Monday, December 31, 2018

HHRR's Top 10 Albums of 2018

To be frank, in some years, it's tough for us to identify even eight albums worthy of making it to a top 10 list.  Not in 2018!  There were probably a couple of dozen that had legit chances of making it.

Lots of awesome music is a good problem to have.  But, alas, a top 10 list won't make much sense if 24 albums make it.  So, after serious debate, mathematical formulas, and both logical and emotional tiebreakers, we give you Helping Hands Rock Reviews Top 10 Albums of 2018!

#10.  LoveSICK - Til My Very Last Breath.  Pittsburgh's LoveSICK live up to their name - you see them live once, fall in love with them, and they disappear, leaving you yearning for more.  After another of their disappearing acts, they re-emerged in 2018 with an amazing album in "Til My Very Last Breath."  Let's hope they hang around long enough to kindle our love affair with them well into 2019 and beyond.

#9.  Black Veil Brides - Vale. Black Veil Brides never fail to impress with each and every album they create. This album is full of Black Veil Brides' signature sound, and even includes some tracks you may not expect from the group. It is a great album from beginning until end.

#8.  Godsmack - When Legends Rise.  Godsmack was perhaps the biggest surprise of the year.  When more mature bands return, they either regurgitate their classic material or they deliver a failed attempt to adapt their sound to current music.  Godsmack did neither, delivering a record that was both convincingly modern as well as incredibly written.  We like to say that, in 2018, Godsmack released a better Shinedown record than Shinedown did.

#7.  I Don't Know How But They Found Me - 1981 Extended Play. This album - though only 6 tracks - was one of the most intriguing albums made this year. The band combines modern sounds, with sounds that could have come from 1981. This album is bringing together elements from the past and elements from the future to create a unique sound for the present.

#6.  Jizzy Pearl - All You Need is Soul.  Since the heyday of Love/Hate, that band and its members have failed to recreate the vibe of "Black Out In The Red Room," "Wasted In America," or "Let's Rumble."  The releases ranged from pretty good (Jizzy Pearl's "Just A Boy") to godawful (Love/Hate's "Let's Eat").  But good things come to those who wait, and Jizzy delivered an incredible collection of tunes that does Love/Hate's legacy proud with "All You Need is Soul."

#5.  Twenty One Pilots - Trench. Twenty One Pilots have led the way in the rock world the past few years with their quirky, yet radio-friendly, pop/rock anthems.  They continue to surf on the bleeding edge of quirkiness and innovation while pumping out sure-to-chart tunes that will form the soundtrack of many high school memories for younger millennials.

#4.  Palaye Royale - Boom Boom Room Side B. Palaye Royale is a new band, but they incorporate many eras of style into their music. When listening to this album, you can hear elements of many different styles of music, and it is very clear that they are inspired by many styles of music - just a bit of everything. Each different style plays a different role in making this album as great as it is.

#3.  Stryper - God Damn Evil.  Some '80's rockers left their songwriting magic on the drugstore shelf with the Aqua Net.  Not Stryper.  The songs are incredibly and consistently catchy and interesting.  And Michael Sweet's voice keeps this band that's in its fourth decade of releasing music sounding young.

#2.  Halestorm - Vicious.  Though it was enjoyed by HHRR's writers, Halestorm's previous release - 2015's "Into The Wildlife" - received lukewarm response from critics and fans alike.  This seemed to galvanize the band to record a bunch of songs that were, well, simply vicious!  While singer Lzzy Hale successfully incorporated modern vocal rhythms to her repertoire on several of the tracks from "Vicious," the return-to-their-roots songs like "Black Vultures," "Killing Ourselves to Live," and "The Silence" appear poised to be timeless classics for this relentless rock foursome.

#1.  Yungblud - 21st Century Liability. Yungblud, a young artist from England, has made a huge jump right into the music business this year. His first album, 21st Century Liability, has a powerful message behind extremely catchy and unique beats. The album is full of empowering songs that just make you want to dance. Each and every song on this album has something different to make the album as a whole just amazing. With just one album being only 36 minutes long, Yungblud is already extremely influential on his growing fanbase, and if he continues to make songs like those on 21st Century Liability, he is destined to make an influence on the world.