2018 has been another bumper year for rock music. I have discovered so many new bands and new music, it has been a privilege to experience it all.
I’m extremely passionate about music, as you know. It is something that is always there when you need it. It helps me process my feelings, it lifts my mood, it inspires me on a daily basis and it expresses what I’m feeling at any given time.
Music, to me is a magical force in my life and I’m grateful for its existence on a daily basis. My passion for rock music runs deep and people who know me well are reminded of this regularly. I’m open to experiencing other genres of music, but I tend to turn back to rock music every single time I need a crutch to lean on.
My favourite post of the year entails reflecting on the music that featured in my life this past year.
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18. Three Days Grace – Infra-Red
This song off Three Days Grace ‘s “The Mountain” album describes the passion that two people have for one another and the connection that they have. This connection is described as something that only these two people share, so much so that they forget about the people around them. The guitar hook on this song is addictive and fast-paced, which suits the lyrics perfectly. You can feel the intensity of the passion these two people share.
17. Twenty One Pilots – My Blood
I’m so passionate about the lyrics of this song. It is a declaration of dedication and loyalty from one person to another. It can be towards a friend, significant other or family member. It describes unquestionable commitment, that some people can only dream to experience in their lifetime.
The melody of the song is tender and it is delivered in a heartfelt way. The layered drums, electronics and background vocals create an ethereal experience like only Twenty One Pilots can deliver.
16. Amaranthe – Countdown
Amaranthe combines female and male clean vocals with unclean vocals effortlessly. A fast-paced song that serves as an introspective commentary on the person’s own well-being. The heavy drums and guitar just adds such an enjoyable melody to this song. The combination of all these elements become quite addictive. An adrenaline injection if you ever need one. Henrik shines on the unclean vocals, adding just enough grit to this already up-tempo song.
15. While She Sleeps – Haunt Me
The intro already tells you that this song is one to take note of. The song deals with the themes of regret and betrayal. The track is epic in scale, the drumming and rhythm guitar elevates it to the next level. The chorus is perfect for head banging, which isn’t surprising at all. The transitions happen quickly and it creates a unique sound from the band on this track.
14. Our Last Night – Soul Speak
I got to know more about OLN by listening to their cover songs, but they have really come into their own since they started. “Soul Speak” made my ears prick up. The guitars on this song stand out and the vocals are on point, as is to be expected. I can relate to the topic that is being dealt with lyrically. It speaks about trying to find your own voice, while being surrounded and overwhelmed by the people around you. It speaks to the frustration of trying to find yourself amidst all the chaos in your life. The narrator doesn’t want to be affected by other people’s opinions, but he feels like he is losing the battle.
13. Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators – Driving Rain
This song is in my opinion a true reflection of the band and embodies their signature sound. A groovy rock song that doesn’t shy away from utilising every instrument in the band’s arsenal. The lyrics describe a man’s determination to get to the love of his life, no matter which obstacles are in his way. This is a song to party or dance to and it has meaning to it. The combined guitar work on this track makes it shine.
12. Palaye Royale – Teenage Heartbreak Queen
I think this is one of the catchiest rock songs that I have heard in a while. The narrator is mourning his high school sweetheart. The theme of this song is somber, but this song always cheers me up due to its catchy melody. Slather some of Remington Leith’s grainy, passionate vocals on top of that and this is a recipe for success.
11. Thrice – Only Us
This song deals with the fact that the human race are all connected, yet we continue to fight one another and despise one another’s differences when we are from the same species. We continue to wage wars, build walls and try to solve our problems with violence. The song poses the question….When will it be enough?
Dustin Kensrue‘s moody, subtly powerful vocals carry the importance of this message perfectly. The synth sounds create a nostalgic throwback to the 80s and the bass line leads the song throughout.
10. Beartooth – Afterall
The lyrics of this song are quite dark. It describes a person that has completely lost the will to live. It deals with the narrator’s despair and the feelings he or she is experiencing to such an extent that being alive has become a chore. The drumming from Connor Denis is impeccable on this track and sets the tone for the intense lyrics of the song.
9. Shinedown – The Human Radio
This song/video serves as a commentary on our society today. We continue living through our phones and social media, forever comparing ourselves with others. This video is about a person who breaks free from our modern societal life. The more time we spend on our phones, the less we live our own lives the way we should be. The backing vocals on this song makes it feel more epic in a sense. The chorus is memorable and I think this is an important topic in this day and age.
8. Tremonti – Take You With Me
This was a hard choice to make between “The First The Last” and “Take You With Me”. I have always loved the former, but “Take You With Me” got chosen due to the stellar drumming from Garrett Whitlock and the pace of the song. It has a really positive message in facing difficulties and adversity together with the person you love. Mark’s vocals have really evolved and if you ever wanted proof, here it is…
7. Bring Me The Horizon – MANTRA
I think there are many ways to interpret this song. Oli said that the inspiration for this song came from a documentary he was watching on Netflix about a cult, called Wild Wild Country. As a society we tend to follow one another blindly. I find that the song and in turn the music video is quite eerie and it tends to creep in under your skin. Oli Sykes has also said that a romantic relationship can tend to act as a little two-man cult. You dedicate yourself to that person, you have to trust and love them unconditionally. This song demonstrates the development of the band and it has all the ingredients for a smash hit.
6. Disturbed – No More
First off, no one makes groovy heavy rock songs like Disturbed. David’s inspiration behind the lyrics are the fear-mongers that feed off people and they don’t care about collateral damage in return for profit. David makes it clear that this isn’t about a specific situation or system, but just the way the world operates. The guitar hook gels so well with the drumming that it has a seamless groove throughout.
5. Hands Like Houses – Tilt
This band’s material has really grown on me and this is one of the first songs I heard from them. I heard that they were coming to perform in Cape Town next year, in support of Rhino Conservation and I decided to do some research on their sound. I was pleasantly surprised and felt like an idiot for not discovering them earlier. Tilt is about cycles and how we can go around breaking them. The future, the past and how we are in control of our circumstances to a certain extent. Trenton Woodley’s vocals are delivered with serious intent on this track and it demonstrates how versatile his vocal style can be.
4. Coheed and Cambria – The Gutter
Coheed and Cambria produced a concept album which combine the band’s love for comic books and music. I’ll leave it up to the listener to come up with theories regarding the band’s storyline from the album “Unheavenly Creatures”. The song is captivating in its entirety, it is theatrical and progresses to an anthemic tempo. Claudio delivers the story compellingly with his vocal range. The band builds the framework to be theatrically delivered with a beautiful guitar solo towards the end. This is just a masterpiece, to be honest.
3. Bad Wolves – Hear Me Now ft DIAMANTE
In my opinion, it is quite challenging to find a good duet nowadays and not to mention a good duet in the rock genre. Tommy kicks off the song with some tender vocals that he doesn’t get to show off on the band’s other tracks.
The song describes a relationship between two people that escalate due to the emotion, passion and tension that exist between them. The opening lyrics from the male singer is asking the female singer, to help him up from the depths that he finds himself in. The male singer, doesn’t want his life to be meaningless and he wants the other singer to give him something to live for. He wants her to make him grow as a person.
This song describes the moment where a new romance is starting to develop and the implications or importance thereof.
2. Deaf Havana – Holy
I literally have not been able to shut up about this band since I discovered them. I can literally relate to each song on their latest album “Rituals” and their music has been helping me through a tough time. I feel like the songwriter has been going through the same things that I have experienced recently.
James Veck-Gilodi kicks off this track with his honey soaked vocal style. The singer starts off admitting that he was a liar and that he was not as holy as he was claiming to be. He admits to running away from the way he wronged the person in his life. The lies he told haunts him and he finds it easy to hide away from it on his own. The singer finds it hard to break the cycle that he has created. He tends to reach out to this person whenever he needs him/her.
I find that the band is able to deliver heavy emotional topics in a palatable way, which makes the song enjoyable yet still has a powerful effect on the listener.
1. Myles Kennedy – The Great Beyond
I know what my loyal followers are thinking, of course I will choose Myles’ song as the number one track of the year. In my defense, there have been many reputable rock publications who named his album as one of the top deliveries of the year.
This song has always stood out to me since the very first time I heard it. It depicts the type of musician Myles Kennedy is, all in one track. It is epic in its nature with the added instruments of the violin, cello and viola which is the only track on the album to feature this arrangement. It shows off the nature of Myles’ vocal range almost in its entirety.
It kicks off with some moody drums and soars with the violin, followed by the intricate chords of the acoustic guitar. Myles follows with his soft vocals and soars into an incredibly high note literally into “The Great Beyond”.
The entire album is autobiographical in nature as Myles struggles to deal with the passing of his father at the age of four. Myles father was of the Christian Science religion and it argues that sickness is an illusion that can only be cured through prayer alone.
This has been another great year for rock music and I know that it will be the same for next year.
Thank you for reading.
See you in 2019!