The Best Of 2018

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During the whole year 2018, there were number of albums which proved rising position of greatly talented bands and I hope this list will do at least a slight service in spreading their name. At the same time, there were bands which I love for years as Tesseract or Audrey Horne, but their albums did nothing for me. Please take this list as my personal expression ranging from extreme metal, through melancholic rock till smooth jazz and I hope you will discover something which will hit your heart and soul.

 

Short list of the top 20 albums of 2018:

01 – Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses
02 – The Black Queen – Infinite Games
03 – Mac Ayres – Something to Feel
04 – Madder Mortem – Marrow
05 – Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger
06 – Long Distance Calling – Boundless
07 – Toundra – Vortex
08 – Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman
09 – Bjørn Riis – Coming Home EP
10 – Azusa – Heavy Yoke
11 – Thy Catafalque – Geometria
12 – Anna Von Hausswolff – Dead Magic
13 – Ihsahn – Àmr
14 – Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit
15 – Greenleaf – Hear The Rivers
16 – Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
17 – A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant
18 – Tremonti – A Dying Machine
19 – Soulfly – Ritual
20 – Oceans Of Slumber – The Banished Heart

 

01 – Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses

I am a big fan of Emma Ruth Rundle since her previous 2016 release Marked For Death. Her melancholic master skills take a listener to a different landscape practically instantly. It’s safe, peaceful and supportive to let all kind of thoughts fly around and learn from them. On Dark Horses is an incredible companion for long rides or walks whether it’s day or night. I am really proud everyone I played it to enjoyed it. It brings me the best memories of legendary British alternative rock band The Sunday’s debut Reading, Writing and Arithmetic from 1990 in a more melancholic landscape. Next to it Emma’s lyrics spoke to me more than ever and she was very important to my guests at music presentations for visually handicapped in Prague, as we also shared some personal stories at her show.

Interview here

 

 

02 – The Black Queen – Infinite Games

This band changed my life with their debut Fever Daydream released in 2016. I felt as I was fifteen again. Everything made sense even though it was quite a brave release. No one expected a synth pop release from a frontman of insane math metal icons The Dillinger Escape Plan. However the taste for ambient electronics, amazing production and Greg’s vocal built the band a huge following since. On both Fever Daydream and their latest release Infinite Games you have the best chance to enjoy the most valuable aspects of eighties music and meaningful lyrics.

 

 

03 – Mac Ayres – Something To Feel

Before I discovered Mac Ayres, I would probably have some macho manners as “I don’t usually listen to music like this”. But as soon I heard his track Lonely from a previous album Drive Slow, I was completely addicted. It was a perfect music pill for loud and crazy corporate open space. It also worked well for calming me on the way home. Mac’s music perfectly reached all of my smooth jazz, soul and eighties pop interests. When I got to Mac’s second album Something To Feel, it was naturally in a bad position to fight the first album addiction. But it did quite well especially with tracks as Waiting, Get To You Again and Pickled Ginger.

 

 

04 – Madder Mortem – Marrow

What can I say about Madder Mortem? I met my best friend through their music. We even made our own t-shirts, when they were on “a break”. I am so glad they are back in a full force writing & touring and you can feel the creative energy & chemistry in every note. They returned on the scene after six years with their 2016 release Red In Tooth And Claw. To be honest, it was a total shock, when they released Marrow, as I thought we will be waiting for another release longer. They were always masters in schizophrenic avant-garde metal structures which demand listener’s attentions and patience. Marrow carries the best from them, but everything is so light, accessible and deep at the same time. I am not exaggerating when I say, it is by any doubts my most favorite Madder Mortem release so far. So much beauty and also genius lyrics to be discovered even after dozen of listens.

 

 

05 – Myles Kennedy – Year Of The Tiger

Quite brave release from a rock star fronting both Alter Bridge and Slash’s solo project. It also deserves numbers of listens to appreciate the blues and dirty country compositions. However eventually it will make an absolute sense, as you will fall into the feel and dive into the lyrics.

Front cover interview, where we spoke also about our common interest in meditation here

 

 

06 – Long Distance Calling – Boundless

It doesn’t matter if you like mountain climbing or just jogging on the far corner of your home town alone. Doesn’t even matter if your mind is busy or totally relaxed. LDC will provide an excellent soundtrack for admiration of the countryside and life.

 

 

07 – Toundra – Vortex

If LDC are great for post rock admiration of the mountains, Toundra brilliantly provides more melancholic and darker input in an oriental environment.

 

 

08 – Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman

One of the greatest talents on the modern jazz scene. Incredible voice providing some very inspirational lyrics. Last track Funeral might start as a deep reminder of Fight Club movie by words as “I went to a funeral, so I could feel something”, but later moves into relationships area. Thank you Spotify.

 

 

09 – Azusa – Heavy Yoke

Do you like genre crossovers and unique combinations? Azusa will blow your mind with a mix of progressive death metal instrumental section combined with ambient experiment with some great female vocals on top. Line-up consists of The Dillinger Escape Plan bass player Liam Wilson, members of Extol and amazing singer Eleni from Sea + Air.

Interview here

 

 

10 – Thy Catafalque – Geometria

There is a long history of interviews between me and Thy Catafalque’s mastermind Tamás Kátai, as he is simply a genius. His avant-garde metal solo project finally gets an adequate reputation. Rarely you can find talent for extensive dark progressive structures, intelligent folk enhancements and such a taste for guest singers. His releases are already for multiple times a security of top quality and you can feel Scottish nature has great effect on his pure flow of creativity.

2018 Interview here

 

 

Top 11 – 20 

11 – Anna Von Hausswolff – Dead Magic

It might be a challenge to properly dive into the world of Swedish singer, pianist, organist and songwriter Anna Von Hausswolff. Her vocal and especially her wild adventures with it demand time. Her dark melancholic creative flow also might not fit to everybody, but I am impressed how many respected artists compliment her from jazz artists to black metal icons. Give her a try, if this a first time you are hearing about her. You may start with a track Pills from her brilliant 2010 debut Singing From the Grave and the more brave ones can start here with The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra.

 

 

12 – Ihsahn – Àmr

Norwegian mastermind pushing his avant-garde post black solo project another level further. Nothing else needed to be said.

Front cover interview here

 

 

13 – Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit

Swiss project impressively combining gospel and black metal is something, which brought fresh air into the metal scene and we will see these guys growing further on. After the revolutionary debut album and the first touring experiences you can see, also based on the massive track list, the creative chemistry within the band. I was more than happy, I managed to push some black metal into the prime time on Czech TV Seznam in our video interview.

Email interview about Manuel’s most favorite albums here

 

 

14 – Greenleaf – Hear The Rivers

There are not many securities in our world. But turning on a shuffle within Greenleaf discography, with a total trust, is one of the few.

 

 

15 – Bjørn Riis – Coming Home EP

Bjørn’s albums were an amazing companion for me for long walks in the foggy weather, when I used to work at corporate open space. It always took me into a different world and always brought unique peace to my mind. Thank you Bjørn.

 

 

16 – Dimmu Borgir – Eonian

I was never a big fan of iconic Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir. There were just few songs which spoke to me from their discography, but many things changed during the last year. I spoke to Silenoz couple of times and I was blown away by his personality. We spoke about bunch of things including blues, country and the quality of Czech orchestras. It might have affected me to find their latest album Eonian step by step the best from their discography.

Interviews here and here

 

 

17 – A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant

Do you need a master class prog album, while you are waiting for new Tool album or their upcoming show? There is no better option than A Perfect Circle.

 

 

18 – Tremonti – A Dying Machine

Alter Bridge and Creed guitar hero has been filtering his ideas, which don’t necessarily fit into any of his other bands for some time already in the solo project Tremonti. He did some hell of a great job on the first three albums, and A Dying Machine is maintaining the standard.

 

 

19 – Soulfly – Ritual

Do you really expect a shock for Soulfly? Max Cavalera is still a great source of riffs and thank god, Marc Rizzo is still keeping his back with his solo guitar.

 

 

20 – Oceans Of Slumber – The Banished Heart

When these guys released their 2016 release Winter, with a new singer Cammie Gilbert I was completely blown away. Progressive metal arrangements, fascinating melodies and so many vocal positions. With The Banished Heart they are keeping the high standard.

 

 

Have a great 2019 with more amazing music

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