Best 18 Rock Songs of 2018

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!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

(MusicMonkey14)

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums released in 2018…so far

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Due to studying and life running away with my time I have not been diligent in keeping the blog updated, but hopefully this won’t be a problem any longer. In the past few months I have listened and discovered new music by some talented artists and I even discovered artists that are in a different genre. I absolutely love discovering new bands/music, it makes me want to share it with the world.

Shinedown – Attention Attention

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Shinedown – Attention Attention Album Cover  Copyright: Shinedown / Atlantic Records

Released on the 4th of May 2018, this is a concept album depicting an individual who is overcoming negativity and being reborn as a new person with a healthier mindset. Shinedown always provides us with hard-hitting, in-your face rock music with honest lyrics. They don’t shy away from the uncomfortable truths. Shinedown is able to craft songs that blend different techniques seamlessly. I was blown away the first time I heard their first single from this album “DEVIL”. The drums shine on this track as well as Brent’s intense vocals. “PYRO” is stellar. It builds up through the intro to launch into full on mayhem, especially that chorus! Zach’s guitar riffs provides the basis for this track which is a treat. “HUMAN RADIO” is an interesting commentary on the current state of the world we live in, which I found fascinating. The concept for the video is thought-provoking in the best way possible and memorable. I highly recommend this album as there is not a song on here that I didn’t enjoy.

 

Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger

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Year of the Tiger – Myles Kennedy Album Cover Copyright: Napalm Records

I have wanted to do an album review of YOTT for such a long time. I have to admit that it has been something that I have found quite daunting. As most of you know by now, Myles holds a special place in my heart and mind, as a human being and as a musician. I was in awe the first time I heard the title track, I was surprised by how much I loved it. This might sound strange, but I had no idea what to expect from Myles’ solo album. I would struggle to categorise this album in a specific genre, which to me is actually a good thing.

The day the album was released I was already well acquainted with the title track already. First off, I have to mention that I’m very reserved when it comes to expressing my emotions, except if something gets me really excited. I sat in my car, listening to the album and when “The Great Beyond” came on, my jaw literally dropped. The intro is very theatrical and I was in absolute awe. If you want to know the calibre of the musician that Myles is, then that is the track you need to listen to. His skills on guitar is impeccable and the note that Myles hits in that chorus amazes me every time I listen to it. You can hear the passion in this song and it reminds me a little bit of Spanish guitar combined with theatrics.

“Devil on the Wall” has a great storyline and it has some country swagger to it. “Ghost of Shangri-La” was a neat little surprise tucked away amongst the other songs and despite the lyrics, it has an uplifting feel to it. “Haunted by Design” will haunt your ear, that is for sure. An easy listening song where you can appreciate the lyrics. “Love Can Only Heal” takes you on a sonic, atmospheric journey encapsulated by Myles’ ethereal vocals. This song is definitely a fan favourite.

I had the privilege of seeing and meeting Myles on the first show of his solo tour, read my review here: Myles Kennedy in Cape Town 2018

Tremonti – A Dying Machine

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Tremonti – A Dying Machine Album Cover No copyright infringement intended

It is pretty apparent that this band improves with every album they release. I think there is more variety on this album and the guitar technique/skills always stand out, but that isn’t the only focus. The band has grown and incorporated solid lyrics, vocals and diversity in their sound compared to their other releases. The timing on “A Dying Machine” creates a good contrast to make the chorus stand out, with a more subtle guitar solo in the bridge. “Throw Them To The Lions” is a hard hitter of note and that signature Tremonti sound shines on this track. “The Day When Legions Burned” is a masterclass in drumming, Garrett’s technique on this track is undeniable. I absolutely love “The First The Last” and this track took me by surprise. Mark’s vocals on that track really makes you sit up and take note. This shows how much Mark’s vocal ability has grown these past few years. “The First The Last” tugs at my heart-strings.

“You are the heart that beats within my dying core” – What an incredible lyric.

A solid album for the hard rock/metal lover with a few pleasant surprises in between.

 

Bad Wolves – Disobey

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Bad Wolves – Disobey Album Cover

I probably don’t have to tell you that I heard about Bad Wolves the first time I heard their now extremely popular cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie.

What I didn’t expect was how hard I was going to fall in love with this band. I love the melodic verses surrounded by some serious heavy metal screams/distortions. They have managed to create something that is pleasing to the ear, even if you are not a heavy metal fan. They manage to get the combination just right. “Disobey” and “Learn To Live” are quite heavy and punchy, but they are lifted by melodic choruses. “Remember When” tells the story of Tommy Vext’s childhood and the tragedy that caused him to land up in a hospital bed. I would like to elaborate on this story on the blog soon. It is a powerful song and one of the stars on this album. The bass line on “Better The Devil” reels you in and takes you on a journey that attack your senses. “Hear Me Now” is a tender moment on the album and features hard rock chick DIAMANTE. It is a stellar performance and even the version with only Tommy on vocals is outstanding.

 

Pop Evil – Pop Evil

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Pop Evil Album Cover

Pop Evil knocked it out of the park with this album. This is a hard rock fan’s dream come true. Solid song writing, utilising instruments in a balanced mannner complimented with powerful vocals. The Rock Riff ranked “Waking Lions” as the Number 1 song of 2017, which means the expectations were high for this album. “Art of War” and “Be Legendary” are lyrically captivating and melodic.  “Nothing But Thieves” starts with an interesting intro which incorporates an electronic sound, but you can’t help being intrigued and waiting to hear what will happen next. The inspiring track “When We Were Young” will make you reminisce and have hope for the future. Leigh’s smooth vocals have the ability to transport you to another place, the best example of this is on the track “Rewind”. Hayley Cramer is magic on the drums, especially on “Colors Bleed”, this girl doesn’t need to stand back for any drummer.

 

Honourable Mentions

Turnstile – Time & Space

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Turnstile – Time & Space Album Cover

The intro to “I Wanna Be Blind” is stellar and it is an energizing song with elements of classic rock and funk thrown together. The album is an interesting mix of various styles. The band didn’t hold back on this album and they are not afraid to take risks. They maintain an intense tempo throughout the entire album. This album is more suited to the average punk rock fan.

Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree

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Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree Album Cover

I love this band! I love their sound, because I find it so refreshing. Chris Robertson’s southern drawl is unmatched. This album had some surprising tracks on that I was a little surprised about. “Bad Habits” is the first song off the album and I think it represents the signature Black Stone Cherry sound perfectly. I feel that there needs to be a track on an album that is a classic representation of that specific band’s sound. They have incorporated a slightly more dominant country sound, especially on songs like “Carry Me On Down The Road” and “I Need A Woman” and even some blues on “James Brown”. The album does seem to take on a slower pace overall, but I think the band is developing their sound and trying new things. You have to admire that.

The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut

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The Temperence Movement – A Deeper Cut Album Cover

A fantastic band that I discovered on the airplane on my trip back from London to Cape Town. A British band that embodies the groove of true Rock ‘n Roll. You can’t help but be caught in the infectious beat and groove they emit. Their songs inspire me and instantly improves my mood. “Built-In Forgetter” is the one that got me hooked in the first place. “Backwater Zoo” really makes me feel like I have heard this song before, a few decades ago, it is like the song pays homage to classic rock bands in the 70s. The smooth guitar chords layered on top of “Love and Devotion” makes you want to grab someone to dance with. “Beast Nation” is an emotional song that soothes your soul with gritty vocals in the verses and THAT guitar solo in the bridge! The passion of the band members are evident on every track. “The Way It Was and The Way It Is Now” is another standout, the guitar hook on this track is incredible.

Hopefully I have more time to share more music with you.

I can’t wait, I’m excited!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Kicking off 2018!

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Welcome to 2018, people!

I think it is going to be a smashing year for rock music as I have seen a lot of exciting things happening already!

New Music

Bad Wolves – “Zombie”

First off I want to share a cover song with you that has captivated me for the past week. I have shared this song with everyone I know, because it pays homage to the original but the band solidified their stamp on it. The late Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) was meant to lend her vocals to this cover, but then news broke that the singer had passed away before that could happen. The band released their version that Dolores had approved of as a tribute and all profits will benefit Dolores’ three children.

This song affects me in ways that I can’t explain and I could probably write essays about this cover. Vext’s vocals are a major highlight for me, every nuance is perfectly placed and that goes for the instrumentation as well.

Major respect go to “Bad Wolves” for this one.

Story of the Year – “Bang Bang”

An energetic offering from Story of the Year and I find their latest song seamlessly combine different genres within one song. It jumps from an electronic-like intro straight to screamo to punk rock over to a rock chorus. The band’s fans are delighted about their return after their hiatus. Their latest album titled “Wolves” was released in December 2017.

Red – “Gone”

The title track from the band’s latest album is a solid rock song with some electronic beats weaved throughout the song. The lyrics question the legacy that we leave behind and the quality of the impact we made, that stay behind when we pass away.

A valid point to ponder.

 

Black Veil Brides – “Wake Up”

Black Veil Brides have returned! A politically charged video and theme run through the band’s latest single with a delicious guitar solo thrown in for good measure. It is an anthem for the majority to stand up against what they believe to be unfair, corrupt or unjustified behaviour. A great message to share considering the power that politicians/leaders wield.

 

Marmozets – “Run With The Rhythm”

An interesting song that I would never have expected to hear from Marmozets. The intro almost has a folk/indie sound to it, up until the chorus kicks in. The video is captivating and the cinematography is amazing. An artistic release in every way.

Pop Evil – “Colors Bleed”

A great concept for a video which leaves the viewer with more questions than answers and a reflection of today’s society or a reality we might still face. I’m loving every second of the heavier direction Pop Evil has taken.

Three Days Grace – “The Mountain”

It is so good to hear Three Days Grace back on the scene again. The lyrics are inspiring and is the best way to get your year started. Three Days Grace’s latest album “Outsider” drops on the 9th of March 2018.

 

Paddy and the Rats – “Join The Riot”

The strangest and most entertaining discovery I have made in recent history. I wouldn’t have taken this band seriously if they weren’t signed by Napalm Records and if I didn’t listen to their other songs. Different, exciting, funny and a carnival to your ears, enjoy me matey!

 

Jonathan Davis – “What It Is”

Surprise, Jonathan Davis just went solo! I think this will be a very interesting venture for non-fans and fans alike. I’m excited to see what is to come from him in the near future. I liked this song from the first listen which is rare for me. Straight-up good, honest rock music.

 

Local Events

There are some exciting concerts heading to Cape Town’s shores.

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There will definitely, without any doubt be a blog post about Mr Myles Kennedy when I meet him on the 6th of March 2018.

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Have a smashing week and I hope everyone had a good start to their year so far!

If not…we will have to take it up a notch next month!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K