I’ll start with the odds and ends of 2018. A few EPs were released that deserve mention but aren’t really long enough to be included in the album list. As well, some of the albums that didn’t make the list in the end did provide a great track or two, even if the rest of the album wasn’t up to snuff. And as always, I find stuff during the year that was released the year before, I just wasn’t paying attention at the time.
Gary Numan: The Fallen
An addendum to the spectacular Savage album from 2017, the ep provides 3 additional tracks.
King Buffalo: Repeater
This appears to have been a taster for their subsequent full-length release, but I have to admit that I’m not a huge psych rock fan so these three tracks are plenty for me.
The Vliets: Semiwestern
These guys pop up every once in a while with some short offerings of their quirky brand of simple electronica, but you know, their stuff makes for a pleasant listen. They do have a knack for melody and they don’t layer on the effects.
Glass Apple Bonzai: Lucid Dream
A guy who really understands old-school synthwave, and does it well. On this release he teams up again with Hello Moth on the vocals (who appeared on last year’s GAB album), for a catchy retrowave tune. Either mix is great (the third track is pretty much filler).
VNV Nation: “When is the Future?”
Not sure what happened with this album, but it really did nothing for me. Slow and ponderous and self-important without being interesting. Except for this track, which is killer.
Solar Fields: “Moving Lines”
Another album in which earnestness overwhelmed interest. Yes, Save the Planet, but at least make more than one track worth listening to.
Seeming: “I Recognize You”
A track from a huge compilation of various things industrial, but this one is outstanding. Alex Reed again presents us with incisive lyric brilliance, and reminds me why Sol was the Album of 2017.
Missed from 2017
There were only a couple of things that I failed to notice, or didn’t follow up on from the previous year:
Believe: VII Widows
I am pretty much not a fan of long-winded modern prog, but VII Widows is surprisingly good, very nice arrangements and passages, and I must say beautiful guitar themes by Mirek Gil –they are reminiscent of Steve Hackett at times, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am not crazy about the somewhat overblown and mannered style of the vocalist, but there are few enough vocal sections that he ends up intruding less on the experience than would otherwise be the case. Nice and listenable.
Now, this band is a major find. I had never put myself down as a fan of thrash metal (or technical death metal, or whatever) but these guys are seriously good. I know the die-hards argue over whether the early or latest albums are better, but I think I like the last two better. More heavy riffs, more head-banging goodness, and the vocalist has a growl-style I can actually tolerate for an entire album’s worth. “Kill the Cult” gets a ton of play from me.