2018 was another year with some great releases and way too many to get through them all so I am sure I missed a number of great albums and if you look around the web, there will be tons of Top Album lists you can get a pretty good idea of what you should check out in case you missed any of these.
This list will be my favorite “Rock” albums of the year. All other types of music will be for a later post. I am going to leave this one to my favorite genre. It is a broad genre, but these are the albums that I consider to be ROCK!!
Also note, these are MY FAVORITES!! These are not the most popular or trendy albums. These are the albums that I connected with during the year and I kept coming back to again and again. And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2018:
My #1 Album of the Year:
Reach – The Great Divine: A modern, yet melodic rock album that just grabs hold and won’t let go from beginning to end. A band I had never heard of prior to this album and I am now wondering where they have been my whole life. Just a fantastic album with no songs to skip or delete. Almost pure perfection. The first album I bought that was new in 2018 and still listen to it today. With songs like “The Great Divine”, “Nightmare” and “Into Tomorrow” you can see they have the goods. The production value was great, the music, the vocals, it was all solid and my favorite album of the year!! Give it a try (and check out my original review by clicking the album title).
My #2 Album of the Year:
Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger: The album is a very personal album for Myles. It is about a very tragic time in his life when his father passed away and his family had to start all over without him. It was a such a hard time that no young boy should have to go through and obviously was impactful on him as he had a lot to say. He had so much to say that the album is more of a concept album than not…or at least there is a common theme throughout. It hits on all points as it immerses the listener into a journey that touches all emotions. I think it shows what a true talent Myles is both vocally and musically. He is an artist and the world should take notice.
The Remaining Favorites in No Particular Order:
Earthless – Black Heaven: I have to thank this wonderful blogging community for this one. I don’t think I would have found this album on my own. Earthless is a band that does mostly instrumentals (although this album has a couple vocal performances) and their sound is psychedelic, blues, hard rock and experimental and it is pure awesomeness. It has that classic 70’s rock sound as well which is something I love to hear. You can’t go wrong with this. Check out “Gifted by the Wind” from the album.
Stryper – God Damn Evil: Styrper keeps on trucking and I think they are getting better with age. This album saw them turn it up even louder and way heavier with songs like “Take it to the Cross”, Stryper showed they can thrash it out with the best of them. They still like the controversy with the title track “God Damn Evil” which is killer as well as “The Valley” and “You Don’t Even Know Me”. A surprise album that reminds you how good these guys really are.
The Wild Feathers – Greetings from the New Frontier: The album might have all the trappings of a country album, but the songs have the sounds of bands we all love including The Eagles, The Allman Brothers and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. I never thought of them as country. To me they are as country as the Eagles were country. There are flavors and sounds, but ultimately they are still rock at the heart, at least in my book. This album should be played in your car with the top down (or your windows) and just go for a nice long drive. It will be the best drive you experience.
Dee Snider – For the Love of Metal: A collaboration between Dee Snide and Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta brings you Dee’s heaviest metal album he has ever done. And it is fantastic. At 63, Dee hasn’t sounded better and the songs deliver a force and power that is unmatched by anyone his age or even younger. It delivers on a Modern Metal sound as you hear all the metal bands that contributed to the album and then some (such as Killswitch Engaged, Lamb of God, Arch Enemy to name a few. Check out “Tomorrow’s No Concern”, “American Made” and “Running Mazes” as they are three of the best of the year.
Shinedown – Attention Attention: The concept album tells the story of a man overcoming his demons and the struggle he faces to break through and come out the other side a better person. It has that great Shinedown sound that is heavy and melodic and they deliver an album that pushes the band to try something new things musically and succeed. With songs like “Devil”, “Kill Your Conscience”, “Attention Attention” and “Evolve” you find a band that is more confident than ever. And with “Get Up” they still throw in another spectacular ballad. Such a great story and in turn makes for a great album.
Halestorm – Vicious: ‘Vicious’ really sums up this album. Halestorm come at you with full force and don’t let up the entire album. The band’s songs are loud, heavy, rowdy, dark and very sexual (“Do Not Disturb” and “Conflicted”). It takes the line of Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll and takes it up a notch. Musically, the band hits it on all cylinders with great guitar solos, nasty bass lines and explosive drumming plus Lzzy’s stunning vocals puts the band head & shoulders above the rest. Check out “Uncomfortable”, “Black Vultures” and the explosive “Painkiller”.
Ace Frehley – Spaceman: The former lead guitarist of Kiss is back and better than ever. In fact, he is putting out better and more music than his former band. This album has Ace reflecting back on his life and as a result he has compiled a collection of songs that takes you back. Ace’s guitar work is awesome, the vocals are pretty good for Ace and the songs just kick ass. I liked the track order and the flow and it is one of the better albums he has put out recently. Damn fine work sir!! I liked “Rockin’ With the Boys” , “Bronx Boys”, “Pursuit of Rock & Roll” and “Mission to Mars”. Check him out.
The Struts – Young & Dangerous: A very late entry into the mix this year for me. I didn’t get to right away upon it’s release, but when I did I was glad I did. The overall album is bombastic, fun, eclectic and shows that rock is alive and well and it is a fucking blast. The band channels Queen and so much of the Glam Rock and 80’s rock scene. With songs like “Body Talk”, “Primadonna Like Me” and “Tattle Magazine”, they make sure you are having a good time. Worth a listen.
These honorable mentions could have easily been in my Top 10 depending on the day and my mood. That is why I generally don’t rank my top list because it is so subjective to my mood on when I write it. What am I digging at that time or who knows what. So being honorable mention doesn’t take anything away from these albums. They are all worthy. So here we go…
W.E.T. – Earthage: The third Studio album from Robert Sall of Work of Art (W), Erik Martensson of Eclipse (E) and Jeff Scott Soto of Talisman (T). This solid melodic rock music and with Jeff on lead vocals you can’t go wrong. Love the songs “Watch the Fire” and “Kings of Thunder Road” just to name a couple.
Tremonti – Dying Machine: Mark Tremonti of Creed and Alter Bride has another side project that is heavier than either of his other bands and it is awesome. Mark also takes over lead vocals and delivers just as good a Scott Stapp and Myles Kennedy. These have been great releases and I am digging the songs “Bringer of War”, “A Dying Machine” and Trust”.
Monster Truck – True Rockers: Back with their third studio album, these Canadian rockers deliver the rock old school style, but this time they tried a few things differently with a more modern sound on “Evolution” which was great, but the old school 70’s rocker sound works on “True Rocker” and Thundertruck” as well and the whole package was fantastic.
The Poodles – Prisma: Yes, a covers album made the list. The Poodles are 80’s Hair band rockers that covered some non-rock tracks and turned them into some great shit. The cover of The Osmond’s song “Crazy Horse” was a highlight as well as “Don’t You Worry Child” and the Flash Dance song “Maniac”. The key to the success was the made the songs mostly sound like they were originally done by the band and would fit on any of their albums. That can be hard to pull off, but they did it.
Judas Priest – Firepower: I will admit I wasn’t a big fan of the last few albums, but something exciting happened with this record. They captured some of the spirit of the older albums and had a fresh feel to it all. With songs like “Firepower” and “Lightning Strike” the band found new life and are still kicking it.
Ghost – Prequelle: Another group I only discovered because the blogging community. Everyone was raving about this thing and so I had to hear it. It was so worth it. This metal album had some great songs such as “Rats” “Faith” and “Dance Macabre” plus a cool cover made this for a new band for me to enjoy.
Pop Evil – Nothing But Thieves: Now on their fifth album, Pop Evil is contemporary rock at its best. They have their radio hits and big choruses with “Waking Lions” and still rock it out with “Ex Machina” and can slow it down a little with “A Crime to Remember. Some great stuff.
The Alarm – Equals: Mike Peters has found a new joy and passion for music and it is obvious in the collection of songs he has released. The album reminds me so much of the 80’s Alarm and yet it sounds new and fresh. I loved “Two Rivers”, “Beautiful” and “Thirteen Dead Reindeer”. “Crowd Trouble was great also and “Hell Fire”…I could go on and on.
Greta Van Fleet – Anthem: The official debut album finally came out and Greta Van Fleet showed they are for real. Yes, they sound like Led Zeppelin…so what and who cares. They are keeping the rock torch lit and that is all I need to know. “When the Curtain Falls”, “Age of Man” and “Lover, Leaver” all show they can rock out with great riffs and vocals only like Zep can do, well used to could do.
Nita Strauss – Controlled Chaos: I saw Nina playing with Alice Cooper earlier in the year and when I heard she had an album coming out, I was excited. She put out a great metal instrumental album that is better than most I have heard. She composed great songs and some amazing riffs and solos plus a great cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”. This was sensational and a must own.
Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots: The band brought in a new lead singer by the name of Jeff Gutt. I really wanted to like this album. I had some high hopes after hearing the first two songs. The band sounded great and Jeff’s vocals on those two songs were spot on. Sadly, the remaining songs weren’t there and the vocals weren’t memorable enough to make the album standout. I feel there is potential, but this one was lacking for me.
WORST ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Stephen Pearcy – View to a Thrill: The Ratt frontman delivered in what I thought was a pretty stale solo album. I didn’t think his vocals were as good as they were on his last effort and the songs were so cheesy since they seemed to have a James Bond them to them and it was bad…real bad.
There you have it. My rock & roll adventure for the year. Amazingly, this is only a smidge of what I listened to during the year. These were just the ones that I enjoyed the most. I hope you enjoyed the list and maybe found something new to give a listen. Let me know what your favorites were this year or let me know how wrong or correct I was, either way, glad you stopped by. Can’t wait until next year.