Thursday 20 December 2018

Top 10 Albums of 2018

Top 10 end of year lists are pretty subjective. After all, in this case its only one persons opinion. Lets face it, the famous saying is, 'opinions are like arseholes....everybody has got one!' Whilst I haven't got the widest listening range of much bigger sites, anything that appears on my list has been up for review, or has been a personal purchase.

Here we go....

     10. Perfect Plan -  All Rise
      Hailing from a place in Sweden so metal it has two umlauts in its name, the guys from PP are no spring chickens, but proved that with age comes class. And class is permanent. 'In And Out Of Love' is one of the melodic rock songs of the year, and had it been 1985, PP would now be household names. 

      9.    Kissing Dynamite - Ecstasy
     This album was an 'out of the blue' purchase from my local independent record store. Purchased on a whim, like the good 'ol days when album covers mattered, 'Ecstasy' just blew me away. All the songs are instantly hummable and go for the jugular. There are times when I had to check if KD had brought in Myles Kennedy (Somebody's Gotta Do It). Where have they been all my life? Germany, thats where!

      8.    Myles Kennedy – The Year Of The Tiger
      This solo album was a long time coming. In fact an album of sorts was in the pipeline 8 years ago. What came was an album chock full of emotion as it was a collective of songs inspired by the death of his father. Despite the nature of the songs, there a lot of positivety also. 'Year Of The Tiger' and 'Haunted By Design'  are worth the price alone.

      7.    The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut
      Third time is the charm as ‘they’ say, whoever ‘they’ are. I was floored by the debut, and have seen them on every tour since and they just get better and better. Vocalist Phil Campbell sings with raw emotion and their performance was deserving of a Top 10 finish in the UK Album Charts.

      6.    Greta Van Fleet – Anthem Of The Peaceful Army                  
      I had wrongly dismissed them as Led Zep clones. Lets just settle it by saying it was partly their fault. The unbelievable thing is that they are so damn young. God only knows what they will be like in the many years to come. Check out 'Age Of Man' and 'When The Curtain Falls'

     5.    Judas Priest – Firepower   
      Despite the difficulties surrounding the release of this album, with Tipton being diagnosed with Parkinsons, 'Firepower' had both the Fire and Power in its belly and is up there as one of their best releases. They piled into the DeLorean and produced an 80s sounding classic. Who says old geezers cant make defining career albums. The title track sits proudly alongside any of their classic songs. Long may they continue.

     4.    Halestorm – Vicious
     Lzzy Hale and the boys have been getting better with each and every album, and ‘Vicious’ is just chock full of monsters. Who’d have thought it would have taken them 20 years to get this far. Its well and truly deserved. Hale doesn’t scream as much as she has in the past and it shows what a great voice she has without the need to melt your eardrums. Check out the gorgeous ‘Nobody’ for proof. It could have come from Kelly Clarkson.

     3.    Airrace – Untold Stories
     I waited 30-odd years to see Airrace this year, and even though it was as support to The Treatment, it was worth it, and so was 'Untold Stories' – A vehicle in which Laurie Mansworth gives Adam Payne the room to sing his backside off for the performance of his life (so far).  You’d think that Mr Mercury had written ‘Running Out Of Time’, ‘Summer Sun’ is as close to anything that should have been a hit on Radio 2, and ‘Eyes Like Ice’ should be on the next Spiderman soundtrack! All credit to Laurie Mansworth for keeping this band alive, its his playing, songs and production that put this firmly at the sharp end for me.Without doubt the best melodic rock album of 2018 by far.

     2.    Ghost – Prequelle
     This was the album that could make Ghost a household name. Onto vocalist NO 27, Tobias Forge nailed it with 'Prequelle'. Hell, even having 2 instrumentals didn’t weaken the album. From the infectious ‘Rats’, the pop-tastic ‘Danse Macabre’, and the instrumental brilliance of ‘Helvetesfonster’, Ghost powered through at least 7 different genres-  pop, rock, disco, prog, metal, classical,  and space rock. An absolute blast from start to finish. The next generation of Festival headliners is here.

     1.    Ostura – The Room
     Apart from me and my good friend Terry (Pictures, Noise and Words) I doubt this will appear on many a hit list come the end of 2018. The sad thing is, I doubt many people got to hear this stunning piece of work. It rightly deserves a place on anyone’s CD shelf or hard drive. Why? It’s got everything – cinematic sound, orchestral awesomeness, melodic rock, prog, metal and everything in-between. Its three singers combine for the performance of the year in - ‘the girl’ Youmna Jreissati who out-Nightwishes Nightwish; Erosion (Elia Monsef) who provides the guttural, industrial and roughness  and some of the shade to Youmna’s light; and the out and out metal of Utopia (Michael Mills) who just sings his arse off. If you want three singers, then look no further than this, as it pisses over The Three Tremors. Its not about the vocals, its musical Nirvana, and full credit goes to its master Danny Bou-Maroun. I rarely give top marks, but this one is a current and future classic. I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS ALBUM ENOUGH. Once I heard it in February, I knew they nothing would beat this, and only no 2 came anywhere near close…

Worth a listen and just missing the cut – Palace Of The King,  Blackberry Smoke, W.E.T., Orange Goblin, Massive Wagons, Steve Perry, Saxon.

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