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

Disobey

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

Band of the Month – Tremonti

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Band of the Month – Tremonti (continued…)

Tremonti is an American rock band founded and fronted by talented lead vocalist and guitarist Mark Tremonti. Mark is best known as the guitarist for Creed and Alter Bridge. In addition Tremonti consists of rhythm guitarist Eric Friedman, drummer Garrett Whitlock and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. Originally the band started out as Mark’s solo project which evolved into a fully fledged band after the release of the band’s first album titled “All I Was” on the 17th of July 2012. Mark played bass and lead guitar on the band’s debut album as well as fulfilling his duties as the lead vocalist. Mark’s band mate in Creed and Alter Bridge Brian Marshall was the touring bass guitarist for the band until his departure later that year. Brian was replaced by Van Halen bassist Wolfgang Van Halen.

Towards the end of Creed’s career in the early 2000s, Tremonti wanted to form a speed metal side project called Downshifter which would have included Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta and Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, but the project never came to fruition. Later in 2008, Mark and his brother Dan Tremonti formed FRET12 , an online musicians’ community, production company, record label and artist management company to release his 2008 instructional guitar documentary DVD titled Mark Tremonti: The Sound & the Story, where he teaches warm-ups, alternate tuning, finger picking style, legato techniques, and other advanced exercises. It marked the first in a series of  The Sound & The Story instructional DVDs which includes DVDs by Leslie West and Troy Stetina.

Mark started showing interest in releasing a solo album , because he writes a lot and he felt there was potential in songs he had written that didn’t suit Alter Bridge or Creed’s genre/material. Former Submersed members Eric Friedman and Garrett Whitlock formed part of the band. Mark described the music as melody driven and in an interview he described the album as being a heavier-sounding thrash metal album.

On the 20th of January 2012, Tremonti launched a website where fans can visit to find out about the latest news, previews, live streams and giveaways. A list of song titles and the title of the band’s debut album “All I Was” was announced on the website. The release date for the album was set for July 2012 on FRET12 Records under the management of Dan Tremonti & Tim Tournier. The first single from the album “You Waste Your Time” was made available on the 6th of May 2012, one day before its release on Loudwire.com.

One day after its release, the song reached number 10 on the iTunes Rock Songs chart and the live video for the song premiered on the 17th of May 2012 on Noisecreep. The official release date for the album was announced on Ultimate Guitar Archive as the 17th of July 2012. Produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette, the album shows prominent thrash metal influences. This album marks the debut of Mark Tremonti as a lead vocalist.

Tremonti originally consisted of Eric Friedman, Garrett Whitlock and Brian Marshall playing bass guitar as a session/touring member. The band’s first concert took place at The Social in Orlando, Florida, on July 17, 2012. Wolfgang Van Halen replaced Brian Marshall as a touring bassist in September 2012 and was named as an official member of the band in March 2013. A previously unreleased B-side “All That I Got” became available as a single on the 16th of April 2013.

In 2014 Tremonti began recording their second album with Wolfgang Van Halen playing bass. Another B-side called “Gone” was released as a single on the 16th of September 2014. On the 3rd of March 2015, the band released a sample of their song “Radical Change” and revealed the album title “Cauterize” along with the song listing for the band’s sophomore effort. On the 17th of March 2015 Tremonti released another song preview for the track “Flying Monkeys” and gave a concrete release date of the 9th of June 2015 for Cauterize. On the 20th of March 2015 Tremonti unveiled on Twitter that the first single would be titled “Another Heart” and that it would be released on the 24 March 2015. On the 23rd of March 2015, the single “Another Heart” was available for streaming via FRET12. The artwork for Cauterize was revealed on the 27th of May 2015, additionally it was announced that it will be the first of two albums that were recorded together to be released. The second single “Flying Monkeys” released in the US on the 15th of May 2015 and is available for digital download via iTunes.

After listening to Cauterize I was struck by Mark Tremonti’s vocal performance on the latest record in comparison to its predecessor. Cauterize engages all of your senses and doesn’t let up until the end. By listening to Cauterize you witness the development of the band as a unit. I love the philosophical lyrical content of “Providence” and Mark’s vocals shine on the song combined with some beautiful riffs.

I like the heavier, yet melodic style that the band has adopted, it attracts new fans without alienating existing fans especially since the genre of music the band play is so far removed from Mark’s other projects. I can imagine it takes a lot of investment and guts to start a third band from scratch, especially when your schedule is already planned years in advance. Tremonti is unique, because of the fact that the band consists of established musicians who really don’t have anything to prove and is making music purely for the love and passion that the band members possess for their craft.

You can follow Mark Tremonti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkTremonti

You can follow Eric Friedman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IIEROCKII

Follow Garrett Whitlock on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GWDrums

Follow Wolfgang van Halen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WolfVanHalen

Follow Tremonti Project on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TREMONTIproject

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Credits to Letarte Photography Source: https://www.facebook.com/letartephotographync?fref=photo

Credits to Letarte Photography 
Source:
https://www.facebook.com/letartephotographync?fref=photo 

Credits to the photographer/owner Source: https://www.facebook.com/TremontiProject?fref=ts

Credits to the photographer/owner
Source: https://www.facebook.com/TremontiProject?fref=ts