As we have just hit the half-way mark of 2019, we thought that it would be the perfect time to toss up a #THROWBACKTHURSDAY ant reflect upon some of the incredible music which captivated our team over the twelve months 2018 offered. The PureGrainAudio team recently came together and, after much thought and debate, settled on this list of our top albums of 2018. Detailed below in no particular order, these are records we believe everyone should hear at least once; if not a hundred times. Feel free to disagree and think our selections are absolutely off-base or absurd, either way, read them over.
01.Fever 333 - Made An America Release Date: March 23, 2018 Record Label: Roadrunner Records Genre: Post-Hardcore, Rapcore
- While 2018 has served up many an important new artists and albums, there were also many with a political or social message attached to them. Given the world's current socio-political climate, few are more relevant (and needed) than Fever 333. While a Rage Against The Machine reunion would take the cake, the release of the Made an America EP is a close second. Crank it up, get woke, and relive the revolt.
02.Muse - Simulation Theory Release Date: November 9, 2018 Record Label: Warner Bros, Helium-3 Genre: Electronic Rock, Synth-Rock
- Ok, so I realize this may be a controversial choice, even among hardcore Muse fans. But the band’s latest album Simulation Theory, for all its poppy, overproduced moments, is one hell of a fun listen. Sure it’s all a bit of a pretentious affair, filled with excess at times. But in the two months since its release, this album has been at the top of my list. I’ve tried, but I can’t even pick out one “bad” song. About a minute and a half into album opener “Algorithm,” you know you’re in for an over-the-top experience, but rather than snicker, I chose to embrace it. Particular highlights include “The Dark Side,” “Propaganda,” the infectious riff on “Break It To Me,” and “Thought Contagion.” If you throw your inhibitions out the window, you can’t help but love Simulation Theory.
03.Vein - Errorzone Release Date: June 22, 2018 Record Label: Closed Casket Activites Genre: Metalcore, Hardcore Punk
- Now that Code Orange have predictably moved on to bigger things, the underground hardcore scene has a massive hole to fill. Step forward, Vein with this crushing new album. Mixing elements of the first Slipknot album with the unbridled carnage of Converge, these Boston boys are going to make a serious mark on heavy music in 2019.
04.Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want Release Date: October 26, 2018 Record Label: Ipecac Genre: Noise Rock, Industrial Rock
- When I look back on my albums of the year over the past few years my choices tend to veer towards the experimental, yet with enough hooks and atmosphere to draw me back in again and again. With the totally unexpected appearance this year both in terms of the return of the band and the stylistic shift of their music, there can only be one Daughters. It's a difficult listen at times, but losing myself in noir-soaked pulses of abstract, hypnotic menace has rarely felt so gratifying.
05.Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love Release Date: July 13, 2018 Record Label: Anti- Genre: Blackgaze, Post-Metal
- Deafheaven has been creating original music for almost a decade that blends the elements of extreme metal, shoegaze, and post-rock, bringing in their wake a litany of love-them-or-hate-them reviews. The band has endured several personal lows since the release of 2015’s New Bermuda (burn-out, depression, creative blocks, and substance abuse) culminating in the departure of bassist Stephen Clark once the touring for New Bermuda ended.
The seven new songs that comprise Ordinary Corrupt Human Love feel more unified than previous releases, like the band went into these tracks looking to release a stream of consciousness and not so much an assembly of songs. Vocalist George Clarke’s characteristic shrieking remains omnipresent, but there are songs on Ordinary Corrupt Human Love with melodic singing that showcase the band in a new and different light. Chelsea Wolfe and multi-instrumentalist Ben Chisholm's contributions on the beautiful track “Night People,” for instance, one of the more unique tracks Deafheaven have attempted to date, and one of the band's best new tracks. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is kaleidoscopic, tortured devastation - in the very best way possible.
06.Now, Now - Saved Release Date: May 5, 2018 Record Label: Trans Records, LAB Records Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop
- Shedding their former moniker, "Now, Now Every Children" for a shortened, Now, Now, the Minneapolis indie rock/pop duo, reinvent themselves on the more synthpop-inspired record Saved. Atmospheric synths and guitar combine with the soulful, dark, and moody melodies of vocalist KC Dalager to create infectiously catchy tracks that stick with the listener. Songs, "MJ," "Can't Help Myself," and "Yours" showcase the synth-driven magic of Now, Now, while tracks "SGL," and "Set It Free" harken back to the guitar-driven indie rock stylings of the band's previous record. There is not a single bad track on this album, and though the record meanders between electronic and rock elements, it all comes together in a way that just works.
07.Nothing, Nowhere. - Ruiner Release Date: April 13, 2018 Record Label: Fueled by Ramen Genre: Emo Rap
- Having previously been viewed as an underground subgenre, emo-rap saw a shift to the mainstream in 2018 through notable news stories surrounding artists such as Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. Massachusetts-based songwriter Joe Mulherin (aka Nothing, Nowhere) has managed to capitalize on this emo-rap revival with the brilliant Ruiner. Following on from the success of 2017's full length album Reaper, which gained renowned music critic Jon Caramanica's #1 album accolade in the New York Times twelve months prior, this album displays eleven tracks of well-crafted beats, melodic guitar lines, and beautifully honest vocals which propel Nothing, Nowhere into 2019 on a high.
08.Johnny Cash (Various Artists) - Forever Words Release Date: April 6, 2018 Record Label: Legacy Genre: Country, Rock, Acoustic
- Fifteen years after losing one of the world’s greatest songwriters, John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny Cash brought together some of the music industry’s biggest talents to deliver to fans a collection of Cash’s letters, poems, and songs that had not seen the light of day. With the assistance of Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, Rosanne Cash and the late Chris Cornell, John Carter Cash has produced a touching tribute to his father with Johnny Cash: Forever Words.
09.Selvans - Faunalia Release Date: October 29, 2018 Record Label: Avantgarde Music Genre: Dark Italian Art
- Faunalia lives up to its description of a dark Italian opus, building on the evocative sylvan ambiance of 2015's Lupercalia, but taking it a few steps further. Psychedelic Hammond organs provide a transcendent counterpoint to what has become their trademarked flute-led melodies and, coupled with a rawer vocal performance, the result is simply some of the finest atmospheric black metal available today.
10Tomb Mold - Manor Of Infinite Forms Release Date: June 8, 2018 Record Label: 20 Buck Spin Genre: Heavy Metal
- In such a strong year for metal, it is very hard to choose one standout album. I’m going with Tomb Mold’s Manor Of Infinite Forms, for its superb instrumentation and innovative songwriting. With this hugely enjoyable album, Tomb Mold pushes the boundaries of classic death metal and take the subgenre towards a very healthy future.
11Parkway Drive - Reverence Release Date: May 4, 2018 Record Label: Epitaph Genre: Heavy Metal, Metalcore
- With their sixth full-length, Parkway Drive have evolved their exciting metalcore sound to produce modern heavy metal anthems. Full of hard-hitting, catchy tunes, Reverence solidifies the band as one of the biggest in the genre.
12.Alexandra Stréliski - Inscape Release Date: October 5, 2018 Record Label: Secret City Records Genre: Instrumental
- This is an album all about the inner "landscape," hence the title, and I love the way all the turmoil and joy and chaos and peace of one's inner self are conveyed through the music. The piano is a multi-faceted instrument, and Alexandra Stréliski's compositions show off its full range of capabilities without ever sacrificing the emotional fragility she intends to convey.
13.Boss Keloid - Melted On The Inch Release Date: April 27, 2018 Record Label: Holy Roar Records Genre: Heavy Metal
- Most bands go through a period of experimentation in their careers. With stoner metal bands, this usually just involves adding an organ to some songs or maybe trying to play slightly faster, or slower, than usual. Boss Keloid went full Dr. Frankenstein with Melted On The Inch and experimented so much that they have created an entirely new entity, one that oozes cross-genre appeal and next-level songcraft. Melted On The Inch will either be regarded as their magnum opus or the first signpost on this band's route to super-stardom.
14.TWRP - Together Through Time Release Date: May 18, 2018 Record Label: Independent Genre: Rock
- A bit of bias as I've followed this band since their inception ten years ago. Yet, 2018 was the year of TWRP. Together Through Time is easily their best work yet, collaborating with The Protomen, Ninja Sex Party, andPlanet Booty.
15.Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want Release Date: October 26, 2018 Record Label: Ipecac Genre: Noise Rock, Industrial Rock
- Ever since their self-titled LP back in 2010, the underground world of heavy music has held its breath in the hopes that the infamous Rhode Island outfit would reunite to put out another release. Most of these types of much-anticipated albums are good from afar but far from good, usually spelling disappointment. But every now and then, fans are delighted by a triumphant release at the forefront of a powerful return to form, and this is absolutely the case for this monumental release, blowing everyone's hair back when it arrived back in October. After years of waiting and bated breath, the quartet of corruption has arrived to spell doom for audiences the world over.