The time of year has once again rolled around and is fast closing in. I feel suffocated, drowning. Like caught in the garbage compactor with Luke, Leia, Chewie, and Han I feel the walls closing in. This is for me the most difficult time of year and hardest Decibel Geek task to perform. A top ten is simply not enough for me. I need a top 30…or even 50 would be great!
But alas, it doesn’t work as such and I have to whittle and cut the list down. It’s like giving away my own children to remove an album from the list. Indeed, I have even cut myself off from listening to any more in an attempt to make the choice easier. Those releases that “I just haven’t had time for yet” will not be heard. I compiled my list, re-listened to many and still cut myself off yet again when I realized I’d breached 30 albums.
In a frustrated panic, I made a quick “I’ve had enough of this agony” pick of ten from the crop amassed. I’m known to be a bit of an “underdog supporter” and often shy away from the “bigger bands and releases”. There is so much amazing hard rock and metal out there these days. Whatever you do, whoever you like, do yourself a favor and check out some of this new music.
Some of the amazing albums that didn’t reach inside the ten include:
ROADKILL – Ruled By Machines / HANDSOME DOGS – Unleashed / DAMN DICE – Thriller Killer / ARON SCOTT EARTHQUAKE – Rager / SATAN – Cruel Magic (this should probably have cracked the ten!) / MAYBE NEVER – Maybe Never / HITTEN – Twist of Fate / DREAM PATROL – Phantoms of the Past / TRAITORS GATE – Fallen / CRYSTAL BALL – Crystalizer / JADED HEART – Devil’s Gift / BULLET – Dust to Gold / MISSION IN BLACK – Anthems of a Dying Breed / TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK – A Voice Unheard / SPARTAN WARRIOR – Hell to Pay / LEATHER – II / SALTY DOG – Lost Treasure / STRAY BULLETS – Shut Up / TREAT – Tunguska / DEMONS SING OF THE END – Take Life by the Troat and Scream! / WHITE WIZZARD – Infernal Overdrive / MATTERHORN – Crimes of Man
THE MEISTER’S Top Ten Albums of 2018:
The melodic rockers fronted by the distinctive voice of Bernhard Weiss deliver a great release. The band has been in operation since the early ’80s and has at least 15 releases in the library. This is the finest in German melodic metal and hard rock, having seen them live twice, they hold up to the albums on stage as well. If you’re unfamiliar, do yourself a favor and look into Axxis!
#09 – NO HOT ASHES – No Hot Ashes:
This melodic rock gem was absolutely so good that two staff writers (Graham Spark and Rich Dillon) wanted to review it! I’m a bit burnt out on the melodic rock genre in general. Cuing up No Hot Ashes literally shocked and jolted me from the initial notes. This album clearly banishes those previously stated opinions from my realm of thought.
Admittedly I’ve not heard much of Pearcy‘s non-Ratt releases. But this one is fantastic. If you’re a Ratt fan this one will play right to your senses. Opening track, “You Only Live Twice” is not a cover of the title song from my favorite James Bond film…although looking at the cover art….
Their previous release, White Hot Heat in 2016 found its way into my best 10 albums of the year. I find that Born to Break is an even more cohesive and solid offering than the previous. Yes, some of that swagger and “stick it to the man” attitude from White Hot Heat has subsided but Born To Break is warming my heart with each rotation.
#06 – WORRY BLAST – .44:
Switzerland’s Worry Blast have chosen to begin their .44 album with “Outta Nowhere”. Disgustingly appropriate seeing as that’s what happened here. They came at me hard from “Outta Nowhere”! This album is high-energy AC/DC influenced hard rock from the first second to the last. This is a fantastic hard rock album from start to finish.
#05 – U.D.O. – Steelfactory:
Udo Dirkschneider has been delivering quality heavy metal for over 40 years. The short-statured German Metal Master serves up 13 blistering assaults, all above the four-minute mark on Steelfactory. Overall, consistency is a strong part of what U.D.O. does, but still manages to keep it fresh and once again the hard working German has outdone himself here. Perhaps his best ever post-Accept album!
#04 – VANDALLUS – Bad Disease:
Admittedly, my eyes initially were drawn into this release by the front cover artwork. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love nice boobs! After a vocal countdown, “Infected” erupts from the speakers. A hard-rockin’ up-tempo ripper designed to incite soreness of the neck. the Ohio based Hard Rock outfit contains members of thrash band Midnight.
Another overwhelming surprise of a release. Mr. Snider has not exactly been on target where I’m concerned with regards to previous issues. I was a little afraid to listen to this album, but it proves one hell of a metal album! Always a wicked frontman and metal voice, I think Dee Snider had writing assistance from Jamey Jasta for this. Definitely, the way to go!
#02 – LITTLE CAESAR – Eight:
This aptly titled eighth release from the blues rockers in Little Caesar rips! It was reviewed for the site by my CGCM Podcast co-host, Wallygator Norton. 2018 Also marked the year that I finally saw Little Caesar live. Something I had been chasing down since the early ’90s. Awesome blues infused Hard Rock with velvet vocals delivered by Ron Young.
#01 – TOKYO BLADE – Unbroken:
Reviewed by Graham Spark, this album is shockingly good. I have long been a Tokyo Blade fan, but this album I found mind-blowing. On the first listen I knew this would break my top ten. Coupled with seeing them at BROFEST Festival in the UK in 2017, Tokyo Blade still has tons of road left to travel…and I’m right behind them in a wagon!
Listen in on CGCM Podcast EP#52 – Best of 2018 as co-host Wallygator and I count down and play tracks from our top albums of 2018: