the decade. Shit, let’s talk about the best albums since 2000 – Braille definitely makes the top ten. I’d even feel confident including it as one of the best albums of my entire lifetime. Yes, it’s that good. [Spotify]