Last year I said something along the lines of “It has been such a bumper year for incredible new music from new bands, established acts and barn burning comebacks that I would hesitantly say it’s been the best in recent history”.
2018 saw this incredible year of music and – as the kids say – said “hold my beer” and proceeded to throw at us a tidal wave of exceptional music from start to finish. There haven’t been lulls in the awesomeness, it’s been such a constant stream of stand out blinding albums that I was having to change and chop this list right up until the pointing of typing this sentence out. It’s been so harrowing trying to select just ten albums that I’m genuinely sad about some of the records this year I’ve had to leave out. But ten is the rules and ten is what you will get, so without further ado here we go:
10. Crooked Shadows by Dashboard Confessional
The very first time I wrote for CPRW was for a band member top ten. In that top ten I talked about how much I loved Dashboard Confessional. Of all the many, many nostalgia trips I’ve been on with bands having long lay offs only to comeback with a return to form album, this one is the most nostalgic of the lot and it holds a special place in my heart.
Favourite song: About Us
9. Never Gonna Die by Pennywise
Pennywise, true to the name of their new album, seem like they really won't ever die. Never Gonna Die is vintage PW with all of the grit and sneer you’ve come to love from the band but with care and attention paid to making an excellent sounding record. This is something that kicks ass from start to finish.
Favourite song: American Lies
8. Sacrament of Sin by Powerwolf
This year I stopped listening to so many Pokémon albums and instead shifted focus to the logical next step which is a concept band that only sing about the fact the members are all werewolves from the middle ages conscripted by the church to fight in the crusades against the forces of Satan. Powerwolf have never done anything different with their sound but if operatic power metal is your jam then 2018’s Sacrament of Sin is a great addition to an already stellar set of albums.
Favourite song: Fire And Forgive
7. Part Of The Game by Fullcount
Part Of The Game is one of my real surprise hits of the year. Fullcount were one of those bands that I didn’t dislike but when you already have 300 super fast bands in your collection then some tend to fall through the cracks. Then all of a sudden this comes along and it’s now my melodic hardcore pick of the year. All the MH bands find their way to me and whilst there have been some other superb offerings this really is the greatest of all of those I’ve had the pleasure to hear this year.
Favourite song: Selfinfection
6. Ill by A Crowd Of Rebellion
Man, I am really into Japanese metalcore right now. If I was basing this list purely off the band I’ve listened to most this year then Ill by A Crowd Of Rebellion would be number 1. I love everything about their sound and Ill is the best of everything they’ve created to date. If you want your brutal metal to take regular swings into J-Pop then this is 100% the album for you.
Favourite song: Sign
5. Persona Non Grata by Authority Zero
An extremely late addition to this list, and responsible for me having to totally rework the thing for the umpteenth time this year, Authority Zero were a band I wasn’t expecting to add to an end of year list after having them on last year’s. Persona Non Grata is another outstanding record from a band at the very top of the punk world right now. Treat yourself this xmas and make sure this finds its way onto your playlists.
Favourite song: The Bright Side
4. Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard by Popes Of Chillitown
Looking back into the past, I think future punk scene historians (I’m imagining an aging C-Rage) will say that 2018 was the year ska punk became huge again and I’d say it’s in large parts thanks to stellar records like Work Hard, Play Hard, Take It To The Graveyard by Popes Of Chillitown. I love this album – with a heavier bass than anything recorded by the Popes before and a perfect blend of crunching guitar riffs, smooth dub and dancehall vocals. This is one for the ages.
Favourite song: Prang
3. I Was Broken When You Got Here by Call Me Malcolm
What can I say about Call Me Malcolm??? The band have had the greatest year this year. I remember standing in the sold out crowd screaming every word of this album back at the astounded band at the album launch party. This is a beautiful, honest and infinitely relatable album that strikes a chord with literally everyone that listens to it. I hate to use words like masterpiece for fear of it coming off as hyperbole but there’s not much else I can use to describe this album.
Favourite song: Show Me What You Got
2. Back From Hell by Satanic Surfers
Satanic Surfers were one of my big three bands when I was growing up. I held these guys above pretty much everything unless there was a Herrera or a Roe in your band. I was actually extremely nervous about this album dropping. I wasn’t sure whether they’d take a more theatrical Atlas Losing Grip style turn when they returned or really what having so much time away would do to a band I loved more than I loved myself. Thankfully, Back From Hell is the absolute greatest thing ever created by Satanic Surfers and could quite possibly be their finest moment! The album is blisteringly fast, technical all over the place and just fun as all hell. It makes me incredibly happy to hear a band I already consider legendary still improving and pumping out such quality music.
Favourite song: Tribute
1. MxPx by MxPx
I mean I don’t know what to say about this album other than it makes me the most happy I’ve been in 20 years listening to music. My love affair with MxPx has been a 20 year ongoing thing and whilst I very much enjoyed the two previous albums, they were darker in tone than anything that came before and showed a band falling out of love with the lifestyle. Six years after the last one, we’ve been treated to what can be considered the first true blue MxPx album since The Ever Passing Moment. An album full of joy and love and positivity. Something born from the love of the life rather than a contractual obligation. You can hear the excitement and enthusiasm from the very first bass note to the end of the record. A kickstarted album means no outside interference and total creative freedom throughout and it shows with an album full of mature but optimistic classics that have stuck with me constantly from the moment I heard the first single. This album has been played so much that even my daughter can sing the whole thing cover to cover!! All music, old or new, now has to contend with the question “Would I rather be listening to the MxPx self titled album?” and let me tell you not a lot has won through yet.
Favourite song: 20-20 Hindsight
This top ten was written by Dan Peters.