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Album top 14 of 2018

Occasionally I post an annual musical overview. Even better: a list of albums I enjoyed most over the past year. Last year I posted an extended overview divided into two parts (part 1 and part 2). Before that, I described 2016 as a great musical year. The year before that, 2015, I did not write a review. Instead I wrote an extensive report of my visit to Christmas Rock Night. The year 2014 did get a year review, this one. Finally in the beginning of 2017 I put together a nice Top 10. Today a summary of 2018!

14. Blessthefall – Hard Feelings

No, it is not the most honorable position in this top 14. Blessthefall makes music in what I call the ‘not-just-just-did’ genre. Hard, but with the risk of cheesy ‘clean vocals’ that can make it way too poppy. We Came as Romans (Vultures With Clipped Wings) and Confide (The View From My Eyes) are both bands that, in my opinion, combine those two things perfectly. Blessthefall comes pretty close but (often) just misses the mark. However their sixth album was able to draw my attention enough to earn a spot in this top 14.

You can find a review of ‘Hard Feelings’ here on killyourstereo.com.

Favorite song: Cutthroat

You can stream the whole album here on YouTube.

13. Off Road Minivan – Spiral Gaze EP

From Brandon Ebel I especially keep an eye on the new bands and albums of sublabel Solid State Records. But the original label Tooth & Nail also occasionally releases something good. Are you a fan? Then check out the Labeled podcast! Because suddenly there was Off Road Minivan. This EP is over before you know it, but in exchange you will get a very pleasant portion of rock. A detail is that ‘’Fit for a King’’ bass player Ryan O’Leary started the band. So if you’re up for some pretty pretty good (Curb, anyone?) rock you should definitely check these guys out.

You can find a review of ‘Spiral Gaze’ here on jesusfreakhideout.com.

Favorite song: Light Up the Room

Stream the whole album here on YouTube.

12. Emery – Eve

First I wrote a blog in response to the cover of this album. Later, Dick responded. I have never been a big fan of the band Emery. That did not change. But with Eve they caught my attention. My respect for the song ‘Safe’ as a single. It is not the most accessible song. “you played it safe so the ones you loved could have everything / you gave yourself when there was nothing left / even when the sky was falling down you covered me instead.” The way in which these lines are sung in duet gave me goosebumps.

You can find a review of ‘Eve’ here on jesusfreakhideout.com.

Favorite song: Sins Of Every Father

Stream the whole album here on YouTube.

11. Archabald – Carcosa

Through the resurrected site indievisionmusic.com I got to know the band Archabald. They delivered a very strong debut with ‘Relativity’. Extra credit for the release of an instrumental version of that album. Carcossa is harder but that is no problem for me. More background in this interview. It is a band that probably is not so well known, but hopefully that increases. You can start with Relativity en you should try Carcosa next :-).

You can find a review of ‘Carcosa ‘ on indievisionmusic.com.

Favorite song: Dark Door

Stream the whole album here on bandcamp.

10. My Epic – Ultraviolet EP

The band My Epic passed here before. I especially enjoy the album Behold. There was also an instrumental version of that album released (jay!). Before I shared the song ‘Ghost Story’ (with Shane Ochsner of EISM) with you. Ultraviolet came out at the end of 2018 and in the beginning of 2019 a heavier Violence EP will follow. Both EP’s have the theme of spiritual doubt. And yes, then you will certainly have my attention. All in all a nice addition to an already impressive repertoire. On to Violence EP!

You can find a review of ‘Ultraviolet’ on jesusfreakhideout.com.

Favorite song: Two Nights

A review of ‘Ultraviolet’ can be found here on jesusfreakhideout.com.

Stream the whole album here on YouTube.

9. Convictions – Hope for the Broken

Conviction knows how to keep the variety well. They know how to prevent it from being too monotonous by alternating in tempo, riff ad singing. Allegedly: “Aggressive Worship”. To my delight, I also appeared to have a previous album from them: ‘I Am Nothing’. The intermediate album ‘I Will Become’ will surely get my attention now. In ‘Hope for the Broken’ you will at least get a lot of conviction and that lasts. So give this album, and perhaps even their previous albums, a shot.

You can find a review of ‘Hope for the Broken’ on newnoisemagazine.com.

Favorite song: Deceptive Heart

Stream the entire album here on YouTube.

8. Sleeping Giant – I Am

Once I had the chance to see Sleeping Giant live. It was at the Christmas Rock Night in 2015. Unfortunately Tom Green (singer) was having trouble with his passport. Because of that, the performance was disappointing. This album is their last and is a good reflection of wat Sleeping Giant is capable of and what they stand for. The name of their first song is therefore ‘Preachcore Lives’. And has a lot in common with the song Tithemi which I shared with you here before. Garret Russel (Silent Planet) and Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter) are shortly screaming along with it as well. Nice!

You can find a review of ‘I Am’ on jesusfreakhideout.com.

Favorite song: Fly. Fight. Crow

Stream the entire album here on YouTube.

7. Silent Planet – When the End Began

When in 2016 Silent Planet released ‘Everything was Sound‘  they collected very positive attention from many. The song ‘Orphan’ is a good illustration of their unique style. Also ‘When the End Began’ sounds tight and heavy; both the guitar work and the lyrics. Solid State Records released a bit too many singles to my taste. Anyway, the album also contains a ‘Depths’ song. I have shared ‘Depths II’ before and this album contains the beautiful part III: “Lord did you see me as I was dreaming?”.

You can find a review of ‘When the End Began’ on dansendeberen.be.

Favorite song: Visible Unseen

Stream the whole album here on YouTube.

6. Underoath – Erase Me

The days of ‘Define the Great Line’ (check: ‘Writing on the Walls’) are over. The drummer of Underoath, Aaron Gillespie, took off and after ‘Ø (Disambiguation)’ in 2010 it was really over. In the documentary ‘Tired Violence’ they confirm that they are no longer a Christian band. Shortly after that they announced the Rebirth tour, which I attended in the Melkweg. It was an incredible concert. And then new music: Underoath 3.0. Bold. And yes, something to get used to, too!

The days of ‘Define the Great Line’ (check: ‘Writing on the Walls’) are over. The drummer of Underoath, Aaron Gillespie, took off and after ‘Ø (Disambiguation)’ in 2010 it was really over. In the documentary ‘Tired Violence’ they confirm that they are no longer a Christian band. Shortly after that they announced the Rebirth tour, which I attended in the Melkweg. It was an incredible concert. And then new music: Underoath 3.0. Bold. And yes, something to get used to, too!

You can find a review of ‘Erase Me’ on newnoisemagazine.com.

Favorite song: On my Teeth

Stream the entire album here on YouTube.

5. Impending Doom – The Sin and Doom Vol. II

Yes, as the title suggest, this is a heavy hitter. Entirely consistent with ‘Becoming the Archetype’ the band is in the ‘deathcore’ genre (mix between death metal and metalcore). they describe themselves as ‘Gorship’: “Worshiping God through our gore-sounding music.”. This is their sixed album, but it is the first time they were able to hit me. Usually I find this genre too heavy and down-hearted. But from the ominous beginning ‘The Wretched and Godless’ I knew: this is great. 

You can find a review of ‘The Sin and Doom Vol. II’ on distortedsoundmag.com.

Favorite song: Run for your Life

Stream the entire album here on YouTube.

4. Hopesfall – Arbiter

It might surprise you, but my taste in music is more diverse than you think. You can read all about the turbulent existence of Hopesfall on their Wikipedia page or you can listen to it on their podcast, like me. I am impressed by their comeback with this rock solid album after ten years of absence. The first song on the album sounds a bit like Hands. Singer Jay Forrest knows how to draw your attention and the varied guitar work (with a hint of Stavesacre) does the rest. An album to relax with. Replay, replay, replay.

You can find a review of ‘Arbiter’ on zwaremetalen.com.

Favorite song: Faint Object Camera

Stream the entire album here on YouTube. h

3. Beartooth – Disease

And now the top 3. Beartooth never knew how to convince me. It was either too “easy” or too catchy. You name it. Singer Caleb Shomo says: “We just want to make fun, punk-rock, hardcore, wild music, play crazy shows and have a good time without any pressure from anything”. And boy, they did a good job on that with Disease. There is something in this music that they also seem to capture in The Ongoing Concept. Loud noise with a smile. Bad Listener, Fire, Manipulation, Used And Abused (that riff!). The list goes on. Very pleasant for your ears!

You can find a review of ‘Disease’ on smartpress.nl.

Favorite song: Fire

Stream the entire album here on Youtube.com.

2. Levi the Poet – Cataracts

I already expressed my appreciation for the work of Levi Macallister. The moving song centers the suicide of his father. Later I came across him on another album of Sleeping Giant. His album ‘Correspondence (a fiction)’ already got to me, but Cataracts is from a different level. In Rotterdam I saw him live (with Listener, tip). Cataracts seized me. This time no fiction, but (harsh) words. The overtone is however: “Keep forgiving”. Wow, not an easy album, but absolutely worth your time and effort.

You can find a review of ‘Cataracts’ on jesusfreakhideout.com.

Favorite song: As Far As the East Is from the (Navel to The) West

Stream the entire album here on YouTube.

1. Fit for a King – Dark Skies

And then the big one! Last year it was August Burns Red with ‘Phanthem Anthem’. This year the honor goes, to my surprise, to Fit for a King. ‘Dark Skies’.  This is a hard, heavy metalcore album and yet accessible and melodic. Apart from the weak ‘Anthem of the Defeated’ they do everything right on this album. The clean vocals on ‘Slave To Nothing’ I did not like and ‘Deathgrip’ surely had some strong songs, but did not please me totally. Dark Skies: go and listen! Did I already say: Dark Skies: go and listen? Yeah, I did. So do it now :)

You can find a review of ‘Dark Skies’ on sputnikmusic.com.

Favorite song: Oblivion

Stream the entire album here on YouTube.com .

Other albums of interest

Of course, I listened to many more songs this year. However, not all of them will reach the top here on geloosvoer.nl. However, some of these songs are notable:

  • Mumford & Sons — Delta (small and precious)
  • Brutus — Burst (I saw them in the pre-show ofThrice)
  • Listener — Being Empty : Being Filled (Saw the together with Levi the Poet)
  • Deafheaven — Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (A bit lenghty and cross-genre)
  • Tourniquet — Gazing At Medusa (Do-able, but more trash please.. )
  • God Is An Astronaut — Epitaph (This band was a real find in 2018)
  • Architects — Holy Hell (Very good, hard to explain)
  • The Smashing Pumpkins — Shiny and O so Bright (Yes, you read that right)
  • Erra — Neon (I saw them in the pre-show of As I Lay Dying)
  • Tremonti — A Dying Machine (Saw them live in my hometown Zwolle)

Furthermore I got to see: Levit the Poet & Listener (Rotown), Underoath (Melkweg), Thrice (Melkweg), Tremonti (Hedon), La Dispute (Bitterzoet), As I Lay Dying (013) and August Burns Red (Melkweg). Of the live performances the top 3 for 2018 is: 1) August Burns Red, 2) La Dispute and 3) As I Lay Dying.

Next year there will be two new albums of Demon Hunter and probably a lot more. Have a good new years and see you next year!

Renco Schoemaker

Blogger at geloofsvoer.nl
Renco is 33 jaar, man van Sara en vader van Joah (6) en Lotta (3). Hij was jeugdouderling in een Nederlands Gereformeerde kerk in Zwolle. Door de week adviseert hij over informatiebeveiliging en privacy. Daarnaast mag hij graag fietsen, hardlopen, tv series kijken en bloggen. Luistert tot slot graag naar harde christelijke herrie.
Renco Schoemaker

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