Dave’s Top 10 Albums of 2018
#10. HARDCORE SUPERSTAR – You Can’t Kill My Rock n Roll
Best track: “Hit Me Where It Hurts”
First up is a veteran band that mixes many styles – funk, punk, Dead Daisies, Aerosmith, Anthrax, and others. With a number of #1 hits and Swedish Grammy awards, they prove they can hold their own in a tough market (it’s a known fact around Decibel Geek that Sweden has the highest percentage of hard rock bands per capita in the world!). The best is “Hit Me Where It Hurts“, but depending on the influences you like, there’s something for everyone.
#09. GRETA VAN FLEET – Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Best track: “Brave New World”
The fastest growing band rock band in the world right now. They went from playing bars last year to selling out small arenas in 2018, while wearing their Led Zep influences proudly on their sleeves. Guitarist Jake Kiszka can shred, especially live, but not everyone is ready for the high pitched singing from his brother Josh. While the first song on the album is out of place batting lead off, other tunes like “Brave New World”, “Lover Leaver” and smash hit “When the Curtain Falls” show that being compared to Zeppelin is not a bad thing – and a difficult thing to pull off.
#08. SLASH – Livin’ the Dream
Best track: “Sugar Cane”
My new favorite Slash solo album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, this one has a lot of great music on it. While it doesn’t have that one greatest track like “Anastasia” or “Starlight”, overall the songs are all high quality, with “Mind Your Manners” and “Sugar Cane” being my favorites. Slash and the band are in a zone right now – let’s hope more G’n’R doesn’t screw it all up!
#07. THE VINTAGE CARAVAN – Gateways
Best track: “Reflections”
A modern take on heavy 70s music, the best rock band out of Iceland delivers a fantastic effort. Lead singer AND lead guitarist Óskar Logi Ágústsson is a true rock star. Around since 2009 (when they were 15!), their maturity comes through in these rocking tunes. Check out “Reflections” for, quite possibly, the riff of the year.
#06. LÖVE RAZËR – Border City Rebels
Best track: “Lifeline”
The G’n’R feeling starts right from the first riff – you know, back when they were badass. This is real hard rock from Canada, and great driving music (if you like speeding tickets). Just check out the attitude dripping from lead singer Sydney Snow‘s voice. Do yourself a favor and check these guys out – you can thank me later!
#05. BURN RIVER BURN – Neustonia
Best track: “Witch Hunt”
This young band from San Francisco produced a different sophomore album, more dark and heavy. With everything from Alice in Chains and Sabbath to the The Doors mixed in, the best songs like “Witch Hunt” and “Immaculate Contraption” provide the soundtrack to a downward spiral. And yet somehow it’s hard to turn it off – like watching an accident about to happen – a must listen!
#04. DEAD DAISIES – Burn It Down
Best track: “Dead and Gone”
After a more melodic and slightly disappointing 3rd album, John Corabi and Doug Aldrich seem to have worked out the kinks. They added attitude and cranked up the power for great tracks like “Dead and Gone” and “Resurrected” (irony noted), but not really a bad track on the whole album. I just wish they’d stop playing so many covers at their live shows!
#03. WORRY BLAST – .44
Best track: “Dominate”
Great sleazy rock straight outta the 80s with some AC/DC influence, the next great band from Switzerland came “Outta Nowhere” to bowl me over (even though they’ve released 3 albums since 2013), by putting this rocking tune right at the top. It sets the stage for a high energy album where the best song might be all the way down at track 6 (“Dominate”). I can NOT wait to see this band live!
#02. JUDAS PRIEST – Firepower
Best track: “Evil Never Dies”
What else can be said about this band? You know ’em, you love ’em, and this is some great music! The sorrow of knowing Glenn Tipton will not be able to participate fully any longer is bittersweet, since they put together an amazing album for his swan song. The ripping riff of “Firepower” sets off a storm of licks, driving drum beats and a resurgent Rob Halford’s gritty performance.
#01. MONSTER TRUCK – True Rockers
Best track: “Evolution”
Right from the first beat, this album lives up to the promise of Monster Truck. While my favorite song on the album is Evolution, you can pretty much start anywhere and enjoy! I was immediately in awe of this band when they opened for Slash back in 2014, and they continue to get better and better. Bringing on Dee Snider to speak to the “True Rockers” just adds to their legitimacy as the best Canadian band currently active and, in 2018, the best album of the year!
Honorable Mention: Stone Temple Pilots (really! – a kick ass album), Striker – Play to Win, and (Motorhead’s) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – The Age of Absurdity