Over here in the UK, 2018 has not proved to be our greatest year. In fact, it’s been a bit of a shitstorm, or clusterfuck if you like, politically at least. The possibility of Brexit has brought everything many predicted; uncertainty, division, and hostility.
Fortunately for everybody, rock keeps on rollin’ and there have been some great albums released this year. Contrary to popular opinion (well, one guy, anyway) rock is not actually dead.
This countdown has a mix of well-known bands and some not so well-known, so dive in and hopefully, you will be turned on to some cracking music that may have slipped through your net.
#10. Rick Parfitt – Over and Out
This is a largely sentimental pick to recognize the work of an absolute titan of rock, who sadly passed late 2016. Rick Parfitt contributed immensely to the success of Status Quo and the progression of rock music, especially in the UK. His passing went almost unnoticed, overshadowed by some more ‘notable’ deaths, unfortunately.
Over and Out was almost complete when Rick died, so artists such as Brian May stepped in to finish the job and what a great job it is. It’s a lot mellower than peak Quo but has so much feeling and emotion. The track “Over and Out” was apparently played at his funeral, I bet that was a struggle. I’ll end with an excellent quote from an Amazon reviewer. “It saddens me that Rick Parfitt will not be able to enjoy the success of his solo album, but then again, he heard it first, didn’t he?”
#9. Maverick – Cold Star Dancer
Cold Star Dancer is the more mature follow up to 2016’s Big Red. No point in standing still, I say, keep moving. And that is exactly what they have done. We’ve still got the thumping riffs, quality solos and powerful vocals, but there’s a greater maturity in the songwriting and arranging. These guys from Northern Ireland have nailed it, big time.
#8. Legendry – Dungeon Crawler
Sophomores are never easy but these fantasy metallers from Pittsburgh smash it right out the park. A mixture of straight up ball-kicking rockers such as “Rogues in the House” and more prog influenced tracks like “The Conjurer”, Dungeon Crawler impresses all over the place.
#7. The Struts – Young and Dangerous
The Struts are going places, and quickly. Fancy a chant? Fancy a fist-pump? Step right up. These guys from Derbyshire, UK, are swathed in pomp, fun and talent. Unpack your air-guitar and join in with the many tracks you’ll be enjoying for years to come.
#6. Seven Sisters – The Cauldron and the Cross
From the future big hitters of modern rock to a more old school band inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. This Seven Sisters sophomore is a triumph of musicianship, with rampaging riffs and top-notch soloing plus a smearing of prog to add interest.
#5. Lizzies – On Thin Ice
Catchy tunes and hooky riffs are the order of the day from this Spanish outfit where the 1980’s really are where it’s at. Vocalist Elena is on top form belting out the tunes with verve and passion.
#4. Lucifer – Lucifer II
Johanna Sadonis returns with a new line-up and is reaping the benefit of her new musical partnership with Nicke Andersson. There’s still the stoner element from the first outing but this one has much more substance and melody to it. Try to stop yourself singing along to “Dreamer”. You won’t be able to help yourself.
#3. Amorettes – Born to Break
This Scottish trio destroy everything in their path with this outstanding album of pace, power and no little threat. Dripping with attitude and plenty of talent this is the way the manual says rock n roll should be played.
#2. Tokyo Blade – Unbroken
Having reformed in 2010 after being trailblazers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Unbroken showcases 11 modern rock tracks of the absolute highest order. There is no looking back for these veterans, they’re all about the now. Great melodies, fantastic vocals, and solos to die for. This album is a must-have.
#1. Massive Wagons – Full Nelson
Massive Wagons have been working their nuts off for years now and it’s about time they reaped their rewards. Full Nelson is their fourth album and looks set to be the springboard to the greatness they deserve. The riffs are catchy, the singalongs everywhere and the lyrics are intelligent and occasionally humorous. Frontman Baz Mills and his mates have delivered an album great enough to make you forget about the most depressing of times. And in a strange twist of symmetry (if that’s a thing) “Back to the Shack” is a tribute to one Mr. R Parfitt. I thank you.
Here’s to a fantastic 2019 for all our readers and keep rockin’!!